Opting for Oriental offers original flavors

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Liz Sunshine

My family loves oriental food.

Back in high school, my family would head to Hong’s Palace in Denver about once a week for a bowl of hot and sour soup and sesame chicken. For years before high school, we had Chinese food with my grandparents every weekend at the Golden Phoenix in Aurora.

It has been hard to find a restaurant in Fort Collins with decent Chinese food (I actually just recently found a place called Chili House), so I have had to sedate my cravings on my own.

This week I decided to try my hand at Mongolian Beef.

Since my kitchen is considerably smaller this year than it has been in the past, my supplies, including my wok (yes, I do own a wok), are mostly in storage in my parent’s basement.

My lack of a wok just meant that I would have to make a few adjustments to a recipe I found on foodnetwork.com.

It turned out I had to make a lot of adjustments to the recipe to fit my tastes, so I made most of it up as I went.

The original recipe calls for the flank steak to be sliced and then marinated in soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and fresh ground pepper. So far so good – how can you go wrong with such ingredients?

I took care of the marinating in the morning before class. In total, the process of slicing the steak and getting the marinade together took about 20 minutes. Tossed it into the fridge and was ready to go. I like marinades for this reason.

At this point, even if I were to do nothing else beyond cooking my steak, it will still taste good with the right marinade and is a pretty good way to spice up salads or other sometimes-bland meals.

I got home Tuesday night after a long day and started making the sauce that the recipe called for. This is where I ran into some trouble. The sauce sounded good in theory, but then I made it; it tasted awful (too much vinegar, not enough garlic).

To fix the fact that I didn’t have a sauce to cook with the flank steak; I cooked the steak with its marinade in my large, high-rimmed pan.

I cooked the steak alone for two minutes and then tossed in my bell peppers, onion and broccoli.

All the while, my rice was on the back burner. I used basic white rice and just followed the instructions on the box, but jasmine rice or brown rice would work just as well here.

I cooked the peppers and onion with my steak for two to three minutes covered and then spooned the whole thing over my rice.

In the end, the meal was pretty good. The only thing I would change is to maybe add some red pepper flakes for spice, but that isn’t really necessary.

L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (to life and eat well).

Recipe

Liz’s Mongolian beef revamp:

/ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

/ teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 pounds flank steak

2 bell peppers (color of your choice)

1 medium onion

1 cup broccoli florets

Combine soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and pepper together in a bowl. Slice flank steak into strips (about 1/8 inch thick) and then into pieces. Let steak marinate for at least two hours (can sit overnight if you desire).

Julienne bell peppers and onion.

Pour entire marinade mixture into a large pan and cook on medium-high heat for two minutes and then add in peppers, onions and broccoli.

Cook covered for another two to three minutes.

Enjoy!

Entertainment editor Liz Sunshine can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Review of Britney Spears’ ‘Blackout’

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Nick Scheidies

If anyone understands the importance of first impressions, it’s Britney Spears. When her debut single, ” . Baby One More Time,” was released in 1998 to the teeming masses of American pre-teens, it rocketed Spears to the top of the charts and international stardom. Spears’ entire career was built on that tremendous first impression.

So it’s surprising that her so-called comeback album, “Blackout”, starts off on such a bad foot: the first five seconds consist of Spears stating defiantly, “It’s Britney, b****!”

With such an insufferable introduction – and referring to herself in the third person, no less – it would be easy to give “Blackout” one of five stars and call it a day. But that wouldn’t be fair to a Grammy Award-winning artist who has sold over 80 million records and earned so many die-hard fans.

It also wouldn’t be fair to judge the album based on Britney’s often tumultuous and all-too-public personal life. It is, after all, about the music.

Then again, “Blackout” finds Britney facing her portrayal in the tabloids head on. On the impossibly catchy “Piece of Me,” she declares, “I’m Ms. Bad Media Karma / Another day, another drama.”

Perhaps propelled by righteous indignation, Britney uses this song to assert her vocal presence as well. Her often-distorted voice is irresistibly strong, sassy and sexy. Most of all, it’s confident: when she wails, “you want a piece of me,” it isn’t a question, but a statement.

Complete with a thumping beat and sweeping synthesizers, the track is a perfect slice of dance-pop fun and it’s not alone. Songs like “Gimme More” and “Radar” remind us how Britney became a pop-superstar in the first place.

But all of the best songs on “Blackout” are stuffed into the very beginning of the album – it’s almost like Britney didn’t even expect us to listen to the whole thing.

