Entries Tagged 'Legit Blogs' ↓

College Culture – Runners (Final)

It’s six 0′ clock in the evening at the Caf (Morningside’s cafeteria, for those of you who don’t know). A slew of people have already been streaming in, but now, an unusual group approaches. They consist of mostly tall, somewhat skinny people, almost all of them wearing short shorts, even the men.

By now, it is apparent to everyone in the Caf that these people are the people from one of the running teams coached by David Nash. Be it cross-country, indoor track, or regular track & field, these runners are rarely seen on their own, especially in the Caf. The group of runners set their bags and jackets by the coat hangers and walk up to the lines for food, having jovial conversations with each other the whole time.

“We always sit together, we always do activities together,” says sophomore track runner Shelby Hall, “We even have little study groups together.”

Hall and one of her teammates go on to talk about how the runners always have class with at least one other runner. It is second nature for anyone on one of the running teams to go the extra mile to make sure another runner feels welcome. This rings especially true for incoming freshman runners.

“I knew I wouldn’t have any trouble fitting into the program,” comments Alex “AJ” Janssen, a freshman runner on both the track and cross country teams.

Even if it’s just a little bit of a warm welcome, a little bit can go a long way. “My first impression of the Morningside track and cross country teams was that I was welcome and cared for right from the start,” recounts Eric Koithan, a runner who is still running strong into his senior year, “It was not like high school where there can be lots of segregation based on talent or age. Instead, I felt included and valued by the whole team including the talented upperclassmen which meant a lot to me.”

This lack of segregation helps everyone feel welcome.

“Everybody hangs out with everybody,” adds Janssen.

This is due, at least in part, to Coach David “Dave” Nash’s style of coaching. While it is not strictly enforced, it is highly encouraged that the running teams keep a welcoming environment. At the very least, Nash requires that people keep it nice and clean.

“We don’t allow profanity, we don’t allow negative dialogue,” explains Nash. “Everyone respects each other.”

This is mostly because Coach Nash is not just concerned about the students as athletes, he’s also concerned about them as people. He takes time to stop and get to know his runners. “He asks about me, my family, and is always checking in on me (and all of the team),” says Koithan. “It is not just about running and winning with Coach.”

All of the team would agree with Koithan. Nash is not just another coach, but someone who is rather invested in the athletes on his team. According to Janssen, “running in college is more than competing.” It’s an ideal that Nash has instilled upon all his runners, “he really wants you to grow as an athlete.”

“If it was not for Coach Nash, my running career probably would have ended early,” says Koithan. He begins to recall how the recruiting process went when he first decided to come to Morningside, “Coach Nash is the only coach that took extra time recruiting me, which meant a lot to me.”

One might ask how a coach such as Nash could be so passionate for his team and work so hard to make them feel like they belong. “I’m very sensitive to people that bullied or don’t have a good self esteem,” he explains. “People step into my office, I want to make sure they feel like they’re cared about.”

This could be due to Nash’s own experience on running teams during some of his earlier years, “I know how it feels when you’re second fiddle.”

This is a large reason why he works so hard for his team. But that’s not to say friendship and comradery are the only things that the running teams focus on. Running is also important, as it works as a commonality between such a diverse team. As a result many of the runners work hard to ensure they do well in their sport. Just this year, the men’s cross country team came in first for the GPAC Championship. Coach Nash received an All-GPAC honor for Coach of the Year while Jay Welp received an honor for Runner of the Year.

But it’s not just the top notch runners that enjoy the sport for what it is. “My favorite part about running used to be winning, but I have been more than humbled at the NAIA division,” comments Koithan. It’s simply a passion for running and being the best person that one can be that drives these runners.

Koithan has been experiencing some bitter-sweet feelings as he finishes up his college career, “I have been so blessed along this journey, especially at Morningside College. I have run with some outstanding athletes, mentors, and true friends. I know that sometimes I take running for granted, but this being my final year, I have done my best to avoid that. I am just trying to savor every workout and race.”

But this does not mean that this the end of his running career. Both Janssen and Koithan speak about how they will continue running even after their college careers have been over. Koithan goes on to say, “I know that my running career will not be completely over. I will keep on running. It has taught me a lot about myself, and Coach Nash has reignited my passion for running.”

