Russia strikes back

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Alex Stephens

The Russian invasion of Georgia earlier this month highlights the major failures of current American foreign policy as well as an overall inability of the West to cope with a changing political climate.

Our Western-apprentice democratic leader Mikheil Saakashvili fell victim to the taunts of Russia and decided to send his troops into a breakaway region of his country.

And surprisingly, America did nothing to help him when Russia lashed back.

Why is this?

From the multitude of “pro-democracy” rhetoric spouted from the lips of our president, I would have thought America would instantly be on the scene to halt such aggressive action against our protégé democratic state.

It used to be that America could flex its military muscle around the globe, with or without consent of the international community. When it suited our interests, we would invade countries or defend peoples.

The 2008 South Ossetia War, as it is being referred to, marks the beginning of a major shift in political balance between Russia and the West. Gone are the days of Pax Americana, where America was the sole distributor of military action without fear of international repercussion.

Gone are the days when America could influence Russian politics and economy, when we would rush them to democratize and rammed capitalism down their throats.

Democracy appears to have been set aside to the much preferred kingly rule of Putin, still pulling the strings of his puppet Medvedev.

A shameful display of elections characterized Russia last spring. Election laws make it very difficult for opposition parties to win, in addition to the blackmailing and bullying which strengthened Medvedev’s (Putin’s) victory.

Regardless of how, Russia once again elected a leader who is strong, fearless, and most importantly, won’t be pushed around by the West.

But back to Ossestias consequences: What does Russia have to fear from such a heavy handed assault on a Western-backed democracy? Not much; a few inconsequential words from Bush and his administration, but any option of military intervention by the U.S. was always “off the table.”

Russia is now too large, too powerful, and too globally influential to be treated as a lesser actor by Washington.

The most America is able to muster has been finalizing an 18-month stalled agreement with Poland to install a strategic missile defense system. I question the diplomacy of such a move.

If America wants to keep lines of communication and negotiation open with Moscow, it shouldn’t be flashing its guns. Especially with military action off the table, this seems a hollow threat. Besides, why hasn’t Condi paid them a visit yet? Are we afraid?

To make matters worse, our European allies are shackled by a dependence on Russian resources and won’t risk losing them.

Remember, in 2006 Russia cut off oil and natural gas to Ukraine and Moldova for political reasons.

So if European NATO nations start to get rough with Russia, what’s to stop the heat from turning off this winter?

Russia has plenty of demand for their resources from China, too.

Now we are faced with an Eastern Monster once again: one that disregards the opinion of the international community blatantly ignores peace treaties, sells advanced weaponry to Western enemy states like Syria, and with such disposable resources, seems to be holding a lot of cards.

Russia is back and won’t be ignored any longer.

Alex Stephens is a junior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

letters@collegian.com.

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Showdown the right way

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

Ram fans, it’s time to get your football on.

On Sunday, our CSU football team will take on CU-Boulder in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown at Invesco Field in Denver. As this is the biggest and arguably most important game of the season, the Collegian Editorial Board would like to offer a few tips to ensure a successful football experience.

Dress to impress

Folks, this one should be a no-brainer. Help “greenout” the student section by putting on your favorite Rams gear, or, even better, your “Forever Green” t-shirt. For you more adventurous folks, bring out body paint. Take it from us — the crazier you get, the more fun you’ll have.

Tailgate

This one’s simple. Find a friend with a truck and bring a grill. For even better results, bring some buffalo burgers so you can “eat the competition.” Can’t find a truck? No problem. Bring some lawn chairs and chill out anyway. If you can wrangle it — and if you’re of age — bring an extra six-pack to trade for some grub. Nobody wants to watch the game on an empty stomach. Remember, however, to tailgate responsibly. Nobody wants to see Rams spending the night with Denver police — we need you inside Invesco cheering on the team.

Find a designated driver

If you must drink, as we know many of you will, be safe about it. Make sure you know how you are getting home before you crack open your first beer. Driving under the influence is both dangerous and extremely expensive if you are caught. Be smart.

Have fun

It’s the first weekend of the semester and the most exciting game of the year. Let loose and have a blast. Go Rams!

