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FEATURES [28] Checkout Success From stacking to stockpiling, enter the world of couponing

BITS & PIECES [04] Meow-Meow

A club drug that bites back

[32] Bringin’ Modest Back

[05] Snakeskin Manicures

Shining a light on Mormons and ridding rumors

This nail service trend is slithering into salons

[36] Alternative Campuses

[06] Warrior Dash

A closer look at Maharishi School of Management, Deep Springs College, Oberlin College, and Shimer College

Crawl through mud, and jump over flames in this extreme 5K

[07] Cap-Sac Flash back to the ’90s with this fanny pack for your head

[08] Hipster Puppies Check out this tribute to man’s best hipster friend

SAY WHAT [09] Feather Faux Pas Say goodbye to your hair feather extension, and deal with it

[10] Slutwave A rant on raunchy mainstream music

TECH TALK [12] Personalized Pictures gives filmmaking freedom

[13] Decoding DNA can map your genotype


[42] Giving Victims a Way Out

[18] Small-Town Noise Daytrotter Studios gives a voice to emerging artists

US organizations work to rescue sex slavery victims

[20] Coasting Onto the Mainstream Scene Quietdrive revisits old songs to claim new fame

GREEN PIECE [22] Going Organic: Worth it? Don’t change your eating habits before reading this

[23] Making Waves Midwest Floating Island works to keep lakes clean

[23] Recycling Made Easy RecycleMe Iowa makes going green in Des Moines simple

QUICKIES [46] Sugar Babies The things people do for tuition

[47] iVibrate Have some solo fun with the new app


[48] Eat Your Heart Out

Gaining more Facebook “friends” and Twitter “followers” has never been so easy with new websites

[24] Q&A with Ron Paul

13 foods to get you off

[15] From Blog to Book

[25] Mad Men

[50] Things to Know

Writers today are turning their blogs into best-selling books

Assistant prop master David Saltzman dishes on Mad Men set secrets

More facts from our stories

[16] Where Your Text Messages Go

[26] Traveling Trends

The creator of tells all when it comes to her snarky humor and blog

[14] Falsified Friendship

The mystery behind sending a text message

18 13 26

Cover Photo by Lizzie Callen

A conversation with the Republican presidential hopeful

Vintage threads find a new home in this traveling trailer

EXTRAS [52] Q&A with Molly Erdman




EDITOR We love bursting bubbles at DrakeMag. No, we don’t hunt down poor, defenseless children and destroy their sticky little spherical creations. And we really hate bad news. We’re talking comfort zones here. Getting readers to step out of their personal bubbles is our prerogative, and we’ve nailed it this issue. Whether you’re reading about getting lewd with food (aphrodisiacs, duh) page 48, a Q&A with presidential hopeful Ron Paul, page 24, or our feature on Mormons, page 32, you’re sure to come across something you’ve never encountered. If you’re looking for a quick way to pop your personal bubble, read our piece on Warrior Dashes, and find one near you—but prepare to thank the heavens for portable showers and Icy Hot. You’re not alone—we’ve stepped out of our own comfort zone at DrakeMag, too. After sending our previous online staff to take on senioritis, we decided to completely redesign the online publication with an entirely new staff. Check out the revitalized, and make sure to let us know what you love or aren’t so fond of at Want to get in touch with the print staff? Hit us up at Keep bursting bubbles, friends. If you happen to get it wrong along the way, don’t tell those poor children it was us who told you to do it. DrakeMag love,


EDIT McKenzie Anderson Lizzie Callen Katherine Dewitt


ART DIRECTOR Katie Vecitis

MANAGING EDITOR Katherine Dewitt


Paige Zidek


Kristin Doherty Isaac Kittleson Alex Masica Katie Minnick

Kristin Doherty

DESIGNERS McKenzie Anderson Isaac Kittleson Alex Masica Katie Minnick Claire Sedovic Marina Shawd Abby Silverman Liz Wood Elyssa Yesnes

Jeff Nelson Claire Sedovic Marina Shawd


Erika Owen, Editor-in-Chief

Lizzie Callen


SPECIAL THANKS TO: Lori Blachford Jeff Inman Chris Snider Jill Van Wyke

ColorFX Drake Security Morehouse Parking Mike Mettler

© Copyright 2011 Drake Magazine is published with the support of the Board of Student Communications. Opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of Drake University. Letters to the editor are encouraged, although they will not be published. Direct any questions or concerns to


Megan Berberich Emily Boyd Mara Davidson Lindsay Dressen Nicole Dyar Meagan Flynn Hilary Gibney Clara Haneberg Kelsey Johnson Rachel Landes Jessica Lang Evelyn Lashley

Erin McHenry Katie Minnick Katelyn Phillipp Sarah Sager Marina Shawd Lucca Soria Ashley Thompson Emily Tozer Leah Walters Rachel Ward Rebecca Warner Olivia Young

Abby Silverman Katie Vecitis Liz Wood

Elyssa Yesnes Paige Zidek DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 03


MEOW-MEOW This club drug is clawing its way into the US WORDS SARAH SAGER European ravers have let the cat out of the bag with the latest club drug fad. Meow-Meow, or mephedrone, has recently crossed the pond to the U.S., where it has become the cat’s meow. Also known as drone, bubbles, and MCAT, Meow-Meow is an amphetamine derived from the khat plant—hence its feline street name. Take the euphoric highs of ecstasy, the stimulation of cocaine, and the Alice-in-Wonderland-esque delusions of a hallucinogen, and you have the components of a Meow-Meow high. This drug is most often found in a powder or tablet form, which users can snort or take orally. Like cocaine, a user’s high can last from one to two hours. But once the high wears off, Meow-Meow bites back. After-effects include sweating, nausea, and teeth grinding. The long-term effects and addictive nature of mephedrone are still being studied, but users have reported experiencing a dangerously rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. “The problem with these new drugs is that since they only started becoming widespread in the U.S., the questions in many drug surveys don’t address the use of synthetics,” says Will Taylor, a special agent and public information officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some Meow-Meow creators have marketed the drug in a more creative way by disguising it as legal substances, such as bath salts or plant food. Some sites claim that Meow-Meow isn’t meant for 04 DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011]

human consumption, while others say it’s a “legal high.” “With synthetic drugs, many are sold with a wink and a nod as other products,” Taylor says. “In reality, the products are not the typical bath salts you would buy at a store. They are sold for hundreds of times more.” Try around $100 for five grams. Users who want to get their hands on some of this catnip can purchase one gram to ten kilograms of “bath salts” online. Though some claim that Meow-Meow use is just recreational, others believe that this club drug isn’t so purr-fect. Officials across Europe have called for bans of the drug after it was linked to several teenage deaths last year. One particularly gruesome, Meow-Meow-fueled incident caused a U.K. teenager to rip off his own scrotum. Me-owch. In America, the Drug Enforcement Administration has begun a legal process that will make Meow-Meow a controlled substance. On September 7th, it used its emergency powers to make mephedrone and three other synthetic drugs illegal for one year. During this time, the administration will decide if the drug will be made illegal in the States. Until then, users can continue to legally purchase Meow-Meow online. Just remember—curiosity killed the cat. DM


This latest trend brings scaly style to your fingertips WORDS EMILY TOZER Snakeskin accessories and python prints are all the rage this season— from scaly clutches and printed tops to patterned stilettos. Now this trend is slithering its way into salons and onto your nails. “One snake’s trash is a toenail’s treasure,” creator and nail technician Terri Silacci said in an interview with The Today Show’s “The Look.” A snakeskin manicure begins like any other—cutting, filing, and cuticle trimming. Then comes the weird stuff. A base color of your choosing is applied and hardened with a UV light box. Once sized, both sides of skin are coated in a gel and pressed to your nail, with a topcoat to seal it off. It’s a lengthy process. You may spend upwards of two and a half hours in the salon, making this manicure quite the time commitment. Prices for a real snakeskin manicure range from $150 to $300. But never fear—you get what you pay for. These manis typically last

three to five weeks, and pedicures can last up to twelve. Before you go on a passionate PETA-esque rant, keep this in mind: The skin comes from natural shedding and doesn’t harm the snakes. The fad is slowly catching on through salons in New York City, but its limited audience keeps it from spreading much further. Lookalike manicures have already begun popping up. Nail decals can give you a similar style without the funny texture—or fat price tag. One blogger even managed to turn it into a DIY venture. “I created a feather manicure last year and used the same process,” says Jennifer Leale of “It was a bit of a trial and error for the feather manicure, but it worked out perfectly, so we tried it again with the snake slough, which was very fragile.” If you’re looking for some snakeskin at your fingertips, be sure to pamper yourself with this mani. DM




CAP-SAC Try out this fanny pack for your face WORDS CLARA HANEBERG PHOTO KATIE VECITIS

WARRIOR DASH Find a new meaning to “mud, sweat, and beer” with this 5K WORDS & PHOTO KATIE MINNICK He throws his body over licking hot flames. Cuts ooze blood, and sweat runs down his chest. Donned in a fuzzy Viking hat and kilt, he army-crawls through a pit of mud. After crossing the finish line, sans tennis shoe, he’s greeted with a banana and a cup of freshly poured beer. Sound like a typical 5K? Probably not because this is the Warrior Dash—the latest trend in competitive racing. Described on its website,, as the “extreme run from hell,” this race isn’t for the faint of heart. From London to Kansas City to New South Wales, Australia, thousands are flocking to these insane, adrenaline-pumping races. Jarrod Kingston, a 26-year-old from Liberty, Mo., participated in the Kansas City Warrior Dash this August. “I wanted to do a 5K that wasn’t just running,” Kingston says. “It was hard, though—the race was on uneven ground, and it was muddy, crowded, and wet. It was about enduring through the obstacles.” Obstacles vary by location but typically include crawling through tubes and climbing over cargo nets. Add in the fact that it’s up to 3.55 “hellish miles” of competing against thousands of other people—even those who consider themselves fit cross the finish line utterly exhausted.


“You need to be in decent shape,” Kingston says. “I was able to run it and not kill myself. But if you’re out of shape, it wouldn’t be good.” It’s not all about sweat and tears—Warrior Dash brings quirky to the typical 5K. “The mud at the end was my favorite part: jumping in and getting really muddy and not even caring because I’m so tired. I gave it my all,” Kingston says. Competitors are also encouraged to dress in costume. Along with the top female and male contenders in each age division, the person with the craziest get-up is awarded a steel Warrior helmet trophy. The “best Warrior beard” also receives a prize—so guys, start grooming that fuzz. Registration costs range from $45 to $65, but the fee includes a T-shirt, personalized Warrior medal, and fuzzy warrior hat complete with Viking horns. If you’ve ever wanted to be in an action movie or jump over fire, the Warrior Dash just might be the event for you. But be prepared: You may find yourself experiencing the true meaning of “mud, sweat, and beer.” DM

It’s time for a night on the town, but you have a problem: There’s no matching wallet, purse, or clutch in your bursting closet. Ditch that scenario with a fanny pack-like hat concoction—the Cap-sac. The slightly sexier version of the waist-ridden catastrophe has a zipped-up pocket above its bill, just beckoning to hold your belongings. But a word of caution: After loading up the facial fanny pack, you’ll be struggling to see. The weight of your iPhone, keys, and other essentials weigh down the front of the cap, inconveniently covering your eyes. This can be fixed by constantly re-adjusting the headwear, though—good luck keeping your cool while doing that. Needless to say, sporting the cap gives your neck a workout. Perhaps listening to Andy Grammer’s latest hit, “Keep Your Head Up,” can serve as a reminder while rocking your Cap-sac. Despite these design drawbacks, there are a few bonuses of foregoing fashion for simplicity. Similar to Longchamp bags, Cap-sacs can fold up to become more compact and portable. They also come in neon tones— perfect for standing out at a packed party. Hands down, the hat dominates its competitor, the ever-surviving yet always hideous fanny pack. Cap-sacs come in an array of colors and cost about $14 each. Limited Edition styles are also available, which include accent colors or images—like a pair of stunna shades—on the front of the cap. The company also put its own spin on the fanny pack with the new belt-like Pac-sacs, $17 each. If this isn’t enough for you, the makers of Cap-sac also sell a variety of other apparel to promote their product. A DrakeMag favorite: the grey V-neck with a picture of a cat reppin’ a Cap-sac, $22. Check out this modern take on the classic ’90s fad online at DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 07




FAUX PAS One writer thinks this hair trend is “fowl” WORDS OLIVIA YOUNG

Hipster Puppies

STEP 1: WANT While Americans were tying feathers into their tresses, I was studying in Spain. And in Spain, there were very few feathers—although there was a strange proliferation of greasy mullets, Obi-Wan Kenobi rat tails, and short bangs. I spent hours upon hours paging sullenly through my American friends’ Facebook pictures, envying their cutting-edge feathers more and more with each click. I was thrilled to find a hair trend I liked after living so long in a land of not-soenticing hair fads. Feathers were so flashy and different. I immediately decided adding a feather into my hair would be my first priority when I returned to the United States.

WORDS NICOLE DYAR PHOTO LIZZIE CALLEN Ever since Paris Hilton dressed her Chihuahua Tinkerbell in glitzy tutus, canines have been subjected to humiliating and, at times, degrading attire. However, this glamorous, overwhelmingly pink, rhinestoneinfested style or embarrassing Halloween pumpkin costume has become too mainstream for some pups and their owners. Thus, hipster puppies were born and have since been attacking your Tumblr feed, one American Spirit cigarette at a time. Music critic turned four-legged-friend enthusiast Christopher R. Weingarten has devoted his time to compiling images of self-loathing dogs for his Hipster Puppy Tumblr. Weingarten’s witty, profanity-filled blog began as playful mockery modeled after other Tumblrs that poked fun at skinny-jean-clad humans, which he says are never accurate or particularly funny. Instead, Weingarten collects pictures of pups in pants and jests, “Being neutered means the ability to wear even tighter jeans.” Weingarten received hundreds of photos from fans who dressed their dogs in Ray-Bans and American Apparel and placed them in front of their fixed-gear bikes, all in hopes of landing a spot on his blog. But it wasn’t about how hipster these animals appeared—it came down to that puppy-dog face. By combining hipster-oriented humor with irresistible cuteness, Weingarten created a recipe for a successful blog, which has morphed into something more. Weingarten expanded his blog into a picture book full of quick wit and pathetically adorable furry friends. Weingarten, who has written for the likes of Spin, Village Voice, and Nylon, is clearly a hipster expert, with his snarky captions about the hipster counterculture (“Olive hasn’t exactly grasped the difference between ‘vintage’ and ‘old and shitty.’”). Some of them are so spot-on you don’t even know what he’s talking about—a clear indication that you’re not cool enough to understand. The pictures are accompanied by obscure captions like, “Ivory is a little bit Rebecca, a little bit Enid, and completely unbearable,” and, “Frankie’s chillwave 08 DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011]


band vetoed his album art…even after he went through all the trouble of Alf fucking a Voltron.” There are also the stereotypical captions that almost everyone can laugh at: r “Nat will know he lost enough weight when he goes from ‘girl jeans’ to ‘child husky jeans.’” And, oh, the irony: r“Andy moved to San Francisco because it was more ‘laid-back’ and ‘anti-consumerist’ than New York but still manages to drink two cups of Starbucks a day.” And the downright disgusting: r“Lucy and Lio are living proof there is love after hooking up in a Bonnaroo port-a-John.” r“Stan spent $8.95 on organic, no-salt peanut butter and then just ate his own poop.” Hipster Puppies is available at your local bookstore, and, ironically enough, your local Urban Outfitters. If you’re the typical asshole hipster and don’t want to actually buy the book, check out or follow the pups on Twitter at @hipsterpuppies. DM

STEP 2: ACKNOWLEDGMENT What I found at home was not what I’d imagined. It was a feather-pocalypse. Big feathers, small feathers, neon feathers. Feathers with beads. Feathers with sparkles. Somehow during my six months out of the country everyone—and her mom and kid sister—had woven feathers into her hair. “Had everyone been attacked by those aggressive ladies at the hair extension kiosks in the malls?” I wondered. I had, after all, been a hapless victim of their handiwork multiple times. The magic curling iron, the super-fast straightener, the Swarovski butterfly clips—those are some determined women. I couldn’t do it. I simply couldn’t bring myself to get a feather— not with my little sister’s friends and “cool” moms prancing around with glitter-pink feathers in their manes. Weeks after this disappointment, I tried—in vain—to fill my featherless void with silent words of comfort: I can’t pull it off anyway. I’m better without one. I can’t afford it. I’ll get short bangs or an Obi-Wan Kenobi rat tail instead—no one here has those yet. And then, one fateful day, I discovered that Steven Tyler joined the hair feather flock. I wiped away my featherless tears and saw the unfettered reality before me: This has gone too far. Are we too busy knotting more feathers into our hair to see the truth? Are we blinded by the feathers’ plastic-y softness and massproduced dye patterns? Feathers are taking over.

STEP 3: ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MICK JAGGER Just consider all of the innocent, dried-up rock stars’ reputations we can save by saying “no” to feathers in the future. Will Adam Levine still boast of having “moves like Jagger” if Mick has a long peacock feather tied into his hair? And how will Ke$ha decide whom to kick to the curb without first comparing him to Mick? We must stand up for our has-been rock gods. The careers of pop musicians looking for words that rhyme with swagger depend on it. STEP 4: A SLIPPERY SLOPE Helpless rock stars aside, I can only wonder what else we’ll start fusing into our locks. Will we stop at nothing to individualize ourselves with organic materials? Ribbons of faux-snakeskin? Braids made of pleather? Why don’t we go green and tie in recyclables while we’re at it? Perhaps pieces of Campbell’s Soup cans, pop tabs, or sea glass? These potential fads, sparked by hair feathers, pose health—and fashion—risks. STEP 5: MAKE PEACE I still like you, and I still like your feather. Secretly, I’m jealous of it. Feathers will always hold a special place in my heart. But do you really want to have the same hairstyle as Steven Tyler and those moms who still shop at Abercrombie & Fitch? Do you want to take away Ke$ha’s rhymes? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, reconsider your feather. It might be time to let it go and opt for a glamorous strand of puka shells or Swarovski crystals instead. Trust me, the hair extension kiosk women will be happy you did. DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 09



SLUTWAVE Why pop stars need to put their pants back on

Top 10 Slutwave Songs— of ALL TIME.



“LoveGame” Lady Gaga

Mother Monster adds a driving dance beat to lyrics of phallic allusions, making for four minutes of slutty pop perfection. Berate me all you want for not knowing how to correctly pronounce “Bon Iver.” I don’t care—I’m a Top 40 whore. There’s nothing I love more than getting my mainstream music fix. Slap a synth-laden hook over some thoughtless lyrics and a catchy chorus, and you’ll be at the top of my playlist. But while I love the music, I can’t help but bemoan how class seems to have taken the backseat in the female pop world lately. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing Katy Perry’s whipped-cream-covered cleavage. Then there’s the infamous Nicki Minaj Good Morning America nip-slip of 2011—as if we hadn’t seen a “wardrobe malfunction” before. And let’s not forget Ke$ha, in all her fishnet and body glitter glory. Somewhere between Madonna crawling around in a cone bra and Rihanna humping a helpless zebra in her “Rude Boy” video, pop culture crossed over from “controversial” to just plain old inappropriate, and “slutwave” was born. We can thank Rolling Stone for making the term mainstream and crowning it the “fake genre” of 2010. It calls out the strategy most superstars employ: Sex sells. But they’re taking even that age-old adage to a skanky new level. Female pop tarts, we can see through your game just as easily as we can see through most of your clothing. The slutwave formula to score a No. 1 hit is simple: Just spout some suggestive lyrics, and take your top off. While moral objectors might try to blame slutwave on our generation, the artists during their heyday were equally guilty perpetrators. For years, countless performers have found chart-topping success with brazen, overtly sexual tunes—from the Divinyls on their crass hit, ’90s masturbation narration “I Touch Myself,” to Kelis with her inescapably inappropriate (albeit catchy) “Milkshake.” Don’t get me wrong. With the exception of Kelis—I’ll stay out of her yard, thanks—I love these divas more than they love their thighhigh boots and ass-less chaps. But enough is enough. Their rationale is ridiculous. Lady Gaga, the unofficial leader of the movement, will tell anyone who will listen that what she does is “performance art.” Please tell me how taping her nipples and prancing around sans pants with sparks coming out of her crotch adds an artistic element to her act. 10 DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011]


“Peacock” Katy Perry

Sure, she kissed a girl—but Perry demands to see a dude’s junk in this double entendre-ridden ditty.

Others tout that female empowerment is the driving force behind their gimmicky stunts. I find more merit in this argument—but Miley Cyrus’ ice cream cart pole-dancing debacle and Nelly Furtado’s single about her “Promiscuous” propensities reek more of desperation than confidence to me. Supporters say slutwave is just harmless fun. There’s nothing wrong with a nice grind-inducing club-banger from time to time—that is, if you know what the lyrics you’re grinding to mean. Case in point: It’s a little disturbing to read 12-year-old girls’ statuses about how chains and whips excite them. This pop culture trend doesn’t show signs of receding any time soon, but it’s comforting to know some can still make a smash record—and keep their clothes on. Kelly Clarkson sang her way into a man-repelling state; country-pop princess T. Swift made bank with her fairytale tunes (and slanderous ballads about ex-BFs); and British import Adele exploded stateside with her curvy figure and retro style. As much as some aspects of slutwave annoy me, I’m still not going to be deterred from downloading the next hypersexual single. By this point, they’ve already proven themselves popular in the pop world and don’t need the added attention anymore. If they want to be taken seriously as artists, they could probably start putting some clothes on. DM


“Buttons” Pussycat Dolls

The sly sex kittens invited Snoop Dogg to help them take it off in this ode to undress.


“I’m a Slave 4 U” Britney Spears

Brit has an abundance of blush-worthy singles, but with its submissive, straight-forward talk and breathy flirtation, this one clearly takes the cake.


“Blah Blah Blah” Ke$ha

“Don’t be a little bitch with your chitchat—just show me where your dick’s at,” the queen of uncouth raps in her duet with 3OH!3.


“Might Like You Better” Amanda Blank

“I might like you better if we slept together,” states the electronic artist matter-of-factly in a crass come-on.

“S&M” Rihanna

“I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it,” boasts the Barbadian bombshell in the kinkiest song to top the charts.



Christina Aguilera

Nasty. Filthy. Dirty. If someone can embody an STD, Aguilera did on this song.


“London Bridge” Fergie

Five years later, I still don’t know what she’s talking about. But it’s Fergie, so it’s safe to assume it’s much more racy than the nursery rhyme.


“Milkshake” Kelis

This suggestive track still leaves me lactose intolerant.



PERSONALIZED PICTURES Make an original film with WORDS MARA DAVIDSON ILLUSTRATION ISAAC KITTLESON Hidden among endless Youtube videos of cats cuddling and embarrassing lip-syncing sessions, you can find fresh flicks made on—a free movie-making site. Xtranormal is no iMovie. Instead of shooting and uploading your own videos, the content is created right on the site with help from animated figures in an animated world. Creating a movie usually requires equipment, but when using Xtranormal, all you need is a computer and some creativity. To get started, log on to the site, and set up an account for free. Once you’re ready for the dirty work, you can choose from 19 different themes to create your perfect picture. Themes vary from test drive dummies to historical figures and all come free with your account. The theme defines which background and character choices you’ll have when crafting your movie. “If you can type, you can make movies,” states Xtranormal’s site. Once you choose your characters and themes, typing is the only skill you’ll need to complete your movie masterpiece. Bonus: You can get as creative as you want with the script. The animated


figure will spit out your words in its signature robotic voice. Xtranormal was originally created for filmmakers on the go. The site was perfect for moviemakers who needed to create storyboards on a time crunch. Launched in 2008, Xtranormal became a viral hit for intended moviemakers. But its audience has expanded—now teachers and businesses are taking advantage of the technology to create training videos or advertisements. In an age where million-dollar films and state-of-the-art software is hot, Xtranormal is making waves by simplifying the moviemaking process for the less technologically informed. While several independent filmmakers use Xtranormal, the site is primarily aimed at keeping the creation fun and not so professional. Unlike or other typical editing programs, Xtranormal’s videos don’t use any part of the creator. Everything is anonymous, giving you the freedom to create a knee-slapping video without relying on your own cheesy acting skills. DM



DNA Unravel your genes and more with


If you want to know what your DNA says about you, but talk of chromosomes, mitochondria, and eukaryotes gives you hives, you’re in luck—23andMe is here to help. Since 2007, the California-based company has been unraveling the mystery behind those weird double helixes. The process is easy enough—especially if you’re a spitter. Go online, order a kit at, and send in a tube of your saliva. Then sit back and relax for six to eight weeks while a government-certified lab begins to decode your DNA via genotyping chip technology. But what’s the point of all of this? 23andMe will explain your genome, sans sci-fi jargon. It offers you personal genetic information— for a price, of course. For $99 and some other fees, you can map your DNA. Once you get your 23andMe account, you can begin to see the truth behind your genes. Scientists analyze the little strands of your DNA to see which disorders you may be susceptible to. 23andMe tests for over 200 diseases and conditions, from the ugly (male pattern baldness) to the unfortunate (cancer, Alzheimer’s, and drug and alcohol dependence). Results can also show if you’re a carrier of a mutated gene. If you are, you may be at risk of passing it on down the road. Even if you don’t plan on popping out any kids for a while, it may be important to keep in mind. Disclaimer: 23andMe can’t officially diagnose any disease. Genotype testing is

only part of the puzzle, so consult a doctor if your results show possible complications. There are more perks to the company than offering potentially life-saving disease detection, though. Your DNA affects how helpful medications can be and if you’ll be prone to disagreeable side effects. 23andMe could deter complications that might be brought on by your prescriptions. On top of that, the site offers a fresh take on your family tree. With lineage-tracing technology, you can explore your roots and even find longlost family members. Whether you’re looking to take preventive measures or just connect with a cousin, the technology’s there with 23andMe. DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 13






Finding new “friends” has never been so easy At the end of the day, Facebook and Twitter are just like high school. They’re the ultimate go-to for the latest gossip and a constant reminder of just how popular you are—or aren’t. That sneaky little number indicating how many loosely termed “friends” or followers you have can say volumes about your social standing. And just when it seems like you’ve reached the outermost corners of your social network, a new friend-generating wrench is thrown into the mix. Although it’s often referred to as simply “marketing” yourself or your business, it’s now possible to buy friends, fans, likes, and followers. Some online companies offer a wide

range of marketing strategies with different packages that promise an increase in your of fans and followers. The most talked about group that provides this service is the Australian company uSocial. This site guarantees you the number of “real, targeted Facebook fans” your heart desires—if you’ll cough up the cash. Packages range from 1,000 fans for a mere $197 to 250,000 fans for nearly $9,000. And if you really want to blow your friends out of the water, you can purchase 20 million Facebook fans—price upon request, of course. But you get what you pay for—if uSocial doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain, you get your money back. Similar to its packages for Facebook,

uSocial can increase a user’s Twitter follower count by 1,000 in as little as seven days. In that time frame, uSocial will message the Twitter users who might be interested in their client. Then it’s up to the user to decide whether or not to follow the client. Bloggers have argued that these marketing tactics defy the underlying principle of social networking. Reports say that Facebook lawyers have tried to shut down businesses with a letter of cease and desist, but to no avail. Perhaps then, in this day and age, money can buy you happiness—if happiness comes in the form of virtual fans and followers. DM


Popular bloggers pursue life in the print world WORDS KATELYN PHILIPP PHOTO ISAAC KITTLESON Annoying patrons, weird shit your dad says, Snuggie-friendly sex positions—we don’t want to hear about it, but we’ll still read about it. Blogs are all the rage. Pick a wacky topic, and go with it: You can make it a full-fledged website in no time. Spend a little time with your blog baby, and a book deal may be in your future. THE MOTIVE Steve Dublanica was a waiter frustrated by customers. His blog, Waiter Rant, drew in thousands of fans and led to two new books. Dublanica started writing anonymously as a waiter in his early thirties, blogging about his strange tableside situations. His customers were “80 percent nice people and 20 percent psychos,” he says. One early entry describes a particularly gruesome gourmet experience: After serving a table of doctors in a conference being presented a new product, a wan waiter waltzed up to Dublanica with a tricky situation on his shoulders. “I asked him what was wrong and he said he couldn’t believe the pictures they were showing on the wall. ‘What kind of pictures?’ I asked. The waiter leaned forward and whispered in my ear, ‘broken pussy.’


Just what I want to see on the wall before I tuck into my dinner. We had to redirect all the other customers away from the doctors so they didn’t upchuck their $30 entrees. I couldn’t tell the fish specials for the rest of the night with a straight face.” Despite Dublanica’s entertaining stories, he fell into a typical blogger rut—a lack of viewers—which led to a five-month break. Once he came back, he found an audience by upping his content and connecting to popular blogs. He quickly went from a handful of viewers to thousands in no time. After turning down a book deal in 2005, Dublanica pitched his own idea after winning a Bloggie Award in 2006 and hiring an agent. “I crafted a proposal for a book for four to five months, and HarperCollins picked it up pretty quickly,” he says. THE PROCESS While the actual pitching session was quite easy, writing proved difficult. “It’s easier said than done to write a book,” he says. He dealt with the pressure of providing original content, pleasing his publishers, and juggling his time blogging and writing the book. Jessica McGrady, assistant editor at

HarperCollins Publishers, says a blog is judged based on two components: “blogger platform and our ability as a publisher to enhance the blog reader’s experience.” A stable audience is an important factor—a loyal following indicates a book might sell well. Publishers also want bloggers who can offer original content not already featured on their site. Now a two-time author of Waiter Rant and Keep the Change, Dublanica says a book-worthy blog takes a mix of “luck and talent.” Bloggers have to write well, provide interesting content, and attract an audience. He also stresses that bloggers cannot start out hoping for a book deal. “If readers get the sense that you’re using them, then they might be turned off.” DM

Check out DrakeMag’s favorite blogs and vote on which ones you’d add to your bookshelf at Blogs-to-Book-Deals DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 15




Before you push “send,” your phone compiles all the information into a “packet” to send. This packet includes your text message, the time stamp, the receiver’s phone number, and your phone number.

THEN, IT’S SENT TO A SECOND BSS: The second BSS finally sends the text directly to the reciever’s phone.

THEN, THE PACKET IS SENT TO THE BSS: The BSS (Base Station System) creates the radio transmission to send your text. The BSS’ transceivers send info to the mobile station.

THEN, IT’S SENT TO THE RECIEVER’S MSC, WHICH QUERIES THE HLR: The receiver’s MSC and HLR (Home Location Register) search to find the cell tower that’s communicating with the recievers phone.

THEN, IT’S SENT TO THE MSC: The MSC (Mobile Switching Center) transfers the message from one network to another. 16 DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011]

THEN, IT’S SENT TO THE SMC: The packet goes to the SMC (Short Message Center), which stores the text until the reciever’s phone is active. DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 17




NOISE Daytrotter Studios brings music to the masses

Rock Island, Ill. is quiet. Filled with brick buildings you’d likely see in reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, the town is more historic than anything. Take a peek between Huckleberry’s Pizza and the CBS affiliate station, and you’ll find the town’s resident noisemaker: Daytrotter Studios. Affectionately known as “the Horseshack,” Daytrotter is the creative baby of Sean Moeller, 33. The Davenport, Iowa, native transformed an old office building into a rock ’n’ roll recording hub. His mission: to be a source of discovery for new music and MP3s from the newest emerging bands. THE CREATION “I’d say we’re doing something valuable for posterity’s sake, and it’s pretty culturally historic,” Moeller says. “We have passionate listeners, which is pretty powerful.” Every day, a recording session consisting of three or four songs is published on The site has helped music lovers download over 24 million songs since its launch in 2006. For $2 a month, you can join Daytrotter’s following. Membership includes ad-free video streaming and downloads. The heart of the business relies on the studio’s frequent visitors. Up-and-coming bands, usually on independent labels, will stop in and record a few songs on their way to and from gigs around the area. It’s more than a service to music fans—the studio helps the artists, too. “Smaller bands may get more publicity by putting up a session on our site as opposed to playing hundreds of shows at small clubs,” Moeller says. Rising acts hoping to make it in the industry are the most frequent studio visitors, but more recognized names—Bon Iver, Vampire 18 DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011]

Naughty By Nature featuring Minneapolis band, Solid Gold, practicing “Feel Me Flow” on 12/19/10 Grammy award winning group, Blind Boys of Alabama, session recorded on 12/14/09

WORDS MEGAN BERBERICH PHOTOS PHIL PRACHT Weekend, Hellogoodbye—have also spent some time with the Daytrotter team for a jam sesh. The power of Daytrotter also resides within its loyal fan base. “People are shocked when their friends haven’t heard about Daytrotter, so they pass it on to them, and it’s just cyclical,” Moeller says. A DAY AT THE HORSESHACK The studio brings comfortable to a whole new level. Hundreds of posters line the walls, from Local Natives to Matisyahu. An extensive record collection fills shelves under the TV and record player. Copies of Spin and Bust lie sprawled across the darkened coffee table. Music lovers, meet your dream room. Moeller arrives later in the afternoon, dressed in a raggedy hoodie, prominent beard, and skinny jeans. If you didn’t know his deal, you’d think he just jumped off his longboard. Talk of hiring a new cleaning lady gets tossed around between Moeller, Johnnie Cluney, Mike Gentry, Phil Pracht, and Bambi, Johnnie’s wife and the fifth member of the Daytrotter crew. They work hard—but don’t confuse that with being uptight. Moeller and Pracht discuss the advantages of Scrabble over Words with Friends. This relaxed environment is what the team thrives on. Moeller created this business as an alternative to his life as a sports writer at the Quad Cities newspaper—and he’s in heaven. THE JOBS Mike Gentry, resident tech fiend, sits hunched at his computer in a dark audio booth, with the only light coming from his computer

Cass McCombs session recorded between Dropping The Writ and Catacombs screen and an antique lamp in the corner. He checks volume levels, sporadically twists knobs and occasionally pulls at a wire and places it into a new socket on the massive switchboard. Introducing: the madman behind the quality music coming out of your headphones. Moeller whips out essays to accompany each band session that’s featured on the site. Inspiration for these pieces comes from each band’s lyrics. Johnnie Cluney is the art man. Check out Daytrotter’s site, where his masterful portraits are displayed along with each musician’s profile. Action figures clutter metal shelving that surrounds Cluney’s workspace. He’s been working on a portrait for recent visitors, Typhoon, a 16-member indie band out of Portland, Ore. “This portrait will probably take me around two hours because there are so many people, but the process is usually simple,” says Cluney. Before the Horseshack’s visitors head out, Cluney snaps a picture, which will be his reference point once he starts their portrait. Daytrotter Studios is a creative haven for all kinds—music lovers, art aficionados, and performers alike. “I’ve created the perfect dream job, and I just don’t want to fuck it up,” Moeller says. “If I didn’t work here, I’d just be trying to create a job exactly like it.” DM

Take a look at Daytrotter’s creative side, and watch the explanatory video at Daytrotter-Video





SCENE Quirky alternative band Quietdrive creates fame from covers

When it started in 2003, Quietdrive was just a band that had fun playing smaller venues in the Twin Cities area. Fast forward almost a decade, and the group has gotten out of the garage and gone international. Following name and lineup changes, the Minneapolis act found the right fit with Kevin Truckenmiller on vocals, Justin Bonhiver on lead guitar, Will Ceasar on guitar and backup vocals, Brice Nehaus on bass, and Brandon Lanier behind the drum set. Quietdrive has released three studio albums and multiple EPs under several record labels, has worked with industry insiders like Butch Walker (the mega-producer behind artists like Pink and Katy Perry), and is now an independent recording act. But it really rose up out of musical obscurity in 2006 with a new take on the Cyndi Lauper classic “Time After Time.” The cover reached No. 25 on the American Top 40 chart and was featured in two star-studded Hollywood productions (John Tucker Must Die and Prom Night). But there’s more to Quietdrive than one cover song. The band knows its strengths and plays on them. Connection to its fans, hometown pride, lots of touring, and personality—along with poppy, appealing alternative rock, of course—have proven important in Quietdrive’s quest for chart-topping success.



Quietdrive’s eclectic combo of eccentric minds is key in creating a winning dynamic. “Everyone definitely has their own sensibilities that they add to the mix,” Ceasar says. “Kevin is a nerd at heart. He’s extremely smart and loves to get in these heated intellectual debates. Justin’s a hard worker, very passionate, driven, and loves peanut butter. Brandon is our navigator. He’s like a human GPS—he could give Rand McNally a run for its money. And I’m a talker. I seriously can’t stop talking.” With guys this outrageous, you better expect a ridiculous pre-show ritual. “Our routine is simple,” Ceasar says. “We stand in a circle, put our hands in front of us in a shrug-like manner, and then groan ‘ughhhhhhhh’ at each other”—a testament to the band’s fun-loving, goofy side. The band also has a YouTube channel where it posts quality videos like “Wearing Short Shorts & Doing a Dance,” in which they do, in fact, shimmy whilst wearing short-shorts. It’s more than music and shenanigans, though. These guys know how to connect with their followers. Quietdrive recently launched a groupie-driven effort to release its new album, Your Record Our Spin. The album, set to drop in the spring, will feature 10 fan-picked cover songs and one new track. As for the cover concept, Ceasar explains

the success of “Time After Time” definitely had a hand in it. “People often ask us when we’re going to do another cover, and one day we just thought, ‘Why not do a cover record where the fans decide which songs we’ll record?’” he says. In addition to dedication to fans, Quietdrive feels a close association with its Minnesota roots. “We love playing the Varsity Theatre in our hometown of Minneapolis,” Ceasar says. “It’s got a really cool vibe, and we do an annual holiday show there, which is always a blast.” On top of all the recording and tours, Quietdrive is doing some good, too. The guys took trips to the Middle East last year and in 2009 to meet and perform for troops at military bases. “Being able to give back and bring just a little piece of home to the men and women over there was extremely rewarding,” Ceasar says. At the end of the day, Ceasar says, the band’s success comes down to communication. “We definitely know our strengths of the roles we play both internally and externally, but we also know our weaknesses,” he says. “Recognizing both really helps you work together for one common goal.” Put these quirky guys together, add in a shared passion for making music, and you have Quietdrive in a nutshell. DM


Jimmy Eat World

Blink 182


City Sleeps



GOING R N G O A IC WORTH IT? What you need to know before switching your diet


Today’s busy college students might find themselves grabbing a Twinkie and Monster to eat on the go or swinging by the McDonald’s drive-thru for some quick, cheap grub. But most never stop and question where their food actually comes from. In a world of fast food chains and fastpaced lives, people have become completely disconnected from the food they consume, and the origins of healthy food are hazy. Recent salmonella outbreaks across the country have had fatal consequences that caused many to question the actual contents of the food they consume. Organic food stores, farmers’ markets, and co-ops have gained nationwide popularity in response to these questions, making the food market more diverse than ever. Matt Russell works with the Des Moines chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local, a national network that connects consumers to farms. Russell says these new products act as both a benefit and burden to consumers. “It’s all out there, but now we have to sort through it and make decisions,” he says. “Consumers need to be more conscious, not just when buying food by default but when thinking about their purchases, too.” Most consumers might agree that organic foods sound healthier, but what does buying organic even mean? Buying organic-certified food ensures products have been grown according to uniform standards set by the USDA. Organic foods must be grown sans synthetic chemicals that can cause adverse health effects and severe, negative environmental consequences. This includes not growing genetically modified crops. Many consumers don’t realize that manufacturers aren’t legally obligated to tell them if foods are genetically modified—buying

New City Market

Big City Burgers & Greens

Gateway Market

Founded in 1973, this organic market specializes in highquality produce and meats, vegetarian entrees, and sweets such as cookies and candies. Owners Jim and Cindy Raife have been eating and cooking organic foods for over 30 years. Jim is a certified nutritionist.

Located in downtown Des Moines, Big City caters to a variety of tastes using organic, antibiotic, and hormonefree meat as well as locally grown vegetables. Choose from an extensive menu of burgers, wraps, and salads, or create your own. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Big City also serves shakes and concretes.

Gateway Market offers a wide variety of natural organic, and specialty foods from around the world. Stop by to shop or eat at the adjoining cafe to try an artisan sandwich or signature challah bread french toast.

48th and University Avenue


USDA-certified organic products is the only way to completely avoid these dangers. Buying locally grown organic foods also helps shrink carbon footprints by reducing energy and stimulating local economies. But some question the benefits of organic options, especially when these products can come from megastores. “Many are skeptical of organic foods in large chain stores,” Russell says. “Products are often outsourced from countries like China, which are notorious for having less adherence to food safety laws and have several cases of fraud.” Organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts, but the price often reflects the quality of the food. Turtle Farm in Granger, Iowa, is an organic operation that offers a different way to connect consumers with their food. For $480, Turtle Farm will deliver a bundle of fresh, seasonal produce to you weekly for about 20 weeks. Ben Saunders, Turtle Farm’s manager, believes there are a lot of “buzzwords” (such as “grown naturally” and “sustainable”) circling the organic food market. What’s most important is for consumers to “know what they are putting in their mouths, know the source of their food, learn how their food is produced, and to ultimately find a person they want to support,” Saunders says. Similarly, Russell says it’s hard to tell which products will be the best choices. “When buying local, consumers can talk to farmers and have a connection with the product. If they are hard to contact or say things that don’t make sense, there’s probably a reason why. We should be able to talk about our food and know what farmers are doing.” DM

400 Locust Street, Suite 195

2002 Woodland Avenue




Midwest Floating Island: cleaning a lake near you

Nearly 9 billion gallons of water is packaged and sold in the United States each year. This means that the average American drinks about 30 gallons of bottled water annually. Rather than dumping all of these bottles into a landfill, Bruce Kania of Billings, Mont., found a better solution. Chairman and research director of Floating Island International, Kania first conceived the idea behind the BioHaven floating island that’s being introduced to lakes around the country. Midwest Floating Island is the branch of BioHaven that covers Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. These islands cure “sick” lakes as they attempt to re-create the natural filtering of water that’s lost as wetlands are destroyed. If you’ve ever felt a cattail at the edge of a body of water, the tiny hairs that give it that sticky feeling are called bio-film. The materials used to create the floating islands cause this film to form. The islands are made of 100 percent recycled plastic and then injected with polyethurane for buoyancy. After the base of recycled material is created, plants and foliage form a habitat for birds and animals above the water. Below the surface, the bio-film absorbs nutrients and microbes, creating a home for fish that’s full of food. Arlys Freeman, President of Midwest Floating Island, describes the product as “floating supermarkets” for

surrounding animals. These islands filter the water as microbes compete with algae in the lake for nutrients. As microbes absorb these nutrients, the algae die off and create a healthier lake environment. Floating islands make daydreaming about warm summers at your favorite lake even better. Knowing that lakes around the Midwest will be clean and safe for the future can settle your fears about E.Coli and fertilizer chemicals. The islands ensure that lakes are clean and critter-friendly. “Bruce got the idea for the product when he was a working as a fishing guide in the Chippewa Flowage in Wisconsin,” Freeman says. “In that area, there are all kinds of natural floating islands. These floating treatment wetlands are bio-mimicking what nature intended.” Seven islands were installed to clean the water and provide a habitat for the Spring Lake bird sanctuary in Minneapolis. As the product becomes more well-known, businesses are thinking of creative new ideas to cater to customers’ needs. Purchasing a floating island is open to the public as long as the customer owns the lake or has necessary permits. “We’re just trying to educate people, get the word out, and get islands installed in different parts of the Midwest,” Freeman says. DM

RECYCLING MADE EASY RecycleMe Iowa makes going green more convenient You take a final swig of your soda can, crush it, and launch it across the room—swish. It lands in the trash can: a personal victory for you but a setback for your carbon footprint. Ciji Mitrisin, founder of RecycleMe Iowa, had enough of people taking the easy way out. “If everyone can have a trash can, everyone can have a recycling bin,” she says. RecycleMe Iowa is a doorstep recycling service for Des Moines residents. Its goal is to make recycling easier for apartment tenants, condo owners, and small businesses. “The more convenient the option, the more participation,” Mitrisin says. Participants receive a recycling bin and bag, and twice a month, the RecycleMe Iowa team heads their way to pick them up. The team makes your recycling routine personal, too. “We come to the front door,” says Matt McHugh, a RecycleMe Iowa “recycling ranger.” Not only that, but they customize pick-ups to meet the needs and wants of customers. Although this eco-effort is still in its start-up phase, the business aims to please you and Mother Nature. Mitrisin wrote the business plan for RecycleMe Iowa on Earth Day 2010, and the response was positive. “We had incredible support from the community,” she says. “As Des Moines is growing, people


want to be cleaner and greener.” Aside from coming straight to your door, RecycleMe Iowa keeps price points low, starting at $10 a month. With the exception of keeping glass in a cloth bag, there’s nothing for you to sort. This way, the other materials can stay local, McHugh says. So the simpler the better. “People have so many excuses as to why they don’t recycle. We’re just eliminating them,” she says. McHugh often takes on the one-man job of bringing the materials to International Paper in Des Moines. Depending on the route and the amount of material he picks up, McHugh may make extra trips to the processor. “We ensure the materials we collect are processed in a sustainable manner,” he says—and that diligence pays off. “Everybody wants to recycle. It’s a feel-good business.” RecycleMe Iowa continues to expand in Des Moines. Mitrisin says that as the number of clients grows, the team divides the city into more sections to expand its reach. “We all start saving the world together—one recycling bin at a time.” To get involved with the Des Moines recycling scene, check out DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 23




RONPAUL Republican presidential hopeful talks coin collecting, war, and downsizing the EPA


REPORTED BY JESSICA ANDERSON PHOTO RON PAUL CAMPAIGN DrakeMag snagged 20 minutes with the presidential hopeful on his way through Des Moines—the longest interview he’s done in years. Eat our dust, CNN.

Q: In your campaign, you propose eliminating the Department of Education. What effect would this have on current and future college students?

JESSICA ANDERSON: You worked as an obstetrician and gynecologist for years. How has your medical background helped your campaign?

A: Right now, we’re not very competitive in education because there aren’t any jobs. So this whole program that has been designed to push up the cost of education ends up with students now carrying more debt than all the credit card debt in the country—it’s over a trillion dollars—and there are no jobs. If our society had properly decided that the federal government should be involved in improving the national educational system, they should have amended it to the Constitution.

RON PAUL: It probably has helped me the most in dealing with people because that’s what I did for a living—took care of women having babies. You have to know a little about interpersonal communications to be a politician. Q: In your plan to restore America, you state your intent, if elected, is to eliminate five cabinet positions, downsizing the Environmental Protection Agency among them. Can you explain this? A: I don’t accept the assumption that a free market doesn’t protect the air. These agencies haven’t existed forever, and a lot of them aren’t efficient. The marketplace was abused, and that’s why our air was polluted. In a free market, people own the property, not the government. But the property owners have no right to pollute their neighbor’s property. The regulations didn’t prevent the problem but contributed to it. And then when the government gets control, they bail out the beneficiaries of the financial bubble. At the same time, the mistakes are dumped on other people. There’s usually a pretty good answer in the marketplace. It’s never perfect, but it’s so much better than a bureaucratic, socialistic approach because that’s a major contributing factor to the unknown expectations of regulations. Q: What advice do you have for college students who will graduate soon? A: They’d better understand the system and decide what the role of government ought to be. They have to ask the question, “What is the proper role of government?” We haven’t asked that question for a long time. The Constitution is very clear—it’s to protect liberty. We’re not going to reverse the trends of the last 10 years, where there have been no new jobs. Prices keep going up, cost of living and education goes up, and there are no jobs available. We have to reverse this. If the government can do anything it wants without following the Constitution, what good is the Constitution? 24


Q: You ran for president in 1988 as the Libertarian Party candidate and again in 2008 as a Republican. Did your political ideology change significantly in the 20 years between those two campaigns? A: No, not really. I was in Congress before ’88, and people go back and get my speeches from previous years. I think someone had a previous speech the other day from ’80. It had to do with the gold commission and the Federal Reserve. And then they looked at one from ’88 and another from 2008—it’s the same speech. Q: Your views differ substantially from the other presidential candidates. What are some significant life experiences you’ve had that have shaped your views? A: Well, the wars I heard about and witnessed, and seeing friends and relatives leave to fight, and many of them not coming back— that had an impact on me. As a matter of fact, it probably impacted my decision to go into medicine. When we were growing up, it was assumed we would be drafted. And I ended up being drafted, so I knew I didn’t want to be in a battlefield shooting rifles at someone when it made no sense to me. And in some ways, the monetary issue was something I got interested in early on because I began collecting coins. It was very annoying when they didn’t have gold and silver. It made me realize that just tokens or paper money weren’t the same as real money. DM

Check out the rest of the interview at


David Saltzman’s props bring authenticity to the AMC series’ set There’s a certain enthrallment associated with the AMC drama Mad Men, a cultural obsession built around the nuances of 1960s Madison Avenue and center of the most influential period in creative advertising. What drives the show’s ability to captivate its audience is the world that surrounds the characters. David Saltzman, assistant prop master for the show, is partially responsible for this authenticity. Main character Don Draper is like a superhero with no secrets to hide—the sound-minded creative director barking orders with a tall glass of Johnny Walker Black Label in hand and a cigarette pursed at his lips. And of course Joan Harris, the show’s “too much woman” woman, constantly shocks the shit out of coworkers with her sound reasoning and looks that dictate the mood of the room. “The creator of the show is a stickler for detail—down to the last price tag,” Saltzman says over the phone, his two kids audible in the background. The glamour of Mad Men is all still fairly new to Saltzman, this upcoming fifth season being his first with the show. He worked on Two and a Half Men for eight years before making the switch, as well as on major motion pictures, which usually elicit weirder tasks— Saltzman once had to figure out how to stuff Jell-O into a balloon for the movie Now and Then. Knox Unflavored Gelatine mixed with green food dye does the trick, in case you were wondering. Coming from a show that’s entirely centered on Chuck Lorre one-liners to one that relies heavily on not doing work at work and authenticity to set the tone of each episode was a drastic change. “I work with five guys as opposed to the two we had on Two and a Half Men—two by the cameras working with photographers and three behind the scenes doing prep work,” Saltzman says. Saltzman mostly does prep work, first getting the script outlines.


Then one or two weeks before filming, he receives the shooting script, which is his main reference for work. Saltzman searches sites such as eBay and Etsy to find the perfect props. What often dictates the show’s atmosphere is the authenticity of the characters and their surroundings—like the trinkets on Roger Sterling’s desk and papers that litter the Drapers’ kitchen. Saltzman is somewhat taken aback by the incredible realness of the 1960s. “The creators make such a realistic environment that you almost take it for granted,” he says. “I think it speaks to the integrity of everyone involved. They go through great pains to put together a team that’s real and authentic. The creators prioritize the writing and create this world in the ’60s, while also having it reflect the world today.” The patterns are usually sharp and direct, and use character mannerisms and habits as a vehicle for social reflection. Saltzman notices these patterns, as well. “Watching Betty Draper smack her kid across the face while holding a cigarette makes you think, ‘Wow, that’s why we’re so messed up today,’” he says. Saltzman says this is part of the show’s design—the characters seem to build on themselves, growing more dynamic with each passionate work affair or bite of the lip. The time restraint seems to be a recurring character trait, whether it be from a 22-year-old female copy editor or a black doorman in the elevator talking to a white executive. Whatever you call this creation, a TV show or work of art, the elongated happy hours and constant women degradation are what bring us out of our element and transporting us to a past some of us never even knew—like smoking at work. “They use herbal cigarettes on set, which smell exactly like pot,” Saltzman says. “The whole set constantly reeks of pot.” It’s almost a perfect accent mark for a show like Mad Men. Actors dressed in the slickest of ’60s fashion, giving off a certain attractiveness that leeches to its time frame, all through a haze of “pot smoke,” so cool it seems tainted. DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 25




TRENDS Hill Vintage is home to a variety of vintage threads WORDS KATHERINE DEWITT PHOTOS ELYSSA YESNES They aren’t gypsies, and they aren’t hoarders. But they do have massive closets, and their business is one of their favorite pastimes. Vintage threads, thrifting voyages, and a blast from the past provided two owners with a change from traveling trunk shows to a legitimate business—and in less than a year. Erica Carnes and Jessica Miller, owners of Hill Vintage, have gone gung-ho chic to create a retail venture Des Moines residents could never have imagined. Carnes and Miller travel around the country to scout vintage gems. Once these buying trips are complete, the two sell clothes to old souls with a love for aged threads. Discover anything from home décor, clothing, and accessories in their trailer—aka “Heidi.” Heidi travels around the 515 to different sites for selling hours. The vintage gurus let you know in advance via social media when and where they’ll be selling. “We treat Heidi like our child,” Miller says. Carnes came across the trailer on Craigslist in May. Within an hour, the two pulled around the corner of the previous owner’s house and knew she was perfect. “We both agreed we weren’t ready for a store yet—that’s where the trailer comes in,” Carnes says. “We wanted to bring something new and fresh to Des Moines.” The city welcomed Hill Vintage with open arms last fall as a shared enterprise—and less than a year later, in June 2011, it became 26


an LLC. This allows Carnes and Miller to open a bank account to start saving and allocating money, as well as make thrifting financially easier. The über-chic businesswomen met about two years ago in Des Moines and instantly bonded. “We shared our love of vintage,” Carnes says. “It dawned on us to get rid of all of our stuff—that was the ultimate goal.” In the beginning, many of Hill Vintage’s customers were friends of the owners. After purchasing Heidi, though, they noticed more strangers visiting Hill Vintage. “This is rare in Des Moines,” Miller says. “We had no idea who these people were—and that’s when we were like, ‘We’re actually doing this. It’s not just a hobby anymore.’” A typical sale lasts three to four hours. “People bring out chairs and talk,” Miller says. “They just come and hang out with us, which is awesome.” Carnes and Miller are persistent in providing quality goods for consumers. Although the style of Hill Vintage is, well, vintage, the fashionistas do have different preferences. “We have different tastes that mesh well together,” Miller says. “We’re attracted to things we like, and we buy what we like.” Now that the ’90s is vintage—respecting the 20-year rule—they look for clothes hailing from the ’50s to the ’90s. “It’s hard to get

clothes from the 1960s and earlier that’s in good shape—especially with an ability to upmarket the clothing,” Miller says. “We want people to buy more things at less cost. We want customers to have more of a complete outfit than just one piece of clothing.” Affordability and easy incorporation of vintage clothing into a wardrobe are their main goals. The duo tries to get out of Des Moines to buy as much as they can. They travel nationwide—to church sales, thrift stores, The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and garage sales. “Thrifting is a part of our lives—it’s what we do,” Miller says. “If we go on vacation, we thrift at least once or twice. It’s what we love, and that’s why Hill Vintage works so well.” Most of the purchasing is done out of season, and the pieces are stored until that season rolls around. “You see amazing gems you want to buy that may not be your style, but for Hill Vintage, you’re able to buy that stuff and see someone else fall in love with it,” Carnes says. The two agree the best aspect of Hill Vintage is meeting the people—whether it’s spotting strangers wearing Hill Vintage or seeing customers discover their own personal gems. “One time I was shopping at a church sale,” Miller says. “I picked out three similar dresses with different prints. They were kind of like secretary dresses. The piping, the buttons—everything was well-made

and well-tailored. There were, like, hundreds of grandmas shopping around, and I happened to meet the lady that handmade all of those dresses. I told her what I do, and she was so excited.” Whether Hill Vintage is selling around the globe—which it does via Etsy—or scrubbing down Heidi, Carnes and Miller are taking the store one step at a time, even if it’s a side job right now. “We have the luxury of having a large closet,” Miller says. “And many people ask us what our closets look like—well, Hill Vintage.” DM DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 27

CHECKOUT SUCCESS Extreme couponers dish on savings and strategies



hey sneak through grocery aisles with ninjalike stealth, targeting sale items with the accuracy of an expert sniper. They triumphantly leave the store, carts brimming with hundreds of items purchased for a grand total of $30. They’re the extreme couponers, and they’re popping up in stores all over America. Couponing is nothing new. For years, mothers and grandmothers alike have clipped coupons out of the Sunday paper, looking to score deals for their families. But this innocent hobby has recently morphed into a full-fledged lifestyle and created an entirely new breed of consumer. Inject your grandmother’s couponing hobby with a healthy dose of steroids, and you have the life of an extreme couponer. While many view shopping as a means to an end, couponers think differently. For them, it’s a complex ritual that’s carefully planned at least a week in advance.


Couponers begin their week by scouring newspapers for clippings to add to their collections. But don’t expect them to update their stash by using just one source. “I get four copies of the paper through a subscription and often will purchase more if the coupons in the paper are good,” says Amber Hanford, creator of “I spend a good one and a half to two hours just stacking up pages of coupons and clipping them.” “Stacking” is what separates hardcore couponers from the posers. Extreme couponers accumulate multiple coupons for one product through newspapers, the Internet, or product manufacturers. But a fat stack of coupons is just the first step toward savings. “Many people get their coupons, go to the store, and go on a treasure hunt to find and buy the exact product in the right size that matches the coupon. That’s the wrong way to use coupons,” says Joanie Demer, co-founder of “Only use your coupons when you’re able to find a sale price and attach a coupon to it. That’s really what separates us from the grandmas who clipped coupons for decades.” Hanford agrees. “You have to rethink how you shop,” she says. “You don’t buy deodorant just because you’re out of it. It will rarely be on sale when you run out. Being an effective couponer is about knowing how to use sale prices and coupons at each store to get your item for next to nothing.” This also means going to more than one store to maximize savings on a variety of products. “If I’m sticking to my list, a trip to a store usually takes around 30 minutes—so one and a half hours in three stores total,” Hanford says. Successful couponers will leave a store with a discount of 50 percent or more on many items, and some of the most skilled couponers don’t have to pay anything at all. “I live in California where there’s no sales tax on food, so sometimes I’ll get products on sale, use a coupon, and end up not having to pay anything,” Demer says. Hanford had an even larger triumph. “At one point, I was actually paid cash out of Walmart’s register to take my items home with me,” she says.


A couponer’s main goal is to avoid the R-Word: retail price. Some full-price items, like milk and produce, are difficult to purchase using coupons. But extreme couponers make up for this by getting the rest of their purchases at next-to-nothing. “I live by the 11th Commandment—thou shalt not pay retail,” says couponer J’aime Kirlew. After a successful conquest of the local grocery store, couponers proudly return home with their loot. Once there, another challenge arises: what the hell to do with all the new stuff. A core component of the couponing creed involves “stockpiling,” or purchasing massive quantities of goods in bulk and storing them for later. Think Hoarders but more organized. The numerous cans of dog food, tubes of toothpaste, and boxes of cereal are carefully arranged in spare bedrooms, closets, and garages. Kirlew’s stockpile—valued at about $15,000—takes up two rooms in her house. But the goods don’t stay there for long. Kirlew and other couponers

At one point, I was actually paid cash out of Walmart’s register to take my items home with me. - Amber Hanford donate a large percentage of their stockpiles to food pantries, nursing homes, and other charities. Extreme couponers give back in other ways too, by passing on tricks of the trade to novices who have just caught the couponing bug. Many have their own websites, like couponer Antoinette Peterson, whose blog,, puts a personal twist on couponing. “I have a five-year-old daughter, and I’m single,”

she says. “I post a lot about being single and frugal. I also talk about raising my kid and instilling in her that you can do what you want, but you don’t have to pay full price for it.” Some couponers are even published authors. Demer and her co-founder of The Krazy Coupon Ladies wrote their book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey, after noticing a shortage in one-stop couponing shops. “We didn’t really find one place where we could go to get all our information,” Demer says. “Our book fixes that. Once you close the back cover, you should be ready to go shopping and avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls that come with couponing.” Couponing made the transition from books and blogs to TV with TLC’s Extreme Couponing. The hit series follows die-hard couponers as they strive to accumulate the most items for the lowest prices, whether they’re collecting massive stacks of coupons to use at the register or stockpiling hundreds of goods. Peterson, one of the show’s dedicated couponers, caught the couponing bug from a friend in college. “I told her that I saved $11 at Target, and she said, ‘$11? That’s it?’ I thought I had done well,” she says. “She said that she saves 80 percent every time she goes to the store, so I told her to show me how she does it.” The two young women went to the local grocery store, where they proceeded to spend $9 on a total purchase that normally would have cost $95. “After that, I couldn’t go back to paying full price for anything,” Peterson says. She was hooked. Peterson quickly turned her budding couponing curiosity into a full-fledged hobby with the creation of her blog, Sister Save-A-Lot, which quickly gained a loyal following. When one of the blog’s readers suggested that Peterson apply to be on Extreme Couponing, she happily obliged. Across the country, Kirlew was undergoing a different experience. After her husband took a substantial pay cut in his job, Kirlew’s

shopping patterns were severely altered. “This impacted the way I spent money as the wife and mother who previously shopped without censorship from her husband,” she says on her website, Kirlew spent hours searching the Internet for deals and reading various couponing blogs to learn the tricks of the trade. Soon she began to create tips of her own and share them with friends via couponing workshops, informational DVDs, and her website. Shortly after, friends urged her to apply for Extreme Couponing. Several e-mails and interviews later, Kirlew and Peterson were two of the lucky individuals who would appear on season one. Filming the couponers takes two days each—one at the couponer’s house and one at the grocery store. “It’s literally all day,” Peterson says. “I was not prepared for that. On my day of shopping, we went to the grocery store at 8 a.m. and didn’t finish until 4 p.m.” For hours, producers and cameramen follow the couponers as they walk through the aisles and take products off the shelves. Other crew members stay behind-the-scenes and ask the couponers questions. But that doesn’t mean the shopping trips and big savings are staged. “They don’t make sure that your shopping trip goes well,” Peterson says. “Some of the stuff I wanted to purchase wasn’t on the shelf. But overall, it was a real regular day, minus the fact that I had six video cameras in my face.” Call it crazy, but secretly, we’re fascinated by all aspects of extreme couponing—from the initial clipping rituals to the nail-biting checkout transactions that make or break budgets. Couponers prove that anyone can achieve big savings in a tough economy: According to Hanford, you just have to work hard and remain dedicated. “I spend anywhere from eight to 10 hours a week organizing, preparing, and shopping,” Hanford says. “Couponing is like my part-time job. But the amount of money I save is worth it.” DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 31



BACK Discovering Mormons and the faith that fuels them WORDS ERIN McHENRY PHOTOS ELYSSA YESNES


t’s Sunday morning. You wake up, shower, eat, and put on your nicest suit. It’s time for church—three hours of it. You’d be used to it if you were a Mormon. Mormons have recently catapulted into the limelight through shows like TLC’s Sister Wives, Broadway hit The Book of Mormon, and popular politicians like Mitt Romney. Then there’s those inescapable commercials: “I’m [insert name]. I’m a(n) [insert occupation]. And I’m a Mormon!” Mormons are everywhere—but who are they really? Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormon church) in 1830. According to church history, Smith received a revelation from God, leading him to translate ancient stories into the Book of Mormon. He began spreading his gospel just to a few people—now the church has nearly 14 million members that span across the globe. “Most people don’t realize that we’re Christian,” says Mormon missionary Elder Parker Dahl. This denomination believes Jesus is their savior, but they also think there are still prophets communicating with the big man upstairs today. Missionaries Elder Dahl and Elder Blake Harrison have served their church in Des Moines for almost two years as a part of their Mormon mission. Despite the title, many Mormon “Elders” are barely adults. When they turn 19, Mormon men can apply to fulfill their mission, and women can follow suit at 21. “We have a mission to serve people and bring them to Christ,” Elder Dahl says. “I’ve spent the happiest years of my life here.”



But being a missionary isn’t all that easy. Some move overseas from Appleton, Wisc. “We’re very strict on no sexual relations before and have to learn new languages. During their missions, Mormons marriage, which includes masturbation. You’re not supposed to get aren’t allowed to watch TV or listen to secular music. They generally tattoos or any body piercings, although girls can have one earring in can’t stay in regular contact with their friends or family but do get each ear. And you can’t watch R-rated movies, no matter how old two phone calls home per year, which some use on Christmas and you are.” Mother’s Day. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are banned—and even coffee and A missionary’s primary duty is to convert others to the faith. The tea are out of the picture. Mormons believe they can cloud people’s Mormon church’s 14 million members didn’t come out of thin air, minds, and negatively sway their decisions. after all. “If you found the cure Mormons emphasize purity. to cancer, would you keep it to Marriage is highly respected, and yourself?” Elder Dahl says. “We couples are to refrain from having think the word of God is the most sex until they’ve tied the knot. And it important message on Earth, so should go without saying that homowe want to share it with the whole sexuality and porn are prohibited. world.” As for clothes? Modest is mode. And share they do. “Being a part “We try to have good dress stanof the Mormon religion is absodards,” Debenham says. “We believe lutely vital for anyone who wants our bodies are sacred and God’s to have a true identity,” Elder creation. Keeping that in mind, we Harrison says. “Many people are try to respect our bodies and not - Kaileen Debenham searching for peace and comfort. defile them in any way.” There’s no other way to be happy but through Jesus Christ.” Mormons also study The Bible and The Book of Mormon reguMormons send applications to become missionaries to the current larly, both individually and through the church. “All throughout Prophet, Thomas Monson, who prays with his counselors and high school, I went to seminary,” Richards says. “I woke up at 5:30 apostles before deciding where to place the missionaries. “If you every morning before school and went to church for 45 minutes.” could classify our religion as a government, it would be a theocracy,” Seminary is a daily session for children and teenagers to study Elder Harrison says. “Thomson acts as a representative to God. He scripture. Some find it hard enough to stay awake during Sunday communicates to the apostles, who communicate to area authorities, services—try doing it daily and without that cup of joe. who communicate to stake presidents, and so on and so forth.” Despite their strict morals, Mormons believe the only thing that Men hold most leadership positions within the church, but separates them from the general public is religion. “I went to school women can give testimonies and be in positions of power through just like everyone else,” Richards says, who is taking a year off from other organizations such as the Relief Society, a Mormon women’s college. “I was able to hang out with friends who made bad decisions group. Following tradition, men protect their families, while wives without being affected by them. It was different because I was the rear the children. “Some people think that since we believe men only sober one at parties, but overall, you do the same things. We and women have different roles in life, it means they’re unequal,” make different decisions, but we’re still people.” says Kaileen Debenham, 18, from Philadelphia, Penn. “That’s not Debenham attends a Mormon school, Brigham Young University the case at all. One person isn’t more important than another, and in Provo, Utah, where all students are expected to sign and abide by God has given men and women in the church different roles for an honor code which includes abstaining from forbidden acts and different reasons.” living up to the religion’s moral standards. “It’s definitely different In addition to gender roles, Mormon values tend to be more than a typical college campus, but it’s seriously awesome,” she conservative when it comes to social norms. “There aren’t neces- says. “Everyone just accepts the honor code as how things are, and sarily rules, but guidelines you should use,” says Steven Richards, 19, because of that the students enjoy clean fun.”



It’s frustrating to deal with people who believe rumors and don’t ask members of the church what is actually doctrine.



2 Their conservative values have made Mormons the target of many jokes—one being the recent Broadway hit The Book of Mormon, which won nine Tonys, including Best Musical. Written by the creators of South Park, the musical revolves around Mormon missionaries serving in Africa. The New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley calls the show “blasphemous” and “scurrilous,” but “its heart is as pure as that of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show.” The play’s profanity and satirical nature have amused many but contradicted actual Mormon values. Many also assume Mormons are polygamists who have more than one spouse. At one point, this practice was encouraged within the church, but in 1890 the Prophet discontinued the custom. “Anyone who practices polygamy today is excommunicated from the church,” Elder Harrison says. There are still some polygamists, but they are considered Fundamentalist Mormons, not a branch of the official Mormon church. “I’ve heard some crazy questions before and sometimes face hostility,” Debenham says. “It’s frustrating to deal with people who believe rumors and don’t ask members of the church what is actually doctrine.” Debenham says her faith helps her obey the Mormon guidelines, but can be a challenge—especially resting on Sunday. She played for a competitive soccer team in high school, but to respect the Sabbath, Debenham couldn’t play Sunday games. “There was an entire season of my junior year in high school that I went to every single practice but I chose not to play a single game,” Debenham says. “Although it seems like it was a big sacrifice, I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten for sticking to my morals. The next season, my coach changed every single game to Saturdays, just so I could play.” Richards agrees that the Mormon lifestyle can be difficult. “Sometimes you get picked on, and there’s a lot of stuff you can’t do,” Richards says. “But if it’s something you believe, you can do it. It’s just life.”


Companion: the missionary with whom a Mormon serves. Throughout their missions, the companions spend all of their time together for physical and spiritual protection. Many missionaries serve in multiple places and can have more than one companion. This is a way to keep Mormons accountable during the years they serve. Dispensation: what Mormons call a generation, or time period. Each one is named after the head servant of that time—there’s the Adam dispensation, the Moses dispensation, and others. Right now, we’re living in the Joseph Smith dispensation. Garment: Most people wear underwear, but Mormons have their own spiritual norm in regards to undies. Mormons wear a special garment which should be worn every day and night, except for special circumstances. These situations include sex, bathing, or going to the bathroom. Comprised of a white top and bottom, the garment symbolizes purity, and reminds Mormons to be modest. Mormons receive the undies in a special ceremony that takes place during their first visit to the temple— which is often for one’s wedding.


Pre-mortal life: the belief that Mormons existed as spirits in heaven before living here on Earth—not to be confused with reincarnation.


Stake: a region. Each LDS Church isn’t independent but part of a ward. Wards make up stakes that are led by stake presidents. Wards also have bishops, apostles, counselors, and, of course, the Prophet— think of it as a basic bureaucracy.





These four schools give education a new definition


ambunctious parties, greasy, latenight pizza runs, homework (once in a while), and at least three midday naps—this is all in a day’s work in an average, movie-depicted collegestudent’s life. You’ve got the jocks, nerds, techies, sorority girls, frat guys, and artsy types mixed into that jumble—and they all enjoy their “extra-curricular” time. Deep Springs College, Maharishi School of Management, Oberlin College, and Shimer College all introduce an alternative route in educating their students. Read on and find out how.





If you’re expecting drunken parties, an excessive amount of free time, and junk food galore, you won’t last three days at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, Calif. When you walk onto the desert landscape of Deep Springs, 26 students (all with full-ride scholarships), a cattle ranch, an alfalfa field, and three full-time professors will greet you. About those 26 students—they’re all boys. What about that cattle ranch and alfalfa field? Introducing: your homework. Oh, and don’t worry—there are three visiting professors throughout the school year, too. Students are generally all awake by the first signs of dawn completing chores depending on which labor position they’re assigned, which range from preparing breakfast or baling hay to milking cows or feeding the campus livestock. Deep Springs College President, David Neidorf, believes that the labor positions add a whole new, necessary element to education. “Ideally the labor program develops in students a sense of self-confidence and know-how and problem-solving ability that is useful in all sorts of situations,” he says. “The short feedback loops of manual labor make it a much more effective way of learning that kind of thing because you don’t have to wait two or three years to see what your result is. Your results are right there in front of you and it’s very clear that they’re yours.” Students only attend two midmorning classes a day, Monday through Friday, that each last approximately 90 minutes. Besides this, the only other traditional education taught is a Tuesday night speech class. Being a two-year campus, students are required to take composition and public speaking, but the rest of their class time is up to them. There is more work done outside than in the classroom. Students are assigned to a labor position for each seven-week academic term.

These positions include jobs such as butchering the campus’s cows for meals, maintaining the dining hall’s cleanliness and preparing meals as part of the Boardinghouse Crew, and monitoring pregnant livestock as Student Cowboys. Students take their jobs seriously. When they do have downtime (which is admittedly not often) they indulge in “boogies”—student body dances, where the musical choice is up for grabs.

Ideally the labor program develops in students a sense of self-confidence and know-how and problem-solving ability that is useful in all sorts of situations.


- David Neidorf It isn’t uncommon to see professors and students stargazing or discussing off-school topics in the Main Circle—an area where professors are required to live and encouraged to invite students to visit. And the full-ride scholarships? “We have loyal alumni. Income from endowment and agricultural operations provides about half of our annual operating costs.” Neidorf says. “The rest is raised yearly from donors.” Ladies: You’re in luck. There’s talk of adding co-education into the curriculum. At least something will make those “boogies” a little more interesting.

In small-town Fairfield, Iowa, you’d never expect to find a university established to promote peace and prosperity for the world. But Maharishi University of Management was founded for just that. “At MUM, we focus on conscious-based learning as one of our core values rather than information-based learning,” says Dr. Fred Travis, a professor of Maharishi Vedic Science. MUM concentrates on what students can bring to the classroom rather than what professors can offer the students. Students practice conscious-based learning through transcendental meditation, or TM. TM is a stress-reducing meditation that helps develop a person’s “inner self.” During TM, students sit comfortably with their eyes closed and allow their attention to transcend from the “thinking level,” to a deeper level, the “source of thought,” while thinking of their mantra. A mantra is a word that has no real meaning, but it’s used as the “vehicle” of meditation during TM. “TM can be mastered by anyone in a few days to a few weeks,” Travis says. Block scheduling is another way to help MUM students find peace—and avoid stress. Students only take one class at a time for one month and receive four credits. They’re in the classroom for four hours a day and six days a week, except on Saturdays when they’re only in class for two hours. Professors incorporate 20-minute TM sessions into the beginning of the day and at end of each class. “Only having one class at a time really allows me to dig deep into a subject and incorporate it into my life,” says sophomore Soangela Hardt, 19. The first class is the same for all students. They learn how TM is related to consciousness and helps bring individuals to their full potential. The class concludes with a hands-on, outdoor leadership excursion with students and faculty. It’s not your average lesson plan: They focus on outdoor skills, cooperation, and having fun. MUM also takes nutrition seriously—a factor many school cafeterias can’t relate with. They believe that what you eat has a direct effect on your body and mind. In its dining hall, MUM only serves 100 percent organic foods, and the majority of the food comes from

Everyone gets drunk at normal universities, but here we find ourselves and become aware of who we are and what we want to be. - Soangela Hardt

local farms. Only vegetarian options are served, but students can opt to eat meat off campus. Campus buildings connect with TM through Vedic architecture. They create a positive atmosphere that helps students find peace and serenity. The laws of nature affect a person’s thinking and behavior, preventing chaos and conflict. The human brain responds positively to the sun, so most buildings face east. MUM is far from your typical college—both academically and socially. “Everyone gets drunk at normal universities, but here we find ourselves and become aware of who we are and what we want to be,” Hardt says. DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 39



Fine art aficionados and coed enthusiasts, rejoice—we’ve found the school for you. Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, has been recognized as one of the most progressive schools in the country. On campus, students may enroll in classes taught by their peers, hang fine art on their dorm walls, and live by housing policies that blur gender lines. In 1968, the private liberal arts school created its Experimental College, or ExCo, which gives students the opportunity to create and teach their own class to peers, faculty, and community members. The program—which is entirely student-run—offers 60 to 100 courses every semester. Participants get the chance to take classes that aren’t taught at most conventional colleges—try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, steel drumming, and parkour. Oberlin boasts one of the top five college art collections in the country and funds an art rental program. The one-of-a-kind program gives students the opportunity to rent out works of art for a semester. Picassos, Dalís, and Warhols, among hundreds of other pieces, are available for students to take home for a mere five dollars. To get the pieces, students have to wait for hours and sometimes even camp out overnight. Perhaps more impressive and certainly more radical than a Renoir on a dorm wall is the campus living itself. Traditional universities typically separate men and women, but Oberlin residence halls pioneered coed living in 2004 when the school adopted an all-gender policy. This wasn’t the first time Oberlin made cutting-edge strides in coed living, though. In 1970, it garnered national attention on the cover of LIFE as one of the first colleges in the country to open coed dorms. Though the latest developments to Oberlin’s residence life procedures might alarm some, residential education assistant director Rebecca Mosely explains them as an attempt to provide a comfortable option for students that don’t adhere to the gender binary. “The policy shows that we care about the needs of all of our students,” Mosely says. By removing sex restrictions, Oberlin creates a safe and supportive environment that brings a sense of normalcy to exploring gender and sexual orientation. Not many students fall outside of the traditional gender binary, but the all-gender policy is something from which all students can benefit. No matter a student’s orientation or sex, they can create a living situation that’s most comfortable for them, which students see as a huge advantage. “Getting used to the idea of

Getting used to the idea of all-gender bathrooms was a little shocking, but now it doesn’t even faze me.


- Melissa Fore all-gender bathrooms was a little shocking, but now it doesn’t even faze me,” says sophomore Melissa Fore, 20, from Chicago. “After seeing so much of it here, I think it’s actually strange for people to freak out over living with someone of the opposite gender. It’s really not that different from living with someone of the same sex.” Not every student is as fond of the housing arrangements, but Oberlin accommodates each student’s needs. They don’t assign students of opposite sexes to live with one another unless it’s mutually requested, and regular bathrooms are located on every floor. And their bathroom “e-system” allows individuals to specify whether they are comfortable with males or females in the bathroom while they use it. Living arrangements can be suited to each student and range from a traditional experience to an unconventional one. Oberlin’s groundbreaking programs and policies have effectively fostered and embraced an alternative college experience. While “progressive” and “liberal” aren’t typically used to describe rural Midwestern communities, the innovative implementations at Oberlin have allowed the small school to define itself as one of the most forward-thinking institutions for generations.



Vince Padem dreaded going to class only to hear his teacher ramble about the previous night’s reading. Now, instead of listening to snooze-inducing lectures, he attacks class readings with his peers and enjoys the discussions. “I was having a hard time with lecture classes in high school, so my mom searched for alternative campuses,” says Padem, a first year student at Shimer College in Chicago. Now he couldn’t be happier. Not only are Shimer students encouraged to participate in gender neutral activities, they even give them a list of words and phrases to eliminate from their vocabulary, including “guys” and “freshmen.” “We’re very dialogue concerned,” Padem says. Jo Becker, a first year student, says many are shocked when they receive this list on the first day of class. “We have a few transgender students at our school, which is another reason Shimer tries to push gender neutrality,” she says. Students also refer to their teachers as “facilitators” instead of “professors” and address them by their first names. Each classroom even has an octagon-shaped table to promote equal discussion. “People are generally interested in your opinion at Shimer, even if it’s wrong,” Padem says. “We realize that we are all equal partners in each discussion,” Shimer’s total enrollment is only 127 students. “There isn’t a face I don’t know. If I went to a big college, I would probably know about the same amount of people, and here it’s provided for me,” Padem says.

Apply to Shimer, and you’d better love literature—or learn to quickly. Students are only required to read, write papers, and participate in labs as part of the scientific side of their learning. They don’t have tests or “busy work.” In fact, they don’t offer typical majors that a state college or university would. The studies are very liberal arts-focused, and only three majors are offered: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. There’s a downside, though. Most of the students must continue schooling after graduation to obtain a degree other than a Bachelor of Arts degree. “A lot of our peers go on to become firefighters, yoga instructors, teachers—many different walks of life,” Becker says. “You learn to communicate better and become an engaged listener in the process. In our classrooms, everyone discusses together. We learn to not put one person above another no matter what ego-complex you have. You learn to communicate with everyone, and it’s essentially the idea of discourse.” DRAKEMAGAZINE [FALL 2011] 41



Global organizations take steps to end sex trafficking WORDS EMILY BOYD PHOTOS PRANEE LOFFER & BEZA THREADS


here’s no pleasant way of saying that millions of girls and women will be forced into sexual encounters tonight. It may come up on The Today Show or reach The New York Times every now and then, but ultimately, it’s brushed under the rug because it’s an uncomfortable topic. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines sexual trafficking as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, coercion, or when the person involved isn’t 18 years old. Criminal gangs, pornographers, and pimps profit big time by enslaving and abusing women and children. It’s estimated that the global sex industry generates $32 billion annually, making it the second most lucrative crime in the world, behind drug trafficking. Criminals involved in this industry often prey on those suffering from poverty, lack of education, minority status, and homelessness. Captors will threaten, beat, and starve these unfortunate ones for conditioning purposes. Every victim has a different story, but almost all of them result in severe psychological and physical damage. To many victims, starting over is a wish that will never come true. Thanks to advances in technology, social media, and available flights to nearly every country, people are hearing stories and realizing the effects sex exploitation has on these people’s lives.


back to the United States to raise money and awareness of the exploitation children are facing. He sold them all in one day, raising $800. He quickly realized that people were willing to financially support the cause and began to dream big about investing more time and funds. Beza Threads was created soon after as a partnership with WinSouls. Carter went back to Ethiopia in 2010 and returned to the U.S. with another 175 scarves. He saw tremendous success yet again and decided to get more people involved in Beza Threads. To this day, Beza Threads has generated $14,000 in sales from scarves and $2,700 in donations. For every scarf sold, $6 goes to the boys, $4.50 goes to the girls, $1.50 goes to a local orphanage in Addis Ababa, and the rest goes to purchasing more scarves. The sales from 300 scarves provide enough money to get a girl out of slavery for a year. LOVE146 Many other organizations are lending a hand to end sexual exploitation. A nonprofit called Love146 was started in 2002. The team traveled to Southeast Asia, where they witnessed sex slavery firsthand. An undercover investigation inspired Love146, which

ZENABUA’S STORY After saying yes to a new job at a coffee shop, Zenabua had hope for a brighter future. Going to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, was going to change her circumstances and provide financial stability— or so she thought. Zenabua was born into poverty. Instead of getting an education, she washed clothes by the river to provide for her family—but it wasn’t enough. She began selling tissue paper on the side of the road, still finding that the money wasn’t meeting her family’s needs. Zenabua continued to work day in and day out, until she discovered her tissue paper and life savings had been stolen. She couldn’t repay the debt she owed her family, and the shame caused her to move to the countryside. Hope struck when a man presented an opportunity for Zenabua to move to the city— - Stephanie she jumped at the offer. She soon realized the man had scammed her and brought her to a brothel, where she spent the next four years. She lived in a small tin shack and “worked” from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. with up to 10 men a night. A man from WinSouls, an organization that aims to get women out of brothels, paid for an encounter with Zenabua to try to convince her to leave. Although she was miserable, Zenabua wouldn’t listen. He visited her the following two days, and she decided to leave and start over. WinSouls provided Zenabua with housing, food, education,

and counseling for three years. Now, she’s passionate about rescuing more girls from sex slavery. In Addis Ababa alone, an estimated 70,000 people are involved in prostitution. Although there’s no way of knowing for certain, research shows that approximately 12.3 million adults and children are involved in human trafficking worldwide. MAKING A DIFFERENCE Josiah Carter spent the summer of 2009 in Addis Ababa volunteering at an orphanage where he heard countless stories of girls who were trapped in human trafficking. As he spent more time with these girls, he wanted to become more involved in rescuing them from this industry. Carter wanted to help as many women as possible, so he worked with the people he met throughout Ethiopia to create an opportunity for others to get involved. Goins Girls in Addis Ababa aren’t the only ones coerced into human trafficking. Boys are promised a good life in the big city, only to find themselves working relentlessly in textile factories for little or no pay. These boys are also rescued through WinSouls and have the opportunity to use the sewing skills acquired from the textile factories to create scarves that fund their education. “The most rewarding thing is that we know there’s a tangible way to make a difference,” Carter says. “We know there’s something we can do.” After partnering with WinSouls, Carter decided to bring 40 scarves

Knowing that we are collectively making a difference in the lives of some children is the best part of my job.


works strictly with prevention and aftercare of victims, providing a safe house for these girls after they leave a brothel. It’s important for this organization to not purchase children as a means of rescue because it contributes to the problem by supporting the systems of abuse they’re trying to combat. They work with rescue and law enforcement agencies that remove children, shut down brothels, and convict and sentence exploiters. “Knowing that collectively we’re making a difference in the lives of some children is the best part of my job,” says Stephanie Goins, vice president of Love146. “And it’s not just our organization—it’s hundreds of people and different groups impacting children’s lives.” CONNECT The human trafficking industry can be shut down, and anyone can help stop it. Love146 gives you the option to financially support a girl in a safe house with monthly—or even a one-time—payments, which provide shelter, food, counseling, and education. Beza Threads sells scarves throughout Des Moines and at


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Trafficking is estimated to be a $7 billion annual business. 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States from no less than 49 countries every year. In interviews carried out for an International Organization of Migration report, 10 percent of the women who had been trafficked to Albania stated that law enforcement officials had directly participated in the trafficking process. Victims of trafficking are later used to traffic other women and children. Misconceptions that having sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS have fueled an increased demand for child prostitutes. Information courtesy of





What would you do for tuition? WORDS MEAGAN FLYNN PHOTO ALEX MASICA

Homework and passing grades aren’t college’s biggest obstacles anymore—paying the five-digit monstrosity called “tuition” is. According to, a study of 429 institutions found that “tuition and fees at private, nonprofit U.S. colleges and universities for the 2011-2012 academic year will rise an average of 4.6 percent.” This statistic keeps growing, so it’s no wonder that finding nontraditional ways to pay off classes is on a lot of students’ minds. Some take seeking tuition to a whole new level with websites that allow risky behavior, providing “sugar babies” with benefactors. defines a sugar baby as “an attractive, ambitious, and goal-oriented individual who has a lot to offer. He or she is generally younger and is looking to meet wealthy, successful, and generous people who are willing to pamper and offer financial assistance or gifts in return for their friendship or companionship.” Websites, such as—which was offline when we went to print—, and, have become hunting grounds for collegeage women looking for older, wealthy men to pay their way through post-secondary education. “It’s a terrible economy, and school is expensive,” says Beth Younger, Women’s Studies director at Drake University in Des Moines. “They have to figure out what commodities they have to make money.” With the ability to ask for $3,000 to $5,000 a month, it seems too good to be true. And it might be. Every payment comes with a price. The definition above defines this repayment as “friendship and companionship.” One anonymous comment from “College Sophomore” on the site explains her relationship with her benefactor. “My current arrangement is wonderful. Unlike other cash strapped students, I am pampered with expensive gifts. My sugar daddy is the sweetest man I know. He is my mentor, my benefactor, and my lover.” The terms “sugar baby,” “sugar momma,” and “sugar daddy” have been a growing phenomenon in casual conversation but haven’t been linked in a positive light. “It’s obvious what benefits the men get,” Younger says. “It reinforces so many things: that women are only valuable and sexually attractive if they’re under 25 and stereotypically beautiful and that men who are over 50 can only have sex with a beautiful woman if they pay them.” Sugar Babies, protect yourselves when you jump into creating a profile on sites like Seeking Arrangement. Anonymous arrangements can be downright dangerous. The sites take some precautions to prevent sexual harassment but not to great lengths. On Seeking Tuition, after registering, a new user’s profile is sent to the site’s review board for approval. Reviewers suspend members who have nude photos as defaults and who seem like posers. Many women fail to realize this when they sign up to be a “sugar baby.” Some join for quick cash fixes, convincing themselves that the arrangements are only temporary. Others hope to get a sugar daddy Romeo with the deal. Younger disagrees. “If it’s explicit on the site, obviously the women know what they’re getting into,” she says. Sometimes the website’s intent is not so obvious and probably not worth the gamble. Plasma donation, eBay businesses, editing papers—there are other ways to make your way through college. Plus you get to keep your clothes on. DM



iVIBRATE The OhMiBod app brings a satisfying function to your music player WORDS HILARY GIBNEY PHOTO ALEX MASICA

Orgasms go one of two ways: You either make it or fake it. If you’re one of the few people who repeatedly has amazing sex, then pause here and resume your sex kitten ways. For those who can’t seem to reach that big climax, you’re in luck—technology has finally created a solution that’s sure to satisfy your needs. The standard vibrator stands no chance against this 21st-century mobile app. OhMiBod is the new sex app for any version of the iPod, iPad, or iPhone. This easy-to-use toy can be controlled with the touch of a finger. Unlike your standard vibrator, OhMiBod pleasures you to the beat of your favorite tunes. More intense songs create stronger vibrations, increasing your body’s sensations. All of the vibrators—wired and wireless—are sold at and come in different styles, widths, curves, and textures. With the flick of a finger, you can instantly change the vibration speed. Take the experience from teasing to ultra-pleasing by moving your finger from left to right to change the strength of the vibration— or use two fingers to vary tempo and vibration patterns. To keep the existing setting, just lift your finger off the screen and let the technology go to town on getting you off. When you’ve finally hit your destination, drop the iPod and let out your loudest Meg Ryan shriek. You can even save memorable patterns of vibrations and “favorite” them. Note: This app is not intended for virgins, and once you use it you may not even need a real man. For 99 cents, it does more work than you could on a good night—not to mention it’s cheaper than a date. Heather Kelley, developer of OhMiBod, was sick of being disappointed by men and your everyday vibrator. Vibrators can be harder to use than you think, and men—they’re not always around when you need them. She liked her iPhone’s easy-to-use features, along with the beats of her music. Kelley put two-and-two together and created a companion for women in need of a continual pleasure partner. Each vibrator comes with everything you’ll ever need for a cozy night in—for $60 to $150 apiece. For those who want to feel the magic down under, ditch the guy and get with OhMiBod. DM







Drop the handcuffs, skip the whipped cream, and forget that expensive lingerie. Everything you need for an erotic night can be found in your kitchen. Aphrodisiacs—drugs or foods that stimulate your sexual desire—can turn a simple dinner at home into an unforgettable night. According to Tracy Bernstein, a nutritionist at AmeriLaser Center in Des Plaines, Ill., an aphrodisiac’s powers will kick in right after consumption. But eating is only half the battle. Bernstein says that an aphrodisiac’s effect also comes from its presentation and a physiological response. “Be sexy in your kitchen while you prepare your aphrodisiac foods,� she says. “When you cook with passion, you’ll feel passion around you.� If you’re looking for a new way to spice up that pasta—and your partner—try these aphrodisiacs to get your libidos going. r)0/&: Vitamin B boosts testosterone, and boron helps the body metabolize estrogen. r#"4*- stimulates sex drive and increases heart rate. r(*/4&/( increases the desire to be touched. r"41"3"(64 loaded with vitamin E and folic acid, which helps achieve the big O. r 3"8 0:45&34 Dopamine delivers a feel-good sensation, while high levels of zinc help produce testosterone and stimu late the female libido. r/654 They keep the motion of the ocean flowing with their high protein levels. r16.1,*/ Zinc improves blood flow down below and is one of the scents men find most seductive.

r$)&&4& releases the same hormone rush as sex. r4)3*.1 prevents iodine deficiency from lowering arousal. r "-.0/%4 Their scent is a natural pheromone to attract your partner. r #"/"/"4 Besides their phallic shape, bananas stimulate sexual desire, and their potassium and B vitamins are essential for hormone production. r$)*-*1&11&34Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for chili peppers’ heat, stimulates nerve endings and raises one’s pulse. r3"4#&33*&4"/%453"8#&33*&4 Aside from a high vitamin C content, their color can be associated with love and passion, and they’re perfect for feeding to your lover. Warning: It may be all in your head. “Many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable or pleasurable,� Bernstein says. “However, the alleged results may have been mainly due to belief by their users that they would be effective—a placebo effect.� Next time you make dinner for your beau, add in some of these foods to heat up your night. You’ll be headed to the bedroom sooner than you think—if you can make it out of the kitchen. DM



THINGS TO KNOW (Especially after reading our magazine)



“Mango muttered something about auto emissions and then flicked a second cigarette butt into the woods.” “King loves using the word ‘locavore’ and one day plans to look up what it means.” “Coco fakes wheat gluten allergies because she heard they were ‘in.’” “The Brooklyn writer’s workshop is just going to have to deal with Mollie’s Mad Men fan fiction.”

While Americans use chocolate and oysters to rev up their lovers’ libidos, other cultures around the world eat different things to get them in the mood. In some parts of Asia, cobra blood is bottled and sold as an aphrodisiac for up to $200 a pop. Other cultures scarf down Spanish fly, a type of beetle containing a poison that causes genitalia to swell. weird/716170/aphrodisiacs-around-theworld


Couponers like to give back. One Extreme Couponing participant, Joni Meyer has donated over $100,000 worth of products to shelters and charities since her couponing began. Joni clipped over 2200 coupons for a single donation. (

People with lower incomes—under $25,000 a year— are less likely to use coupons. You’re more likely to see middle class, college-educated people hoarding the clippings from the Sunday paper. (

Keep clipping those coupons, friends. According to a mid-year report by NCH Marketing Services, Americans have saved $2 billion using coupons in the first half of 2011. Couponing isn’t a waste of time—every hour spent clipping in 2011 is worth an estimated $100!


ORGANIC FACTS Eating organic and “going green” also means shelling out the green—organic produce is one of the most marked-up products in grocery stores, with a price that’s 30 to 50 percent higher than its non-organic counterparts. (

When going organic, it’s important to know the “Dirty Dozen”—and we’re not talking about pesticide-filled produce. Reduce your exposure to pesky pesticides by up to 80 percent by choosing organic versions of these 12 fruits and vegetables: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears. ( stories/2010/03/16/health/healthy_living/ main6303444.shtml)

ALTERNATIVE CAMPUS FACTS Oberlin is a college that’s always made strides—in 1835, they were the first American college to adopt a policy that admitted students of color. In 1841, they became the first college to grant bachelor’s degrees to women. You won’t find late-night ragers or frantic, Red Bull-induced all-nighters at MUM. Students are encouraged to be in bed by 10 p.m. so they are as alert as possible the next day. Professors even create their assignments so students can complete them in 90 minutes or less. Forget Republican tax plans—Oberlin students, or “obies,” have a different definition of “9-9-9.” Obies must earn nine credits in each of three concentrations: arts and humanities, sciences and math, and social and behavioral sciences.

BLOGS & BOOK DEALS More popular blogs that became books:

STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE The title says it all. Author Christian Lander calls his blog a “scientific approach” to explain the things that stereotypical white America appreciates–—like Conan O’Brien, living by the water, and standing still at concerts. Currently the blog has over 85 million hits. Lander also released a sequel to the book called Whiter Shades of Pale.

POSTCARDS FROM YO MOMMA We love moms. Especially those who can’t quite grasp modern technology. Created by Jessica Grose and Doree Shafrir, Postcards From Yo Momma showcases the funniest texts and emails from moms to kids. Our favorite? “I’m not sure if I’m tweeting or twatting, what’s the difference?”

THIS IS WHY YOU’RE FAT More frightening than any installment of Saw, This is Why You’re Fat displays the most gruesome, caloriefilled monstrosities to ever reach Americans’ lips. Try not to cringe at the Doughnut Pizza or Grilled Cheese Birthday Cake.

MUM has its own farm that provides the produce for the campus’ organic, vegetarian meals. Plants are grown using Maharishi Vedic Organic Agricultural Principles, which, according to MUM’s website, “enliven the plant’s inner intelligence.” Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music was established in 1865— it’s currently the oldest operating musical conservatory in the United States. Students in the conservatory are fondly referred to as “connies.”




chair with lions pawing at it, and another womb-like chair with ostriches prancing around it. Q: How do you find your catalog selections? Do people send you ideas, or do you take over the selection process yourself?




This comedian dishes on her snarky blog, REPORTED BY ERIKA OWEN PHOTO MOLLY ERDMAN

Actor and writer Molly Erdman, 37, is badass—there’s no denying that. Creator of the blog and comedian/ improviser, she’s bringing humor to all platforms. Check her out at ERIKA OWEN: How did you ever come up with such an imaginative—and completely absurd—world within the pages of catalogs? MOLLY ERDMAN: One night I was flipping through a West Elm catalog and saw a picture of an outdoor lounge area with a plate of figs under a table. I realized that not only was this picture ridiculously impractical, but so were the majority of images in many home furnishing catalogs. So the next morning I started a Tumblr blog, scanned some pictures, and wrote some captions. The idea behind the captions is to justify why those absurd details exist. Q: Were you shocked at the positive attention your blog has received in the viral world? A: Definitely! I was shocked that it received any attention at all beyond my friends and family, to be honest. I’ve been an actor for my entire adult life and have tried many things to get attention, but this was something I did purely for enjoyment, and it’s the thing I’ve gotten attention for. There’s a lesson to be learned there, I suppose. I’m always thrilled to get comments and e-mails from readers saying that I provide a much-needed laugh for them every day. Q: What’s the most ridiculous catalog page you’ve ever seen? A: Some of the European catalogs are pretty amazing. There’s one that features furniture with various wildlife surrounding it: a lounge


A: For the most part, I find everything myself. I usually look online, but when I get catalogs in the mail I go through those, too, because sometimes they offer pictures that I can’t find on the web. People do send me pictures sometimes, which I like, but I only use them if I see something in them. I try not to force anything. Sometimes there are wacky pictures but no joke comes to me, so I just save them and hope that the inspiration will hit me. Q: You’re an actor and an improviser—what does an improviser do? A: Great question. It’s not exactly a career. I started taking improv classes in Chicago about 15 years ago and performed with some groups there. Eventually that led to me performing at The Second City, which isn’t an improv show, but their shows are written through improv. As opposed to writing scripts for each sketch, we throw out an idea (“A mom substitutes her son’s sex ed. class�) and improvise that idea, eventually forming the final product. Now that I’m in Los Angeles, I still perform in improv shows roughly once a week. My background in improv has been invaluable in just about everything I do—it boosts creativity and keeps me from secondguessing myself all the time. Q: What are some of your favorite blogs? A: I have to admit, I spend so much time working on mine that I’m pretty much blogged out by the time a free moment comes along. I discovered Unhappy Hipsters after I started Catalog Living (which is fortunate, because if I’d seen it before I would have questioned whether mine was too similar). They provide captions for photos from Dwell magazine, and they’re hilarious. DM



Profile for Drake Magazine

DrakeMag, Fall 2011  

This is the Fall 2011 issue of DrakeMag.

DrakeMag, Fall 2011  

This is the Fall 2011 issue of DrakeMag.

Profile for drakemag