Back To School

Photo by Matt OttoNumerous human beings contributed to this fine project, including Nadia Afghani, Nathan Callahan, Sarah Callender, Judy Jou, Rich Kane, Steve Lowery, Jami Makan, Maridel Reyes, Rosheila Robles, Jamie Rodriguez, Daniel Ross, Scott Wennerberg, Katie Wintermute and Chris Ziegler.

It happens every fall: the leaves turn, the weather dips below 78 degrees to a chilly 77, and off our kids go to school. We may not be able to do anything about the weather—not yet, BWHAHAHAHAHA!—but we can help everyone who's heading back to school, and by everyone we mean everyone except those in preschool, elementary, middle and high schools—what are we, Jesus!? No, we are here to help our college-age friends with their college-age needs and desires. We are here to tell them the best bars to frequent, the best campus to see good looking students, the best protests to attend and the best cross-dressing professor to learn from (it may not be the one you think). There's also plenty of stuff about bookstores, vintage clothes, sex, music stores, sex, cheap eats, sex, happy hours, sex, sex, sex, sex and movie theaters. Sex. Yes, all you need to know for a Ph.D. (Party Hearty Degree . . . sorry) in Everything College in Orange County. Enjoy! (Sex.)

WHERE THE (SMOKING-HOT) GIRLS ARE

Last spring, 30,848 students enrolled at Cal State Fullerton, more than at any other campus in Orange County. Of them, 60.6 percent were female. That's 18,693.888 girls. Let's be generous and assume only half of them are attractive. Now we're down to 9,246.94400000001 girls. That means there are more good-looking girls at CSUF than there are girls enrolled in most OC schools—and they're all smoking-hot.

THE PLACE TO TAKE A FOUR-YEAR NAP

On the second floor of Cal State Long Beach's Student Union, you'll find the Music Listening Lounge, which is actually two lounge areas complete with live DJs and individual listening booths where you can listen to the CD of your choice—more than a thousand to choose from!—and recline in a comfy beanbag. Booths cost $1 per hour, but everything else is free for CSULB students with the exception of the 25-cent arcade machines. What's more, one of the two lounges has black walls, disco lights and neon wall hangings . . . or was that astronomy? The lounge is open Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

SPOTLESS CLOTHES, SPOTTY LIVER

Doing laundry used to be one of the most tiresome, frustrating chores in existence—especially if you had to go to a laundromat. Apart from jammed coin machines and uncomfortable, suspiciously sticky chairs, the seasoned fluff-and-folder also contended with disturbingly overpowering soap fumes and the occasional sociopath. Until now: for those fortunate to live anywhere near Tustin, the Econ O-Wash on Irvine Boulevard, with its clean floors and new machines, is a laundry-doer's dream. And it's near a bar: Godfather's. This loveable dive features free popcorn, fair prices, eight TVs and plenty of video-game trivia. Meet some friends for drinks and darts while your clothes magically become clean—could there be a better way to pass the time?! With a few beers under your belt, everything—even folding your T-shirts . . . very poorly—is more fun. Godfather's, 416 Irvine Blvd., Tustin, (714) 544-4410; Econ O-Wash, 412 Irvine Blvd., Tustin.

TECHNO-RIFIC

The oldest electronic/techno specialty

store in OC, Dr. Freecloud's Mixing Lab is the spot to pick up new mixes, test out new sampling techniques, gobble up piles of rave

fliers—some you might actually want to go to—and chat up owner Ron D Core, an expert spinner in his own right. The Lab, 2930 Bristol St., Ste. A109, Costa Mesa, (949) 545-8811.

IN THIS CORNER . . .

Whenever the local chapter of the Ayn Rand Institute's president and executive director, Dr. Yaron Brook, debates a UC Irvine faculty member, the cops are invited along with him. In the past, Brook has claimed that non-Western cultures are inferior to Western ones, infuriating many audience members, many of whom don't wait for the question-and-answer session after the debate to holler their frustrations at Dr. Brook. When it's time for the Q&A, the waiting line stretches halfway up the aisles of Crystal Cove Auditorium, with people shouting into the mic until its levels peak and screech. Dr. Brook isn't afraid to shout back. The cops guard the exits just in case.

GET VAPORIZED!