And really, there’s no reason to. Midway through “Blackout,” it all starts to sound the same. Quite frankly, one album can only handle so many synth riffs, echoes and handclaps.

The music might be stale, but the lyrics, which Spears co-wrote, are positively vapid. On the raunchy “Perfect Lover,” Britney sings inanely, “My body feels like an inferno / Like I’m running a race and I’m jumping the hurdles.”

Of course, nobody was expecting lyrical subtlety from a Britney Spears album. The only reasonable expectation on Britney is that she makes simple, carefree pop music that’s fun to dance to – and that’s exactly what “Blackout” delivers.

In a year full of scandals and missteps, “Blackout” manages to not be an embarrassment, and at this point in Britney Spears’ career that’s a small victory in and of itself.

Verve writer Nick Scheidies can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

2/5

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Horinek responds to BYU player’s comments

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Nick Hubel

“Of course I’m going to take it to heart. There is no way I can sit here and say it is ok. It will be a nice little surprise when we meet up on Saturday at noon. We’ll see who is ready to play.”

That was CSU’s junior middle linebacker Jeff Horinek at practice Tuesday responding to comments by Brigham Young tight end Vic So’oto in the Salt Lake City Tribune newspaper earlier this week.

“With our stable of running backs, it’s just like impossible for us not to get over 100 yards every game, so it should be a fun day for those guys on Saturday,” So’oto told the Tribune.

Unfortunately for the Rams, the interstate chide may not have been completely off the mark. CSU has given up 100 yards to opposing running backs five times this year, and surrender an average of 226.6 yards per game, 115th worst in the nation.

In its last game, against Utah, the defense allowed 322 yards rushing, including a pair of 100 yard days from Ute running backs Darrell Mack and Ray Stowers. While the passing game has been the main focus of BYU’s offense, the Cougars may turn to their redshirt freshman running back, Harvey Unga, for a big game on the ground. Unga has 684 yards this season, 50 short of the BYU freshman record.

“I know they are going to be ready to play, they are a smart team,” Horinek said. “They are good guys, but they are kind of starting to get known, as far as I know they are kind of more arrogant than a lot of teams. We just have to be ready to go.”

With the suddenly porous run defense in the spotlight, Horinek said that the team is looking to mix things up Saturday, even if it does leave them vulnerable.

“We just put in a couple of different defenses. They are kind of almost a little bit of a gamble,” Horinek said, “But you know if something bad happens, it’s not like we are going to get taken out of the BCS rankings or anything like that. We’re just going to focus on having fun, focus on getting a win, and we’ll gamble a little bit to do it.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Stanard said that the team spent the week doing tackling drills and working live against the offense to get ready for the game. As far as the talk in the newspapers, Stanard said it only provided motivation for the team.

“That stuff takes care of itself. Our guys read the newspapers and it just adds to the locker room stuff on the boards,” Stanard said. “This is a good rivalry between us and BYU. We look forward to playing them.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Math Day comes to CSU

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Beth Malmskog

Many CSU students may think that this Thursday is primarily a day to recover from Halloween celebrations, but for around 400 high school students, their teachers, and the CSU math department, November 1st is Math Day. The annual regional high school math competition, featuring a college bowl-style team tournament and individual written exams, takes place Thursday on the second floor of the Lory Student Center.

Dr. Simon Tavener, Mathematics Department Chair and reader for the final rounds of the math day team competition, said that Math Day definitely increases the amount of time that that some high school students spend on math. “Lots of schools have clubs that prepare teams for Math Day throughout the year. A lot more math gets done as a result,” Tavener said.

This year’s prizes include three desktop computers, donated by Hewlett-Packard, and three laptop computers provided by the math department’s Yates Chair, Dr. Daniel Rudolph. Scholarships to study math at CSU are also given to top finishers.

Tavener said that he favors the team competition, “like everybody.” This year’s team competition will be held from 11:00 am to 2:50 pm in rooms on the second floor of Lory Student Center. The final rounds, followed by the awards ceremony and presentation of the math department alumni award, will take place at 2:50 in the LSC ballroom. All rounds are open to the public.

“Some of the kids on the panels are really impressive in the speed of their calculations. When I’m reading out the questions I don’t even try to figure out the answers as I go,” Tavener said.

The PROBE (Problems Requiring Original and Brilliant Efforts) exam, though less dramatic, gives students a chance to shine as individuals. Dr. Holger Kley, a math department affiliate who has compiled the PROBE exam for 6 out of the last 8 years, designs a difficult test that only requires a pre-calculus background.

