Feb 022013
 

Defying a social standard

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Dec 072012
 

Author: Hannah Woolums

The social norm has been created that right after graduating high school one is expected to go to college.

Many have given in to this expectation, but many others decided to enter into the workforce right away due to different factors that caused them to make the decision.

For 19-year-old, Ethan Midland, going to college wasn’t what he had his sights set on when he graduated high school. His first plan was to join the Army, but then after some persuasion, he decided to stay and work full time.

“I initially was going to go into the Army when I got out of high school. I had pretty much made up my mind and was prepared to go, but my parents (who were very against it) swayed my decision. So instead of going in to the Army, I decided it would be better to just take time off of school,” said Midland.

Although Midland has taken time off from school he plans to start up at Front Range Community College in the near future. He plans to start with taking his general education classes before he decides on a major. For the time being, he will continue to gain experiences as a Shift Lead at Taco Bell.

“The decision has impacted my life mostly in the fact that I’m a bit behind in schooling. It had honestly, in my opinion, set me back,” said Midland. “I plan on going back to school very soon at FRCC (Front Range Community College). First for my general eds and from there we will see!”

Shalon Gage, 24, deviated from her college education for a very different reason. Once she had her son, college no longer seemed as adamant. As an employee of Taco Bell, she quickly worked her way up to the position of assistant manager. With her job and her son, college no longer seems like it fits into the picture.

“If I were given the chance I would not go to college, mostly because I want to be there for my kid,” said Gage.

For others, college was not a priority right after high school and working gave them experiences and knowledge they will never forget.

Dale Woolums, father and wine store manager, grew up in a different social standard. College was not a strong expectation and he factored in his family as a reason why he ended up not attending.

“College was not a priority for my family. Neither of my parents went, and it wasn’t discussed with me, at least I didn’t remember it being. It wasn’t that I decided not to go to college, I just kept working, running kitchens, and then restaurants, and before I knew it, I hadn’t gone,” said Woolums.

Although many years have gone by, Woolums would not have changed the path he followed. Through jumping into work right after high school, Woolums was able to work hard and advance within his company.

He has had a few different jobs throughout his lifetime, but even without going to college, he was able to make his way into management positions in more than one of the jobs he held. Now at 56, Woolums is proud of the experiences he had.

“I didn’t decide my path, I followed it. My career moves were just that, moves, from where I was, to something better. I was fortunate that my career didn’t require a degree to get into, then advancements were based on performance. Not relying on a degree to be ‘successful’ developed my common sense and logic, efficiency and creativeness. While I lack certain skill sets that I could have learned in college, I acquired some that are only taught by experience,” said Woolums.

Midland has had a different experience from not going to school. He has made great friendships but has not seen a huge difference in gathering real life experience over education.

“I’m not sure I’ve gained a whole lot from doing work rather than school. I’ve definitely gained friendships that I would never give up. I’ve also now gained a bit of management experience,” Midland explained. “Mostly what ended up happening as a result of not being in school was the large amount of partying, more than I should have. And mainly what made me decide to take the role as a manager at TB (Taco Bell) was the extra money.”

Although he has had a very successful life, first as a kitchen manger, and now as a manager of a liquor store in Denver, Woolums has seen many jobs in between. Some of which are a wine broker, and then moving on to a real estate agent and to buying houses to ‘fix-and-flip.’ However, he says that if he were able to do something differently, given the chance he would have gone to school.

“I would have gone (to school), for sure. At the time, I wasn’t a great student when I graduated from high school, although I got pretty good grades for the amount of effort I gave. I was ‘to cool for school’ then and after a few years, it never occurred to me to go,” explained Woolums.

A colorful blend of beliefs and the universal spiritual journey

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Dec 042012
 

Author: Mary Willson

At the Shambhala Stupa, in Red Feather, Prayer flags serve to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom.

At the Shambhala Stupa, in Red Feather, Prayer flags serve to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom.

The Earth’s population lives on a single mass of land, yet through cultural divides it

Michael Lichtback lights a menorah at the Chabad Jewish Center located in campus west shopping area. The menorah is part of Hanukkah, an eight day Jewish festival also known as “the festival of lights,” which falls over finals week this semester.