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Student travels from Philly to document DNC

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

When Mike Polinsky got to Denver to report the Democratic National Convention to his Philadelphia, Penn.-based independent newspaper, The Defenestrater, he had no clue what his angle was.

All he had was a place to stay with a bunch of anarchists who own a concert venue, a sleeping bag, pen and notepad.

The venue he stayed at while trying to get his angle down was a little hole-in-the-wall in downtown Denver called Rhinoceropolis on Brighton and 36th Avenue. It’s regularly filled with kids just out of high school looking to get laid. And he liked them.

“[Last night], we were up all night drinking whiskey sours and singing folk songs,” Polinski told the Collegian Thursday.

Little did he know, the group, called Recreate ’68, would become his story.

Polinsky, a 20-year-old journalism student from Temple University followed his new found friends around Denver as they protested the two-party system that they say is the reason for the dissatisfactory political state of the U.S.

The Defenestrator identifies as an anarchist-leaning information forum — the perfect outlet for a reporter that wants the scoop on an underground project like Recreate ’68’s “disruption” of the DNC.

But reporting their project was not easy because, he said, paranoia and distrust of the media — no matter the publication’s social views — is rife in a society that goes under the radar to break down social barriers.

When he called their headquarters, which they call the “convergence zone,” from Philadelphia and identified himself as a reporter hoping to gain access to their meetings, they wouldn’t let him even though his paper identified with their movement.

After following them around for a week, documenting their protest scenes and eventually getting into their clandestine meetings, he’s not sure how he feels about their plight.

“It seems like they need to let people in, especially indie media,” he said. “It seems like they could trust me.”

“If I were going to the [Republican National Convention], I don’t know if I would go as a reporter or an anarchist,” he said.

He loves the group’s passion for social issues and making their voice heard, but he doesn’t agree with their exclusive tactics that leave the moderate minds on the outs.

“I really want to paint the protesters in a positive light and show that they’re not crazy, radical kids,” he said. “[But] if you want to have a social revolution, you can’t disassociate an entire population.”

When Polinsky arrived in Denver, he didn’t know what to expect, but the first day showed him the emotion behind the convention.

The first time he walked the 16th Street Mall he saw a Christian protester yelling at a female passerby for being a woman.

“He said, ‘I’ve got one word for you: kitchen — just get back in the kitchen,'” Polinsky said. “It was very emotional for me. I was on the verge of tears.”

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU ranks 63rd in ‘America’s Best Colleges’

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Rachel Survil

CSU ranks in the top tier of national public universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges” edition, released Friday.

The university placed 63rd among public universities and 125th overall out of 130.

CSU placed 124th out of 124, last place, in the top tier in the 2008 report.

The report was based on data collected from more than 1,400 colleges and universities.

The schools were organized by mission, which degrees they offer and what their focus is. For example, national universities like CSU provide both undergraduate and master’s degrees and focus on research.

They were then ranked according to 15 indicators of academic excellence, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students and alumni gifts. The university received a score of 34.

CU-Boulder received a score of 44, placing it at number 77, and the University of Denver scored a 41, with a rank of 89. Both were in the top tier.

The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley didn’t rank, but managed to make the fourth tier.

“We’re pleased with the ranking among America’s top universities, but, of course, we’re not satisfied with this ranking and we hope to continue to improve in future years,” Tony Frank, CSU provost and senior vice president, said in an e-mail.

“It’s also useful to note that we’re not alone in our investments toward quality: our peers are taking similar approaches and so we’re pleased with our position despite much greater state support and tuition increases by our peers,” he added.

The College of Engineering received a noteworthy 35th place among public universities.

“We’re very pleased, but more important than ranking is to improve each year,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering. “We’re less concerned with rankings than excellence; we’re concerned more with great educational programs and research, and the rankings reflect that.”

CSU was also listed under the Programs to Look For: “Writing in the Disciplines” category. Along with only nine other public universities, (and 23 private ones including Yale and Princeton), CSU strives to make writing a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum, according to the report.

