BREAKING: RU President Penelope Kyle to retire after 2016 academic year

At approximately 9:30 this morning, RU sent out an email to the students and faculty that RU President Penelope Kyle would be retiring at the end of the 2016 academic year. For those who didn’t receive the email or are otherwise unable to see it, here it is in its entirety.

Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle and Board of Visitors (BOV) Rector Michael A. Wray announced today that the BOV approved on March 28, 2015 President Kyle’s plan to retire as president, effective June 30, 2016.  Kyle, who was appointed in 2005 as Radford University’s sixth president, is also RU’s first female president.

“I am proud to have played a part in the transformation of Radford University since my arrival nearly a decade ago,” said President Kyle.  “After much deliberation and looking back on the tremendous accomplishments we have achieved together for Radford University and our students, I have given consideration to identifying a good timeframe for transition of the presidency.”

“On behalf of the Board, I want to express our deep gratitude for President Kyle’s leadership and staunch advocacy of RU,” said Wray.  “As both a Board member and a father of a Radford University alumna, I have witnessed the results of President Kyle’s energy and drive to gain support for RU and help us transform our institution to better serve the needs of our students to succeed in their future careers.”

“Much of Radford University’s achievements under President Kyle can be directly attributed to her tireless efforts to build upon and improve the University’s relationships with the General Assembly and the Commonwealth’s elected leaders,” said Wray.  “Her advocacy has resulted in unprecedented support for Radford University in funding capital construction and renovation projects and introducing new degrees and programs that address the needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

With the announcement of President Kyle’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2016 academic year, the BOV has begun planning for the presidential search process and the establishment of a search committee.  “The Board anticipates a search process that will involve the broader RU community of faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Wray.  “Today’s announcement ensures ample time to identify the new president and will allow an orderly transition.  The Board anticipates providing more details in the near future about the search committee and the search process,” Wray added.

More details will come as they are available. In the mean time, the RU community has much to thank Penelope Kyle for over the past ten years, and the staff at Whim would like to wish her good luck in her future endeavors.

Adventures in scrapbooking

The men on the lawn looked like aliens as Michelle watched them pulling the industrial vacuuming equipment out of their van. She kicked her car door shut behind her as she looked them over- white uniforms all tucked in at the ankles and wrists like they were going into a quarantine zone or a surgery. They had parked in her driveway, behind the black sedan, and she had to park on the road. Wrangling her groceries, she tried not to look too irritated as the workers in white uniforms waved at her despite the fact that, with her arms full of bags, she obviously couldn’t wave back.

The house was one of the only ones situated on their street, small and pale with vinyl siding. It faced north and had three azaleas, two boxwood shrubs that still had the new topsoil piled around their roots near the living room windows, and the two tiny sage plant cuttings from Michelle’s mother that sat next to the sidewalk. All were bordered with diatomaceous earth.

These details, which Michelle hadn’t cared about (or even known) before, were known only to her now because of the problem that her new house had come with a few months ago. She fumbled with her keys for a moment before the door opened in front of her.
“You look angry, Mitch,” Nicole, her girlfriend, informed her as Michelle handed a few of the plastic bags to her. Michelle sighed.

“Yeah, well, the bug guys parked in my spot.”

“Don’t take it personally. We can take your car into town.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s just on principle, you know? I just wish people wouldn’t do that.”
As grouchy as she felt, the gentleness in Nicole’s voice made it impossible to get too snippy. They walked into the kitchen together.

“How was the store?”

Michelle shrugged a little. “Some good, some bad. There was a pretty good bread sale, but when I was leaving, some asshole in the parking lot called me a Mexican and told me to go back where I came from.”

“Oh, nice.”

“It’s whatever. You know, considering most of Texas was annexed anyway, it wouldn’t even make any sense even if it was true. Besides, he had one of those Ron Paul bumper stickers, so I don’t think any important friendship was lost there.”

She heard Nicole laugh softly at her quips as she pulled out the eggs and margarine from the bag and set them on the counter. Against her better judgment, she found her eyes drawn up to the crawling, shadowy shapes on the window that faced the front yard and the bug men beyond it.

“They’re just ladybugs, baby.”

She looked back at Nicole. She was a dark-skinned, beautiful woman with almond-shaped eyes that always seemed thoughtful and kind, even when she was pissed off. Privately, Michelle thought she was probably way out of her league, if everything was evaluated by what Nicole, in her studious, teacherly way, would call mainstream cultural standards. She was hourglass-shaped and naturally toned, whereas Michelle herself was, as Nicole put it lovingly, “reubenesque.” Sometimes straight men liked to try to hit on her and scoot Michelle off like she was some kind of token fat friend, but Nicole always found a way to shut them down that made her feel a lot less irritated. It happened less since Nicole had cut her hair short, but now there was a wretched minority that tried to get her attention by talking to her about sports. It didn’t matter how much Nicole insisted she was a lesbian, most people selectively ignored it.

“I saw the bug guys outside. How long is it supposed to take?”

“I’m not sure. They said a few hours because of how bad it is. They said they’d be done by tonight.”

“Good. Hopefully this’ll finally get rid of them.”

The ladybugs had been on them like a biblical plague since they had moved into the house. They were on the walls, the floor, in the bed, in the dishes and the pantry. They had put the diatomaceous earth around the house, burned lemon candles, sprayed mint oil, vacuumed up as many as they could, but it never seemed to have an impact. They had moved in over the winter, and at first they had assured themselves that they would leave sooner or later, but now it was getting to be summer and nothing seemed to have changed. They had fussed about it and eventually decided that professional help was the only recourse they had left. The bugs were too much, and their efforts were futile.

