Summer Jam Suggestions

By: Meghan Malas

As summer inches closer and closer, the mindsets of the student body morphs from a (somewhat) motivated, organized demeanor to one of longing. Students pine for freedom from this 7:40 to 2:40 chasm of responsibility, and with this the infamous question manifests itself among the youth- what are you doing this summer?

If you are like me, you are probably at a loss, and a little overwhelmed when asked to articulate what your priorities and/or plans are for this break. As clueless as I am about my own intentions are for my post-school life, I do have a pretty good idea of what I will be listening to when I do whatever I do. Music defines the summertime. It can make or break how enchanting your bonfire is, or how delightful your drive to the local Walmart could be. With this in mind, and as a self-certified Person With Great Taste In Summer Jams™, I present my list of top boppin’ albums for this break:

Mac Demarco- This Old Dog

Tame Impala- Currents, Lonerism

Childish Gambino- Kauai

Triathlon- Lo-Tide

A Tribe Called Quest- The Low-End Theory

Grouplove- Spreading Rumors

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Californication

Passion Pit- Kindred

Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly

Beach Fossils- Clash the Truth

Road Trip Tips

by Kasen Stephensen

The Great American road trip in all of its beauty and appeal is still very intimidating.  Here are 5 tips to help turn a wishful daydream into an awesome vacation.

  1.  Check your vehicle.

Roughly a week prior to starting a trip, make sure that the vehicle being used has a thorough check-up.  Tires should be rotated and fluid levels checked.  Make sure to bring a fully-inflated tire and jumper cables just in case.

  1.  Have a loose plan.

Although having no plan is for the truly courageous, having a loose plan will help make sure the trip is more enjoyable.  This will allow road delays or traffic to make a minimal impact on schedules.  Plan out locations and have a rough idea where to stay.

  1.  Use online resources to plan.

Roadtrippers.com is a fantastic resource for planning road trips.  It allows for one to set up a route and provides information for tourist spots, hotels, and food as well as an estimate of the overall trip cost.  There are also plenty of online road trips that are already created and ready to follow.     

  1.  Ask the locals.

Locals will often know great places to eat, leading to inexpensive and/or great food. They might also know locations of unique attractions that aren’t as well known.  

  1.  Stay in national parks.

Camping is much cheaper than hotels and National Park campsites often have basic hygiene facilities.  Annual passes are available for free for military personnel or dependents or $80.  Passes cover entrance fees but will not cover fees for amenities like camping or utility.  Caesar’s Creek has an office where these passes can be purchased.

Dorm It Yourself

By Elaine King

Tuition. Books. Meal plans. The costs of college add up quickly. Here are a couple basic materials for do-it-yourself dorm room organization, so that college students can keep organized on a budget.

  1. Mason Jars Utilizing mason jars is  very trendy. With some paint, glitter, or lights, mason jars can be used as storage for pens, pencils, silverware, cotton swabs, bobby pins, etc…
  2. Hanging Shoe Organizer Rather than hanging shoes inside these plastic slots, hang the shoe organizer on the back of a door and place snacks inside. Using this organizer saves floor space needed for a shelving unit as well as clutter from food boxes.
  3. Shower Rod To save counter space in the bathroom, hang a shower rod with rings and clips along the wall, or use the shower rod in the shower and attach rings with clips to it to hang hygiene products.
  4. Pill Organizer Fear clutter from Excedrin bottles and allergy tablets? Use a pill organizer and fill each slot with the medications necessary, then cut out and tape the labels from the bottles to the organizer to keep track of what is in each slot. This reduces the space taken up by medications that can now be used for more snacks. The same can be done with spices, salt, creamer, sugar, etc…
  5. Binder Clips Attach binder clips to the edges of desks, night stands, and bathroom counters; place charging cords or hair styling cords inside the clips to ensure that the cords don’t become a tangled mess.

How to Not Cry Your Senior Year

By Henry Wong

The end of anything can be difficult. This is now extremely relevant to any high school seniors.

Seniors have finally established themselves, become comfortable, and achieved seniority only to lose it all once they become freshmen once again in college in the fall. To avoid wasting money on tissues, use the following tips to not shed a single tear your whole senior year.

  1. Don’t think about all the amazing friendships that you have made. Don’t think about the fact that you have been with these people your whole life and they have become almost like a family to you… a family you will no longer see after the year ends.
  2. Don’t remember any fun memories from high school or things that you have done as a class like paint fights, football games, school dances, or anything similar.
  3. Don’t remember any of the amazing teachers you have had who have built your education up to what it is today and who shaped you into who are today
  4. Don’t think about all the small local places special to your town where you used to always go with your friends like the Dairy Shed or Winter’s Library.
  5. Don’t think about all the high school extracurriculars you participated in and the fact that it is likely that you will never be together with the entire group who is involved ever again.
  6. Don’t remember the halls that you will likely never walk again and that you came to know so well as you went from classroom to classroom running into friends along the way.

