Fort Collins residents plot for an apocalypse… but not in the way you might think

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Moonier Said

What would happen if the apocalypse occurred in Fort Collins?

This is a question that Wolverine Farm Publishing, a local nonprofit organization, hopes to answer in its third annual pitch-a-thon, which will be held Wednesday night at Odell Brewing Company.

“I was going to pitch (a) ‘Red Dawn’-themed book, but with zombies instead of Russians, where teenagers and youth try to survive in the mountains against countless hordes,” said Nick Divine, a sophomore history education major.

The person with the best idea will have the opportunity to be published in August.

“The purpose is to engage our readers and have them pitch us stories; what are they curious about and what do they want us to focus on,” said Todd Simmons, the founder of Wolverine Farm Publishing.

Simmons founded Wolverine Farm Publishing in 2002 to help publish his own works and in hopes of publishing other quality literature and art that mindfully engages humans with the world.

After Wolverine Publishing, Simmons went on to help create Matter Bookstore, a nonprofit organization that receives 80 percent of its books from donations.

At Wednesday’s pitch-a-thon, a donation of $10 will buy the donor a glass of beer and one story pitch. All ideas will be voted on and the top three ideas will be pursued for publication

People of all ages and occupations attend the pitch-a-thon, and are a mixture of people who want to be more involved in the community and those who are simply curious, Simmons said.

Keynote speaker John Major Jenkins will give a short talk about the idea of an apocalypse as the tragic end of the world or a renewal for a wonderful new world.

With three years under their belt, Wolverine Publishing hopes to gain an even better understanding of what Fort Collins wants to read and know about.

“We want to be valuable, effective and relevant, and there’s no better way than to share a beer, talk about the town and throw around ideas,” Simmons said.

Collegian writer Moonier Said can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:41 pm

Colorado State football player, lawyer deny fight charges and allegations of drug possession

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Erin Udell

In light of recent misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges stemming from an April 6 brawl – as well as a police report detailing the discovery of possible illegal drugs in two football players’ homes – junior linebacker Mike Orakpo’s lawyer is stepping in to refute the charges and claims.

While Erik Fischer, Orakpo’s lawyer, was unable to provide a comment to the Collegian by deadline, he spoke to the Denver Post, saying the freshmen who claimed to be assaulted in the April 6 incident had instigated the fight.

The players involved, including Orakpo, junior defensive end Nordly Capi and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus, were each charged in the fight and have been suspended indefinitely from the football team by coach Jim McElwain.

Donald William Gocha, the freshman health and exercise science major who was knocked unconscious during the altercation, also received a disorderly conduct charge.

In addition to the fight, Fischer said details Fort Collins police officers wrote in a 90-page police report released Thursday were false, calling the alleged discovery of used syringes and vials of clear liquid in Orakpo’s room “made up crap from the Fort Collins police department.”

The police report went on to say that officers found a box for a kit used to skew the results of a marijuana drug test in Orakpo and junior defensive end Nordly Capi’s living room. But, since Capi and Orakpo have roommates, the box could not be linked to either of them.

“What is a marijuana masking kit?” Fischer said. “There is no effective way to mask marijuana use. The NCAA understands how to test for these things.”

In a separate search for evidence linked to the April 6 fight, police also found evidence of anabolic steroids in junior defensive end Colton Paulhus’ home. According to the report, however, Paulhus told police he had a prescription for the steroids and, while the syringes found in his possession did have a prescription label on them, Paulhus couldn’t produce the prescription to police.

In addition to complying with the NCAA’s mandatory, year-round drug testing program, CSU student athletes are also tested through the university’s own program.

An athlete’s positive drug result with the NCAA – as well as with CSU – results in a mandatory 365-day suspension from competition.

Possession of anabolic steroids is a Class 4 felony, which could lead to two to six years in prison and fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000. Linda Jensen, the public-information officer for the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, told the Post she could not say whether or not additional charges would be added to the disorderly conduct misdemeanors the players have been charged with.

“Anytime that concern is raised, it’s very unsettling,” said CSU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Gary Ozzello in regards to drug use among university athletes.

“First and foremost, we want to educate our athletes and make sure they’re aware of the dangers of drug use.”

According to the CSU drug-testing policy, educational efforts include an annual presentation to each team about the drug program’s purpose, the distribution of updated lists of university banned drug classes and special workshops, lectures or seminars.