This is no doubt inspired by Nash’s own lifelong passion for running, “I’ve been running since I was about 8, 9 years old. I’ve been racing since I was 10.” Nash goes on to elaborate how many of the people he ran with stopped running years ago, but he has been going on for decade, after decade, after decade.

Regardless of whether or not one continues to run, though, anyone who has run on the track and cross country teams can say that they have had a more than rewarding experience being on these teams. “Though it is tough knowing that I will have to move on soon, I will cherish the memories that I have made forever.”

Non-Fiction Text Review – Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line

“Riveting!” is a lame pun in which I am not going to use to describe Ben Hamper’s Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line.

Objectively, I will say that this is a well composed book. Rivethead follows the memoirs of Bernard “Ben” Hamper and his experiences with the assembly line for GM Motors. Many men in Hamper’s recent ancestry have worked in the assembly line, including his own father. From the very beginning, though, Hamper wanted nothing to do with this sort of career. Though it was one of the few jobs offered in Flint, Michigan, Hamper dreaded the thought of having to endure the dull repetition of the assembly line and dreamed escaping the drollness of being a Rivethead.

Despite his best efforts, Hamper was an underachiever throughout high school. He graduated barely in time to marry his pregnant girlfriend. With not much of a choice, Hamper follows in the footsteps of his father and many other men in his family, and joins the assembly line. Not only does Hamper work in the same place that his father did, he develops some of the same habits as well, namely alcoholism and slacking off at work.

Though, Hamper seemed to have been able to avoid completely following in the path that seemed to be set before him. His writings appear to have worked more than just therapeutically for him, as he did not remain in the assembly line forever. His writings and musings about the people and events that he encountered drew the attention of certain people at the Flint Voice, the local newspaper for the Michigan town. I won’t reveal the rest of the story in the book, as it is up for the readers to find out on their own.

Synopsis aside, Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line gives vivid detail to an otherwise boring and menial lifestyle. The voice that is written in the narration gives implication to a proper education, but at the same time, a sort of apathy toward achievement. At times, the narration will intentionally forego grammatical syntax and capitalization to give a better image of what sort of lifestyle there is to experience on the assembly line as well as the emotions that well up within Hamper in this story. The story itself is considerably compelling as a man works his way to break free from the rut that his family had been caught in since the invention of the automobile.

Speaking subjectively, the book was decent, but not phenomenal. I don’t intend to downplay the real life accounts of Ben Hamper, but autobiographies of strangers do not entice me. Hamper’s own story was complex in it of itself, and worked well enough to keep me attentive here and there, but I struggle to pay attention at all for any realistic prose (fiction or non-fiction) unless the story was exceptionally unusual. With that being said, Rivethead was successful in not repulsing me.

All in all, I would say that Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line is a very well written book. Despite my aversion to books of that type, it was slightly better than bearable. My opinion is not vitally important to the quality of this book, but it does display how well Rivethead is put together. I would highly suggest this book for people who enjoy autobiographies (and do not don’t mind profanity). I would moderately suggest this for a person who hates autobiographies but has to read one for a class. In total, I give Ben Hamper’s Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line 3.5 out of 4 stars for its ability to reach out to a demographic that wouldn’t normally be interested in this type.

Art Review – Cast Pearls

Out of all of the pieces in the art gallery, I felt the strongest connection with Jodi Whitlock’s Cast Pearls series of mixed media art. That’s not to say I have any sort of opinion toward it, but I felt the strongest need to write about it.


The first thing to notice about this piece is the unconventional form of the subjects. Upon closer inspection, onecan see that there are absolutely no pen lifts in any of the pieces. Each black line runs uninterrupted (aside from crossing over itself) in each of the drawings, giving an unusual appearance of shape to it. The lines are somewhat crooked (Professor John Kolbo may have mentioned something about the artist drawing the lines blindfolded), but it can be seen that this was an intentionally placed flaw. If I was informed correctly, the colors were done after the lines, added in through watercolor.

The clever part of the lines, though, is that they help affect the value of the pieces without tampering with the colors. For areas that need darker shading, the line backs up on itself to give the illusion of shadow. This technique is not extensively taken advantage of, but there is not much necessity for it, as the flow of the lines do not necessitate third dimensional aspects to be applied to the shapes.

