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Fagbug comes to campus to help students understand hate speech

Erin Davies, Fagbug owner and LGBTQ activist, and Sarina Loeb, USU Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives Coordinator and organizer of the Fagbug event, stand beside the Fagbug, which has over traveled 250,000 miles across the U.S. to bring about awareness on LGBTQ issues. Photo Credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial
Erin Davies, Fagbug owner and LGBTQ activist, and Sarina Loeb, USU Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives Coordinator and organizer of the Fagbug event, stand beside the Fagbug, which has traveled over 250,000 miles across the U.S. to bring about awareness on LGBTQ issues. Photo Credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

Erin Davies, a victim of vandalism who had the word “fAg” spray-painted on her Volkswagen in Albany New York in 2007,  chose to turn such a homophobic act into a statement that she would soon share with the nation and receive overwhelming acclaim instead of paying to remove it.

Fagbug and Davies’ work are known by many as “activism on wheels.” She and her car made a pit stop to CSUN on Wednesday, April 24, for a lecture and Q and A organized by the USU Pride Center.

“I hope that the campus community will learn more about the issues that the LGBTQ community faces, such as discrimination and hate crimes and that students will feel empowered and think creatively when negative situations arise,” said Sarina Loeb, USU Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives Coordinator.

Davies speaks on behalf of the LGBTQ community and sheds light on the daunting prevalence of hate crimes among this community throughout the United States and Canada.

“You can take in a negative experience and turn it into a positive, a setback could turn into an opportunity,” Davies said.

Since Davies began her journey with Fagbug, she has found both negative and positive notes on her windshield, but the positive ones outweigh the number of negative ones. She has been acknowledged by strangers as being an inspiration and a hero.

Erin Davies visits CSUN to talk about her experiences traveling across the U.S. with the Fagbug, her Volkswagen bug that was vandalized with the word "fAg."  She speaks at colleges, high schools, conferences and radio stations about hate crimes and prejudice regarding the LGBTQ community. Photo credit by John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial
Erin Davies visits CSUN to talk about her experiences traveling across the U.S. with the Fagbug, her Volkswagen bug that was vandalized with the word “fAg.” She speaks at colleges, high schools, conferences and radio stations about hate crimes and prejudice regarding the LGBTQ community. Photo credit by John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

“I love that people take the time to write and leave notes.  I don’t see myself as a hero, I just put myself out there to be visible and to educate people,” she said.

Davies hopes that people that she speaks to think twice before vandalizing other people’s property and teaches tolerance by denouncing hate crimes and acts of discrimination.

Davies will have traveled to all 50 United States by mid-May this year thanks to her supporters and donors from but not limited to Kickstarter and Facebook.

She has presented at over 50 conferences, universities, high schools and youth groups and dozens of radio and podcast shows.

“Her advocacy is unique because she became empowered by a negative experience and turned it into an opportunity to educate and bring light to issues that face our community,” Loeb said.

Panel discusses crime and homicide rates in Mexico

Map courtesy of Google Maps
Map courtesy of Google Maps

Syria, Iraq and Egypt are nations who are noticed by the media due to the violence and turmoil their citizens have suffered. But the United States neighboring country Mexico has also been going through a war that has cost thousands of lives.

Journalists Sam Quiñones, Charles Bowden, Julian Cardona and artist Alice Leora Briggs discussed the current situation of Mexico in Nordhoff Hall Wednesday night.

“The murders of women is almost all you hear about, but that is just 10 percent. I never knew that,” said Mary Zeigler, freshman electrical engineering major. “My class is reading ‘Murder City’ by Charles Bowden and that book was very eye opening because I knew very little.”

With more than 30 students in attendance the panelists shared their knowledge of how the Mexican government is using little to no effort to fix the issue.

“President Bush and Clinton said raising wages in Mexico would bring prosperity here and end illegal immigration. This is like believing in ‘Puff’ the magic dragon. It’s a failure,” Bowden said. “Nothing is getting better, it’s getting worse.”