If you follow all these tips, it should help you keep your wallets as full as your tear ducts from all the money you saved not buying tissues. Use this saved money on college (or a career), your new future, where you will make new friends and memories and further your education once again until your next graduation.

DON’T FORGET: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

By: Sara Wolf

Mother’s Day is around the corner – May 14 – and Father’s Day is just behind on June 18. To make sure you’re not the kid who doesn’t do anything as a thank you, here’s a list of gift ideas for Mom or Dad. If all else fails, make sure to give them your extra time and attention on their day – it will mean more than you think.

FOR MOM: Stop by the store and pick up some flowers. Classic, but don’t overlook it!

FOR DAD: Take an afternoon or evening to go out to do something he loves.

FOR MOM OR DAD: Start the day off with breakfast in bed. If you’re not the best breakfast chef, don’t worry, Panera delivers and can help you out. Their breakfast menu is pretty great if you’ve never tried it.

FOR MOM: Make her something handmade! Pinterest is your best friend on this one, and Mom will appreciate the effort even if it isn’t perfect.

FOR DAD: Give him tickets to an event he’d enjoy, maybe a concert, baseball game, or car show.

FOR MOM OR DAD: Get them a personalized photo mug or other gift! Create your gift at walmart.com for an inexpensive and easy process. Even just printing out some family photographs and framing them is sweet, thoughtful, and not too pricy.

FOR MOM: Go to stores stocked with gifts for Mother’s Day. Marshall’s has a specific section of cute, mom-appreciative gifts, and Kohls has different gift-packaged pieces of jewelry like bracelets and necklaces.

FOR DAD: Give him a gift to throw him back to younger days, like a turntable, old video game, a vinyl by one of his favorite bands, or gear from the college he went to.

FOR MOM OR DAD: Give them a date night or a night out! Whether it’s with you or just the two of them, giving a gift card for their favorite restaurant or to the movies will be so appreciated.

Controlling your kitten’s energy: Five easy ways

by Connor Robinson

Controlling any cat is a challenge. If you’re a cat owner, you are well aware of the strange behavior that our small tiger-like friends exude on a daily basis. The sound of food hitting the bowl will draw them out in the hours before the sun is up, even if they spent the entire night running around the house at 3 a.m. Kittens take the behavior of all cats to a new level, adding the element of destruction and sometimes pain–claws hurt–to the equation. With a new furry kitten recently added to my household it seemed pertinent to help others learn some tips and tricks to help keep your house, hands, and of course, your kitty safe.

  1. Keep your kitten occupied: The greatest way to combat the destruction of objects in your home is to give your cat a way to release energy in a way that isn’t devastating, such as a scratching post, cat condo, or other toys designed to take the clawing and biting that is bound to happen while your kitty matures into an adult cat. This is easy because once assembled, no input is needed from you for your cat to release energy and get exercise.
  2. Play with your cat: You don’t need expensive toys to have fun with your kitty. A piece of string will work just fine. Spending time with them while they develop their instinctive hunting skills can create a strong bond between you. If you do choose to shop at the pet store for toys, mice and small ball toys are always great because they allow your cat to stalk them as they would in the wild, providing quite the entertainment for you. Other fun toys include catnip, laser pointers, and even cardboard boxes.  
  3. Protect furniture: If your couches and chairs are still being attacked even while you give your cat toys and attention, you may need to take measures to prevent further damage. Covering fabrics with plastic at night can deter most cats because they dislike the sound and feel when walking on and trying to scratch the surface. Most pet stores also carry nontoxic sprays that are designed to give off a smell that cats do not like on their paws. To use, simply apply the spray in areas commonly scratched or bitten.
  4. Set a schedule: Be sure to keep to a schedule when taking care of your cat; they are creatures of habit just like humans. Feeding at the same time every day ensures no overfeeding happens and staggering the meals of multiple cats can reduce the number of conflicts over food. Cleaning out the litter box often is crucial because cats are extremely picky about where they go to the bathroom, and if their box is dirty, the next best thing will likely be the carpet of a secluded room.
  5. Give attention: Even though the previous steps must be accomplished first, this is arguably the most important. Show love and affection to your new furry friend! Although cats can sometimes be hard to please, learning where to scratch and when to pet your kitten is vital to creating a lasting bond between owner and animal. Brushing can also be good for both your cat’s fur coat and your relationship. Cats show affection by grooming one another, so the act of brushing is important to show your kitty that you love her.