In addition to unconventional line/shape, colors are another atypical aspect of this set.While surrealistic colors are not entirely unheard of, when painting portraits for display, one would typically pick typical colors that emulate real life. While this is somewhat present on the two largest portions of the set, this only for the skin portions, leaving the rest of the pieces white, subtracting from the realism of the color. The four center pieces are splashed with faded, yet complementary colors to help separate the differing elements.

The most subtle aspect of this display might be the most powerful part. The juxtaposition of the six pieces help draw attention to the different sides. Ones eye has a definite path that it’s allowed to tread when viewing Cast Pearls. The distinction between the rather plain and larger outside pieces only exemplify the four smaller, more colorful pieces on the inside. While one may hold either a positive or negative opinion toward this series of mixed media art, one thing is for certain, this work demands attention, and it succeeds at that.


Happy/Angry Editorial

It took me a while to figure out what exactly gets me happy or angry. I’m a hard to excite person, so coming up with a certain topic was difficult. After much thinking, I finally settled on something I could actually work with.

I am severely annoyed by the sense of entitlement that much of the general population here in the United States (and sometimes the rest of the world) have. I mean, yes, I understand that most people think that they are generally good, and because of that, they deserve good stuff. That’s an easy assumption to make when you’re not out murdering and stealing, but that’s a poor way to go about it. Sure, you may find yourself feeling better when comparing yourself as better than others in regards to being good and deserving a reward, but in reality, it does nothing to benefit you.

There’s a lot of mediocrity out there coming from people, but for some reason, they believe that they deserve to have better than mediocrity come back to them. If you think about it, most people don’t normally do enough “good” to be considered a good person. It seems that a lot of people associate not doing bad things with being a good person.

Now, I don’t want to sound cynical in saying that we deserve nothing. Believe me, it’s not what it seems. I just believe that when you take a lot of the entitlement out of your own life, that you start to have a greater appreciation for things that come to you. You expect the bad, and are surprised by the good, making both a much better experience.

But at the same time, it also makes a bunch of people an extensive amount more rude than necessary. Having worked in customer service, I found myself disgusted at the amount of people who simply would not accept something if it were not the way they wanted it, as I’m sure many other people in that position have done as well. This sense of “I deserve better” without proper justification is poisonous to our society.

Now I can understand if a person wants respect or at least the truth, I have no problem with that. But if someone feels that it’s their God-given right to drive like an A-hole simply because they’ve been having a bad day. And I’m guilty of this too, which annoys me even more. I would like to be able to resist this seemingly natural sense of entitlement, but every so often, when willpower is lacking, it creeps up and tries to take over.

The worst example of entitlement that really sets me off is the fact that it exemplifies itself when in positions of power. Uncle Ben said it best, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” but people seem to not care about that line (yes, it’s from a comic book, but it’s still applicable to real life). Just because you have greater control of things doesn’t mean that you should use it for solely your own benefit. I’m looking at you, congress; stop raising your own income, it’s not going to lead this country anywhere, if anything, it will only worsen the debt with all the money being wasted on attempts to take control of the country. Just because you make the laws doesn’t mean that you deserve to increase your pay.

Now I don’t know a whole lot about politics, but I feel that increase in pay for congress takes away a lot of money that could be well spent toward better things, such as the economy or healthcare. Likewise, we ourselves could be the same way, but it’s just not as simple for us, being that we do not have an excess of money. More or less, I believe that those with more than they need should give to those who have more needs, for the most part, to help them get on their feet. I could go into a whole different discussion about that, but I’m getting off topic.

My point is, while it is important for us to look out for our own interests, we now live in a society that doesn’t tailor to individualism and personal need so much as the need of the whole. It annoys me that people (myself included) think that they deserve to have something when in reality, we deserve the bare minimum (even less, if you go by Christian Theology). But the thing is, we don’t get what we deserve, we get much more, and that’s something more of us (again, myself included) need to be more thankful for.

Remember, there’s a reason why this blog is called Ramblings.

Article #3 (Profile) – Big Man on Campus

Two men stroll up Dimmitt hill toward Olsen Student Center, one is tall and Caucasian, with a none-too-recognizable face, the other is African with an all-too-recognizable personality.

“Hey, Paul Johnson!” say a couple of girls as they cross paths with the two. The Caucasian man grimaces in embarrassment as he doesn’t know who the two girls are. The African man turns around to speak to the girl.

