Month: February 2019

Urges, obsessions plagues suffers of anxiety disorders

You see an object out of place. Trying to ignore it, you continue to walk, but the overwhelming urge to adjust it is itching at your skin. The image of the object lurks in your thoughts, making it unbearable for you to stop fixating on it. Finally, it becomes too much. Turning back, you fix the object, putting it in the absolute perfect spot.

“I think what bugs me the most is when I go to Walmart and walk past a dirty, messy section,” said Kaylee Presley, a surgical technology student at South Plains College. “I will stay there for a while, and organize and clean the mess until it is perfect.”

ocd-killing-joke-348cwhtlusqofey62prqio.pngPresley is one of the many people who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), OCD is characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions. It also states that obsessions are thoughts, urges, or images that are recurrent and are intrusive or unwanted. Compulsions are behaviors or mental acts which are repetitive and an individual feels driven to perform.

“How it presents itself varies,” says Clifton Dane Smith, a physician assistant in Morton. “There can be as many different variations as there are people in the world.”

According to the International OCD Foundation, obsessions are thoughts, images or impulses which will occur time and time again, and leave the person feeling as if things have to be done in a “right way.” Some things that the International OCD Foundation lists as “common obsessions in OCD” are: Contamination- Germs/disease, household chemicals, and dirt; Losing Control – Fear of acting on an impulse to harm oneself/others, fear of violent or horrific images in the mind; Religious Obsessions (Scrupulosity) – concern with offending God, or concern about blasphemy; and obsessions related to perfectionism – Concern about evenness or exactness, inability to decide whether to keep or to discard things, and fear of losing things.

ocd-cycle-400Compulsions are a second part of OCD. Compulsions are the repetitive behaviors/thoughts for that person. Compulsions can be time consuming and can get in the way of activities the person needs to do. Listed under “common compulsions in OCD” are: Washing and Cleaning – Washing hands excessively or in a certain way, cleanin household items/objects excessively; Checking – checking that you did not make a mistake, checking some parts of your physical condition or body; Repeating – repeating activities in “multiples,” such as doing a task three times because it is a “safe” number; and other compulsions, such as counting while performing a task to end on a “good” number, putting things in order or arranging things until it “feels right.”

“It all circles around repetitive behavior,” Smith explained. “They can’t be content with the fact that they set the alarm clock, so they may check it 15 times a night.”

There are some related disorders, according to Lynn Gregory, a counselor at SPC.

“According to the DSM-5, under Obsessive compulsive and related disorders, there is also Dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, Trichotillomania – which is a hair pulling disorder, excoriation – which is a skin picking disorder, and you can also have a substance or medication obsessive compulsive disorder due to a medical condition,” said Gregory.

The DSM-5 goes deeper in explanation of these related disorders saying “other obsessive-compulsive and related disorders are characterized primarily by recurrent body-focused repetitive behaviors (hair pulling, skin picking) and repeated attempts to decrease or stop the behaviors.”

It states that Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by the person being occupied with a particular perceived defect/flaw in their physical appearance which is either not observable or only slightly seen by others. These people might check in the mirror periodically, excessively groom themselves, and reassurance seeking.

The DSM-5 continues with hoarding disorders, which persists by having difficulty discarding or parting with items, regardless of the item’s value. Excessive acquisition of hoarding consists of excessive collecting, stealing, or buying items when they have no space for the item at home.

Trichotillomania, which is the hair-pulling disorder, is characterized when a person pulls ocd-darkest-day-woman-feature_1320W_JR-1out their hair on a normal basis which causes them hair loss. And Excoriation, skin-picking, is characterized by a person picking at their skin trying to get rid of skin lesions, which are bumps, moles, and sores. Both these disorders might also be done because it brings gratification, pleasure, or a sense of relief when the hair is pulled at/skin is picked at.

“A lot of people will say ‘I have OCD’ when truly they have more of a personality disorder,” Gregory explained. She stresses that Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a repetitive obsession and behavior, and that “obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is just someone who tends to be hypervigilant organized…and really a perfectionistic.”

Gregory stated that just like with OCD, Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can create anxiety for people as well, but they are in two different categories.

The International OCD Foundation states that, “In the context of OCD, obsessions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values… it determines whether someone has OCD – a psychological disorder – rather than an obsessive personality trait.” Everyone might have an “obsessive” thought every once in a while and be momentarily concerned. However, in the context of OCD, these thoughts come frequently and trigger anxiety, which gets in the way of one’s day-to-day functioning.

According to the International OCD Foundation, OCD is usually treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both. Psychotherapy can include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP), which is effective in reducing compulsive behaviors.

There are several websites about self-treating OCD. One website is Anxiety Canada, which lists different ways to help OCD symptoms, including facing fears – learning to gradually face one’s fears. It also lists Building a fear ladder – ranking your fears/triggers in order from least scary to most scary; climbing the fear ladder – starting with the least scary and work your way up to the most by exposing yourself to those situations; and Building on Bravery – if you notice improvements, give yourself credit and reward yourself.

However, for those needing more help, Gregory mentioned that SPC students are more than welcome to come to the Health and Wellness Center to seek counseling on OCD. If needed, counselors can recommend psychiatrists.

Orneals, Lewis crowned during Homecoming

South Plains College students Joseraul Ornelas and Danisha Lewis were crowned as the 2019 Homecoming king and queen during halftime of the men’s basketball game on Feb. 4 at Texan Dome.

Ornelas, a criminal justice major from Levelland, represented the STAR Center.

“It feels great (to win,) but I was here for the experience,” Ornelas explained. “It was a lot of fun.”

Lewis is a sports broadcasting major from Plano who represented the Black Student Union.

Lewis explained that winning to her means that she is a leader on campus, and winning shows how much of an influence being a leader has.

Other nominees for Homecoming King included: Josiah Spence, a psychology major from Lubbock, representing the Black Student Union; Greg Balboa, a psychology major from Levelland, representing the Student Government Association; Austin Carter, a print journalism major from Lubbock, representing the Plainsman Press; Nicholas Roberts, a general studies major from Shallowater, representing the Campus Ambassadors; Jonah Rangel, a radiology major from Littlefield, representing South Plains College; and Donald Dwayne Sanders II, a child development major from Indianola, Miss., representing Sixth Man.

Nominees for Homecoming Queen included: Alma Guevara, a surgical technology` major from Bovina, representing the STAR Center; Audrey Crowson, a political science major from Lubbock, representing the Student Government Association; Kaitlyn Hyde, a photojournalism major from Pearland, representing the Plainsman Press; Meredith Satterwhite, a pre-physical therapy major from Shallowater, representing the Campus Ambassadors; Gabriela Ortiz, a nursing major from Levelland, representing South Plains College; and Alize Collins, a general studies major from Lubbock, representing Sixth Man.

Scholarship deadline approaching

Attending college and universities can be expensive for many students.

Some find a part time job or take out a loan. Some can receive financial assistance by receiving a scholarship. But sadly, many scholarships go unclaimed each year.

The deadline for scholarship for the fall 2019 semester at South Plains College is March 3 at 11:59 p.m., according to Shalyn Slape, scholarship coordinator at SPC. To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must be an incoming freshman or be currently enrolled.  Scholarships range from $500 – $1,500 dollars a year, meaning you would get between $250 and $750 a semester.

Slape said that, “ Only about 25 percent of applications are completed.” She said she believes that many students don’t complete it because they don’t know what their plans are for the following year. Many years, department scholarships go unclaimed because they don’t have enough students who are eligible or students just neglect to complete applications.

  The problem that holds most students back for being awarded scholarships, according to Slape, is the personal essay and the letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation is a big problem because applicants often don’t give their author enough time to write something on their behalf.

The Scholarship Office, located in the Administration Building on the Leveveland campus, also awards money from outside scholarships, but many students fail to claim their money that they earned, mostly because they don’t know how to go about getting their funds, according to Slape.
  If your tuition is paid for by another scholarship and you apply for a scholarship and you are awarded that money, it be can refunded back to you to use at the Bookstore or however is need.

“ Just get it done”Slape tells  SPC students.

