Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Restaurant Critics go West Mex

As we walked in, the ULTRA-friendly cashier greeted us promptly and told us about the 20% college discount.
Between the two of us we ordered super nachos (small sized), a quesadilla melt, and a churro. All items were freshly prepared, including the churro. We liked the size options for the nachos. The quesadilla was filled with meat, cheese, and veggies, and although it was a generous portion size, it wasn’t too heavy or saucy.
Pros: Stellar service, clean and updated dining room and restrooms, tasty food, portion sizes, college discount
Cons: More expensive than Taco Bell
Speaking of Taco Bell, we'll be headed there next!

Friday, November 19, 2010

National Football League (NFL) 2010: Top Teams in the Regular Season Standings; Thanksgiving Games Upcoming

By Evan Troxel (Associate Editor of Sports Content)
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the NFL Regular Season is here.  Last season, the New Orleans Saints topped the Indianapolis Colts thirty-one to seventeen in Super Bowl forty-four. 
This is how the regular season standings currently look like for the American Football Conference (AFC): In the AFC East Division the New York Jets and New England Patriots are tied with a record of seven wins and two losses and both teams have the best record in the AFC.  They are two of the three teams who have the best record in the NFL.  Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers lead the AFC North Division with a record of six wins and three losses.  The AFC South Division leader is the Indianapolis Colts with a record of six wins and three losses.  In the AFC West Division the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have a record of five wins and four losses.
In the National Football Conference (NFC): The NFC South Division and NFC leader is the Atlanta Falcons who have a record of seven wins and two losses and are also tied for the best record in the NFL.  The NFC North Division leader is the Chicago Bears who have seven wins and three losses and beat the Miami Dolphins of the AFC East Division on Thursday Night sixteen to zero.  If the Green Bay Packers (also from the NFC North Division) win this upcoming Sunday (November 21, 2010) against the Minnesota Vikings they will be tied with the Bears with a record of seven wins and three losses. 
The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants of the NFC East Division both have a record of six wins and three losses leading their division.  The Seattle Seahawks of the NFC West Division have a record of five wins and four losses and lead their division as well.  Two other teams from the NFC South Division—the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—both have a record of six wins and three losses and could also be in the mix for a chance to go to the playoffs later this season.
Thanksgiving Day is just days away now and there’s one thing I always look forward to on Thanksgiving.  That is watching the Detroit Lions (of the NFC North Division) and/or the Dallas Cowboys (NFC East Division) playing different opponents in a couple games of football.  A third game has been played annually since 2006 with no fixed opponents.  Maybe, I’ll change my habits this year and sleep off that turkey in the afternoon instead of watching football. 
Both the Lions and Cowboys have a regular season record of two wins and seven losses this season.  By the way, they both are playing head-to-head against each other this Sunday.  It should be interesting to see who wins and who loses that game.  Whoever loses between those two is going to have a tough time even being considered for going to the playoffs this season.
This year, the Lions will play the New England Patriots who are part of the AFC East Division.  The Lions currently have a six game losing streak on Thanksgiving Day.  The only two times the Lions have won this millennium were against the Green Bay Packers in 2003 and the New England Patriots in 2000.  Hey, why not make it three wins for the millennium on Thanksgiving Day.  Surprisingly, the Detroit Lions have been around a lot longer than most teams have and never been to a Super Bowl.  The Lions currently have a record of 33 Wins, 35 Losses, and Two Ties on Thanksgiving Day. 
The Dallas Cowboys meanwhile will host the New Orleans Saints (NFC South Division).  The Cowboys currently have a four-game winning streak when playing on Thanksgiving Day.  If I am not mistaken, the Saints have never played on Thanksgiving Day before.  The Dallas Cowboys have a record of 27 Wins 14 Losses and 1 Tie on Thanksgiving.
The third and final game this season will be the Cincinnati Bengals at the New York Jets.  The Bengals also have never played on Thanksgiving before.  Super Bowl 45 will be played at the Dallas Cowboys home stadium.

Performing Paintings

In Arts 1000, Art Structure, we were tasked with performing an interpretation of a Norman Rockwell painting. This skit would be evaluated by Professor Haneline and as many staff and faculty as he could round up. We chose the Thanksgiving Turkey and with Nerves on edge, we brainstormed for 15 minutes and did three impromptu trial runs. We decided on a modern interpretation and had a lot of fun. Acting in this skit is Kelly Brown as the attack turkey, Ashlee Hudson as mom, Amanda Hallett as a kid, and Shawn Strasburg as the cousin who catches the turkey. Here is the video.

