CSUS was pretty cool overall, and a lot more fun than Sonoma State was. I had several memorable classes there… some good, some bad.

Jaime and I were there when the state universities switched their graduation requirements to a more ‘socially conscious’ system that made it necessary to take classes that you normally wouldn’t have to in order to graduate. For example, there was now a “diversity” requirement that could only be fulfilled by taking certain courses.
One added bonus to all this was that half the classes that I took at Sonoma State the semester prior were suddenly not transferable. It was utterly idiotic, and I made a stink about it – but the end result was that I had essentially wasted the better part of a semester because many of those classes didn’t matter anymore under the new system.
After getting this stuff sorted out, I was at a point where I needed to get this “diversity” requirement taken care of. I consulted the class catalog to try and find the most painless class in that category. There were some pretty weird-sounding ones in there, but eventually I found one that didn’t look too bad. FACS50: “The Family and Social Issues” sounded harmless enough, at least compared to the other options. The class catalog was kind of ambiguous on exactly what it was about, but essentially it was supposed to be a study of how families deal with different social and economic issues. It sounded boring, but also easy – and that’s all that mattered. I signed up, and Jaime did as well (upon realizing that he also needed to fill this requirement). I had learned from sharing Averbuck’s class with Paco that it was always easier to get through a bad class if you took it with a good friend / roommate.

As soon as the class began, our professor made it clear that we would be studying ALL different kinds of “families”, and that she’d be challenging our close-minded misconceptions about what the term ‘family’ really means.
She spent the entire semester having people with alternative lifestyles come in and speak to us about how wonderful and healthy their so-called families were. Among others, we had a couple of creepy gay guys come in and talk about how great it is that they can adopt little boys. We had transgender guest speakers, gay activist priests, just about anything you can think of. Every class seemed to incrementally take things just a little bit further, until we were practically studying bestiality as a viable alternative way to have a healthy family.
It was totally sick. The whole point of the class was to get you to understand that you are an ignorant, close-minded freak if you think that a straight, married man and woman with children is what makes a true, healthy family. The professor never even discussed the nuclear family – man, woman, and their children – except as an object of ridicule and disgust, as if the idea of normal people having normal relationships was personally offensive to her. This woman was so wacko that she made her fellow left-leaning professors look conservative.

Her appearance and general demeanor were not unlike those of Lady Elaine Fairchilde. Also much like that charred-faced puppet, she tried to indoctrinate her own personal views upon us using every means available – but failed miserably. Nearly everyone in the class refuted or challenged something she said at one point or another, and I doubt anybody bought a single thing she tried to teach us. Her instruction was so tainted with hatred toward normal people that many of us eventually started to mess with her.
Jaime and I used to have a lot of fun in that class, giving her smart answers to her wack questions. Everyone would laugh, and she’d get pissed. Eventually, she stopped calling on us altogether. Since hers was another one of those ‘ampitheater’ type classrooms, we used to joke about how rad it would be to bring a big bag of water balloons in and hurl them down at her from our seats up above.
I’m not sure how either of us passed that course, but we both did. I think we were pretty good about doing the homework, because we didn’t want to give her a chance to fail us for academic reasons.

I had many, many art classes at CSUS, since I was an art major. They were almost all completely worthless, and the only thing I really learned was that I definitely didn’t want to be a fine artist by trade. After being exposed to the types of people who populate the so-called “art scene”, I realized that I wanted no part of that world.
I switched gears and found a new passion in studying graphic design – far less subjective, less pretentious, and a much more viable career route. It was too late in the game to change my major, so I just finished up and got my BA in Studio Art.

Jaime and I had a class together called Intro to Computer Art, which was totally hilarious. It was the two of us and about 15 middle-aged folks, and the whole idea was that we’d be using Painter and Photoshop to explore this fascinating new world of computer art. This was back in late ’95, and Jaime and I were the only ones who were already quite familiar with the software. The professor talked to the class as if we were in the 4th grade, and would say stuff like “this computer pro-gram is similar to using a paint-brush… But this is a DIGITAL paint-brush.”
It was painful, but we did what we could to make it fun. Heck, getting credit toward my major for playing with Photoshop was cool.

There was a middle-aged Mexican gentleman in our class, and for some reason he took every possible opportunity to tell everyone how his people had been so mistreated and how totally oppressed he was. He was actually a really nice guy, but he was completely out of line for always trying to turn the classroom into a political forum – and he didn’t really even know what he was talking about. After a few weeks of this, he got to be pretty annoying.
Around the time that he was in full swing, we had an assignment to “create an image of a scene from our childhood” and to write a short corresponding essay explaining it – both of which we would present in front of the class.

Jaime and I came up with a funny idea, which manifested itself as my picture for the assignment. For my essay, I wrote about how when I was a young boy, all the men in our village had to carry the children to school in a giant taco because we were oppressed and could not afford a school bus.

The guy did not find my presentation very humorous. I felt kinda bad for poking fun at him, but I think he shut up after that.

Jaime and I had a lot of fun in that class, but the professor did not like him for some reason. The class was pretty lame, but at least we had Jim Ferry in there.

I also had two classes taught by this aging hippie professor who made no sense at all. He’d often wear Grateful Dead t-shirts and flip flops to class, which was kind of funny. He also used to openly brag about how much opium and pot he’d smoked over the years on his travels abroad, which of course won him a sizable contingent of admiring pothead students (“Dude, this guy’s hella cool”).
I had him for both History of Muslim Art and Occidental Art and Mythology; two classes that would have been quite interesting had they actually been taught by a real scholarly professor. I was disappointed, because I was actually pretty interested in both subjects – and I learned next to nothing.
The first day of class, he told us all that we could have whatever grade we wanted at the end of the semester, because he thought grading was stupid. I came to learn later that he was actually under fire at the time because he was ignoring most of the departmental rules as well as the required curriculum for the classes he taught.
He used to ramble on and on about the most random boring stuff I’d ever heard, as if he were trying to filibuster out any actual teaching. It seemed that almost all we ever did in either class was talk about his obsession with Sufism or his many travels to the middle and far east. One time, our “homework” assignment was to take a cold shower and wrap ourselves in a clean white sheet. It was supposed to be some kind of Sufi thing, I guess, but had nothing to do with what we were supposed to be learning. The guy really seemed like he could have been certifiably crazy.
Sometimes he would just spend the entire hour talking about what he did over the weekend. It was pretty weird, but was also enough to put one to sleep… so after several tedious months of this, I simply stopped attending his classes. He wasn’t going to grade us anyway, and he didn’t care about attendance either – so I stopped going.
I went back right at the end of the semester, and told him that I wanted a “B” in both classes. He gave me a funny smile, and I was a little scared that he might have been a little mad or something… but I found out later that he gave me A’s in both classes. Kooky as he was, he sure gave my GPA a healthy boost that semester.

Graduation was just one confusing hurdle after another. Get this, have that signed, have this signed AND sealed, send this in, get that approved, get these signed, photocopy this, give us these in triplicate. They really don’t want you to leave, because after you’re out you don’t have to give them any more money.
Nevertheless, after 2½ years, I finally got out of there with my BA.
Overall, CSUS was a fun school to go to. It was kind of generic, and a lot less fun after Jaime graduated and moved on, but I enjoyed it.