Michael Lichtback lights a menorah at the Chabad Jewish Center located in campus west shopping area. The menorah is part of Hanukkah, an eight day Jewish festival also known as “the festival of lights,” which falls over finals week this semester.

can feel as if the seven billion inhabitants of this seven continent globe are disconnected by galaxies.

Through the religious divides based on morality, upbringing, culture and political pressure—society and religion can easily become intertwined. The melting pot of the United States and a very diverse campus blurs these lines and creates an accepting atmosphere. Despite the commercial Christmas trees—red, green and white merry making—and the overwhelming Christian symbolism throughout the winter months, diversity is celebrated—a unique asset in the grand scheme of the world.

“I feel like I can practice my religion freely here in the US,” said Fares Alotaibi, freshman computer engineering and computer science major, whom is here from Saudi Arabia.

“You can see that in said Arabia they say that Muslim is 100 percent  of the population, but I think that is impossible,” Alotaibi said. “I think you need to accept that there are other people and religions.”

Alotaibi will work for an oil company in Saudi Arabia when he graduates, an opportunity only the top 3 percent of a national test get the opportunity to do. His main objective for a United States education is for the degree, yet the accepting culture is something that has changed his own perspective on the way humans view each other. Which, as a practicing Muslim, comes as a pleasant surprise.

“A different country means different culture, so you get used to it,” Alotaibi said. “That was a big change, I love the US in the way that everyone can practice their own religion and people respect all religions. I respect that. If you people respect my religion, I will respect yours.”

Culture, family roots and society are three main assets to the formation of personal spiritual beliefs. Yet, within the realm of college and a fresh slate for personal growth, new paths can be shared creating new belief systems.

“It kind of started out with not necessarily agreeing with everything that came with the Catholic or Christian religion in general,” said Darrel Suer, junior marketing and CIS business major.

Suer started the Meditation and Buddhism Interest Club on campus last year after becoming passionate about the Buddhist belief system from a series of CSU religion classes. He was raised Catholic.

“The Catholic Church is very hierarchical. I don’t think that’s the best way to practice religions because then it feels almost like government rather than spiritual. At the end of the day, we’re all the same,” he said. “You’re a person, I’m a person, we should be treated that way.”

Within the worldwide pie of major universal religions, Christianity makes up 33 percent, Islam makes up 22.5 percent, Hinduism makes up 13.6 percent, Buddhism makes up 6.7 percent and Judaism makes up .3 percent according to Britanica.com, an online encyclopedia. Although these international numbers do not depict the personal lives committed to a certain belief system, through cultural pressures based on location and communal practices, religious pressures many times follow.

As December 24 comes around the corner, Christian churches see their pews fill, and a weeklong shift into religion many times takes place. This is just as prevalent as ever, even with different religions and in difference practices.

MacMcGolrick, a religious studies professor, is focused in teaching eastern religions and personally practices Buddhism.

“Religion and culture are extraordinarily important, and the religion and expression there is similar to the practice and expression here,” he said.

Through the hype that is depicted from the societal-made holiday, Black Friday, and onward through New Years, commercialism and present giving is ballooned into an economical monster. Yet, when pulled back inward it is structured on the practice of giving, a universal act.

“It’s just a matter of keeping it in perspective, I mean this was one holiday that used to mean something else. Its not a bad thing, I just think sometimes people mis-proioriatize what is going on,” Suer said.

Suer’s mother is Catholic, but feels her spirituality within herself, and it is not based on going to church or other societal practices.

“She feels so strongly that there is a god—she beliefs in that so strongly. I have a lot of respect for that,” Suer said. “She has just as strong of a faith as anyone else. I think that’s more the emphasis, the family sides of things.”

Although within the US, an attitude of acceptance is practiced and felt overall—the logistical side of a diverse practice of religions can ignite logistical problems for holiday practices.

Michael Lichtback, senior mechanical engineering major and president of the Jewish club, had an engineering exam on Hanukah last year, and regularly have important schoolwork on equally important religious holidays. His family is culturally and religiously Jewish.

“We just have to negotiate all kinds of things. It really bothered me when I was younger and classmates would say ‘Merry Christmas’ and I would respond with ‘you know everyone doesn’t celebrate Christmas, right?’ I would be really bitter,” he said. “And now I’ve kind of come to peace and it doesn’t bother me as much because they have good intentions.”

Through the explorations of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, which have been taken on at CSU with confidence, the spiritual journey seems universal.

“It’s not about this practice or that practice because someone said so,” Suer said. “It’s about what is most effective for the person. There might be really great facets of all religions for human beings living in all different ways, but it’s about incorporating and not divisive in any way.”

Through the search for fulfilling spirituality, exploring out of ones culture can be revealing, whether to commit yourself to the roots personally, or to grow within a practice that has been within oneself all along.

“I think there’s a negative mentality where we need to appease everyone,” Lichtback said. “There’s this binary idea where you’re either religious or not. I think of it as more of a continuum where you can just do whatever you want.”

And for some, a path for change motivates pride in religion. Through the world of college, a melting pot of religions, ideas, ages, life stages and places are mixed together. With acceptance as a goal, there is always progress to be made.

“In the last 10 years there been a big bad idea about Islam. I know there are bad Muslims, but there are a lot of good ones,” Alotaibi said. “I think it is kind of going away, I am very grateful for that. You never know what a person is or who people are unless you go and talk to them. That’s the thing I want to bring to this conversation.”

In a diverse world full of seven billion unique and differing personalities, minds, soul and hearts, just as many belief systems manifest themselves. What is key is that the importance of our colorful world is never lost.

“I am learning diversity and actually when I get back to my country I will try to change the point of view,” Alotaibi said.

A Quarter Past Beer: College Avenue’s Guide to Holiday Cocktails

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Dec 022012
 

Author: Makenna Dubler

"Chocolate" originates from Mexico's...

“Chocolate” originates from Mexico’s Aztec cuisine, derived from the Nahuatl word xocolatl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you like:

Hot Chocolate

Try:

Mexicocoa

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (not hot chocolate mix)

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups milk (almond milk preferred, can also substitute Irish Crème),

1/4 cup agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup

4 oz. silver tequila

Paprika

4 Cinnamon sticks for garnish

How to make it:

Toast cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne pepper in a saucepan over low heat until spices release aromas (about two to three minutes). Slowly stir in milk with a whisk or wooden spoon.  Raise temperature to medium-high and bring to a simmer.  Stir in agave nectar and remove from heat.  Dip the rims of four mugs into a saucer of hot water, blot, and dip into a saucer of paprika. Pour in one oz tequila to each mug.  Add one-fourth of the hot cocoa mixture to each mug.  Stir with a cinnamon stick and serve.

Serves 4

 

 

Poinsettia

Poinsettia (Photo credit: flagondry)

If you like:

Punch

Try:

Poinsettia Cocktail

Ingredients:

4 cups (1 quart) vodka

4 cups (1 quart) champagne

8 cups (2 quarts) cranberry juice

Crushed ice

1 orange peel sliced into 1/4 inch wide strips, about 2 inches long

How to make it:

Combine the vodka, champagne and juice in a large punch bowl. Add crushed ice and stir until well chilled. Twist orange strips over bowl and drop into punch. Pour into glasses and serve.

Makes one big bowl of punch (16 cups or 4 quarts)

 

roasting a marshmallow

roasting a marshmallow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you like:

Fire

Try:

S’more Shooters

Ingredients:

12 large marshmallows (or 35 mini marshmallows)

1 cup half & half

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup amaretto

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (to rim shot glasses)

About 12 tbsp. Bacardi 151 or other flammable liquor

A lighter

How to make it:

In a small saucepan, bring the half & half to a boil. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.  Return the chocolate to the pot and whisk in milk. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir in half a cup of amaretto. Pour the remaining amaretto into a small bowl. Place graham cracker crumbs on a small plate. Dip the rims of shot glasses into the amaretto, then the crumbs. Transfer the hot chocolate to a measuring cup with a spout and fill the shot glasses.  Top each with one large marshmallow (or 3 mini marshmallows) and pour a tablespoon of liquor over each glass. Ignite with a lighter to toast the marshmallow. Blow out before drinking, and serve.

Makes 12 shooters

 

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad)

If you like:

A festive beerTry:

Samuel Adams® Winter Classics Variety Pack

Includes:

White Christmas

Chocolate Bock

Boston Lager®

Winter Lager

Old Fezziwig® Ale

Holiday Porter

What it’s like:

Ranging from light to dark, this pack of six different seasonal beers is sure to spark up your holiday spirit. Like unfiltered light beers with citrus and cinnamon flavors? Try White Christmas.  Or if you prefer a rich, dark beer, try the Chocolate Bock. The Boston Lager® is a classic, with a nice balance of sweet with spicy, and the Winter Lager and Old Fezziwig® Ale are both bold and full of holiday spice flavors.  For a more hoppy brew, the traditional Holiday Porter is your drink.

Available in 12 or 24-packs

A Christmas Story reborn

 Features, Scene & Heard, The Well  Comments Off on A Christmas Story reborn
Nov 282012
 

Author: John Sheesley

There is no better gift than a genuine Red Rider BB gun. For everything from leg lamps to stolen turkeys, head to the University Center for the Arts. This holiday the UCA is presenting A Christmas Story – a play by Philip Grecian based upon the 1983 film of the same title. The play stays close to the original film, but has some adaptations and modifications.

“You can do different things in live theater than you can do in movies. The movie has so many different locations and quick shots and we had to work around that,” said Tim Werth, a junior economics and theater major who plays the Old Man. “It definitely is different but I feel like it lives up to the movie, or at least gives people a twist.”

The most iconic parts of the story are present, and create a similar atmosphere to that of the film while presenting the story in a different way.

“The audience will recognize many of their favorite moments from the film, such as Ralphie’s obsession with the official legendary Red Ryder BB gun everyone is sure he’ll use to ‘shoot his eye out’– as well as his translation of Little Orphan Annie’s secret code after receiving his mail order decoder pin,” said Laura Jones, the production’s stage director, in a press release. “And of course, when his father wins the infamous leg lamp, much to his mother’s chagrin, and not to mention the theft of the turkey by the Bumpus’ hounds who live next door.”

The audience who filled the house on opening night received the play warmly, seeing the actors offstage with a rousing ovation.

“Its hard to compare it to the movie, because the movie is one of my favorite movies. It would have been a good play, to me, without the movie, but it was hard for it to live up to the expectations of the movie,” freshman history major Fisher Ankney said.“My favorite part was when he was with Red Rider fending off Black Bart and the bandits.”

The cast, except for the character of adult Ralphie who is physically represented by guest artist and CSU theatre alumnus James Burns, is made up of CSU students and youth who have participated in CSU’s summer children’s theatre program, ‘Kids Do It All.’

“The adult cast has been preparing for about three and a half weeks and the kids have been in a class and they’ve been working for almost two months,” Werth said. “This is one of the biggest shows I’ve been a part of and the hardest part for me was keeping track of all the props and hand things and all the tiny details.”

Overall, the play has been a great success, allowing the actors to interpret and embody their characters.

“It’s truly been exciting to watch these now-classic characters be re-enacted by our cast of college students and child actors from the community,” said Jones in a press release. “They have all both embraced traditional interpretations and created their own personal ‘takes’ on the characters.”

Whether you are a die hard fan of this holiday classic or experiencing it now for the first time, this is the show to see this holiday season.

“I absolutely loved it, but I didn’t see the movie, so there was really no expectation,” said freshman Tiffeny Phair. “The kids were absolutely amazing and so cute and talkative. My favorite part is the soap scene, that was classic.”

A Christmas Story performance dates:
Nightly: Nov. 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 29, 30, Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Nov. 18, 25, Dec. 2, 9 at 2 p.m.

More info at http://central.colostate.edu/event/theatre-a-christmas-story-by-jean-shepherd-3/2012-11-22/

 

Old Town offers gifts for everyone on your list

 Features, Goods & Gear, The Well  Comments Off on Old Town offers gifts for everyone on your list
Nov 262012
 

Author: Nicolle Fagan

Do you have a special someone on your shopping list? Do you want to one-up your sibling and get your parents the better gift this year? Do you want to share a piece of your life at CSU with someone else in your life?

There is no denying the stress you feel around the holiday season to get the best of the best for your loved ones. Fortunately, College Avenue has compiled this list of go-to items for everyone on your shopping list. From your mom, to your brother, to your dog, there is something special for everyone. All the items hunted down for this list can be found in Old Town and will make this year one to remember.

Specialty olive oil from the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil company. Photograph by John Sheesley

Speciality olive oil from the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil company. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Mom: Specialty Olive Oil from the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company; $18.50 to $33.50

You wouldn’t think olive oil was all that exciting, but the flavor selection at the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company is sure to change your mind. From Cinnamon Pear to Thai Lemongrass Mint, the wall to wall options will make it easy to find something for any mom’s pallet. A 375 mL bottle runs around $18.50 and the larger 750 mL bottle costs $33.50. And if you can’t decide which flavor to get, they offer sample packages that make awesome gifts.

 

Dad:Fudge from Kilwin’s; $15.95 a pound

Chocolate turtle fudge from Kilwins. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Chocolate turtle fudge from Kilwins. Photograph by John Sheesley.

What dad wouldn’t enjoy a pound of fudge to wash down their holiday meal? Kilwin’s offers classic fudge flavors like chocolate and chocolate peanut butter, but they also have specialties like maple walnut, turtle, and Fort Collins mud. Kilwin’s also gives out free samples for tasting, so Dad isn’t the only one who gets some of the deliciousness! Your dad doesn’t like fudge? They have plenty of other sweet goodies for under $20.

 

The Worst Case Scenario Daily Survival Calendar for 2013 from Killer Rabbit.

The Worst Case Scenario Daily Survival Calendar for 2013 from Killer Rabbit. Photograph by John Sheesley.

The Boy in Your Life: The Worst Case Scenario Daily Survival Calendar for 2013 from Killer Rabbit; $12.95

Simply put, it is “a day to day guide to surviving a year’s worth of peril.” Each day has a funny (and sometimes helpful) tip in the form of a history lesson, a mini hero story, or a how-to guide. Some examples are how to survive a fall onto subway tracks and how to stop unwanted PDA.

 

The Girl in Your Life:Texting gloves from White Balcony; $26.95

Fancey texting gloves from White Balcony.

Fancy texting gloves from White Balcony. Photograph by John Sheesley.

A gift that is fashion-forward and practical is the best way to go. White Balcony features texting gloves that are softer than cashmere. Milk protein inside the fabric’s fibers makes the gloves cushiony-soft. The gloves will keep hands warm while they use touch-screen devices.

 

Hide a Squirrel toy from Wagz.

Hide a Squirrel toy from Wagz. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Dog: Hide a Squirrel toy from Wagz; $14.99 to $21.99

Dogs are part of the family too! Wagz offers a unique toy that is designed to entertain pups with puzzle-solving. The toy is designed to keep dogs occupied, and the three squeakier toys inside can be interchanged with treats to make the “search” more fun. The Hide a Squirrel toy is available in both a small and large size for the tiny Maltese to the Great Dane in your life.

 

Grandma:Recycled Newspaper Picture Frame from Ten Thousand Villages; $18

Recycled Newspaper Picture Frame from Ten Thousand Villages.

Recycled Newspaper Picture Frame from Ten Thousand Villages. Photograph by John Sheesley.

When you were little, Grandma loved getting your homemade gifts. You can still show her your artsy side while supporting artists in developing countries. At Ten Thousand Villages, all products are sold to support artists in countries that don’t have the market or appreciation for art that we have in the United States. Philippine artists create usable items from recycled newspapers and magazines, and the picture frame is just one of many options. Just place a picture of the two of you in the frame, and it will be a gift that Grandma can share will all of her friends.

 

Tea in a Jar

Tea in a Jar from Happy Lucky’s Tea House. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Grandpa: Tea in a Jar from Happy Lucky’s Tea House; $20

Nothing compliments retirement like specialty tea. For the tea-lover in your life, Happy Lucky’s offers a Great Wall of Tea to choose from. Buy by the ounce or in a gift jar; nothing from this little shop will disappoint.

 

Aunt:River Stones for Massage from Nature’s Own; $20

Massage Stones

River Stones for Massage from Nature’s Own. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Life can be stressful and no one would turn down a massage kit! Hot stone massages are soothing and therapeutic, and a perfect way to let your aunt know that she should spoil herself every now and then. Don’t know anything about hot stone massage? Nature’s Own offers instruction books for purchase as well.

 

Uncle: Six-pack of beer from Odell Brewery; $8.99

Fort Collins is known for an active beer culture, so get your Uncle a uniquely Fort Collins ale. O’Dell Brewery is located downtown, but you can find their beer at any liquor store in town.

 

Note Pads from Curiosities. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Note Pads from Curiosities. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Roommate:Note Pads from Curiosities; $8

Wish you had a way to list all of the annoying things your roommate does? Curiosities offers a variety of funny checklists that will help your roomie blow off some steam!

 

Shelves of books at Old Firehouse Books.

Shelves of books at Old Firehouse Books. Photograph by John Sheesley.

Friend: Any book from Old Firehouse Books; Prices vary

Old Firehouse Books is the perfect combination between a used bookstore and Barnes & Noble. With both new and used books available, you can spend hours looking for something interesting to read. Sales on overstocks for Christmas are just around the corner, so it’s the best time to snag a great deal. If you have no idea what kind of books your buddy would like, they also offer gift cards!

 

Did I do that? Your guide to staying safe this New Years

 Features, Scene & Heard, The Well  Comments Off on Did I do that? Your guide to staying safe this New Years
Nov 262012
 

Author: Jack Krause

We’ve all been there before. January first, groggy feeling and a “Hangover-esque” attempt to figure out what we did the night before. Some regrets, some things we wish we could remember, but all can be solved easily by following these rules.

  1. Groups are good
    • There is safety in numbers, at least when it comes to New Year’s Eve. You’re going to celebrate however you do, but you can at least give yourself the assurance that whatever happens, you’re not alone. People who go in groups they know are likely to drink less and regret less.
  2. Know your limit
    • Alcohol affects everyone different, but you can keep your head above the proverbial spirits by counting your drinks and giving yourself a predated cut-off. You’ll thank yourself when you can remember the good times, and when you don’t wake up with one of those classic morning-after headaches.
  3. Home-made, self-brought
    • If you make your own drinks you’ll know exactly what is going into them. You’ll know whats going to happen, how you’ll feel, and when you need to cool down.
  4. Charge it
    • Always charge your cellphone before you head out, if things get shaky, you’ll know you have a way of contacting someone who can help.
  5. Back it up
    • Before you head out, make sure you give yourself a couple back-up plans in case a driver isn’t capable anymore. Bring extra cash for a taxi, save the RamRide number in your phone, and map everything out. Going into things blind is a good way to end up actually blind.

With all this, you’ll be ready to ring in the new year on the right note. Stay relatively classy, Rams.

Golden rules to holiday giving for the pocket and the environment

 Features, Goods & Gear, The Well  Comments Off on Golden rules to holiday giving for the pocket and the environment
Nov 212012
 

Author: Mary Willson

Samantha Beck, Sophomore shows off her table made of caps, which her and her house-mates have been working on for about three months.

Samantha Beck, Sophomore shows off her table made of caps, in which she has glued them onto plywood to make a Colorado flag.

The holiday season many times forces college students out of their natural habitat of cheap food, simple amenities and an overall minimalistic existence. This no-fuss way of life is often times not a conscious lifestyle preference, yet of financial limitations. Concert tickets, road-trip gas and ski-lift tickets seem to become a priority over new socks, a full refrigerator and nice things.

Yet, as the December migration out of Fort Collins and into ones respected hometown for the five-week hibernation period rolls around, a shift must take place. One may find themselves being forced to wear polo’s, small talk with out-of-touch relatives and associate with high school friends they do not miss. And worst of all—being forced to buy stuff as holiday presents, because it is expected.

There are many ways this is hard. One, financially; that extra dough spent on your sister could be used for a New Year’s adventure. Two, what to get; it seems as if your mom doesn’t need another scarf or necklace, yet the big stuff like the latest culinary device is out of your reach. Third, it seems wasteful; joining the hype of more stuff is fun, until wondering if any of those nick-knacks were really needed.

As a way to decrease the initial and long term harm of the holiday-present-blues, there are basic rules for no-harm Holiday presents. For you, and our landfills.

We all have things at our apartment, dorm or parents house that we do not use. Something you can hand off to bring happiness to someone else fulfills the golden rule of re-using.

An example of this gem is making a unique pen-jar, coffee-mug, or vase—all from your kitchen. Grab an old mason jar—this is the foundation. Then, in a mixing bowl add one part flour, two parts water, three tablespoons of salt and mix. There is your glue. Next, find some vintage magazine advertisements, awesome photos, and black-and white newspaper print and hold them onto the jar. Paint the glue over it with your hands or a brush and let it dry. This is perfect for a mom who is sentimental, and it’s virtually free to make.

The next way to be a unique present giver is to make something old into something awesome, or to renew. Take that old pair of I Phone ear buds and use hemp, bright string or basically anything else you can weave together to cover the headphone cords. By following basic hemp rules (and the wonders of Google to learn) you have created a unique, impressive, lasting gift for a sibling that loves music.

We all hear about recycling day in and day out. The basis of recycling is easy: one product being made into another product.  All those beverages you consume, of the 21-and-over categories—that’s right, your beer caps and cans can be made into a useful and creative table. For those lucky nights when you indulge in a bottled beverage, save the lid, then use a hot-glue gun and a magnet (both can be found relatively cheap at a craft store) to create a fridge decoration for your best friend’s apartment fridge.

After engaging the creative mind and impressing your family and friends, you can sit back and realize all of the holiday-waste you have mitigated. A pound of plastic takes 24 gallons of water to produce according to Treehugger.com, and a single plastic cup takes 50 to 80 years to decompose according to earthkorps.org. Along with being on your way to a New Year’s adventure, hitting the slopes or back in the good-ol-Foco, you have also had a positive impact on water use and waste with these gift ideas.

Save Money on Holiday Flights

 Features, The Well  Comments Off on Save Money on Holiday Flights
Nov 072012
 

Author: Kendall Greenwood

For CSU liberal arts senior Jill Spencer, finding a ticket to fly home to Stockton, CA for the holidays is anything but relaxing.

English: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Feb. 19, 2010)...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I have my last final on Friday then I don’t really want to have to drive to the airport right after and I can’t drive there and leave my car at the airport for a month during Christmas,” Spencer said.

She has to decide to wait and see if a roommate can drop her off on the way home or take the super shuttle.  This takes a lot of planning with departure times and ticket prices. However, this year airline ticket arrangements are not making holiday planning easy.

The price of tickets for this holiday season has gone up.  According to Jane Folsom, the owner of Destination by Design, the increase is 10 percent higher than last year. This mainly has to do with the availability of flights.

“There are fewer flights this year and population hasn’t decreased necessarily,” Folsom said. “So there’s high demand for thanksgiving flights and that’s what makes the airlines charge a little bit more.”

The airlines provide fewer flights to give the airline teams a break.  However, there has also been major airline consolidation since last year according to Folsom.  Continental and United are now one company.

“A year ago we had both Continental and United flying a fairly significant route structure,” Folsom said. “So [now] in routes or itineraries where the airlines were competitive, we have only one.”

Airline companies are expressing more freedom in more than airline ticket prices.

According to Spirit.com, an airline new to the Denver area, the company is adding carry-on baggage fees as of Nov. 6. As of that date, general customers who reserve tickets will be charged $40 for their first carry-on bag at check-in.  This is up $5 from the current price recorded on the website.

“And if you don’t pay for that carry-on piece of luggage as you check in, the charge is $100 [at the gate],” Folsom said.

There are ways to lessen these price add-ons as you look for a ticket.  The first is buying a ticket as early as possible.

“You can buy tickets 330 days in advance,” Folsom said.

