Back To School


Enjoy the Abbey for its rotating selection of some of the best beer on the planet. One thing to be said for the boutiquing of beer: you might not be able to enjoy such regularly rotated nectars as Wittekerke, Chimay and Franziskaner (the old drunk monk's even on the sign out front). The staff is friendly, helpful and forgiving, so you can saddle up to the bar with relative ease even on a weekend night. If you're lucky, you may even get a bartender from Australia—the favorite nation of origin of drunks with truly discriminating taste. 306 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 799-4246. 


Nineteen years ago, Santiago Canyon College in Orange was born a runt. Weighing in at 30 acres, with just a few bungalows to call a campus and only 2,500 students, it was overshadowed by older sibling Santa Ana Canyon College. Now, Santiago Canyon's attendance has more than quadrupled to 11,000, and the college boasts a spanking-new student-services building and classrooms. Although the palm-tree-lined building resembles a big cinder block and isn't as pretty going as it is coming (blame the backside's lack of windows or any other architectural flourishes), it towers over Chapman Avenue and lends the institution some much-needed street cred. Up next: a library, performing-arts center, student activity and sports center (an upgrade from the current gym—a few weight machines housed in a portable trailer), and most important, more parking. Oh, the places you'll go!


Need late-'80s-vintage clothing-design books that'll tell you exactly what separates a mod from a punk from . . . Russell Simmons? Run! Book Baron pretty much has it all. Vintage Sports Illustrated, a few issues of '50s Hot Rod magazine, a few ancient Good Housekeeping and shelves of actual books by authors you should read. Check it out. This place is like Acres of Books for Orange County. 1236 S. Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-7022.


UC Irvine's Anteater Recreation Center provides everything a student needs to salvage some dignity. Aside from the obligatory weights and basketball courts, you could scale the rock-climbing wall, run laps on the indoor track or pretend you know how to play racquetball. A wide array of fitness classes are also offered, from ballroom dancing to fencing to such luxuries as sailing lessons in Newport Harbor.


If this were high school, the Cal State Fullerton website ( would be the quiet kid in the corner, you know, the one who ended up inventing Google or writing Kavalier and Clay—wait, that was written by someone from UC Irvine. Anyway, doesn't sport designer colors and flourishes like Vanguard University's website. Wearing muted blues and with a simple layout, focuses on clarity and content. Hundreds of pages are linked through the website entrance, from alumni golf tournaments to critical parking instructions. A drop-down menu of "Quick Links" and an alphabetical index of topics appear on every page, making it easier to sift through the large amounts of information, while an "Ask the Titans" feature promises answers to any submitted question within 48 hours. Popular pages vie for honors in the "Top 20 Sites"—Portal Login claims the crown, while Student Email barely makes it—and it's all neatly organized and surprisingly navigable. Best part: a link under "About CSUF" lets you watch a series of webcams installed around campus. You can spend hours watching tech assistants tackle viruses in the Titan Computer Lab or construction workers wheel their barrows at the new Performing Arts Center. Stalking/procrastinating has never been easier.


Decked out in Seven jeans, designer purses, Rainbow sandals, or the latest trend of '80s-inspired ruffled skirts and ripped shirts, the girls of Saddleback College make sure every day is an occasion to dress to impress. The girls aren't alone, though, as the males of Saddleback know how to accessorize, with a different hat for every outfit and a different skate or surf brand to match their shoes with their shirts. There are also the Lab-obsessed alternative hipsters of both genders who flock around the campus. These indie "individuals" scorn the surf-store-obsessed classmates for wasting money on 50 T-shirts that all look the same. Of course they don't think twice about needing to have 10 pairs of Chinese slippers in 10 different shades or 13 pairs of huge, retro sunglasses of varying colors and designs that both shaggy-, jagged-haired sexes enjoy. Always on top of the latest and greatest trends, you won't catch this student body wearing last fall's frightening trend of Ugg boots with short skirts or guys in tired Hurley shirts any time soon. Before Ashton Kutcher even thought about wearing a trucker hat, Saddleback students had already been there, worn that and were ready to move on.


Anyone who's had to survive off a college student's budget understands the typical college-student lunch: two tacos and a bean-and-cheese burrito. And anyone who's ever had the college-student lunch has also had the inevitable college-student dilemma: Where can I take a poop on this campus and not have to cough every five seconds to cover it up? Well, look no further, my Imodium-carrying, knows-it's-better-to-do-it-on-campus-than-in-your-own-dorm-so-they-can't-pin-it-down-on-you friend. Down a tiny, shaded path on a tiny, little hill on the tiny, modest campus of Chapman University, up on the third story of the Argyros Building, sits the greatest, most desolate bathroom (un)known. This three-stalled, flawless lavatory, described by some as "immaculate," is in a low-traffic location and maintains an optimal temperature: cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which comes in handy when you're sitting half-naked. So do yourself and your roommates a favor and do your business—business, heh-heh-—there. Really. It's worth the drive.

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