“Hey Kaylee, hey Sarah, how’s it going,” he replies. He seems to know these two very well.”We missed you at the MAC event last night,” the girl on the right playfully pouts.

“Hey, I had a lot of homework to do,” Johnson defends himself with a smile.

“Suuuure,” the other girl giggles as she walks away with her friend.

The Caucasian man lifts up his head, “How do you know those two, Paul?”

Before he can answer back, the two are greeted by another person who seems to be good friends with Paul…

This is a daily struggle for anyone who may walk to lunch with Paul Johnson: Big Man on Campus. Very rarely will one find a person on Morningside Campus that does not know the name Paul Johnson. Same goes for the face, the smile, and the laugh, and the personality that go with this character.

His large and attractive personality somewhat contrasts his considerably average-sized and almost standard appearance. At 5’10” with dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, one cannot immediately see why so many people are drawn to this figure. Hailing from Nigeria, Johnson is partially known for being the “only Nigerian that [anybody has] ever met,” according to Joshua Doering, the tall man that was walking to lunch with Johnson.

The main reason, though, that Johnson knows so many people in the Morningside College student body is the fact that he holds such a large interest for people. “I’m really interested in people. I like to know more about them… Whenever I meet someone new, I want know where they’re from, what they do, why they believe what they believe…” Johnson explains, “I love diversity.” This love of diversity is why Johnson was quick to make friends his first year at Morningside. “When I first came here, everyone was sort of shy and didn’t really want to talk to new people, but Paul just came right up and talked to me,” Recounts Jackson O’Brien on his first encounter with Johnson.

Johnson is considered unique among the many people on Morningside Campus, which is sometimes attributed to his Nigerian origins, but he himself says that he is different from other Nigerians. “In Nigeria, if there is a person that is older than you and they do something that you know is wrong and you call them out on it… That’s viewed as really disrespectful…” Johnson goes on to explain how that’s something he did a lot back in Nigeria and that was something that would get him in trouble on multiple occasions. “But I feel that here, in America, people are more accepting of that.”

Standing out was not the only struggle that Johnson went through while living in Nigeria, “We were poor, even for a Nigerian family.” Johnson’s father did not have a well-paying job when his family was young. They were so poor that they could not afford to put Johnson through school. As time went on, though, Johnson’s father received a better job in a larger city for him and his family to live in. He began to attend school and even found an opportunity to study in the United States. There, Johnson found a place where he fit in. Well, at least, somewhat better than he did before, “I really like here in America. I mean, I miss my family and friends back in Nigeria, but I feel more at home here.”


One can see evidence of this by simply spending time on the floor where Paul is an RA. Almost every night, there are a number of people hanging out in his room, taking advantage of the “Open door Paulicy” sign on his door frame. Dozens of people come in and out of Johnson’s room in a day, be that to say ‘hi’, socialize, or possibly even meet new people. “I’ve met tons of new people through Paul,” says Doering.

If it isn’t evident already, Johnson has many connections on campus. This has helped him attain certain positions on Morningside’s student government. “Paul’s actually been with me in student government for all three years we’ve been here,” tells O’Brien, “We were both senators our first year hear, the next year, he was Secretary and I was Student Advocate, now I’m President and he’s Student Advocate.”

Even Johnson himself admits to growth while here at the college, “I’m always growing, I’m always trying to be a better person and help make the world a better place.” With that attitude, along with a multitude of friends gained from involvement in various activities, Paul Johnson has truly earned himself the title of Big Man on Campus”. Steve Maraboli once said, “… I would rather have four quarters than 100 pennies,” referring to the number and quality of friends. For Paul Johnson, though, if friends were to be equated to currency, he would be a rich, rich man.

Non-Fiction Text Review – Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk… Where do I start?

I must say that it’s quite the text. It’s a series of short stories and articles that were compiled together by a writer who typically publishes fiction work. In order to get the most out of this anthology, one might need to read the introduction; it provides a sort of framing device for Palahniuk’s writings.

The stories range from as wacky  and unusual as Testy Festy to as seemingly normal and journalistic as Where the Meat Comes From. Though you can still get more from the rest of the text, as there are so many different stories to choose from.