The university’s Strategic Plan and the Board’s Stretch Goals aim to expand CSU’s growth, and thus raise the ranking, in future years.

“We anticipate increasing faculty size, increasing employee salaries and benefits, increasing need and merit based financial aid, increasing student success rates in retention and graduation, increasing research and enrollment-based funding, and a general recognition that Colorado State University is a university making serious positive progress,” Frank said.

Staff writer Rachel Survil can be reached at news@collegian.com

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CSUPD advises students to follow safety precautions

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Johnny Hart

The CSU Police Department advised students commuting to campus to do so safely and legally, according to a letter addressed to the CSU community.

The Aug. 12 letter emphasised that, due to the large number of CSU students and faculty, it is paramount that all must take responsibility for keeping campus safe.

“It is essential that each person obeys the laws while riding a bicycle or driving a vehicle on campus,” the letter said.

CSUPD spokesperson Jackie Swaro said the letter was just a reminder to take precautionary measures because of the possiblilty of high congestion on campus.

“We’ll see a large amount of pedestrians and bicylists,” Swaro said.

Swaro said students should realize bikes are vehicles and bicyclists need to follow all the same laws as other vehicles.

“I would hope most (students) do follow the laws,” she said.

The CSUPD also encouraged alternative methods of transportation to help alleviate parking congestion.

“The CSU Police Department encourages the use of efficient ‘green’ methods of transportation such as walking, bicylcling or skateboarding,” said the CSUPD.

Rikky Walsh, poster salesman on the LSC Plaza, finds that most campus bikers obey bike traffic laws, he said.

“Most of the people I see are walking their bike,” Walsh said.

He said he felt that if someone was biking through the LSC Plaza during the day, it could be dangerous.

Talking about campus congestion, freshman anthropology major Sam McMillan said, “It’s crazy during the day.”

But McMillan does not always follow bike traffic laws while riding through campus, she said.

“If I think I can get away with it, I don’t always follow (bike laws),” she said.

Staff writer Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Safety precautions on campus

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians have the right-of-way on all sidewalks and crosswalks.

Pedestrians should make themselves visible to motorists, bicyclists and skateboarders and use extra caution at intersections.

Pedestrians should walk on the right side of a pathway/sidewalk.

Bicycle/Skateboard Safety

Bicyclists are required to obey the same applicable traffic regulations as the driver of an automobile.

Bicyclists and skateboarders must dismount in designated dismount zones on the weekdays during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., unless otherwise posted. In addition, bicyclists and skateboarders will dismount in any location where it is impractical to ride due to heavy pedestrian traffic.

Riders must give an audible signal when passing on the left to alert a pedestrian of an approaching bicycle or skateboard.

Bicyclists are to ride on the right side of a roadway/pathway with the flow of traffic.

Bicyclists must use lights and reflectors when riding at night. No bicycle or skateboard tricks are allowed on campus.

Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicles must always give the right-of-way to pedestrians.

All motor vehicles must obey campus speed limits of 20 mph on roadways and 10 mph in all parking lots; speed limits are enforced.

When passing a bicyclist on the left, motor vehicles should leave a minimum distance of three feet between the bicyclist and the vehicle.

Driving a motor vehicle on sidewalks, pathways or service drives is prohibited except by turf carts or service vehicles on official University business.

All vehicles must park in the designated lots for the issued permit and/or pay-by-space parking spaces.

Source: CSUPD

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School of art finds new home

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Trevor Simonton

After over fifteen years of development and planning, Colorado State University’s School of the Arts has finally found a new home.

This semester marks the first time in CSU’s history that the departments of music, theatre, and dance are all in the same building – and a $50 million building at that.

“This project has been in development for many, many years,” said Jennifer Clary, Marketing and Publicity Coordinator for the School of Arts.

Although the official ribbon cutting is yet to come, the newly renovated University Center for the Arts — located at 1400 Remington, across the street from the flower garden – has opened its doors and is currently hosting performance art classes.

The building was acquired by CSU back in 1995, after Fort Collins High School moved out.

Renovations of the old high school began shortly thereafter, but were cut short when state funding was reduced in 2002.