Let's face it, no college student wants to get caught smoking the sticky icky. Not only is there a chance you will get kicked out of the dorms, but also new federal regulations make it possible for your student loans to be revoked FOR-EV-ER! That's why the intelligent dorm stoner moves on from the pipe or bong and plugs in a vaporizer. Although "not intended for illegal use," the beauty of vaporizers is that they heat the ganja to slightly less than 400 degrees, just below the combustion point. At this temperature, only the resinous gold, or THC, is released from the buds, allowing the user to take cool, clean hits without sucking in harmful carbon and Ortho agricultural products. The first toke may fool the novice user since there is very little visible smoke compared to other pieces, but after a few practice runs, you and your friends will be pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of this invention and the little smell it releases. Two dorm-room-friendly versions are the BC Vaporizer ($75 Canadian) and the Volcano ($600 American), both of which vent the gas into collection chambers so that none is wasted. Do your homework before purchasing one because they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and you may end up being disappointed with cheaper models. In the end, these babies will soon pay for themselves and make your prized sack last longer since A) the THC is used more effectively and B) with less danky smoke, you won't have to share with those predatory Chiba Hawks circling outside your door. With a vaporizer, aspiring Tommy Chongs no longer have to worry about fake air sprays, bulky ionic generators or trying to remember who had your Bic lighter last.

WORLD PEACE IN GORGEOUS GARDENS

Founded by Daisaku Ikeda, Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo is a member of Soka Gakkai International, an American Buddhist association that promotes world peace and individual happiness. Instead of the usual institutional concrete jungle, you'll find environmental harmony that is wholly conducive to Buddhist values. Situated in the Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park, just two miles from the beach, it possesses soaring views of the surrounding canyons. At the north end, you can sit on the lush green grass and relax while pretending to study. Peace exam anxiety melts away as you stare at the glistening white limestone and granite while listening to the idyllic trickling sounds of the lake's fountains. If you're into structural design, the domed Founder's Hall and Athenaeum are a far cry from the shoebox structures on many SoCal campuses. Large hallways, arches and massive columns whisk you toward a bronze statue of Gandhi. And then there's Soka's magnificent art gallery and hallways adorned with paintings and photos of natural scenes such as cherry blossoms in Hong Kong. Much closer to home, the student center has eight small square lily ponds. Peace. Out.

MAKE IT A QUADRUPLE

Ah, La Cave: the only bar in OC where the bartenders cheerfully pour each drink as if it were a double—without being asked. The bar where you could swear your grandpa is standing behind you, saying, "Go ahead, it'll put hair on your chest." Best of all is the warm glow of dim orange lighting, which flatters your face even while you stretch your collar out and yell, "Dude! Look! I don't think that hair was there before! That one, right there next to that mole! I swear! Dude!" 1695 Irvine Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-7944. 

U-PASS, U-PLAY

Gas prices are too expensive? Walking to school too much exercise? Cheap, lazy bastard? If you go to Cal State Fullerton, they'll take care of you by providing plenty of alternative transportation. One of the best is their OCTA U-Pass Program, which lets you ride OCTA's local routes at no charge, provided you have a valid student ID. With OCTA, you can also ride free to the Anaheim Canyon rail station and the Transportation Center (rail station) to CSUF. Or you could take the Metro (MTA) on routes 275, 362, 460 and 490 and have those connect with other OCTA lines. In addition to OCTA, the school has a 25 percent off deal with Metrolink for eligible students and 15 percent off with Amtrak. If buses aren't your thing, check out the student carpool services, where students post their carpool needs. For more information, go to www.parking.fullerton.edu.

MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST STAY IN ON THE WEEKENDS INSTEAD OF GOING TO . . .

Downtown Brea. After an overpriced movie and Fatburger, wade through a rip current of junior-high kids, double-fist a frozen-yogurt and a Frappuccino, then go shopping for paintball gear.

The Block at Orange. Ride the mechanical bull and then window shop for pocket bikes.

The Irvine Spectrum. Park your car on the 405 and walk the rest of the way rather than idle in traffic for another hour. Get shot in the head by a fountain, wipe off the ice cream somebody dropped from the Ferris wheel, stare at girls walking arm-in-arm with guys who rode the mechanical bull and window-shopped for pocket bikes at the Block last weekend, then find somewhere else to go because all 580 seats of the theater are sold out.