“I know this is a hard exam. It’s always amazing to me that there are 2, 3, or 4 kids from around the state that get really close to a perfect score,” Kley said. “These kids are really good at problem solving.”

Ken Monks, a second-year graduate student in the math department, helped grade the PROBE exam last year. He still remembers last year’s winning test, belonging to then Poudre High School student Sam Elder. “Last year, I watched Sam Elder totally clean house. I watched his paper fill up with points as it went around the room-it was pretty great.”

BREAK OUT BOX:

Test yourself with these Math Day questions from previous years’ competitions.

Team questions:

1. A triangular section of Old Town is divided into a smaller triangle and two trapezoids by two streets parallel to one of the boundary streets. The heights of the two trapezoids are equal to the height of the small triangle, and the area of the middle trapezoid is 9 acres. How many acres are there in the larger trapezoid?

2. Brigitte plants a pumpkin seed. The area that is covered by the vine doubles every month. After 5 months the entire garden is covered. When was exactly half of the garden covered with the vine?

Probe questions:

1. In a group of cows and chickens, the number of legs is 14 more than twice the number of heads. What is the number of cows?

2. A builders store sells fence in units of 10ft and 3ft. Notice that it is impossible to build a 4 foot long fence from these pieces without cutting a piece. What is the greatest such length of fence (length being a whole number of feet) that can not be built from these pieces without cutting at least one piece?

ANSWERS (for another page perhaps?):

Team questions

1. 15 acres

2. One month earlier or after 4 months

Probe questions

1. seven cows

2. seventeen feet

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Rams face Regis in exhibition game at Moby

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Matthew Pucak

Jason Smith is no longer dominating the paint and Dale Layer isn’t pacing the sidelines, either. So, it is highly recommended that fans buy a program if they plan on attending the CSU men’s basketball game this evening.

The men’s hoops team not only has a new head coach in Tim Miles, but the Rams will have just two players from last season on the court when they open their 2007-08 season tonight at 7 with an exhibition game against the Regis Rangers in Moby Arena.

The game won’t count on the season record, but the Rams know that it is important to see what their team is made of.

“Most of our guys have never played a Division-I game before, so this will be a litmus test for us to see what we need to work on. Of course we want to win, but this game will be important to know what we are as a team and see what we need to improve on,” said center Stuart Creason, the Rams lone returning starter.

While the turnover of players and staff coming into this season may make fans a bit lost, Creason, a fifth-year senior, is likely to be a little bit uncomfortable as well.

“It’s going to be a little bit weird out there. I’ve played for three years under one coaching staff, and now I have an entirely new staff and new team, but I like them, Creason said. “The staff has taught me a lot of different skill sets from what I learned from the previous staff.”

The Rams have 11 new players joining Creason and sophomore center Ronnie Aguilar on the roster this season, including an incoming recruiting class that was ranked first in the Mountain West conference by Hoopscoop.com. Junior college transfers Willis Gardner and Marcus Walker bring college basketball experience to a team that has six incoming true freshmen.

Regis went 9-17 last season, and the Rams beat the Rangers 69-53 last year in an exhibition game.

Creason knows that the loss of his frontcourt mate Smith, who left early for the draft after last season and now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, will make things very different for him, but Creason also knows he can hold his own.

“Some of my best games were when he (Smith) was in trouble,” he said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Censorship and Outrage in the Video Game Industry

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Phil Elder

Atrocities. Tools of corruption. Disgusting displays of wanton violence.

The majority of American youth has heard the vehement accusations against the video game industry, especially in the wake of the relatively recent surge of violence in the market.

A new addition to the concerned mothers’ blacklist, “Manhunt 2,” was set to release on Halloween. The game’s premise involves an insane asylum escapee using simple household items to torture and kill people. Vicious, right?

Though I agree that games such as these take the proverbial shock factor a bit far, arguments for complete removal of said interactive media from the market seem preposterous. However, in lieu of complete ignorance of grounds for video game suppression and prohibition, I would like to analyze the two strongest and most common assertions in hopes of convincing, or at least entertaining, the reader.

“Video games such as these are gruesome and repulsive, displaying various acts of violence from murder to mutilation, and are disgusting to watch.”

The great thing about western democracy is the freedom enjoyed by its citizens. The freedom to speak, the freedom to vote, the freedom to dissent, and the freedom to not play a video game if you don’t want to.

This question is one of personal preference. Some of the mature generation, for which these games are intended, enjoy themselves in the virtual world of grotesque violence; for them video games are a release from the stress and monotony of daily life.

For others the industry represents all that has gone to hell in this nation: absence of morals, Godlessness and surges of violence.

