Manners on campus

I’ve noticed that many college students don’t seem to want to grow up. I realize that this time in a person’s life can be a rough transitional stage from child to responsible adult, but despite this, there is no excuse for causing the people around you discomfort.

One of my pet peeves is that horrible sound men like to make while clearing their throat. It’s not a coughing noise, but more like a sure sign that says, “I’m about to spit out a large amount of phlegm.” I’ve noticed when guys choose to make the throat clearing noise you can hear it from yards away, like an attack on your ears. If you need to clear your throat, it would be considerably better for those around you if you either waited until you’re in the privacy of a bathroom, or manage to cough it up and use a tissue.

Another very important point I would like to make to the student body is that just because you’re living away from home doesn’t mean you should make a complete and utter fool of yourself. This point comes up because of the freshmen living in a certain dorm, which I’m sure are similar to most of the other freshmen, or even the older population. What do I mean by this? I mean that running rampant up and down the halls yelling, giggling and making your neighbors absolutely miserable is not a good way to make friends. The freshmen in my hall drive me bonkers with their disregard for the rest of us who would really like to get our work done in peace.

Speaking of getting work done in peace, here’s a suggestion for roommates. If your roommate is sitting down carefully focusing on a piece of homework for a long period of time, it probably isn’t a good idea to start blabbing on the phone incessantly, and it certainly isn’t nice to try and start a series of very pointless conversations with them in order to lighten the mood. Leaving the room to talk on the phone when your roommate is busy is one of the biggest displays of respect, not trying to start conversation with them when they are busy; it just shows that you’re not selfish.

Also regarding roommates and suite mates: it is not nice to monopolize the bathroom. I have a personal issue with this seeing as my bathroom tends to have a great wall of clothes lining the back of it. The only things that I keep in my bathroom are two towels and some hand soap. Maybe I could keep slightly more if there was any room left, or if my towels didn’t move in unusual ways every couple of days or so. It’s nice to be able to trust the people you share a bathroom with. Being more conscientious about how much space you are taking up is important for anyone who lives with other people.

I want to point out that there are many other things students could work on. These are just a handful of major problems I’ve seen at Radford. Just remember that if you don’t like it when people do certain things, then most other people are probably on your side.

Cover photo by Erin Foley

Story photo by Stockxpert

Top 9 free iPod touch applications

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For those who were lucky enough to receive an iPod touch this past holiday season, here is a little list of need-to-have free applications or apps for the iPod touch or iPhone.

1. Shazama

Ever hear a song and wanted to know who it was by and what it was called, only to forget it later? This is no longer a problem. The app “Shazama” will listen to a snippet of a song and in a matter of seconds, display everything about that song, from its title, to where you can get it. This used to be a purely iPhone app, but since the second generation of iTouch allows for microphone input, it has made its way to the iTouch.

2. IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger

This neat little app is all of your messenger options wrapped into one. It has everything: AOL Instant Messenger, iChat, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and more. This is perfect for those who can’t go without being in-touch with people for any period of time.

3. Scribble

Not the most useful of apps, but one of the more fun. Scribble allows you to create drawings and “scribble” over existing photos. From there, you can e-mail them using iPod Touch’s e-mail client.

4. Text Free Lite

This application does exactly what its name says it does. It allows you to send free text messages to be sent to US mobile phones. Misplaced your phone but have something urgent that needs to be shared? Not a problem, thanks to this app, however, there is no way to receive incoming text messages.

5. Social Networking Apps

This is a grouping of the several social networking site applications. For Twitter, there is Twitterific. This app allows you to view and publish tweets from anywhere there is Wi-Fi. There is also the Facebook app, which allows people to view and update their status on Facebook. Myspace app serves much of the same purpose as the other two, allowing quick, easy access to users’ Myspace accounts.

6. Wikipanion

“Wikipanion” allows for people to browse Wikipedia with ease on their iPod touch or iPhone. This app is perfect for those who enjoy browsing Wikipedia as both a way to expand knowledge and waste time looking for random facts.

7. New York Times

This app allows for you to read stories from the New York Times. The nice thing about this app is if the user wanders off away from a wireless hot spot but still wants to read the Times, they can. The app stores the latest stories when it has access to the Internet, allowing for reading later.

8. Instant Paper

This app allows for people to save Web pages for later viewing. This application is perfect for those long blog entries or articles that take forever to read. Unlike book marking, this app literally saves the page, allowing for it to be viewed offline.

9. Flashlight

This app turns your iPod Touch or iPhone into a flashlight. It even has the option to change the color of the lights. While not the most exciting app ever, it is still a rather useful one.

