What’s a Bassnectar?

Bassnectar, more commonly known as Lorin Ashton, has greatly impacted my life over the last five or six years. He caught me with a good set but kept me with a strong commitment to fighting for what he believes in. Now we may not always agree politically but the way he presents his mission behind his music is inspiring. Not to mention he puts out banger after banger.

One thing we can both agree on is how unethical the USA Patriot Act is. If you’re interested in learning about how our privacy was stolen, check out my article on the Odyssey.


My dream car?

A Ford Mustang.

Ford’s Mustang is a timeless, American classic. The chic, four-wheeled racer is so flashy drivers continue to love it, old model or new. With horsepower that never quits and a mean grill, it’s no surprise the Mustang is my dream car.

The Ford Mustang is more than a car, it’s an icon. It has been listed on Car and Driver’s esteemed 10 Best Award list ten times and won the J.D power award numerous times. In 1974 and 1994 it was the Motor Trend car of the year – a true testament to its quality.

Even movie directors have noticed potential in the Mustang’s sleek appearance. We all remember Steve McQueen’s car chase in Bullitt, that 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang GT Fastback burning rubber. That chase was both sexy and dangerous and has been inspirational to those looking to get behind a Mustang of their own.

Aside from the Mustang’s role in American culture as a powerful, horsepower-injected, muscle classic, how does it fare in a more practical scenario. Let’s say, day to day ownership? I’ll start by explaining that the Mustang is more than collector’s item. This is a vehicle you can be proud to bring to the mechanic, and it is easy to affordably maintain. It’s also one of the best cars for your daily commute — not to mention the road trip you’ve been trying to take.

Designed to dominate wide, open roads

I can only imagine the good times and endless roads ahead after I purchase my first Mustang. Whether it’s a 2017 Ford Mustang GT, with the top down, or the Shelby GT 500, zooming along winding paths. As with any vehicle, your Mustang should be in tip-top shape before hitting the road. Check tire pressure, oil level, and remind yourself where the registration and insurance are located. This might be the time to consider purchasing a AAA membership.

Performance boost and price drop

One of the best parts about the Mustang is its affordablity. I mean it’s no Toyota Corolla but compared to other top-line sports cars the Mustang is cheap, doable for middle-class consumers. Plenty of enthusiasts out there like to dream of a Ferrari 575M, hitting 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds, but the chances you can shell out $246,000 for a car are slim. Luckily, the Mustang is, and always has been, a real value when considering cost, resale price, and the respect you get from fellow car fanatics. 

For example, the 2016 Ford Mustang has a suggested retail price of just under $24K (the convertible model is about $6K more). It’s rare to see such a high-performance vehicle at such a reasonable price. Plus, the 2014 Ford Mustang won Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award for the sports car category, beating its closest competitor by nearly $1,000. But forget the price for a minute and let’s consider cost of gas. A Mustang beats the majority of its competitors in fuel-efficiency too, especially if you have an EcoBoost model. These machines are getting up to 31 MPG on the highway.

The wide variety of Mustang models brings a plethora of different safety features. The Ecoboost mentioned above comes with tons of helpful safety and entertainment features, like the Ford MyKey system. This allows guardians to limit top speed and stereo volume. 

The Mustang community

Ask any Mustang Club of America member, Mustang enthusiasts are a close group. Ford estimates there are more than 250 Mustang enthusiast clubs in the world. They often host shows and events all over the world, allowing Mustang owners from everywhere to join in and appreciate the classic car’s history. Not only can you find great food and fun prizes, but unlimited networking opportunities too.  Those interested in getting started, I recommend the Lone Star Mustang National show in Texas, the Granite State Mustang Grand National show in New Hampshire, or the Pony Express National event in Nebraska. 

For anyone ready to make moves and start shopping, don’t forget to ask your salesman dozens of important questions. Once you’re a Mustang owner, be sure to set up a plan with a great insurance company. This is something you’ve worked hard for, protect it wisely.