“There was literally wiring and asbestos hanging from the ceilings when we had to stop construction, and basically seal off the building,” Clary said.

Over the next several years, the majority of the building was in disrepair and unusable, until 2006, when the Griffin Concert Hall was finished with donations from the Griffin family.

A large donation from the Bohemian foundation and a vote to increase student fees in January of 2007 gave the department what it needed to finish the job.

The new facility boasts over 330 thousand square feet of space, which consist of three-dozen soundproofed rehearsal rooms for music students — three times what existed in the old music building, three large acting labs for theatre students and three large dance studios.

Clary said that before the move, the dance students definitely had it the worst.

She said that over the last twenty years, they have been moved from Ammons Hall, to Johnson, and before the UCA, to General Services – where they shared building space with radioactive research materials.

“People would come to see performances and were welcomed by those radioactive warning symbols on big yellow signs,” Clary said.

Now these students will be rehearsing and performing on one of only two dance stages in Colorado that were built exclusively for dance. Clary said that although many similar stages exist, most are built for multipurpose performances.

Not yet open are two museums that will also call the UCA home – an art museum and a museum of design and merchandising. Both will be opening in the coming April, after all the fragile artwork is properly acclimatized in a secure location – as is required practice for any art museum.

Also to be left unveiled until later in the year is the world famous Casavant Freres Organ, valued at more than $750,000. The former music building was home to this renowned instrument for almost forty years, and moving it was no easy task.

“A group of tuners and builders came in from all over the country and Europe to make sure that the organ’s sounds would be unaffected by the move – we were all very nervous,” Clary said.

The new home of the organ is on the second floor of the UCA – in a room that featured bricked off windows while it was still part of the high school.

With the move coming to completion — the bricks are off the window, and the organ shines and sings brilliantly.

Though it is in working order for practices, it will not be revealed in concert until the tuners come back for a check up at the end of the semester. Its debut performance in the new location is scheduled for February.

Official ribbon cutting will be October 16, as well as an open house to show off the work.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at news@collegian.com

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CSU competes with CU for voters

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Kelli Pryor

Not just Ram football players are going to have the chance to go head to head against CSU’s biggest rival.

Every CSU student who attends the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Sunday will be able to compete with CU students to see which university can register the most students to vote.

If you would like to register, remember to bring your driver’s license or another form of identification like a passport and know your social security number. Even if you are already registered in a different state, in order to vote in Colorado you must register to vote again.

Members of Associated Students of CSU and CU’s student government will be registering students from their respective schools to vote from 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of Invesco Field. The winning university will be announced during the second quarter, said Taylor Smoot, CSU student body president.

ASCSU and CSU’s voter coalition — members from ASCSU, Greek Life and Black Student Services, among others — are organizing the event with CU’s student government to make sure as many students are registered to vote as possible.

“We’re hoping students will get more involved in politics,” said Amanda Varley, member of the Colorado Public Interest Group and the CSU voter coalition. “We want politicians to notice college students and pay attention to issues we care about.”

Varley mentioned textbook prices and increasing tuition as key issues presidential candidates should pay more attention to.

ASCSU is expecting a “boom or bust” situation with registering voters, Varley said. The organization has printed 500 registration forms, but is unsure how many students they will register.

Staff writer Kelli Pryor can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Former students witness Obama make history

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Aug 282008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

CSU graduates, former professors and Colorado State’s own ASCSU president were among the crowd of nearly 50,000 politically charged Democrats who sat witness to Sen. Barack Obama’s speech at the DNC Thursday night.

Jennifer Walton, a research assistant at CSU, sat in section 123 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium with nearly 200 other members, volunteers and local politicians from the Larimer County Democratic Party. While the majority of people paid big bucks for tickets, these local Democrats paid their way by volunteering for the party and the candidates.

As a full-time Webmaster for the LCDP, Walton works out of the headquarters at 606 S. Mason Street in Fort Collins.

Walton, with a “Change” poster for Obama gripped between her fingertips and her camera wedged between her palms, stood next to Amy Satterfield, former Collegian adviser.

