Friday The 13th

Sun God!  Ludacris!


So Friday the 13th of May 2005 turned out to be quite an interesting day, in both a good and a bad way.  The bad way was mostly academic and I prefer not to discuss it here, since it would distract from the actual substance of the day itself.  But after my last class was out at 1 PM, the rest of the day was mine to enjoy, as it was UCSD’s annual Sun God Festival – basically a time when different clubs and groups all set up booths and sell things and when people do everything that they’ve always wanted to do all year but never had an excuse for (i.e. get drunk, have sex, swim in the Price Center fountain… wooooo!!).


After class, my friend Erica and I went to the Sun God displays lining Library Walk and the Sun God Lawn.  There wasn’t much, though I had some yummy Korean BBQ.  The day was beautifully sunny and people were just crowding around Library Walk, the Sun God Lawn, and Price Center, listening to bands performing in the Price Center and swimming in the zigzag fountain lining Price’s entrance.  We were pretty bored, though, so we just went back and hung out in the dorm.


That evening, there was to be a LUDACRIS! (and others) concert that I was hella excited about.  I was planning on going with Erica, my other friend Luis, and his girlfriend Angelica, but because we wanted to be up in the front we got there at 3:30 – two hours before the doors officially opened at 5:30 – and just camped out in the line.  It paid off – we were able to avoid the ridiculously long lines that started building up around 5.  We were in, and the first band to perform was this rock band that I can remember the name of.  The music was okay, but not impressive.  The crowd was still relatively light, compared with what it was to be in just a few hours.


There was a main stage and a side stage, but we stayed in the front of the main stage the whole time.  There were a few side stage performers that followed, including a favorite of my friend Andy’s, Rufio, but they weren’t too memorable.  The next main stage performer was Damian Marley, and even though I had never heard any of his songs or even of him, the reggae-rock type of music was really appealing.  It was after Damian Marley finished his performance that the crowd started to get tighter and started to shift back and forth, left and right.  Soon it was quite horrible and I could barely breathe since I was squished against the metal fence.  A couple of side stage performances did nothing to relieve the huge mass of people pressing into the main stage.  What the fuck were these people so pushy about, anyway?


The next main stage performance was by Phantom Planet, and I thought they were good stage performers and musicians but I’m not really into that kind of music.  At one point though, the lead singer did something cool and climbed up onto the side scaffold, and just continued to sing while clinging to the scaffold.  I thought that was pretty neat.  After Phantom Planet left and it was known that Ludacris would be the next and final performer (but, ironically, it was not widely known that he wasn’t going to come for another hour) the worst of the pressing began.  It pretty much went in both directions and I felt ready to just die.  People can be so stupid sometimes, especially when they’re drunk as I imagine over half the crowd was.  Ludacris ain’t even anywhere near the stage, idiots.  Quit pushing!


When Ludacris came on stage the whole crowd roared and I braced myself for major rib crushage.  But surprisingly, the pressure alleviated a little bit, probably because everyone was leaning back and dancing as Luda went into his first song.  He hit all of his top songs – What’s Your Fantasy, Southern Hospitality, Area Codes, Blow It Out Ya Ass, Stand Up, Splash Waterfalls, Get Back – and a number of ones I hadn’t heard yet.  It was awesome!


After the concert was over, slowly but surely the crowd broke up and slogged back to wherever they were going, and I found my left foot to be in horrific pain since I had to lean my whole body weight on it the whole time, as the crowd shoving had left me tilted to the left rather than standing up straight.  I hobbled with my friends back to Erica’s dorm, where we met up with another of Erica’s friends, Aaron, who had also been at the concert but was farther back in the crowd.  We hung out for an hour before we went out “exploring” the beach at Torrey Pines State Reserve.  It turned out to be kinda fun as it was like two in the morning and we were hiking on the beach, exploring little caves that had been carved in the shelf cliffs, then climbing up a path in the cliff (that later turned out to be “dangerous” and closed, haha) and finding trails in the hills that ended up leading to a visitor center, and then back to the parking lot.


After that little adventure, we headed to Denny’s and even though I was hungry as fuck I somehow couldn’t finish my meal.  And then, I was dropped back at home and into my bed I went.


P.S. I just learned of another person who has a birthday in May – and it’s the same day as mine.  Wah!

My Last Night As A Minor

I’m Turning Eighteen!


Hey all.  Before I get into the substance of this piece I just want to mention that my quarter has been pretty rough.  Grades are looking grim and my personal life has been particularly rocky over the past month or so.  But things are starting to look up now.  I’m at the bottom of the valley and I can only go up at this point. (Unless I fall into a trench at the bottom of that valley.  Then I’m really screwed.)


