Category Archives: Columns

A day at the zoo

Waking up at 5 a.m. to board a train going towards Chicago on a weekday isn’t normal, but while visiting your collegiate brother it is.

This past week I decided that I would go visit my brother, the former ESG webmaster Cody Kimball, to spend some time with him and scope out the city of Kalamazoo. What I didn’t expect to find was the perfect example of a college town.

My trip started with stepping off of the Amtrak platform and into my brother’s car, where we promptly dropped my luggage off at his apartment complex and went to the Western Michigan University campus for a tour.

If you’ve never been WMU, it would be a trip worth taking just to see the architecture on campus. Whether it’s the second story, inter-building sky walks or rhythmically timed fountain pools, your aesthetic side will be reveling in the beauty, and that is just in the arts college.

Following the tour, we decided it had been way too long since the two of us had something to eat. We decided to pick up a friend and head to Bilbo’s Pizza in a Pan on Stadium Drive. As many “Lord of the Rings” fans have already recognized, it is a fantasy themed pizza joint with what is probably the best pizza I’ve had.

It actually seemed like in Kalamazoo all the restaurants knew who they were catering to. A separate day we stopped in at Menna’s Joint, a Dub shop with the slogan of “The only legal joint in town.” Opening up at an unset time mid-day, closing up past midnight, and serving amazing munchies, the workers being average college students.
If you aren’t looking to eat out but want some good food, there’s also no lack of farmer markets on the city outskirts that sold us some amazing apple-black raspberry cider and honeycrisp applesauce.

On the final days of the trip, my brother and I went around to see the attraction of the town. The top by far was the “General Store,” a store with all the materials needed for home brewing, and the Air Zoo, a museum focused on the history of aeronautics and aerospace.

Clay Kimball at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Photo Credit Cody Kimball
Clay Kimball at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Photo Credit Cody Kimball

Even if you’re not an aerospace enthusiast, the museum has something for everyone, from the first manned flight to the international space station. Cody and I, however, spent a fair bit of time in the flight simulations for the F-16 fighters with the full rotational sphere.

If you’re looking into WMU to transfer to, stay the full weekend. You won’t be at a loss of things to see and do.

Clay Kimball


Clay’s Chaos Column

Should I do the grapefruit diet, or the bacon diet?

With all the weight loss schemes and diets out there today, how can we ever decide the best way to lose weight? Well you can take this one from personal experience of mine. Over the past four months, I’ve lost over 30 pounds in total. Overall, I’ve lost much more in fat and gained back in muscle.

I’ve been on what is called a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is a diet that replaces nearly all carbohydrates with fats and proteins.

The idea is that when the body stops taking in the sugars that are carbohydrates, it enters a state of ketosis, or when the body begins to break down fat instead for energy. This process releases large amounts of ketone bodies into the bodies, hence the name ketogenic. With ketosis in effect, the body resorts to burning fat first, sugars second, meaning easier weight loss through exercise.

Science aside, the diet is the most important part of this weight loss style. The diet itself is simple enough, just sticking to three simple food groups: proteins (meats and nuts), naturally processed dairy, and vegetables. Major foods to avoid are sweets, fruits, and most sauces.

While this may seem hard to follow, there are numerous places to find recipes and success stories of this diet.

Major sites include www.reddit. com/r/keto, www.atkins. com/recipes.aspx, and www. allrecipes .com. All of these sites have many low carbohydrate recipes for this plan, such as low carb bread and cake made from flax seeds or homemade ice-creams. The “subreddit” has posts with real life examples of followers who have lost anywhere from 15-100 pounds on the diet.

Trust me, if you feel unconfident about your weight, but you don’t want to stop eating what you love, how much you love, or have to exercise more than an hour a day, try the keto lifestyle. You’ll feel great and bacon is always a main course.

If you have any questions for me, send them to I may feature the answer to your question online, or in a future issue.

Clay Kimball


SC4 students see the world: Mali, Africa

In the summer of 2010, I had the chance to work with a small group and go over to Mali, Africa where we helped build a school.

We were there for about two and half weeks. It was my first time going on a trip like this one.

We stayed in Bamako, the capitol Mali. Our mode of transportation was a van with wooden boards along the insides.

There were scooters, people and cars everywhere. And yes, I saw lots of people walking around carrying baskets on their heads; most of them were selling whatever it was they carried.

Work started early in the day and lasted until it got too hot, usually ending before 3 p.m.

There was a group of up to 15 guys helping us every day. Most of whom were teachers that worked at the school, or friends of the head of the school, Jean Pierre, who helped arrange our trip and activities while we were there.