The two still keep in contact after Walton took JTC 310 with Satterfield in 2007.

When Obama walked onto the stage and began to inspire in his infamous style, Walton fixated on his face, magnified on the Jumbo-Tron.

There she remained, with a smile on her face, even when everyone around her sat down.At one point, she turned to Satterfield and nodded in silent agreement as Obama promised to “provide every child a world-class education.”

“His speech was just so brilliant,” she said. “I don’t know how, but he somehow managed to verbalize his passion for his job and for his country.”

Local candidates such as James Ross, candidate for Colorado House District 49 and former political theories and international relations professor at CSU sat with the LCDP.

Other attendees included:

Randy Eubanks, County Commissioner for Dist. 2

John Slater, Windsor Town Board Member for Dist. 1

Ben Manvel, Fort Collins City Council member

Betsy Markey, candidate for Congress

On the other side of the stadium, Taylor Smoot, ASCSU president, donned a CSU shirt and cheered wildly as former Vice President Al Gore mounted the podium.

Taylor Smoot entered the stadium expecting to sit alone and take in the democratic air alone but ran into fellow CSU student Marcella Burg, a senior journalism major.

Smoot just found out yesterday that a family friend had an extra ticket and he jumped at the opportunity to go. When Smoot found out the DNC was to be held in Denver , he thought to himself “Wow this is going to be the future of the Democratic Party.”

“The Convention could not be held in a more beautiful state – in my opinion the best state in the union,” Smoot said. “I’d have to say this is one of the most defining moments in my life. Listening to Obama speak just really encouraged me to do good not only for others but for the good of the nation.”

“I just feel so very privileged to have gotten a ticket and to be here at the DNC,” Smoot said, as he struggled to put his gratitude into words.

“It’s just mind blowing, the whole event,” he said. “There are people here from all over the country and the amount of diversity is just incredible, I just can’t believe it.

Smoot, an avid supporter of his platform, believes that if nominated, Obama can be the “next step in the American story.”

Staff writer Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com

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CTSS quick stop for most computer needs

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Aug 272008
 
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

We know that inside each of you readers of news, there is an inner nerd.

We know that the amount of time this nerd spends on the surface of your consciousness varies between individuals, but it is there, nonetheless.

It wants to know cool things; things like the fact that last week, Intel lit a light bulb from three feet away without wires, Apple will be coming out with a new iPod Nano soon and that CSU now provides more than 50 television channels for streaming on your computer.

Our job is going to be feeding this inner nerd of yours in a weekly column — your one stop update on technology that relates to your life.

We begin the journey with letting you know about some of the services provided by CSU’s Computer Training and Support Services department.

One of the first things new CSU students worry about upon moving to campus is setting up their Internet connection and, for some, the hassles with tech support that go along with it.

Afterward, however, many students don’t take a second glance at the services offered by CTSS.

Whether you’re just stopping by to say, “Hi” or there’s smoke billowing from your laptop, CTSS is there to help.

The CTSS help desk, located in room 224 of the Weber building, is, at first glance, cluttered with half-built computers.

The room itself is nothing more than a computer lab.

Upon closer inspection, one will find an accommodating staff dedicated to making the CSU computing experience a good one for everyone on campus.

Located in the waiting area is a homey couch, perfect for students toting incapacitated hardware.

In the case that you have a hardware-related issue with your computer, you can find fair pricing — $75 an hour — on installation of new parts.

If the computer is no longer under warranty, the cost of the part would be in addition to this service charge.

For Apple certified repairs, Mac users may visit CTSS. However, in some instances they will be referred to Apple tech support.

Although CTSS charges for some services, the support provided by CTSS is free for phone calls, questions and basic software installation.

Another free service offered to students is free printing of up to 45 black and white pages a day.

But that’s not all you can print. Full color poster sized prints cost $5.10 per linear foot, roughly a quarter of the price at other major printing companies. That’s just shy of $11 for a two-foot by three-foot full color print.

It’s also a known fact that college students love their Photoshop.

The computer lab at the help center provides for free use of Photoshop on its computers, along with other Adobe programs such as Illustrator, InDesign and DreamWeaver, plus the full Microsoft Office Suite.