So, tomorrow (May 10 2005), my long voyage through childhood and adolescence is finally coming to an end as I turn eighteen.  Okay, sorry about this tangent but I have another question: WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE THEIR BIRTHDAYS IN MAY?!!!  Or, better yet, WHY DOES EVERYONE’S PARENTS HAVE SEX IN AUGUST?!!!  Maybe because August is the hottest month or something and people go naked in their houses, I don’t know.  I mean, I share my birthday with not only my sister but my chem TA’s boyfriend.  That chem TA in turn has her birthday the day after.  I think a friend of a friend has a birthday this month, as well as my friend’s girlfriend, plus my Writing 10B instructor and another girl in my Writing class. (Interestingly enough, the girl’s birthday is the 8th, my teacher’s birthday is the 9th, and mine is the 10th.  Bam bam bam.)  So that’s seven people I know (not including me) who have birthdays in May.  Not to mention that 1.) that’s just off the top of my head 2.) I’m such a loser – imagine how many May bday people someone who actually has a life would know.


Okay, so on to the subject at hand.  For eighteen long ass years I’ve been toiling in minor-dom, suffering from societal-imposed age discrimination that automatically assumed that I was too stupid to handle anything on my own until 3 AM May 10 2005 when – magic! – I would suddenly be endowed with the knowledge I’d need to have a successful life in the “real world”.  Funny.  Pardon the shameless self-adulation, but in February 2003 I was following the 2004 Democratic primaries before 99.9 percent of America even knew who the fuck John Kerry was.  I know the names of every single United States Senator (though I might not know the first names of a few).  I have been tracking U.S. Senate and U.S. House races ever since the conclusion of the 2004 elections and I can pretty much give you the 411 on any Senate race in 2006.  Yet, for some reason, I couldn’t vote in any election from when I started getting involved in politics in 2000 (or 2002, when I actually started getting serious) to now, while some dumbass who knows nothing can cast their vote.


That goes for a lot of other things too.  Being a minor isn’t just about not being able to vote or buy cigarettes or download porn or whatever, it’s about being inferior to everyone else.  It’s about being a second-class citizen, basically.  The USA supposedly treats everyone the same but obviously that isn’t the case for those under 18.  I couldn’t even go to a fucking doctor’s appointment without having to have the doctor and a “witness” call my mom and confirm her approval.  I can’t do shit, basically.


What about eighteen magically confers power?  Eighteen, after all, is just an arbitrarily chosen age.  Some people are adults by the time they’re fourteen and some people don’t grow up until forty (i.e. our current President of the United States).  Yet the legal system can’t possibly handle the diversity of maturity amongst the peoples of this country, of this world.  We need some kind of legal line set from which we can decide things easily and fairly for all.  Okay, I get it.  Fine.  But how about some reforms so that minors aren’t treated like second-class citizens?


Want examples?


1.)   Abolish the death penalty – at all levels, federal and state – for minors, and legally try minors as minors rather than adults, so long as minors are not considered as mature as adults.  If they are not considered as mature as adults normally, why try them as ones?  If they are mature enough to handle the responsibility of an adult, why not let them vote and sign contracts and so on?  All I really want is some consistency.  Personally, I prefer just banning the death penalty (and trying minors as minors) because the other option (treating minors as adults on ALL things) will open multiple cans of worms. (Smelly worms too, and not your friendly earthworms – I’m talking about the nasty tapeworms that infest your gastrointestinal tract and grow up to like twenty fucking feet long.)


2.)   Allow a “provisional voter license” that allows minors of a certain age to vote with their parents’ consent, similar to current licensing for provisional drivers.  This will allow politically precocious teens such as myself to vote while the other 99.99 percent of teens can go on not giving a damn.  A state senator from San Jose – forgot his name – proposed this idea a year ago.


3.)   Revise statutory rape laws to be based on age difference rather than absolute age.  If one person is eighteen and the other is sixteen, is the eighteen-year old really “abusing” the sixteen year old if they have consensual sex?  Personally I want to see all laws regulating consensual sexual behavior wiped off the books, because I personally believe the government at any level has no right to arbitrate in such intimate and personal affairs.


4.)   This issue is specific to California.  Do away with those stupid laws regarding driving after midnight and transporting other people for provisional licensees.  If you license someone to drive, you’re acknowledging that the person is competent enough to drive safely all the time, no matter how many people are in the car.  What a concept!  Okay, I know, this sounds pretty stupid coming from a guy who got into a car accident, but hey, it’s the principle.


I bet there’s plenty more anti-minor laws that should be wiped off the books. 


So, soon I’ll be an adult, one of “them”.  But I’ll never forget my eighteen years spent as a minor, and I’ll never forget what it was like being one.  I vow to always fight for young people under eighteen, because they need respect just like the rest of us.