According to a study by Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal A.C. (Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice) in 2012, Mexico has six cities in the top 20 cities with the most homicides worldwide. The tourist attraction and city of Acapulco is the second city with the most homicides in the world.

“Any kind of business, any kind of person was a target for kidnappers,” said photojournalists Julian Cardona. “In most of the cases those behind the kidnappings and extortions have been law enforcement agent: the army, the federal police, the state police, the municipal police.”

The event ended at 9 p.m. and the panelists stayed 20 minutes after the event to talk with students.

“All this violence has been a consequence of the globalization of (the city of) Juarez and now the country is replicating the same thing,” Cardona said.

Keaton Simmons’ sophmore album is too sappy

Keaton Simons’ sophomore album “Beautiful Pain” is riddled with cliché love songs and sprinkled with cheese. Where is the raw and bluesy guy from the first album? This album is ripe full of second-rate pop songs. My apologies go out to Jason Mraz who co-wrote some of the songs along with Simons.

The difference between Simons and Mraz is that there’s actually something soft and melodic in Mraz’s voice to coincide with the poppy love songs. At times Simons sounds like a less raspy version of the Nickelback frontman as he forces his manly voice.

This is not to say that Simons has a bad voice, it’s quite decent. Go back to his debut album “Can You Hear Me?” and listen to “Without Your Skin.” In that song you’ll find Simons’ voice saddled deep within the confines of a bluesy song about a deeper sense of love than just a “Beautiful Pain.”

Simons’ sophomore album isn’t a complete disappointment. After the first seven tracks fans get a glimpse of the man from Simons’ debut album on the track “Other Side.” It doesn’t stray as far from the musical theme of static bubbly happiness as it could have, but Simons does get real for a second. At this point in the album Simons gets serious with the girl he’s been wooing for the last seven songs when he asks her to love every side of him: good, bad and ugly. He sings “There’s another, darker side of me, inside the lies” then goes on in the chorus to beg for his girl to stay by pleading “Don’t let your heart betray the love we made.” Then the guitar solo soars in to give the song an anthemic feel, one to gather the masses under the universal fear of being completely honest with another person.

Perhaps by playing all the instruments on most of the songs (including the guitar solo on “Other Side”) Simons spread himself too thin on this album. He could have focused more on tuning the songs to sound like his voice and not the voice of say, Jason Mraz. Earth to Simons: A pop song about love written by Jason Mraz does not make you sound like him. Go back to writing your own songs so that the album sounds authentic.

If you like generic pop songs sung by a man who sounds like he should be either fronting a rock band or strumming his blues guitar under a solo spotlight than you should buy “Beautiful Pain” that will be released  April 30th.

Recent ‘Evil Dead’ marathon gives insight on horror film making

“Discount crepes for movie line!” said the “Mon Amour Cafe” employee Thursday evening to the crowd wrapped around his building.

The “Evil Dead” marathon at Westwood Village Regency Theaters started at 5:30 p.m., but fans were lined up by 4:30 p.m. wearing any “Evil Dead” memorabilia they had. Once the line started moving original tickets were traded in for a special VIP All Access laminated pass to enter a horror fan’s dream.

The lobby was filled with props and movie-related items provided by makeup artist Greg Nicotero, “Evil Dead 2” writer Scott Spiegel and event coordinator Jason Coleman.

The props included a fan-made chainsaw hand, the Book of the Dead from “Evil Dead 2”, a severed hand that was actually from “Walking Dead,” a Bruce Campbell signed lunchbox and much more.

Coleman, a manager at Regency Theaters, was watching a Bruce Campbell interview when he was first inspired for the marathon. Campbell mentioned the idea to introduce the new “Evil Dead” and said if anyone had a festival of the movies, he would be there.