These people, naturally, choose not to play. That is their right. Just as it is my right to loathe and avoid sappy romance movies like the plague.

The second argument advocating a ban on certain games applies more to ethos than logical reasoning. “Video games are creating and perpetuating violence in the youth of American communities.”

Negative socioeconomic conditions perpetuate violence. Political frustration perpetuates violence. Feelings of hopelessness and entrapment, racism, sexism and homophobia perpetuate violence. Video games do not.

If a child destroys a military vehicle on Halo with a rocket launcher, he will most likely not be subconsciously driven to find explosive weaponry and attempt the same action in the parking lot, just as I am not driven to pursue a career in professional football after a good game of Madden.

In many cases video games are used to prevent violence.

In lower-income families, competitive games like Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Madden and Halo provide incentive for children to remain in the house and in competition with one another, rather than out on the streets learning life’s lessons from the trench coat drug dealers and drunk, gun-toting gangsters.

Video games do not shape personal decisions, they provide a release. The reason violent games sell isn’t because the buyers wish to become violent, it is because they don’t want to pursue such actions in reality and can do so via console, with no moral, emotional or legal repercussions.

It boils down to a matter of choice. If adults wish to play, let them play. If they do not, they can easily remove themselves from any temptation thereof. Just as parents have the right and power to prohibit their children from exposing themselves to the violence found in these games.

But to ban them completely because of perceived violence and personal opinion is simply un-American.

Phil Elder is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Our View: Hoops fever hits Fort Fun

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Oct 312007
 
Authors:

Hoops fever hits Fort Fun

Congratulations to former CSU hoops star Jason Smith. The Kersey, Colo., native made his NBA debut with the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday evening in Canada, scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds.

While we wish Smith would’ve stayed for his senior year, we do hope he enjoys a successful future as a pro. Make CSU proud, J-Smooth.

And if Jason becomes the player some think he can, we hope he doesn’t forget where he came from.

Speaking of hoops, the CSU women’s basketball team played its first game of the season Wednesday night in Moby Arena, losing to Metro State, 55-42, in an exhibition game.

The men’s team will start its season tonight at 7 when its hosts Metro State.

With so many new faces on both rosters, it may be hard for Ram fans to get excited for either CSU basketball team this season.

But fear not. The Collegian has three great reasons why fans should get hyped up.

3. Kandy Beemer: The junior college transfer led the entire nation last year in 3-point shooting and should make it rain inside Moby all winter long for the women’s team.

2. Stuart Creason: The 7-foot senior has improved vastly from his days as a freshman and has the size to be one of the best big men in the conference.

1. Men’s coach Tim Miles: The athletics department made a great choice in hiring Miles last spring. The first-year head coach has energy for days and is determined to turn around the men’s program.

Those are just three of the many reasons why the Green Machine needs to be stronger than ever this season.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sen. Johnson calls Colorado budget “spider-web”

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

State Sen. Steve Johnson (R-Fort Collins) criticized shortcomings in the Colorado state budget that affect higher education tuition at CSU’s student government meeting Wednesday night.

The state needs to rewrite the entire budget, not allow tuition hikes, Johnson said, to make improvements at colleges and universities.

A hot issue on the Colorado budget docket is Gov. Bill Ritter’s higher education proposal that GOP officials are saying doesn’t allocate sufficient funds to higher education institutions.

But Johnson said lawmakers have bigger fish to fry.

“That’s a very good question,” he said when asked what he thought about Ritter’s proposal. “But it’s like asking, ‘How was your room on the Titanic?’ . The government cannot keep up with the demands of the economy because of the way the TABOR limit is structured.”

TABOR, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, closed the gate that allowed excess taxes to flow to state programs and reallocated the money to the hands of taxpayers.

The most extreme measures-including referenda C and D in 2005-taken to fix the budget have done almost nothing to fix the state’s huge problems, he said.

“We’ve all lived within a bigger budget picture, and our state’s fiscal situation is not stable. Referendum C . I think it saved the state, and it’s the most significant thing I’ve been involved in, in the 12 years I’ve been a legislator,” Johnson said, “But it’s a Band-Aid.”

Last year, Colorado’s legislators voted to raise overall tuition 7 percent, but colleges and universities needed more. Johnson said the decision was not easy to vote on because the lawmakers knew schools needed more than 7 percent of what they already received.

“It’s a difficult vote for legislators because they know they’ve under-funded institutions of higher ed, and we all want health care and higher education,” he said. CSU raised tuition $287 this year-10 percent more than the 7 percent agreement with the legislature after heated debate over a proposal from university President Larry Penley to allow an increase of about $1,200 per year for in-state students.