“Our goal is to eliminate it (drug use) in every form,” Ozzello added.

News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:40 pm

Reviewing the Fukushima disaster and journalism

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Thomas E. Johnson

I read with great interest the opinion column by S. Jacob Stern on April 30, 2012 on the Fukushima accident. Unfortunately, he appears to be a victim of the “Google search” research method. It is also unfortunate that he did not check here at CSU for information on radiation effects, where we have some of the premier radiobiologists in the world.

CSU has an amazing group of researchers who are members of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (Drs. Thomas Borak and F. Ward Whicker) and the National Academy of Science’s Board on Radiation Effects (Dr. Joel Bedford), among others. Furthermore, Drs. Whicker and Borak are also world-renowned researchers for their work on the effects of Chernobyl. We do not have sufficient room in this short note to delineate all of the outstanding work in radiation science and radiation protection that is ongoing at CSU, but a quick search of our University web pages should suffice. Finally, at least three of the graduate students in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences were involved in the immediate Fukushima response.

As for the details of Chernobyl –– I would invite Mr. Stern to carefully read the report issued by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2008, Annex D. It provides details as to the 54 persons who died due to direct effects of radiation, and also notes that “…the vast majority of the population need not live in fear of serious health consequences due to the radiation from the Chernobyl accident.” This report, together with the Report of the Chernobyl Committee, would provide valuable information with regard to the effects of ionizing radiation for Mr. Stern’s column.

Fukushima is, indeed, a different situation. Mr. Stern’s comment that “…this situation could literally destroy all life on Earth” was an excellent example of collecting information on the Internet from sources that might include persons who have not received sufficient training in the field of radiological science to be able to assess the true radiation effects. We would hope that a credible journalist would also employ other resources, such as peer reviewed articles and reports, to build his or her case.

More than 15,000 people died (possibly many more, our data is incomplete), and many more were injured due to the tsunami in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. To date, no deaths have been reported due to radiation. We expect that no deaths at all will be attributed to radiation from this disaster based upon the information currently available via MEXT (http://radioactivity.mext.go.jp/en/).

Based on our experience and calculations, we were unable to postulate a scenario wherein all life on Earth would be destroyed due to a reactor accident. We would welcome Mr. Stern to meet with us to discuss any scenario, including the “meltdown” of all 436 power reactors (Nuclear Energy Institute, March, 2012) in the world.

It is a pity, in my opinion, that Mr. Stern is an unknowing victim of the type of “journalism” which he so despises.

_Thomas E. Johnson is an associate professor of environmental and radiological health sciences at CSU. _

 Posted by at 2:32 pm

Colorado State baseball player leads the Rams in search of one last title

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Andrew Schaller

One of the leaders of the CSU club baseball team who was instrumental in winning three national championships in the last five years played in his final game at City Park in Fort Collins last weekend.

Third baseman Josh Ary, from Canon City, Colo., will graduate in May with a degree in business administration, leaving a hole on the left side of the diamond that will be difficult for the Rams to fill next year.

“Josh is the face of this program,” CSU coach Matt Reed said. “He’s a phenomenal player, a phenomenal person, a great leader, and he’s gonna be missed.”

The series last weekend against Northern Colorado could have been the last games Ary played as a Ram.

CSU went into the last game of the four-game home stand with a chance to either clinch the Mid-America West division and secure their spot in the postseason with a win, or leave the door open for Northern Colorado to take the division with a loss.

It was only after a two-run homerun by Austin-Davidson Pray in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday afternoon that the Rams clinched the division and ensured they will be playing more baseball this summer.

“That was a great piece of hitting,” Ary said. “It was deserved, all the work he’s put in and we’ve put in as a unit, just to see that pay off from someone … you wouldn’t typically think would hit a homerun. It’s something special.”

Ary, who led the Rams in homeruns the past two seasons, will now be able to play out the postseason with the Rams through the summer, along with pitcher Mark Rivet and center fielder Matt Kurtz, who will also be graduating in May.

For Ary, the thing he has enjoyed the most throughout his baseball career is the relationships he’s made with his teammates.

“I’m just gonna miss being part of this team,” Ary said. “I love all these guys. It’s my fraternity. They’re my brothers, and it’s something special. Anyone who’s played competitive sports knows that it’s a brotherhood, and I’m gonna miss that the most.”