Holistic Ways to Prep Your Pets for Fall

Shoutout to my little Willow for being so photogenic.

As warm days and summer sunshine are replaced with cool breezes, winter skies, and colorful leaves, you’ll be swapping out your shorts for sweaters, breaking out the holiday dishes, and cranking up the temperature. While you’re getting ready for colder weather in your home, be sure you include your pet. Just as people need a little preparation for fall and winter, pets need some prep too. Luckily, there’s plenty of things you can do to keep your dog or cat happy and healthy year-round. Here are a few holistic tips to keep Fido comfy during the colder months.

Switch up feeding times and walks

Colder weather also means less sunlight, which might mean gearing up for a few more night walks with your dog. Consider switching up your pup’s food and walking schedule to catch the last rays of sunshine (and to let you sleep in a little). If you plan on changing her routine, be aware that most pets are sensitive to their feeding and walk schedules. Move your walks up 15 minutes in time to acclimate your dog to the new schedule. If your dog or cat gets lonely with back-to-school, consider buying or switching out toys, or adding a little extra playtime every day. For cats, you might even consider making a few food puzzle toys to keep him occupied while you’re at work.

Beware of chocolate — and add a little extra

Holidays bring along the added risk of your pet eating something they probably shouldn’t have. High-fat foods can cause diarrhea and other more serious stomach problems. Whether you’re bringing back a haul from trick-or-treating or cooking Thanksgiving feast, you’ll want to make sure your pet isn’t also sampling your food. Apples, grapes, chocolate, and garlic are especially toxic.

Some pets may need a little extra in their bowl every day to regulate their body temperature and acclimate to the cooler weather. If your dog is particularly physically active, you might up his kibble just a little to get him through the winter. You can even add a little pumpkin to your pup’s diet for an extra seasonal treat, but be sure to consult your vet for exactly what your dog or cat will need.

Keep your pet well groomed

As temperatures drop, you’ll notice your dog or cat shedding more and more, making way for their seasonal coat. As your pet’s coat sheds, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping up with his grooming, especially if he has long hair. A new coat will help your pet better regulate his body temperature, but you’ll want to make sure you brush him regularly to prevent mats (and with mats, potential skin infections). Don’t let up on your dog or cat’s flea and tick care, either–prevent fleas in the spring by continuing treatment in the fall.

Watch out for mushrooms and other fall plants

You’ll see less fall foliage as the months move from November to December, but be wary of certain plants in bloom in the cold damp months, especially fungi. Keep an eye on your pet when hiking in the woods or even letting her roam around the garden–plants such as chrysanthemums, autumn crocus and clematis are all deadly to pets. Dogs especially should be prevented from consuming mushrooms on their walks. Though your best friend is an ace at sniffing out new smells, she won’t be able to tell the difference between a toxic or non-toxic mushroom or plant.

Build your pet an outdoor shelter, or cozy up their bed

Brr! If you’re saving a little on your heating costs by wearing a sweater or two instead of cranking the heat, don’t exclude your dog or cat. If you’ve got an indoor-outdoor cat, consider buying or building a new outdoor shelter for kitty. An outdoor retreat will help your cat stay cozy even while she’s roaming the wilderness (or just the neighborhood). For dogs and indoor cats, consider switching out their bed and bedding for warmer fabrics and deep insulation to keep them cozy.

Keep an eye out for snakes and snakebites

Snakes go into hibernation in autumn, making much more likely to strike than other times of the year. Because they’re less mobile, it’s more likely a curious cat or dog will nose their way toward a sleepy (and more aggressive) snake. Know what species are in your area and be cautious when walking your pet around areas they’re likely to inhabit.

Upgrade your pet’s wardrobe

Let’s face it, we all could use a wardrobe overhaul by the time winter rolls around. When the only walk is an icy, rainy walk, short hair dogs will often be left shivering. Make him or her a little more comfortable with a new sweater, and a raincoat for sleeting days. Just don’t forget to buy your pet a costume for Halloween (or a Santa sweater for the holidays).

It’s that time of year again…







For as long as I can remember Black Friday has been the ultimate weekend for Christmas shopping. Every year, I refrain from buying anything for myself in November or December so I can focus on family and friends I should be shopping for.

In a few weeks the tradition will be carried out, but with a new wish list in mind, as to be expected. Getting the same gift for someone twice is something you definitely want to avoid. If that’s tricky for you, my method may help with brainstorming new ideas for all the ladies in your life. Between Spiritual Gangster, Walmart and Bare Minerals, shopping for my loved ones will be a breeze.

Spiritual Gangster

High-quality yoga clothing can be costly. Luckily, Spiritual Gangster Black Friday deals are off the chain. Score forty percent off everything, and not just for a single day. Get the same hookup on Spiritual Gangster Cyber Monday too. These are the cheapest prices I see all year. From women and men’s graphic tees, tanks, hoodies and sweatshirts, to accessories and items already on sale, Spiritual Gangster has Black Friday deals everyone can enjoy.


We all know Walmart has “doorbust” worthy deals, so why not plan ahead and save big on all your gifts. I recommend using the sale for tech gear. You’ll find up to 60 percent off flat-screen TVs, laptops, phones and more. The best part is, this year you don’t have to wake up early and wait in line all morning to score deals. Walmart will be celebrating Black Friday all weekend, in stores and online.

Bare Minerals

I have three sisters, two moms and lots of girlfriends. Luckily, they all like makeup. Each year I browse the Black Friday Bare Minerals mega-package deals and pick out one with 40 or so pieces. I open it up, split the makeup into ten or so presents, and everyone gets high-quality makeup, but I spend less than 100 bucks.

Following the Black Friday tradition can be done in a selfless manner. Shop for friends and family during the sale and you’ll save hundreds on Christmas gifts — not to mention continue the Thanksgiving spirit. For my fellow shoppers, I hope this guide helps you find the best gifts at the best prices. Good luck!

Stay up to date with 4 of my favorite blogs

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a sucker for a good blog. A consistent writer, with consistently helpful information, is an indisposable resource. I also believe that the more you read, the better you write. So to those looking to up their daily reading, here are three of my highly recommended blogs to get you started.

Continental Inquirer

Cash The Checks – Finance Blog

The Hustle – Tech Blog

theSkimm – World News Blog


New south campus parking garage open for use

This year the new South College Parking Garage opened its doors to students and faculty, adding 650 new parking spaces to campus.

Construction is still underway on the fourth level and the canopy rooftop, but the first three levels are officially open for use. The garage should be complete by the end of August, after roughly a year of construction.

“We’re very pleased to have a new parking structure that aligns with campus culture sustainability,” said Fred Haberecht, the Assistant Director of Facilities Management.

In line with CSU’s sustainability efforts, the roof of the structure has the capability to set up solar panels, which will be implemented soon.

The garage will provide additional parking on the perimeter of campus, and it is located next to the transit line for commuter convenience. It will also be used to accommodate patients and employees using the new medical center, slated for completion Fall 2017.

“It’s just a good looking building,” Haberecht said. “It integrates into the campus aesthetic by sharing some of the characteristics that are common to other buildings on campus.”

Many students have voiced their complaints about how difficult it can be to find parking on campus. The University is troubleshooting this issue to accommodate the growing population of students.

“I previously have had a hard time parking on campus, but this year I purchased the commuter pass for the Z lot, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Amber Lee, a computer science student.

Permits are available for purchase, but there are also pay-per-hour spaces. Students who use the pay-per-hour spots will have the option to pay online using a phone application called Way-to-Park.

The garage will have six charging ports for electric cars, bringing the total of charging ports on campus to 24. The structure is equipped with the latest parking technology to help drivers find available spots efficiently using a light system.