  Take the time to fill out a few scholarship applications and earn some free money for attending college.

Sophomore selected for Student of the Year representing student government


Audrey Crowson was recently selected as Student of the Year for Region One at the state capitol in Austin.

Crowson, along with the rest of South Plains College Student Government Association, was in Austin for the Region One meeting and Community College Day held on January 29.

At the Region One meeting, various awards were presented, such as the Chapter of the Year Award and Student of the Year. Crowson was nominated and voted on unanimously by representatives of all regions.

“I was unanimously voted on, so all the schools agreed that I should be student of the year and they voted that for me,” explained Crowson, a sophomore from Lubbock.

In April, Crowson and other Student of the Year nominees from the other five regions will run for Student of the Year at the state level.

Crowson said the nomination wasn’t a surprise, but winning certainly was.

“I knew I was running for our school,” Crowson said. “But I didn’t expect to win at region, so I was really excited about that.”

For Crowson, this achievement means a lot. She said coming to college was different after homeschooling. This award makes her feel like she has overcome those challenges.

“I’ve always prided myself in how well I could do academically,” said Crowson, recalling her first semester at SPC, “and it was a challenge. It was a really big learning curve trying to figure out college. It made me feel like I had overcome a lot of the obstacles that I had faced within my first year being here, and just knowing the amount of support was amazing to me.”

On campus, Crowson is involved in many student organizations. She serves as a Campus Ambassador and student worker, as well as the Commuter Affairs Representative for the SGA.

As the Commuter Affairs Representative, Crowson is an advocate for students who commute to campus. Advocating for commuters includes providing microwaves across campus and food availability.

“One of the things I worked on with Miranda English was getting microwaves on campus so people could have warm meals when they’re here,” Crowson explained. “My job is to just be a voice for commuters, and within Student Government it is to be a voice for all students in general.”

Crowson, a political science major, knows this achievement will help her in the future. She plans to transfer to Texas Tech University and get an internship, hopefully in Washington, D.C.

“At Tech, you have to do an internship for political science, so you’ll end up going somewhere,” Crowson explained. “It could be Austin, it could be somewhere like Washington, D.C. which is my hope. It’s a very difficult place to get into to. I know the spots fill up quick, and so my achievement here will go on my resume and hopefully it will help me stand apart from other candidates who are applying for the same internship.”

SPC has played an important role for Crowson in this achievement. She says that coming to college was terrifying for her, but she has gained confidence in herself and her abilities. During her time at SPC, she has built close connections with faculty and friends.

“I think what makes this school great is not only that the faculty looks for the good in students,” said Crowson, “It’s that other students feel that from their professors and then they do the same to other people. Then you get connected, and you build strong friendships.”

Crowson says she will be sad to leave. No matter what, SPC will hold a special place in her heart.

“It’s going to be difficult to leave,” Crowson said, “but it has been the best place for me. I will always be an advocate for SPC, always.”

Crowson does not know what is in store for her after college, but she does know that she wants to help others.

“I want to do something that actually affects people day to day,” explained Crowson, “and not just affects them, but helps them in a positive way.”

Annual gala connects donors, students


A live auction, silent auction, and presentation of awards are among the highlights of the upcoming 21st annual South Plains College Scholarship Gala

The Gala, hosted by City Bank Texas, is scheduled for February 28 at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. The theme for this year’s event is “Unlimited Opportunity.”

According to Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations at SPC, more than $26,000 was raised last year that went directly to student scholarships.

“I think that’s why we have such great community support,” said Gerstenberger, “because people see what an impact it really does have.”

According to Gerstenberger, the challenge is never raising enough money, but having enough students apply for the scholarships.

“We always welcome more students to apply,” said Gerstenberger. “If we don’t have the money, we’ll find the money.”

The event also includes many students, such as the Campus Ambassadors and Miss Caprock, Rebecca Gililland.

“It’s very much an opportunity for me to let the attendees know who our students are and how great they are,” said Gerstenberger.

This year’s feature entertainment also will be provided by students. Three ensembles featuring students in the Creative Arts Department will perform throughout the evening. Normally, Gerstenberger tries to bring in former students, but occasionally she asks the Creative Arts Department if any students can perform.

“It’s always fun to have our former students back,” said Gerstenberger. “But our current students are just alumni waiting to happen.”

According to Gerstenberger, having so many students involved helps prospective and current donors to see the faces of the scholarship recipients.

“These students who are current probably don’t realize the impact that SPC will have,” says Gerstenberger, “but they certainly can tell us how the experience is impacting them immediately.”

For Gerstenberger, it is important to connect the different generations of students, whether current or former, and tell their stories.

“It bridges ages, but it also bridges those different roles,” said Gerstenberger. “‘I’m just a community member. I never went to SPC.’ But when they see that the students and the scholarship recipients, that they’re real live people with families and stories and futures, it really does help. It makes a difference.”

Every year, the SPC Foundation honors a donor by presenting them with the Pacesetter Award. The 2019 honorees are Mr. and Mrs. Shari Hill of Redmond, Washington.

Highlights of the Gala include the silent and live auctions. The Development and Alumni Relations office put together a catalog of all items up for auction in order to encourage bidding.

Among the items for the silent auction is a Schlitterbahn resort stay, courtesy of KLTV Radio in Levelland, and a Texas Tech Club Wine Dinner for four, courtesy of the Texas Tech Club. Included in the live auction is a trip to New Orleans, donated by the SPC Foundation Board.

This year’s Gala will also have a pull comprised of 45 Kendra Scott jewelry pieces. Guests can purchase a chance to win for $65. Atchinson Jewelry in Levelland is providing the jewelry. Pieces range in value from $65 to $250.

Up for raffle at the Gala is a balloon ride at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, provided by Kaua Gallengly, and a Roomba, courtesy of Benchmark Business Solutions.

Along with mentioned items, many unique handmade items will be included in the auction. All of the proceeds from the auctions will go to scholarships.

The goal for the 2019 Scholarship Gala is not only to raise funds for student scholarships, but also connect donors with the recipients.

“It helps our guests who are prospective donors,” Gerstenberger said, “and certainly it helps those who are current donors to see the face of the scholarship recipients. Otherwise, it’s just numbers on paper, and we want it to be more than that.”







Regents discuss Honors College at February meeting

Honors College, student affairs updates, and the 21st Scholarship Gala were some of the topics discussed during the February meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

A report regarding the Honors College Exploratory Committee was presented by Dr. Kristina Keyton, the associate professor of psychology at SPC.

Dr. Keyton discussed three major categories: background information about the Honors College, a few key features of the proposal for the program, and some of the excitement and enthusiasm that has been demonstrated by the SPC community, especially from the faculty.

“We have recently seen data showing that students who start at a community college have higher GPAs in their bachelor’s programs than students who begin their bachelor’s straight out of high school,” Dr. Keyton said. “South Plains College students have even higher GPAs than the average college student. Many students who are unaware of this data don’t realize the excellent educational opportunities that we provide here at SPC.”

According to Dr. Keyton, there are many students who choose to not attend SPC because they are looking for an Honors Program experience and cannot find it at the college. Also, Texas Tech University is less likely to admit a transfer student into their Honors Program as a junior if they have not been in an Honors Program at the institution from which they are transferring.

“Students could gain enrichment in a small number of classes and bring that mindset with them to their other classes, thus enhancing the experience with their classmates,” added Dr. Keyton.

At the first meeting of the Exploratory Committee, there were more than 30 faculty present, with some departments having their chairperson and multiple faculty members serving.

Dr. Keyton was asked by Yancy Nunez, who formed the committee, to chair the committee and move forward with the proposal after seeing the amount of enthusiasm about the project among the faculty.

The proposal requires the formation of three committees: The Honors Program Committee, which manages general operations and the planning of activities for students; The Honors Program Selection Committee, which reviews student applications and would make the decisions regarding whether individual applicants are accepted into the Honors Program; and The Honors Program Curriculum Committee, which will be in charge of reviewing proposals for the honors courses.