Be quick to get these applications while you can. It is only a matter of time before the publishers rethink offering these great apps for free. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Cover photo from Sotckxpert

Story photo from Creative Commons

A week in the life of a Radford student

Every week is a challenge for all of us at Radford. To give you some chuckles, or maybe to make you feel better, I’m going to talk about my past week.

Monday was as difficult as ever, especially since no one likes Mondays. I tend to want to get all of my work done for the week within the first two days, so I was rather discouraged when I came back from the library to find my roommate still there. Apparently the snow from the weekend prevented her from going to work, and I knew there was no way in hell I would be able to quietly get through all of my work with her there all afternoon. Oddly enough, she decided to go do laundry that afternoon instead of sitting around, which gave me enough time to do my Media Performance project, read more Walt Whitman, highlight Information Technology words and write a journal. Fun, isn’t it?

Tuesday was dreadful as usual. I made the silly mistake of taking classes from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. During my second class, it began to snow, again. I was convinced the “Snow Gods” were out to get me this semester. I just found out I had twice as much Information Technology homework as I had originally thought, and some of the work I did was pointless. Miraculously, my roommate decided to go to work anyway, and I managed to get work done and have two meetings canceled that night. As perfect as that may seem, I still despise snow, and I still wonder what possessed me to go to college in the mountains.

Wednesday I went to Muse Hall for lunch for the first time ever. It was amazing, and I suggest it to anyone who hasn’t tried it. However, that night I thought it was a good idea to get nachos from Salsaritas since I wasn’t that hungry. Big mistake. I’m not sure if I’ll ever eat there again. The cherry on top of everything on Wednesday was the world trying to prevent me from sleeping. I kept trying to say, “I’m going to bed now,” only to be distracted by my roommate insisting that she needed to listen to music. I finally went to sleep sometime after midnight only to wake up at 2 a.m. to my suite mates blasting Titanic on their television with both their bathroom and front door open. To my despair, they didn’t get the message when I shut their bathroom door, so I suffered through it until sometime after 3 a.m., when I was finally able to drift off to sleep again.

Thursday started at 7 a.m. for me when I woke up to find that my throat was sore and dry. All day I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t getting sick, and that maybe the electric heat bothered my throat. On top of having classes all morning, I had a 15 minute break to walk from class to Heth Hall in order to attend a speech for my News Reporting class. It would have been great if I wasn’t hungry, delusional from lack of sleep and getting sick. On top of that, I was supposed to have a repair man come look at the water damage in my room that day and he never came. As soon as I heard that classes were canceled the next day I booked it to Whim, got production done, and went to Blacksburg in order to wait out the storm in my boyfriend’s comfortable apartment. Hopefully my room won’t leak too badly from all the extra snow.

Every week is a challenge, but there is always a silver lining, and that would be the weekend. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t get just as screwy as the school week. Also, here’s to one last week without tests! It only goes downhill from here.

Cover photo by Rochelle Taguba

Story photo by Erin Foley

Oscar buzz for “The Blind Side

There is much Oscar buzz this year for Sandra Bullock in the Best Actress category for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side. The movie has also been nominated for Best Picture, going up against other box office hits such as “Avatar” and “Precious just, to name a few.

The Blind Side” depicts the story of Baltimore Raven Michael Oher and his tragic yet miraculous upbringing. Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, is African-American and was born in Memphis Tennessee in 1986. With twelve other siblings, an absent father and a mother addicted to crack, things were never looking too hopeful for Michael. Going to school was never enforced at his house and Michael had to repeat both the 1st and 2nd grade. After breaking out of foster homes and not being able to live with his mother and siblings, Oher soon found himself homeless.

While sleeping on random porches and friends’ couches, one of Oher’s friend

He Sits in Darkness

He Sits in Darkness

He sits in darkness, knowing that he did wrong.
He tries to stop the tears that are flowing down his face,
Thinking why has this hiding been going on so long?
It’s like he is losing his humanity in the cold and dismal place.

Why can he do to put things back together?
His mind spins ’round, trying to find an escape.
Surely this pain can’t go on forever,
Can it be fixed with some superglue and tape?

A knock on the door interrupts his thought,
And when he opens it, on his face is not even a fake smile.
His eyes can’t believe what he has wrought,
When he sees the cops and their guns facing him, hostile.

He sits in jail now, wishing he could go back
And change the way his life was turning out.
But there was a light shining in the pitch black,
His friends still loved him, and he knew without a doubt.

Liberation from wires

There are times when charger cords can be frustrating and somewhat confusing when trying to figure out what cable goes to what device. ‘No more,’ says Powermat, a company which recently released a device called the Powermat. This platform charges multitude of devices through magnetic induction.

Powermat is not a single piece device. It comes in two parts, the mat itself, and a receiver part that connects to the device that is being charged. This second part can be a number of things, depending on what device is being charged. For instance, they offer a harness-like cover to charge the Nintendo DS, while for some phones it is as simple as replacing the slide that covers the battery. The iPod touch and iPhone both have a protective case with a receiver built into the back.

The Powermat’s receivers have chips built into them, allowing the mat to charge as fast as the charger that comes with the device. It also prevents devices from being over-charged. This helps to maintain ideal battery life for the device that is being charged. It does this by letting the mat know how much it needs to charge and how quickly it needs to charge for each device.

The mat has built-in features to let you know when you have connected the device to the mat properly. The first of such features is a magnetic pull that should guide the device to its proper spot on the mat. It also has a light on the front that turns on to let you know the device is charging and goes out once the device has finished and received a full charge. When the device begins charging, the mat also emits a sound letting you know it is working properly.

Powermat provides two different versions of this charging station. One can be folded easily, making it ideal for trips, as it comes with its own portable carrying case that has a magnetic latch. There is a sleeker, more elegant design that is used for the home and office version of the mat.

There is a downside to the charger mat, and that is the price. Both the portable and home/office version of the mat cost around $100. Though each mat comes with a power cube that has various tips that allow it to charge any device, it only comes with one such cube. The dedicated chargers cost another $30 a piece for their various devices. Assuming one would want to use all the spots and doesn’t want to have to mess with switching out charger tips every time they wanted to charge another device, at minimum, this would bring the total price up to $190.

Powermat is not the only company producing wireless platform chargers. Wildcharge is unlike Powermat; their charger works based on conduction. This mean the components for Wildcharge make use of metal, which is used to complete a circuit which allows their charger platform to work with a greater efficiency than Powermat’s. However, Powermat brags that their charger is compatible with a greater number of devices thanks to their wider range of cases.

Either device is a great gift for someone who has a bunch of gadgets and a bunch of charging cords that go with them. The main issue with both devices is their price tag. Each costs a fair amount for what they do. When every device comes with a free charger, are people going to be willing to pay for something they already have in favor of making things simpler?

Cover and story from Creative Commons

DAALII

Elephant Sculpture by Salvador Dali

The title of this photograph is “DAALII.” I took this during my study abroad semester to London in May of 2009. Positioned in the shadow of the London Eye, this sculpture is of an elephant with spindly, giraffe-like legs carrying an obelisk on its back.

I took this picture because Dali is one of my favorite artists. The elephant is at least 15 feet tall, and I’m marveled by Dali’s ability to create such beautiful and psychotic works of art.

Letter from your Whim editor

Whim readers,

Welcome back to another new semester! Our staff is so excited to kick off the spring semester with new staffers, new editors, new content and a new outlook.

Over the past couple of months Whim has gone through a few changes (and we don’t just mean our newly-cleaned office). We’re ready to re-vamp this publication and turn it into YOUR magazine.

So, what’s new with Whim? For starters, we have a new section: Arts. As described by our first ever Arts editor, Heidi Chantry, this section is dedicated to exploring your creative side. We will publish student and graduate art. The Arts section of Whim is interested in artwork of all mediums, including but not limited to photography, artwork, poetry and short stories. Since this is a new section, we are open to any feedback from our readers. We are looking forward to using this new creative outlet and are anxious to see what this first semester will bring!

I guess I should also introduce myself. My name is Arielle Retting, and I am the new Editor-in-Chief (or Executive Director, whatever floats your boat) for Whim this semester. I will get you better acquainted with the rest of our lovely staff in an upcoming issue.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns or ideas of what you’d like to see, you can e-mail us at whim@radford.edu, call at (540) 831-6448 or e-mail me personally at aretting@radford.edu. We want your input, so please give it to us!

Keep on reading,

Arielle Retting
Editor-in-Chief

Local bands rock out in the Centennial Battle of the Bands

In wake of Radford University’s Centennial Celebration, Radio Free Radford, along with SGA and R-SPaCE, held the Centennial Battle of the Bands last Thursday in the Bondurant Auditorium in Preston Hall. It featured local bands from all over Virginia. The event consisted of five bands and DJ Mike Andrews, the general manager of Radio Free Radford. Oakroot, Cicatrix, Flight of the Lemming, Vegas on Fire and The Okay Feeling all took the stage last Thursday, Feb. 4 in hopes of placing in the top three.

Oakroot, from Roanoke, Va., was the first on stage at the battle, but did not receive a top spot. Originally known as Commonplace, Oakroot formed in June of 2008 and with their unique alternative sound the band was voted the second best local act in the Roanoke Times Music Poll in 2009.

Next to jam out was Cicatrix of Virginia Beach, Va. Their “reggae/rock” sound turned out to be a great show for the crowd, but still wasn’t enough to place. Either way, Cicatrix rocked the house and brought their beach style along with them.

Flight of the Lemming, a hometown band from Radford, are just starting to put their sound together, and placed second in the battle. Influenced by greats like Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, Flight of the Lemming put together a great show right as the battle began to heat up.

Straight out of the New River Valley, Vegas on Fire rocked out on stage for a third place finish in the battle. Displaying their power, Vegas on Fire is on the rise and throws a great live show. This four man band can be found performing all over the Valley with their electric rock tunes.

Last but not least, The Okay Feeling stole the show last Thursday and came away champions of the Centennial Battle of the Bands. Out of Pulaski County, The Okay Feeling brought their roots and rock to the stage better than any other band at the show and it paid off as they left with the crown. Together since 2006, The Okay Feeling is influenced by artists of many different genres. Their music is meant for nothing more than “pure enjoyment.” If you take the crowd, you take the show, and that’s just what The Okay Feeling did.

As the night came to an end, you couldn’t have asked for a better performance out of anyone, and the Centennial Battle of the Bands was a success. For more information on the bands, check out their Web sites on MySpace and listen in to Radio Free Radford for more great local music.

Cover and story photo by Heidi Chantry

Giving back is the new black

Giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences I think anyone can ever hope to gain. I am not sure one can fully grasp the concept of this until they do something for someone that has altered their life in some way. In fact, I am also certain that not everyone is aware of the effect that giving back can have on others. It can make their day a bit brighter, help them know they are not alone and can even save them.

It doesn’t matter if the gift is big or small. It can be just as simple as helping an elderly woman carry groceries from the store to her car or as complex as organizing a fundraiser in the fight against child cancer. I feel as if it is one of the most important things in life to give back. It is the first giant step into helping make a positive impact on the world.

For one second, think about how many commercials we see on television about adopting a child to send money to, an End Hunger Now fund, the man on the corner of the street who has been sleeping outside for days, or the people of Haiti and the crisis they are now going through. The question we should be asking ourselves is: “What can we do?” It is our job to do everything we can for whoever we can.

If we all just stopped for a second and did something to help, we would be that much closer to leading this world into a happier, more positive and beneficial place. We only have one lifetime to make a difference; I

Bamboo voodoo

Bamboo Craft is one model in the line of magic-like tablet devices. To make, it clear these tablet devices are not tablet computers, though they do work on a similar concept. These tablets are pressure sensitive. They allow for more natural drawing styles for those who spend their time working on graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator. The tablet can plug into any computer using an USB port.

This doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the general marketable public, but at prices starting around $150, they aren’t exactly the cheapest toy on the block, though with the hefty price tag comes some pretty cool features. Wacom, maker of Bamboo Craft, recently come out with a version of their original Bamboo Craft. This latest edition boasts a newer, more sensitive pen stylus that allows for more natural hand writing, along with some impressive multi-touch features. These features work much like those on the iTouch, using gestures to indicate what you want it to do. Some of these features are basic track-pad functions, similar to a laptop mouse.

Another cheaper tablet option is the Genius G pen. You can pick it up for about $40. Because it is cheaper, it is not in the same range as the Bamboo Craft. It has the most basic features. Those features including simple Web browsing, replacing your mouse with the pen that comes with the tablet and hand-writing in documents.

While not the cheapest product, it is definitely a cheap alternative to the other non-tablet options. Such options are tablet PCs and laptops. Both are relatively new to the market in comparison to tablets, which have been around for a while. That being said, the G Pen may pack a better bang for your buck, as the other two options still have bugs and sensitivity issues to work out.

Wacom claims that their product allows you to get hands-on with your projects. From all appearances, that seems to be the case. While the Bamboo Craft may not be a cheap toy, it appears to be a fun one. It allows for a higher degree of precision on image-editing software.

This is probably not the device for your occasional image editor, though it is the perfect device for your image editing tinkerer who gets frustrated when using a clunky, inaccurate mouse, or someone who just wants to feel more in touch with their project. For these people the price is well worth all the voodoo it provides.

Cover and story photo by Kasey Sutphin

How to be a wise guy

What does it mean to be wise? Does it mean that you’re smarter and more clever than everyone around you? Does it mean that you can beat your friends in any game you play? Does it mean you make better grades than everyone else in your class? There are plenty of really smart and/or talented people out there who are so consumed by their own arrogance and can’t see anything but themselves. Basically, being wise doesn’t mean you’re the best at whatever you do, it’s knowing the proper way to respond to certain situations. You always need to be aware of the world around you and the people in it. If you understand the world we live in today, how things work in it and you know how to use that knowledge, that’s when you can call yourself a wise guy.

First of all, let’s say you get an “F” on your first test of the semester. How are you going to respond to that situation?

A. Complain that your teacher sucks and skip class for the rest of the semester.

B. Study a lot harder for your next test and try to get better grades on classroom assignments so the “F” won’t hurt your grade too badly.

Choice “B” would definitely be the better way to respond to that situation.

Now let’s try another one. Let’s say your friend beats you at a video game and is bragging about it. How do you respond to that situation?

A. Throw your controller at him and tell him he was cheating and you’ll never play that game with him again.

B. Ignore him and let him enjoy winning because he beat you at a game that in no way counts for anything in real life. Then don’t brag when you beat him at something so he’ll feel bad about it.

Choice “B” again is the best way to respond, and you won’t lose your friend in the process.

Now let’s try one more. Say you’re at a party and you meet this really hot girl. The two of you talk and hang out, and then she starts pulling you into an empty bedroom hinting that she wants to give you a good time. How do you respond to this situation?

A. Go into the bedroom with her and have a good time.

B. Make sure you have a condom first, then do what it says in Option “A.”

Okay, I threw that one in there just to mess with you, but you get the idea. A wise person really knows and understands what’s going on around them. You should make sure that you have good friends and that you understand different kinds of people when they talk to you. You need to understand that everyone sees things differently than you, and everyone probably has different interests in things like music, sports, TV shows and movies. If you can learn to respect others, no matter how their interests may differ from yours, and you know how to respond to the good and bad situations that you’ll be faced with throughout your life, that’s what will make you a wise guy.

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Snow, snow, snow!

The popular song that includes the lyrics, “Snow, snow, snow” is becoming an appropriate phrase for weather on the east coast lately. Staring in December 2009, Virginia in particular has seen unusual amounts of snowfall. With up to 32 inches of snow in parts of Virginia, winter weather has significantly affected daily life for everyone. Schools and highways have been closed, and ceremonies have been canceled.

Directly effecting RU students, the graduates of fall 2009 only recently received their diplomas due to the postponement of commencement ceremonies. While snow days bring fun, they also cause problems. With businesses and stores closed, finding groceries and supplies became a challenge.

Traveling is also very risky. Many people do not have 4-wheel-drive vehicles, therefore traveling in poor weather becomes a problem. Car accidents are of increased risk due to slick roads and poor traction.

The federal government recommends that all citizens have a snow emergency kit containing three gallons of water per member of a family, canned food items, can openers, batteries, a battery-powered radio, blankets and flashlights. Due to the heavy snowfall, there is a high risk of power outages and roof collapse. The National Weather Service also advises that you beware of falling trees and rocks.

This winter is still young and forecasters are predicting more heavy snowfall, so stay warm RU!

Cover photo by Jordan Oakley

Story photo by Kasey Sutphin

Administration postpones graduation due to weather

Over the past two months, Radford University and the surrounding area has been pounded with a number of different winter weather storms. These storms were responsible for many different school closings and much more. One thing that many probably don’t think about is the stress placed upon those students who were scheduled to graduate this past December.

Commencement ceremonies were originally scheduled for Dec. 19, 2009, but due to the heavy snowfall following finals week, the administration was forced to postpone the ceremonies. Many graduates remain unhappy with the RU administration for postponing the ceremonies. The administration sent out countless emails to the student body about commencement ceremonies and encouraged recent graduates who had a hard time arriving to RU for the ceremonies not to even make an attempt traveling to the university.

Putting myself in their shoes, I would be highly upset with the administration to receive a degree when they suggest I not travel to my own commencement ceremonies. Instead, they want those who cannot make it to wait until spring commencement to participate in the ceremony. No way would I personally want to wait another three months in order to walk across the stage for graduation.

One thing that is upsetting many graduates is why the administration would decide that the roads are any safer for those graduates and their families to travel following this snow storm. The storm that RU was hit by the first time was just as bad as this second, more recent storm that pounded the Radford area. Many don