“I bet if your mom had heard that guy in the store, she would have flew off the handle.”

“Yeah, and make me look like a freak for being with her. The only time anyone here cares about Shoshone people is for five minutes in seventh grade when they talk about Lewis and Clark.”

Nicole snorted into her coffee.

“Don’t laugh, it’s true!”
“I know, that’s why I’m laughing. I’m sorry.”

She wasn’t really angry. Michelle’s tongue in cheek attitude served her well enough and kept her temper in check (for the most part). Even if the weird racist had genuinely gotten to her, she was too relieved at the prospect of finally getting rid of the bugs to let it spoil her mood. One of her cousins managed the company, and she trusted her employees, as far as bug companies went.

Michelle and Nicole had planned to spend the evening doing something fun together, and to some extent, they succeeded- the early summer weather was very mild, and they went out to dinner and ate outside in a restaurant blessedly free of ladybugs. Michelle told a story about one of the classes she was teaching, how one of her students that played the clarinet was already offered a scholarship despite only being a sophomore. They expected the workers to be done (and gone) by the time they returned, but some hours later, the men were still around, loading the vacuums into the van. When they approached, there was only one worker left outside, a tall man who was sheepishly milling around it. Michelle assumed this must be the manager, since the other two seemed to have taken the chance to avoid conversation.
“What’s up? I thought you were going to be done a while ago,” Nicole asked him as he avoided eye contact.

“Well, I mean, we are done.”
“Are the bugs gone?”

“Not really.”

“Honey, I thought you said you were done?”

“Yeah, I’m- I’m sorry. We sucked up the ones we could, but we had some trouble. We could come back again and try it, maybe half off-”
“No, no, nope. If it didn’t work the first time, why would it work the second?” Michelle demanded, and the man’s cheeks turned red. She was embarrassed for him. She knew he was just trying to do his job, but clearly, he wasn’t very good at it.

“Listen,” she began, more compassionately. “I know you boys did the best you could, but really, I think we’re going to keep trying to handle it from here. I’m sorry.”
“That’s all right, ma’am. Sorry we couldn’t do more for you.”
“It’s okay,” she said, patting him on the arm. “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” he said, and pulled out of the driveway, heading down the road.

Nicole shook her head. They headed back inside.

“This is some shit,” Michelle sighed as they shut the door. Nicole kissed her on the cheek.

“Don’t take it too hard. I’m sure they did their best.”

Michelle shrugged. To her, it seemed like some nerve to screw up what was supposed to be your job and then ask for more money to fuck it up again. That night, while watching TV, they chatted back and forth and pretended like it ‘really did seem a little better,’ and tried to convince themselves that maybe there had been an impact, although they both knew it wasn’t the case. The following morning their conversation was sparse and marked by disheartened silence, and they went back and forth debating solutions, although there wasn’t much that they hadn’t already considered.

As Michelle styled her hair, she heard Nicole from the other room.

“You should call your mom.”
She stared into her reflection’s annoyed dark eyes.
“I don’t really… I’m not sure I feel up to that,” she called back.

“I’m not trying to push you, I’m just saying-”

Michelle turned her head without thinking. She jerked the hair curler away from her jaw as she felt the sudden shock of the heat, and let it clatter into the sink as she examined the cylindrical mark as they darkened on her face. From the bedroom, she heard Nicole talking over her yelp of pain.

“I just think she’d really appreciate it-”

“Christ, Mitch, I fucking burned myself! Can you just cut me some slack for five seconds!?” She yelled, and her girlfriend fell silent.

For a moment, she did too, partially regretting her reaction but knowing, deep down, it was probably justified. She unplugged the curler and put it on the counter to cool off. She heard the sound of Nicole’s shoes on the wood floor and the door shutting behind her, and sighed. She wasn’t sure whether to be angry at her partner or herself. Sure, Nicole could have rushed in and tried to console her, but she could have also not have snapped at her.

From the hallway, she saw Nicole sitting in the loveseat in the living room. She lay out across it with her head craned off the other arm, staring up at the ceiling, her arms crossed across her chest.

“Nicky?” Michelle called, gently.

“There are a hundred bugs on this ceiling,” she responded flatly.

Michelle glanced up at the tiny red shapes ambling across the uneven white plaster and looked away in disgust. She’d never seen ladybugs stick to the ceiling, and it made her think of roaches.

“Nicky, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gone off on you like that.”

Nicole uncrossed her arms and sighed, running a hand over her short hair.

“It’s all right. I’m sorry you got burned.”
“It was my fault. I’m okay,” Michelle assured her. Nicole sat up and turned to face forward on the loveseat as Michelle joined her.

“I’d really like to see her, Nicky.”

“I know, it’s just- you know it’s complicated with my family. I don’t always want to hear about where I came from,” she sighed, running her hand over Nicole’s knee. Nicole scoffed.

“Yeah, well, at least you get the chance.”

Florida needs a psych eval

The existence of climate change has been a hotly debated issue in the not-too-distant past. At least, that’s how it went for most of the world. Unfortunately, headlines have been telling a different story about Floridian politicians.

You can’t sound more ridiculous than shouting the world is flat. Why? It isn’t because every person has walked completely around the entire world to test the theory. We trust our scientists to do their research and fact check one another. After enough of a percentage say they tested it and found that they were able to disprove the flat earth theory, the popular belief is that the world isn’t flat.