“I’ve heard from other students that the commuter lots get full pretty quick,” Lee said. “I hope the project goes well, I could see myself using the garage in the future.”

This article was published in The Collegian August 23, 2016.

By the numbers: Warner College of Natural Resources

Getting good grades on tests or making it to class every day for attendance points are just means to an end, the end being graduation and, hopefully, a successful career. Students in the Warner College of Natural Resources seem to be achieving this pretty well.

This year, there are 1,813 undergraduate students in the Warner College of Natural Resources. According to the 2013-2014 First Destination Report, 86 percent of natural resources graduates had secured plans six months after graduation, with 69 percent employed.

“It’s not that way with every natural resource program across the country,” said Linda Nagel, professor and head of the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department. “This is pretty unique at CSU that we have such high job placement rate for students.”

There are five departments within the College of Natural Resources, and some departments have a higher chance of securing students a long-term career than others.

According to the First Destination Report, 76 percent of graduates in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology had secured jobs six months after graduation. Kenneth Wilson, professor and head of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, believes his students are driven by passion for what they are studying.

There are three concentrations within the department: conservation biology, wildlife biology and fisheries and aquatic sciences.

Upward of 70 percent of students in the department have had internships.

“I put internships in the same category as work experience,” Wilson said. “I’d rather them have a paid job that gives them experience than an internship that doesn’t give them pay and get experience.”

The forest and rangeland stewardship department offers three majors: natural resource management, forestry and rangeland ecology.

There are 236 natural resource management majors. Last year, 80 percent of graduates secured jobs six months after graduation, 14 percent pursued more education.

“Our largest employer is the U.S. Forest Service,” Nagel said. “So, there’s a wide variety of job types that those students get given the three degree programs that we have.”

In 2013 to 2014, 80 percent of students with a forestry degree secured jobs six months after graduation.

There are three rangeland ecology concentrations: range and forest management, restoration ecology, and rangeland and conservation management.

Last year, 80 percent of rangeland graduates secured plans six months after graduation, with 60 percent employed.

“If you look at the numbers, they certainly suggest that our students are, in most cases, getting jobs that they are interested in,” Nagel said.

She believes students who join clubs within the department have a higher chance at receiving job offers.

“We have quite a number of student clubs that are really active,” Nagel said. “Those students perform really well, and when students show leadership in those organizations, that really seems to help with job placement rates.”

The Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department offers two majors: watershed science and ecosystem science and sustainability. There are 220 ecosystem science and sustainability majors and 59 majors within watershed science.

In the 2013 and 2014 survey, 100 percent of the CSU watershed science graduates were offered jobs six months after college.

In the Geosciences Department, students can study environmental geology, geology, geophysics or hydrogeology.

In the 2013-2014 survey, 20 percent of geology undergraduates said they went on to pursue higher education.

“Our recent statistics show that over 90 percent of our graduates have gotten jobs in the geosciences, and at fairly high salaries too. Over $52,000 average, although many go considerably higher than that,” said Rick Aster, professor and Geology Department head.

There are several clubs students can join, and there are even opportunities to land internships. An internship is not required for graduation, but it is encouraged.

“We have strong associations with partners that provide internship opportunities, usually during the summer, some of which are quite high paying,” Aster said. He said the department is always providing students with opportunities to prepare for a successful career.

The department was called Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism until 2000, when the department changed its name. Now, students in the department can major in natural resource and recreation tourism or human dimensions of natural resources.

There are 91 undergraduate students in this year’s new Human Dimensions of Natural Resources major, while there are 217 students in the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism major.

Students requested the name change so it would be more applicable in today’s natural resource job force. In 2013-2014 survey, 95 percent of students with the natural resource recreation and tourism degree said they were offered jobs six months after college.

Students in the new major will seek similar jobs, but now the degree adapts to the changes in problems natural resource managers face today.

This article was published in The Collegian December 9, 2015.