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ADDRESSING RAPE

Your “The Freshman Survival Guide” (Oct. 12) states: “The first half of your first term of college is known as the ‘Red Zone,’ the period of time a young woman is most vulnerable to rape … so go with friends you trust and look out for each other, and keep an eye on your drink.”

Why are you giving advice only to women when addressing rape?

How about talking frankly with men, the gender that creates and perpetuates the problem? What if instead you had published:

I’m a snob and a sniff and a two-bit dilettante of the lowest rank.

For instance, I once dismissed Stephen King as an immature populist hack whose middlebrow fiction is an affront to all things literary, and I felt that same way about playwright Neil Simon — a sentimental moron whose tweedy Borscht Belt shtick had transformed the grand tradition of romantic comedy into an efflorescence of twee and treacle.

My only child is 16 years old. He was curious about sex from a very young age and very open with me, so his interest in sexual matters gave me ample opportunity to talk with him about safety and consent. He went through a cross-dressing phase when he was small — mostly wanting to wear nail polish and try on mascara — and I felt like I navigated those waters pretty well, but his father made attempts to squelch those impulses. (He and I are divorced. He has since remarried and is less involved.) That’s the background.

In Ambrose Bierce’s classic story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” a plantation owner in the Civil War is hanged from a bridge. Between the time he is pushed off and the moment he hits the bottom of the rope, the prisoner dreams of escape, hallucinating an elaborate story that ends, surprising the reader, when his neck snaps in the noose.

You finally made it.

You’re done with your parents, done with high school, and now bursting onto the college campus, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, acting aloof but trying to make friends. Maybe you’re nervous and hiding in your dorm while you read this, or maybe you’ve decided to take on a whole new identity since you’ve moved to a new state.

Whatever you’re thinking, let me be your guide to the trappings of life at University of Oregon. As a recently graduated senior, I can help you through the highs and lows of freshman year.

On a typically gray late-summer day in Eugene, Marissa Zarate, executive director of Huerto de la Familia (“The Family Garden”), took Eugene Weekly on a tour of the organization’s garden wedged between Churchill High School and Kennedy Middle School.

The garden, which provides plots and materials free of charge for 40 families, is bursting with tomatillos, chiles and corn, all ready for harvest.

On Sunday, Oct. 1, a few dozen women, men and children assembled at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza for a vigil honoring victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Hosted by Womenspace, a Eugene nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence, the vigil was the beginning of several events that will be held throughout October to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

After years of debate, protests and nationwide conversations, the University of Oregon has implemented a new policy for reporting gender or sexual discrimination and violence against students.

According to the new policy, the changes are intended to encourage conversations and reporting by students, and make all employees part of the solution to prohibited conduct — such as gender discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence — by giving employees different responsibilities when supporting students who come forward. 

When she’s not busy being a lawyer and administrator, Marcilynn Burke’s favorite pastime is singing in a church choir. While she’s also a fine soloist, Burke prefers to hear her mellow alto blend in easily with the voices of other singers around her.

“I am definitely the best choir member you’ll ever meet,” she says.

That’s also the approach she has often used with her legal work throughout a career that’s taken her from a Southern hometown to working as a top administrator at the federal Bureau of Land Management and serving as acting assistant secretary for land and minerals management in the Obama administration’s Interior Department. 

When I walked through The Duck Store the Wednesday before classes started at the University of Oregon, I saw a sea of searching faces. Athletic apparel might subsidize the nonprofit store’s bottom line, but during week one, students are shopping with a mission: getting books so they don’t fail their classes. That mission is made more difficult by the high price tag attached to these required precious commodities. 

My roommates are wondering what chemical concoction has me showering at quarter after four in the morning. Or maybe they think I am really dedicated to using up all of the hot water first.

I’m actually up for a 5 am introductory tour at UPS — United Parcel Service.