For Spencer, looking early is the best strategy.

“Even as days go by you’ll be like, ‘well I’ll do it tomorrow’ and then your $170 flight is a $250 flight over a day,” Spencer said.  “It is a huge increase, especially when [you’re a] college student.”

According to Folsom, flying into more regional airports helps the costs and availability.  Instead of flying into a small town, try looking at the bigger airports in towns surrounding the area.

“You’ll have more choices as far as carriers,” Folsom said.

This enables you as the consumer to compare extra chargers for each carrier.

Spencer flies Southwest Airlines because there are no baggage fees and the members club allows her to earn points for free flights.

“I flew to Idaho [for a family reunion] and used United I think,” Spencer said. “I had to pay for my luggage [and] I think it was $40 or $50, but round trip that’s $100.”

Folsom warns against scheduling to fly home the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

“The Sunday after Thanksgiving is by far the heaviest travel date of the entire year,” Folsom said.

Even though it cuts your travel short, she recommends looking at Friday or Saturday for flying home.  Another fix for this is flying to or from your holiday location on the actual day.

If you don’t want to go through the process of looking for flights yourself, you can use travel agencies like Destination by Design. According to Folsom, most travel agents charge a fee but they can save you time and some money.

“I would say that this is definitely a season and a year that, to get a better deal or the best deals that are available, you need to book as soon as possible,” Folsom said. “Do not wait.”

Best of CSU: Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon, cowboys and celts

 Features, The Well  Comments Off on Best of CSU: Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon, cowboys and celts
Nov 062012
 

Author: Cassandra Whelihan

Consider the Boondock Saints taking on John Wayne and the result is Lucky Joe’s. Opening its doors to the public in Old Town Square Aug. 3, 1995, Lucky Joe’s Sidewalk Saloon has been pulling in patrons for 17 years now.

Aside from the endless supply of peanuts, what is the drive behind why students seem to be flocking here? After all, a bottled beer tastes the same everywhere, so what is making it more pleasurable at Lucky’s?

After a thorough investigation, the unanimous answer is the atmosphere.

“I like the live music and low key feel. It’s not your stereotypical bar, it’s got some character,” CSU graduate Paul Hladick said.

According to co-owner Joe Vader, the simple acoustic adds undertones of a ski bar to the atmosphere. The live music consists of everything from the old Doors and Rolling Stones to unique takes on current hits.

A melting pot of sorts, the bar draws in an eclectic crowd.

“I love Irish bars. It feels good here. There is something about this place,” Fort Collins resident Michael Bauer said. “There’s prompt service and the wait staff is good on the patio, too.”

The staff is recognized as a large reason for the high return rate. The welcoming employees and the scene put people at ease and ready to have a hoot.

“It’s the little things like opening doors and taking pride in absolutely every drink we serve. It’s all about customer service. We want people to come back,” said Kevin Levad, manager and part owner of Luckys. “Just this Sunday we were talking about what we could do to make the experience better.”

Not only does putting customers first and making their experience enjoyable resonate with the employees, but they also seem to love Lucky’s just as much as the returning clientele.

“If I wasn’t working here, I’d be drinking here,” said Dan Kleinholz, a doorman at Lucky Joe’s.

The staff coincide that it is a great place to work.

“I work with the best staff in the entire world. If I wasn’t working with them, I’d still want to be hanging out with them. Our bosses are stellar, great people to work for. I love it here,” bartender Kenley Bonner said.

Seniors to the bartending lifestyle, owners Dan Kerig and Joe Vader have worked hard to make a difference and treat customers like family.

“We are extremely happy of the support we’ve had. We work hard to make people feel comfortable here,” Vader said.

So while peanuts are one thing, the combination of live music, great people and hardworking staff emanates a good time. If you’re lucky, you might just get to see the bartenders throwing bottles to one another and successfully catching them like a scene from Coyote Ugly.

The crowd is what makes this bar and includes everything from motley crews of college students to wedding after-parties. Turns out this bar is not exclusive; it’s all-inclusive.

So head on down to Lucky Joe’s and give it that good old college try. After all, there is never a cover charge.