Page 1





letter from the editor

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, I present to you: Epic Magazine. Epic’s beginnings date back to 2006, with a magazine called Full Bleed. The magazine was also created by students, but the design changed completely from page to page. We wanted to start fresh, and create something without limits. Thus the birth of Epic Magazine. We started as a group of four designers back in September of 2011, where we sat down and began working on the first issue of Epic. We had no idea where to begin, nor what would become of the magazine. After hours of brainstorming, donuts, and some unproductiveness, the concept of Epic was complete. Epic would be a magazine created completely by students with a focus on clean design and interesting content.  With every quarter, we had an ever-expanding and changing staff of designers, videographers and writers. As staff members came and left, the idea of the magazine didn’t change; it only grew. We have articles about everything from a guide to moustachery to viral political culture. My staff here at the magazine has been incredible and have pushed their limits to make this magazine the best it can be. Epic Magazine is being released not only as a print publication, but also as an interactive publication to be released in the iPad App Store, taking student publications to a whole new level.  I hope you enjoy reading and exploring Epic as much as I enjoyed working on it! Sincerely, Nate Daubert Editor-in-Chief






Nate was pronounced Editor of Epic as a mere sophomore, quite an accomplishment for a design student, after working on the staffs of both Full Bleed magazine and The Eagle newspaper. Epic was a brand new publication, in need of graphic standards, content development, and staff. Epic didn’t even have a nameplate! Through Nate’s hard work, this new RMU publication has become a reality. Amongst the staff, Nate is known for his lightning-fast InDesign skills and his clean, modern design style. He’s also affectionately referred to as the “Grid Nazi,” based in part on the insanely detailed grid stucture he created for Epic. Readers can check out Nate’s design work throughout the publication and read his articles, “The Religion of Technology,” and “Save Asses, Raise Taxes,” in this first issue of Epic.

TYLER BAGWELL, DESIGNER, WRITER, BAD PHOTOGRAPHER Tyler Bagwell joined the Epic staff as a senior. He had written the cover story for Full Bleed magazine, titled “Down and Out in the CTA,” a story about his personal experiences busking in subway stations. So the Epic staff was eager to have him on board. A talented musician, designer, videographer, and writer, Bagwell has not disappointed. In Epic’s premiere issue, Bagwell has written a story about the Logan Square neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. He’s also designed or refined much of issue’s layout, provided comic relief during staff meetings, including a series of controversial sketches that led to the creation of “Moustachery,” on page 37, which will provide readers a glimpse into Bagwell’s strange and original point of view.









Javi transfered to RMU as a junior, joining the staff of Epic almost immediately. His laid back style and creative drive fit right in with Epic. Javi’s design work is heavily influenced by his background in fine art, making him the ideal person to create the highly conceptualized and mildly controvertial illustration for “The Religion of Technology,” featuring Jesus at the Last Supper seated in front of a MacBook Pro, wearing Beats, and holding an iPhone. Javi also wrote a travel piece called, “Drive, Eat, Sleep & Repeat: Road Tripping,” describing a recent road trip to hear and see the Dali Lama in Arkansas.

Andy joined the Epic staff as a senior during the Spring of 2012, at a hectic time between wrapping up Epic 1 and planning for Epic 2. The large staff was at a production stand-still, and Andy’s more mature, serious nature was a welcome addition to otherwise chaotic staff meetings. Andy’s primary role is coordinating the production of the interactive digital publication version of Epic’s first issue. Readers can look forward to reading Andy’s candid story about his trip to Africa in Epic 2.


Ira wrote, illustrated and designed the “Sketch Me,” article in the first issue of Epic as a junior, along with creating the political illustration “Occupy the Zombie,” for Joe Halboth’s article, “Riding the Wave.” Digital painter and 3D modeler extraordinaire, Ira came to RMU as a Veteran, after serving as an E-5 Security Forces Response Force Leader in the United States Air Force. After multiple deployments, including forward deployments to warzones such as Afghanistan, he realized his lifelong dream of returning to a civilian life as a graphic designer. His leadership and solid work ethic have been significant assets to the development of Epic. Another Veteran on staff, Carlos is an Epic powerhouse. Also a senior, Carlos has contributed to the magazine in almost every way possible. In addition to designing the cover illustration, his article, “Windy City Dancer,” features his photography. Carlos also created the illustration for Joe Halboth’s article, “Fukashima.” Carlos can usually be found designing or illustrating with his headphones in, tuning out the many distractions prevelant during Epic staff meetings. Readers can look forward to more of Carlos’s print and interactive design work in the next issue of Epic.


THIS WAY IN Editor-in-Chief Nate Daubert Creative Director Tyler Bagwell Designers Tyler Bagwell Nate Daubert Javier Frias Ira-Lee Nesbitt Carlos Santiago Illustrators Rich Connolly Javier Frias Ira-Lee Nesbitt Carlos Santiago

Photographers Caitlyn Dabbs Skylr Harkness Whitney Peck Jennifer Pond Carlos Santiago Webmaster Dylan Broll Production Manager, Digital Publication Andrew Harris Interactive Designers Andrew Harris Samantha Johnson

Writers Tyler Bagwell Dave Bauer Marybeth Bohm Dylan Broll Caitlyn Dabbs Nate Daubert Javier Frias Joe Halboth Ira-Lee Nesbitt Jessica Newell Jennifer Pond Carlos Santiago Emily Seibert Contributors Amy Maldonado Mike Oleshko

Contributing Writers Jenny Jocks-Stelzer Carolyn Pavelkis Administration Faculty Advisor Carolyn Pavelkis Editors Paul Gazak Carolyn Pavelkis Dean of Art & Design Janice Kaushal Dean of iCenter Jen Lamplough/ Jill McGinty

Robert Morris University is an independent, not-for-profit, multi-location institution offering associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs that focus on integrating theory and applications. Robert Morris University prepares students to be practitioners in their chosen fields, socially responsible to their communities, and a foundation for their families.

Robert Morris University offers professional, careerfocused education in a collegiate setting to diverse communities. Epic is published by Robert Morris University’s Integration Center in association with the Institute of Art & Design. Epic is a student-produced publication of Robert Morris University and does not necessarily represent, in whole or in part, the views of college administrators, faculty or the student body. Robert Morris University students can join the staff of Epic magazine by signing up through the iCenter Project Board on the RMU website: For more information about becoming a writer, designer or contributor for Epic, contact the Epic staff at epicmagazine@ Students from all majors and campuses may be eligible to enroll. Epic encourages faculty and staff from all disciplines to contribute to the magazine. 6

On our cover: Designer and illustrator Carlos Santiago created the cover design for the premiere issue of Epic. His concept was to convey aspects of some of the feature articles in a creative illustration-based piece. See more of Carlos’s design work in “Windy City Dancer,” and “Fukushima.”






56 22 7



44 48


72 28 8


Occupy the Zombie an Illustrated Response to the Occupy Movement by Ira-Lee






Riding the Wave by Joseph Halboth photographs by Whitney Peck Swarms of people gather on streets in weather that grows colder as the as days grow shorter. This is the movement of our age. An upgraded counter-culture embedded in the obscurity of an infrastructure that transmits across the globe. It’s been nearly three years since the earliest spark of the movement’s awakening, when crowds of people shouted in the streets saying, “No, we will not foot the bill for your bad check.” Today’s counter-culture is no different from the groups of protesters that emerged during the 1960s. At that time, women and blacks were fighting for equal rights, and veterans and young adults were protesting the draft for the Vietnam War; both groups coming together, declaring a need to change the norm of American society. Today things are much the same. Diverse groups of citizens are banning together to challenge the norms that have been in place since the 1980s. With the emergence of the world wide web, the 1990s saw the birth of a new infrastructure that would entangle the world. Skeptics at the time believed that the new world wide web craze would fade, but they had been wrong before, about rock music, about the arcade and the home video game, and about the portable phone. One possibility that came from the conception of the Internet was complete anonymity. During the 1990s, chat rooms were all the rage. Parents were warned to keep their children away from chat rooms, and adults were advised to be careful about who they were sharing information with. You could be Bob Average in real life and be Joe Millionaire online. The trust of knowing someone by face or voice was completely gone, and after the turn of the millennium, a website that favored complete anonymity came into being. The website was created as a high school student class project. It was intended to be an Internet forum and image board, where users could remain anonymous and discuss topics ranging from video games to comics, anime, manga and more. Today is responsible for the mass popularity and spread of memes such as lolcats, viral videos, Rickrolling, and the infamous joke Pedobear. The random image board, titled /b/ (pronounced “Slash-B”) is by far the most notorious feature the website has to offer. Slash-B, for the most part, has no rules to what a user can post, as long as posts do not contain child pornography. However, if you do stay, you are likely to encounter the core of the phrase, “Where the internet goes to die.” People enter discussions that would be considered far from the norm, if not bordering the insane. For example, a man may post a picture of an adorable kitten and then ask if that kitten is cute. The next poster may agree that the kitten is cute, but then add dissent to the post and say something that may be sexual. The next poster can agree, and soon the post becomes one raving orgy of people commenting on the sexual pleasures of staring at that adorable kitten. And while this may seem sickening to a reader who does not know of or /b/, this is far from the worst this writer has seen. 11




The news magazine Gawker once wrote in a blog that, “reading /b/ will melt your brain.” And it is inside this brain-melt that we find our first piece of counterculture. In 2003, the Internet provided the opportunity for anyone to have complete anonymity. Anonymous is currently a large collective of Internet Hacktivists who favor Freedom of Speech, Information, and the Internet. When the group originally came together on, they formed a loose collective that agreed to be anarchic and chaotic and to act as a global whole. They were focused on seeking entertainment through trolling (causing dissent and agitation for laughs, lulz) on various websites such as MySpace and Habbo Hotel. Such events gave the group mass notoriety as “hackers on steroids,” a phrase given by a Fox News report in 2007. Fox News called the group the Internet form of domestic terrorists. Through facts and witnesses, Fox claimed the group was responsible for the widespread hacking of MySpace profiles, where the user’s page would be transformed into a promotion of hate and pornography of all forms. Although questionably valid, Fox News even claimed that Anonymous was responsible for the 2007 Super Bowl bomb threat made the year before. Since that report in 2007, the group has gone through somewhat of a change. While still sticking to the original idea of working as a global being that is chaotic and anarchic, Anonymous began promoting the Freedom of Speech and Information on the Internet. Their Internet Hacktivism began to take a much larger and somewhat noble stance. In 2010, the Internet whistle-blower website Wikileaks released over 15,000 files relating to the war in Afghanistan between the years of 2004–09. These files document incidents of friendly fire to civilian casualties made by the soldiers in the war. The media backlash against Wikileaks was unbelievable. Most of the news outlets challenged Wikileak’s choice to release the immense number of documents, and the backlash was so bad that several major banks and even PayPal denied donations that were meant for Wikileaks. Anonymous would not let such an action happen, since they believed that it was threatening Wikileak’s Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of Information. Anonymous quickly coordinated a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), shutting down a website, in this case, against the banks and PayPal. Their websites were shut down from anywhere between several hours to a day at most, but as soon as the servers for the banks and PayPal went operational, Anonymous would initiate the DDoS attack again, this conflict continued for several weeks before Anonymous withdrew its efforts to find a more productive way that would help Wikileaks. Another example of an Anonymous plot is the retaliation to the 2010 San Francisco Shut Down of Cell Phone Services, an incident where the San Francisco Police Department shut down all cellphone service in order to stop a protest from being coordinated in lower San Francisco. Anonymous posted confidential police information in cases where the police did not follow procedure in past and ongoing cases. The same was done when Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in Fullerton, CA, was brutally beaten by police officers on the scene and died four days later. Other infamous Anonymous operations have code names, such as YouTube Porn Day, the massive upload of pornographic material to the viral video website, and Operation Tit Storm, an attack on the Australian Prime Minister and its House of Parliament in retaliation of a new legislation that would censor the Internet in Australia. Anonymous can be seen as a Western-style sheriff crossed with The Punisher when it comes to Internet justice.