And the current hikes still aren’t enough

“It isn’t enough for institutions to charge 16 percent more in tuition,” Johnson said.

But he said that legislators can’t ask much more from the students because that would also discourage parents from paying more taxes to fund higher education. If they see a huge tuition increase, like CSU’s 2007-08 hike, they won’t vote for a tax increase as well, Johnson said.

“We’re leaving the state with a huge problem in 2010 or 2011 that our state budget is unsustainable,” he said. “I mean we’ve got a 6 percent limitation on how much you can (hike taxes) a year, that’s whatever the inflation rate is.

“We have a revenue limit that limits that amount of revenue that comes into the state and it grossly underestimates the growing needs of the state,” he added.

And higher education is at the bottom of the priority list.

“Higher education gets the crumbs that are left, and that isn’t a good way to target something that’s so critical to the future of the economic development,” Johnson said. “We’re probably $800 million behind the peer institutions in other states, so do you think $2 million is enough? No, it isn’t.”

He said huge measures have to be taken to fix the budget before higher education gets better.

“Our constitution is a mess, it’s a spider web . you can’t unbuckle a strap on a straightjacket and expect to escape,” Johnson said.

Associate News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Group aims to educate Earth on global warming

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Cece Wildeman

Across the nation, tens of thousands of students, citizens and educators are participating in activities to formulate solutions for global warming and educating others about the issue.

CSU students and faculty members have recently become a part of a nation-wide movement called The Focus on the Nation.

The Focus on the Nation is an organization working to motivate more people, especially educators and students, to be involved in this innovative educational program. The main event, on Jan. 30 and 31, will be a nation-wide educational presentation of global warming causes, effects and solutions.

Focus on the Nation believes that if something is not done now, the west Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will melt, causing sea levels all over the world to rise 40 feet, according the Focus on the Nation Web site. This, they said, would cause more intense hurricanes, droughts, floods, different rainfall patterns and other such global weather changes.

The group organizing the event at CSU currently consists of nine students and three faculty members who meet once a week.

“Students can be a real force for change,” said Neal Huddon-Cossar, a freshman conservation biology and international studies double major, who is involved in the event planning. “It is important for students to get involved because this is one of the biggest problems facing our generation.”

It’s crucial to educate people on the implications of global warming issues and hopefully it will become a part of curriculum in schools, he said.

Marlena Stanford, a graduate student studying English, said this organization is important because it is a national movement. She is currently gaining enough information about the issue that she feels it is important to commit to changes, she said.

Huddon-Cossar and Stanford both agree that this issue needs to be solved by political parties as well as individuals, such as modifications in infrastructure.

Stanford said political figures are being invited to the events all over Colorado.

The organization is open to anyone. To be invovled, attend the meetings on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. in Willard O. Eddy Hall, Room 102.

Senior reporter Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

LSC host Halloween trick-or-treaters

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Oct 312007
 
Authors: Kayla Huddleston

Ladybugs, princesses, pirates, firemen and a wide assortment of other mystical creatures were found wandering around the Lory Student center Wednesday for the children’s trick-or-treating event.

The LSC received a temporary makeover with each of the advocacy centers and offices decorated to take kids around the world on Halloween.

The Honeydukes Candy Shop in Hogsmead welcomed trick-or-treaters, STA Travel incorporated Japanese culture and El Centro helped visitors celebrate Halloween through all the Spanish-speaking countries.

Off Campus Student Services took guests on a tour of France to visit the Beauty and the Beast castle, the Wellness Zone welcomed kids to Ice-Land and SLiCE offered gondola rides through Italy.

Student Legal Services took a different approach giving trick-or-treaters the opportunity to fish for their candy in Finland.

“We try to have a game every year so the kids have fun,” Valerie McIntyre, office manager said. “Last year we had an obstacle course.”

The Directors Office provided one of the favorite destinations, Disneyland Resorts, with Winnie the Pooh and the Disney princesses handing out candy and coloring pages to costumed visitors.

The goal of the trick-or-treating event is to provide the public with a warm, safe and free place to spend Halloween.

Many kids took advantage of LSC to gather candy instead of braving the cold weather.

“It was much warmer coming here,” Alexis Cardona, 11, said.

Some parents chose to bring their children to CSU due to limited trick-or-treating options while others wanted a safe environment.

“It was a safe place for Grandma to take them,” Irene Cardona said of her granddaughters Alexis and Elizabeth.

Staff writer Kayla Huddleston can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm