Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Your Face Is a Toilet Seat

More, more more.
The Artful Dodger: A GOLDen Shower for All

Subheadline: Computer System Failure Makes First Day of School Damp, Salty

Normally, if I said so-and-so went down on me and didn't come up all night, I'd get a high five. But when the so-and-so that started to blow has the initials G-O-L-D, the result complicates my life considerably.

Thanks to the failings of Gaucho On-Line Data (GOLD), UCSB's temperamental Internet arbiter of class schedules, grades and probably other useful stuff, my three years of experience here on campus went down the tubes this morning. I never received a copy of my schedule in that rusting antique on my driveway - my parents tell me it's some non-electronic mailbox - and Registration by Telephone (RBT), GOLD's frog-sounding telephone counterpart, croaked last year. Thus, this morning brought me the painful realization that I had no idea where or when any of my classes were.

Instantly, I was no better than any of the doughy, innocent-looking pups wandering campus with darting eyes and the "oh-my-god-I'm-in-college" expressions on their faces. Lacking the guts to simply skip the first day of school due to technical difficulties, I raced into the Nexus office and swiped someone's copy of the Fall Quarter Schedule of Classes. I slid into class late (but not too late), realizing that in the rush to undo GOLD's harm, I'd forgotten to bring anything to write with or on - a lapse made all the worse because it was a drawing class.

The obvious response to my dilemma is that I'm technologically dependent and probably should have prepared myself with old-fashioned paper in case GOLD put me back in the Bronze Age. After all, machines malfunction. Cars sometimes break down, robots sometimes kill their human masters and computer systems, apparently, sometimes take huge shits and refuse to let you see your class schedule.

However, my morning trauma is indicative of problems beyond the unreliability of machines. Had RBT still been allowing students to access their vital information on their phones, GOLD's technical trouble would not have inconvenienced so many students. But barring the Fall Quarter schedules that most students bought in June -ones printed on paper as flimsy and quickly disintegrating as the newspaper stock you're reading now - students were left in the dark, or rather the bland yellow background of the GOLD error screen.

Although I've usually scheduled my classes on GOLD without too much trouble, GOLD and I have never been friends. Granted, I work better with words than with the numbers and buttons that make the computer think, but consistently over the past three years, GOLD has returned my polite caution with unexplained foul-ups and misdirecting menus and the like.

Furthermore, GOLD's untimely seizure struck days after many other students and I signed the largest checks we have ever written to the UC Regents. If they're going to take vast quantities of money out of our pockets, UCSB could at least superficially appear to facilitate our education, not confound and irritate minds still baked from sun exposure this past summer.

Likely, GOLD's damage has already been done. It didn't work the one day of the year when students needed it most. I can only hope some poor freshman already overwhelmed with the stress of this brave new world called college didn't end up hiding under his bed, crying and frantically trying to make a last minute transfer from technologically inept UCSB to the safety of CSU Podunk.

If UCSB insists that GOLD be the only method for students to, well, basically be students, GOLD's caretakers should mend its wounds and prevent any further inconveniences, especially during periods of mass class scheduling. Presently, GOLD is functional again. After having gone down for most of Sunday, however, somebody should offer it a breath mint.


Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Drew wants a mint, too.
Nothing quite like getting the urine-based paraphilias into the face of every UCSB student first thing in the morning. The top-of-the-front page refer Cory wrote: "Your Face Is a Toilet Seat... Or So Says GOLD."

Other headlines of note: Former opinion editor Steven wrote an article about gay rights and Prop. 22 and conservative senator Pete Knight. Thus, the headline: "Knight Jousts with Queers on Prop. 22."