After the beginning of the new millennium, part of this movement was spurred by the threat of violence. Those with conscious memory can remember the day when a dozen Saudi men based in Afghanistan hijacked four American flights and changed every living American’s world in less than two hours. This brought the so called Patriot Act into being, a policy allowing the CIA and other such Security Agencies to protect America and its people in ways that seemed Orwellian in nature. Phones were tapped, innocent village community groups were infiltrated, and two months after Osama Bin Laden was identified as the mastermind behind the attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan with the fury of a Valkyrie and shoved every American’s foot in the ass of the Taliban with size 12 golden shoes. While many Americans called for retaliation in the form of the Al-Qaida being brought to justice, it would be ten years before Osama Bin Laden would be found in his sleep and executed on the spot by an elite team of U.S. Navy Seals. However, during those ten years, many Americans changed their perspective on the war. Time passed and our Head Chimp, along with his Hair-lipped apprentice and a Defense Secretary who managed to be the youngest and oldest man in service fed a lie to the

/b/ will melt your brain, “andreading it is inside this brain-melt that we find our first piece of counterculture American people. They pointed a finger, and it seemed to very few not caught up in the fear that the acts or sins of the father would be repeated if not bathed in blood. President Bush gave a live, televised speech warning Sadam Hussein that he had only forty-eight hours for he and both his sons to surrender, or the invasion would commence. The speech didn’t matter much. Hussein was probably asleep, his golden AK-47 put away in it’s display case. He wouldn’t hear Bush’s speech about an “Axis of Evil.” Since the toppling of Hussein’s regime and the Iraqi Government, one notable movement, calling themselves Rethink Afghanistan, set upon a worldwide campaign, through demonstrations and Internet activism (not Hacktivism like Anonymous). Their goal was to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to bring our troops home. Through online news from groups such as Democracy Now, Rethink Afghanistan has gained a wide following of support from other organizations worldwide with the same intentions. Rethink Afghanistan claims that since the beginning of both wars, America’s debt tripled in the first decade and continues to grow, since the average cost for both wars per day measures in just over a billion dollars. Since the group’s creation, they have seen reinforcement to there cause, with the Wikileaks dump of files related to the war in Afghanistan, and the ‘end’ of the War in Iraq in the Fall of 2011. As the War on Terror continued, the American economy began taking a down-turn, as unemployment continued to rise, and the housing bubble neared its peak. The businesses that benefitted most at the time were the banks. Through the selling of homes to potential homeowners with credit that rated from great to poor, the banks were able to setup a scheme that was never questioned in terms of legality or sustainability, due to the continued deregulation of safe business practice under the Bush administration. The banks bundled home mortgages, then sold the bundled mortgages. The



buyer then assigned ratings to those securities and sold them to other banks and financial firms to make a profit. However, the ratings assigned were all awash. Even the safest of buys were potentially dangerous with the possibility of destroying any financial firm if a large number of homeowners defaulted on their mortgages or if there were not enough people to buy the foreclosed homes. Then the banks and other businesses were able to assign a derivative. A derivative could be explained as a bet that has been placed against anything with value. For every few hundred homes that defaulted on their mortgages, businesses could collect and sell them to new potential homeowners, then once again, bundled, sell, and bet, and also collect the money they bet against the homeowners. Not one of the fat cats on Wall Street ever expected the hammer to come down, but that’s exactly what happened in 2007, when the foreclosed homes sold to risky homeowners began to accumulate. Soon there was more supply than demand for homes, and the prices began to plummet, as mortgages continued to grow in price. This was the beginning of the collapse of the Housing Bubble that soon cascaded into the Financial Collapse.

This writer hopes that the flame in our “ generation only glows brighter, that this generation’s actions will be able to create

a better society for the next...

The Financial Collapse of 2007 has been considered by some to be the worst event in the American economy since the Great Depression. The event could have singlehandedly sent the economy into a recession, where middle class Americans found themselves in an even worse state of finances. In the later months of 2007, many banks and financial firms went bankrupt. Most of the firms were sold to other banks, and the American government bought a few select firms. The surviving financial institutions asked the government for a bailout so they could be repaid seven hundred billion dollars for buying bankrupt firms. The proposal submitted by these financial institutions to the government was written on only three pages. While the government was hesitant to say yes, it hoped that the bailout money would immediately heal the broken state of the economy. But the American people were not as happy to give their tax dollars to the people who carelessly caused the recession. The banks got their bailout, with a side of disgruntled protesters standing on Wall Street for weeks, demanding that financial institutions be brought to justice for their crimes. This was the beginning of a group that, three years later, would call themselves the Occupy Movement. The Occupy Movement is an ongoing protest and demonstration that began on September 17, 2011. The original group of demonstrators took to Wall Street and San Francisco. Now the Occupy Movement is taking place in over 85 cities across the US, and even a few countries worldwide. The demonstrators are made up of different groups of people, most of them middle and lower class, and a few from the upper class. The group as a whole says they are the 99%, and they are against government corruption, corporate greed, high unemployment and foreclosure rates, and the strong influence corporations have on the government and the American military. Occupy demonstrators want a higher tax rate for the top one percent and the enactment of new laws restricting the influence big business has on the government. 14

The protesters, though, have met much opposition, from news media to people declaring they are the 53%, people who believe that the occupation of those areas will, in the end, achieve nothing. No groups have been against the Occupy Movement more strongly than the Republican Party and Fox News. Both the Republican Presidential Nominees and the reporters of Fox News have claimed the Occupy Movement to be nothing more than unjust acts from a group comprised of babies who want to change the world without an effective way of doing so. The months after the financial collapse of 2007 brought the upcoming presidential election into full swing. The top two forerunners in the end were John McCain, a well-known Republican Senator from Arizona, and Barack Obama, a mostly unknown senator from Illinois. While the two were somewhat contested, after several blunders made by McCain in the debates, along with his Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, Obama would be able to win the votes needed to become the 44th President of the United States. People believed in a President who said that there would be change, however, the amount of change the American people would see has been debated. The first change under Obama was the Health Insurance Reform of 2010, later called Obama-care, a change that the Republicans are fighting hard to undue. The second change was watered down financial reform. And the last change that was unsuspected and largely disputed on capital hill was the repeal of the, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Policy of the United States Military. The groups and organizations detailed in this article may seem too different to be alike, however, they are the collectives that make up this generation’s counterculture. Citizens who were robbed of their work and home. Pursuers of happiness who want to be accepted into society with open arms and to have the same rights for their sexual preferences. Soldiers and civilians who want an end to a conflict that has left us two bodies of evil men and a debt for our children to carry. And one group who wishes for their frontier, whether it be real or cyber, to stay free. This is our counterculture, one that has decided to rewrite the norms of society laid down even before the movement of the 1960s. This writer hopes that the flame in our generation only glows brighter, that this generation’s actions will be able to create a better society for the next, free of sexual discrimination, free of never-ending conflict, free to live in a home without it being taken away by the one percent, and free to speak anywhere without the threat of being muzzled and hurt. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “History is hard to know… but even without being sure of history it seems entirely reasonable to think every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash.” Gonzo, that’s what this writing is, a personal quest to peer into the counterculture of this generation and try to perceive whether or not it will decline. History won’t be able to capture this time. News articles are are of little help researching this material. Most of the ‘history’ that has been written as this counterculture continues has been blogged on random parts of the Internet, or posted in the form of videos on YouTube. How many years will it be before you can stand from a hill and see the high water mark of this generation? Whatever the outcome, the high crest of this wave will recede in time, only to come again decades from now as a new generation challenges the ideals left behind and changes the norm in ways they see fit. It is not only history that run in cycles, but generations and culture. Maybe if this counterculture succeeds, it will be able to appease the generations to come and have a long lull in time before such a movement is needed once again.






Fukushima & THE by Joseph Halboth illustration by Carlos Santiago



Fission. The nucleus of an atom splits into smaller nuclei, producing neutrons and photons that release an extremely high amount of energy. Without fission, nuclear power would not exist. After America harnessed this finite power source and built the first nuclear power plant in 1958, it set forth building hundreds of nuclear power plants in thirty countries around the world. The near meltdown of the Fukushima Power Plant in 2011 was disastrous and marks one of the darkest times in Japan’s history. On March 11, 2011, at approximately 2:46 JST (Japan Standard Time), a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 heaved the underwater abyss 43 miles east, off the coast of the Oshika Peninsula in the Tohoku Region of Japan. The cataclysmic quake unleashed a massive Tsunami that in some areas traveled as far as 6 miles inland. The tsunami, however, was not the worst blow of the earthquake. For three days after the Fukushima Power Plant bared its damage from the earthquake, reactor 4 was suffering a full-scale meltdown, which sent the entire nation of Japan and most of the world into a panic for the fear of the remaining reactors suffering the same fate. While the meltdown was eventually rendered under control according to the Japanese Government, the United States began to fear a similar fate if ever an earthquake were to happen here. The Fukushima Incident was a game-changer in the Nuclear Power Industry. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the watch dogs set in place so that an event like Fukushima may never happen on US soil, exists. Now that the danger of the Fukushima Meltdown has passed, it’s time for America to review the processes handling our facilities. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was tasked by the American Government to review the state of America’s 104 Nuclear Power Plants and predict how catastrophic an event like Fukushima could be in the U.S. This review process, however, was delayed for months following the Fukushima disaster. The Commissioners of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assigned a task force with a specific objective to review all nuclear power plants in the U.S. and detail the 31 plants that are most similar to the reactors of those at Fukushima. But NRC Commis18


sioners stated that now is not the time and place for the review of such regulatory guidelines. quoted Commissioner Gregory Jackzo as stating that, “This is a level of micromanagement that the commission should not engage in, and it could take years to complete.” However, after some research, it would seem that the NRC is simply taking its time. It should also be noted that there has been much deregulation in the nuclear industry over the past decade. The likelihood of the report’s completion in the near future is not only in question, but it might as well be up in the air. Surely a wake-up call would be all that is needed to point the NRC in the right direction and complete the analysis of US nuclear plants, right? Well, the situation couldn’t be any more wrong. On Tuesday, August 24, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the east coast of the US. The quake originated in Richmond, VA, but could be felt all the way to Rhode Island. In the trail of the quake sits the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Westchester, PA. Neither the Plant nor the NRC reported any damage following the earthquake, and a spokeswoman for the NRC, Diane Srcenci, said, “There has been no damage; no significant damage at any of the plants. And there has been no impact on public health and safety.” But although the plant suffered little damage, many, like Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, believe that this incident should be a wakeup call for the “what if.” Every American should be concerned with what could have happened that day. A 5.8 magnitude quake is, for lack of a better statement, middle of the road, especially considering the building regulations in place here in America to deter the damage from earthquakes such as this one. However, given what happened earlier this year with Fukushima, there is still cause for alarm. The NRC hasn’t made a statement about whether or not this recent quake will quicken the pace of the dismally slow task force appointed to investigate what would happen if such a thing occurred on a catastrophic scale here in the U.S. The NRC is functioning basically as a lapdog, with the interests of the Nuclear Industry in mind. They have allowed the investigation to be slowed so that the Industry will not be forced to drastically reform the design of the power plants to be more structurally sound, if an event such as the Japan Quake/Tsunami should ever happen in America. The Rolling Stone reported more on this topic in April, 2011, with an article appropriately titled “America’s nuclear Nightmare.” The Rolling Stone reported that the NRC Commission may not be spearheading the investigation so as to not cause a panic. But why would the completion of the investigation and the transparency of the report cause a panic? Perhaps because the reactors were built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and they were designed to be closed within 30 to 40 years. The 31 plants that are similar to Fukushima are outdated but still in use. While the computers and cooling systems have been changed and updated, the plants themselves have not been, and the inner workings of the reactors have not evolved, but instead have gone through a deregulate metamorphosis, a metamorphosis that could end up costing more than the country of America alone.

Imagine, if you will, that an earthquake, much like the historic San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, believed to be a 7.7 to an 8.25, rocks a region of the United States that houses a nuclear plant, such as one located in the Diablo Canyon area in California. The massive tremor sends the area around the quake into an extended black out as the core to the plant’s reactors cracks and crumbles, exposing the entire region to radioactive gases. The government would call for an immediate evacuation of millions of people. The evacuation would take days to complete, and millions would flood the outlying areas looking for safety. Whether or not there would be enough housing, food, water, and even patience to withstand this tragedy depends on how the American Government plans for such an event. Imagine that the plant is unable to be stabilized and enters a critical meltdown, creating a fallout zone equal to that of Chernobyl, 62,500 miles. The number of evacuees would grow, as more people are forced to flee the area. The populace in the new evacuee zones will be wary of them, not

The Fukushima incident was a “game-changer in the Nuclear Power Industry

knowing how much of a threat there could be of possible contamination. The Jet Stream, narrowing air currents that run west to east along the planet, could carry the radioactive fallout even further. Lastly, let’s not forget that the collapse of the Soviet Union began with the massive reforms that took place after the Chernobyl Incident. America, as it stands today, in an economic recession, amidst war and the debate over how to cut the national debt without raising taxes, could be on the brink of collapse in this nuclear meltdown scenario. There would be public backlash against the NRC for being unable to finish its investigation before the event happened, and the American people would lose trust in the Government for its inability to provide public health and safety. But this is just a bad dream, an American Nightmare that should never come to pass. However, dreams sometimes do come true, and they’re not always happy. Before this is over, one last fact must be given to you. The Reactors spoken of earlier, built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, were only intended to have a lifespan of 40 years, and that time has passed. Most recently, the NRC has green-lighted a proposal to keep all U.S. reactors running for two more decades. How long can we outrun the possibility of disaster? There are three different endings to Frankenstein. In the first, the monster kills the scientist. In the second, the scientist succeeds in destroying his creation. In the third, both monster and scientist die from killing each other. The ending depends on which version you read. Now, which ending do future generations want to see?