Looking to buy a new car? Here’s how

by Connor Robinson

Trying to buy a used car, especially if it’s your first time, can be a stressful experience. If you feel like you aren’t knowledgeable enough to properly check over a car, or don’t understand the process of obtaining the title and insurance, don’t fret, anyone can. Following some simple steps when negotiating the purchase of a new set of wheels can make the process much easier and get you on the road quicker than you’d imagine.

First thing’s first: find a car. This may seem easy when you begin the search, but you must consider the many options available in the automotive world. You will need to set a price point that you are willing to pay for a car, taking into consideration the negotiation that may take place when actually buying the car from its previous owner, but that will be discussed later. Also consider your location and the location of potential cars you are interested in. If they are in an area that receives snow yearly, they will likely have more rust than ones in areas that stay above freezing. Determine how far you are willing to drive to check the car out, and if you need to trailer it home what the cost will be. Once these parameters are set you will need to start searching. Try Craigslist for cheap, local options, and eBay for a more expensive, nation wide search. If you find what you are looking for, send the owner a text or give them a call and set up a time to check out the car.

So you’ve found the perfect car, and it looks perfect in every picture you viewed online, time to fork over the cash, right? Before you start envisioning yourself cruising around town, we must make sure you aren’t about to buy something that’s going to leave you crying on the side of the road a week after purchasing it. Recently I was asked to accompany a friend while he looked over a car he was considering purchasing as a small, fun weekend car he could learn to work on. The ad laid it out plain and simple. $650 for a 1986 Toyota MR2.

The grainy pictures only showed an old, rusty, poorly spray painted car, but for less than a grand your standards must be low when buying a car. We arrived to a house with a plethora of cars lining the driveway, some in pieces, some repaired and ready to be sold. The seller was a typical car guy not much older than my friend and me, and he allowed us to look around the car. As we checked over the exterior, interior, and engine, he told us of all the problems with the car. If your seller is open to discussion over any such problems, that is a good sign. It is key to build trust with a seller early on, because proceeding with the sale means you’ll be handing them a hefty amount of cash later.

As you walk around the car be sure to observe the condition of the paint and any blemishes, scratches, or discoloration between body panels. Check wheels for curb rash, and tires for cracks or too little tread. This MR2 clearly had a large amount of body rust and a previous owner had spray painted the entire exterior of the car to cover up and stop further rust. Although the body was in poor shape, the wheels, tires, and lights were all functional and ready for the road.

Once a good look around of the exterior can be had, move to the underside of the car, using a handheld light if available to check that there are no major fluid leaks from the engine or transmission. If the car is leak free and the underside of the body only has minimal rust, the chances the car has been well maintained are high.

Once the entire exterior has been observed you must look through the interior to make sure it’s what you are looking for. Check for ripped seats, a cracked dash, or any other signs that the car is in bad condition. In the Toyota the interior was surprisingly well kept for a 31 year old car.

The final important place to check is the engine, because you won’t be driving anywhere without one. Check the exterior of the engine for leaks and look at wires for signs of wear. If it looks solid ask to see the oil dipstick to see the quality of the oil inside, and check the inside of the oil fill cap to get a better idea of what condition the internals are in. If the cap is clean and golden with oil, it’s a good sign. A cap with dark sludge on it is one to avoid.

Our Toyota was in perfect running order except for a small wire that had melted and an overcharging problem. These were easy fixes and a quick search online found that $70 in parts could fix these minor issues.

Once the car looks visually sound, it’s time to use it as intended and take it for a spin. Make sure to feel the gas and brake pedals for any abnormal signs such as a spongy feeling or lack of power. If the car is manual, test that the clutch is not slipping and ensure the gearshift moves in and out of gear nicely with not too much slop back and forth. If the car is an automatic, make sure it properly upshifts and downshifts as you drive. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the car and how it moves, it’s time for the big decision to be made. Do you want it? Or will you pass and wait for a more appealing ride?

Negotiation can be a stressful process, especially when dealing with a stranger and a large sum of money, but being firm in the price you’re willing to pay can let you walk away with the car for much cheaper than the original asking price. Point out the problems on the car and how much it would cost to repair them. Also mention that your costs will include the price of registering the car and buying insurance for it. If you can negotiate the price down to an amount you can afford, go ahead and shake on a deal. If you can’t get it down, then politely decline and continue your search.

You’re finally done, you’ve bought the car! All you have to do is take a trip to your local DMV, have the title signed over to your name, and it’s now yours. Remember to call your auto insurance company to purchase insurance for your new ride. Congrats, you did it! The lengthy and stressful process is over and you’re finally ready to hit the road!