Coleman instantly got excited and emailed Campbell about it, who never got back to him. Coleman, who calls himself a “doer,” didn’t stop there.

“They looked at me like I was nuts,” said Coleman about his pitch for the marathon last November, but Coleman was set to make the fans happy, which he said was his top priority.

The fans were indeed happy.

Ethan Teller, 34, was mainly there for the original movies and really enjoyed being able to see them on 35mm. This allowed him to see things he hadn’t noticed before, like the sweat dripping down Campbell’s face, he said.

During all movies, fans were shouting lines, cheering at famous scenes such as Campbell grabbing for the chainsaw or anytime he muttered the word “Groovy”. Fans such as Teller were even more excited for the special guests.

The first guests were the ladies from the first “Evil Dead”, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker and Theresa Tilly. The ladies were bombarded with questions as they told the brutal experience of working with Sam Raimi.

“We’re talking Sam Raimi, there’s no acting notes,” said Sandweiss. “For the woods scene all it said was Cheryl gets attacked by trees.”

Baker explained her painful experience when Campbell drug her down stairs with no padding. After the first shot, Raimi duct taped carpeting from the car to her back. She said the second most painful experience was ripping the duct tape and carpet off her back.

Sandweiss added to the painful experiences when she explained a scene she was getting kicked in the face.

“I had to pretend and fling myself back onto guys with a blanket to catch me in,” she said. On one take she didn’t quite make it to the blanket and smacked her head on a board.

Despite the painful experience the ladies all agreed that they would do it again as long as there would be hot coffee and running water.

After “Evil Dead 2”, guests Greg Nicotero, Ted Raimi and Scott Spiegel came out for questions.

Once Ted Raimi became impatient he got up and approached the audience himself for questions.

Ted Raimi played Henrietta in “Evil Dead 2” after she became possessed. An experience that he said has made everything else in his career seem to be a piece of cake.

Nicotero explained that the feet of Raimi’s demon costume were made of latex, so after his powdered feet would have a long sweaty day in the costume there would often be a liquid resembling cottage cheese that would come out of his costume.

The night continued as fans cheered the entire time, surpassing Coleman’s expectations.

Post-production student Kelly Fitzgerald, 30, said it was an amazing experience.

“The whole event is just awesome,” she said.

Even Coleman was proud of his work.

“It’s events like that that make those movies memorable.”

Suspected gunman not found, police remain ‘vigilant’

A suspected gunman was spotted leaving the Oviatt Library Wednesday evening causing a frenzied police search across campus with no suspect found.

CSUN Police Services sent an email notice at 4:49 p.m., alerting the campus to be on the lookout for a light-skinned man in his early 20s with a five o’clock shadow wearing a red T-shirt and a black zip-up jacket. He was said to have on a black backpack with a silver gun inside.

Police began searching the campus and detained four students who matched the description of the suspect, but no gun was found in their backpack.

“The police said I matched the description of a guy who had a gun, but then they realized I wasn’t wearing a red shirt and let me go,” said one student who had been stopped, handcuffed and then released.

Officers had also detained another student who wore a black hoodie and had a black backpack on. Katherine Polanco, 21, senior public health major, said she was with a friend who had fit the description of the suspect.

“They asked me and my friend, ‘Have you heard what is happening?’” Polanco said. “We had just gotten to campus and they asked to see inside his backpack.”

Polanco’s friend was handcuffed as they searched his bag and he was released shortly after.

The call had come in to LAPD from a student who had noticed the gun in the suspect’s backpack and was then rerouted to CSUN police.

As officers searched the buildings on campus, classes remained in session.

“There was an assessment made by the campus police chief. The campus remains open (and) the library remains open,” said Carmen Chandler, director of news and information. “But we continue to look for the suspect.”

Two phone calls were made from CSUN police shortly after the email to inform students of their progress in the search.

Kit Espinosa, emergency management coordinator, said students do not need to opt-in to receive emails or phone calls during an emergency.

“They only need to opt-in to receive text messages,” she said. “Phone calls and emails are automatic, they get sent to everyone.”

Any email address and phone number a student puts in their MyCSUN account is what police use to notify students.

While LAPD knew of the suspected gunman on campus, they were not present and said they would not send officers unless requested by CSUN police.

“We do not have any units on call,” said LAPD officer Wilkinson.

When asked if LAPD had any intention of sending any officers to campus, Wilkinson said, “That is not up to us. That is if CSUN PD calls us.”

Christina Villalobos, special assistant to the chief of police and public Information officer, said the suspected gunman was a low-level threat when she was asked why the LAPD was not on campus.

“We don’t associate threat levels,” she said. “It depends on the situation.”

Officers had set up a makeshift command post behind Sierra Tower near the garbage bins. Capt. Scott VanScoy said officers had been searching buildings since 4:30 p.m.

“We’re going to collapse our makeshift command post and go to the station,” VanScoy said. “We’re not stopping, but we’re being methodical.”

At about 7:24 p.m., police services sent their final notice alerting the campus that while the suspect had not been found, no new activity had happened.

“There is nothing further to report,” Chandler said. “The campus police will remain vigilant.”

The Daily Sundial tried to contact Villalobos to find out if more officers will be patrolling campus and to get a statement from Police Chief Anne Glavin, but she was unavailable and will not be back in the office until Friday.

Contributing reporting from Jonathan Diaz, Megan Diskin and Luis Rivas


Emergency protocol requires updated contact information

The CSUN Police Department provides emergency protocols on their website for students, faculty and staff, called the “Emergency Desk Reference.”

It includes a recommended procedure for emergency situations such as earthquakes, fires, bomb threats, seeing suspicious objects and encountering active shooters.

According to the reference for students, the first responsibility in “emergency management and preparedness” is to make sure one’s contact information is up to date in the web portal.

This includes students’ email addresses and phone numbers, which the police department uses to contact students during an emergency such as one caused by the possible presence of a gun or gun activity on campus.

Senior Tanya Carmona, CTVA student, said that she received email alerts and voice messages, as well as instruction from her professor yesterday. Carmona did not know she could receive text messages, but felt safe during the day.

“The police department was doing an excellent job of keeping us safe at all times,” said Carmona.

Other students did not think those updates were timely enough.

Psychology major Alina Valdez said she was informed via Facebook by a friend who was evacuated from the library more than an hour before the first alert went out.

“Obviously it doesn’t matter, it’s not important because (CSUN PD) are not letting us know ahead of time,” Valdez said. “I think the (notifications) freaked people out unnecessarily, because they’re sending us messages without real information.”

Valdez thinks the university should provide more emergency training for students, as many are not aware of or have not read the Emergency Desk Reference.

“I feel like (the school) should find better ways of getting that information to students because I don’t think anyone really opens their emails.”

Although the desk reference includes protocol for bomb threats or an active shooter, there is no specific protocol for a suspected gun threat.

Students react to report of suspected gunman on campus

Three hours after a fire alarm went off inside the Oviatt Library at approximately 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, many students reacted with surprise and fright when CSUN’s Department of Police Services sent out an emergency notification that a man with a gun was seen on campus.

CSUN Police Department sent out emails and phone calls to all students on campus alerting them of a report they received of a man described as being in his early 20s, having a light complexion and five o’ clock shadow, wearing blue jeans, a red t-shirt and black hooded-sweatshirt with a black backpack carrying a silver automatic gun.

The alleged suspect was last seen leaving the lower west doors of the library heading southbound on the Oviatt lawn.

Four suspects matching the description were apprehended and released. No gun was found.

CSUN PD sent its final update at 7:24 p.m. that no arrests had been made, but that campus police would still remain vigilant.

Clarissa Perkins, junior public relations major, was in her principles of public relations class in Oviatt 25 when she received an email about the suspected gunman on campus.