Monday, November 15, 2010


by Jessi Johnson

Walking underneath the wings of an angel
Where my many flaws and mistakes are hidden
My secrets, in the shadows, are unexposed and quietly kept
Life beyond these wings, to me, is foreign and unknown
My angel's presence, is the only I have known
Walking underneath the wings of an angel


by Jessi Johnson

He asks to play baseball, the other boys pick him last.
They laugh at him and call him names, four eyes, metal mouth.
He just wants to fit in, to be like everyone else.
He feels so out of the ordinary.

She asks to play for square, the other girls never pass it to her.
They laugh at her and call her names, nigger, black girl.
She just wants to fit in, be like everyone else.
She feels so out of the ordinary.

He asks for money, the sign says “Will work for food!”
They laugh at him and call him names, white trash, homeless.
He just wants to fit in, to be like everyone else.
He feels so out of the ordinary.

She asks to go shopping, they laugh and turn her down.
They laugh at her and call her names, slut, prego.
She just wants to fit in, to be like everyone else.
She feels so out of the ordinary.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Yardrake’s New Restaurant Critics Begin the Trek up Highway 83

By Anonymous
Our goal is to eat at every single restaurant on highway 83. Our plan is move north from the NPCC south campus, and thus we begin our adventure at the southern-most restaurant in North Platte, Hunan Chinese restaurant.
We arrived to an empty restaurant 11:00, just at the start of the popular lunch buffet. The attendant immediately removed the stainless steel lids to reveal a bounty of fresh, steaming food. Between the two of us, we sampled won-ton soup, fried chicken wings, beef with broccoli, green beans with bacon bits, fried rice, General Tsao’s chicken, steamed dumplings, chocolate cake, and fried dough. Everything was fresh and met our expectations for good, standard Americanized Chinese food.
Pros: Good quality freshly prepared food, attentive and friendly wait staff, clean environment, fish tank is BOSS
Cons: D├ęcor is somewhat dated and kitschy

Next up: Taco Johns

National Basketball Association (NBA) 2010: Regular Season Underway; Hornets Undefeated

By Evan Troxel (Associate Editor of Sports Content)
Another season of the NBA is here.  Just to refresh everyone’s memory, last season (2009-2010) the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference stole the NBA title away from the Boston Celtics of the Eastern Conference when they trailed three games to two and came back and won four games to three.
So far, in 2010 there’s not much to say since the regular season just got under way before the start of November.  The Eastern Conference Standings briefly looks like this.  Before any games started on November 12, 2010 the Boston Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference with seven wins and two losses and are leading the Atlantic Division.  The Chicago Bulls have a record of four wins and three losses and are in first place in the Central Division.  The Orlando Magic have five wins and two losses and currently share first place in the Southeast Division with the Atlanta Hawks who have six wins and three losses.  The Toronto Raptors have one win.
The Western Conference looks like this (before any games started on November 12, 2010).  The New Orleans Hornets have the best record in the NBA with a record of seven wins and zero losses in the Southwest Division.  The Los Angeles Lakers have eight wins and one loss to lead the Pacific Division.  Finally, the Portland Trail Blazers have a record of six wins and three losses to lead the Northwest Division.  Every team in the NBA has at least one win.  The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers have just one win so far.
I think it’s funny that the NBA starts the regular season in November when it starts to get cold outside.  And then, I think it’s even more hilarious that when the NBA Finals comes around in June they play indoors when the weather (most of the time) is pretty nice outside.  I don’t understand why they don’t play outside.  They should play the NBA during the warmer months of the year and outside.  If it wanted to, the NBA could be a year-round sport.  The NBA Playoffs begin sometime in April. 
Since 1999, every year either the Los Angeles Lakers or San Antonio Spurs have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals except 2006 when the Dallas Mavericks represented the Western Conference Champion.  The San Antonio Spurs have won four Western Conference and NBA Finals since 1999 and in the years: 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.  The Los Angeles Lakers won the Western Conference seven times since 1999 and in the years: 2000-2002, 2004, and 2008-2010.  They have won five NBA Finals since 1999 in the years: 2000-2002 and 2009-2010.
The three Major Eastern Conference Title Contenders since 2002 have been the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and New Jersey Nets.  All three have won two conference titles since 2002.  The New Jersey Nets won the Eastern Conference Championship in 2002 and 2003, the Detroit Pistons won both the Eastern Conference Championship and NBA Finals in 2004 and the Eastern Conference in 2005.  The Boston Celtics won the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals in 2008 and they won the Eastern Conference in 2010.  The Eastern Conference Teams have won the NBA Finals only three times since 1999.  I told you two of the teams who have won the NBA Finals since 1999 and the third team is the Miami Heat who accomplished it in 2006.
If a person who lives here in Nebraska wants to attend an NBA playoff game in the future they should be cheering for the Denver Nuggets and/or the Minnesota Timberwolves to make the playoffs.  Both teams are part of the Western Conference and the Northwest Division.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to Get and Stay in Physical Shape

By Evan Troxel (Associate Editor of Sports Content)
With all the pressures of college—studying, getting enough sleep, doing your own cooking and laundry—there’s very few things harder than trying to keep oneself in good physical condition.  All college students want to do is to enjoy themselves and have a little fun. Staying in physical shape is not easy and it requires a person’s constant attention.  For some people it’s fun and for others it’s quite boring. 
Let’s ask and answer the question: Why do people need to be in physical shape?  A really good reason is that for college students to run to class when they sleep in too long (especially during finals week).
I talked with three people and asked them questions about staying in shape, their eating habits, their motivation for being physically sound, and any advice they would give to college students to stay in shape.  Here are their responses.
First, I interviewed Vaughn Meachem.  He is playing basketball for the college and is from Washington, DC.  Vaughn told me that running, calisthenics, push-ups, and sit-ups are good exercises and that daily exercise is vital to staying in shape.  I would also throw in jumping jacks to get your heart rate up.  He also explained that a person can be in good physical shape by not eating fried foods and fast food and no late night eating.  He also emphasized that a person shouldn’t intake a lot of sugars and dairy products.  I think basically just get your dairy each day and you should be okay.  Milk is important for strong bones.  Finally, Vaughn emphasized that drinking water is extremely important (duh!) and that physical fitness is not a big deal but it is.  Every person has to be disciplined not to eat too much and to exercise at least a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
Next, I spoke with another basketball player from Lincoln, Nebraska.  His name is Darian Davis.  I asked him what physical activities he likes to do to help him to stay in shape.  He responded by saying, “I like to lift, run, and play sports.”  He likes to eat oranges as a healthy food and his favorite sport to compete in is basketball.  Then, I asked him, “What motivates you to keep yourself physically sound?”  He responded by saying something like, “Playing basketball is paying for school.”  I wonder what else keeps him motivated.  Finally, I asked him, “Is there any advice you would like to give to college students to keep themselves in shape?”  He said something like, “Play intramurals and get your friends together” (to play a game or sport).
Finally, I spoke with Ryan Jenson from Dalton, Nebraska.  I asked him the same questions I asked Darian and he responded by saying, “I like to lift free weights and use the stationary bike for cardio.”  He told me the healthy foods he likes to eat are grapes, pasta, and probably the least healthy—protein shakes.  He then said something like, “I like to compete in football and wrestling.”  He also told me that he wants to keep himself (the same) physically in shape as when he was in high school.  Finally, the advice he’s giving is, “Take time out of your day to do that (exercise).  Health is really important.”
Here are some more tips I am suggesting for college students to be more physically conditioned overall.
Well, it’s a good idea to exercise an absolute minimum of 4 times per week.  This is effective if a person exercises four days in a row around the same time each day.  I personally would exercise 5-6 times in a given week (unless it’s really tough finals week).  I like to run and some days running helps to get rid of headaches by getting the blood flowing.  If you like to run fast, weightlifting will slow you down.  If a person weightlifts and runs on the same day then both will work effectively.  But you have to do them both.
It’s also very important to stretch (to prevent and avoid injury), warm-up, do your exercise, cool-down, and stretch again to conclude your exercising.  Setting goals for doing 10 push-ups for example, will help get a person started on exercising.  The buddy system helps everyone achieve their goals sooner.  So, it’s good idea to exercise with a friend.
I think it’s important that people eat fruits and vegetables daily.  Don’t forget about the dairy products, meats, and grains.  College students I think should get as much sleep as they can during the school week.
Getting plenty of sleep, doing your best in your studies, being prepared for exams, taking time out for fun, exercising, and eating healthy foods should result in a positive school year as long as a person puts the effort into it.

You Want Me To Take What?

 by Shawn Strasburg

            “When am I ever going to use these skills?” A question posed by many people as they take the classes required for a college degree. Often times, college skills or knowledge can seem useless in light of a chosen career path. For centuries colleges have required specific course work and students have paid in time, money, study stress, and sleepless nights. Questions to the need of courses are not limited to mathematics and natural sciences; the worth of humanities, social sciences and communication are also often pondered.
            I believe knowledge can be summed up in two ways; information you know, and information you know how to find. At Fort Hays State an interesting idea was posed by a Professor to her students. The idea was not to teach a student information, but to teach a student how to find information. With an innumerable amount of facts and statistics, it becomes exceedingly hard to determine what information should be taught to students in order to prepare them for a career. This dilemma is compounded yearly as technology continues to evolve to the point that by the time a text book is written, some of the information is obsolete. With all of this data, it becomes impossible to retain much of the information you will need to perform a job.
            I first found myself questioning the need for college algebra when I started doing mathematical formulas I had not needed in 18 years of employment. Then I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In it, he has an example of compound interest. If $1,000 is invested at 6% for 40 years the end result is $10,285. At 18% interest, $1,000 grows to $750,378. Wow, math suddenly became more interesting and I promptly walked down to Professor Chad Swanson’s office and asked for the formula to figure compound interest. He found it in the Trigonometry book and copied it on a piece of paper for me. I have no illusions of making 18% interest; however, my credit cards’ interest rates are pretty close. I quickly cut up the cards that I was paying such a ridiculous rate on. In Money magazine, Nov. 2010 page 75 it states that by paying $1,000 down on a credit card, on average it effectively returned at 14%, and that was certainly figured out using math.
            When I decided to write this paper I interviewed two Professors. Once again I stopped into Professor Swanson’s office to find some more facts on Algebra. He agreed that in many careers higher math would never be required. Yet as the conversation continued on I found many other benefits. One that I would not have considered was free thinking, the proverbial thinking outside the box. As with many of the courses in college, different ways of dealing with situations are taught. In Construction you may use the Pythagoras Theorem of a2 + b2 = c2 to square a house and never know it (the 3 4 5 method). Yet in 10 years of construction I never divided rational expressions. However, learning how to think beyond what is normal can be quite beneficial. When you are 40 miles from town with the wrong part or tool, by altering your thought process you can often improvise a technique or repair, saving time and money.
            In hunting, target shooting, cooking, and animal husbandry mathematical formulas can be invaluable. Math, as a foreign language, is not learned over night. Often times the steps taken to get to a reasonable use of the skills can be frustrating. The point of being able to figure out the trajectory of a 175 grain bullet with a ballistic coefficient of .608 shot 500 yards through a 10 mph cross-wind from an elevation of 6500 feet to an elevation of 6000 feet at 3200 fps with a temperature of 32 degrees and humidity of 30%, is not in the first few weeks of algebra. However, if you had just spent $10,000 on a hunting trip, it would be nice to know how to place a shot by having certain scenarios computed ahead of time. If you have some hobby animals and want to care for them, it would save a lot of money to be able to follow dosage instructions and doctor the animals yourself. As you can see even in hobbies math can be very useful.
            I also interviewed Biology Professor Sara Morris. She also has an interesting take on using information and skills gained in college. She felt that Biology could be very useful for people in decision making. Political ideas such as stem-cell research could be voted on from an informed view point with information that could be gathered by a Biology student. Health care products could be analyzed as to whether they were beneficial, or just a waste of money. There are also many agricultural ties to Biology as many farmers and ranchers are Biologists in nature. Professor Morris also brought up the fact that many people change majors in college and career fields once in the work force. In rerouting a career it is advantageous to have as many roads open as possible. Chances of employment at non-profit organizations would be greatly increased as many conservation agencies are interested in fields related to Biology. She also commented much the same way as Professor Swanson did, stating that by learning new things the world would open up in a way previously unimagined. The idea she brought forth that most related to me, was that even though some information was repetition of high school, there comes a time when things make sense. Through experience, relearning ideas may make concepts real by how they have played a role in our lives. Also through learning new ideas or revisiting old premises, interest in career paths may surface that were once unknown.
            I find that in applying ideas given by the professors as to the legitimacy of their fields of knowledge would also apply in humanities, social sciences, and communications. Despite your job choice, a few key pieces of information will apply from each area of learning. Beyond that, work ethics learned in classes that are commonly despised, should prepare you for tasks in life that are unsavory. Also differing viewpoints and analytical thinking can season you as an academic. 
            Even though you may never need to draw in three point perspective, or know John Locke‘s theories, or solve quadratic equations, such skills can often expand your potential. In a tough economy, being MacGyver can lead to job security and money savings. An innovative, well rounded employee is often termed irreplaceable after saving the company through skills learned in college. When your fellow employees are being lay-off would you rather be an irreplaceable asset or just the average employee?

We Blinked

December 14, 2007
 by Jessie Johnson

The days pass by, faster than we expected.
It seems as if it was just a few days ago,
we walked in, first day of kindergarten.
We were so excited, couldn't wait to get older.
Then we made a mistake, we blinked.
Days flew by.
First grade, second.
Third grade, fourth.
Fifth grade, sixth.
Time seemed to soar.
Junior high.
The years passed by.
Our first day of High School.
Sophomores. Juniors.
We were having the time of our lives.
Again, we blinked.
Now here we sit,
Reflecting on the memories of our past,
Waiting for our diplomas.
We think about the times we had,
And how they went by so fast,
Yet, we didn't realize it.
Now we wish we didn't blink.