GO TO HOLLYWOOD

Take the 91 West (use the carpool lane!) to the 110 North (more carpool-lane action!) to the 101 North. Better leave now.

ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT

Yeah, yeah, Cal State Fullerton's baseball team is awesome, just won their fourth College World Series title. But how about a little love for Orange Coast College's men's crew team? The school's varsity rowers beat UC Davis and won the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in May. What makes that so impressive is OCC, whose team is composed of freshmen and sophomores, regularly beats four-year universities. The 2005 season looks promising.

THE ONLY REASON TO LEAVE YOUR BED ON SUNDAYS

Too bad it's only open one day a month. Every fourth Sunday or so, the mammoth Greater Orange County Record Swap takes over a huge conference room at the Sequoia Athletic Club, attracting dealers and reps from record stores all over SoCal—and sometimes from as far away as Europe and Japan. This is where to find cheap CDs; really cheap box sets; posters; collectors' items; old back issues of Rolling Stone; an autographed copy of Madonna's Playboy cover; Wall of Voodoo promotional matchbooks; reel-to-reel tapes of old KMET shows; crusty, cracked eight-tracks; Vince Neil's aged, faded driver's license; imports; bootl- . . . um, "collectibles"; and assorted other pieces of strangeness—we once saw a ticket stub from a Tiffany concert going for a buck at this show. What's scarier is that somebody actually bought it. 7530 Orangethorpe Ave., Buena Park, (626) 963-9717. Usually the fourth Sunday of every month, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Dark in August.)

SWITCH MAJORS TO INTERIOR DESIGN

The Art Institute of California's Orange County campus provides furnished apartments for every enrolled student, so you get to have the independence of an apartment while still living close to the campus. There is a residence-life coordinator and a resident assistant in each housing facility to help you out and keep things together. A fitness center, pools and spas are some highlights of living here, but as you might expect at an art institute, the plum is that the school actually encourages students to make their apartments their own: How about a neoclassical approach with a bit of decoupage? Well!? HOW ABOUT IT?!

GET YOUR GOURMET GRUB ON

For all of you who have endured limp, brown lettuce, stale cornbread and rubbery eggplant that resembles something you feed your dog—if you didn't like dogs—chew on this: Soka University of America teamed up with Bon Appetit, "the premier name in university dining," to feed its students. At Soka Bistro, you can find such foods as "pastas tossed with basil pesto," "freshly rolled sushi with shaved ginger and wasabi," and "cilantro-seasoned grilled chicken topped with a dash of fire-roasted Anaheim chile salsa." Yes, please!

FOCUS ON IDEOLOGY

If you feel attending college is equivalent to a left-wing indoctrination camp, then you'll feel right at home in the Irvine Review Foundation at UC Irvine. In 2002, as a result of the often-beleaguered UCI College Republicans, a group of right-leaning students led by Ryan Mykita and Erica Harpster formed the separatist Foundation and created the Irvine Conservative Student Union (ICSU) in 2003. Following its own motto—"the most important minority is the individual"—the student-run organization chooses not to follow any particular party's discipline. Mykita, president of the Irvine Review Foundation—which oversees both the ICSU and the monthly Irvine Review student paper (www.irvinereview.org)—states that the goal of ICSU is to "focus on ideology" rather than on often-inert politics. While standing firm in its beliefs in free-market economies, more limited government, and other conservative and libertarian ideals, ICSU "actively denounces welfare systems," says Mykita. The group regularly hosts speakers such as Tammy Bruce (whose website picks the president based on who can catch a football) and has held policy debates between academia, including controversial Dinesh D'Souza. The self-proclaimed "Voice of Reason," Irvine Review has more than 4,000 readers and has been growing in print size every year. According to Mykita, one of the Review's prized investigative pieces helped oust a UCI librarian who was a member of NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Here comes Gavin Newsom, boys—get the noose!

BUT WHERE CAN I FIND A SEVEN-CENT EIGHT-TRACK?

At Noise Noise Noise Records, you'll find every classic record your collection needs—Kinks, T. Rex, Who, Velvet Underground and more that don't even involve guitars—for pennies on the dollar, and if that doesn't swing you, they're actually selling whole crates of vinyl for literal pennies on the dollar. Like nine cents for an EP. There's your wallpaper, kid. Now never go to Urban Outfitters again. 1505 Mesa Verde Dr. E., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-6473.