Once our load of sand arrived we had to move it from behind the school to the front, where we had a pulley system to transport the sand. The sand was mixed with bags of cement and used for spackling the classrooms that had walls and a ceiling, and for making bricks for the other.

It was interesting watching them make the bricks. They had a mold, and three guys would mix the sand and cement, pack it into the mold and then take the mold off and move onto the next one. You could tell they had been doing it for awhile.

One day, I was able to go out with a missionary, to a local village and help with medical treatment.

I took everyone’s blood pressure, including the chief of the village. It was a great experience for me because I want to go into the medical field, and hopefully go on medical trips around the world. To see that a change for the better can be made was very encouraging.

The trip was a great experience for me. To experience a different culture and to see how similar we all are. I will never forget the people I met and the kids that came by everyday to watch us work.

Graduate of St. Clair County Community College Jan Van Sickle with villagers in Mali, Africa.
Graduate of St. Clair County Community College Jan Van Sickle with villagers in Mali, Africa.

Jan Sickle

Guest Writer

Clay’s Chaos Column 60-3

Have you ever had a day dream where two famous historical characters battle? Better question, who hasn’t?

Luckily for those without a good imagination there’s a next best, and it’s on YouTube. A series by the name of “Epic Rap Battles of History” brings to life our imagination by having two major characters competing in a rap battle. So far, participants range from Adolf Hitler, to the Easter Bunny, to Mister Rogers.

The series is produced and performed by YouTube user, “Nicepeter” and his reoccurring guests, including Lloyd Ahlquist. At the time, they are up to their thirteenth video. One of their episodes, “Hitler vs. Darth Vader,” currently has over 33 million views and has even made it to the Top 100 music videos on YouTube.

In each battle, the two participants take turns boasting and insulting each other in accordance to their own histories.  Occasionally, a guest related to one of the participants arrives to assist them in their rebuttal turn.

Another “Epic” series is “Epic Meal Time,” a Canadian based YouTube series revolving entirely around making the largest, most “epic” meals possible. Their view count totals over 200 million, with about 10 million views a video.

Primary ingredients in most of these meals include: bacon, Jack Daniels whiskey, and homemade batter. Though these are the normal ingredients, recipes range from giant eggrolls to “Chili Four Loko.”

Part of the “epic” in the series is the quantity of food produced. Some recipes can range anywhere from 10 thousand calories to over 100 thousand calories. Keep in mind that it is only three to seven people making and eating the food. Try not to watch episodes on empty or full stomachs.

The series puts out an episode once a week and occasionally stars guests from other popular YouTube channels, such as “FPSRussia” and “El Gigante.”

If you have any questions for me, send them to I may feature the answer to your question online, or in a future issue.

Clay Kimball


Clay Kimball, Webmaster
Clay Kimball, Webmaster

16 bits of fun

It’s just about the holiday season again and you know what that means, the new videogame drought is over!

If you’re not into playing as a space marine, which let’s face it, that’s a hefty majority of games now a days, you’re in luck.

If you miss the days when video games only gave you three lives and everything tried to kill you, well you’re in luck. Eric Ruth games specialize in videogame demakes. His demakes are modern games that are designed and programmed as if it was made for an earlier system. Complete with a classic 16bit sound track and art.

It is fun seeing the more iconic levels that have been treaded and retreaded, in a new way. So far “Halo,” “Left 4 Dead,” and a few others have been made. Also, he has recently announced that he is currently working on a “Team Fortress 2” demake.

The best part is that all the games are free to download on his website. They require no installation, so you can play them directly off a flash drive.

File sizes are rather small “Left 4 Dead” is only 21MB so at the price of free, you can’t go wrong!
Zack Penzien

Production Editor

Zack Penzien, Production Editor
Zack Penzien, Production Editor

Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings, oh yeah!

Fall is officially here and that means lots of sports are going to be happening for Detroit fans.

The Lions have already started 3-0 in the regular season, the Redwings have started their preseason match ups, and the Tigers are starting their run in the MLB playoffs.

So, with so much going on and the success Detroit teams have been receiving, I had to ponder one question. Which Detroit professional team playing, in the fall, will do the best and go the farthest?

Even though the Detroit Lions are 3-0 and the Detroit Tigers are in the playoffs, people still believe that the Detroit Red Wings will do the best out of the three.

Aaron Frendendall, a student at St. Clair County Community College, told me that the Red Wings will do the best, because of their past experiences and past history.

Frendendall does have a point. The Red Wings has been the most successful Detroit professional team over the course of a half century by winning 11 Stanley Cups. They were the last team in Detroit to win a championship, which was back in 2008.

On another note, nobody believes that the Detroit Tigers will do the best out of three even though they are already made the playoffs. They ended the season at a respectable 95-67 record, the same record the Tigers had back in 2006, the last time they went to the playoffs and on to the World Series.

Furthermore, the Tigers have a pitcher named Justin Verlander. Verlander won 24 games for his team and also led in ERA and strikeouts (which is the Triple Crown of Pitching). And also Miguel Cabrera, who led the American League in batting. With offense and pitching working together, I say they have a shot at winning in the postseason.

Last, but not least is the Detroit Lions.

Steven Kronnich, another student at St. Clair County Community College, said, “The Lions are winning now, but they always find a way to suck.”

Even though the Lions have started the season 3-0, people have to remember history is against them. The last winning season for the Detroit Lions was in 2001, and they haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999.

So, hockey fans may be the only fans cheering in Hockeytown this fall.

Christian McGeachy

Sports Editor

Christian McGeachy Fall 2011-Photo Credit Liz Whittemore
Christian McGeachy Fall 2011-Photo Credit Liz Whittemore

Reader discretion advised

Warm sand between your toes. The sun on your back. The smell of meat barbequing in the breeze. It’s sad to think summer is coming to an end. But hey, maybe you’ll get to read about sunshine in one of your text books.

Ok, so that may be a little unlikely and a little more deceptive, but nevertheless, school has begun.

For those of us who aren’t virgins to college life, we know that the next 16 weeks of our bleak existence will be spent chained to a desk, possibly with wires holding open our eyes, as coffee is pumped directly into our veins through an IV while we ingest massive amounts of knowledge.

Perseverance, caffeine, and maybe a little bit of weeping in the corner from time to time, and two years later, wah-la!  You will waltz across the stage in the Fine Arts Building with an associate’s degree in hand, a single tear of pure joy running down your rosy little cheek.

Welcome back, Skippers! It’s time to buckle down.

Freedom doesn’t have to be swept away with the summer breeze. Even if you’re too burdened with homework, class, work, home life, and a social life to think about those crazy, far-away things like free time and sleep, there are ways you can multitask.

Just be careful while you juggle the responsibilities in the story of your life.

After you can manage multi-tasking and functioning on the moldy scraps of sleep, try to remind yourself why you persist with self-inflicted torture. Is it because you are crazy? Maybe you enjoy pain?

Of course, most substantially, the sought after degree is obviously at the end of the dank tunnel.

But what do you want out of college? Why even take these classes, suffer through mundane lectures and hours of note-taking, if you’re just in it for the grade?

If you’re not genuinely interested in the classes you sign up for, why did you sign up for them?  Take something that will spark your interest. You are paying them.

Try to maintain some sanity among all the chaos that is to come. Find things that will help you unwind.

Don’t let stress and homework get you down. Sometimes life is about everything you can accomplish when you’re not actually accomplishing much of anything.

Alyssha Ginzel

Guest Columnist

T-bird’s tid-bits

“Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?” Lyrics sang by performer, Alan Jackson in a song written to remember the worst attack on American soil.

Ask that question to people on the street and just about any American can tell you where and what they were doing Sept. 11, 2001.

9-11 altered our perception of safety and security on our home turf. Terrorists had found our kryptonite and for the first time, I realized Americans were not as invincible as I once thought we were.

What a reality check. I remember pondering what type of a world would be left for my kids?

Air travel will never be the same as a result of planes being used as weapons. I find the line between airline security and national security blurring. Increased security checks, pat downs, x-rays, taking off your shoes for air travel are now an accepted way of life, the new norm.

One of the changes in my post 9-11 life has been becoming a grandparent. When I think of the future for my five grandchildren, I feel tugs at my heart that my grandchildren will not know how life was prior to 9-11.

The surest way to repeat incidents that have occurred throughout history is to forget they happened. We as a nation need to assure those who follow, our children and grandchildren, never forget what happened in 2001.

Remembrance walks like the one sponsored by the “ United Way” of Port Huron, Sept. 11, 2011, are a good way to remind children born after 2001 of what happened and how a nation, bound by our grief, were brought closer together.

A reminder for all of us to be a little kinder and to stick together, helping those in need. Our world may never be the same since 9-11, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part to make our corner of the world the best it can possibly be.

Twana Pinskey


Clay’s Chaos Column 1/2

Welcome back to the school year Skippers. To those who have just started reading our paper, I’m the new Webmaster of the Erie Square Gazette. This column of mine will replace the Chaos Column of the last Webmaster, Cody Kimball. And yes, he was my brother.

This column will feature everything possible, like a “random” section on an image board website, but it will maintain a focus on upcoming campus events, interesting finds on the internet and general technology.

So for my first piece let’s talk technology.

Now not everyone is tech savvy. Some don’t even know the difference between memory and storage in a computer. But for those who do, we know the potential for the upgrade of a computer.

What most consumers don’t know is that any computer bought from a retail store is not bought at full potential. RAM, or memory, upgrades may be bought, expansion drives may be added, hard drives can be added or upgraded, and more.

An easy way to check if your computer can have an upgrade is to check its specifications. A free download of either Speccy from Piriform, CPU-Z from CPUID, or a Crucial scan can show you the amount of RAM you have.

Crucial has the advantage of telling you exactly how many expansion slots you have for RAM, your maximum memory capacity, and offers you custom sales on memory upgrades. Speccy and CPU-Z, however, can tell you the model of your motherboard and the rating of your Central Processing Unit, or CPU. With this, you can look up the potential upgrades to your processor, graphics, networking, etc, without opening up the case.

Now if you aren’t lost by now, you’re probably wondering where you can find these new parts. For this, we head once again to the internet. Retail stores usually overprice computer parts in order to pay for the expenses of running store chains. Internet companies, on the other hand, need only to pay for warehouses and domain fees, thus prices are held closer to their actual value.

My preferred site is for DIY computer building. Other sites include,, and more.

That is all for this week. If you have any questions for me, send them to I may feature the answer to your question online, or in a future issue.

Clay Kimball


T-bird’s Tidbits: My road to Chiquimula

Last spring I had the opportunity to meet members of a group from Universidad De San Carlos CUNORI, in Chiquimula, Guatemala when they visited our SC4 campus.

This year when it was announced that SC4 would be sending a group of students to Chiquimula, I knew I wanted to be part of the group representing SC4.

When the applications were made available, I eagerly filled mine out and then anxiously awaited confirmation.

I was so excited to be selected that I remember choking back tears.

The weeks leading up to our departure were filled with reading everything I could get my hands on about Guatemala as well as reviewing Dr. William Easterly’s book, “The White Man’s Burden.”

I wanted to be prepared and all of us in the group needed to be aware of mistakes often made when rendering aid to impoverished countries. We needed to see firsthand what the needs of the country and her people were. In addition to this, we were building bridges for future students who would follow in our foot steps.

After arriving in Chiquimula, we were taken to a lovely restaurant. Here we would meet with representatives from the college, and our host students.

I was pleasantly surprised to see friendly faces from their trip to SC4 last year.

Marlone Bueso, Mario Diaz, and Neuri Galdamez were some of those familiar faces. Each one remembered having met me, Rachel Kobylas and Matthew Boyd when they visited SC4 last spring.

Hugs and smiles were all around as genuine excitement over our presence filled the air. One would think they were being reunited with long lost relatives, not students they had met the year before.

The people of Guatemala are so a loving, caring, and family oriented. Everywhere that we went, we were greeted warmly.

When I met my student host, I don’t know who was more excited, her or me.

I was assigned to spend the week with my student sister, Katherine Morales, and her family.

Morales works as a teacher while pursuing a degree in land management at San Carlos University. I was told that she spoke very little English.

I thought, “oh boy” as my Spanish needs a lot of work. To my surprise, Katherine did speak English. With her “little bit of English” and my “little bit of Spanish,” we got along just fine.

When I met Morales’s father, he handed me a set of keys to his home, telling me I was now a member of their family. Talk about trust! To hand your keys to someone you met just hours before. That certainly wouldn’t have happened in the states.

During our week abroad, we visited: the CUNORI East branch of San Carlos University, the main branch of the university in Guatemala City, and the original campus that opened in the 1600’s.

SC4 students saw a volcano, rode to the top of said volcano, then swam in a lagoon at the top of volcano. Talk about surreal.

We met with representatives from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who were all part of a program called TRIFFINIO. We were interviewed for local radio, and filmed for local television. We were made honorary citizens of Chiquimula.

We saw and explored Mayan ruins. We met everyday people simply going about their daily lives, every one of which took the time to let us know we were loved, welcomed and considered a part of their culture and their lives.

Saying good bye to these people proved much more difficult than any of us expected.

I don’t believe any of us expected to develop such a deep, close bonds in so short a time, but we did.

I left a part of myself in Chiquimula, Guatemala. I found myself attached to this close knit group of people who accepted us into their hearts and homes as one of their own.

Reality hit fast enough once back on U.S. soil.

Pushing, shoving and every one hurrying everywhere at the Dallas airport made me wish I was back amongst the people of Guatemala.

We could all learn a thing or two from the Guatemalans about civility, kindness, and slowing down to take the time to enjoy the simpler things in life.

Twana Pinskey