Author Archives: Rolando Recoder

About Rolando Recoder

30 years young Chabot College student.

In Dubious Battle

“In Dubious Battle” a novel written by John Steinbeck, revolves around an activist trying to help abused laborers obtain fair wages and better working conditions.

Steinbeck was a resident from California, and most of his influences on writing came from his personal experiences in his youth. One of them was working on nearby farms with migrant workers and obtaining insight on the conditions in which they work and how they’re treated.

This would give birth to one of Steinbeck’s most notable novels, “Of Mice and Men.”

For the most part, the story of “In Dubious Battle” takes place in the California Valley, following two characters named, Jim Nolan and Mac Mcleod. Their objective was to help the fruit workers organize and strike against their horrible working conditions as well as causing a big enough commotion to promote change for all workers in the field.

Everything plays out perfectly, but most of it was just plain luck. Jim and Mac slowly recruited individuals to the cause that was gradually building in a kind of domino effect. The primary catalyst that sparked the major strike was an old man falling off a ladder in an apple orchard.

There was some controversy when this novel was published. Two of the main characters were “Reds” or what is commonly referred to as Communists. During this time in the United States, there was a “Red Scare” that led its citizens to believe that Communism could have destroyed Capitalism.

Throughout the novel, the individuals that interacted with Jim and Mac were suspicious of them being communists with their, “Radical Beliefs.”

The other main critique of this novel was mostly from detractors. They believed that it really didn’t portray the spirit of labor organizers with philosophical generalizations, despite Steinbeck’s extensive research of party organizers and contemporary strikes.

So why is this novel significant? It’s simple, really. “In Dubious Battle” was published in 1936 and was a perfect platform for social commentaries and keeping the public aware of what goes on in the world. An example of this is “Silent Spring” written by Rachel Carsen. This novel informed the public of how harmful pesticides are to humans as well as life itself. So Steinbeck used writing as a medium to share his philosophies and the injustices to migrant workers.

Juan Martinez, a Chabot student, said, “I’ve actually helped out in some orchards in Sonoma Country. Some of the days were incredibly hot and really long. I couldn’t imagine working out there without having some kind of security. This novel gave me an insight into how things were, and I’m glad they have changed for the better.”

Even though his novel “In Dubious Battle” was entirely overshadowed by his most famous novels such as “Of Mice and Men” and “Grapes of Wrath,” it is still considered to be one of his best works.

Apu: Should He Stay?

In the iconic show “The Simpsons,” one of the most well-known characters, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, could possibly be written off the show due to criticisms of some members of the Indian-American community.

Comedian Hari Kondabolu made a documentary called “The Problem with Apu” which was released November 19, 2017. It focused on how he perceived the character and came to the conclusion that Apu negatively represented the Indian community regardless of Apu being the only individual to have South Asian heritage to be regularly appearing in mainstream television in the United States, for some time.

Hank Azaria voices Apu, but many individuals do not know that Azaria’s not actually of Indian descent. Kondabolu pointed this out to many people passing him by that were of Indian descent in his documentary. Most of their reactions were quite surprised. Along with Apu, he also voices many other characters on the show such as Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, The Comic Book Guy, Carl Carlson, and many others.

Azaria expressed his opinions in an interview with Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on April 25, 2018. “You know the idea that anybody — young or old, past or present — was bullied or teased based on the character of Apu, it just really makes me sad.” Azaria continued, “It was certainly not my intention, I wanted to spread laughter and joy with this character. And the idea that it’s brought pain and suffering in any way, that it’s used to marginalize people, it’s upsetting, genuinely.”

So the questions are, should Apu Nahasapeemapetilon be written off the show? Does Apu negatively represent the Indian-American community? One might think he does, based on his appearance, but if they actually know him as a character, they might not think so anymore. If they still do, that’s OK because that’s their own opinion.

Ciara Hipple is a Chabot student and also not too familiar with “The Simpsons” aside from the “Treehouse of Horrors” episodes which are the Halloween specials that are played annually. She stated, “I get where Hari Kondabolu is coming from in that there’s not a lot of representation of nonwhite groups in any form of media, but he’s going about this the wrong way.” She ended with, “He’s literally coming from a place where a character he’s offended by is hand drawn. He should go after films and television so that individuals of Indian descent can be represented even more so.”