WHERE MORPHEUS LEADS, PROGRESSIVES FOLLOW

When you first come across the Cal State Long Beach Campus Progressives' website (www.csulb.edu/org/csulbcp/), you may think you've stumbled onto some anti-establishment, Rage-Against-the-Machine-homage homepage. With fuzzy, skewed writing and a link for "propaganda," it looks more like a Matrix trailer than a campus club. Search deeper and you will find this club could be led by Morpheus himself, fighting for the rights of the little people. Created during the Nader campaign in 2000, Campus Progressives took the initiative to empower a number of often-marginalized campus groups, such as the African Student Union and La Raza Student Association, by allowing like-minded clubs to act as a larger political entity on campus and creating the United Student Activists coalition in 2004. The Campus Progressives website has numerous links that can direct you to such left-wing, anti-corporation sites as "Anarchy for Anybody," "Globalize This" and Noam Chomsky's homepage at MIT. The club regularly engages in activism, hosts community events such as anti-war concerts and organizes student walkouts to protest the Govenator's budget cuts in education.

STUDY ALREADY

It has more books than any other Orange County college—more than two million volumes, plus access to the ginormous UC collection—but UC Irvine's newly dubbed Jack Langson Library offers more than mere academia. Located at the center of the 1,476-acre campus, the five-story building is flanked on either side by benches and sycamores, and out back lays the 16-acre botanical garden Aldrich Park. The library is furnished with comfortable cubicles—many of them wide enough for both you and your, ahem, study partner—on each of its floors. As you enter through the front doors, your eyes land on several display cases (current exhibition: photographs of dancer Martha Graham). A wall zigzags diagonally to your right, alternating between glass panels and wood; behind it is a reading room filled with periodicals ranging from Scandinavian psychology to nuclear law. Add a few nifty details—compact shelving in the basement, color-coded maps on every level—and this library becomes the ideal place to relax and study or take a nap. W. Peltason Road and Pereira Drive on the campus of UCI, Irvine, (949) 824-6836.

WE 'HEART' AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM

If you're bored with humdrum student-run publications, then you haven't seen Santa Ana College's el Don. Since 1990, el Don has received 1,400 awards, a near-embarrassing amount of riches that includes eight consecutive Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Pacemaker Awards—considered the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize—in the past 14 years. Add to that seven consecutive College Newspaper of the Year awards; 10 consecutive Columbia Gold Medals; 15 consecutive state General Excellence honors; and eight consecutive ACP First Place, Best of Show awards—woof!—and you'll understand why we hate these people. Kidding! Anyway, through el Don and the school magazine, West 17th, these smacks have won more top local, state, and national awards than any college or university in California, writing on topics this past year ranging from traveling to China to an investigation of how textbook publishers artificially inflate prices. el Don, 1530 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 564-5616.

BOUTIQUE BEER

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. 

ALL GROWED UP

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!

'VINTAGE' BOOKS—IS THAT ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING 'USED'?

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.

GET PHYSICAL

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.

THE SMARTER SITE

If this were high school, the Cal State Fullerton website (www.fullerton.edu) 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, Fullerton.edu doesn't sport designer colors and flourishes like Vanguard University's website. Wearing muted blues and with a simple layout, Fullerton.edu 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.

DRESSING TO IMPRESS

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.

ALSO DOUBLES AS A PLACE TO CHANGE CLOTHES

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.

FAMOUS ALUMS WE CLAIM

OC colleges have more than their share of famous alums, many of whom ended up north of the Orange Curtain. Director James Cameron dabbled in physics and English at Cal State Fullerton, while actor Kevin Costner (who saw Open Range? Anyone?) graduated from Fullerton with a degree in business administration. Fullerton College and Orange Coast College can both claim action star Steven Seagal as an alumnus, but then, why would they? Not to be outdone, Chapman University has granted honorary degrees to just about anyone with a ready ATM card, most recently to Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the most famous area alum is undoubtedly director Steven Spielberg, who graduated from Cal State Long Beach. His story is pure Hollywood: USC rejects him, so he opts for CSULB, only to drop out to focus on his career (looking back, probably the right choice). It took 34 years for him to return and finish college, graduating in 2002 with a degree in film and electronic arts. That should open some doors.