The requirements for admission into the Honors Program will be chosen by the exploratory committee and falls under two categories, Past Academic Success and Demonstration of Academic Potential.

Students who are interested in applying for the honors program are required to meet at least one of several key criteria for incoming freshmen. For Past Academic Success, students are required to have either an SAT score of 1150, an ACT score of 26, graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class, or have a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, or 90 percent on a 100 percent scale. For current SPC or transfer students, they must have a GPA of a 3.5 in at least 12 hours of college coursework.

The Demonstration of Academic Potential requires at least one of the following for all applicants: a writing sample, an interview by a member of the committee, or at least two letters of recommendation, one from a faculty member and another from an extracurricular advisor.

“It is our hope to provide enrichment activities for honors program students in order to deepen the honors program experience beyond the classroom environment,” says Dr. Keyton.

The committee is also looking into program funds and scholarship opportunities for the students.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, reviewed the enrollment report and explained that the enrollment at the Levelland Campus has declined by 2.8 percent as compared to Spring 2018 and currently has 3,661 students. Enrollment at the Reese Center has decreased by 17 percent to 1,879 students. The Lubbock Center enrollment increased by 10.7 percent since last spring to 966 students, while the Plainview campus also had a major increase of 15.7 percent and is now at 324 students.

The total unduplicated headcount is 8,868. That total is up 1.4 percent, or 124 students, compared to Spring 2018, which had a headcount of 8,744.

Dr. DeMerritt added that dual credit has increased by 463 students this semester. Part of the large increase is due to the Career Technical Education (CTE) dual credit courses that are being offered at high schools.

Internet dual credit enrollment increased this semester by 112 students. However, the Independent Television for Schools and Colleges (ITV) has decreased by 142 students. He explains that it is a shift of teaching on the ITV side to an online format rather than using the college’s learning management system called BlackBoard.

Dr. DeMerritt also presented the housing occupancy to the Board. Total occupancy for Spring 2019 is 80.4 percent, which is an increase from 72.3 percent from Spring 2018. Occupancy for men’s halls is 76.34 percent, an increase from 73.7 percent. Occupancy for women’s halls is 81 percent, which is an increase from 74 percent. The occupancy for Smallwood Apartments is 93.2 percent, which is a major increase from 52.5 percent.

“What we  may see happen in the future is potentially even reverting one of the triplets into a women’s overflow type dorm if we have to,” Dr. Demerritt added. “Either way, we’ve got some room to make things work.”

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, talked about the 21st Annual Scholarship Gala, “Unlimited Opportunities,” that is set for Feb. 28. The Gala will be held at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. The Gala host is City Bank Texas, with Brett Taylor Royalty Trust serving as the underwriting sponsor.

Entertainment will be provided by three selective ensembles who are also former SPC students. Gerstenberger added that the students will each have a 20-minute set throughout the evening, rather than a 60-minute block at the end of the evening for feature entertainment as it has been in the past.

“Students will be front and center, and I think in an even bigger way than before,” Gerstenberger said. “One of the things we are weaving into the entire event is the unlimited opportunities that these particular students performing on stage are experiencing.”

This meeting concluded with Dr. Satterwhite announcing the next Board of Regents meeting will be changed to March 7, 2019 to avoid conflicting with Spring Break, which is the following week.

Dr. Satterwhite provided construction updates and discussed the approval to move forward with the bleachers for the track. It has been reported that the materials should be on sight by Feb. 18.

A construction update also was given  on the planning process of the Science Building project that has been under discussion for the past few months. The Board is hoping that the architects who are working on the building are able to provide them with several design options that will work with the age and structure of the building.

“The architects have had to work extensively around the 60 years of the building and improvements that have been made,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “So, our initial concept drawings did not match up with what is underground and above ground.”

Lastly, Dr. Satterwhite discussed the NJCAA Region V basketball tournament which will begin on March 6 in Abilene. The tournament will be held at Abilene Christian University, with the women’s games from March 6 to March 9 and men’s games from March 7 to March 9.

New Writing Centers open for student use

The New Writing Centers at South Plains College are available for all students.

The Writing Centers are provided as a service to help ensure students success. They are available to all students at the Levelland, Reese Center, Lubbock Center and Plainview campuses. They were set up to help students with writing during all the stages that come with writing a paper, from the rough draft to the final copy, and help with citing properly.

Tutors are also available to assist students. There are tutors who are available to schedule times to meet face to face. This service is a great asset to have while attending school, and services are offered for students, faculty, and staff.

The Writing Center on campus is located in room 112 in the Communications Building. It is open Mondays from 11a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. to 1p.m., and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Wednesdays from 2:15 to 4 p.m. on, Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Fridays.

dsc_0090.jpgSteven Sanders, an instructor of English, is available to assist students with any questions or concerns students may have.

The SPC Website has set up a page showing all the information that the Writing Centers offer. There are links on the page that students can use as references, such as style guides and grammar help. Printable worksheets are also on the page to help students.

The page includes directions to the Writing Centers, which are located in Room 307E in Building 3 at Reese Center, in The Learning Center at The Lubbock Center, and Room 12 at the Plainview campus. Weekly time schedules are posted so that students can set a side time to go to the Writing Center.

  “I would want students to know that there is no need for them to struggle alone with a writing assignment.” said Sharon Race, associate professor of English and chairperson of the English and Philosophy Department, “Don’t sit by yourself and despair over a paper—free help is available on all four campuses. Come and see us!”

Essay deadlines can be stressful, but the Writing Centers at SPC are available to help take away stress from students. Using the Writing Centers can improve writing skills and help learn writing techniques.

Professor combines appreciation for dance with artistic abilities


For Kristy Kristinek, teaching is only one of the things that occupies her time.

Kristinek, associate professor of fine arts at South Plains College, made the decision early on to stay in Lubbock.

“Leaving Texas or just leaving Lubbock, in general, was not an option for me because I just established my family here, my life was here. This was just where I wanted to be.”

Kristinek, who graduated from Texas Tech in 2015 with a master’s degree in Fine Arts, knew she wanted to teach.

After teaching part time at Texas Tech and Lubbock Christian University, Kristinek applied for a position at South Plains College. After she didn’t get the position, she decided it was time to start a family.

“I took a break from academia for about a year and had our son Luke,” Kristinek said.

Six months later, Kristinek applied for another position at SPC. This time she got the job.

“Sometimes not necessarily rejection, but it’s just not the right fit for that time, when it comes to working in academia and wanting to teach,” said Kristinek. “It’s very different from other jobs.”

SPC has been a place for Kristinek to grow, both artistically and academically. She feels that the program is open and creative, especially to any ideas that she has.

For students, Kristinek wants the college to not only be a stepping stone, but also an end goal for some.

“We want this experience to feel like an end goal for out students,” said Kristinek. “That they get what they need, they get the experience they need, they get the communication and the support from the professors, that they can make those decisions on their own.”

40395449_10217194473117750_2612771851906056192_nThis semester, Kristinek is teaching art appreciation, art history, and a painting and drawing studio for non-majors. In the fall, she also teaches a design course for students to learn about different art materials and how to use them.

According to Kristinek, she draws inspiration from both lectures and studio.

“Teaching lecture is very different when you’re just talking about something versus physically showing a student how to do something,” said Kristinek.“Having that balance has been really interesting for me as an instructor, as well as where it’s almost like two parts of my brain, but they feed each other at the same time.”

Teaching is just one part of Kristinek’s life. Currently, she is an artist in residence with Charles Adams Studio Project in Lubbock.

When Kristinek made the decision to become a professor, her main fear was becoming someone who used to paint. She wanted to be able to continue her passion while also pursuing a career in academia. This studio gives her the chance to leave the classroom and continue painting.

“I’ve been very lucky and very blessed to be able to have both at the same time and not feel crippled artistically or academically,” Kristinek said. “I’m kind of at a good level at both right now, and it’s kind of nice to be able to balance the two, and spending equal time with the two has been really good.”

When Kristinek first applied to be an artist in residence, she was rejected. A few days later, she got the call saying a studio had opened up. Three days before the First Friday Art Trail in August, Kristinek had to move in and prepare to show her work.