When his time at CSU has finally ended, Ary said he has thought about the possibility of trying out for a professional team to see if he can make it to the next level.

“I talked to Josh about it the other day,” said Nick Childs, who played with Ary from 2009-2011 and is now an assistant coach for CSU.

“He’s a great baseball player; he hits so well. He’s matured so much that it’d be fun to see where he could continue to progress because every year he gets better and better.”

For now, Ary and the rest of the Rams will focus on advancing in the regional round of the postseason in order to extend their dreams of winning a fourth national title in the last five years.

“There’s a lot of emotions going on right now,” Ary said. “Just to be part of this program is something special; there’s a lot of history. It’s good to go out on top on this field, but work’s not done.

“We’re not done at all yet.”

Club sports Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Josh Ary
· Position: Third Base
· Hometown: Cañon City, Colo.
· Class: Senior
· Major: Business Administration

 Posted by at 2:31 pm

Saying goodbye after college graduation

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

As everyone’s favorite blind Italian opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, so beautifully sang in “Time to Say Goodbye,” it’s nearing that time — that time to say goodbye, in many cases indefinitely, to people whom we’ve grown to deeply care for over the past few years.

When I began my time as Editorial Editor for the Collegian a year ago, I barely knew any of my fellow editors and almost nothing of the job I had agreed to take on. Edit a couple columns every day and get paid for it? That’ll take almost no time, right?

Oh, was I wrong. I had no idea the amount of time I’d devote to this newsroom tucked away in the basement of the Lory Student Center, or subsequently, how much melanin, outside human interaction and normal sleep patterns I’d lose.

I never could have anticipated the consistent stream of heated debate that would surround the Opinion page this year, and I definitely never thought columns printed on this page would elicit an entire protest against us. Without hesitation, I can admit I wasn’t prepared. When people told me, “You’re going to need a thick skin for this job,” I probably should’ve taken them a bit more seriously.

Because, judging by the number of times I’ve sat at my desk, sobbing and stress-eating Subway cookies and saltine crackers from the Ramskeller, it’s safe to say that my “skin” wasn’t quite thick enough.

But it doesn’t matter. None of it. Because, regardless of the things I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made — and there have been plenty of both — the significance lies in the people I’ve met, the people I’ve grown to love and ultimately the people I’ll hold dear for the rest of my life.

During the long hours I’ve spent in this newsroom and at CSU in general, I’ve met quite a few of these people. And I know most of you have too.

So as graduation looms less than two weeks away, I’ve started thinking about the different ways I’ve said “goodbye” in the past and, sadly, the “goodbyes” I’ll be saying in the near future.

And I know everyone says this, but I’m awful at it. My “goodbye” usually never fits the context, and I end up wishing I’d said more… or in some cases, less.

There’s the: ‘I know I’ll probably never see you again, but I can’t face the thought of that yet, so I’m going to pretend you’re just leaving on a weekend trip or something.’

Person 1: “Hey, so, have a good flight! You’re going to love New York. Bring me back a hot dog! Ha… ha. Bye!”

Person 2: “I’ll miss you, you know…”

Person 1: “Ohhh, come on! This isn’t really goodbye! Have a great trip, alright?”

Person 2: “But I signed a five-year contract, and you’re moving to China…”

Person 1: “…Oh, stop being so down! I’ll see you really soon!”

You see, in this type of “goodbye,” Person 1 is left with a car ride home full of tears and the radio blasting “My Heart Will Go On.”

Don’t do this, because denial is never the way to go. But neither is…

The “You’re just moving an hour away, but for some reason that seems monumental to me right now, so I’m going to have an emotional breakdown after your graduation.”

Person 1: “I can’t believe the time is finally here…”

Person 2: “Aaah, I can’t believe it either! Finally out in the ‘real world.’ Crazy!”

Person 1: “No, I mean… I can’t believe you’re finally leaving… for good.”

Person 2: “Oh, come on, we’ll still see each other all the time! This isn’t actually goodbye. I’ll visit every weekend!”

Person 1: “I will always, always remember you. You’ve left a footprint on my heart.”

Don’t be that Person 1, either.

But do: Say goodbye with honest emotion, and remember that if the person really means something to you, no goodbye is permanent.

I know that sounds sappy, even by my standards, but it’s true. And as I watch my friends walk across the stage at graduation, I’ll know that, even though they won’t be in my life everyday anymore, they’ll never leave my life completely.