But despite this, Florida’s own DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) has gone and created a censorship on climate change.

Barton Bibler, an employee of Florida’s DEP, was required by his administration to take a leave of absence and complete a mental health evaluation for using the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a presentation on March 2.

Apparently, Bibler was unaware of the off-the-record ban on both of the terms, which has been enforced since Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011. When asked about the reason for Bibler’s punishment, Scott’s office stated that there’s no such policy and Bibler had been reprimanded due to his performance, insubordination, and behavior which was not becoming of an employee of the DEP. However, a former DEP attorney stated that more than a dozen complaints had been reported by DEP employees on this topic in the last five years.florida

Another attorney, Christopher Byrd, gave this statement: “We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability.’ That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Regardless of the proof of a real policy or simply an atmosphere of fear and hostility in Florida’s DEP, the state should be concerned about how the reality of climate change is affecting them. Miami Beach alone is victim too unusual flooding and dying coral reefs — which are a major tourist attraction and source of revenue. And, despite being nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida is behind dreary, cold Massachusetts, as well as California and Nevada, in solar power. In fact, it’s illegal for homeowners to rely entirely on individually produced electricity.

Bibler’s punishment for his presentation — whether due to his use of censored terms or not — is a wake up call for the state. If Florida’s DEP is afraid to talk about climate change, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the state.

5 signs that you’re growing up

For most students, college is that awkward bridge between adolescence and adulthood. For us, it seems that just yesterday we were having our first crush or getting our braces removed. As you get into your later years of college, the reality of adulthood seems to be looming just inches over your head. As a kid, all you wanted was to be an adult –but with the reality sinking in, it’s easy to dread the inevitable. Adulthood is a scary thing, so it’s important to recognize the signs that you’re growing up.


  1. Your wardrobe changes

One of the first telltale signs of adulthood is actually wanting to dress like an adult. When you go shopping, you may look at more age-appropriate clothing rather than sweaters with cats on them.

On one of my recent shopping adventures, I found myself looking at button-up shirts and pencil skirts instead of my usually frilly crop-tops and leggings. I didn’t realize until I was checking out that I had made a relatively adult purchase of a plainblue button-up shirt and a maxi dress that didn’t involve sequins or lace.

You also may find yourself slowly feeling more embarrassed about your guilty-pleasure clothing items, such as your Marvel sweater or your brightly-colored skinny jeans. Let’s be honest; you still love wearing those, and the chances of them being donated to Goodwill remain at zero.


  1. You become more responsible with your money

Last year, you would blow your entire paycheck on alcohol, pizza, and/or video games. This year, your money goes directly into the credit card bill(which you ran up buying alcohol, pizza and video games). You may also opt to eat at home instead of blowing money at a restaurant.

As part of your resolution to eat at home, you also find yourself straying away from  Easy Mac and Bagel Bites. Instead, you spend your money wisely on vegetables and fresh meats so you can actually cook a decent meal. You may still spoil yourself with an easy meal every once in a while.

  1. You find yourself staying in more often than not

It’s Friday night and all of your friends are going out to drink. This time last year, you’d throw on your best party get-up and roll out with them. Sadly, things have changed.Tonight you’ve opted to stay in, catch up on homework, watch Netflix and cook one of your adult meals. You may even go out for a little while, but the entire time you’re thinking of all of the laundry you need to do and the fact that partying is what made your GPA the way it is today.

  1. You clean more

On the off chance that you do go out with your friends, your mind keeps wandering back to the fact that your room isn’t pristine. Freshman (or even sophomore) year, you were perfectly content leaving dirty dishes under your bed while you went out and partied –resulting in you coming back intoxicated and adding to the disaster.

When I do go out with my friends, I always make it a priority to clean my room before I leave. This way, I actually have a chance of enjoying myself and not being the girl standing in the corner, picking her nails as  I worry about all of the things my dog could be getting into.

  1. You actually care about your credit.

One of the worst parts of adulthood is keeping your financial situation afloat. In your later years of college, you actually start to wonder how bad or good your credit score is. Because of this, you will likely use your credit card less and start making bigger, more frequent payments. You may be a little more aggressive in getting your roommates to pay the bills on time, especially if they’re in your name.

Growing up is a scary, but rewarding experience. On one side, there are a lot of new responsibilities which can seem intimidating. On the other side, however, there is a world of new experiences and people that we get to look forward to.

Bonnie-roo: artists welcome

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Bonnie-roo is being put together by the Music Business Association and the SGA College of Visual and Performing Arts student council. They’re trying to create an event that will put every department in the CVPA together. The name Bonnie-roo is actually a spin off of the yearly Bonnaroo music festival. The event was supposed to be in Bonnie Plaza, but was moved.

Essentially, Bonnie-roo is a large concert that will be put together by art departments of RU. Those departments include art, design, theatre, music, and dance. The MBSA is also trying to bring in three local and traveling bands: “Fletcher’s Grove”, “Mad Iguana”, and “Feel Free”. The bands will be confirmed just as soon as there’s funding found to have them perform.Bonnie-Roo flyer Slide1

The rest of the entertainment will be in the form of student work and pieces from each department participating. For example: the theatre and dance departments will be doing mini performances. The event is scheduled to take place Saturday, April 25 from 2-7 p.m. on Heth Lawn.