My personal favorite was My Life as a Dog, due to its suspenseful nature from the very vantage point of the author. Sure, Demolition had some action to it, but the fact that Palahniuk was experiencing the chase himself, rather than just as a view, really helped build tension for me as I read his feelings among all the conflict.

As previously mentioned, Palahniuk normally fares as a fiction author, writing award winners such as Fight Club and Invisible Monsters. This collection of one-shot stories shows off Palahniuk’s non-fiction side. He mentions in the introduction how he alternates between fact and fiction, almost never straying. Starting out with a Journalism degree (noted in Escort), Palahniuk had done what he could to make do, and Stranger Than Fiction shows off the lesser-known fruits of his labor.

There’s no over-arching story for this work. There’s not much of organization, even. Palahniuk simply divides the book into three different sections People (about certain groups he encountered), Portraits (about specific people he met), and Personal (More or less his own life experiences). With this format, Stranger than Fiction can be read in any order and not take away from the full experience.

The style of this book makes it a quick read. The paragraphs are short, language is simple, and Palahniuk avoids diddling with unnecessary details. It’s lack of censorship for seeming journalistic writing gives a nice twist of realism, letting the reader know that they are in fact reading about events that actually occurred.

All in all, I would say that the book is enjoyable. There were some parts that I could care less for, but it’s worth a read. It can give one a broader view of the odd things that go on in this world, so odd, you could say that they’re stranger than fiction.

This I Believe

It should be noted that I tend to have a larger vocabulary when writing. It’s just how I work, and it doesn’t mess up my flow when I read it out loud.

It may be considered normal to do good things to get a reward, be that monetary or that “warm fuzzy feeling”, but I believe that we should do what we can to help others out, even where there is no reward. It’s not so much of a religion thing so much as a make-the-world-a-better-place-to-live thing. This isn’t something that will solve every single problem in the world, but it can very well solve most of them.

The little things can go a long way. When I was in middle school and high school, there was this disabled kid named Amos. He had cerebral palsy and couldn’t fully control his motor functions, especially on his right side. On top of that, he was also a bit socially awkward. He was an open book and would share much of what was on his mind, whether you wanted to hear it or not.

I don’t know how it happened, but during lunch, I ended up being the one who would help him get his lunch tray and all that jazz. It just so happened that I would take the same bus home as him, so he became reliant on me fast. I say reliant because he wasn’t necessarily dependent, but he would take any chance he could to get help from me. It was not a rewarding experience, but I do regret the times that I had made up an excuse to not help him out, simply because I feel like an entitled prick for doing so (and a lack thereof said feelings do not count as a reward, fyi).

Thankfully, Amos is still thankful the time that I did invest in helping him. There’s not much he can give to me to “pay back” for the help, and there’s certainly not a whole lot of warm fuzzies from this event,  but it’s reinforcement of my own belief of doing the right thing no matter what you get in return. This I believe, because this is what I want to see in the rest of the world. As put by Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

I have much more I would like to say about this, but I will save that for class time.

Patrick’s Passing (Articl 2 Final Draft)

I was sitting with my two best friends and one of their roommates in our isolated corner of La Juanita’s. None of us were saying anything, just thinking. We were normally a talkative group, but the circumstances were not the usual ones. We were tired after such a long day

“We should share some of our favorite Patrick memories,” I said, breaking the silence. “I feel like it’s only right.”

“I dunno,” Hunter sighed, “there’s just so many of ’em.” He was probably the closest to Patrick. He knew him the longest and had the most similar personalities.

“Just go with any memory,” Hanna interjected.

“I think I have one,” he snapped his finger . “I remember the one time after a TEC when you were dating Michelle. You two were trying to figure out what to do. I remember seeing Patrick right there and saying, ‘you guys should take me let me join. You know, just to make sure you guys aren’t alone,’ just because I didn’t have anything better to do.” He started giggling. I buried my fave in my palms. TEC is a Christian organization and Patrick was one of the adult leaders there. Hunter had effectively used Patrick’s very presence as a ploy to ruin some good alone time with a pretty girl.

“How bout you, Ben?” Alysa, Hanna’s roommate, asked to change the subject and keep us cheery. “You must have one ready, since you suggested this.”

I didn’t have one ready, but it wasn’t hard for me to come up with one. I recounted the one time I had left Hunter’s house late at night after a night of filming. My gas gauge was always shifty, so I couldn’t tell how much gas was in the tank. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to make it home. I tried calling Hunter since I had just left his house, but apparently, he had already fallen asleep. I searched through my contacts and found Patrick. He seemed like the only person who was close enough by who would be willing to help.

I called and after a few rings, he picked up the phone, sounding wide awake. I was expecting maybe a sigh or a laugh in reaction to my situation, but he just nonchalantly told me to stay where I am so that he could find me. When he picked me up, he went on to tell stories, as he usually did, that somehow pertained to the current subject. I didn’t have to tell them that the stories weren’t boring; Patrick’s stories were never boring.

We started talking about all of the stories he had to tell. Very rarely would he repeat one unless we asked him to. This was a big reason any of us came to his young adults’ bible study. He had a way of keeping us interested in the things that he had to say as well as make sure that we were making the right decisions in life.

I paused as I went through the beginning of that day in my head. It was a Monday morning, probably the worst I’ve ever had…

I was still waking up I received the phone call. My screen showed my pastor’s Facebook profile picture with his name underneath it. Why’s he calling me right now? Normally, Pastor Terry called me when he wanted to know if I could help out with the worship band that week or not. I had the month of August off, though, so there wouldn’t be any reason for him to call me unless it was important. Did I do something wrong at church yesterday morning?

“Hello?” I sheepishly answered the phone. I knew something was wrong.

“Hey! Ben…” Terry’s voice warmly greeted me over the phone, as if to comfort me about something. “I’ve got bad news.” I couldn’t catch much of what he said. He mentioned something about being in a bad spot for making calls, so his voice cut in and out of the call. The only two words I could catch were “Patrick” and “dead”. Before I could ask any questions, the call dropped.

I didn’t know what to think. I tried telling myself that it was a miscommunication. Patrick didn’t die. He was still spry, even at the age of 63. His wife, Julie, just suffered a bad fall and needed to be taken care of by him; we just saw them at the hospital the day before. My grandmother already died earlier this summer, there’s no way that another loved one has died. I kept telling myself these things to keep my spirits up. I had work in an hour and it would’t be good for me to be there while I’m depressed.

I received another call back. It was Terry again. The call was clear this time, no dead zone. My worst fears had been confirmed. He went on to explain how he didn’t show up for work (which was very unlike him), and Julie tried to get in touch with him. When the authorities had arrived, they found him dead at the bottom of the stairs in his basement.

This was unreal. I hadn’t felt this heavy before. The closest thing to that was when my dad texted me about Grandma Mac, but we knew it was going to happen, we knew that it would stop her suffering. This was different. This was too sudden, too problematic. Patrick took care of so many things around church and even Morningside. What’s going to happen to everything that he’s been holding together?

I hadn’t realized how long I had been silent, “Are you still there, Ben?”

“Yeah, I’m still here…” I gathered the strength to reply. “I just don’t know what to think about this…”

Terry suggested that I tell all of the other people that went to Patrick’s young adults’ Bible study, namely, Hunter and Hanna. He said that they’d probably rather hear the news from me, rather than him.

I decided that I should call Hunter first. As I said earlier, he could always relate to Patrick in certain ways. He felt a certain father-son bond with him that he hadn’t had with anyone else. I remember him being angry at his mother for not telling him about his Grandfather’s passing the summer before. When I told him the bad news, he didn’t believe me at first, thinking that I was kidding, for some reason.

“I wouldn’t joke about something like this,” I snapped. I had been known to make pranks and jokes that made people mad, but this was too far even for me.

“Oh…” He paused. He didn’t know how to feel about this either. I told him that I still had to call Hanna about it too, so we said our goodbyes after that.

I glad that I called Hunter first. Hanna was not an easy call. When the news sank in for her, she began to cry uncontrollably. My heart dropped farther than I thought even possible.

When she was able to muster up some intelligible words, Hanna suggested that we meet up together to console each other, the three of us. I told her I had work, but that I was off by around 3:oo PM, so she said just to come over to her house afterward. I splashed some cold water on my face, E-mailed my boss to let him know that I’ll be coming in for today, but not the rest of the week, and then made my way to Sioux City.

Thankfully, when I had gotten to Hanna’s house, she wasn’t crying anymore. She told me that she just had to get it all out. We waited for Hunter to show up, as usual, before we figured out what we were going to do. Her family had already planned to go boating at McCook Lake that day, so she invited us to come with her.

“I feel like Patrick wouldn’t want us to be sad about him,” She sighed. “He’d want us to be happy about the life he lived.”

Neither Hunter or I could disagree with that. We knew that to Patrick, death was just another part of life. He knew that where he was going and he wouldn’t want us to waste his time mourning over him. “A dead body is a dead body; they’re soul has moved on, so should you,” he used to say whenever the topic of death had come up. As much as we missed him, we knew he wouldn’t want to look down on us from Heaven and see us being sad about his death.

The boating helped. It was still in the back of our minds, but we did our best to not beat ourselves up over it. Hanna’s family was very comforting and knew how much Patrick meant to us. We knew that he was going to be missed, but we also knew he was a good man. Even people with differing religious views believed that Patrick would go to Heaven. This wasn’t because he practiced other religious rituals; this was because he was such a wise, caring, and helpful man that it would be wrong for him to go anywhere else.

Interpol – El Pintor Album Review

Interpol paints a marvelous picture with fine lines stroked by a thick brush for their latest album El Pintor. The painting that is created displays a large chaotic image that is sectioned off into 12 individual pieces that tell a story all on its own, the last of which being an untouched photograph that re-enacts a previous painting by the artist. It just so happens to be fitting that the title of El Pintor means “the painter”.

The complexities of the short melodies repeated in an unexpectedly succinct manner give this album the feel of an organized mess. Some tracks display a reverb effect that doesn’t overlap to clash with other chords. With just the right amount of intricacy, not too much and not too little, El Pintor places itself at the threshold of melodic and overtly complicated.

Despite the departure of bassist Carlos Dengler, lead vocalist Paul Banks takes over bass duties with ease, allowing the band to maintain its 4-piece feel with the same chemistry as any band of the same age with the full original lineup. Long time touring member Brandon Curtis adds in a large amount of keyboard elements that become part of the signature sound for El Pintor. At the end of this Target deluxe edition album, one stumbles across a recording of a live version of “Slow Hands” that proves Interpol sounds just as good as their recordings.

Interpol’s El Pintor serves as an Alternative album that is suitable even for those who are not fans of Alternative music. The consistent consonance with properly placed dissonance makes this album a good listen even for Pop and Rock listeners. The crispness of the composition shows the masterful and meticulous thought that went into producing this album.

As all the pieces fit together, the beautiful painting provides a new image all on its own. With such a keen attention to detail, El Pintor shows that Interpol has not lost their touch with their creative roots. One can easily appreciate the hard work put into this piece of art, yet at the same time, the brush strokes seem effortless, almost as if there were an influence of a muse. Indeed, this painting is a great addition to Interpol’s gallery.

Scavenger Hunt 3 – Buy Something New

Initially, I had planned to buy something along the lines of buying a pregnancy test or birth control pills. I changed my mind after sifting through the aisles of Walgreen’s. I decided to take a more economical approach and buy something that I would actually use, so I bought a power strip. Yes, I understand that this object is not entirely new to me, but for the fact that it has USB charge ports on it, I would argue that it is still something new (plus, I’ve never purchased a power strip before).

The object was not fully wrapped in packaging when I purchased it, so there wasn’t much left to the imagination after picking it up. That didn’t matter too much to me, though. I’ve been needing a new power strip for a while, and this provided some extra features.

The dark color scheme makes the strip look more sleek and modern than others, also allowing it to not get dirtied so easily. Additionally, the power plugs have sliding locks that not only highlight where to plug in on the strip, but also serve as protectors in case a curious child attempts to stick something conductive into the plugins. Lastly, there are friggen’ USB charge ports on it. Adapters have become obsolete. Now I can charge everything.

As for the other sense, I didn’t bother with smell or taste, so we can leave that out of the question. The texture of the main strip, it is similar to that of my laptop. In fact, I would not be surprised if they are made from the same material. The chord seems to be made of some thick rubber and appears to be durable for a good amount of time. It’s about the same weight as your usual power strip and close to the same size, so it’s nothing substantially different in terms of mass.

All in all, this new object is not entirely foreign, but it is an unusual combination of shapes and textures that I have not experienced before.