“Do you have the time to listen to me whine”
– some local punk
I think it finally hit me that something was amiss when I caught myself actually stalking Chancellor Tien on Tuesday. You see, we had come up with an idea for the cover of this issue and we needed the Chancellor and a few other Berkeley celebrities to pose for a picture. By the time I found myself lurking on the lawn across from California Hall Tuesday afternoon we had already gone through a long list of notables. Oski was hibernating. The Naked Guy is now just a guy and he “[tries] to avoid the media” these days. Andrew Wong isn’t photogenic. Anyway, on Monday I went down to California Hall with the intention of speaking to the Chancellor and asking him (nicely) if he would be interested in appearing on our cover.
I barely made it through the door. It turns out that California Hall is something like the Alamo and something like Brooke Shields. There was no way I was getting in. The door was guarded by an extremely serious receptionist.
“Papers please…”, she asked.
“Uhhh… I’m the keymaster?… Just kidding. I was wondering if there was any chance I could see the Chancellor?”, I replied very politely.
“All requests to see the Chancellor must be made in writing and sent well in advance. What is this regarding?”
“Umm… uhh.. I’m with the media”, quick thinking on my part.
“Media huh? You need to wait a minute while I contact the OFFICE OF PUBLICITY”
At this point I figured there wasn’t much of a chance of me meeting the Chancellor so I tried to compromise.
“No, that’s okay. I don’t want to bother the folks in the OFFICE OF PUBLICITY. Could I maybe get a picture of the Chancellor?”, I begged.
“I need to ask the OFFICE OF PUBLICITY about that”, she scoffed.
“Hello, OFFICE OF PUBLICITY?”, she whispered into the phone, “There’s a student here who wants a photograph of the Chief… he’s with a newspaper… which one? let me ask”.
“Which newspaper do you represent?”
“The Heuristic Squelch”, I said proudly.
“He’s with the gristly scratch… yes, that’s it, the Squelch… yes I’ll tell him”.
She smiled, slowly, slowly, and said, “All requests for photographs of the Chancellor must be made in writing with a description of their use well in advance.”
So on Tuesday I camped out in front of California Hall praying to see the Chancellor saunter out of the door, wave to students, smile and say “Go Bears”. My heart raced whenever an Asian exited the fortress, but the Chancellor must have left through the secret steam tunnels because he never came out.
I spent the rest of the day racing around campus trying to unite various preachers, freaks, and punks under the banner of the Squelch. I also spent some time thinking about whether or not I should put a shameless plug for a band I’m in called The Fireflies which is playing at Gilman on Oct. 21 in the column.
On Wednesday I went back to Cali’ Hall to shoot the Heuristic Squelch nameplate. Big Red John, who I barely knew, helped me tape the letters to the wall, all the while offering insight into numerous esoteric anomalies. Things like “I spent all yesterday worrying about whether or not Kurt Cobain is still alive. Have you ever listened to In Utero? The whole thing’s like `death is fake'”. We were there for about two minutes when storming towards us like Cerebus herself came my favorite receptionist.
“Do you have permission to do this?”
“We’re just going to take a picture”
“You can’t post anything here. It is against policy.”
“We’ll take it right down. We just need to take a picture”
“You don’t seem to understand. You need permission to post anything on The Hall.”
“Please. We will take it down right after we take the picture its just that…”
“Hey! I know you. You were here yesterday looking for the Chancellor.”