Mason Bruce & Girard, 541-973-1951, plans to hire Rye Tree Service Inc., 541-999-0295, to place Rozol pellets to kill mountain beavers during tree planting operations near tributaries of the Siuslaw River and east of Siltcoos Lake. See ODF notifications 2017-781-12255 and 2017-781-12257; call stewardship forester Quincy Coons at 541-935-2283 with questions.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Jorge Murillo (doing business as Armur Electrostatic Powder Coatings & Sandblasting) $9,755 on Oct. 3 for illegally accumulating and storing approximately 1,056 tons of spent sandblast material at 6191 Royal Avenue in Eugene. DEQ also cited Murillo for “placing wastes in a location where they are likely to be carried to Amazon Creek and for failing to properly label used oil containers.” DEQ has given Murillo thirty days to take various actions to address the situation.

• Who could have imagined that professional football players would be leading the way with a profound free speech statement about racial justice and human rights in the U.S.? Who could have imagined that we would have a president and vice-president who would distort that statement for political advantage? We're disappointed in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's call to make all players stand. But locally, we’re proud of the South Eugene boys’ and girls’ soccer players who took a knee to agree with the NFL players.

AeroSynth Electronic Wind Instruments is a new high-tech startup based in Eugene. Company founder and inventor of the AeroSynth instrument is Brad Stewart, who has 40 years experience in embedded electronic systems, product design and engineering. Stewart says his next-generation electronic wind instrument (EWI) is played much like a saxophone, clarinet or recorder, and goes far beyond earlier EWIs that were awkward, bulky and expensive. Several working prototypes of the AeroSynth have been made but mass production and marketing are still in the future.

If you’re like me, your experience with ballet is limited to The Nutcracker. As such, I associate ballet with incredible athletics, surreal costumes and incomprehensible plotlines.

Halfway through The Nutcracker, I usually get bored. That was not the case with Eugene Ballet’s production of Mowgli, which may have converted me from apathy toward ballet to wonder.

• The city of Eugene is hosting a series of community forums in October “to discuss what type of police chief the city should seek.” In addition to the forums that have already run, the upcoming forums are: Oct. 12 North Eugene High School; Oct. 17 Churchill High School; Oct. 18 Sheldon Community Center; Oct. 19 Gilham Community Church; Oct. 24 South Eugene High School; and Oct. 26 Ford Alumni Center, University of Oregon. All forums begin at 6 pm with pizza provided for attendees.

Detroit’s Protomartyr might be America’s greatest rock band. They also might not be. Either way, Protomartyr vocalist Joe Casey says he doesn’t really care.

“When we started this band,” Casey tells me over the phone, “we had no illusions we were going to be in the back of limousines and playing arenas and things like that. The bands that we like were never the most popular things on Earth.” 

Maybe Jimmy Buffett is just a guy living his best life. Maybe I’m just jealous. But there’s always been something about his leering, capitalist grin that makes me queasy.

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

I enjoyed David Turner’s Along the Long Tom River: Observations from the Past and Present, and Blake Andrews’ interview with David Turner (“Stories from the Long Tom," Oct. 5).

Like so much that descends to us from the rich and fertile period of the late 19th century — Freud, Nietzsche and Marx, to name but the obvious heavies — Robert Louis Stevenson’s gothic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde has entered common parlance, describing an aspect of the human condition, and not a particularly pleasant one.

The first time I met photographer Bill Owens was in 1980 in the women’s bathroom. I was 21. We were in the building where I worked, which was at a fashion publication in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see a fashion shoot at work — but this wasn’t that.

I’m a 25-year-old woman currently in a poly relationship with a married man roughly 20 years my senior. This has by far been the best relationship I’ve ever had. However, something has me a bit on edge. We went on a trip with friends to a brewery with a great restaurant. It was an amazing place, and I’m sure his wife would enjoy it. He mentioned the place to her, and her response was NO, she didn’t want to go there because she didn’t want to have “sloppy seconds.” It made me feel dirty. Additionally, the way he brushed this off means this isn’t the first time.

Will we reach a moment in time when the real world looks more science-fictional than movies? Or does it already?

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, released in 1982, was set in 2019 — just 15 months from now. They have flying cars and replicants; we have tiny computers that go everywhere with us, digital cameras, drones and a constant connection to people around the world.