So as long as we’re in the realm of “sappy,” as Gandhi himself once said, “There are no goodbyes. Wherever you’ll be, you’ll be in my heart.”

And if they’re not on your heart, they’ll at least be on your Facebook newsfeed.

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:28 pm

Briefs 5/1/12

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Apr 302012
 
Authors:

Russ Johnson to be introduced as BOG’s newest member

After being recently confirmed by the Colorado Senate, Russ Johnson, a 61-year-old Republican from Sterling, will make his debut at the CSU System Board of Governors on Wednesday.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be appointed to the CSU System Board of Governors,” Johnson said in a news release. “I believe in the unique role and mission of the CSU System, and I look forward to working with the Board to ensure that the system continues to build a stronger future for all of Colorado.”

Johnson is the owner and managing partner of Johnson and Associates, CPAS, PC. He has more than 38 years of experience in public accounting and financial planning, and he specializes in agribusiness.

He graduated from CSU in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and is a native of northeast Colorado. He and his son continue to operate the family farm in Logan and Washington counties.

“I’d like to congratulate Russ on being confirmed by the Senate, and I’m very pleased to welcome him to the CSU System Board of Governors,” Board Chair Joe Zimlich said in a news release. “Russ is deeply connected to Colorado’s land and its people, and his experience and leadership will be a tremendous asset to the Board, the CSU campuses and the state of Colorado.”

 Posted by at 2:25 pm

Our View: Apple’s business practices should make the iGeneration stop and wonder

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: The Rocky Mountain Collegian Editorial Board

Take a quick look at your iPhone, iPad or Macbook. They’re pretty awesome, right? What with the streamlined design and functionality, it’s easy to understand why Apple is expected to rake in a record $45.6 billion in profits this fiscal year, and why the company has legions of devout followers.

But have you ever taken a step back and wondered where that iPhone, iPad or Macbook actually came from?

If you haven’t, you should. As revealed in a series of articles by the New York Times detailing Apple’s at-times-dubious business practices, which include using suppliers that pay employees $17 a day to work in dangerous conditions and setting up satellite offices around the world to maintain a tax rate that is far lower than average.

It’s pretty fair to say that your iPhone comes with a higher cost than what you pay per month on your cellphone bill.

According to a report by the Times this weekend, without its current tax strategy, Apple would have most likely owed the U.S. $2.4 billion in taxes more than it ended up paying last year.

Think about it. If that $2.4 billion went to higher education (a totally theoretical model), that would mean an extra $48 million dollars more in funding per state.

While it’s true that countless other companies use the same practices as Apple (many have even used it as a model), and while there are tons of companies out there guilty of far more heinous crimes against its workers than Apple is, it’s still worth it to stop and wonder.

Stop and think about what exactly had to be sacrificed so that you could Facetime or play Angry Birds.

Because while your iPhone may seem like it’s totally awesome, what it symbolizes isn’t quite as awesome as you think. And we’ve got to ask ourselves: Is it worth it?

 Posted by at 2:25 pm

How Colorado State students make the most out of their summer breaks

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Whether it’s swimming in the Red Sea or laying poolside in Arizona, many CSU students are parting ways with Fort Collins and finding adventure abroad during their precious, three-month summer breaks.

Last year, about 6,000 CSU students attended summer session classes, meaning approximately 77 percent of the student body was free to explore life outside of the city. And 2012 is expected to be no different.

Some, like junior cultural anthropology major Aidan Levy, will need a passport for the places to which they’re going.

“A couple years ago, I went on a trip from Egypt to Poland — just everything in between. But I’ve never stayed in a place, lived in a country for a couple months or anything — just backpacking,” he said.

Levy will depart on a birthright trip to Israel in early July and return just before the beginning of fall semester.

“It’s hard to say no to a free trip,” he said.

Multiple nonprofit organizations exist in the U.S. and abroad to fully fund young Jewish students’ voyages to the nation, as many in Jewish and Gentile communities commonly consider it a birthright.

After he tours Tel Aviv and visits the 2,000-year-old fortress of Masada by the Red Sea, Levy said he plans to stay at a kibbutz for a few weeks. Kibbutzim are collective living arrangements traditionally based on agriculture, but they have been known to specialize in other economic sectors as well.

“Growing up, I was sort of detached from my heritage. It’s just a way of connecting back into that,” Levy said.