OR MAYBE NOT

When the time came for Spielberg to give back, he ponied up big time. In the millions. Which he gave to USC, the school that rejected him. The school used some of it to build the Spielberg Music Scoring Stage. Cal State Long Beach? Still waiting.

PUNK PARADISE

OC's homegrown three-store mini-chain, Bionic Records was made semifamous the world over when Dexter Holland wore their T-shirts in mid-'90s Offspring videos. This is an aspiring young punk's paradise, the place to pick up that crusty band's arm patch or that sticker or T-shirt from a band that broke up before you were even born. Yeah, you could get the same swag at Hot Topic, but that wouldn't be as cool—and you wanna be cool, don't you? 9549 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 828-4225; 2466 Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-1912; 16101 Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach, (714) 846-2585.

CINEPHILES' PARADISE

Located across from UC Irvine, inconspicuously wedged between Diedrich Coffee and Yoga Path, is the finest movie theater not just in Orange County, but in the entire world. When Capturing the Friedmans, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner, came to Southern California, Edwards University Town Center 6's exclusive engagement featured the documentary's producer Marc Smerling in a roundtable discussion. When The Cremaster Cycle, Matthew Barney's legendary five-part, Guggenheim-inspired, fever-dream epic, toured the country in a limited engagement (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Irvine), Edwards University screened all five remarkably delirious films—six hours and 36 minutes' worth—in succession. When This Thing of Ours, the New Jersey mob-goes-cyberspace film, began its controversial release, Edwards University premiered it, with two of the film's stars from the TV series The Sopranos adding commentary. When the Independent Spirit Award-nominated manage-e-trois relationship film Charlotte Sometimes opened in Southern California, Edwards University featured its writer/director, Eric Byler, for an all-day question-and-answer session. When Derrida, the San Francisco International Film Festival award winner documenting the contentious French philosopher Jacques Derrida, screened, Edwards University booked filmmaker Amy Zering Kofman to answer all your literary decontructivist questions. When Bubba Ho-tep, the "true" story of post-drug-overdose Elvis, premiered in Orange County, Edwards University put on a gala presentation with its star, cult legend Bruce Campbell. Are the folks at Edwards University a blessing to film-lovers everywhere? Is the pope Catholic? Is George Bush a liar? Lost in Translation, Adaptation, Dog Town and Z Boys, Bowling for Columbine, TheWeather Underground, Winged Migration, Amelie, Northfork, Russian Ark, and Rivers and Tidesall started their West Coast runs at Edwards University—the best movie theater ever. 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818.

THE ONLY CURATING PROGRAM WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI

At Cal State Fullerton, learn how to insure other people's art works (and get them to loan them to you in the first place) and write up prospectuses and didactic wall texts in your very own, cute-as-a-button gallery! Perhaps you'd like to focus on traditional women's art forms, such as knitting? A-okay! Or maybe you'd rather go and find a junkie Beat artist and have a fabulous retrospective? You get an A! 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 278-2011.

MASTER CLASS

Ergodic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Seminar in Artificial Intelligence—these course titles pale in comparison to Music 164, Opera Workshop, offered this fall at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. What's punching digits into a TI-89 compared to straining your vocal chords into raw strings of meat while capering around a stage in front of 40 other people? And the mood around the buffet table? Don't ask.

INDIE RECORDS 'R' US

We remember Vinyl Solution when it was Zed Records in Long Beach. Or Middle Earth Records in Downey. Or Aaron's, a long time ago in LA, before it got so hep. Point being Vinyl Solution is one of the few indie record stores left where the real punk is waiting, hibernating, hunkered-down, looking for a chance to take over kids' minds. Their selection, of course, is broader; we'd hope to find anything from Echo & the Bunnymen to the Cramps to the Pixies, the Replacements on—platters that matter from, oh, 1976 or so. 18822 Beach Blvd., Ste. 104, Huntington Beach, (714) 963-1819.

CHEAP SEATS

Hate the fact that watching a movie nowadays at fancy multiplexes is almost as expensive as buying a negative of the film? Head over to Santa Ana's Fiesta Theater, one of the few remaining duplexes in the county that boasts $5 tickets all the time for any movie. Only catch? All the films have Spanish subtitles, serving the filmic needs of the nation's most-Spanish-speaking city. Don't be afraid—Latinos laugh at the same idiot Jim Carrey films you do. 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-4351. 

SURELY YOU PROTEST

When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved statewide budget cuts to the Cal State University (CSU) system, students at Cal State Fullerton organized a group they called Students Informing Students (SIS) and joined forces with the California Faculty Association (CFA) to combat the cuts. In April, SIS and CFA staged a walkout on the CSUF campus, featuring student and faculty speakers. Organizers of the walkout called on all CSU students to take action against the impending budget cuts. The protests extended beyond Orange County: in downtown Los Angeles, nearly 2,000 CSU students and faculty members rallied outside the governor's office, chanting, making speeches and singing their disapproval. Look for SIS members and disgruntled students as the budget cuts effect campuses this coming school year.

STALK SOMEONE

Forget Friendster. This fall, UC Irvine will be the first Orange County school to have a more sophisticated way to dig up every sordid detail about a crush's life. Behold, thefacebook.com. Dorm address? Check. Class schedule? Updated. Favorite movie/band/quote? Of course. Cell phone number? Eureka! Junior Mark Zuckerberg launched the site earlier this year at Harvard, inspiring students to obsessively revise their profiles. A "Sociology of TheFacebook" series in the Harvard Crimson and mentions in the New York Times and CNN.com. followed. Now the social-networking site has infected—ahem—expanded to 47 schools nationwide including Irvine. Students can even search according to hometown and high school, so they can nurse unrequited loves from thousands of miles away—instead of talking notes in lecture.

SCHOOL SPIRIT

With the spirit of Jesus behind their every move, it's no wonder the students of Vanguard University are brimming with school spirit as well. For decades now, rival schools, especially men's basketball teams, have known journeying into Vanguard's "Pit" gymnasium means operating in close quarters with a rabid student body that manages to work itself into a lather even when the team is suffering through some recent losing seasons. Still, Vanguard Lions will tell you that though their biggest rivals, the Concordia Eagles, have kicked butt recently on the court—winning the NAIA championship—they don't have the "true devotion" Vanguardians have to both school and the Lord. Go God! Go Lions! Go! Fight! Pray! And will somebody please play some defense!

USED BOOKS PEDDLED BY OLD CIVIC-MINDED REPUBLICANS

Sure, Newport is 93 percent white and 92 percent Republican and they don't like airport noise, but, friends, they've got the best darn public library around, a tribute to the good life and the wisdom of the city's accounting office. After the rest of the county went bankrupt and its own library system reduced hours and services, Newport Beach kept right on building its swell new facility on Avocado Avenue, buying great books and CDs and videos (and now DVDs), offering speakers and kids' programs, and pretty much creating the coolest literary hangout absent an espresso machine this side of the Gypsy Den. But with wealth and leisure and lots of old fogies wearing sailor hats comes (gasp) volunteerism. The kindly staff of the Friends of the Library stands up, slowly, to answer the call. Friends receive donations and host frequent used-book sales and run a little used-book store staffed by their crew of gentle-spirited and elegantly inefficient volunteers, each completely unfamiliar with their actual stock. With not a whole lot to do except offer you a free plastic bag, the place turns into a jolly, friendly visit to your grandparents' house, assuming your grandparents live in a quality used-book store. The books are priced to sell, and since nice, old rich people in Newport Beach like to read—or at least buy books—there's a lot of good stuff. 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach, (949) 717-3800.

HOT (MALE) STUDENT BODIES

Note to Orange County colleges: forget stuff like "selectivity" and rising SAT scores. What kids really care about is the student body's hot factor. And judging by the photos posted on many sites: higher education = dog-ugly. Cal State Fullerton? Wimpy. Art Institute of California? Think pasty and soft wannabe chefs rather than brooding art-student chic. UC Irvine? Too many girls. But don't drive up to UC Santa Barbara just yet. Chapman University is a surprising oasis of clean-cut, athletic guys—helloooo, water polo team. And if life near the Orange Circle is like Chapman wants you to believe, you'll be too busy at impromptu slip-'n'-slide parties and volleyball games on the lawn to worry about little things like tuition or a pathetic GPA.

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