Samantha Onstad (the president of MBSA) contacted Sydney about a proposal Sydney made about creating a CVPA showcase this spring and thought to just combine events. Samantha is in charge of the MBSA planning. Sydney is in charge of gathering people from each department and organizing them. For Sydney, this was something she wanted to do as an SGA member. This event will hopefully help unite the CVPA in the community.

MBSA has funding from their program, but for this event to happen there needs to be more funding from the club programming committee (CPC). Here at Whim, we would like to promote this event and hope that others will try to lend a helping hand. You can do this by looking out for fundraisers that would like to make this happen.

Update: As of Wednesday, March 25th, Bonnie-roo managed to get all the funding they needed from the CPC.

Twenty One Pilots: The musical enigma

Ukulele slam poetry glam punk is the only way I can begin to describe Twenty One Pilots. Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun form the musical duo, which emerged from Columbus, Ohio in 2009. They can’t seem to conform to one sound or genre, instead choosing to experiment with each and every track. That’s the beauty of this band. No matter which type of music you prefer, there is probably a song in there for you.

They have since then released three albums; Twenty One Pilots, Regional At Best, and Vessel. Joseph, the main singer/songwriter of the group, has mentioned in interviews that in order to make up for the small number of band members, they have had to pump up their live shows in order to keep people interest. Which a diverse style and a large number of tracks at their disposal, twenty one pilots does not disappoint.

Twenty One Pilots, their self-titled debut album, was an interesting period in the band’s life. At the time, the band consisted of 3 members and Dun was not a part of it. The songs mostly consisted of piano based verses and carried an oddly hopeful undertone, despite the fact that the overall meaning behind the album is a lot darker. Joseph’s emotional tone stands out more than some of the quieter tracks but they have always thrived as a live band, rather than simply auditory. Still, it was an amazing debut album, and showed that twenty one pilots was a force to be reckoned with.

They followed their self-titled album with Regional At Best. By this point, Joseph’s two original bandmates had resigned for personal reasons. He asked Dun to play a show with him, for which the drummer promptly quit his job to be a part of. Regional At Best was almost like an experimental album, made up of fourteen tracks that would otherwise have been considered glorified demos if not for the care that went into their development. Joseph shows off his falsetto, and his screaming abilities, but makes it sound effortlessly professional. Whether he is lightly chanting, “I will make you believe you are lovely.” in ‘Lovely’ or shrieking in ‘Ruby’, “You’re an angel.” his voice is polished and blends seamlessly with the backing tracks and Dun’s franticly talented drumming.

Vessel was their most recent album release. It marks the band’s growth and their masterful grasp, as well as development, of their sound. Joseph has stated that the album is based on the metaphorical masks we wear (partially symbolized by the band’s uniform which includes ski masks) and the things we hide. And yet, he hides nothing. He screams, croons, and raps his way into the deepest parts of you, the parts you refuse to show anyone. While the subject matter of most of the songs seems to be Joseph and Dun barreling headfirst in an auditory manifestation of their struggles with anxiety and depression, it also conveys a sense of survival. Joseph and Dun are a dream team, and obviously put a lot of thought and care into their craft.

Their latest surprise was the reveal of their newest single, ‘Fairly Local’. The track is darker than previous releases by the band. It seems to be illustrating Joseph and Dun’s emotional struggle with their inner demons with an almost tangible aggravation. It is the first single to be released in preparation for their newest album, ‘Blurryface’, which is set to debut on May 19, 2015.

Twenty one pilots is almost more than as band. They are a constantly changing musical enigma, embracing themes of revival and hopefulness and mingling with darkness and confusion. Each album seems to have a deeper, succinct meaning behind it. The only question is:

What comes next?

Sugar: the drug and your brain

It’s well-known that sugar isn’t the best thing for you — they don’t put it in the smallest section of the food pyramid for nothing. However, not as many people are aware that sugar has been compared to drugs like cocaine in their addictive qualities.

A study printed in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews states that “intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavioral and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse.” Addictions are dependent on the substance affecting the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that is associated with emotional control. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down thanks to a fight with a friend or maybe a poor test grade and reached for some chocolate or a bowl of ice cream, it isn’t hard to believe.

“A study printed in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews states that “intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavioral and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse.””

Luckily, Dr. David Sack, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, says “The truth is that not every one exposed to high-sugar foods is going to become addicted and seek it out regularly.” However, he continued with, “The same is true with drugs like cocaine or alcohol.” Therefore, it’s important to understand that a loss of control and cravings for the substance is a hallmark of addiction, but that cravings and overindulging in sweets from time to time don’t mean that you’ve developed an insurmountable affliction.

If you decide you might have become victim to the sugar addiction and make the commitment to break the habit, you should be aware of a few things about the withdrawal. Sugar floods the brain with dopamine to give you a quick and dirty pleasure peak. Addicts will less receptors in order to balance out the influx from your drug of choice. You may be grumpy, experience headaches and mood swings, and generally be overcome by cravings for the first week or so that you cut out your sugar intake.

Several years ago another study revealed that the average American consumed 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day outside of the natural ones we get from fruit and other sources. From just that average of added sugar is an extra 350 calories, and the average is likely to have risen in recent years. Due to the convenience we require in fast-paced modern America, it becomes harder and harder to be conscience of food selections and nearly impossible to fully avoid processed and prepared foods filled with added sugars that act to enhance flavor and or preserve food.

If you want to stay healthy by eating right or avoid addiction all-together, you best bet is simply to avoid sugar from the start. However, it’s never too late to cut it out.

Skinny and curvy are both natural

A new article trend has been spreading through websites such as Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. These articles edit images of female celebrities, comic book characters, and Disney princesses and reimagine them as if they were plus size.

I understand that the media shouldn’t put as much pressure on women to be super skinny ,or on men to be super buff; however, there’s no reason to Photoshop all of these females to make them look more “realistic.” Celebrities may not be as average as your normal soccer mom, but they’re still real people. With occasional eating disorders aside, celebrities often have to work very hard through exercise and diet control in order to maintain their physiques, and shouldn’t be shamed by saying they don’t look natural.

Both of these bodies are realistic. Photo from Huffington Post.
Both of these body types are beautiful. Photo from Huffington Post.


Now let’s instead think about the average teenage girl. There are plenty of curvy teenage girls in the world. It’s also true that ‘curvy’ is a very natural body type. This does not mean, however, that skinny isn’t also a perfectly natural body-type. Imagine being a super thin 14 year old girl in high school. You wear size 00 jeans, and you also have no real breasts to speak of. Every day curvy girls look at you and make remarks like, “Damn, girl, eat a hamburger or something!” or “Are you anorexic?”

You wish with all of your 100 pounds that you could be as curvy as they are. You wish that with all of the Big Macs and foot-long sandwiches you eat that you could gain some weight. But it’s just not happening. The media tells you daily that skinny is desirable, that women would kill to be you. But you don’t feel desirable at all.

Now how would it feel to be told that not only are you “anorexic-looking”, but that you’re also unnatural-looking? How is this okay? How is it possibly okay to tell one group of women that they are the real kind of beautiful, simply because the other group of women aren’t normal?

The answer is simple—it’s not okay. I am all for body empowerment. It’s paramount for women to begin to feel more comfortable in their own skins. But this isn’t the way to go about it. It’s not right to make women feel better about their bodies by bringing other women down. Skinny is a normal body type, as is curvy. The only way to give women confidence is to make all types of women synonymous with beauty and femininity.


Your first birthday

Going to college is going to change you. You’re an adult now. Generally speaking, most things will be different. You’re going to have to go to the doctor, buy groceries, and think about if skipping the gym is really the right decision—all on your own. It will be fun to branch out by yourself, but it will also be terrifying.

That doesn’t mean that you have to let go of one of the most wonderful things about childhood—your birthday. Birthdays in college are a whirlwind. Some people remember, some don’t. Oftentimes they don’t feel as special as they did when you were a kid, but that’s okay.

Having your parents plan your party, your cake, and your presents may have seemed lame in high school, but you’ll soon realize that all of that fuss about you and your plans was amazing. It made you feel special. It made you feel as if for one day a year, you were the only thing in the world that mattered. That’s something you’ll find yourself missing for the rest of your life, so take advantage of your possible proximity to your parents now, while you can.

You may be tempted to stay at college for your birthday and just celebrate with a few friends, but I implore you to think a little differently. Your first birthday at college will be hard on more than just you; not being able to dote on you will hurt your parents. It may not seem like it at first, but they’ll realize that you’re indeed growing up. You won’t always need them to plan everything. That realization will hollow them.

If you have the ability, go home for your birthday. It doesn’t even have to be your actual birthday—just go home to celebrate with them. Maybe they won’t buy you a bunch of presents like they did when you were a kid. Maybe they won’t plan you a special birthday party or buy you a cake. But they will be there. Sometimes, that’s all they really need to be for it to feel special.


Death Cab for Cutie Discography Review

Death Cab for Cutie formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. Despite the original solo nature of the band, started by Washington native Ben Gibbard, the project was eventually expanded into group. Gibbard released a demo solo album titled You Can Play These Songs with Chords, which was widely received with positivity and eventually led to a record deal with Barsuk Records. He then invited more members to join the band, releasing three albums in four years. Until very recently the band was made up of Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer on bass, Jason McGerr on drums and Chris Walla on guitar. Walla has since parted ways with the band.

Something About Airplanes, their debut album, was well received but unrefined. Even Gibbard has admitted that he isn’t sure what he was singing about at the time. It set up the general ‘aura’ that DCFC would eventually come to embody with its atmospheric composition and dynamic melodies. Their next two albums, We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes and The Photo Album, marked their place in the world of indie-pop with a more defined sound and a sobering commentary against the romanticization of the unromantic.

But it was their fourth album, Transatlanticism that marked the beginning of DCFC’s rise to stardom. The title track was once described to me as a song you would only share in secret with someone you love. To be honest the entire album is like that. It opens strong and before you know it, slows the pace down with a more mellow pop sound and heavy atmosphere. Each songs blends into the next perfectly, in a way that almost hurts you. The album embodies the weird tense feeling of butterflies you get in your stomach when you see the person you care about the most. It solidified Death Cab’s place in the indie/alternative music scene and propelled them into a place where they finally began to be recognized by the mainstream music scene.

Death Cab for Cutie signed to Atlantic Records to release Plans, which is possibly their most polished album yet. I might be a little biased because this is my favorite album. It got me through an abusive relationship; the subsequent break up as well as another relationship and break up. It’s not as rough and tumble as Transatlanticism but that doesn’t take away from the overall effect. Gibbard’s poetic lyrics make the album, as he chants “Your love is gonna drown.” Plans is the perfect album for the hopeless romantic with its continuous ballads punctured every once in a while with an upbeat track to lighten the mood. The album signified a definite transitional period in the band as they continued to develop their sound.

Narrow Stairs was released in 2008 to much surprise. The general consensus among fans is that it is probably the oddest Death Cab album to date. The subject matter is a lot darker, and they lose their polished sound, instead reverting back to the rawness introduced in Transatlanticism. It’s a desperate album, coupling ‘sunny’ orchestration with solemn lyrics. The lyric design is more like a stream of unconscious thoughts. Gibbard’s glassy, haunting vocals seem to weigh him down, almost like a confession. The closing track The Ice Is Getting Thinner exemplifies that feeling as he gently croons, “We’re not the same dear and it seems to me/ There’s no where we can go with nothing underneath.”

Gibbard is fairly infamous for name-dropping and the band’s seventh studio album Codes and Keys is a prime example. It was written two years into Gibbard’s marriage to Zooey Deschanel and references her several times (“She may be young but she only likes old things/And modern music, it ain’t to her tastes”, you aren’t being subtle Ben). While they retain their general sound, Codes and Keys is probably the least ‘pop’ album released by Death Cab since they broke into the mainstream music scene. It is incredibly texture heavy and sounds experimental in the way that it mirrors the band’s ‘normal sound’, almost as if they are covering their own tracks.

Kintsugi, Death Cab for Cutie’s eighth studio album, is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2015.

Beehive’s Best of Radford: Part 5

Welcome back to another Beehive poll! If you missed any of the others, you can still vote for your favorite things here.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Part 5

What is the best place for a first date?

What's the best place to take relatives?

What is the best hidden jewel in Radford?

Mafiaboy and a little hacking history

Hearing about computer hacking in the news or movies has been a part of our culture for so long that it’s sometimes hard to remember a time before it was just another crime. In reality, as computers are relatively new, so is hacking.

What is computer hacking, you live-under-a-rock types might wonder? A “hack” when we’re talking about computers is a kind of shortcut or modification in order to bypass or rework the standard operation of an object or system. “Hackers” look for and exploit weaknesses in a computer system or computer network.

In fact, hacking originated with young hooligans messing around with “phone phreaking” in the 1960s. It’s grown a little more sophisticated since then, but it’s still  childs’ play.

In 2000, a 15 year-old high school student by the name of Michael Calce, better known as Mafiaboy online, was responsible for bringing down the websites of Amazon, CNN, Dell, E*Trade, eBay, and Yahoo! (the world’s largest search engine at the time). It put the New York Stock Exchange through the wringer — terrified that their investments in the relatively new online market were in danger.

Calce  started hacking at a young age. When he was only nine, he received a free trial of AOL. It was his first time on the internet, but in just a few days he’d hacked AOL’s system in order to stay online past the 30-day trial period.


“A “hack” when we’re talking about computers is a kind of shortcut or modification in order to bypass or rework the standard operation of an object or system.”

Throughout his adolescence, Calce became more and more involved in online hacker groups until his infamous strike in 2000. He launched this attack by first taking over a handful of university networks, then using their combined computing power to attack the targeted websites.

“Basically when I hit enter on the keyboard, [the university networks] all respond at the same exact time and basically overwhelm websites with too much information,” Calce stated in an interview with NPR. It’s called a denial-of-service attack.”The overall purpose was to intimidate other hacker groups,” he explained.

But with such a large-scale attack, Mafiaboy had garnered attention from national security. President Clinton called for a cybersecurity working group and attorney general Janet Reno announced a manhunt for Mafiaboy.

The FBI was on the trail of this 15 year-old national threat. Calce said he was scared at this time; what teenager wouldn’t be, when they’ve got the force of the federal government raining down upon them? He was caught,put on trial, and sentenced to eight months of “open custody,” one year of probation, restricted use of the Internet, and a small fine.

However, some good came from Calce’s 2000 strike.It served a wake-up call for the U.S. government to put specific laws in place to punish cybercrime and protect consumers from online attacks.

Now, President Obama is pushing for updates on those laws. The Internet is a far scarier place than it was 15 years ago as more and more of our daily lives rely on online systems.

Reverse racism, sexism aren’t real things

If I had a dollar for every time I saw the term “reverse sexism” used on the internet, my tuition would be paid. This term is typically used by self-proclaimed “meninists” to express any situation where they’re accused of adhering to general stereotypes. However, this term is often also used by the immature men who feel they’ve been “friend-zoned” simply because they acted kindly to a woman and didn’t receive the love and affection they expected as a reward for their actions.

By internet terms, reverse sexism occurs when a woman expresses a bias against men. Because men are typically expected to be the ones showing bias against women, when the word “sexism” comes up, that’s the image in a person’s mind. However, just because the expected roles in sexism have been reversed, doesn’t mean “sexism” isn’t accurate. Sexism is defined by the hatred of certain sexes, but does mention the expected hatred or mistreatment of women. Women are especially susceptible to sexism, but that doesn’t invalidate any hatred or discrimination against men.

reverse racsim
“Racism is a broad term which can include hatred against any race, not just African Americans.”

By the same standard, reverse racism isn’t a real or accurate term either. When we think “racist” we may think of white supremacy groups such as the KKK, violent hate crimes against African Americans or simply racial slurs. In the official definition of racism, African Americans are never mentioned. Racism is a broad term which can include hatred against any race, not just African Americans.

Racism and sexism are possible in ways that aren’t typically expected. It’s very possible for a woman to be sexist against men, and it’s equally possible for a black person to hold a bias against white people, or any mixture of races. It’s important that we all redefine the way we think of sexism and racism so that we can be more open to discussion about incidents where the roles are reversed to the opposite of what we expect.

For example, if a hate crime was committed against a white person by someone of a different race, the case probably wouldn’t be taken seriously as a hate crime. Equally, many times men who have been sexually abused or assaulted aren’t taken seriously. We all need to open our minds to different ideas and accept the broader definition of both racism and sexism. Having a closed idea of what makes something sexist or racist is very dangerous.

In many aspects of life, we need to open our mind to the issues of others. For example, I’ve always had a small frame. I’ve always been fairly thin. There have been many situations where someone has commented on my size, saying something along the lines of”you’re too skinny.” When I express my discomfort caused by these comments, many people brush it off like it isn’t a big issue. Just because someone’s in the “ideal” situation doesn’t mean their problems are any less valid.

Open-mindedness is vital to the progression of society and mankind. We should all be open to the issues of others and attempt to be helpful rather than skeptical.


Forest of Wolves

Brightly dying leaves scatter the damp ground

Drying Red painted on the greenest moss

Bare trees weep from the caress of the wind

The suns cold rays scattered by reaching branches

Small animals scurrying in the under brush


A single rabbit emerges

It’s coat matching the decaying ground

Raised ears

Twitching noise

Searching for the fruit of life

While avoiding the Shadow of Death


Large yellow eyes appear in the distance



Eyes lock

Fur rises

Life holds it’s breath



The rabbit bolts

Taking the path of the Wind

Over fallen trees

Through pricking bushes

Trying to stay in the light


Yellow eyes

Never losing sight

Large Paws

Slamming into the impressionable dirt

A coat darker than midnight

Casting shadows on its prey


The running stops

The sounds of struggling ceases

Rewards are reaped


Dying leaves

Crying Trees

Silent animals

All watching

Fresh Red

Painting the green canvas














Aggression and intolerance are the root of all evils

I’m not the most tolerant person. I get frustrated with people and their habits easily. That being said, this may be the most hypocritical article I’ve ever written.

Being tolerant of others is the only way we’ll ever have peace in ourselves and around the world. As frustrated as I get with pro-lifers and others who have radically different views from my own, we all have to find some sort of patience and acceptance of each other. Part of growing up is realizing that not everyone thinks the same way you do, and learning to be okay with that.

Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective
Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective

Aside from people with different views, there are going to be people with annoying habits that make you want to gouge your eyes out. As much as I detest hearing other people chewing, learning to approach them kindly and patiently will solve the issue much more gently than reacting with anger and intolerance. Finding coping mechanisms that help you deal with the things that get under your skin will help you rest easy in the face of things that generally tick you off.

One habit I’ve taken up in order to avoid swearing at a complete stranger for chewing loudly is simply using headphones or evacuating the immediate area. When I see a dumb bumper sticker that goes against my own beliefs, I remember what it felt like to have a complete stranger approach me and attack my beliefs because of a bumper sticker . I also observe the person because nine times out of ten, it’s an older person who grew up in a very different time and will likely not be around much longer. It’s morbid, I know, but it helps me rest easy with my angry liberal-hippie heart.

Stephen Hawking recently made a bold and telling statement while giving a tour of London’s Science Museum to Guest of Honor contest winner Adaeze Uyanwah. Hawking stated that aggression is the biggest shortcoming of mankind, and that aggression should be replaced with empathy. Of all of the research and observations Hawking has made on climate change and the impending doom it could bring to Earth, he recognizes the simplest of truths: we humans are destroying our own existence. No species has managed to destroy as many other species as humans have, and most of it has been for the sake of controlling the environments around us.

In the fight to control as many resources within the imaginary borders we’ve created, we’ve left thousands upon thousands of species devastated in our wake. Nuclear bombs, deforestation and drilling for the liquid gold we call oil, all in order to be the country with the most resources, we’ve destroyed the pale blue dot we live upon. This can easily be blamed on our aggression. We aggressively pursue as many resources as we can, taking drastic measures which create consequences that future generations will have to face–all for the sake of our economy.

It may seem that someone with little stance in society may not have the power to disintegrate the hate and aggression all over the world, but by simply injecting empathy in your daily life, you may cause a ripple effect. Showing kindness in the face of adversity is one of the greatest tools we have in the fight against the unrest in the world. It’s easy to get angry at things you deem unfair, but instead of getting angry, it’s time to get smart.



Getting Older

The leaves change with fall

Yet I still remain the same

What will happen here?


Many years have passed

It may not seem like I have

But I have grown up


Where is my mother?

Is my father still around?

Where can I find them?


Still on the same street

That same house is still there too

But where are they now?


Move to the kitchen

Someone is there cooking now

Wait—is that my mom?


She is still herself

But she looks like someone else

So where have I been?


Kids—love your parents.

You must keep them close to you

Parents are like kids


The minute you leave

They’ll change and they’ll get older

I’m getting older,



The Dress

Recently, a Scottish musician and college student by the name of Caitlin McNeill posted a picture of a dress on her Tumblr that would spark a craze across the Internet. Time  was a bit hasty in their response, stating that “the Internet officially broke ” as everyone from your mother to Taylor Swift to politicians began taking sides on the issue.

McNeill’s infamous post was captioned “guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

Too bad that the poll of public opinion couldn’t help the girl out as the hashtag #TheDress began to pop up on social media, with both confused and vehement camps for “white and gold” or “blue and black” being established.

“guys please help me — is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the fuck out.”

BuzzFeed grabbed onto the trend pretty quickly and broke the latest updates and arguments with the ferocity of breaking news updates a la Fox News. Their success in garnering viewership from this was so great that #TheDress was credited in site issues, as BuzzFeed’s own Tom Gara tweeted, “Great work everyone, we broke BuzzFeed.”

Now that the buzz has died down on this whole dress debacle and we’ve got proof that the dress is indeed black and blue, why were we seeing such different colors?

According to Duje Tadin, an associate professor for brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, it may be the variations in the number of photoreceptors in the retina of our eyes that perceive the color blue. Our eyes have about six million of these photoreceptors that are sensitive to green, red or blue and send signals to our brain that interprets them as the colors we perceive.

“It’s puzzling,” Tadin said in reference to the #TheDress. “When it comes to color, blue is always the weird one. We have the fewest number of blue cones.” He added, “If you don’t have very many blue cones, you may see it as white, or if you have plenty of blue cones, you may see more blue.”

Science Daily had their own way of interpreting the excitement, stating that “the wavelength composition of the light reflected from an object changes considerably in different conditions of illumination. Nevertheless, the color of the object remains the same.” Basically, since the offending photo was taken in lighting with a blue hue, it may have caused the blues in the dress to reflect a white color.

Makes you wonder: do you see the same colors as the next person? How much of what we see can we say for certain is the same as the next person’s perception of the same image?

No “special inferno:” Why I support inclusion

I’m a special education major, and a recent op-ed in The New York Times tried to convince me that some of my students should be prisoners.

Let me explain.

Most of us are familiar, at least in passing, with the concept of the asylum. Maybe you’ve been to St. Albans or another haunted hospital. Maybe you’ve watched movies like “Shutter Island” that leverage the creepy clinical aura of mental institutions for suspense. It’s a well-established trope — but I wonder how many of us know about the historical realities behind institutionalization.

Christmas in Purgatory, I think, is the most compelling single example. Published in 1966, it revolutionized the national conversation about then-current treatment of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The pictures alone will shock you; the report, if you have a heart, will probably break it. Children and adults  spent years — lifetimes, even — abused, naked, uneducated, and unloved in the name of “treatment.”

“Children and adults spent years — lifetimes, even — abused, naked, uneducated, and unloved in the name of “treatment.””

“The staff has to believe that their ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ are human beings who can learn,” the authors explained almost 50 years ago, and that’s true. No matter how profound a person’s disability may be, I believe — deeply, personally, professionally, truly — that he or she is capable and deserving of an education. But as the authors go on to emphasize, “even more important is the fundamental belief that each of these residents is a human being.”

This is the key. Humane treatment is not necessarily equivalent treating people as human beings. We can be as thoughtful and ethical as can be — but unless we believe, deep in our bones, that humanity transcends disability, we’re lost. It’s not enough to merely maintain people — and that’s what institutions do.

I don’t intend to tar all mental health facilities with my anti-institutionalization brush. Mental health care is vital; we should absolutely fund and support facilities that serve people with mental illnesses. What I’m against — and what the article in question advocates for — is the functional incarceration of people with disabilities.

You have to understand that we’re really talking about two distinct (but sometimes overlapping) populations here: people with mental illness, and people with disabilities.  While many of the same historical  trends apply, we can’t automatically assume that what we know about institutionalization involves both groups. When someone with a mental health concern enters some sort of care facility, the goal (in most cases) is to reach the point where the person can manage their mental health in the real world. Conversely, the point of institutionalization for people with disabilities has more often focused on indefinite containment and maintenance outside of the community.

This is a distinction that Christine Montross, the author of the op-ed, doesn’t make. Based on her own psychiatric practice, she suggests that reintroducing institutionalization would fill current gaps in “care” for people with disabilities. She wants to provide sensory stimulation rooms and vocational skills training. She thinks that’s enough.

It’s not.

What if I told you that a solution to the concerns Montross raises already exists? What if I also told you a peculiarly excellent example exists here at Radford University?

I refer to the idea of inclusion, which essentially asserts that people with disabilities have a right to participate as fully and meaningfully as possible in their communities. This concept has gained particular traction in schools, because of federal mandates to place students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible to receive special education services. The goal of inclusion is to integrate all students — those with disabilities, those without, students who are gifted — into classrooms that both challenge and support everyone.

This is a good and necessary thing — but what’s the point of promoting inclusion in schools if it doesn’t exist in the community?

This is where the On-Campus Transitions Program comes in. A partnership between Montgomery County Public Schools and Radford University (there’s also a program at Virginia Tech), OCTP puts students with disabilities who have graduated from high school where many of their peers are: on a college campus. Students take classes, work on-campus jobs, and spend academic and recreational time with both paid peer mentors and student volunteers from a wide variety of majors. It’s inclusive. It’s beneficial to students and mentors. Speaking from my personal experiences volunteering junior year, it’s excellent fun.

Johnna Elliott, the current director of RU’s OCTP, wrote her own response to Montross’ article. She advocates, naturally, for inclusive community-based models of support. “It takes money…for sure,” she explains. “But it takes MUCH MORE money to fund the dark, isolated hallways of an institution.” People can be supported “adequately, even fabulously, in their home communities” when we focus our energies and resources on including them in those communities.

“There is a hell on earth, and in America there is a special inferno,” the authors of Christmas in Purgatory asserted. This is a fire we have started to put out. Why bring back the torches?