Friday, April 8, 2016

With an Excruciating Rotten Tomatoes Rating of 29

By: Terry Beyer

With an excruciating Rotten Tomatoes rating of 29, many began reading Batman vs. Superman its last rites before the doors even opened. I think these same critics would walk out on a Cary Grant classic because it had too many one liners or call Clint Eastwood a cliché tough guy. Walking into this movie a week after it came out, I was too busy hiding from spoilers on Facebook to build too much anticipation. Sitting mid theater with a large bucket of popcorn and collectible Bats Vs Sup's cup (I sprung for the extra 70 cents), I wanted only 3 things:

One: Batman and Superman to square off, see who can take and give a hit.

Two: No long drawn out origin story.

Three: Wonder Woman to join the party and not need the boys to fight her fights

Walking out, and keeping spoilers to a minimum, I was not disappointed. No one goes to see Batman Vs. Superman expecting a deep plot, relatable characters and emotional attachment (apart from special effects induced adrenaline, but hey I don't do roller coasters, gotta get it somewhere). I didn't want clean cut superheroes, fighting for justice and mankind. No! I wanted to see personal vendettas, human nature, and our heroes get a bit flustered. What's more, this movie opened the door to the DC universe that promised a darker superhero conglomeration, with a little grit and no small amount of awesome. As I sign off to go watch Arsenic and Old Lace (seriously, great movie, Cary Grant and Theodore Roosevelt make a great team), I tell you to go watch Batman Vs Superman and expect to see a superpowered face-off. You won't be disappointed. Take a skeptic with you. The extra 70 cents for the collector’s cup is worth it.

As We Saw During The Great Pollen Dusting of March

By: Terry Beyer

As we saw during the great pollen dusting of March, spring has sprung in the low-country. The days are warmer, the rain is more regular, and nature is giving us a green thumbs up to break out our pots and seeds. For the novice planter (me), there are a lot of unknowns.
For example, 96% of a plants nutrients are Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen. Any plant not planted on the moon can find these in abundance. Among the 4% remaining, the larger part is Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). This is not as abundant in nature, but can be supplemented with fertilized dirt (potting soil). On the bag the NPK ratio will tell you the quantities of each element that is in the fertilizer.

Nitrogen, for green growth, is great for leafy vegetables. Phosphorous is for our fruits and flowering plants. It encourages healthy growth of the stems, buds, leaves and so on. Potassium is for the well-being of your plant. It encourages the plant’s immune system (they get bugs too), and plant metabolism. Think of it as a digestive aid for the daily meal of sun, water, and air. With this in mind (and hopefully armed with a better knowledge than I) try finding an NPK ratio that best fits what you are planting this spring.

The NPK ratio is only one of many factors to consider when doing spring potting and planting, but demystified, it at least makes sense. Take a look at what you're buying next time and hopefully this will see your green thumb do better than my grey one. Good luck and Happy Spring!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Requiem for a Dream

By: Mary Kiser

This movie reminds me of The Weeknd's Trilogy. It reflects the short Heaven and bitter Hell of drug use; it's the diesel in the needle that shoots you to the moon and back, and it's why Darren Aronofsky is one of my favorite directors. He's like a baker making a cake, combining all the necessary ingredients in order to make it both delicious and addicting. The movie is made with brilliant acting credited to Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. They, along with powerful music that envelops the characters throughout the highs and lows of their usage, portray the "deviled" experience that junkies and tweakers can relate to all too well and ill.

If the "Just Say No" program doesn't work for you, I highly recommend this movie. It doesn't glamorize drugs and the users; instead, what seems like a promising painting, is smeared with the hard and harrowing facts of what continued pill-popping, dope-snorting, and needle-injecting can do to a person, and how it transforms them into a person they don't even recognize.


Fifty Shades of Crazy

By: Mary Kiser

I've written about presidential candidate Donald J. Trump before, half-heartedly joking that I'd love for him to be the GOP nominee, so I could drink beer and watch what I think is more of a reality TV circus than pressing political debates. But now that he's still in the race, with a whopping 736 delegates won, he is the front-runner for the nomination. And that's such a scary fact because facts don't lie, and that fact is the truth. The truth that Trump could secure the nomination; the truth that he could debate with either Clinton or Sanders; the truth that he could become the next POTUS, no matter how big or small his chances are against the Democrat nominee.

But, and that's a big "but," hence the italics, he has to start making some sense. Yes, I said it. He has to start using coherence and strong ideals mashed with fact. Otherwise, the only people that would vote for him would be his family, the affluent, and a portion of the easily influenced.

There are so many examples I could write about concerning Trump and his antics to aid my bully pulpit, but I'll refer to his comments on abortion, since those are his most recent spectacle. Later retracted, he believes that women should be punished if they choose to abort versus adoption or raising the child. Because of this outlandish comment, critics went wild with even more ammo to fire at Trump. So, he then said that the doctor should be punished and not the woman.

Now, both Cruz and Kasich say women shouldn't be punished, but their policies portray a different story. Cruz favored the shut down of the federal government in order to "block Planned Parenthood Funding," which hurts women who want basic healthcare for themselves and their sex lives. Kasich, on the other hand, has signed seventeen anti-abortion tactics into law since 2011.

So, these are your three. Donald J. Trump might be a little more bold and brash about his political stance, but he truly does reflect what the GOP wants for America. And if this isn't what you want for our country, then go out and vote. It's so crucial and vital, especially now when racism, sexism, and xenophobia have skyrocketed at an all-time high within the Republican Party.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Exciting Things Happening in the English Department

By: Dr. Roger West

While South Carolina’s state bird, the mosquito, thrives in stagnant, smelly water, we in the halls of the English department have been working hard to offer free-flowing, continuously changing waters. We strive to provide students with new and exciting courses that keep pace with the ever changing academic tide.  The 2016-2017 academic year will bring several courses never offered before, which are structured to elevate you, our students, to meet the writing demands of the digital-age professional world.
In Summer 2016, you can sign up for ENG 299.001, a Special Topics in English course, “Film and the American Novel,” taught by Ed Macy.  This course will examine some significant 20th century American novels and the films that these novels inspired. Among the novels and films that will be assigned are Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and Stephen King’s The Shining. Don’t miss out on a great learning experience and an entertaining way to earn college credits.

In Fall 2016, ENG 214, the Fiction genre class, will be titled “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll.”  The readings will focus on novels from the 1960’s, with some lyrics from the music of that era, especially those written by Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, added to enhance the experience.  Novels assigned for the class will include Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Richard Farina’s Been Down So Long It Looks like Up to Me.  And no course on the literature of that decade can ignore Hunter S. Thompson and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While there will not be a dress code for the class, bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts are encouraged.
Some other changes that are coming in Fall 2016 involve the Professional Writing Certificate, which students may earn by taking additional courses focusing on creative and workplace writing instruction.  The certificate program still has ENG 238 (Creative Writing), ENG 260 (Advanced Technical Communication), and JOU 101 (Introduction to Journalism), there have been additional courses added to the curriculum.  ENG 242 (Advanced Creative Writing) will allow interested students to take an additional course related to some aspect of writing fiction or poetry.  The emphasis of the course will change from semester to semester and will provide a more focused study of various aspects of writing, such as narration or character development, or types of writing, such as memoir or creative non-fiction.

Another new course will be ENG 265, Advanced Professional Communication. This course will focus on various types of workplace writing outside of that covered in ENG 260.  The course will focus on writing proposals and the various types of business-related reports students will need the skills to do as they enter the job market.  Students will also learn how to make effective workplace presentations as a part of the course curriculum.
Probably the most exciting course addition to the Professional Writing Certificate curriculum is ENG 263, Writing for Social Media. Social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any of the other platforms, provide the most pervasive method to communicate with a large audience.  The course will provide instruction in how to write for social media to achieve your desired outcomes.  Just look closely at how Facebook exposes its many users to ads for a plethora of products and services, just as many organizations and individuals get people to “like” or support them, through their posts.  It is all about written communication, and the skills to be able to do this will continue to be important in the job market.

Because we cannot regularly offer courses in all the types of writing students may be interested in learning the skills for, we will periodically offer ENG 299, Special Topics in English, courses that will provide the opportunities for students to learn how to write for other areas. In Spring 2017, ENG 299 will be Collecting and Writing About Folklore.  This course will focus on the skills for recognizing and gathering folkloric artifacts and then how to present those findings for a reading audience.  Part of the course will have students exploring the rich folkloric tradition of the Lowcountry and then reporting on it.

Because the college has four campuses, it is difficult to provide these courses on each campus.  We will be offering these courses in a Mixed-Mode format at both the Main and Palmer Campuses, but most of these courses will also be available in an online format.  Even if students don’t want to complete the Professional Writing Certificate, they can take any of these courses to enhance their educational experience and marketability in the job search.

The two most important skills any person can have, not only in searching for a career, but in living a full life, are the abilities to read and write.  The Department of English and Journalism at Trident Technical College strives to help all of our students develop those skills.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

America's Losing the War on Drugs

By: Mary Kiser

Not many people understand addiction and the science behind it. What is considered a brain disease is highly stigmatized by American society as a personal problem due to a lack of motivation and an unwillingness to change. While those two factors can be incorporated into why a person wouldn't stop using, it does not account for the entire eight slices of pie.

Wake up, America! Drug addiction is a mental illness that can create havoc on the victim's brain which can lead to, or enhance a slew of mental disorders, such as: depression, anxiety, and/or schizophrenia. Since a patient is more than likely to deal with multiple issues coinciding with cravings and withdrawal, diagnosis and treatment can be complicated due to this type of comorbidity.

Ronald Reagan declared the "War on Drugs" on October 14, 1982 as a major threat to the United States. His wife implemented her own opinion on the matter by stating, "Just say no." when a child asked her what to do if someone offered drugs. People who don't fully understand just how complicated the disease of addiction is are more than likely to agree with the 40th president and his wife. However, people who have lived with this brain disease or have seen it in the flesh know differently. Addicts don't get better by serving more prison time. They get better by recognizing that using was only a symptom of a much bigger problem that they were trying to mask.

Even though the drug policies today haven't been significantly altered, the Obama administration does not endorse the phrase "War on Drugs" because they believe it to be "counterproductive." Until America delves deeper into the root causes of addiction, she will only continue fighting a losing "war" with addicts free-falling further into the rabbit hole.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Universe of Love

Universe of Love
Our love is like the universe

It’s forever lasting

We might have black holes

Sucking up all the bad moments

Until they explode into arguments

But as time goes by we build

Beautiful and fascinating planets

These represent our good memories

While our children shall be galaxies

And they shall build planets like we have

Then this cycle shall continue forever



Holiday Heartbreak

Holiday Heartbreak

          When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about the Silver Linings Playbook. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper play broken characters that have fallen in their personal lives, but strive for their silver lining. He wants his wife back, and she wants him. Viewers experience the raw passion and pain that these two people are going through, and it shows a different side to the holiday while keeping the traditional excitement of good food and football. My own memories of Thanksgiving aren’t as hectic or heartwarming, but I share them with my loved ones in a home that’s a haven. During this time, we forget about our petty arguments and unresolved issues to focus on what we have and all that we shouldn’t take for granted.

          This November 26, 2015 will mark another Thanksgiving with the turkey as the centerpiece, and the TV remote being voted most popular. The Panthers are going to play the Cowboys at 4:30, and most people in South Carolina are going to have their forks and napkins ready. While most of us will be surrounded in warmth and comfort, let’s not forget about Paris and Syria. Innocent civilians are dying from brutal attacks, whether they’re from the government or rebel forces, such as IS. We’re filling our bellies with collard greens, macaroni-and-cheese, and sweet potato casserole, and somewhere in Syria a mother is mourning the death of her child. We’re going to watch football through a sleepy haze while Paris deals with the aftershock of terrorism. When we sit down with our family and friends, let’s remember to honestly thank God for what we have and who we have. Let’s remember to say a prayer for Paris and Syria.

Just Let It Be and Breathe

By: Mary Kiser

It started with a text.

After flip phones were introduced to the public in 1989, messaging people as if it were like drinking water later became the newest trend in ’93. Gone were the days of kitchen-phones attached to clunky, coiled wires. Gone were the days of asking Mrs. Smith if he could speak to her daughter. And gone were the days of awkward calls with your significant other as your parents listened in on the other line. 20th century America and 21st century America are like fraternal twins: the two share many similarities, but the rapid growth of technology has been forever ingrained in the latter’s DNA. Therefore, our generation is more accustomed to the impersonal <3 or ;) than actual conversations and physical connections.

I have to admit that I am part of the millions of teens that squeal over a new iPhone, especially since I love texting an emoji or nine, listening to music through YouTube, or stalking irrelevant celebrities’ Instagram accounts. However, it can create problems of disconnection, isolation, and plain existence as more people, especially teens, become more in love with their screens versus the potential faces they could be seeing. Technology advancement definitely has its advantages, like being able to find a missing child quicker, or contacting a mother you never had the chance to know. Don’t let those perks fool you! Be aware of the disadvantages just as much as you’re aware of your best friend’s drama. A good book or outdoor activity usually doesn’t lead to a lack of sleep, a catfish scandal, or trouble with your parents, anyways. J 

August: Osage County

By: Mary Kiser

My admiration for Meryl Streep runs deep. Any movie she stars in is bound to be box office gold. Her emotions are real. They're raw. When people see her on the big screen, they can feel her passion through the character’s words and actions. She's the white Oprah Winfrey of movie performances. You feel like you've just won a new car every time she spins everyday words into jaw-dropping scenes.

One of her lesser known films, August: Osage County, is about a dying matriarch struggling with both addiction and the sudden death of her husband, played by Mr. Sam Shepard. Her family come to Oklahoma to support her during this tough time, and that's when drama about life, love, and death ensue between Meryl Streep's character Violet and her three daughters played by Juliet Lewis, Juliette Nicholson, and the amazing Julia Roberts.

If you're in the mood for a dramedy, then this is the perfect movie to watch in 2016. You'll laugh; you'll cry, and you'll learn a thing or two about just how complicated life is no matter how old you are.

Man to Cyborg

Man to Cyborg

 Why do I have feelings?

They’re just worthless emotions

That us stupid humans have

So I shall sacrifice

My love, caring, etc.

And become a emotionless machine

Not having these inferior feelings

So I can’t go through pain

And put others through it



Love Fading

Love Fading

 Our love fades each day we talk to each other

We push each other away to escape the pain

Each day worse than the last

My love for you is slowly becoming hate

Why won’t you make things better?

Do you want someone new?

Or do you want us

It’s all up to you because I’m here to stay

But maybe I’m just something temporary

You say you give up on this

I leave forever hurt

Wishing I could give you the things that you want

But I guess you just didn’t want me



Donald Duck

By: Mary Kiser


            When I turn on the television, and I see something Donald Trump related, I always turn up the volume and get a case of beer ready. From his fake birth certificate to his radical rants concerning Muslim-Americans and terrorism, Mr. Trump has proven himself to be the biggest quack out of all the remaining 2016 GOP candidates. His lack of empathy and insight are only drops in a bucket compared to his absence of moral code and character. He says whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and to whomever he wants. A paragon would be when he mocked Serge Kovaleski’s physical condition, known as arthrogryposis, in front of a rally in our very own southern-charm state of S.C., where several people in the video’s background appear to be laughing at his cruel insensitivity.

          Personally, I don’t think Donald Trump is this evil force who is secretly plotting the downfall of American civilization; however, I do think that he is a shining example of the playground bully who never learned his lesson because he’s always known how to play the game. And as much as I disdain any and all things Trump related, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he receives the 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination. I’d love to see him compete against (hopefully) Hillary Clinton. Even though America can’t always count on a reliable, reflective, and reserved Republican nominee, it always gets its ass. And I’m not referring to the Democrat.



 The sun is going to sleep

And the moon is rising

The dark side of the night arises

They come to corrupt you

But it’s your choice to fight it or join them

They give you everything you want to consume you

They will make you a slave of the night

You will never be able to escape their grasp

They will use you until you are useless to them

Then leave you confused and lonely

Unable to recover from this curse they have given you

You will forget who you were

And become a ghost in a shell



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

NASA and Mars

By Levena Lindahl

A really exciting fact came from NASA on November 4th, and it might affect future trips to the red planet.  During the press conference, NASA confirmed evidence that liquid water flows on Mars, an announcement that is incredibly important to the question of, “Could there be life on Mars?”  This also is important for the possibility of future human colonies on Mars, as water is essential for life.

As seen here, these dark lines called recurring slope lineae, are thought to have been formed by contemporary flowing water, though it must only be present intermittently.  The bands come from hydrated salts and the mineral pyroxene.  The streaks ebb and flow, seeming to darken during warmer seasons, and fading during the cooler seasons.  The bands have also been seen in several locations on Mars.

The water on Mars would be briny, kind of like what would be found in runoff in areas that salt roads during the winter.  Briny or not, the shallow run off is enough to be noticeable by scientists here on Earth.  What makes this briney water special is the presence of minerals called perchlorates.  These are important because they have the ability to keep liquids from freezing in temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This discovery of water on present day Mars is exceptional due to the fact that, before this, all discussions of water were about ancient or frozen water, not water that is currently there.  This lets scientists learn and discover how life could be supported on Mars and what resources are there to support life now and in the future.

If you’d like to read more on this, check out NASA’s website at !

NaNoWriMo, what is it?

By Levena Lindahl

Perhaps through October you have been seeing things posted on social media about NaNoWriMo, or National Write a Novel month.  It takes place every November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words, which is the average length of a novel.   If you have ever wanted to write, this might be the thing to motivate you to try your hand at writing your very own novel.
I know that can seem like a lot, but it averaged out to 1,667 words a day, or roughly the length of your typical college paper.  The best thing about this is that it can be about anything!  Do you really love zombies?  Go ahead and write that new post-apocalyptic take on zombies.  Are Victorian romances more your thing?  Make your readers swoon onto chaise lounges with your work instead.  There is no limit to what you can write, and if you are nervous about people seeing what you are doing, just know that you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.  Just post your word counts on the NaNoWriMo site, and keep plucking away at it.  If you want to share, great!  There is a massive online community out there ready to welcome you to the finish line.

I myself am working on this this year, and have a pretty good start going!  Just remember, if you miss a day, don’t give up!  Yes, you are playing catch up, but it is not the make or break sort of situation.  Keep working, and keep trying.  If you get stuck, reach out to people; there are tons of forums designed to help people stuck with writers block on the website, and there is no shame in asking for opinions. 
Happy NaNoWriMo to everyone, and good luck writing your novels!

November Men’s Health Awareness

By Levena Lindahl

Hey gentlemen, this article is for you.  October was all about breast cancer awareness and getting women in to see their doctors, and now November is about men’s health and encouraging you to do the same! 

Statistically, men are less likely to go to the doctor to get annual physicals and exams, and that can lead to dangerous health issues.  Most guys think of ‘no-shave November’, but there are men going around sporting just moustaches.  Have you ever wondered why?  It’s to raise awareness for men’s health month, and odds are if you ask that fellow why he is rocking a moustache instead of a beard, he will tell you about men’s health month. 

This November, think about going and seeing your doctor for a check-up, especially if you are over 25.  Men of all ages should go and see their doctors for yearly check-ups but as you get older it becomes more important.  Starting the habit now will keep you in good health for years to come, letting you wear those moustaches and beards in November with pride.

Looking out for One Another

By Levena Lindahl

It’s getting to be that time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching fast.  Many people love this time of year, thinking of fun and family, and the general good cheer that is present.  However, this is also the time of year with one of the highest rates of suicide, which is why as people we need to come together and look out for each other.
I know many people who are not fond of this time of year due to family deaths.  When a beloved family member dies, it can be incredibly difficult to handle, and can sometimes take years to really handle or come to grips with.  When people get older and they have fewer family members still alive, each death gets even harder to deal with.  People don’t like being alone; humans are social creatures.  This year, think about calling or visiting relatives or friends who might not have many people around during the holidays.  An act of kindness can go a long way in preventing a suicide.

Students are under a lot of stress during this time of year as well.  Midterms and final exams are all taking place during this stretch, and sometimes the pressure to be perfect or to be what people expect them to be can make even the strongest person crack.  Be a friend; if you see someone acting unusual or becoming withdrawn, talk to them.  Let them know that they aren’t alone, that you are there to listen.  It is so important to just be there; sometimes just sitting quietly with someone is all they need.

This time of year is all about giving; think about giving some of your time to others to try and reduce the number of self-harm incidents this year.  A few minutes can change and save a life.