For other CSU students, staying connected with what makes them who they are means staying stateside.

Cassidy Bible, a freshman business administration student, is one of them. She’s going on a road trip with three of her best friends to Glendale, Ariz., to her parents’ home in the city.

“We did it last summer, so it’s kind of become a tradition,” she said.

Their friendship dates back to middle school days and runs just as deep, too. Bible explained that spending a week laying poolside in Arizona is how the group stays together despite being far apart during the school year.

“I think it’s just getting away from everything and being about to spend time with friends from high school,” she said. “… It’s a time for us to just be together and not worry about anything else.”

Brandon McAllister is also looking to stay in touch with those he’s close with during the summer. But where he’s going, there won’t be a man-made pool.

“Every single summer my family goes out to camp somewhere,” said the undeclared freshman, recalling trips to Nevada, California and parts of Colorado.

This year, they’re going to Idaho.

“We pretty much just hang out,” he said. “We don’t typically have set schedules for the week.”

While his family is centralized in the west — living in California, Nevada, Texas and Colorado — getting everyone together for a week is a rare occasion.

“I really think that family camp helps me keep with my cousins and everything,” McAllister said. “I feel like it betters my relationship with them a lot.”

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:24 pm

How beating Skyward Sword is a metaphor for new beginnings… or something

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Allison Sylte

When you look back at a semester, it’s always weird to realize how much you’ve done. Just 16 weeks ago, I had no idea what a jumpcut was, thought Ginger was the most interesting Spice Girl and had never entertained the possibility of needing to repeat/delete a class.

Ahhh… how things have changed. But one thing has stayed constant during this whirlwind of a semester: The ever-frustrating, and generally exhausting, presence of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” in my life.

My first column was about my love affair with this awe-inspiring fantasy game. So I thought it would be fitting that my last column dealt with finally beating it, a feat I accomplished this weekend surrounded by some of my dearest friends — and my roommate Rachel, who was literally unconscious on the couch.

Some may say that playing Zelda is a waste of time. But here are some of the real-world lessons it has taught me.

1. The bad guys can always do cooler things, but eventually you’ll figure them out

Life is weird that way. Some hurdles out there seem monumental, like something you just can’t beat no matter how hard you try –– much like Ghirahim in the final battle when he gets this weird, muscular body and a new sword.

And a lot like how I eventually figured out that you need to push Ghirahim off of the disco platform/battle arena in order to defeat him, most of the things in life that seem hopeless aren’t that bad once you take a step back, think through it and Google the strategy guide.

Speaking of which…

2. No matter how awesome you think you are, you always need help from your friends

Usually, I hate to cheat. I hate to be indebted to anyone or anything. I think it comes from the last vestiges of Catholic guilt left in my gene pool by my Irish ancestors.

But Zelda has taught me that, sometimes, you just have to suck it up and look at the strategy guide, or at least ask your fairy or the locals for help. Without it, it’s just too freaking hard, and you’ll frustrate yourself.

And for that same reason, you’ve got to rely on your friends a little bit. Otherwise, you’d just be wandering around the Earth Temple for life, wondering where the hell to go.

5. Even if you’re literally saving the world, the angry potions lady is still going to make you pay for heart potions and a new shield

That’s just the way capitalism works, folks. Nothing is free. Not even items in a fictional game.

And don’t even think about breaking into people’s homes, smashing their pots and collecting some rupees: It works in Zelda, but it won’t cut it in real life.

And that’s a big part of why I live off of Ramen.

6. The way things pan out will always surprise you

At the beginning of Skyward Sword, Link is just a lazy kid trying to pass knight academy and maybe hook up with the headmaster’s daughter. By the end of it, he’s the hero who has vanquished evil.

I never thought Greg Mees, Colleen McSweeney, Courtney Riley, Eugene Daniels, Erin Udell, the other Collegian editors and that weird bald guy who apparently “advises” us would become such important parts of my college experience, but somehow, they have.

Life’s crazy that way. Maybe one of them might even vanquish evil one day. But I doubt it.

7. Endings are bittersweet

When I watched the final scenes of Skyward Sword, I felt all of my work these past few months had been rewarded with those awesome final cut-scenes.

By the same token, I felt kind of sad. After all, what else will I (kind of) joke about doing whenever I have free time, and what else can I do to persuade my friends that I’m a total nerd (I’ll think of something)?