The help center is also able to remove any virus or spyware that has infected a computer, at the same $75 fee as hardware repairs.

We all know that the best way to stay disease free is to use protection, and CSU offers some of the best. Symantec antivirus software is available to students for free and the help desk will even assist you in the install.

In the event that a user is suffering from a system meltdown, the help center can do a complete rebuild of the computer.

This includes the re-installation of your operating system, important software updates and for a little extra they can, in most cases, insure the recovery of all data.

Another necessity for college students is setting up new computers — which the help center can also do for students who don’t want to worry about setting up their own virus protection and network software.

This $45 flat fee service gets your new laptop or desktop out of the box and in peak condition to fight off all types of malware, ensuring a worry free computing experience.

Columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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Local artist creates new sound

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Aug 272008
 
Authors: kelly bleck

Sitting in the Alley Cat coffee shop, Maxwell Hughes pulls out his guitar and is instantly surrounded by a circle of admirers. The songs, from his recently debuted self-titled album, clearly energize and inspire listeners.

Hughes, a Fort Collins native, said he picked up a guitar six years ago out of sheer boredom.

“A lot of people assume that it all came naturally. That is so not the case,” Hughes said. “I had to work really hard at progressing musically. After a while though, I had a knack for it.”

Hughes performed in his high school’s Battle of the Bands, which he said led to his initial interest and exploration into music.

“It sounds lame, but I got started with a Battle of the Bands,” Hughes said. “I originally entered it as a joke, but ended up winning. Again, as lame as it sounds, that was actually one of the best-paid ‘gigs’ I’ve ever had because the door money was the award for first place. But it definitely peaked my interest in pursuing music.”

After Battle of the Bands, Hughes started practicing, developing his own style and becoming more adept at musical technique, he said.

His music is not placed in any particular genre, as Hughes said he relies on his personal preferences, not inspiration from other musicians.

“I am like every musician out there though; I don’t want to be in any sort of category,” Hughes said. “As a musician I try to differ from the regular, from the expected.”

Hughes said he strives to combine many musical aspects into a single song, using only his guitar and, on occasion, surrounding objects to draw out percussion, bass and lead.

His style generates a sound many listeners said they have never heard before.

Hughes said he doesn’t like to have the spotlight on him, whether the performance is formal or informal.

“I don’t necessarily strive well under admiration and I’m lost when people praise me,” Hughes said. “I don’t know how to react.”

Hughes said he’s trying to expand beyond current sounds and “avoid cheesy love songs, even though those are the easiest things to write.”

Jerry Palmer, a friend of Hughes, heard him play about five years ago and said he has

seen him progress in ability. After hearing him play recently and believing his talent should be heard, he offered Hughes his recording equipment.

“I offered him my equipment because he’s young and can’t really afford it. It’s a very expensive thing to do,” Palmer said. “Word has to get out and hopefully the CD will help generate more gigs regionally.”

His CD is purely acoustic, and does not have lyrics.

“I think it’s just luck. Artists draw inspiration from things, and I’m just waiting for that because I’m hoping my inspiration (for lyrics) will be really meaningful,” said Hughes. “For right now I’m just messing around.”

Because of his dedication to music, Hughes has not yet pursued a college degree.

He focused on his music during high school and upon graduation continued along those lines, he said.

“I have thought about going (to school) for music but I am already a musician, so it never fully made sense,” Hughes said. “Higher education is definitely important, but it’s something I can always go back to.”

Hughes said that recently he has been doing odd jobs, such as construction, trying to accumulate money and keep his musical dreams afloat.

He said he’s hoping his new CD will generate interest in his music as well as provide an opportunity to play more venues.

“It’s difficult to get into the larger places, you have to be more well known than a coffee shop player,” Hughes said.

His CD is available for sale at the Alley Cat, Starry Night, The Matter Book Store and on his Myspace page, www.myspace.com/maxwellhughes.

To hear Hughes live, check out Tour de Fat on Sept. 6 and Road 34 on Sept. 17. For future show dates visit his Myspace page.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm