Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Santa Cruz Trivialities

This was a big week in news here in Santa Cruz. What did you miss by not living here (other than sun and surf)? I'm glad you asked.

  • After a series of horrifying attacks on UCSC biomedical researchers last fall, four animal rights activists were finally indicted this week (including at least one UCSC graduate). You may recall that one of the attacks involved the four mask-wearing activists shaking the door of a researcher's home during a child's birthday party; when the researcher's husband opened the door, they hit him on the arm and yelled "We're gonna get you." So naturally, the defense here is free speech. Wait, what? Yes, apparently it was all free speech:
    Khajavi was the only defendant to speak at the rally. Reading from a prepared statement, the 20-year-old UC Santa Cruz graduate said she has never been in trouble before and is only being punished for trying to express her point of view.

    "I'm a victim of free speech suppression," she said.


    Well-known civil rights lawyer Tony Serra, who is representing Khajavi, said his client and the other defendants are idealist kids whose free-speech rights are being curtailed. Punishing youth for dissenting leads to the downfall of a society, Serra said.

    "We represent the voice of tomorrow," he said.
    Which may be true: especially if the voice of tomorrow is threatening, masked, and (frankly) not too bright. Actually, maybe that is the voice of tomorrow. While Fosco has complex and ambivalent feelings about biomedical research that involves animals, he does know one thing: what these activists did is not protected speech. And, in all likelihood, they have set back their own cause.

  • Hey, remember that HBO show where all the characters had sex and stuff? That doesn't narrow it down? Well, remember the one about sex therapy that had like old people doing it and stuff? It was called "Tell Me You Love Me," remember? Fosco saw an episode once and it was, ummm, not exactly very sexy--which I guess was the point. However, Fosco did recognize one of the leads, Adam Scott, from his appearance as the hip seducer teacher in one episode of "Veronica Mars." And while seeing Adam Scott masturbate into a cup on "Tell Me You Love Me" really didn't float Fosco's boat, he does think Scott is a somewhat appealing actor. Well, it turns out that Scott is a lead in some new series on Starz (as if Fosco will ever watch that--he's never even heard of that channel!); but more interestingly, Adam Scott is originally from Santa Cruz. As the Sentinel article notes:
    Scott, who turns 36 in April, first moved to Hollywood from Santa Cruz in the early 1990s fresh out of high school. He now looks back in wonder at the blind optimism and naivete that sustained him in those early days.

    "If I had known then that it would be 2009 before I started actually feeling the repercussions of success, I would have moved back to Santa Cruz a long time ago."
    You go, Adam. Reprazent!

  • Finally, you may have heard that Northern California is in a bit of drought. Well, now it's official: there will be water restrictions in Santa Cruz this summer. That sounds bad, right? Fosco was very discouraged by the headline, picturing a summer filled with two-minute showers and toilets full of unflushed urine. But then he actually read the article. Guess what "water restrictions" means?
    According to a proposal from the Santa Cruz Water Department, about 90,000 county residents served by the agency could be limited to watering on two assigned days of the week, and only before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. beginning May 1. Days of the week have not been assigned, but all residential customers should have one weekend day on which to water, said Toby Goddard, the district's conservation manager. Commercial customers also will be restricted.
    Considering that Fosco lives in an apartment, this will have exactly NO effect on his life this summer. Water restrictions? Bring 'em on!

    It does raise another question, though. If water is scarce in NorCal (and it is), why don't we always have such obvious commonsense restrictions on lawn watering? And who are the idiots watering the grass at noon every day of the week?


todd said...

I watched the premiere of Party Down a few days ago. I liked it, and supposedly the third episode is when it really gets good.

Virtually the entire cast was in Veronica Mars at some point.

(Wow, that sounded way dirtier than I meant it.)

I think you can download it somewhere if you want to check it out.

FOSCO said...

Hmmm. It's the VM diaspora. Maybe I'll download it and check it out.

Professor Batty said...

"Animal rights" activists were active in Minnesota as well, they "liberated" lab animals at the U. of M. and destroyed 100's of thousands of dollars of equipment and many years worth of work (Alzheimer's research.)
The animals were released to the wild where they quickly perished, except those which were rescued by the researchers.

FOSCO said...

@Prof. Batty: That's really bad. I think the labs here have pretty good security, so the activists tend to target the researchers themselves. One of the UCSC profs had his car firebombed last year, but they still haven't caught the culprits (I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same gang that was arrested for this attack).

kungfuramone said...

Note on water restrictions: it should be legal for me to kick people in the teeth who hose off their driveways rather than just sweeping them. That is all.