Save Asses:

Raise Taxes article & photograph by Nate


America is fat. It’s our reputation. The truth is no one can do much about it. There has been initiative after initiative trying to decrease the obesity epidemic in this country, but the problem is only getting worse. Since 2000, the number of states with an obesity rate of over 30 percent has risen from zero to 12. In fact, the U.S. has the highest obesity rate in the world, with 33.8% of the population being obese. The second biggest killer in the United States is from obesity-related issues: 365,000 a year. Smoking is first, with 435,000 deaths per year. Sure, we can blame it on the fact that everything in our country is spread out and we need to drive everywhere. We are also one of the top 10 countries in working hours, meaning we always need to eat something convenient. It’s our culture.

The second biggest killer in the “ United States is from obesity-related issues: 365,000 a year

There is something we can change, however. America needs to implement a fat tax. Some local governments are already taking initiative. New York recently passed that no sugarsweetened beverage could be sold in a container of more than 16 fluid ounces. One of the big arguments with this law is that it’s taking away freedom of choice, but in reality it’s just causing people to sit and think. They can still order multiple beverages, but they have to think about their decision before they do. A fat tax would make people think about whether they will pay more for junk food or less for healthy foods. A new study at the University of Oxford shows that health-related food taxes can help reduce obesity levels, but the tax must be at least 20 percent to have a significant impact on the American population’s health. Another U.S. study found that taxing sugarsweetened drinks by 35 percent led to a 26 percent decline in sales. Americans don’t like paying more


for things, so the money has to be used to make other foods more affordable. Healthy foods need to be subsidized. With that high tax added to junk food, a portion of that can go to make healthier options more affordable by assisting the food industry in offering foods without a high salt content, corn syrup or saturated fats. The money could also go to fund treatments against diseases like diabetes. One of the largest problems here in the US is that the corn industry is highly subsidized by the government. In the past 15 years, the U.S. government has spent $83.1 billion on corn subsidies. This is an incredibly large amount of money, especially given the fact that people don’t eat much corn. Most corn is turned into other products like high fructose corn syrup, one of the largest contributing factors in the obesity problem. Our government is subsidizing our obesity. It all started in the 1930s with the introduction of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA). American agriculture was in a horrible situation. Crop prices were falling and farmers were planting more crops to make more money. The land became over used and massive erosion began to occur, causing the dust bowl. The AAA was an effective bill that set up a system that would support farmers without causing the environmental issues. In the 1970s, things changed. The bill was turned upside down, and instead of helping farmers support their families in an effective way, corporations began taking advantage of the bill and lobbying for congress to change the bill to shape their interests. The number of small farms significantly decreased, and larger farming companies have taken on larger amounts of land. Today’s farm bill is a combination of multiple bills, and it not only controls subsidies, but it also controls WIC and Food Stamps. Currently, junk food is one of the cheapest ways to eat. For families with little income, it may be all they can afford. Public aid programs need to emphasize the necessity of healthy food and also make sure that programs like WIC and Link ensure people are purchasing healthy options. It doesn’t make sense for the government to be paying for a family to eat nothing but ice cream and chips. America needs to take back control over the foods we eat and leave the Fat-reputation behind.




eating organic by Marybeth Bohm photograph by Carolyn




what is organic? The term “organic” refers to food produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, artificial pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, feed additives, or genetically modified organisms. Organic food must be certified organic according to legal specifications and standards in order to be labeled as such. Organic foods are higher in vitamins and minerals than conventionally produced food, because the soil has a greater variety of living organisms and trace minerals.

organic food = healthier eating The human body functions best when it is healthy. Organic foods help the body receive the best nutrition possible in order to maintain optimal health and vitality. “Organic” is more than just food produced without chemicals. The term organic also refers to the way that agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic crops must be grown in safe soil and have no modifications, and organic crops must remain separate from conventional products. Basically, organic farmers use natural, organic matter to cultivate and grow their crops. On average, organically grown fruits and vegetables contain slightly higher levels of vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidants than conventionally grown produce. And because they contain no chemicals or preservatives, people with food allergies often find their symptoms lesson or disappear when they change to a more organic diet. One of the main advantages in eating organic is that organic produce hasn’t been doused in harmful pesticides. Since organic farms by definition do not use artificial pesticides, there is less chlorine chemistry leaching into the environment, no synthetic fertilizer residuals built into plants, and no genetically engineered organisms or varieties. The resulting food has a more intense, realistic flavor and a higher vitamin and mineral content, with greater mineral variety. Organic farmers use less energy, they use no toxic pesticides, and their farming methods require the use of less water. Organic farmers rarely have to burn their fields because the soil stays rich in content, moisture and nutrition, thanks to the careful management of the land. Compare these healthful, environmentally sustainable benefits to conventional farming, where pesticides are used, resulting in a loss of topsoil, as well as toxic runoff into our water supply. With conventional farming, there is soil contamination and the death of insects, birds, critters, and beneficial soil organisms.

always buy organic Here is a short list of produce that you should always buy organic: apples, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes that are imported, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, pears, and strawberries.

what organic doesn’t have

Organic foods are produced without Enumbers, which are codes for a huge range of additives, like emulsifiers, preservatives, stabilizers, and thickeners. Hydrogenated fats, artificial fats, artificial colors, and artificial flavors are typically added to non-organic food to replace the color and flavors that have been removed or altered by processing the food. You won’t find artificial sweeteners or preservatives in organic food either.

usda certified organic

When shopping for organic foods, look for the USDA organic seal. For a food to be labeled USDA Certified Organic, it must be 95% to 100% organic. The organic options are endless. Choose from sauces, pastas, canned fruits, vegetables, cakes, and biscuits that are at the grocery store and available every day.


Livestock raised on organic food are treated better. They must have access to the outdoors and be given organic food.


Milk from a cow that eats all-natural grains without pesticides will produce richer-tasting milk, compared to cows that receive pesticide-sprayed grains (which we then ingest thru the milk). We not only drink cow’s milk, but we consume cheese and many other dairy products. Cheese made from organic cow’s milk tastes more ripe and flavorful because there are no chemicals in the mixture.

how the food we consume is grown or raised impacts both our health and the environment that we live in. 10 reasons to eat organic • To stop consuming all the chemicals found in conventionally produced meat and produce. • To protect our future. Children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults. • To preserve the earth’s water and air quality from the infiltration of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals used in conventional farming. • To prevent soil erosion and improve soil quality. • To consume better tasting, higher quality food, with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial nutrients.

• To support local farmers and their communities. • To preserve the health of our farmers. Conventional farmers and their families are exposed to the highest concentration of agricultural poisons. • To save energy. Organic farmers use less energy than conventional farmers. • To preserve freshness. Organically grown food travels fewer miles from farm to market. • To promote bio-diversity and the use of natural fertilizers made of bugs that promote a more healthy population.





from cr p to c p article & photograph by Carolyn

Pavelkis illustrations by Tyler Bagwell

Today, I paid $6.20 for a quad soy latte. I’ve bought bags of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans for $25/8oz and would travel back to Negril any day of the week for a cup of Blue Mountain at the Rockhouse. I regularly pay around $14/lb. for locally or regionally produced high-quality whole bean coffee, like Bridgeport Coffee Company or Kickapoo (pictured at left). And I own a decent espresso machine. Why would any sane person go to such lengths for a cup of coffee? Well, aside from the fact that I’m hopelessly addicted to the pick-up that coffee provides, I am also extremely particular about the quality of coffee that I consume.

let’s examine coffee production more closely.

Coffee beans, which are actually berries, or seeds, come from the coffee plant. The seeds are dried and roasted to varying degrees, resulting in varieties of flavors. The roasted beans are ground and brewed into the coffee we drink. The caffeine in coffee makes it a stimulating beverage and one that has been popular throughout the world for centuries. Today, coffee is an important export for many nations. According to the FAO Statistical Yearbook, coffee was the number one export in 2004 for twelve different countries. But what is the impact of the coffee industry on the environment, and how does the mass consumption of coffee impact our health? Traditionally, coffee has been grown under shady conditions. The berries on the coffee plant ripen slowly and produce less but much higher quality coffee. The shady environments provide cover for plants and animals and contribute to a more healthy ecosystem, especially true when harmful pesticides are not used. More recently, industrial coffee growers have been clearing land, contributing to the deforestation and habitat destruction of our planet, and growing lower-quality coffee much more quickly under direct sun with the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Growing coffee in full sun uses lots more water than sustainably grown coffee and industrial coffee producers often grow their coffee in countries like Ethiopia, where there are water shortages. Seriously.

to consumers is about 27% higher than industrially produced coffee.

how much coffee can i drink, anyway?

It’s certainly no secret amongst my family, friends, colleagues and students that I drink a lot of coffee every day, mostly to stay awake. But how much coffee is good for my health? Coffee consumption seems to offer a wide array of health benefits, out-waying the health risks. Consumption of coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and gout. It’s antioxidants protect against cell death. But excessive amounts of coffee over a prolonged period can cause heartburn and acid-reflux associated problems. How much is too much? If you’re feeling jittery or are unable to sleep, it’s probably time to cut back.


According to an article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, coffee has the following caffeine content, depending on how it is prepared: brewed: 1 cup (7 oz., 207 ml) = 80–135 mg. drip: 1 cup (7 oz., 207 ml) = 115–175 mg. espresso: 1 shot (1.5–2 oz., 45–60 ml) = 100 mg. What about the grounds? Coffee grounds make great mulch and can be composted. Save your grounds, and ask your neighborhood coffee shop to re-bag grounds and let you take them home to your garden.

so what is fair trade?

The fair trade label tells a consumer that their coffee has been produced by a company that pays its growers a preharvest price and helps ensure that the workers have a decent quality of life. Fair Trade coffee benefits the workers who grow it, but the cost 25



by Jenny

Jocks-Stelzer photograph by Carolyn Pavelkis

It’s not healthier, cleaner, or more exotic than tap water: tests show that much of the bottled water we purchase is actually just filtered tap water from our own municipalities. The main difference is that tap water is highly regulated and must be tested many times a day for bacteria and toxicity, whereas 70% of bottled water is extracted, bottled, transported, and sold in such a way that avoids regulation and requires very little testing for safety. When we buy it, we create so much trash: heard about the 3.5 million ton “Great Garbage Patch” the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Much of that horrendous patch, not to mention landfill space, is filled with disposable plastics, which take thousands of years to break down and release extremely toxic chemicals (like the endocrine disrupter Bisphenol-A – look it up!) as they do. Even when you think you’re recycling – 80% of plastic water bottles get land-filled. It feeds the man, not the people: privatized and corporatized water is nearly a $100 billion a year business, while populations who originally had access to that water are increasingly disenfranchised 26

and suffer extreme clean and safe water shortages. Some estimate that, by 2025, 2/3 of the world’s population will experience drinking water scarcity. It’s crazy expensive: bottled water costs thousands of times more money than tap. We have access to clean water that is almost free from the tap. Why pay $8 per gallon? The more bottled water we pay for, the yuckier our free water gets: while we funnel money towards corporations selling us unregulated, loosely tested water in a toxic container at thousands of times the price we could pay, fewer of our dollars go to municipalities that are responsible for making clean, safe, good-tasting water come out of our taps virtually for free.