“For people to be able to experience my studio space and experience my process has been really exciting for me,” said Kristinek.

With creativity comes vulnerability. For Kristinek, the most vulnerable times come with acceptance and rejection. The trick is not taking anything personally, which is hard when your art is a part of you.

“I think the biggest step you have to make is understanding that people are making commentary about your work, not you as a person,” Kristinek said. “When you get really connected with what you do, there is a personal level of what you’re creating, because it’s you and it’s out there, and this object that you’ve obsessed over for however long and put thought into and emotion into.”

Kristinek’s artistic process is just as much a reflection of herself as her art is. Most notable about her process is where she chooses to paint.

“I really like, for myself, to work on the floor,” explains Kristinek. “So a lot of my work, whether paper or canvas, happens on the floor.”

Kristinek, who is classically trained in ballet, has always loved dance. In art, she draws comparisons from the dancer’s body and the painter’s body.

“I’m really interested in studying the dualities between the dancer’s body and the painter’s body, and how I can apply the two together,” Kristinek said.


Another important part for Kristinek’s artistic process is collaboration.  Previous collaborations for Kristinek have included Flatlands Dance Theatre in Lubbock. She often draws and paints on the floor while dancers are moving around her.

Involving dancers in her art was a choice made in her second year of graduate school. Her goal is to show the audience what the floor would look like after a group of dancers has danced there.

Kristinek’s choice in colors and mediums is also reflective of her dance background. Her main mediums are paint and chalk. She says that she uses the chalk because it reminds her of a dancer’s makeup and the way dancers almost change into another character. Kristinek also uses black in her artwork, something that symbolizes the dancer being on stage, not being able to see the audience when lights are shining down.

“You have the separation of the lighted surface versus the dark, blackness of the audience,” Kristinek explained. “And as a dancer, you can’t see the audience most of the time. The lights are so bright that they’re almost blinding in a sense. It’s like you’re functioning in your own space and you forget that the audience is there and that you’re being watched.”

Most importantly for Kristinek is the connection her artwork creates with people. She recalled a past First Friday Art Trail when a little girl asked to paint with her. After grabbing a pink, the little girl associated it with the shoes a ballerina wears.

“I said, ‘I used to be a ballerina, that’s why I like this color,” recalls Kristinek, “and she said, ‘that’s why you’re drawing on the floor. That’s what dancers do; they dance on the floor. Being able to have that connection with a 7-year-old was really enlightening for me and empowering for me that I’m able to connect with all kinds of different groups of people.”

Outside of teaching and her studio, Kristinek’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband and son Luke, who is almost 2. She said her husband has always been her number-one fan, always supporting her goals. Many times, she takes her son to her studio. As she paints, he plays and says, “Mommy, paint!”

Kristinek says she is often asked how she balances being a teacher, artist, wife, and mother.

“Honestly, I feel like an equal balance is what helps me accomplish all of that,” said Kristinek. “None of those things seem more important than the other, and I have extreme amounts of support to be able to understand that my career is just as important as everything else.”

Ultimately, Kristinek says that she hopes to always be involved in academia, teaching all studio classes and helping artists reach their goals.

Kristinek recently was accepted into “Studio Visit,” a magazine comprised of the works of different artists. She is also performing another collaboration with two dancers in her studio from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 1 for the First Friday Art Trail in Lubbock.

Student following family footsteps toward agriculture

Cesiley Stroud decided to become an agriculture communications major because of an appreciation for her deep agricultural roots.

“So going in for a company and doing their social media work or PR work for people,” Stroud explained about her future career plans.

Her mother attended SPC for nursing, and some of her friends also transferred which made SPC a prime choice towards her goal of transferring to Texas Tech University. After her third year of college, Stroud plans to study abroad, with hopes of going to Australia.

“I’ve kind of always been obsessed with Australia, because it is one of those places where you can do everything,” said Stroud. “Australia has everything, the tropics, forest, desert and mountains.”

Stroud has a deep interest in agriculture. While attending Cooper High School, she participated in FFA, public speaking, AG issues, and livestock judging among her many activities.

“God has opened me up and kind of given me an outlook as to what I want to do,” Stroud explained. “I know I want to do agriculture.”

Having parents with agricultural backgrounds encouraged the Lubbock resident to pursue agriculture as her own career. Stroud is also passionate about agriculture because she looks to her father, Chad Stroud, who passed away five months ago, for inspiration. Chad Stroud grew up on a dairy farm, and later a ranch. Cesiley Stroud learned how to raise horses while growing up.

“You really get to know a person once they’re gone,” Stroud said.
Chad Stroud had been in the H-VAC industry. He had turned down a sales job offer from a large corporation so he could work with his hands and continue doing what he loved. Cesiley admires her father because of this, and strives to have the work ethic and determination that her father had.

Stroud tackles her schoolwork with confidence, describing herself as a visual learner. Simply writing facts down over and over, using flash cards, or re-reading passages in textbooks are her preferred methods of studying that work for her. Also, Stroud utilizes math tutoring available to her whenever she can.

“What’s nice about the math tutors is that they post their schedules outside the door,” she explained. “I go to Joy, or Bray, and I just go in whenever they’re in there, and they help me so much.”

Stroud thinks it is important to learn who you are as a person and understand yourself. She admits that she has a lot of growing to do, but she said she feels that she knows who she is, and who her friends are, which is important to her.

In her free time, Stroud enjoys hanging out with her friends, and watching movies. Her favorite thing to do is read books, however. She is currently reading “The Quite Patient.”

Alum find career she enjoys after facing challenges


Jordan Dewbre says she chose South Plains College because of their well-known Allied Health program in surgical technology.

“They have the best program around,” Dewbre said, “and also produce the best results in the work field.”

She said that she was “attracted to SPC for their small class numbers, and the willingness of professors to help her achieve her goal of graduation.” SPC was always her first choice because it was affordable and offered the classes she needed, according to Dewbre.

Dewbre attended SPC from 2014 to 2016. She earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Surgical Technology.

  She says her favorite class was Anatomy and Physiology because it challenged her  and kept her completely engaged. It was a very difficult class. However, everything she learned kept her attention and kept her wanting to learn more.

She always knew she wanted a career in something that she could keep learning and that offered something different and challenging every day. She walked the halls of the Allied Health Building not knowing much about anything other than nursing. However, when she saw they offered surgical technology, she saw that she could have a job in the operating room every day, which definitely caught her attention.

Dewbre said that college for her was very difficult. She had two young school-aged children and was trying to run her household and keep up with daily responsibilities. She says that there were times when she wanted to give up, but it was because of her children that she knew she had to keep going and show them how important a college education is to be successful in life.

Clinicals also were difficult for her, as they required her to be in class eight hours a day. So, holding a job was nearly impossible. She had to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. However, the hospital that allowed her to work there also ended up hiring her, and she says that she could not work for a better place. Clinicals were basically working for free for eight hours a day, so that in itself was a battle, according to Dewbre. However, the importance of hands-on experience was critical for her success.

  It also helped that her family was very supportive, as her parents helped her with her children and daily duties that needed to be done.

Dewbre said she really enjoyed the ease of parking and registering for classes at SPC. Everything was very user- friendly. Every professor she had was very helpful, and they were willing to help her with any questions she had, according to Dewbre. The head of her program, Kristi Cole, and Paul Landsman, were very helpful and knowledgeable as well.

“I can’t thank them enough for helping me become who I am today in my profession,” said Dewbre. “It is an honorable profession, and some days without many thanks. However, it is truly rewarding.”

She enjoyed a good rapport with her professors, letting them know she was willing to work hard and try her best at everything she did. She said she believes that helped them know she respected them, and they showed her the same in return.

Dewbre said that she would definitely recommend SPC to anyone who needs basic classes, or if they are looking into a job in the health field.

One of her favorite memories in her journey was being able to take a trip as a class to the medical examiner’s office, which she said was “a really neat learning experience.”

Dewbre recalls that during class time, they were visited by representatives from four different hospitals, including some from out of town because they knew that SPC produces the best results and hard-working surgical technicians. So finding a job after graduation was not hard at all for her.

Dewbre graduated in December of 2016 and participated in the graduation ceremony in May of 2017.

She spends most of her days working at University Medical Center. Patient care is important, she said, and to see it and know her life or her loved ones would be in great hands is very rewarding. Dewbre said that no day is ever the same, and no case is the same. So it keeps her learning and intrigued.

When she is not at work, she spends time with her 10-year-old, Maddison, and her 7-year-old, Hayden, along with her two dogs, Cali and Chloe, and her husband Jared. They love all things outdoors and sports. The kids go from one sport to the next, said Dewbre. She said they truly enjoy watching and coaching them.

“I am so thankful to SPC for my education,” said Dewbre, ”for making it possible for me to better my life and my family. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA and it was not easy having two small kids, However, because of their support and understanding, and a whole lot of late-night study sessions, it was made possible.”

‘Atomic Heart’ preview offers futuristic solo adventure

A myriad of hostile robots and ravenous zombies lurk in a sprawling underground complex defending a mystery shrouded in death in “Atomic Heart.”

A new developer with only one unfinished game under its belt, Mundfish, has released a breathtaking gameplay trailer for an original first-person action roleplaying game for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

“Atomic Heart” takes place in an alternate reality in which the Soviet Union never collapsed and scientific progress there seems void of ethics or limits. Evoking the same curiosity and uneasiness in gamers as “Bioshock,” the setting alone tells a story of catastrophe shrouded in a mystery that will keep gamers pressing forward through adversity.

Players take the role of a KGB officer sent to investigate what has gone wrong at Soviet research facility 3826. Facility 3826 features an above-ground area with houses and lush wilderness, while it grips its darkest secrets underground. Gameplay suggests that the facility conducted biological and neurological experiments while also being heavily involved in robotics. A huge variety of robots in all shapes and sizes paired with zombies seen in the underground areas of the facility indicate a need to adapt to different situations.

The gameplay of “Atomic Heart” differs from Mundfish’s previous title in many ways, though details and awareness for their new title are scarce. “Soviet Lunapark VR,” their unfinished project, is comprised of portions of the same setting and seems to be a precursor to “Atomic Heart.” Both games have impressive visuals provided by the Unreal Engine 4 game engine they are made with.

The virtual reality element of the previous game suggests Mundfish may offer virtual reality as an optional way to experience “Atomic Heart.” Even if virtual reality is supported, “Atomic Heart” is guaranteed to still feel different from “Soviet Lunapark VR,” due to pacing and gameplay mechanics. The previous game’s constant barrage of enemies and mass amounts of ammo differ from “Atomic Heart,” as survival is a much more strategic affair. Unfortunately for gamers planning on buying, or who have already bought “Soviet Lunapark VR,” updates and sales have been cancelled, as Mundfish is focusing its whole team on “Atomic Heart.”

Instead of an arcade shooter where conflict is always welcome, the first thing the player does in the gameplay footage is avoid four patrolling robots. Observant gamers will notice the player only has 12 rounds in their pistol, with none in reserve. The player doesn’t often find more ammunition and soon finds a melee weapon, suggesting that avoiding enemies whenever possible and using melee weapons at short distances is essential. The damage output of enemies is very punishing, and robots are durable, but the player is seen to be able to block with a melee weapon, dodge attacks with a side-step, or backpedal while an enemy prepares to attack.

No items the player picks up have been shown to restore health. However, cigarettes and condensed milk are consumable items that likely serve this purpose. Two pistols, a shotgun, and five melee weapons have been confirmed, while “Soviet Lunapark VR” weapons are liable to make an appearance as well.

Weapon customization and upgrading have also been confirmed, but armor and clothing options have not. “Atomic Heart” is much more focused on single-player rather than cooperative play than its predecessor, but Mundfish’s website does mention player-versus-player combat.

The gameplay does not feature the player picking up any documents or finding any human characters that can flesh out the story with dialogue. The player character, based on an insignia on his gloves, is believed to be named P3, and is shown to make remarks during combat and when looking at enemies through binoculars. P3, if that’s his name, speaks in Russian, and with the in-game text being in English, it isn’t yet clear if dialogue plays enough of a role in the game to justify translating his lines, even in the final product.

“Atomic Heart” is currently in full production, and the gameplay is so polished a release date is expected to be announced within the year. Gamers have responded well to release dates close to release date announcements, and it’s likely gamers will have “Atomic Heart” downloaded onto their hard drives early next year.

Those excited for “Atomic Heart” can follow Mundfish on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or periodically check their website.

‘Miss Bala’ touts empowering story with strong lead actress

A night out on the town turns into a deadly shootout for Gloria that will change her life forever. As bullets fly across the nightclub, Gloria ducks for protection. Her eyes search the room for her friend. She must decide how far she will go to protect her life and her loved ones.

How far would you go to protect your loved ones ?…Think about it

“Miss Bala,” an action-packed drama film starring Gina Rodriguez as the amazing character, Gloria, takes the audience on a roller coaster adventure. This 104-minute film will have you biting your nails wondering what is going to happen next.

The movie features an amazing cast that is able to create suspense.

5c5330b37acc0.imageThis film is empowering for women, especially women who look like Rodriguez. Her strong role in this film is amazing and will have you wondering how far Gloria will go to protect the people she cares for and loves.

Gloria is a make-up artist who lives in San Diego, California near the Mexico border town of Tijuana. She visits her very close friend, Suzu, whom she has known since childhood. Gloria plans to help Suzu win the Miss California Baja Pageant. Gloria and Suzu seem to have a very close bond and care about each other as sisters would.
Gloria seems trapped in her life. She looks as if she is stuck where she doesn’t want to be and wants more out of life. In one instance, she creates makeup drafts to show a manger her ideas. Instead of being open to her ideas, he just told her to do her job! Period. She was shut down and her idea wasn’t even given a chance in her work place. Perhaps Gloria is in the wrong work field but doesn’t know it yet.

The weekend starts off with Gloria packing and driving to Tijuana, Mexico. The setting is shown realistically. The audience watches the screen as Gloria anxiously goes through customs with her passport to enter into Mexico to see her close friend Suzu.

Gloria’s smile and mood are becoming extremely visible as she gets closer and closer to arriving at her friend’s house. The greeting between the two women is very heartwarming and welcoming. They are overwhelmed with happiness, and they both scream and embrace each other. The women are very ecstatic about the upcoming weekend, which is off to a great start.

The next day, the women attend pageant meetings while enjoying each other’s company. After a series of unfortunate events, Gloria finds herself in a very difficult situation. She is faced with many challenges that will bring out strength she never knew she had. Gloria’s life, and the lives of the ones she loves, are put into a gang leader’s hands after being handed over by a corrupt cop.

Ismael Cruz Cordova stars as Lino, a gang leader. To avoid any instances with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Lino makes a deal with Gloria, who will have to make a decision of a lifetime about how far she will go to protect those she loves. Will Gloria gamble her life and the ones she loves? Watch this film to find out what Gloria’s next move is.

I loved every second of the movie, but I do believe it could have been more scandalous. I expected a little more romance or some form of deception along with romance. That could have been the cherry on top for this film.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie, and I hope to see more action thriller films with female leads. I enjoyed the role Rodriguez played as she did an excellent job of representing a strong women who is not afraid of taking on obstacles in her life. I give “Miss Bala” 8 out of 10.

‘Super Broly’ canonizes popular character with epic saga

The action from the Dragon Ball comics is back in theaters, bringing Broly uncontrollable power and the new appearance of Gogeta.

“Dragon Ball Super: Broly” is the latest release in the “Dragon Ball” universe after the grand comeback this movie series made in 2015 with “Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.”

The movie, directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, brings a lot of surprises about one of the fan favorites of the “Dragon Ball” world.

The newest “Dragon Ball” movie offers a closer look into one powerful Legendary Super Saiyan. “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” presents a very interesting way to visualize the story of Broly, a big character in the Dragon Ball Z comics, appearing in “Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan,” “Broly: Second Coming,” and “Bio Broly,” but was never actually presented in the show.

maxresdefaultThe movie starts with King Cold, voiced by Jason Douglas, announcing his retirement and leaving his son Frieza, voiced by Christopher Ayres, in charge of his empire. Broly’s story begins on the Planet Vegeta. Broly, voiced by Vic Mignogna, is the son of Paragus, voiced by Katsuhisa Hōki. During his young life, Broly showed signs that he would be a powerful soldier, since his power level exceeded 10,000. King Vegeta, voiced by Christopher Sabat, worries about the legend of the Super Saiyan. Concerned for the safety of the planet, decides to send Broly to the remote planet of Vampa. Hoping to save his son from a certain death, Paragus steals a ship and follows his son.

More about the past of Goku, voiced by Sean Schemmel, and Vegeta, voiced by Christopher Sabat, brings a throwback to what happens with them during the destruction of Planet Vegeta. It leads to a long and epic fight between three legendary super saiyans. The saiyans reach levels not shown before, along with the full level of power of Broly. During the fight, a lot of surprise elements are being introduced, making for a very engaging scene. With the incomparable fusion of Vegeta and Goku.

Different than the other “Dragon Ball” movies that feel inconsequential and unimportant, “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” makes the story of Broly canonical, with a bonus of small parts of the Goku and Vegeta stories. This addition of the background makes

The story more interesting. It also makes it easier for the audience to understand where Broly comes from and the reason for his isolation.

Something very different that can be found in this movie is a deeper exploration of the past of the Planet Vegeta, which has not been explored much in previous movies.

The narrative of the movie brings together a part of the “Dragon Ball” series not previously shown. How the director, Nagamine, develops Broly’s character in the movie and the fight scenes.

Make the audience sympathize with Broly as the main villain.

An assumption is made that the audience knows all about the history of the saiyan. The movie is more enjoyable for those who already know about the “Dragon Ball” history. But for those without any previous contact with the story, the movie is probably very confusing.

Overall, I give “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” a 9 out 10.

‘Breath of the Wild’ expands Zelda anthology

In the final battle between the evil king Calamity Ganon and the champions of Hyrule, Link, the legendary Hyrulian hero, is struck down.

Princess Zelda, who is the reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia, protector of Hyrule and the Triforce, was able to protect link from Ganon’s fatal blow by shielding him and carrying him to the Shrine of Resurrection. A hundred years have passed and all of Hyrule has been cast into darkness, awaiting the hero, Link, to cast out Calamity Ganon by finding the fabled, “Master Sword”, the sword that seals the darkness.

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” is the latest continuation of the classic mythology of the “Legend of Zelda” video games. “Breath of the Wild (BOTW)” differs greatly from previous titles, but does not stray away from the true storytelling of Hyrule’s mythology that (almost) every other “Legend of Zelda” game possesses.

BOTW easily sports the most content than any other “Legend of Zelda” title. Most other titles have an open world that can be explored freely, coupled with a linear story line. BOTW is essentially a full “sandbox” game, meaning the player can skip or play any content they choose. It is possible for a player to defeat Ganon within 25 minutes of the beginning of the game, when Link is first resurrected. Doing so is not without its challenges, however.

BOTW has a fulfilling story that can only be uncovered by paying attention to clues, listening to the story, and exploring the wilderness that is now Dark Hyrule. A hundred years ago, Link was accompanied by four other champions, each hailing from the sea, mountain, desert, and sky. Each champion was tasked with piloting a Divine Beast, giant mechanical machines that the ancient order of Shieka had built to defeat Calamity Ganon long ago.

Each champion piloting the Divine Beasts has fallen to Calamity Ganon, with their spirits trapped in the machines. Ganon was also able to corrupt the Divine Beasts, making them cause havoc during the past 100 years throughout Hyrule.

After 100 years in the Shrine of Resurrection, Link has lost his memories of his companions. BOTW gives an optional side quest to uncover these memories, not only of his friends, the four champions, but also of his connection with Princess Zelda. Link is tasked with releasing the four Divine Beasts from Calamity Ganon’s grasp. Meanwhile, Princess Zelda has been using her powers gifted from Goddess Hylia to seal Ganon in Hyrule Castle for the past 100 years.

In freeing the Divine Beasts, Link is reunited with the spirits of the four champion pilots, and their ancestors who have become the new champions since the original four’s passing. The stories behind the Divine Beasts are all fairly fulfilling and profound. Only one of the Divine Beast quests felt rushed, with almost no motivation other than the outlying problem of Calamity Ganon to actually free it. Link just shows up, people complain, he fixes the problem, and then he moves on.

Otherwise, the game has a much richer story that can be uncovered by exploring. Every region has stories to tell, from uncovering ancient mythology about civilizations of old, to simply helping people in need. There are also 120 “Shrines” to be found, most of which are hidden away. Each shrine is a puzzle that unlocks items, and a currency called “Spirit Orbs,” which can be used to upgrade Link’s health and stamina bars.

BOTW will be considered another classic, next to “Ocarina of Time,” (OoT). Since OoT has been out for 21 years, it has had much more time to be scrutinized and dissected for the story and subtext that it delivers. BOTW will be subject to the same scrutiny as OoT by fans, and I think that more secrets will be uncovered as time goes on.       It is these properties of the game that make it a masterful presentation of works from the game’s developers and artists. Small details are always hidden, waiting to be uncovered in “Legend of Zelda” games, with each detail revealing more of the mythology of Hyrule and her legends.

I give “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” a 9/10.

‘Ted Bundy Tapes’ revisit infamous murder spree

Most people keep trophies to remind themselves of their success and accomplishments. Ted Bundy kept different kinds of trophies human heads.

Theodore (Ted) Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history, with 36 confirmed victims. He has been suspected of upwards of 100. “ The Ted Bundy Tapes” is a documentary currently airing on Netflix that gives   insight into his past while telling a story leading up to death row.

dumb4Stephen Michaud was able to gain access to Ted Bundy on death row because he told him he was writing a book about him. In the beginning of the recordings, Bundy talks about having a very normal childhood.  He was in the Cub Scouts, played football, and was above average in academics in high school. He just didn’t date much in high school.

Bundy refused to talk about any murders or any of his crimes until they got him to speak in the third person. That is how he confessed how he would have done some of his horrific crimes.

The way they tell the story with audio clips of interviews and some news real footage of Bundy bring the story to life. I found the story to be slow building, and portrayed him as a monster and as a charismatic person throughout the entire series.

Director Joe Berlinger really personalized Bundy as a charismatic and charming person that none of his prior girlfriends, close friends or family even suspected him of doing the things he did.

Bundy was able to avoid the police for such a long time because of the their inability to share information. He would often approach his victims with a fake injury, such as a broken arm, and ask for help to put up his stuff, such as a surfboard or towels that he brought to the beach. Another reason for Bundy’s success was he was able to use his psychology degree to his advantage of understanding people and patterns. He also was a law student and new the law very well.

Bundy broke out of jail twice, both times in Colorado. The first time he jumped from the second story of the courthouse in Aspen, Colorado and fled into the mountains, only to return a few days later because of the unbearable cold and starvation. The second time he escaped from the Colorado jail, he starved himself down to 140 pounds and then escaped through the ceiling. This was the last time he evaded the cops until he was caught in Florida.

A highway patrol man who only stopped him because he was driving recklessly finally captured Bundy in Florida. Unfortunately, this occurred after one of his most horrendous crimes at the Chi Omega house in Tallahassee, Florida, where Florida State University is located.

Bundy terrorized the United States from 1973 through 1978, admitting to murders in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Florida.

The Bundy trial was one of the first to gain national attention. They had media from all over the United States and several foreign countries. It was the first time a trial was given national media attention with the new technology being able to broadcast nationwide.

The thing that struck me the most during this whole series is the fact that Bundy went on to have a wife and child while on death row. He met his wife during his trial, which had to be moved from Tallahassee, Florida to Miami, Florida to try to find a non-biased jury.

I found this documentary to be very insightful and very interesting. If you have some free time and you are looking for some quality television, I highly recommend the “Ted Bundy Tapes.”

Guitar virtuoso John 5 bringing electrifying instrumentals to Lubbock

Guitar legend John 5 is taking instrumental guitar to new levels with his new “Invasion” album and tour.

John William Lowery, more widely known as “John 5,” has performed around the world with headlining bands such as Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. He has also played sessions with Rod Stewart, Paul Stanley of KISS, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He has been playing guitar for Rob Zombie since 2005.

John 5 has been working on solo records since 2004. Currently he is touring for his solo project, “John 5 and the Creatures,” while debuting his new album, “Invasion.”

logo-john-5-zoinks-tvscreen-header-transparentJohn 5 and the Creatures will be on the road starting February 20, performing for his ‘Invasion’ tour around the country. They will perform in Lubbock at Jake’s Backroom on March 1 at 7 p.m.

John 5 released a solo album, “Careful with that Axe,” in 2014. He decided to take his solo act on tour as “John 5 and the Creatures” in 2015. He needed a few band members and recruited Rodger Carter on drums and Ian Ross on bass.

“I went to MI (Musical Institute,) I said, ‘Give me the best bass player and drummer you got, and I kind of put it together,” John 5 told The Plainsman Press recently in an exclusive interview. “I said, ‘I don’t know what’s gonna happen guys. But let’s play these songs and see what happens, and people really enjoy it, and that makes me happy.”

John 5 is very passionate about the music he creates and performs. He says that his love of music started when he was a child watching television.

“Like the “Brady Bunch,” or anything that had music on it, “Hee Haw,” even “Happy Days” and things like that,” he explained.

He later became a fan of Van Halen and Jimmie Hendrix. John 5 says he is always looking for inspiration.

“I think it’s one of the most important things, to be inspired,” said John 5, “so it’s very, very important to me.”

The musician has been performing since the late 1980’s and has seen the music industry evolve in big ways. With the rise of the Internet and online streaming, getting a band or musician’s name and content out into the world is much easier than it was in the early 1990’s.

“Before, you needed to have these big corporate machines approving everything…” John 5 explained. “But nowadays, everything is done by yourself, and it’s wonderful. You can reach the whole world in a matter of seconds.”

John 5 makes and manages his own music videos, records, and his own tours. Because he is self sufficient, he doesn’t need a manager.

“It couldn’t be working out better for me,” he added.

logo-john-5-zoinks-tvscreen-header-transparentIn 1997, John 5 joined K.D. Lang in hosting the 1997 Fashion Music Awards. While he was on stage, he noticed the front row of his audience was comprised of Prince, Madonna, Peter Gabriel and their significant others watching him. This made John 5 feel like he was successful in his endeavors.

“I watched them my whole life, and now they’re watching me,” he said. “I really felt like I made it.”

John 5 has been very humble and kind to the people around him despite his fame and good fortune. The only things he says he would do differently through the years is a few business decisions. He said he feels that he has treated everybody in his personal life with respect.

Unlike some musicians, John 5 says that he loves touring life and everything that goes with it. He gets to wake up and play music, hang out with his friends, meet people, and sign autographs. He says that touring may be hard, but it also is enjoyable. He also gives himself plenty of time in between tours to stay home to manage his day-to-day responsibilities and personal interests.

“It (touring) is wonderful,” explained John 5. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

John 5 linked up with Rob Zombie in 2005 at the Camp Freddy benefit gig. He heard from a friend that Rob Zombie was going to be performing there.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I’d love to play with Rob Zombie, I’m a really big fan,” he continued. “We got to jam together at that benefit and got to talking. I told him what a big fan I was and how much I respected him.”

John 5 and Rob Zombie stayed in contact after the benefit. Rob Zombie wanted to do some shows with him, and John 5 made himself available.

“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” he said.

He also released his “Crank it” music video on February 1. His “Invasion” album will be released this year in a series of music videos. John 5 music can be found “anywhere digital music is sold.”

‘Glass’ shatters expectations of fans

There is no hiding now. There are superheros among us.

When “Unbreakable” was released 19 years ago, the idea of costumed beings tearing apart Philadelphia and raking in oodles of cash at the box office was a near-impossibility. The caped crusaders of this medium were so far relegated into the subculture that M. Night Shyamalan wanted to give fans a spin on the art form.

Directed by Shyamalan, “Glass” stars James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L.Jackson, and Sarah Paulson. It is the sequel to “Unbreakable” and “Split.” This is a surprise addition that blew a lot of people’s minds, including mine.

David Dunn (Bruce Willis) uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). Eventually, they end up in a psych ward with Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). They are interrogated by a specialist who believes that they are all under a delusion that they are superheroes, and her job is to convince them that it is all in their mind.

To say that I was excited for this movie would be a massive understatement. “Glass” has a lot to love, as the first 20 minutes are amazing. It is so good that I was almost worried. I didn’t understand how the movie would sustain for the entire runtime.

I loved the introduction to David Dunn and seeing what his life was like. I especially loved seeing Crumb, who is amazing throughout the entire movie once again. To see him reprise all of these roles that live inside of his mind, it is absolutely the best part of this film. Although, I felt Dunn’s character felt left on the sidelines for a majority of the movie. As for Elijah Price, once he decided to become active, his character is amazing.

The psych ward scenes throughout the movie are very intriguing, although they feel a bit too long. It is still fascinating to see, especially as a story about the human psyche, the condition, and how people view themselves along with the rest of the world.

This film was also very well shot and directed. Shyamalan definitely did not disappoint with Mike Gioulakis as the same cinematographer who worked on “Split.” I have to give kudos to him because the use of color and direction in this film is beautiful. Although, there is an excessive utilization of point-of-view (POV) shots, that was probably my only and biggest issue I had with the cinematography.

I was very disappointed by the ending of the film. I struggled to comprehend the way the film was ended, versus another way the film could have ended. I feel it was the kind of ending that does not feel earned. “Glass” was guaranteed to succeed, as so many fans supported Shyamalan from the beginning.

Nevertheless, I love this psychological thriller, and I wasn’t expecting this movie to be like a Marvel movie like many people were expecting it to be. I was hoping it would be the antithesis to that. In many ways, it was.

Some people may just want to see the superhero action that was hinted in the first film. Actually, there was a lot more action than I expected, with the movie opening and with some major action scenes toward the end, which were all produced very well.

I give “Glass” an 8 out of 10.

BackTalk: Valentine’s Day raises holiday controversy

Valentine’s Day not just all about romance

by Kaitlyn Hyde

Valentine’s Day – people either love it or hate it.

I can’t think of another holiday when people have such mixed and extreme feelings about it. I do, however, find it comical as to how strongly people feel about Valentine’s Day, and usually the people who feel the strongest are those who hate it the most. But also, it’s sad to me that a holiday meant to celebrate love could be so hated.

Let’s take Valentine’s Day for what is, without all the weird, commercialized pressure to get a date. Forget the fact that it’s the one time a year everyone buys overhyped and overpriced chocolates. It’s a day that celebrates love. Couldn’t we all use a little more of that?

There are a lot of aspects of life that are hard, stressful, and unrewarding. Without some love in our lives, nothing is really worth enduring. You don’t need romantic love or family love in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If the only person you love in this world is yourself, then you’re not only set for Valentine’s Day, you’re set for life. That is the hardest type of love to achieve, and that’s worth celebrating.

But like I said, people still love to hate on Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s an easy target for bashing, Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays.

Yes, that was a difficult sentence to type, only because in the past it has always been a day I enjoyed boycotting. In reality, it’s not as bad as most people make it out to be.

One of the biggest arguments that has come up for celebrating Valentine’s Day is that we should celebrate love every day. While I agree we should celebrate love every day, I think this argument is flawed. Then the same could be said for Christmas, Easter, birthdays or any other holidays you may celebrate.

Whether it’s the celebration of love, the gift giving, or the celebrations of one’s life, this should all be things we celebrate on a daily basis. But we don’t. So, Valentine’s Day really is no different. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day to celebrate love, but it doesn’t take away from celebrating love every other day.

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic. If you’re single, that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in Valentine’s Day. It’s always fun to get gifts for friends or even family to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about Valentine’s Day, it’s not a mandatory holiday. You can ignore all of it, and life will return to normal on Feb. 15. Your relationship status does not define you, and you can celebrate this day however you want to.

Hopefully, though, you’re with someone you love, no matter who that is. And if you choose not to, that’s fine.  But don’t rain on others’ parades when they do choose to celebrate. Just because you may not like the holiday doesn’t mean others have to feel the same way.


Competition ruins Valentine’s Day

by Reece Turner

Valentine’s Day is a festival of romantic love, involving poetry, cheap chocolates, flowers and empty promises in the form of mass marketed gift cards.

It is hard to find anything that is not superficial when Valentine’s Day comes around. There are better ways to say, “I love you” any day of the year without throwing money at restaurant chains, large jewelry franchises and bogus chocolate companies.

I think that Valentine’s Day is a convenient excuse for large corporations to make money. Hallmark makes a killing selling cards. Jewelry stores see their business boom, and chocolate sellers make bank on the cheapest product they can produce. Restaurants will have “Valentine’s Day Specials” that are generally marked up dishes that you could get cheaper any other day of the year. Valentine’s Day is also just an excuse to mark up retail prices.

Whoever thought the colors pink and red should be plastered together all over every major store, Valentine’s Day advertisement, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates should have their cattle slaughtered. Nobody in his or her right mind wants to see this stuff.

Why be an insatiable consumer when you can create a gift or plan an adventure on the other 364 days of the year? Some people receive Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be romantic for one day out of the year and remind their significant other, “I’m romantic, look what I did for you on Valentine’s Day,” even though, for the rest of the year, they were putting aside their relationship for work or being emotionally unavailable.

People should treat others how they would like to be treated all year. If a person would like a bouquet of flowers here and there, or a box of chocolates that actually tastes good, simple gifts that let your person know that you are thinking about them, then they should get them any other day of the year besides Valentine’s Day. In some relationships, gifts are expected at Valentine’s Day. Well, expectations breed disappointment, in my experience.

I’ve gone out of my way in the past to make amazing gifts that required many hours of work as a Valentine’s Day present for my significant others through the years. Some of the time, the fabricated gifts were shoved aside, with only the store/internet purchased gifts being truly appreciated. This partially explains why they are exes now, but this does not mean I will not keep trying to do something truly special for my person.

I always welcome another reason to be romantic. Valentine’s Day can be one of them. But I also think that people should be more creative than the old tropes we see that are Valentine’s Day dates. Do not falter under the trap that is 21st Century consumerism. Instead of dinner and a movie, how about a hiking trip or nature walk in a place you both have never been before? Don’t buy anything. Instead, go to a special place, write a poem or song, or paint something together.

Our lives should not revolve around competition and materialistic values, but instead community, spirituality, and, especially, love.


Hard work, perseverance overcome raw talent

We live in an achievement-obsessed society that is quick to apply the labels “talented” and “gifted” to everyone who has accomplished anything of importance.

People who are successful are often portrayed as superhuman, born with magical abilities that separate them from the rest of the human race. For instance, award-winning actors and actresses are touted as talented. The same goes for those who have succeeded in business as well. If the person in question is young, they are likely to be labeled this way.

The media isn’t interested in portraying hard work, or how much effort so-called “gifted and talented” people have to put in before they see successful results. Our society judges someone on their accomplishments, assuming they must have been born with gifts. We don’t stop and appreciate the effort that goes into an extraordinary piece of artwork, a best-selling novel, or a high-performing company. We all naturally tend to assume that talent naturally gives rise to excellent results.

The meaning of “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard,” is that no matter how talented you are, if you don’t work hard, nothing will happen for you.

14f7a04The primary difference between hard work and talent is that, in general, talent refers to the natural ability of a person, and it is something that can be nurtured through activities that they take part in. Hard work, on the other hand, refers to the continuous commitment toward a particular goal set by a person or a team.

Talent only pays off if one applies it. That still means one has to work hard, but not as hard as those who develop the skills naturally. Hard work beats talent any day, because hard work has one thing that talent doesn’t have, which is experience.

Most of the time, the application of hard work for talent becomes futile. Therefore, hard work is more important than natural talent. Through the years, researchers have discovered that hard work is a major component of intellectual ability.

Even though you may have talent, you will lose it if you don’t work hard and your natural gift will be wasted. If you do not practice what you have already learned, you will soon forget it.

This is why many people say ‘practice makes perfect’. Talent is a natural gift but easy to lose. You can easily create talent if you work hard at it. It will become more like a second sense as you do it more.
Many will probably say that talent gives you an edge. It can put you ahead of everyone so you will need to do less work. But we all know the fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” a story of a race between unequal partners with conflicting interpretations of each other.

The hare is very confident of winning, so it stops during the race and falls asleep. The tortoise continues to move very slowly but without stopping, and finally wins the race. The moral lesson of the story is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.
Overall, talent may give you a head start in life, but hard work always finishes the race. Without hard work, talent is meaningless, and you can create talent with hard work.

Compounds, caliber, concealability make campus carry pragmatic

Concealed handgun carry has been legal on public college campuses for nearly a year and a half.

Any students age 21 or older, or younger if they have served in the military, can apply for a concealed handgun license or license to carry. Applicants who pass the stringent background check can then attend a training course and, assuming they pass, become licensed to carry a handgun on campus, according to the law and campus policy.

Students interested in carrying a handgun on campus should buy equipment that allows their firearm to be secure on their body at all times and not visible to others, including through an outline in clothing. Carriers will need to wear a jacket with a shoulder-style holster, or wear pants or shorts that have more than enough room for a waistband holster while also being able to support the weight of what they carry.

Without others knowing who carries, criminals cannot plan around it, and students don’t have to feel uneasy at the sight of a weapon. No matter how discreet a student carries, the SPC guidelines of where one may carry must be strictly followed.

Students can get licensed and obtain a waistband holster for under $200 depending on what product they use. But a handgun can cost anywhere from under $500 to more than $2,000, before considering attachments. A working handgun is all a carrier needs, but reliability becomes an issue since a carrier needs to train. Spending hours training for an event that no one wants to happen, and most likely won’t happen, isn’t something everyone is willing to do. But anyone who carries concealed must be competent and familiar with their handgun to the point when they will not make a disaster worse.

The ideal handgun for concealed carry is compact, lightweight, striker-fired, has at least one safety feature and is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum. Striker-fired pistols won’t engage the firing pin with an external mechanism that could dig into a carrier’s side or be blocked by debris. Weight and size are important for concealment and comfort, while caliber is essential for reducing collateral damage. A 9-millimeter is a very affordable cartridge that law enforcement routinely trusts with their lives and will not penetrate well through buildings.

In recent years the firearms industry has been more focused than ever on meeting all of my criteria and prospective carriers can look for certain features to meet these needs. A polymer frame will reduce weight by using lighter materials for the largest component of the handgun, while skeletonized parts will do this by using less metal. Subcompact and compact are terms manufacturers use to describe smaller handguns that fit the need for concealment. Safety levers are very common and many compact models have indicators that flip upwards when a round is in the chamber.

Attachments are hindered by the need for concealment and some are surprisingly pointless. A knife mounted to a pistol is impractical and adds size and weight. A flashlight is pointless during school hours and railings added to the frame to extend to the top of a pistol to mount sights can be uncomfortable and bulky. Carriers should never exclusively train with sights they don’t carry. The only attachment a carrier should consider is a laser used with a holster that activates it upon drawing the weapon. Lasers make aiming in a high-stress situation much easier.

The firearms industry has flooded the market with options, often dividing consumers on everything from the reliability of a certain model to the effectiveness of different ammunitions. Every concealed carrier should consider my criteria while developing their own preferences. Sights, triggers, guide rods and grips can easily be changed after purchase. Certain components such as frame size cannot be changed so easily, and if a concealed carrier can’t wrap their hand around their firearm and manipulate its controls, they can’t be effective. Listen to what experienced shooters recommend for a carry handgun, but never let someone else make the decision for you.