Vote Our Own Adventure


This is a Vote Our Own Adventure story. Read the story, then go to DJTraySquat on Facebook or e-mail me at and let me know what our character should do next.

Terror struck. In a tiny room, a tiny walk-in closet sized room, Ben stood stunned. He is boxed into a bright white shoebox. Not knowing how he got here, Ben reached out his hand to touch the wall. Hoping to knock, find a weak spot in the wall, he 6 instead stirred up a cloud of swirling colors. It was like watching paint swirl, but creepier. This wispy smoke swirled around the spot he had put his hand. On instinct he reached up, tried to keep it contained. But, as he put up his hands, the colorful dust settled. And, there, was a window in front of him. Outside the window was just bright white. Ben turned to the side, and put out his hands. The side of the room expanded to a hallway. “Weird,” he marveled as he wondered what was done to him, that he is seeing this strangeness. A pure white hallway lay before him. He slowly braved the hall, step by step. Putting his hands out, to the side and in front of him to see what would happen. Yellows, blues, purples all followed him, wisping around him like food coloring diving into a glass of water. He paused to look back. Behind him was completed hall. It was dimly lit, and fully furnished now. Earth tones now decorated the space. Comfortable chairs, that begged to be rested on. A full suit of armor stood in the corner. Baffled, Ben slowly turned toward the direction he was walking. He stopped dead in his tracks. “What the-“ he exclaimed, because standing directly in front of him on the wall of the hallway in between where he’d been and where he was going, was half a fire place. And, it was burning. To one side of the hallway, bright white nothing, to the other, a room as lived in as anyone’s. Ben marveled at the dancing flames, that came to an abrupt, straight-edged, stop. It was as if something bright white was directly in front of the flames. Ben couldn’t stop staring. He ruined the effect, accidentally, as he raised his hand while amazed at what lay before his eyes. Suddenly the swirling colored mist filled in the other half. He turned toward the rest of the hallway, spinning and twirling, dancing along with the mist as the empty room had life breathed into it. BOOM. He hit the wall, or door rather. Because suddenly there was a door in front of him. Suddenly terror struck again, should he open it? Should Ben turn around, to the left, or right? Should he try and find a way up or down?

I’m DJ Tray Squat

If you liked this, listen to my show, Poli-Psycho, every wednesday night at 7pm on If you would like to vote for what our character should do next, or you would like to show off your own writing, musical talents, or anything that can be heard through the airwaves, contact me for a chance to be on my new segment: The Hornet Showcase. I’m DJTraySquat on Facebook, or you can e-mail me at

Cookbooks Are Checklists

2015-11-01 09.27.58Cookbooks are relevant. Trust me.

You look at a cookbook, you browse through the pages and see tons of tempting dishes that appeal to you. You dog ear the pages that interest you with full intentions to go back and make that dish. But you don’t. Each page you dog ear is a promise you make to yourself that you almost always break. It’s a conscious thing, too. You are fully aware that you more than likely will not make the sweet potato casserole with lemon zest dumplings. It’s just not going to happen. We think to ourselves, “This looks great! I’ll have these people over and make these things. It’ll be fantastic.” But do you? More than likely not. Do we truly WANT to carryout these plans, but life gets in the way OR do we know deep, deep down that the plan will never be reality the second we make it..yet we make it anyway.

Same goes for any plans really. We make them to break them. It’s our habit, it’s our hobby, but it’s truthfully become our lifestyle.

There’s a notion that there is so much time, time to spare even. If you really stop to think about it, time seems like an old friend. You’ve experienced a lot because of it, you’ve watched your family bloom with time, maybe time has healed you in some way or another. The point is, time is always there, but you won’t be. Putting off goals and plans and dreams is just another way of cheating yourself out of a quality life. Maybe it’s the little promises that we break that equal a quality life as well as time spent wisely. Perhaps we’re breaking the very thing that’s holding us together.

Each time we let one item slip through the cracks, we do not hesitate to find something new to fill it’s gap in our schedules. We are moving on to “big”, WAY BIGGER things. Constantly chasing our tails because, well, we can…and nobody told us not to. Every second of spare time we have gets violated and reformatted to take on a new responsibility and get sucked in to the vortex of obligation. We forget about what we’re sacrificing when we make those split second commitments. We lose sight of our little commitments and brush of our initial plans. Do we truly want to carryout these plans but life gets in the way OR do we know deep, deep down that the plan will never be reality?..yet we still make plans.

Perhaps mentally making these plans, or as I like to put it “little promises,” is a way for us to satisfy our desire to enjoy ourselves without actually doing so. We entertain a notion of a false fulfillment that holds us over only momentarily until our brain passes it off along with the other whims that flash through. We think we’re being strategic with creating events/goals/dreams, but maybe we’re creating a void instead because “We’ll get back to it”. It’s like pre-heating the oven without ever putting the chicken in. You won’t be able to enjoy what you don’t put energy in to. We are enabling ourselves to be less accountable…plus you’re wasting a perfectly good chicken. Regardless of it being a meringue pie recipe or telling yourself you’ll go to the gym more, we make checklists that fall short EVERY TIME.

It’s the little things that matter, and often times, it’s the little things that get shrugged off. People weren’t kidding when they said the devil is in the details because it most certainly is. Deviled eggs without paprika are just boiled eggs that have been re-purposed. The little hint of paprika that is called for in the recipe (plan) makes all the difference. Those little plans, little details, little whatevers are what we need most. They might be small, but we can’t lose sight of them.

If we keep looking ahead at the bigger picture we’ll miss what’s right in front of us. Don’t allow yourself to be left with check-less checklists of what you hoped to accomplish in your lifetime. Make your life count. Give those little things a bigger time slot, and add a little spice.

Mia Kagianas a DJ at KSSU

Why Theatre?

Cole Theater small

Being a first year student, I already knew what major do I want to go in, but I wasn’t too sure what I really wanted to do in the field. What I had decided to get into is Theatre. How did I come about that choice? Well, let me just bring everything back before I even gotten into college.

At first, I didn’t have any ideas what to do in the theatre. All I ever knew was just working behind the scenes, being a part of the crew and production. I was interested in being a part of the theatre because I treated this major like student government, which was what I experienced my entire time in high school. Being in student government, I am used to working in teams to get a task done. That was how the system always worked. We would set up and outline ideas for a show like school events and rallies. We would run rehearsals for the events. Everything’s all practiced and planned, so when the day came, we put the show out. Even if we messed up, we continued to get the show running. That’s my favorite part of being in student government. Help the needs and then run the show by observing everything and everyone. For what I want was to find a major that I can do something similar to that. Theatre was a way for me to continue that group work to put up a show.

Coming into Freshmen Orientation, I had that mindset on. I then finalized that I was able to go into becoming a stage manager for the show. I was always leading the students in student government like a stage manager would do and I was always just watching in action. That was my motivation for the first time. Stage Manager sounded really great and exciting. You get the chance to run everything yourself this time. In September, there was even an offer for stage manager position from department chair of Theatre for the upcoming play that she was directing. I really wanted to do it, but I thought hard about my consequences of if I took on this path. Yes, it would be fun to experience of being the stage manager, but would I be able to handle the stress? I was taking two lecture class and a seminar class. That I knew right away, I wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s not because I had low expectations of my abilities, but I didn’t want to build stress in me. It was my first year and I didn’t want to push myself to the limits of being a stage manager. I passed up the offer. Did I regret it? No, I am thankful with my decision. There’s a long way for me to go and if I really wanted to do this, I probably will or will not.

At the time, I had no idea what to do now with theatre. I was unsure, and it is fine to be unsure about your major, especially when you’re just a first year. I just decided that stage managing is not the right time now, so I just thought to stick with my original idea of being a part of the crew. It wasn’t until I began taking Theater History 2 this semester with Dr. Pomo when I discovered my admiration with costumes. In this course, I had definitely fallen in love with Sanskrit Drama, Yuan Drama, and the Japanese Drama (Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki). Their costumes were amazing. The Sanskrit Drama were full of arts because of how the actors and actresses move around gracefully with their colorful costumes. I find that so catchy because the color represents their character. This goes the same with the Yuan and Japanese Drama. The colors are symbolic to a specific character trait like green stands for demon and black stands for courageous. The Asian Theatre is just too beautiful to pass up. With the love of the colors and designs, I decided to take costumes as my concentration in my major.

When people questioned me, “You’re a Theatre Major? Do you like to act?” When I answer no and explained that I am interested in the production. The next question would be, “Do you want to be a director?” No, no, not anymore. I am into stage managing and all of those good stuffs, but I am not focused in that. I tell them specifically about the interested of costuming and styling. For this concentration, there are skills I have to know. I have to learn how to sew. I’ve done sewing a few times because I try to tailor my long pants, but it never turned out to look professional. Instead, it looked really lame. I also need to understand specific of fabrics and tools, all the needs I need to understand. Speaking of which, I am thinking about becoming a Fashion minor. That way, I can further build onto my costume knowledge. That is the plan.

I am able to connect Theatre and Student Government together. It’s all of natural thing to do when I get into a group together and work things out. I get to associate with more people and can get closer. I am so proud of saying that I am a Theatre Major because I love how the entertainment can present stories and folktales into a production play that is artistic. Theatre is a form of art that expresses emotions through dialogues, music, dance, and simply just a playwright. I don’t care if Theatre does not make high incomes like other majors do. This field is all about understanding and appreciating the art.

Looking at me, of course, you wouldn’t expect my interest of being a Theatre Major and being a Fashion Minor. I mean, just look at my style. I do not match to be those types, but don’t judge anyone on the outside right? It’s just something I’ve been thinking and reflecting on myself. This is what I am looking forward to do. Even if I had no idea at the beginning as a new Theatre Major of what I was going to do, I know that I have made a choice that’s my own.Thanks to Theatre History 2 Lecture class, I was able to plot these out. I’m satisfied with my decision.

DJ Alexx is a dj at KSSU

Beautiful Noise, Exquisite Tastes, and Creative Minds: The Complete TBD Fest 2015 Experience

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This past weekend TBD Fest has left a mark of music, art, design, food, and ideas in the city of Sacramento. The festival drew in thousands of diverse people, locals and visitors alike, to experience the unique Sacramento festival that is TBD.

To start off, this weekend was incredible. Everything from the acts to the food was something to look back on. The lineup fit the flow of the weekend; starting Friday off with bang, reaching a pinnacle of epicness on Saturday, and concluding with a sure sense of satisfaction on Sunday       (sorry for the tongue twister).


Festival Grounds

A vital part of any festival is to get a feel of where you will be for the next few days. The first thing to do is find a schedule and a map. They weren’t readily available, but the customer service tent had no problem handing out printed schedules (nothing too fancy, just a print out). Since there was no map, the only option was to explore the grounds.


Having fun with the displays!

The grounds weren’t too vast and the layout was simple: a main stage on opposing sides with smaller stages near them. In between there was the “Rise + Create” space. A vendor village, complete with local vendors selling food, drinks, art, and clothing. All the food and drink being carefully crafted, the clothes being hand-made or hand-pressed, and beautiful pieces of art being created. This section of the festival truly shows the creative and tasteful minds of Sacramento. Near and around the “Rise + Create” space there were some awesome displays. Changing pillars of light, painted pyramids, murals, and the great display by PORTAL SAC. the perimeters of the grounds had the bars and food trucks. The festival even had it’s own giant ferris wheel (which all the proceeds from went to helping those recently affected by the California wildfires). There was a lot to see and do at TBD Fest besides watch the musical acts.


Demolicious Derby

If none of the musical acts were catching your attention or it was just too hot for you to be standing outside, then the “Demolicious Derby” was the place to go! It took place under a shaded tent with a nice patch of grass (I’m assuming so none of the dirt or dust flies into your food). It’s a cook off between two Sacramento chefs of the fine dining scene. They both have to use a certain ingredient. They also have to cook and serve out of a food truck. The food was completely free and completely delicious.

While waiting for the food, festival goers could watch the cooking from a live video feed screened on a large screen outside. The visuals and smells would make the audience even more hungry. Some moves such as adding the spice would make the audience “ooo” and “ahh.” A comedic MC would be hosting the event so it’s not just two dudes cooking food. Attendees would have to partake in both dishes and place their used forks in their respective choices. Both competitors were always good and humble chefs.

A little example of a cook off: both chefs had to use lamb. One made street tacos, but instead of a tortilla, he a used flattened and fried pork bun. The other made a greek style lamb poutine. Drooling yet? We were.


The Music

As mentioned  earlier, each day had a lineup that made a great flow for the weekend. Little disclaimer: I’m not really a big fan of EDM, so I didn’t catch much of the DJ sets.  

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Toro Y Moi

Friday was explosive. The first artist was the band, Cathedrals. With their chill, new wave sound, and heavy bass, Cathedrals gave the crowd something great to vibe to. Then I was able to catch Towkio, Chicago based rapper associated with Save Money and Vic Mensa. Even though the crowd didn’t know the words, Towkio and his DJ were able to pump up the crowd. Head back to the main stage and you would be able to catch the dreamy set of Toro Y Moi. This was one of the artists I was looking forward to watching the most, and they did not disappoint. Playing a good blend of the newest album, What

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Tyler, The Creator

for?, and their older stuff, the set was great. Ty Dolla $ign got the entire crowd dancing or jumping to his songs. The best part of his set was when he pulled out a bass and started groovin out (I didn’t know he could even play instruments). He was even able to stage dive into the crowd during the end of his set. The only EDM set I caught on Friday was some of was RL Grime’s. Playing a heavy trap set for the festival, he had everyone moving. The craziest crowd goes to the set of Sacramento native, Death Grips. The experimental industrial noise rap group made the biggest mosh pit of the weekend, bringing the first big dust cloud into the air. Being in the mosh, I breathed in a little too much dirt. The night ended with Tyler the Creator bringing  energy to the stage. Although he couldn’t bring the visuals he wanted, the set was still crazy. The crowd moshed, jumped, and sang along to the words. It wouldn’t be a Tyler the Creator set without his comedic side comments. The day really set the mood for the rest of the weekend.


Chance the Rapper

Saturday was big. With the longest day of TBD Fest, there was a lot to do. Although the day was spent mostly walking around the grounds, eating, and hanging out, all the musical acts were great. Dark pop duo, ASTR, started the day off for me. They gave an electrifying performance with some heavy bass hits, melodic scales and licks, and some crazy dance moves. I even had the pleasure of interviewing them backstage (interview coming soon, really cool people). Joywave, an electronic indie band, drew one of the larger crowds for the small stages. Before playing, they took time to perfect their sound and it was worth it. The crowd was very responsive with each song and it was awesome to be apart of. Ratatat was one of my favorites for the weekend. The electric guitar duo had holograms and lasers, putting on one of the best visuals for the weekend. Porter Robinson had some nice visuals as well. Although I couldn’t really vibe to the music, he still put on a good show equipped with anime graphics and massive confetti shots. The crowd loved it. I was able to catch the tail end of Magic Man’s set on the opposing small stage. Although there weren’t that many people watching the set, they still gave it their all and ended with their hit, Paris. Chance the Rapper was the main act I was looking forward to for the whole weekend. The set was amazing. He came with his full band, Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, which made for a much fuller sound. The visuals weren’t top notch, but it didn’t matter because the music and energy put out from the performance was, to me, the best for this weekend. Sing alongs, jumping around, crowd participation, amazing trumpet solos, it had it all. Even though he admit to go out of order of their intended set due to excitement (Chance would become a father two days later) they still made it the best. Saturday had something big for fans of all different music genres.

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Tears For Fears

Sunday was a great way for the weekend to wind down. Up and coming rap/r&b artist (who recently made a song with Kanye West) Post Malone put on a good five song set to start off our day. Although he has blown up due to the success of his hit song, White Iverson, Post Malone still kept it humble, and kept it entertaining. He even performed White Iverson again for his closer, having the crowd sing the entire last verse to closer. After, we were walking and on the nearby small stage, this band O began to play. They were able to keep us and the others for their whole set. They’re an indie band from San Francisco, do check them out. I was sad to have missed Dr. Dog and A Place to Bury Strangers due to attending a Demolicious Derby, but I heard the sets were amazing. Right when we got to A Place to Bury Strangers, the lead singer had just smashed his guitar to end his set. Sad to have missed that, but it was on to the 90’s alt rock band, Dinosaur Jr.! Although they are getting old, they can still play flawlessly. With great

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tunes and heart reaching solos, Dinosaur Jr. had a high-caliber set. After, Black Lips took the smaller stage. This goofy garage rock outfit from Georgia had a really fun set. After some jokes and moshing ensued, it was time for the OG (an older act, usually more famous in the 80’s)  headliner (every festival has to have one amiright?), Tears for Fears! Watching their set was like jumping back into the past, a time where most of the people attending TBD were either not alive or too young to go to a concert. Of course, the crowd sang along to classic hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the World and their closer, Shout. They even surprised the audience with a slower yet full version of Creep by Radiohead. Madeon electrified the crowd as the last EDM performance of the weekend. I had to jump around a few times for that performance. I wasn’t able to stay, but I heard and read that crowd favorite Chromeo properly wrapped up TBD Fest with their funky tunes.


Closing Remarks

2015-09-22 04.01.12Overall, TBD Fest is a must-go for anyone in Sacramento, the surrounding Northern California area, or anyone in the world that wants to have a good time. Although not as big as famous festivals such as Cochella, TBD Fest is able to provide some of the top acts in music today in a comfortable yet enthralling environment. Everyone from the acts to the volunteers to the workers to the security to everyone else helped make this weekend what it was. It wasn’t just  about the music, but about the local artistic minds and tastemakers coming together to bring entertainment to Sacramento. It’s exactly what this city needs, a positive driving force in today’s creative culture.



Check out our mini Instagram Vlogs of the Festival!

If you liked this article, be sure to tune into on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-7:00pm for the 30/30! 30 minutes of music followed by 30 minutes of talk with me, Jerel Labson! 

Also be sure to follow my personal blog,!  


CSUS: Hitch a Ride

CSUS: Hitch a Ride
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

Parking issues are as synonymous to Sacramento State as water issues are to California.  To help remediate the issue, Sacramento State has constructed four parking structures over the decades.  The largest parking structure (Parking Structure III) can accommodate 3,000 vehicles parked in it.  As an attendee of Sacramento State, the structure is constantly packed, along with all “close” parking lots.  In total, Sacramento State has 15 parking lots and four parking structures sprinkled around campus.

However, in a day where convenience is everything, some lots are outside of the realistic range of some.  For example, Parking Lot 11 is situated across J Street, the main entrance to Sacramento State.  In relation to the buildings for classes, and anything else, it can be a “hike” to get there with the amount of traffic around the J Street Main Entrance intersection.  There are a number of other lots outside of the convenience range.  However, parking to this day is still bad.

There are many things to alleviate this, such as the Hornet Shuttle, plus a major bus junction by the north end of campus, numerous bike routes and bike parking, dorms, and local apartments.  But with all this, Sacramento State is still seen as a “commuter campus”.

I’m not saying parking close helps, but it is a step.  What doesn’t help is when parking lots or services close at specific times.  Sacramento State has provided something along these lines.  In a previous article I referenced the Ramona Ave Parking Lot.  This lot will be re-opened in the Fall Semester for students.  Because the lot currently resides a distance away from campus, a Hornet Shuttle service will be taking students from the lot to The Well and back. Nice, right?  What’s the catch?  The lot and the shuttle operate from 7:30 AM to 6 PM – prime time for most daytime classes, but not so much for events, meetings, club/organization activities, etc. Though parking alleviates by the evening time, it is a hassle to move your vehicle.  By the time you sit in the driver seat, temptation of life away from campus may set in.

An incentive for the Ramona Lot is a much cheaper parking permit that works only at the Ramona Lot.  The permit costs $84 and provides approximately 250 additional parking spaces (to help with the loss of 280 Residence Hall parking spots).

The proposed Ramona Avenue Extension to be completed by 2016.

Ramona Avenue is slated to be extended and connect with Folsom Blvd for a more direct line to campus.  But that’s not my issue here.  As I hinted in my last article, none of this helps with the campus spirit and campus community.  The campus is vibrant with activities from programs like ASI and UNIQUE, clubs and Greek organizations, and much more.  But when people get to their cars, they may not be driving closer to campus to attend these functions.  Instead, they may go somewhere else.  The campus has much to offer, and the campus administration is not aiding that cause what so ever.  The Ramona Ave lot may stop the bleeding, but it won’t close the wound.

Welcome to Sacramento State!  We are a “commuter campus” that struggles to rise above that stigma.

CSUS: Pardon The Mess

CSUS: Pardon the Mess
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)


One of the planters added into Lot 7.

For much of the summer of 2015, Sacramento State has been getting various sorts of touch ups here and there.  The one that grabbed my attention most was the various amounts of fenced off parts of Lot 7, one of the parking lots on the south end of campus.  On my most recent visit to campus, I discovered parts of the project was the removal of parking spots to include planter space for drought resistant plants (or so that’s my guess).  Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for doing our part to help fight the drought and do our parts for the environment as a whole.  I am also all for beautification of the campus.  Sacramento State’s campus is a beautiful one.  Hands down one of the best in all of the CSU system.

It wasn’t too long ago that the campus had a beautification project around Brighton Hall, as well as along the path from the University Union to the Library.  I thought these were solid touches on otherwise bland land.  It doesn’t serve a function in the sense of helping students get the classes they need, or help them with additional parking spots, but it didn’t take away from that either.

A corner of Brighton Hall that was spruced up a while ago.

A corner of Brighton Hall that was spruced up a while ago.

The Lot 7 project is one of many happening currently.  I have not seen them all as I only see or frequent half of the entire campus.  Some of the other projects to be noted this summer include:

  • Adding a physical median divide on the southern tip of State University Drive East by the Capital Public Radio station.
  • Major sidewalk construction (for what it seems to be something good for pedestrians) on Callery Pear Way between the Public Services Police Station and Parking Structure 3
  • Construction for something unidentifiable at the time I went by in the Library Quad close to Brighton

There are more, I’m sure, but I haven’t been across all of campus.  Part of Parking Structure 1 will be dedicated to Residence Hall Parking for people living in the dorms.  To alleviate parking, UTAPS has (re)introduced parking at the Ramona Lot (which is located on Ramona Ave which is off the beaten path by Power Inn Rd, off of Cucamonga Ave), with a shuttle to take students from there to campus and back.  The lot is open 7:30 AM to 6 PM.  Any cars still there will be locked in the lot.  This is a decent solution for students who come strictly for classes in the morning or afternoon.  However, this counteracts possibilities of fostering a campus life (i.e. clubs, organizations, events, etc.).

The unknown project in the Library Quad.

The unknown project in the Library Quad.

What is going on in Lot 7 (and perhaps Lot 8 as well), is a waste.  It is not good for the students, which should be the focus of anything and everything the campus does.  It doesn’t increase quality of life on campus by any stretch.  All it does is take away space for parking in a place where parking is still a premium (the planter pictured above takes what use to be 8 parking spots). The only project I would welcome on campus that could temporarily take away parking would be converting a lot, or part of a lot, into a parking structure.

Welcome back to Sacramento State!  Please excuse the mess, and less parking in convenient locations.

Zelda Over Finals


The best way to prepare for finals is not at all.

Just kidding.

That’s terrible.

I only have two “real” finals. “Real” meaning using scantrons, studying from a study guide, and bringing in a notecard. The real finals are for philosophy and geography, so it is probably a good idea to study and bring in notecards. However, I work two jobs, so studying does not really seem like a good idea when I could be sleeping or getting music for my show or even playing Zelda, because Zelda: Skyward Sword is taking too long to finish. I will probably study an hour before my classes and put some chicken scratch writing on a tiny index card. Seems like the best option.

For my other two classes, Music and Theatre, we have “different” assignments. “Different” meaning not using notecards, scantrons, or formal study guides. In theatre, we all passed around papers, writing one entry on a paper about a given dialogue. You cannot write your name, and you have to write about whatever the professor says. For example, he says write a name and greeting and you write “What’s up, my name is Gregorio.” You can make it normal or comedic. We did this for ten entries, then opened up the paper. There are a bunch of ridiculous things written, but for our final we have to tie in all ten entries and turn it into a monologue that makes sense. We then perform the monologue in front of the whole class. Good thing I have some experience acting, or else I would die. As for Music class, we have a choice of playing a solo or a duet. The duet has two options: two moderate songs or on hard song. The solo is just a choice of three hard songs.

So yeah, my finals are not going to be too hectic. I just have to make sure I beat Zelda before finals week so I can focus. If not, I will be tracing and retracing my steps trying to find the next dragon in my mind while I’m sitting in class.

Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans and random subjects to talk about (along with some great music) listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on every Tuesday morning at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,


Dissecting The Plot In You


Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,


Soul Stealing Puppets, and other “Avenue Q” talk…

Avenue Q

I have a friend who is scared of puppets. So, of course, I invited her to Avenue Q. And, I think her fear may have rubbed off a little. There were some, normally inanimate, objects that sang. The way the mouth and eyes looked was scary, and resulted in title of this piece. Avenue Q is a musical for adults featuring puppets, which is a really strange mix. The show takes its look from Sesame Street. There are 3 types of characters: Humans, puppet humans, and puppet monsters. For this blog entry, I will refer to the actors that are not puppeteering as actors. I will refer to the actors that are puppeteering in this show, as just puppeteers. That’s just for simplicity’s sake, they are all talented actors.

Avenue Q is an exception to puppet shows being for kids. It is, delightfully, not for children. A lot of puppet shows I can recall don’t show the puppeteers, so I don’t know how much this is thought about: But, are the puppeteers doing their job if I’m focusing on them, or if I’m focused on the puppet? On one hand, the puppets are meant to be characters in the musical. The puppets are having the conversations. Kids are visually fixated on the colorful fuzzy characters. But, speaking for me, I look at the actors usually. It was a difficult transition for me to look at puppets, instead of the puppeteers. I remember consciously trying to focus on the puppets. The puppeteers in Avenue Q are all in black, so it seems I should be focused on the puppets. But, these are talented people, who are characters in plays and musicals. The focus would usually on them. Also, if they didn’t put energy into the performance, the puppets wouldn’t have it either. And, I can remember the body language that some of these puppeteers had, and it seemed like it was adding to the limited body language that the puppet could show. Taylor Grossman, for example was very kinetically emotive. The puppeteers used the same body language that their puppets had. I ended up watching the puppeteers a lot, because I liked their performance so much. So, they did a good job. But, did they do their job, as it pertains to me looking at the puppet?

Speaking of body language, some of the puppets were handled by two puppeteers. But, only one could be the voice of the character. The other puppeteer would provide just the body language of the character. This was odd but necessary. Having someone on stage doing only the body language of a character, while the character is talking, is a special kind of entertainment. I loved taking some time to watch the other puppeteer. I think this supports the idea that the puppeteers added lent their body language to the puppet. They had the facial expressions, the character movements, and all while puppeteering.

And, about that puppeteering, it looks brutal. Having one person puppeteer one puppet, that doesn’t seem too bad. But, add one more person, and I was amazed at their lack of falling. Have you ever watched ice skating, and were in awe that they don’t trip all over each other? That was me every time I saw two puppeteers and one puppet. Just puppeteering the puppet seems ridiculous. The puppets’ mouths open up, so at least one of them controls that. And, each of the puppeteers use one of their hands for the puppets hands. So, the person on the left is the puppet’s left hand. The person on the right, is the puppets right hand. I can’t think of how I could manipulate the puppets hand, and make it look like it was connected to the same body as the other hand. Also, the hand movements would be strange. Then, you have to move around like that. There are song and dance numbers, and the two puppeteers need to be connected at the hip. Some of the choreography had them moving around quickly, and moving back and forth around other puppeteers. The whole thing amazed, and perplexed, me.

I did just enjoy the show. Avenue Q is a great show, and this cast and crew did really well with it.

Tracy is a DJ with KSSU

National Poetry Month Recommended Read: Verses From Above


For those that have no clue, April is National Poetry Month. A month dedicated back in 1996 to raise awareness and appreciation for the art of poetry in the United States. What better way to celebrate this art then by actually reading some poetry.  If you have no idea where to start, here is a book of poetry that you may want to pick up: Verses From Above by Salvin Chahal. Verses from Above is an amazing book of poetry, hitting many subjects that may leave readers wondered. With each poem, Chahal creates vivid scenes and worlds with much detail. He equips the literary device of metaphors well to his advantage. The comparisons made are ones that readers may have never thought of. Poem long metaphors such as treating his sister or women as museums or one liners like,

My mother’s love is rich like the soil in Egypt when the Nile would flood.

Another favorite is

Boil every moment you fell in love, in a pot molded by your hardened façade.

This book challenges any reader to really think and dive into every poem. Not just skim through. That’s what’s great about Chahal’s first book; every read through could be a different experience. Each poem contains many layers that scream out to be known, it is our job as the reader to find out the message. Chahal writes from his core, everything that he has experienced and seen. Even though the author is only 20, don’t be mistaken, he has done a lot of growing up. His thoughts may reflect our own or it may challenge, but that’s one of the main goals of the art of poetry. Chahal writes about the many aspects of cultures in his writing: his heritage, our generation, school, the system, etc. Harsh and honest, beautiful and fulfilling, this book must be checked out.

At the end of the book, Chahal has written “workshops” for readers to explore their own minds, mapping it out onto paper. The book immediately becomes an interactive experience. There are many blank pages to add personal content, and it doesn’t even have to be poetry. The workshops include experiences such as writing a letter to your 6th grade self, thinking of personal traits and weaknesses and writing about them, regrets, role models, and the list goes on. After reading a thought provoking book, this author urges you to look within. The workshops are definitely a challenge, but for any reader that is up to it, they may find themselves expressing thoughts that haven’t been thought about before. Which is poetry in itself. You may unknowingly find your words and sentences forming into beautiful poetry.

What started from a daily poetry series became a book. It was officially launched with a special event at creative art space Sol Collective in Sacramento back in February 13th of this year. The momentum hasn’t stopped for the young author / emcee yet. Salvin Chahal recently performed and was part of a SXSW official showcase, as hosted by Sol Collective. He’s not new to the festival or showcase scene either, he was a poet mentor and a 2012 SAYS Slam team champion. His work is far from finished, Chahal is currently working on a musical project right now, taking his poetic skills to the mic. For more information follow his social media accounts :


Instagram: @_Salvin


The author of this blog, Jerel Labson, is a current radio host at His show, the 30/30, is every Wednesday from 4pm-5pm. 30 minutes of music, followed by 30 minutes of talk with special guests every week.


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