Having a gluten-free diet and lifestyle is more common than you think. Gluten is a mixture of plant proteins in cereals and grains, mainly found in corn and wheat, and used as an adhesive and/or flour substitute. Celiac is a disease that affects one in 133 people. This autoimmune disorder is caused by the protein gluten. If an individual that is diagnosed with Celiac disease eats gluten, the small intestine becomes inflamed, and the villi of the small intestine will be damaged. A person that has this disease must change their diet completely to exclude all types of food that include the protein gluten. This is a very tedious change simply because gluten is a protein which is found in a lot of food due to protein being pretty essential to our diet. Foods such as wheat, barley and rye are the main types of food that should be avoided in a gluten-free diet. This change can be very challenging. Individuals must check every label of the food being consumed, making sure that gluten is not present. It is important when on a gluten-free diet that food is not processed or cross-contaminated with foods that contain the protein. There are, however, many healthy foods that are naturally gluten-free. These include beans, fresh eggs, fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and most dairy products. Problems can arise from having to eat a glutenfree diet as well. An individual does not get the vitamins and nutrients that are provided in wheat products. Grain products are highly enriched with nutrients such as Iron, Calcium, Fiber, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and Folate. Without these nutrients a person that has to eat a gluten-free diet will suffer from malnutrition, making it is essential to substitute fruits and vegetables that are enriched with those key nutrients. With the strict eating habits that one must follow to keep their diet gluten free, one may wonder what would happen to an individual with celiac disease who happens to slip up and eat a grain product. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten. However, this does not mean that there was no damage done to the small intestine. With just the slightest amount of gluten intake, the amino acid sequence is very toxic and will begin to eat away at the lining of the small intestine. As you can see, living a life that is gluten-free can be a tough challenge and a task hard to keep track of, but those with celiac disease depend on this life style and must pay close attention to what they are buying and ordering when it comes to their diet.


Emily Seibert photograph by Carolyn Pavelkis





THE RELIGION OF TECHNOLOGY by Nate Daubert illustration by Javier Frias





Our world revolves around technology. It’s a fact. Everyone today is always connected, whether with a laptop, smartphone, tablet or a combination of all three. We are so focused on technology that it is turning into a religion in and of itself. In recent speeches, Pope Benedict XVI said that technology consumption poses a major threat to religion and the Roman Catholic Church. People are worshipping brands instead of God. Companies are suing one another in the name of technology. I grew up in the church. Both of my parents are Lutheran ministers, and I have spent countless hours in Sunday school learning about Jesus’s miracles and how God is wonderful. We also went to service and attended special events throughout the week. I grew up with technology, but never to an extreme. Growing up, I found it perfectly normal and cool to go to church, but my willingness slowly decreased as I got older. Interest in religion was declining and a new fascination with technology was quickly on the rise. I first realized this major cultural change in late 2010. My college roommate at the time was a hardcore Apple user, and he heard about a new store that was opening up in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The night before the big event, he told me about the opening and how exciting it was going to be, and that Apple would be giving out free t-shirts. We had to leave at 7am. “Why on Earth would I wake up that early for a free T-shirt,” I thought. But I woke up early the next morning anyway, because I didn’t want to let my roommate down. When we got to the store, there was a mile-long line of people outside waiting for the doors to open. It started raining, and the Apple store employees gave everyone waiting in line an Apple-branded umbrella. Even if there were umbrellas, how could someone possibly wait for hours standing in the rain just to be one of the first customers in the new store? Something was definitely strange here. The time came for the doors to open, and the first customers were allowed in. The eager customers were greated by inspiring music and hundreds of excited employees jumping up for joy, giving each other high fives and handing out the t-shirts. It was insane, almost as if it was a church ceremony and everyone was screaming about their love of God, except there was no worshipping God here; they were simply worshipping the brand. In May of 2011, the BBC published an interesting study showing that Apple triggers religious reactions in some consumer’s brains. The scientists that did the test ran a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on an Apple “fanboy” and discovered that images of the Apple gadgets triggered the same reactions in the brain as religious images do for church-goers. This isn’t just the case for Apple, however. Now that the mobile platform is booming, nearly everyone has a favorite brand and will always stick by that brand, trying to convince others that their brand is better. The two major competitors today are Google and Apple. Google’s Android OS and Apple’s iOS are the two top mobile platforms today. Both are equally as good and have similar features, but fans say otherwise, almost as if it is a violent crusade between Christianity and Islam. No one wants to admit that their choice is worse than the others. Technology usage is also on the rise. A recent documentary, On the Brink, shows that kids between the ages of 8 to 18 spend 7.5 hours/day using mobile devices and that mobile searches have quadrupled in the past year. In the next 8 years, more than 50 billion devices will be connected. 50

BILLION! That will be more than five devices per person, including developing countries. As the usage of technology rises, so does the way people meet each other. In 2011, one out of six marriages were couples that met online, defeating the previous thought that couples meet by destiny. It shows that people have more control in their lives than they previously thought, letting a computer find a partner instead of God assisting. Growing up in a religious household, I was raised to pray every night before bed. This has changed significantly, especially since the rise of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, my bed time routine is check Facebook, check email, check Twitter, brush my teeth, check Facebook again, check email again, check Twitter again and then finally turn off the lights to go to sleep. My habits are similar when I wake up, and I am not alone. Recent studies show that 48% of all college students check Facebook the first thing when they wake up.


Since the launch of Facebook’s new timeline feature, it’s easy to go back and see what you did when. While going through my timeline, I saw the first date of my first post back in 2006. I’ve had my Facebook for over 5 years. 5 YEARS! The average person checks their Facebook 4.6 times a day, roughly the same number of times Muslims pray per day. This means that I’ve checked my Facebook 8,395 times, more than the number of days I’ve been alive. Has checking Facebook become so dominant that we check it as often as people pray? Our society is also heavily reliant on Twitter: the micro-blogging site where users “Tweet” up to 140 characters to share what’s happening in their lives, articles and opinions. Users try to get as many followers as possible so that their voice will be heard. Without social media, large movements like the Egypt riots and the uproar against SOPA would not have been possible. Formerly, news was heavily reliant on news channels and papers to deliver accurate information. Now, anyone can post anything, and the news can spread like wildfire. Other online communities are dominating the web as well. Both Reddit and 4chan are online forums that both share funny pictures, as well as organize large social movements, and, recently, Pinterest hit the web, making sharing what you want to buy as easy as possible. Social Media in itself is it’s own religion. It allows people to feel as if they are part of a larger community and that they can make a difference. Technology is the new religion. People are defensive about their favorite tech brands, even so much that they troll on the opposing side. Social media is taking over, organizing movements and information faster than ever before. Our world revolves around technology. It’s a fact. Everyone today is always connected, whether it be with a laptop, smartphone, tablet or a combination of all three. We are so focused on technology that it is turning into a religion in and of itself.




facebook goes public by David Bauer

For years the typical wisdom when investing in the stock markets has been to buy what you know. So if you eat Kellogg’s cereal in the mornings, or if your medicines are made by Pfizer, then you should buy shares in these companies, right? That isn’t bad advice, but it is becoming more important to know what you’re buying instead of just buying what you know. This is especially true when it comes to companies like Microsoft, Apple, and now Facebook. Everybody has heard of all of these companies, and chances are, you have used, or are using, one of their products. Currently, Facebook has over 800 million users worldwide. This means that if you are reading this article you either have a Facebook account or probably know somebody who does. With Facebook being so well known, it would seem like a no-brainer to purchase stock in Facebook, right? Maybe, but before you rush to drop your life savings into Facebook, perhaps you should consider the numbers and compare them to successful companies like Apple and Microsoft. For those who might not know a lot about the stock market and how it works, here is a very basic overview. Companies can be either public or private. Private companies don’t have to disclose much financial information to investors. That is, until they reach 500 investors. Facebook just recently hit that mark and has decided that since they have to disclose certain financial information anyway, they might as well just go public. What are the benefits of going public? What are the risks? Benefits include new ways to get lots of cash, and they can also use their stock for other acquisitions. For example, if Facebook is ever running low on cash, they can issue more stock for people to buy and all of the sudden they have more cash in their 32

pockets. They can also buy other companies by giving them shares of Facebook instead of just writing a check. These are just a few of the benefits. The main risk is that the owners could lose their majority ownership and with that goes their say as to the future of the company by selling more than 50% of the company to shareholders. The shareholders would then make up the majority ownership and would therefore have the majority of the say. In its simplest terms an IPO (initial public offering) is the first sale of stock to the public. Once a company goes public, average people like you and I can buy shares of the company on a stock exchange. Owning shares means you have ownership over a percentage of the company. Most companies have many millions of shares outstanding, so buying just a few shares would mean you own a fraction of 1% of the company. For a company to go public doesn’t mean that the whole company can be purchased by the public on a stock exchange. It is possible for large companies like Facebook to make only portions of the company available to the public. This means that they still own the majority of the shares. They do this so that they still have majority control over the company and are still the ones making the decisions about where the company will go in the future. This is exactly what Facebook is doing. As of today there hasn’t been an initial public offering by Facebook, which means that you can’t currently go onto a stock exchange and purchase stock in the company. That will have to wait until the effective date which is the first day that Facebook’s stock will be available for sale to potential investors. The effective date is also the same time we will learn how much each share will cost. EPIC MAGAZINE

PERCENT INCREASE OVER PREVIOUS YEAR This is the time when you might want to grab a seat because here are the numbers! What is going on right 130% now is the company’s valuation. A valuation is usually done by an investment bank and determines the overall value of the company. Facebook is trying to raise $10 billion in cash through potential investors by sell68% 60%intend to go public and that ing the “idea” that they they will be profitable. For this32% we aren’t talking about Average Joe Investor using his Scottrade13% account. Instead we are talking about other large companies and in some cases extremely wealthy individuals who have LOTS of money to invest2013 in Facebook. The $10 2009 2010 2011 2012 2014 billion they are currently trying to raise will only add to their market capitalization. A market capitalization of a company is the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the cost of one share. This gives you a dollar amount of how much the company is actually worth. For example Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world, is selling each share for right around $600. Apple has approximately 925 million shares outstanding which means they have a market capitalization in the ballpark of $560 billion. Since we don’t know what each share of Facebook is selling at or how many shares are outstanding, we have to estimate the company’s value. It is estimated that if Facebook raises the $10 billion it wants to raise, that it will have a market capitalization of $75-100 billion. This means that Facebook was already valued between $65-90 billion before they decided to go public. To put those numbers in perspective, this could place Facebook as the fourth largest IPO ever in the U.S., behind Visa, General Motors and AT&T Wireless.

Sounds like a winner right? What you have to keep in mind is that Facebook has been growing rapidly the last few years. This rapid growth is the basis for the company’s valuation. So then the question arises: Can Facebook keep up the same rapid growth in the years to come? If in fact Facebook can maintain this rapid growth, it will quickly catch Apple and be considered one of the most valuable companies in the world. However, I wouldn’t be so confident that this rapid growth will continue. From 2010 to 2011 Facebook’s revenues increased 68% to $3.7 billion. Market research firm, eMarketer is expecting that in 2012, Facebook’s revenues will increase roughly 60% to approximately $5 billion. After that the projections start to come back to reality. It is estimated that Facebook will make $6.7 billion in revenue in 2013 and $7.6 billion in 2014. This means increases of roughly 32% and 13% respectively. So as you can see, the rapid growth of Facebook isn’t expected to be a long term trend. Price-to-earnings ratios are also good things to look at when you are getting ready to invest. What a P/E ratio shows is how much investors are paying for each unit of income. In this case the unit of income is a dollar. To figure this ratio out, you simply take the company’s market capitalization and divide it by their net income. Off of $3.7 billion in revenue, Facebook reported a net income of $1 billion. Let’s assume that their market capitalization will be $100 billion. If you do the math, this gives Facebook a price-to-earnings ratio of 100. This means that for every $1 Facebook makes, investors paid $100. Compare that to Apples price-to-earnings ratio of 21.56 and Microsoft’s 11.69 and it quickly becomes apparent that your money might be better invested in one of these companies. If Apple had

REVENUES (IN BILLIONS) $8.00 $7.00 $6.00 $5.00 $4.00 $3.00 $2.00 $1.00 $0

$7.40 $6.70

$5.00 $3.70 $1.80 $0.78








140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0


60% 32%







$8.00 $7.00 $6.00 $5.00 $4.00 $3.00 $2.00 $1.00 $0


the same P/E ratio as Facebook it would be worth more than $2.5 trillion. It might not be fair to compare the success of Apple and Microsoft to Facebook because Apple and Microsoft actually manufacture products. The product that Facebook sells is the 800 million user’s information. The vast majority of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertisers paying for ad space and for this information so they can tailor their ads to your likes and dislikes in hopes that you will buy their products. Now that you know a little bit about how the stock market and how IPO’s work, it is up to you to decide whether or not buying Facebook is a good idea. It is my opinion that Facebook is going to have to find alternative sources of revenue other than just advertising if they are going to achieve the same level of success as Apple of Microsoft. Facebook is a very powerful advertising tool, and is one of the best ways for advertisers to reach large numbers of people. However, there is only a certain amount of ad space on a website, and Facebook has yet to come up with alternative source of steady revenue. It is not unwise to buy what you know; lots of people have become very wealthy because they followed this simple logic. There are probably an equal number of people who have lost a lot of money using the very same principle. That being said, the stock market is a big gamble and nobody really knows with absolute certainty what will happen from day to day. However, knowing what you’re buying makes your gamble an educated one, which increases your likelihood of success in the market!



vealed! e r g n i l d o ries of do scribbles.



tion by & illustra


sb Ira-Lee Ne

The mystee truth from the ruins of our

g-in, the the shadin ey s a t n a rt o dles are k Just as imp g th being doo ual shapes hat a doodle means. Discoverin ct a g. key ring w ga it’s meanin look at a few of the in deciphe e regardin te. a v y a ri h p e w k rve as a clu d in rocess ta n se p it s ta s a t’ o l e rs le d a L e d e e d o v n o W ifi- D lity or re of phone. lp you u a n t e n g n n h o o o t si . a it rs fr e e o th th p in le d e d rs it ’s We do facto e “doo r” we hav person public. We nd on nced by th . First off, e le le ri d d e o o p o o x d d e e u We do it in We do it at school a g yo of th e: bein le. it e position pes includ e doodle. other peop ant because mmon sha cance of th o rt think of. W en a C o p n ca im u is o y his in, g has be anywhere the page. T glimpse of insight: anized bra handwritin ople don’t rst hapes: org planning fi S e ic th tr e Analyzing s e p e y m iv n o g nd Ge ho on that ma g process a attenphenomen but there are those w veal ear thinkin us planning on one’s a need for , cl n io rs e , re v e o u d n tr culo nee agree is tr dwriting ca Center: ex skills, meti rivacy, and e in it. Han uman brain and ncy sitivity to p ie n ic se ff , e n still engag h o s, e ti , toe ct about th st e a s ir s, p g d e a in th th is ce y it to a man nets, moon rawn for sp ore so, methe past, d ity, fear of s (stars, pla eed to onality. M so e y b p to a ld in e sh t h s h : u g n v ft o one’s pers ou Le n, a nsiti Vari ce of raw th nderstandable. veness, se m, ambitio transferen .): optimis apprehensi nd u tc self a e e l n a o u e is e v is is , and an nd advert g exposed ty lyzing som f a a li in e thing that a n e v a u b f ro it o p ir n o isio usiasm, sp culty, A small div ng comes in the form Top: enth nsion, diffi . ach ti te ro l ri p a s: w p e re d a p l n o p a a a n a h h ic l e S ctica s hav one’s ntration unpract Abstract any doodle mehow make ical and pra s in conce it M ce . cr n g etia a n : li rb d m tu o o do ey so Bott ssion etc.): comp and dis t all, but th sures, chess, times depre ss t re a u ro , sc (c ch b s a o e purpose a ro st p Gam n nto the mo ch the win, drive their way o s are assessed in mu ng; ve, play to ti ti le ri d love of handw faces. Doo cimens of ing Faces: and e k o sp o s -l a d y o t a o same w g a look a in people Drawing G e positive le, by takin le, sees th for examp p ane, good- o e m p u istic, h ing: m w ti o p ll o en, em , fo n e o ti th situa his fellowm ivities to e v ti si n ct the page natured, se dly, enjoys social a cation on e etic, frien Layout: lo aviness of the strok th a p : he us, bitter, n Structure s: suspicio erall motio e v c o a s t: F n le e ly y g st m U their Move st people, Drawing many and doesn’t tru w , o le h p oes s s: o e e p le p a g s An l sh gate and d dislike : individua odle es not dele d-tempered, o d s, u io Roundness ken to complete do ll rebe m, ba e ta ell in a tea Speed: tim not work w prived. e e d b d ’t n n a oodles ca offended d t ls a e fe th is nce ose flect on The differe the same codes as th oment to re led, s. y m si b a ly d e a te k n a a ta lu g e eva writin e dood So if w e ly to hand of things w le p u co which app resting part is that th st r? Are you the la te een we discove ld u t o n The most in on component betw w a g? Are you t rt a o wh is imp ar thinkin m ting e rs ri m e cl w tt co d d le ings n n st f a a o h se d n o e cl on’s only do th mmon organiz Shading-i and a pers titive and e Do p xtremely co hone as ? e m ss is co e is y cc the doodle re. tl th secre the p ecause ers for su b n th o st tu o o a g n h n m g li it e ty d si w li o th e a of is th le do iously to compete eople and distort re composed with peop zes, is subconsc apes d ers p in st m sw u e n Doodles are textures, shapes, si tr a h T These you dis and esc they talk. clear jects, ple knowing? g speech, m n n e si ri v u e n st d t e o random ob ome of them are very m u ft g m o n O with d in the odling. wanderi S o e re d e s. th h n d f p n o io a ci ct e st g a o d hin and s of but m are easily through etc lor in part tandable, ing ribble y just look rson will co per or magaand unders b e p d a re s e of doodles. me you decide to sc e h p m ti a ci e sp d w e e b n t ti ilding on a st an canno The next h a city bu in open space es it’s considered ju curtc e ir r e o . th s m e e e k d u cl tim gat th r while a few stro g zine. Some boredom, with no si s, people in book pape lyze what te o n r to f Often time an event that is takin u o e o d n y allu ana onto expressio gs or taking a mes, it can moment to re’s more rent feelin similar to , tension, ss, take a ce. Other ti e g ce n la th a n in c e ic if th d if e e d fi n n m n se a o so ck of self-c one and la Only you d r . ck place. It’s e e o la k r ’v , jo u io ty o v e y a ie d anx ’s e beh an insi the eye. compulsiv derstand it picture of than meets ill ever un nd even a a w is s d d n rl . o ie lf fr w the onese your the rest of y of faith in boggled b meaning; 34


of r or doodle ta a v a n a h tasy OK) ourself wit Introduce y oon characters or fan art yourself. (C

n now. ve some fu a h s t’ le t ot! guess, bu ith your fo Not bad...I w it w ra D #2: Challenge

ve there. d. ing you ha w ra d posite han g p n o ti r u o y h Interes it wit ge #1: Draw


up! s change it t!) t’ e L , y a k ur bes sting. O ks... intere r by. (try yo a e n t c je b So that loo no #3: Draw a Challenge



COL R by Jessica


The selectio n of color is very importa design. A co nt lor palette ca n greatly affe in art and ics and mea up of the ot ct the aesthet ning of a pro her two prim ject. Colors m ary colors. So they have to m entary pairs u st go with each me compleharmonize; are red and other. The ri convey the ri green, oran an d yellow and ght color wil ght mood. Th ge and blue, vi ol et l . So e fective and m wrong color metimes usi mentary colo w ng compleight even co rs can be to nfuse the mea ill be inefo bright, so a project. mentary co ning of split comple lors can be a substitute one color dir Developing . Instead of a designer’s ectly across using color vocabu step to a bett th on e w ei h th ee er l, lary is the firs use the 2 co side of the co er use of colo lors t mplement. If r. The hue of name. There main color, a color is its orange was are literally th e sp li t co hundreds of m ange, yellow p le b e m or en ange, blue-vi tary colors w the hues. Red, or , green, blue, olet, and blu ould and violet ar colors. Warm ju st eb lu green, instea e. e ju Triadic colo colors enco d of rs mpass yellow st the basic on the color ar ot e her on the co equidistant wheel. They through red from each lor wheel; th are brighter Cool colors tr e ia p d ri ic mary colors , as well as than cool co are violet th are the secondar lors. rough green appear to vi Colors conve y colors. . Cool colors sually reced y m oo d e. The value an d lightness or em ti on otion. Red co , adventure, of a color is darkness of nveys acaggressiven the it. Tinting an ate different energy, exci ess, blood, d d shading cr values of a co te anger, drive m en t, lo eve lor. When yo , , p you add whit as Pink has the sion, strengt u ti e to make it aura of bein h, and vigor. lighter. For sh nt a color, g black to mak d ge el ic n tle, girly, inn ate, feminin ading, you ad e a co e, floral, ocent, roman d Orange is af Sets of colors lor darker. tic, soft, and fordable, crea that work w tranquil. ell together as color har ti ve vi al, lightheart , enthusiasti are known monies. The c, fun, joed stan matic, primar can convey ca , high-spirited, and you y, secondary, dards are monochrothful. Yellow u ti on , ch ee rfulness, cow intermediate complementa ity, happines , analogous, ardice, curios ry, split com s, joy, playfu plementary, Monochrom lness, positiv and warmth and triadic. atic literally ity, sunshin . G re en is n e, means “one at a monochro u ra fr l, es cr h , healthy, hea isp, environ color.� To use matic harmon mental, ling, financi y, take one h different valu tranquil. Blu ally lucrativ ue and use es of it. The e im e, and p ar ts th primary colo e wheel are re qu co al nfidence, dig ities of auth rs on the colo d, yellow, an ority, calm, nity, loyalty, d blue. The p r be made by and trustwor power, succ rimaries can mixing other ess, security th yn es s. not P u colors togeth rp , no common le is the colo expense, fan er. They hav elements. Pri r of ceremon tasy, justice, e mary colors y, make virtual m ys so te phistication ry, nobility, can be mixed ly any other , and spiritu royalty, to color. ality. The second ary colors ar e orange, gr Take two pu een, and viol re hues out of et. the primary a secondary. colors to mak For example e , yellow mix makes green ed with blue . The second ary colors on are placed in the color wh between the eel two primary make them. colors that Intermedia te colors are a primary co made by mix lor with a se ing condary colo secondary co r, and just li lors, they ar ke e placed in be parent colors tween the tw . The names o of intermedia ways have th te colors ale primary co lor then the (red-orange). secondary co lor Analogous colors are ri ght next to ea the color wh ch other on eel. They ge nerally enco color, a seco mpass a prim ndary color, ary and every co such as yellow lor in betwee , yellow-oran n, ge Complemen , and orange . tary colors on the color are opposite wh ea primary colo eel. A complementary p ch other air is one r and the se condary colo r that is mad e



b agwell’s mindpie ce:

M O U S TA C H E R Y by Tyler Bagwell

Several years ago while sitting on a restaurant patio in Skokie, IL, people-watching with my sister, it came to my attention that the proper terms for moustaches are not commonly known. Furthermore, that the three most commonly confused moustaches are the handlebar, the Fu Manchu, and the horseshoe moustache. On a cocktail napkin I preceded to draw these three moustaches in their most basic forms. While undergoing meetings for this magazine an Epic staffer insisted that what she described as a horseshoe moustache was in fact a handlebar moustache. Thus, the diagram was reincarnated.


fu manchu


The Handlebar Moustache [fig.1] The handlebar moustache receives its name from its similarity in shape to a pair of bicycle handlebars. Achieved with the help of moustache wax, the wearer of the handlebar curves the edges of the moustache to reach a suspended curved look.

The Fu Manchu [fig. 2] Most often confused with the horseshoe moustache, the Fu Manchu gets its namesake from a super villain from a movie based on a book, despite the lack of moustache in the original book. The Fu Manchu is characterized by two long strips of hair growing from each side of the lip. Like a ponytail for your face.

The Horseshoe Moustache [fig. 3]. Worn by motorcyclists everywhere, the horseshoe moustache differs from the Fu Manchu in that it is completely attached to the face, like a goatee with a gap at the chin. The horseshoe moustache is frequently accompanied with a soul patch and a full leather outfit.

n o t a b l e h a n d leb ar s

notable fu man c h u s

n o table h oresh oes

Major League Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers Surrealist Artist Salvador Dali Fictional Villain and prolific kidnapper Snidely Whiplash

Pai Mei, Trainer of Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill vol. 1 Merciless Mongolian Emperor Ghengis Khan Every stereotypical Asian movie villain

Rock God and MĂśtorhead Frontman, Lemmy Kilmister Professional Wrestler and Reality TV buffoon, Hulk Hogan Country Blues One Man Band, Scott H. Biram



h za • T

er Pla



o h ot

ph gra

y by



nes Hark



Indu ria, IL

ow ater T ict • W


y Bui

ewa e Gat


by Sklyr Harkness

















photo by

Skylr Harkness

article & photographs by

Carlos Santiago

Dance has always been a great part of Chicago’s culture; it has fascinated us, surprised us, and it will always keep inspiring us. This spontaneous form of art, one of the hardest to master, has the strongest engagements with the audience and one experience that can make it unforgettable. I have personally admired the performances of every show that I had the honor to attend, and I respect the hard work of these professionals. Dance is, from the eyes of this humble 45




writer, the art about emotions shown through the moves of the performer. Kristin Vollmer, a dancer for Joel Hall Dancers, learned to dance at the same time that she learned how to walk. Kristin is from Madison, Wisconsin, and I have not met anyone that loves to dance the way she does. Kristin is easy to talk to, really outgoing, and she has a great personality. QQ How long have you been dancing? AA I started when I was three. QQ What types of dance do you do? AA Ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and tap. QQ Where do you perform? AA I currently perform with two companies around Chicago: The Joel Hall Dancers and also Chicago Dance Crash, with whom I will be performing next Summer at DCA Storefront Theater on Randolph in “Gotham City.” QQ What fascinates you most about dancing? AA The fact that through dance you can communicate emotions and even stories without ever saying a word. QQ What is your favorite thing about dancing? AA Being able to affect other peoples emotions through what they see. Reaching people in a very personal way without ever meeting them. QQ Do you get nervous before dancing in front of a crowd? AA Always! Though it is a good type of nervous energy, that provides an adrenaline rush and excitement before going on stage. QQ How was your first professional performance on stage? AA Well, it was in the Jazz Dance World Congress at the Harris Theater in 2005. I was originally cast as an understudy, and I got put in the piece two weeks before the show. I had to balance on

one leg, on a table, in a mask, in front of 1,500 people. It was terrifying and exiting at the same time.

shows are being ignored, and the true art is not as valued as it once was.

QQ That sounds terrifying to me! So what made you start dancing? AA I was influenced from both my mother and my grandmother; they were dancers and dance teachers, but they left it up to me if I wanted to dance. Besides, I always loved performing since I was young.

Kristin Vollmer has been dancing since the age of three, beginning at the Kehl School of Dance in Madison, Wisconsin. There she trained primarily under JoAnn Uhalt Janus and Susan Marsden in the disciplines of ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, partnering, and even baton twirling. Continuing with four years of experience in the Madison Ballet Youth Company, Kristin spent her summers training at Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Alvin Ailey in New York. In 2004, she found herself at the Joel Hall Dance Center performing in JHD II and eventually The Joel Hall Dancers, including their performance in the 2005 Jazz Dance World Congress. Since then, she has worked with such companies as Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Inaside Chicago Dance, and most recently Chicago Dance Crash and even performed in a USO/MWR tour for the troops in South Korea. Kristin continues to share her passion for dance as a teacher at the Joel Hall Dance Center while obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Dance.

QQ Are you following your family legacy to teach dance? AA Yes. I teach teen classes in ballet and lyrical at the Joel Hall Dance Center, they also hold adult classes there with student discounts for all levels and styles. QQ What is your favorite part of teaching? AA Seeing that something I taught my students helped them to improve in some way, from proper technique to how to better express their emotions through their movements. Also, seeing that my ideas make sense to others. QQ Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about dance today? AA Go out and support local dance. The world would be a dreary place without the arts, but they need your support to keep going. In the process you might just find a new interest, greater insight and more enjoyment in your life. According to Kristin, dance today is not as well known as it was in the days of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Who are the great dancers of our time? Everyone can name a ton of singers but even she can only name a few dancers. Is this art getting lost in this age of technology? Dance used to lead the movies and there were always specials on TV. You might say that we have “So you think you can dance?” but much else of the culture is getting lost. The public is not concerned or is too busy to enjoy this great art when they are easily reachable. Many great









This is California. Doors open on the right in the direction of travel at California. Next stop is Logan Square. I slide out of the train doors and down the platform to the head of the staircase. I’ve just realized that it’s Sunday night and everything will be closed, and there will be nowhere to get food. Beyond the turnstiles of the CTA glows the Logan Bar & Grill, a beacon of good drink and bar food. The door of the Logan has got the handles of a cheap coffin, and it drifts slowly back into its place. It’s now 1:00 Monday morning and the bar is decidedly empty. I settle down at the bar and order. The kitchen is closed but the barmaid comes back and sets down a coaster followed by a Goose Island of some sort. I don’t remember. It was the Beer of the Month. They have one every month. $4. When the month changes is sort of up to them. I put the coaster in the pocket of my sweater and take the first sip. There’s a guy at the end of the bar. Early thirties. Looks like he’s been there all night. Looks like he’s there every Sunday night. There’s a handful of people at the other end of the bar. A young guy comes in and orders a shot of rye and a bottle of beer. He knows the barwoman. He signs his bill and forgets his credit card. Last call. One more, and I’m back into the street. Milwaukee Avenue is the main stem of these parts. The river from which Logan Square drinks, and oh, how it drinks. Half of the businesses that line this strip of road between California and Logan Blvd. are bars, and the other half are abandoned store fronts that have yet to discover that they are bars. I’m heading about halfway up to Bonny’s née Boni’s, a 4 a.m. dive bar turned 4 a.m. dive bar that’s now owned by the same folks that run the Logan as well as a place called the Boiler Room. I think. You can see the face of Logan Square on Milwaukee Avenue. From the boarded up windows of businesses that packed up and left to the old businesses that hold on, and some that thrive through the changes. Johnny’s Grill, right on the corner of the square, is one example. Operating for over 30 years, Johnny’s is the sort of diner that only exists in Tom Waits songs and Raymond Chandler novels. On Saturday mornings Tall broad shouldered men in white shirts work behind the counter. The three foot flat top is covered in hash browns and eggs. A young girl who can only be the daughter or niece of one of these men takes the orders and pours black coffee. The fifteen or more stools are always taken. You consider whether or not you should wait a minute for someone to clear out or go somewhere else. You always wait. When it’s not busy there’s just one white-shirted man behind the counter. Older men sit at the counter and speak in Spanish. The flat top remains empty until you tell it not to be empty. The walls are adorned with at least three variations of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” (The Art Institute used a composite image of the original painting placed inside the Logan Square eatery in a 2008 Ad campaign). Because of this, my roommate Nick fears that he’s living out the epitome of American loneliness. He no longer has to order when he sits down at the counter. Scrambled eggs, bacon, plain white toast. They don’t ask, they just know. I believe it to be every man’s dream to receive this sort of treatment. Another example is Cafeteria y Restaurante & Bar De Pancho, Cuban and Puerto Rican Restaurant. Pancho retired, and the family-style neighborhood joint turned into Township, adding a craft beer list and some food items that border on gourmet. Township

is by no means a facsimile copy of Pancho’s, but it doesn’t seem far off in ideology. A place for the people to grab a drink and a bite and a word with the man behind the counter and some fine live music on the bar side. Not to mention the best burger in Logan Square. Damn good burger. It’s just a reminder that things can’t and won’t stay the same forever. What’s now Township was Pancho’s only a short while ago. What’s now Logan Square was once called Jefferson Township. Farmland staked out by a man from New York State named Martin Kimbell in 1836. It remained it’s own Township until it was absorbed by the City of Chicago in 1889. The lavish boulevards built between the 1860s and 1890s hoped to attract wealthy builders while “the side streets filled with modest homes and apartments for workers, and everybody shopped on the commercial streets. Rich and poor lived side by side; diversity was built into the neighborhood from this point on,” states a brief history of Logan Square printed in a 2007 copy of the Chicago Reader. During its run, Jefferson Township was occupied primarily by working class immigrants. Which is about exactly where it stands at present. Germans and Swedes and Norwegians then. Latinos now. But it’s changing. It’s not a new story. Affordable apartments

attract young college aged folks with no money and with them come the bars and the restaurants and the coffee shops, the record stores, and the book sellers. As these things become established wealthier people start to come in and with them wealthier businesses. With the wealthier commodities comes higher property taxes which forces out the working class natives and likely the young college educated folks with no money. It’s a cycle that’s seemingly unavoidable. Displaced from the gentrification of Lincoln Park in the ‘60s and ‘70s, many Latinos moved to Wicker Park. Affordable housing efforts in the 1980s drew artists to Wicker Park, and the whole area today serves as a foreshadow to where Logan Square is most likely going. Artists and so called trend-setters create neighborhoods that are too expensive for themselves to live in and the victims are the working class that were there before them. As a result, both groups are forced to move along. Logan Square is still in it’s first stages of all this. The paint’s still drying on the bars and restaurants. Staples like The Boiler Room and the Logan Bar and Grill haven’t been open more than 2 or 3 years. Places where you can buy things are still sparing. Logan Hardware, a record store/vintage arcade at 2410 W. 51


Fullerton, opened officially in January 2010. The best record store in walking distance, Logan Hardware rivals the nearby Wicker Park Reckless Records in selection as well as being filled with video games. An unassuming aluminum swing door adjacent to the cash register leads to a room full of glowing man-size boxes. Pac Man, Skate or Die 2, Robocop. My memory escapes me. This is a necessary place to see, for arcades are to video games what record stores are to music. As someone who has passed over every copy of Whipped Cream and Other Delights in every crate of records in every Salvation Army in the greater Buffalo, New York, metropolitan area, it’s organization and selection that stands out to me. Logan Hardware is steeped in organization and selection and affordability from used to new. Logan Hardware is an incredibly enjoyable place to spend an afternoon or to take a lady. If your date isn’t into these sorts of things, you should find a new one. More recently, what seems like days ago, Unchartered Books opened at the northwest corner of the square. A needed addition to the store fronts of Milwaukee, it’s one of the few places in Logan Square you can find a broad selection of reading material and is run by a man who looks like he should be teaching an Introduction to Irish Literature. The only type of person qualified to run a bookstore, in my opinion. The opening of the first generic book store puts the spotlight on the holes that exist in the neighborhood. In a community of so many artist types it’s surprising it took so long for a place like Unchartered Books to come around. There exists no art supply store. And while there are two music stores: Shake Shop, Disco 52

City #7 and Disco City #8 (Disco Cities 7 and 8 are the same place), Shake Shop is more of a repair shop than a place to buy equipment, and Disco City has more in glassware than it does in musical instruments. It’s plain to see that these changes are all at their beginnings, and these things are bound to come. The mystery lies in where it’ll go from there. When and if Logan Square will turn into Wicker Park. Does that mean Wicker Park will turn into Lincoln Park. Then what becomes of Lincoln Park. Where does the cycle lead? Logan Square has no shortage of empty storefronts. An article somewhere said that it took ten days to turn Boni’s into Bonny’s. Though the tale of Uncharted Books filling in the gaps of a former shoe store told of more peril. Perhaps they’re not all destined to be bars. At 3608 W. Wrightwood, a ways off the main drag, certainly not a place you’d stumble into by accident, lives the West Side School for the Desperate. The store front serves as both a venue and home to poets Kevin Kern and Stephanie Lane Sutton and artist Julia Victor, and secondary home to the fourth member of the West Side, poet Nate Olison. The West Side School for the Desperate was founded by poets Kern, Sutton, Olison, and Jasmine Neosh a year ago and moved into it’s Logan Square home shortly thereafter. Started as, “an attempt at creating a home for the artistically and spiritually orphaned,” with a focus on poetry, the West Side has put on film screenings, square dances, open mics, and readings featuring some of Chicago’s best writers. February 24, 2011. The front door of the storefront can’t contain the music clanging from within. The door opens and the great bearded Jacob Mays is EPIC MAGAZINE

sitting to the side of the door taking donations and taking in the show. His beard is matched only by his spirit and his immense writing talent. The small room is crowded with people wearing phony beards, crudely cut from brown and orange felt with yarn to hold it up. A guitarist and a double bass player stand on the stage, two palettes with a sheet of wood nailed to the top of it. The room is filled with mismatched chairs, most of which were found in the street. Eyes peer out of the kitchen where beer is sold and conversations are made. The song ends and Kevin Kern takes the microphone in hand. I first met Kevin at an open mic in Lake View at a shotgun cafe called the Loose Leaf Lounge. This might not be true. I first met Kevin Kern at the Louder than a Bomb Poetry competition at Columbia College. I can’t remember. It was this same time that I became acquainted with Nate Olison, Kern’s best friend. At times it becomes hard to tell the two of them apart. They speak in a language that is known only to them with a dialect rapid that consumes any room that finds them together. As MC Kevin Kern is sporadic and jumpy, hard glances from one corner of the room to the other, his arms swing over the heads of the crowd like the legs of a hanging man. Kern’s speech is diligent and controlled. With the precision of a mechanic he lays his poems on the walls of the room. His hands are shovels to pry the words from his belly. Kevin leaves the stage and is replaced by another brilliant poet, and they’re replaced by a great fiction writer, and they leave the stage to be taken by a talented singer and this goes on for some time. The West Side School for the Desperate is most importantly a place in which an artistic community is nurtured. Here artists of all sorts can perform and watch and share and trade off one another. The School for the Desperate hosts regular writing workshops and has recently made the move into publishing. The Desperate Press began for the same reason that the School for the Desperate started, to give a home to talented independent voices. The first work, The Desperate Reader, is filled with the same people you’ll see on the stage and seats of the West Side shows. Jacob Mays, Nick Narbutas, Sarah Jedd, Stevie Edwards to name a few, as well as each of the resident members. The Desperate Reader is a near sight different than the standard poetry anthology. Rather than being organized by writer, a poet’s works traverse the entire length of the book, which is broken up into sections, and the poems are ordered with a specific rhythm in mind. The book is adorned with a number of paintings/illustrations/collages/drawings, by artist-inresidence Julia Victor, inspired by the works included in the book. The Desperate Reader is a major milestone in the life of the West Side School for the Desperate in that it is a tangible representation of all the work they’ve done in the year of its foundation. Back on the plywood stage at 3608 W. Wrightwood, Poet Ben Clark takes the stage holding a copy of his first full length book of poems, Reasons to Leave the Slaughter (Write Bloody, 2011). His right hand pocket fishes around the pockets of a baggy pair of jeans and his long, scraggled, rust-colored beard explains why the audience is filled with people wearing felt replicas of Ben’s signature locks. Ben Clark starts slowly into a poem and the room goes silent. Back on Milwaukee it’s starting to rain and it’s 2 a.m. and neon signs don’t keep their promises. I look 53


at the empty storefronts and picture them as other things, but right now they’re just bricks and mortar and plywood. The burnt out neon of the Milshire Hotel lies on the horizon of some hideous postcard. Some kid comes running out the front door of the 711 cradling a 12-pack of Busch cans. About half way across Fullerton, the box starts to give. By the time he meets his friends on the corner it empties into the sidewalk. They scramble to pick up the loose cans while managing to keep up a frenetic running pace. A guy in a red polo and name tag steps out the front door of the 711 and lights a cigarette, which changes my mind about the beer being stolen or maybe he just doesn’t care. Bonny’s is marked by a champagne glass sign that reads “Iggy’s” in faded letters where a neon sign used to be. On a weekend this place is a shit show. Wall to wall: those not drunk enough to go home and those too drunk to go home. Some sort of horrible drunken dance party. Could be good if you’re into those sorts of things. Tonight, though, it’s quiet. There’s four or five people quietly talking. I look over the taps and wait to be addressed. The barman brings over a pint of pale yellow beer, and I start to get a good look at the place. Red lights and the wood panels and black and white photo booth photos surround the bar, and I start to think about the inherent contradictions of the hipster culture that envelopes Logan Square. Hipsters demand for things to be both new and old simultaneously. For something to be desired it must be undiscovered and untarnished while at the same time being worn and holding some level of community appointed authenticity. But something cannot be both untarnished and worn. Something undiscovered can’t get worn, and something brand new can’t attain this authenticity they search for. The reason old things, old bars and old clothes and old furniture, build up this so called authenticity is because they’re storied. There’s a story to the scratches in the bar your dad goes to. The tears in a pair of blue jeans don’t mean anything to a machine. Which brings me to a thought I’ve struggled with here in Logan Square. I like old things. I like my grandpa’s clothes and my parent’s furniture. Because the nicks and the tears tell stories of moves and the last name on my Army coat and the inscription on my grandfather’s cross connect me to something bigger than myself. They serve as important reminders of where I came from. But at the same time, I don’t deserve these things. Nicks in furniture must be earned. Stories can’t be bought. I guess that’s at the root of it. We yearn to be part of something bigger than ourselves, a piece of a contiguous history but at the same time we want to be individuals. We want things that our uniquely our own. But I guess this must be the struggle of all people of all generations. How do we distance ourselves from our parents while still embarrassing all we’ve inherited from them? It’s too late, and I can’t find any answers. I lay a dollar on the bar and leave the red lights of Bonny’s behind. There’s a man on the corner of Fullerton and Milwaukee smoking a mint cigarillo. Says he just got out of prison. Needs money for the bus. I fish around my pockets as the mint smoke envelopes the corner. I find what looks like a dollar ninety-five in change. He says thank you, and I say good night. It’s too late, and I can’t find any answers.





E T R O P A S PA s a I L A T I l’ O A Ds R B A N E Yby Ca i t l y n D aobl lbe y R U O A J photographs i c h a r d C o n n & s by diary ation r t s u ill




JuNE 9

Forte De Marmi Today we ventured over to the market in Forte De Marmi. I got some dresses and tops without breaking my wallet. It was like a flea market that we would have in the United States. It was very interesting seeing all the Italians communicating and pushing their way through the crowd to get the best deal. I really did not have trouble communicating to the sellers on what I wanted to buy, and they have no trouble communicating how many euros it will cost. I am very glad that we are learning some Italian with Gabriella, one of our instructors, who is also the president of FUA, the school we will be attending. It was rainy again today, which was a huge bummer because Kayla, Margaret, and I got up to take sunrise photographs, but it was very cloudy and overcast. David, my photography instructor, assigned us to get up-close-and-personal with the locals here in Italy by taking their portraits. I was able to get a group of Italian teen boys, who were celebrating one of their birthdays to agree to let me take some photographs of them. The communication was a bit of a barrier at first with the boys until we all slowed down and used what we knew about each other’s language. After dinner, a group of us went and watched a group of locals that get together every week to play soccer or “football.” This was also very exciting, since I have never really watched Italians play soccer before. It was very entertaining because we knew they were cursing at each other but did not know what exactly they were saying. Today was an overall good day. Some of my new Italian friends said that it is supposed to rain again tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe we will get some sun! 57




JuNE 11

JuNE 16

Today was a fun filled day! I was so glad to sleep in till nine, it has been a very long time since I have done that! Once I woke up, a group of us went and climbed the mountain in Versilla. I have never done anything like this before. It started pouring while we were on our way to these beautiful landforms, but we kept going because we had a goal to make! Once we got there, first we caught our breath, then we headed up the mountain to see what we could find. There were lots of old run down machines, like from a factory. I took some good shots before we made our way back to get lunch. After our adventure, we had to go to Bogna Stefanella for our classes. We were assigned in photography to go during sunset or sunrise and get some landscape pictures. I plan on getting up early to get my pictures. Today was our first wine tasting class. I have never been through a wine tasting before. It was actually really interesting learning everything that goes into making a perfect wine. Our instructor was friendly and able to relate to us on personal levels. He spoke great English and really knew what he was talking about. After the tasting we had a fabulous dinner. To start off we had some seafood, and our main dish was a very rich pork and splendid potatoes. I was very happy to see that everyone enjoyed their meal because in Italy when you do not eat your full plate, they feel as though you did not enjoy your meal, not that you may just be full. Many of us even asked for seconds! Since it is a Friday night, the younger Italian crowd are out and about . Many of the clubs, like Sexy Disco and the Beach Club, had events going on. A group of us ended up enjoying a drink at a pup called Vintage Cafe. I really enjoyed this cafe because they had old fashioned photography, and there were many young people there. Kayla, Martha, Alex, Kirsten, Chenelle, and I are back at the hotel relaxing, contemplating staying up all night for the sunrise or getting some rest. Either way I don’t mind, because we have another late start for classes tomorrow, 3 PM. I cannot believe a week has gone by already, even though I feel like I have been here for about a month because we are doing so much. This group has really started to form a family, and I love this in each and every way. We are here for each other to talk to or get help with homework. It is going to be hard leaving this family we have made here. I am having the time of my life. I cannot image what is in store for us next!

The alarm went off at 4:30 this morning. I got up, threw on some clothes and shortly after, I was riding down the board walk to Viareggio to photograph fishermen coming in from the sea to sell their daily grub. Every night fishermen from all over Italy go out on the water around 7:00 P.M., put out nets, and fish the night away. They do not head back to the dock till the sun begins to rise and the locals come alive. They then get the fish and other seafood out of the nets and prepare them to sell. Many of the fishermen set up tables with the fish in boxes, sometimes filled with ice for display. Many of the creatures are dead, but there some, like the shrimp, that are still alive and moving freely. Once the sun starts coming out, they put up umbrellas to protect their products. All of the tables have little displays listing how many euro the products cost and what they are. I was even able to see an older women cutting up fish or filleting it. Many locals get up early and watch the process and get their fresh seafood for the day. It is not all about selling the product either. The fishermen are very quick to clean their boats and prepare for another night of fishing. This was a very interesting experience for me since I do enjoy fishing myself, but now I actually understand how much they go through just to get their daily crop. Not only did I get pictures but it was a great learning experience for me.

Versilla, Italy

Viareggio, Italy

JuNE 17 Forte De Marmi

Today was our last day of actual classes in the Italian Rivera. It was a pretty laid back day today. We had our last cooking class with Ivana, and we learned how to cook Seafood Rosota. It was amazing! She is such a kind lady, and I am sad we are leaving her and her amazing food! After class I went back to take a nap before I went with a small group to go to this concert that the major of Forte De Marmi invited us to. It was a Russian string quartet. They were wonderful, absolutely moving! I was glad I got to experience everything that I have here in the Italian Rivera. I am very excited for France, too. Tomorrow I will be packing and then going to our farewell dinner. All good things must come to an end. 59


JuNE 20

JuNE 22

Nice, France, is an urban town full of young and old. There’s a beautiful boardwalk that runs down the rocky beach that is next to the big, bright blue Mediterranean sea. Couples roam about as if their love will last a lifetime. Locals are stuck in the moment, not caring about the world around them. The sea crashes into the beach, while young ones attempt to ride the waves but can’t seem to keep their balance because of the strong tide. Bodies lay on the beach, creating tan-lines and sometimes even topless. Men are in Speedos, not caring what others think or say. Ladies carry big heavy bags full of their purchases for the day. There are boats and kayaks all slowly moving down the wide body of water. There’s even some yelling and arguing in the distance. Cars are honking, bicycles weaving, and scooters gliding. Nice never really goes to sleep; the city is alive, the city is young.

After hiking up a hill, one will see a small, renaissance town called Saint-Paul De Vence. Saint-Paul was founded in the 9th century. This petite town in 1920 was a host of many painters like Matisse, Soutine, Chagall, and Renoir. Artists claimed they were attracted to this beautiful town because of the amazing sunlight and peaceful era of the town itself. When traveling through this village it is very important to keep your eye out for some glamorous art that is embedded in the stonewalls. There are not only colorful paintings but also very detailed fountains and religious statues. If one walks towards the south side of the town and takes a few steep steps up to the top, they will be able to see a magical view of a gorgeous cemetery and surrounding towns, hills, and mountains. One other interesting feature of Saint-Paul is that a traveler can see snow-covered Alps on one side and then look over their shoulder to see the sparkling Mediterranean Sea on the other side.

Nice, France


Saint Paul De Vence


JuNE 26 Cannes, Italy

Today we packed our bags and hit the road to Cannes and our final destination of Florence, Italy. We didn’t stay long in Cannes, but I still snapped some good photos. I cannot believe that three weeks have slipped passed us already. We have established a relationship and a family-like bond that I never thought I would experience on a study abroad trip. I am sad to leave France, but so excited about getting into classes and getting this book ready to publish. I am nervous thinking about publishing a book in a three-week span, but I think if we all think of what is best for the book then we will have the best finished product possible. I am also excited for the city of Florence because many say they compare it to a heart beating steadily. I am anxious to experience this for myself.

JuNE 28 Florence, Italy

Last night was my first night really going out in Florence. We were able to to meet up with the fitness students, and they showed a few of us around and gave us some pointers on living here in Florence, Italy. We ended up going to this club called the “red garder,” which really appealed to me because not only did the DJ play Italian club music, but also there were many American selections. This gave me a sense of comfort and reminded me of home. I was really excited to be out with new friends and some I now consider family. We ended up calling it a night around 12:30pm because we had class in the morning. There is always room for fun, but most of us realize we need moderation in our fun since we have lots of deadlines to meet in class. The second day of the photo editing went a little smoother because we actually started making our selections for the book. We will be doing this about two or three more times until we get exactly what we need and the best shots possible. We ended up coming back to the lab after our publishing class to go through some more photos so we do not get further behind in the deadline. In publishing we went over what we should and are featuring in the book. This was exciting, because I feel like all of our work is paying off already. We are separated into groups to get a rough layout to the culinary students on Thursday and the staff members who are helping us with the book on Friday so they can make a selection of the layout that we will be using. This has been one of the longer days here in Italy, but I believe that all hard work pays off. 61


JuLY 4

Florence, Italy It is CRAZY that I am in a different country on Independence Day. Since Florence is very “Americanized� they had fireworks and a BBQ that appealed to many of us students. We are hard at work on this travel book, and I feel as though it will be a great success. I am combining may of my passions into one to create this book (photography, design, and writing). This has inspired me to never give up and actually has made my career plan change to working for a popular magazine. I cannot wait to have this book in hand to show off six weeks of hard work.

JuLY 15/16 Going Home

Last days of classes were stressful but we all made it through. We were able to get the layout pretty much finished for the book, including illustrations and photography. I cannot believe my time here in the Italian/ French Rivera is over. Six weeks went by terribly fast. I am very excited to see my family, but I do not want to leave this family we have established on this trip. I have accomplished many things and have truly found myself on this study abroad trip. I highly recommend all RMU students to look into the program.



re-experience epic now on the ipad






RICA article and photographs by Jennifer Pond



POSSibly the MOsT common phrase heard in Costa Rica, Pura Vida, translates to literally mean “pure life.” In Costa Rica, the locals use it as a greeting, a farewell, to express satisfaction, and even to say “thank you,” or “you’re welcome.” It is more than a phrase there; it is a lifestyle. This “live life to the fullest” attitude is seen all over the country. The locals are very happy, welcoming, and easy-going people. The land is so beautiful that in some places it is even majestic. Costa Rica is so well preserved for their wildlife that in traveling there you see some of the most stunning and exotic animals you could imagine. Costa Rica is also ranked as the “greenest” country in the world as far as sustainability goes. It is unlike any other country in the world. Its mix of great people, beautiful land and wildlife, wonderful food, and fun travel make Costa Rica one of the coolest places to visit.

CULTURE With the exception of Limon, which is mostly Jamaican influenced, Costa Rican culture is strongly influenced by Spanish culture. Roman Catholic is the accepted religion in the country, and Spanish is the official language. English is the first foreign language and the second most taught language in the country. It is amazingly easy to travel there if you know little Spanish, or none at all, as most of the locals there know English. Even if they aren’t fluent in English, they know enough to be able to communicate with you. Costa Ricans highly value education. Schooling through secondary school is mandatory for all citizens. Costa Rica has six major universities in the country. One thing I learned on my last visit to the country is that the country views private and public education a bit differently than we do here in the States. In Costa Rica, public universities are viewed as more prestigious than private universities. The reason for that is this: in Costa Rica, most private schools are easy to get into as long as you have the money to pay the high tuition. However, public schools are extremely hard to get into and very competitive. So, getting into a public school is harder than a private school, thus earning a degree from a public school is much more impressive than paying for a degree at a private school.

Enviornment Costa Rica is located in Central America. It is bordered by Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north. The east coast of Costa Rica lies on the Caribbean Sea, and the west coast lies on the Pacific Ocean. The country is located between eight and twelve degrees off the equator, making its climate tropical all year round. However, because of the different elevations in the country, there are many microclimates and many different eco systems.



Costa Rica is home to a huge variety of wildlife. Almost 25% of the country’s land is in protected national parks, the largest protected percentage in the world. One of its national parks is renowned for its biodiversity, including big cats, and another is home to all four Costa Rican monkey species. One of the national forests I had the wonderful opportunity to visit was Tortuguero National Park. This name can be translated to “full of turtles�. It is recognized for the annual nesting of the green turtle.





Wildlife Costa Rica is home to a huge variety of wildlife. Almost 25% of the country’s land is in protected national parks, the largest protected percentage in the world. One of its national parks is renowned for its biodiversity, including big cats, and another is home to all four Costa Rican monkey species. One of the national forests I had the opportunity to visit was Tortuguero National Park. This name can be translated to “full of turtles.” It is recognized for the annual nesting of the green turtle. Tortuguero is so respectful of its turtle nesting and hatching that no one is allowed to be on the beach after six o’clock in the evening so as to not disturb them. Tortuguero is also home to three of Costa Rica’s four species of monkeys, two and three toed sloths, over three hundred species of birds, and a variety of reptiles. Another national park I had the opportunity to visit was the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This forest is home to around two thousand plant species and over four hundred types of birds. Like the name suggests, this park is at a higher elevation. Because of the change in elevation, the plants and animals I saw while visiting this park were much different than the areas that were closer to sea level. The diversity between all of the forests was incredible. As a whole, more than seven-hundred species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. It is also the most diverse for amphibians and reptiles, including the world’s fastest running lizard.

TRAVEL I have traveled to Costa Rica twice in the past five years. Each time it never fails to amaze me. The culture is so different from the US. They are very eco-friendly, and they care more about quality of life and education than they do money. The people are very welcoming and friendly. They love having visitors, partly because tourism is one of their biggest resources, but also because they are very proud of the land they live on. The variety of wildlife is astounding. I have never seen a more beautiful place. Along with the wonderful plants and wildlife, I also got the opportunity to visit the Arenal Volcano, swim at the base of the Fortuna Waterfall, zip-line through the Cloud Forest, and white water raft in the Sarapiqui River. I also got to visit both coasts. The difference in even the seas amazed me. The Pacific Coast was very well preserved and so blue and beautiful with white sand beaches. The Caribbean coast, while still beautiful, was very different. The water was rougher and a greener color of blue. The water here in fact, was so rough that even the locals didn’t swim in the sea. The beaches on this coast were of black sand and covered in sand dollars and sea shells. Costa Rica is such a magical and diverse place. It’s the trip of a lifetime.






Q&A I had the opportunity to have the same tour guide both times I visited this beautiful country. Jose Rojas and his wife Kim Rojas own a Costa Rica tour company called Natural Expeditions, based out of Bloomington, IL. Jose is a Costa Rica native who moved to Bloomington and started his company with his wife after they got married. Jose knows more about the country than anyone I have met. I refer to him as the “Encyclopedia Britannica of Costa Rica.” He was nice enough to answer some questions for me. QQ What makes visiting Costa Rica different from visiting other places? AA Safety and its people, both will make you feel tranquil during your stay. QQ What are the top industries that Costa Rica thrives on? AA Tourism, Costumer Service (all sort of call centers are located in Costa Rica: Dell and Amazon, for example.) Agriculture and livestock, manufacture of chips for computers is actually the most important.

QQ Personally, what is your favorite spot to visit in Costa Rica? AA South Caribbean, you get to enjoy the beach and jungle together. QQ What is the most interesting fact about Costa Rica that most college students don’t know? AA Costa Rica does not have an Army. QQ How is college life different in Costa Rica than in the States? AA Campus-wise, there aren’t large complexes as there are here. QQ What is the average salary of someone living in Costa Rica? AA $350 per month (minimum wage) QQ What is Costa Rican culture like? How does the culture differ from region to region? AA It really does not differ much from place to place. In general I would present it as any other Hispanic country with better standards of education.




ROAD trippING article & photographs by Javier Frias

The past few years had been spent in cubicles, love triangles, and a degree that’s been spinning figure eights around my head. I had not slept in some odd days, but that’s because things were about to change. My last day of work had finally come, and those butterflies that just wouldn’t go away accompanied that dry lump in my throat. I had set up a plan to attend school full-time and finally finish my degree. Without having to stress over a job for the time being, I had the opportunity to do some traveling. Vacationing was really never part of my vocabulary. I worked all throughout high school, and paying my way through college didn’t seem necessary or even attainable. The problem with that is I never really got a chance to take it all in and enjoy the view. With the help of my girlfriend and our goal of seeing the Dalai Lama, we set our minds on the outdoors and an ultimate road trip.



The journey to something new had begun. From Chicago, our first stop was in Springfield, IL where we spent the night at my girlfriend’s mother’s house before enduring our 8 hour driveathon. Because this was my first real road trip, I didn’t know what to expect. I had a general idea of taking turns while driving and pit-stopping at the occasional mom-and-pop-run restaurants, but never the less, I was thrilled. st. louis, mo: Sightseeing began with the Arch, the obvious main attraction. We visited Gibbol’s joke and costume shop: a year-round prank and costume shop, with plenty of gags gifts to satisfy almost anyone’s needs. stanton, mo: Our next stop was the Meramec Caverns. The tour consisted of a walk-through of the complex mineral formations through the hills of the Meramec Valley. The tour ended with a salute to America with patriotic music and a light show of the flag highlighting the thousand-year-old stalactites. branson, mo: A five hour-long drive took us through Branson, MO. Anyone could recognize this as the “Live Music Show Capital of the World” solely on the countless billboards advertising the much-hyped city along the highway. After an exhausting drive, we finally made it to Arkansas. Without a place to stay for the night, we were on a search for a camping ground in the vast wilderness of the Ozark Mountains. After many failed attempts, we came across a designated camping area. It was quite the experience to set up camp with one headlamp at two o’clock in the morning. The view in the daylight was amazing, to say the least; a brief nature walk revealed a bustling stream with kayakers and amazing cliffs. We planned our day around a well-known hiking area through the Ozarks only a few

miles away that would lead us to a waterfall. However, we had a quick chat with some forest rangers that informed us most of the area had been flooded, and only one trail/waterfall was open to visitors. We came across a small shack of a convenient store in some mountain town to stock up on food and water for our 5+ hour hike. The locals, in their quite charming southern drawl, drew an outline on the map of 2 different trails with access to the waterfall. We chose the short, difficult one.


hemmed-in falls: The hike was just like any other, at first, with plenty of uphill and downhill trails paved by countless others before us. Hours later, after many dead-ends and no sight of the falls or even a main trail, I was overcome with nausea and couldn’t take another step. My girlfriend shrieked and pointed to my leg. There it was, the ugly, tiny, little monster—a tick! Luckily, I happened to bring a pair of tweezers in case a scenario such as this should occurred. I removed it, took a swig of water later, and continued. We walked around aimlessly, convincing ourselves we were on the right trail, and finally, in the distance we saw what looked like a bucket-sized shower of water falling from a large, tall rock formation. Needless to say, it was a disappointment. Cooling off in the falls was invigorat73


ing, though, and we felt it was worth the hike. A day of camping and sweating through the hot, humid, and bug-infested Ozarks was enough, and we needed civilization. Upon weaving up and down the winding mountain roads, we almost crashed into a rogue deer, but luckily we reached the second largest “city” in Arkansas. fayetteville, ar: We booked a jacuzzi room at a quaint bed and breakfast near the University of Arkansas for the night with 24 hour access to the beveragefilled refrigerator. We took a quick driving tour of the city, and met up with friends at Mellow Mushroom, a pizza joint, and also a local Hookah lounge, Fez. Early the next morning, we congregated with several thousand people to hear the Dalai Lama Keynote Speech at the Bud Walton Arena. Although the acoustics weren’t up to par and the spiritual leader had a heavy accent, we understood the general message. People need to love and respect each other, be peaceful instead of combative, and solve problems through discussion and compromise. johnson, ar: We took a stroll through the U of A campus and booked a room right outside Fayetteville, at the famous Inn at the Mill outside Fayetteville, with a gorgeous outdoor area. gentry, ar: The Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari was next on our agenda. The package deal includes a petting zoo as well as a personal vehicle driving tour. I fed some roosters and turned my back for a split second, when my girlfriend yelled “watch out.” I caught an evil goat charging at me full force so I dodged it, and we quickly moved to the next section. Never will I trust a goat again. We mingled with the soft and laid-back kangaroos and witnessed the fast and exciting movements of the sloth. The drive-through portion involved an uncomfortably close encounter with a curious emu. There were snakes, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, deer, cows, buffalo, zebras, and other wild animals I couldn’t identify. We were exhausted, and made it home just in time for the hotel’s complimentary wine and cheese tasting. We rested and got ready for a night of bar-hopping out on Dickson Street. We met up with some friends and danced to some local bands. The next day, before we headed out of Arkansas, we visited the Harvey and Bernice Jones Center for Families, similar to a YMCA but with very cheap or even free services to the community. We drank coffee at Arsaga’s, the local coffee chain, before heading in the direction of home. joplin, mo: We had received an invitation to stay with a friend in Joplin for the night, and we accepted. We were lucky enough to get a grand tour of city only one week before a massive tornado devastated the area. st. louis, mo: We stopped by a local hall for a small show by an experimental folk band, Elephant Revival. Using instruments from all across America, they soulfully connected with the crowd and gave a stellar performance. During most songs, members would switch instruments, and this indicated everyone was equally as talented. As I reflected on my experiences on the drive back to Springfield, our last stop before home, I came to a realization. I had never considered the idea of living my life in the moment, but now there is no going back. I need to grasp every moment as it comes, take risks, and go on adventures, to learn, to grow, and to have fun!




INNOVATION INTEGRATION INVENTION IMAGINATION where the student is front and center Visit us at Also join us on

Epic Magazine, Issue 1, 2012  

Epic Magazine is a publication of the Institute of Art & Design, in conjunction with the iCenter, at Robert Morris University.