If you told me at the beginning of the semester how sad I was that it was going to be over, I would have asked what you were on, and pointed you to the nearest rehabilitation facility. But here I am, sad to see some of my awesome friends graduate, and even sadder to leave my disgusting apartment that I’m pretty sure now has a mice problem.

So, four readers (including my parents), thanks for reading my stuff this semester. It’s been cool to have been recognized at Road 34, harassed on the comment boards by a guy named Ed and tweeted by Demi Lovato fans.

I end with an old Hylian adage: “There is a 90-percent chance the Sacred Flame is within this volcano. I suggest you search for flames.”

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:23 pm

Brainy Broads: Don’t lose your brain this summer

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Apr 302012
 
Authors: Bayley Enright and Emily Kribs

Bayley Enright:

The ladies are wearing their short shorts, the gents are walking around in their aviators, and I’m eating ice cream for every meal. Summer must be here. Are you excited? I am. Mostly.

To be honest, I’m not a huge summer fan. Summer means my library is overrun by summer reading program participants hoping for coupons or free toys. But summer has its perks. My summer plans consist of the “Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” possibly “Spiderman,” definitely “Brave,” and along the way picking up enough money to see “The Hobbit” every night after its release. Yes, that is right. I intend to spend my summer days in a large, dark room staring at a gigantic screen. Problem? …Maybe I’ll go hiking, too.

But I need a break. It’s been a long semester full of reading, writing, tests and a fair amount of emotional breakdowns. School does that to you sometimes. And then there’s you –– responsible for only a tiny percentage of said breakdowns. You’ve put up with arguments about Batman, off-color comments about Shakespeare and excessive fangirling over “Hunger Games,” and I can’t thank you enough for it.

I’d like to leave you all with a final thought: brains. And I don’t mean that in the zombie way (really, please don’t get me into my feelings about zombies. They are many and unpopular). No, I mean brains in the context of smarts and cleverness. I mean brains as in something we all have, even if we neglect them sometimes. And most of us tend to neglect our brains a bit more than usual in the summer months.

The reasons are obvious. No school. No papers. The societal imperative to bake ourselves in the sun and walk around wearing so little we might as well be naked. You know, summer. Not too many people think of “summer” and “brainy” as very compatible things, because if there’s any time of the year you can get away with not being brainy, summer is the time for it.

But don’t let that happen this summer: Don’t neglect your brain. Go read a book or two. Go see a play. Watch something that makes you think. Do crossword puzzles. Hold a “Harry Potter” movie marathon –– that alone should take up most of your summer. But use your brain!

Emily Kribs:

Summer vacation tends to sneak up on me. I mean, I’ll be aware of it, but when it actually rolls around, I’ll be left in the dust of everyone else’s hasty evacuation, trying to grasp what this means. No… classes? I don’t understand. What will I do with all that free time?

Usually this lasts until about the next day when I dive in full force and sleep in until 3 p.m.

But that’s no way to spend summer vacation. So here’s my plan, and my dark, dorky secret: I have a list — a long list — of things I intend to do this summer.

Sure, there’s space in there for more spontaneous fun, and none of it’s set in stone, but even with sleep and a job and friends, there’s room for things like getting better at guitar (I suck at it) and getting through the Assassin’s Creed games, ideally before No. 3 comes out.

Maybe I can learn to cook something besides grilled cheese and microwave popcorn before I have to start feeding myself with any consistency. Maybe, just maybe, I can discover a world out there that doesn’t consist exclusively of video games and food.

While summer is a great time for taking a break from school and obligation, it’s also a great time for getting things done you’re too busy for during the semester. Mainly the ones you want to do, when possible, but if you’ve been putting off like, um. Painting your… kitchen? I don’t know your life. But get on it!

And yeah, you probably don’t want to let your brain turn off for the summer. I’m not saying you have to do something as radical as remember the date or anything, but maybe you could eat at a restaurant and figure out a tip, or calculate out your sleep schedule so when classes roll around again, you’re so off-schedule you’re back on it.

Or you could go to museums, read some books, teach yourself to code (I hear HTML isn’t hard), watch a movie in a different language, make arts and crafts with pipe cleaners and sequins, write a bad screenplay, make a vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano, try to build a computer and, when that doesn’t work out, build a birdhouse… with friends.

Whatever you do, thanks for reading.

 Posted by at 2:20 pm