Chabot student and a massive fan of “The Simpsons” Dave O’Shea stated, “I find it petty, hypocritical, and ridiculous, honestly. “The Simpsons” is satire. Literally, every character is exaggerated and a stereotype.” O’ Shea would then follow up with, “For one group to insist they don’t like how one character is portrayed because it’s ‘offensive’ to their culture is the epitome of what’s wrong with PC (Political Correctness) culture.”

As O’Shea stated, many characters are exaggerated in the show. For example, there is “The Bumble Bee Man” a recurring character who stars in a comedic novella on Spanish television in the Simpson’s universe. The Bumble Bee Man would always have a string of bad luck and have accidents happen to him while yelling in Spanish. There is also the “Italian Restaurant Guy” who’s mannerisms are exaggerated Italian stereotypes such as making pasta and having a voice that mainly sounds like Nintendo’s “Mario.” There’s also “Chief Wiggum” who is also voiced by Azaria. Wiggum’s character has some piglike features to enforce the stereotype that most cops are fat pigs. These stereotypes are not necessarily true, but the show itself is just commentary on America’s culture itself.

As for Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, he’s a man that immigrated from India, obtained a doctorate in Computer Science, owned his own convenience store the “Kwik-E-Mart,” became the honorary “Fifth member of The Beatles,” a volunteer firefighter, loving husband and father to octuplets, and overall, one of the most well-written and endearing characters on the show. So the only thing offensive about this character is possibly, his voice. At the end of the day, though, he’s a cartoon character. All cartoon characters have funny voices.

Believe it or not, most young boys in animated shows are voiced by women. Even the character “Bart Simpson” is voiced by Nancy Cartwright. There hasn’t been anyone to stir the pot over this. So why Apu? Why single this character out when there are so many others that could be considered offensive based on their voice in “The Simpsons.”

Voice acting is genuinely an art form, and there are many talented actors on “The Simpsons.” Having this particular controversy could perhaps be a good thing. Not for the show, but for people in general. It could help challenge them to think critically and hopefully help them have productive debates as opposed to being at each other throats.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon could potentially be written off the show, but the show’s creators haven’t confirmed if Apu will be written off or not. Apu is considered one of the most positively portrayed characters in the show. That’s saying a lot, especially being a character on “The Simpsons.” Do yourself a favor and watch the show for yourself. Only then, you’ll answer the question, “Should he stay or should he go?”

Art Arriola: The Brass Man

Music has the power to not only bring people together but to inspire as well. Art Arriola, a 62-year-old student at Chabot College, uses his talent as a trumpet player to bring joy to all who would listen.

While the trumpet is Arriola’s primary instrument, he also plays the trombone, French horn, and the cornet. He has been a musician for 53 years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Starting his adventure at Chabot College in the Fall of 2016, Arriola has managed to obtain many certificates that Chabot has to offer such as, Audio Recording through the Music Recording Technology (MURT) classes, Music Industry Entrepreneur, and a certificate for Music Production.

Having a double major in Music and Communication, Arriola after obtaining a degree in Music, wanted to open up a school called “Art, Music, and Promotion.” Its purpose was to teach young musicians how to record, duplicate and promote their music. This was his original plan. As time goes on, plans do change. Having experience connecting with the other students on campus, he decided to pursue a career in counseling.

Most of Arriola’s influences to become a musician came at a very young age. Maynard Ferguson, James Brown, and Tower of Power were the significant influences in developing Arriola’s playing style. He always got a kick out of Jazz, but Arriola felt that Smooth Jazz was quite easy to navigate.

At the age of 15 in the summer of 1971, Arriola was in a band called “International Sound” and participated in the Battle of the Bands that was held at Chabot College. Since then, he has maintained his passion, and 45 years later, that fire in his heart is still burning and managed to find his way back on the campus of Chabot, coming full circle.

Many events happen in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), and the Big Band always drew in a crowd. Directed by Chabot’s very own Professor Palacio, Arriola, of course, was in the brass section. Arriola also put together a crew for the Jazz Combo 2 which is on a smaller scale but still entertaining nonetheless.

Arriola also contributed to helping students learn how to do live audio mixing with the help of other musicians in the music program. MURT 25 was teaching their students how to put PA systems together, and they needed a band. They were glad to help.

When asked what the most rewarding thing about playing music was, Arriola, replied, “It’s fun, it’s very fun. That’s all I can say.” His expression was quite humble and wholesome. Playing with individuals with so many different backgrounds is a reward in itself.

The most memorable gig Arriola participated in was, as he stated, “I was invited to play with a band called Nathan Owens and A Tribute to Sly and the Family Stone. They offered to pay for my plane ticket to Seattle, and my hotel and food were free. Everyone had a good time, and I got paid. It took place around 2014-2015.”

Speaking of favorite gigs, his wife of seven years, Sylvia Mendoza Arriola has this to say, “I used to watch his band play at The Bistro in Hayward, and I caught a few of his shows before I asked to take a photograph with him. He looked real sharp with a suit and a red hat. After seeing another one of his shows, I decided to reintroduce myself, and the rest is history. August 8, 2012, is our anniversary.”

Regrettably, because of his class schedule, Arriola has been tuning down gigs. “It’s hard to find the time working a job and having 17 units on my plate,” Arriola states. He even turned down a gig to perform with Julius Melendez who was a Grammy Award-winning trumpet player who also contributed to the “Supernatural” album by Santana. Fortunately, he has a gig lined up for New Year’s Eve in Danville.

Arriola still maintains contact with Casey Hurt who was a Professor at Chabot for Music Song Writing. His relationship with Hurt could potentially open up a lot of doors for Arriola and could lead to some pretty sweet gigs for composing TV and film.

Art Arriola has the reputation of having a really good dynamic with other musicians. If anyone is at all interested in collaborating with Arriola or interested to see where he goes next, simply go to

Film Screenings at Chabot

The Film Department had a panel of judges, and they determined what films will be screened at the art gallery on April 12, 2018. All of these films were made by students of Chabot College.

The event itself was quite the spectacle. So many students were there to support their peers. Having a well established graphic designer, Jeremy Butler attending the screening also drew in a crowd. He would stay after the event to answer any questions that provided additional insight into his career.

There were a total of eleven films selected to be screened, and there were four films that were nominated in four different categories. Best in Show, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Cinematography.

Winner of “Best in Show” was Zerka Qasemi’s “Mom.” Winner for “Best Editing” was  Janmarlo Lising’s “Society’s Loop.” Best Sound Editing was awarded to, “We’ll Meet Again” by Danny Montenegro. Finally for “Best Cinematography,” goes to “Gone to the Coast,” by Clinton Law.

Despite seven other films not winning any awards, they still managed to keep the audience entertained with their creativity and excellence. “Ducky,” a film made by Clinton Law definitely gave the crowd a reaction when they saw a serial killer running about. It was quite humorous to see a rubber ducky commit these cruel acts.  

“Layla Oh My Love” a film by Yukimi Tateno was a beautiful film that encapsulates love, friendship, and adventure. The film had also showcased what the city of San Francisco had to offer. It was another crowd favorite.

There was another film that could be interpreted as life is quite dreadful, and it’s best just to end it all. That film was “Visual Poetry” by JC. It captured the turmoil of the actor on screen but ended on a good note. Life didn’t end; it only had just begun.

Chabot College is a place in which it unlocks the potential and growth of all of the students here on campus. The film screening that took place had most definitely shown that.

Art Lecture : Jeremy Butler

On April 12, 2018, The Art Lecture Series featured a lecture by Jeremy Butler who is a successful animator and special effects artist. He shared the experiences of his career and offered advice for aspiring animators and those who were just generally interested in the field.

Butler had been an animator for the past 20 years now. Throughout his career, he had the opportunity to work on Featured Films and AAA title games such as Battle: Los Angeles, World of Warcraft, Clash of Clans, and Overwatch.

Butler would then go over the many different programs he would use and compare them to the ones that animators use today. When Butler first started his career the most expensive program, Maya Unlimited cost around $16,000! Nowadays these programs are easily accessible and are much cheaper considering student discounts.

How does one become a successful animator? Butler had answered this in great detail by explaining that one must find their niche. Become really good at one specific thing and search for jobs that tailor to your specific skill set. You also have to take criticism very well. It’s not about how good you are, but how the studio envisioned what they want to be portrayed. Can be frustrating, but you would have to roll with the punches if you want to get ahead of the game. “Understand that you’re there to serve the project, not your ego” Butler stated.

Networking has a huge role in getting employed as well. During the course of your academic career, you’ll never know whom you’ll meet, and they can definitely get you started on your path as an animator.

Once you are established in your field, you would have to keep that skill set sharp. The technology is continually changing, and the software is always updating. To hone these skills is to keep training yourselves in many different ways such as studying motion. This would imply focusing frame by frame studies of live action and understanding shapes. Drawing life itself such as nature, people, and animals. Lastly, to always practice animation with small and simple projects.

Overall, this lecture kept the audience engaged, and they benefited from hearing the experiences from the well established freelance animator, Jeremy Butler.

“It’s about the Journey, not the destination” – Jeremy Butler.

Legends of the Hidden Garden

There was a time in the South Hayward area when the community would gather and grow fresh produce for everyone. That time has long since passed, and the Hayward Community Garden is closed.

As you enter the vacant garden, we can still hear the humming of the electrical power lines that hang high above the garden. Looking closely, there is evidence of a mysterious gardener(s) still contributing to the garden.

In the air, there is a strong, potent smell of onions. So many of these onions are ripe for the taking. So whoever planted these, they have been doing this for a while. These onions grew about 5 feet tall.

There was also an area for flowers as well. Beautiful roses and carnations were planted. These weren’t outshined by the stench of onions. These flowers were handled with lots of care because they looked amazing in an abandoned community garden.

Along with the fields of vegetables and flowers, there were also many fruit trees. These consisted of avocados, figs, and peach trees. They were spread all across the gardens, so there was plenty to go around.

So why is it important to know that this specific garden exists? There’s only so much the few contributors of the gardens can do. The gardens itself is surrounded by apartment complexes. If everyone would gather and contribute, they could unlock the potential that these closed community gardens have to offer.

The gardens could also alleviate the issue of not having access to affordable produce. With so many of these big chain markets, it’s just not viable to go there. They are also so very far from this area, so having these gardens reopen would be very beneficial to the area.

So if you’re ever on Whitman Street in Hayward, make sure to check out this local gem and discover the many hidden treasures that this garden has to offer.

Public Transportation

One of the challenges that young students face is the accessibility of public transportation. Even when these young students have access to these services, they’re still met with challenges of reaching their destination on time.

In the past, The Passion and Purpose club worked with AC Transit to have the Student Transportation Initiative pass. This would help students by providing discounts through the AC Transit EasyPass Program. This would allow the students to save a tremendous amount of money which had estimated around $1,650 a year. All of this would have been funded through an already existing Chabot Student fee. Based on the number of units a student has, this would be exempted, but students could choose to opt out. Unfortunately, this Initiative didn’t pass, but there is still an effort being made to have this passed.  

Brenda Gomez, who is apart of the YES Program (Youth Enrichment Services) tries to help young students, most of which are in continuation schools. The YES Program provides bus passes for these students for up to $75. Funding for these passes was cut up to $100,000. Even with these passes, the buses are still not reliable when it comes to reaching their schools on time. Another issue is the location. It’s typically not safe during the night which led to some being assaulted and robbed. So public transportation isn’t the only challenge here, it’s the area in which these students live too.

Presley Chang and Isaac Chavez of the Passion and Purpose club had interviewed many of the residents in the South Hayward area. They had discovered that most of the issues concerning public transportation were increasing costs and the congested roads. Multiple trips can leave a massive dent in the wallet, and it is always difficult to arrive at their destination on time. One of their interviewees was Carlos Luntonio, who is the Director of the Devocio Vasquez Health Center. One of the solutions that Luntonio came up with is to have the public transit have their own designated roads like the ones they have in San Leandro.  Hayward would most definitely benefit from this.

Salsa, Spices up the Night

On March 15, 2018, Chabot College Jazz Ensemble performed an amazing Salsa Concert with special guests, vocalist Michelle Talley and the Even Swing Big Band, directed by Jon Palacio Jr. at the Performing Arts Center.

From the very beginning, the audience was encouraged to dance on the dance floor that was provided for them. Individuals of all ages took advantage of it while being serenaded by Michelle Talley and enjoying the rhythms of the Jazz Ensemble.

Michelle Talley, the vocalist of the night, is an upcoming Jazz artist with a passion for the stage. Opening with “Mama Guela” composed by Jon Palacio Jr. really got the crowd moving. Talley has a B.A. in Theater from the University of Santa Cruz. She’s been traveling and singing for about ten years now which led her from The House of Blues in L.A. to the many venues the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer. Be on the lookout for Talley. She’ll surely make a huge impact in the Bay Area jazz scene.

Things ended on a great note with the performance of the Even Swing Big Band. Their momentum didn’t slow down one bit when they performed hit after hit. The crowd’s favorites were “Save the Last Dance for me” and “All The Things You Are” which were composed by Jon Palacio Sr. and Jon Palacio Jr. respectively. There were individuals still dancing the night away, and you could hear the disappointment of the crowd when the band finished their set.

If you haven’t been to the Jazz Ensemble concerts here at Chabot College before, you’re missing out! The next shows are scheduled on May 10, 2018, with The Jazz Combo Concert at the Recital Hall. On May 17, 2018, The Big Band Concert with special guest, Francisco Torres is scheduled at the Performing Arts Center. Support the Arts here at Chabot! You will not be disappointed.

Chabot Forensics Goes to Nationals!

Chabot College Forensics team has been on a roll with a series of wins that will allow them to compete and work hard to prepare themselves for Regional state and the National State Championships.

It’s an exciting time for Chabot right now. Considering that most of the Forensics team is fairly new, half of whom just joined this spring, the team is experiencing early success in competitions. That’s a pretty big deal.

Chris Scott is one of the new competitors that had become the tournament champion in the novice Lincoln-Douglas debate division at Las Positas. Winning both his semifinal and final debate rounds. This is his first semester competing against individuals that have a year’s experience and winning, he shows a lot of promise. He’ll be a good addition to the team when they compete at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships that take place in Portland, Oregon.

At the end of February, the Forensics team competed at The Northern California Forensics Association Regional Championships. The team did not disappoint! First-year student Melaak Feleke took 4th in the varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate. In the Individual Speech Event, we have Katie Cree who took 4th in novice persuasive speaking. In Lincoln-Douglas, Chris Scott finished as a semifinalist and was awarded the 2nd place speaker award. In parliamentary debate, Scott also finished as a quarterfinalist with his partner Matthew Abrahamson and was then awarded 4th place speaker. Nicol Taylor and Vishal Nadal, with a very strong finish, ended up as quarterfinalists in the competition for top novice debaters. The biggest win of that weekend was due to the second-semester competitor, Matthew Abrahamson who finished the tournament as the top novice speaker in the parliamentary debate. Continue reading

Keeping the Grounds

Trash on campus

Trash on campus

It is the Maintenance and Operations mission to try to keep a clean campus and a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. Maintenance and Operations has a 15 hour work day. Some of their jobs include sending out a sweeper truck, sending out men with backpack blowers, and also sending a few men to pick up trash all over campus. They all manage to achieve cleaning the campus every day before 8 a.m. right before the students and faculty arrive at Chabot College.

So when I asked Cord Ozment, who is the Grounds Supervisor of the Maintenance and Operations department, “What is the greatest challenge for grounds keeping here at Chabot”? He stated that “We spend a lot of time cleaning up garbage like I said, fifteen hours a day. Five people. Every morning and then we go on to the mowing and the pruning. That’s the fun stuff. It’s the garbage in the morning that’s a hassle.”

M&O Sign

M&O Sign

Maintenance and Operations work very hard to keep this campus clean. Wouldn’t you agree that it is also the student’s job to keep the campus clean as well? Ozment stated that ”If we weren’t here for a couple of days, it’ be amazing how dirty this place would get”. So remember, the next time you finish a meal, throw away your trash and make Chabot College shine. This is a home for many students, and it is yours as well. Treat it like one.

I also inquired to Ozment about any plans in regards to the plants at Chabot College. They have been affected by the weather and construction which can get in the way of landscaping. Ozment replied, “We have plants going into dormancy, so it looks like they’re dying, but they’re not. They’re going to come right back.” Ozment followed with, “I work closely with the construction superintendent on the projects, and we’ll make a bullet point list as they start opening up some of these gardens and you’ll see at the end of the whole project, we’ll come through and start replanting these areas.”

Maintenance and Operations does a fantastic job of keeping the campus clean and safe. We shouldn’t take them for granted.