“One of the girls in class raised her hand and told the class about a text message she received,” Perkins said. “And while the teacher tried to get control of the class, the (in-class) phone rang.”

The phone call was an automated message reiterating the email students had received via their CSUN email accounts. The recording did not tell professors to evacuate their classrooms.

“At first I was very, very worried,” Perkins said. “If whomever it was was trying to target students, it would probably be us because we were, to my knowledge, the only class down there.”

Perkins professor, Marcy DeVeaux, dismissed the class after contacting the journalism department and being told that this was the best course of action.

“After they told us that we should leave I felt more nervous because clearly we couldn’t finish the lecture because it was more serious than they let on,” Perkins said. “First they told us that we were safe and then they told us that we should leave.”

Cody Lewin, 25, junior biology major, said that up until CSUN PD emails and phone calls, he was unaware of what was happening.

“I was on the fourth floor taking a nap on the sofa when the (fire) alarm woke me up,” he said.

Burnt popcorn set off the fire alarm three hours earlier in the library, according to Christina Villalobos, public information officer for CSUN PD. Despite the alleged gunman scare, Lewin said he feels safe.

“I’ve been coming here a long time,” he said. “I didn’t feel threatened or anything.”

Alexis Rasten, senior economics major, was not too worried about the CSUN PD notifications.

“I was in the library earlier and was evacuated because the fire alarm went off,” he said. “I wasn’t scared then and wasn’t scared when I got the alert later. But that’s just because I feel like we get false reports all the time.”

Similar to Rasten, several other students were not too worried with the notifications. At the Arbor Grill, Pejmun Adeli, 24, senior accounting major, said he was fine.

“I didn’t feel threatened regardless of recent events because CSUN has had a history of one or two of these occurrences every semester,” he said. “I wasn’t worried.”

But some students were more distressed, such as Avo Kozukarayan, 34, a finance major.

“I think its ridiculous, and people are out of control,” he said. “A place where you get an education should be safe. You should not have to be worried of getting shot or killed”

Kozukarayan was stopped earlier on campus for fitting the description of the suspect. He was asked if he had a gun in his backpack. After saying no, Kozukarayan became more aware how closely he matched the alleged suspect’s description.

“I think they should have evacuated because they know the guy could still be on the campus,” he said. “There should also be a drill in place (for these kind of events.)”

Contributing reporting from Muna Adem, Melanie Gaball and Champaign Williams

Coachella and drugs: a true experience

The Coachella Music and Arts Festival has reigned supreme over the American music festival scene for more than a decade now. People from all around the world travel vast distances just to burn in the California region of the Colorado Desert.

This was the eighth time I had the luxury of attending this spectacle. I enjoy watching and participating as homo sapiens melt their inhibitions and devolve into a drug fueled orgy of music and mischief.

I am in no way encouraging people to consume drugs or participate in any of the sinful activities I am about to describe. For the first three years I attended Coachella I did not drink a single drop of alcohol, touch a cigarette, joint or any drug for that matter. Being sober at Coachella was just as fun for me.

However, I don’t feel like I am being bold in saying the majority of people at the festival are getting altered one way or another.

On Friday while I was in one of the luxurious air conditioned bathroom trailers located between the stages. While I was in the stall I overheard a man offering cocaine to everyone in line. I usually don’t take drugs from strangers, but I thought to myself, “this voice from the other side of the bathroom stall offering cocaine sounds trustworthy.”

He was holding a tiny Ziploc bag; in the baggy was a rolled up a $50 bill loaded with my own personal bump of the floury white powder. The fact that it was a $50 bill comforted me, because $1 bills get passed around to homeless people, people drop them on the floor and they run through vending machines. The logic is less people have touched a $50 bill. Flawless logic.

And it was free so I took a hit.

The cocaine hit me pronto. All my senses became heightened. I felt like Wolverine. I was able to sense people looking at me and not looking at me. As I walked to the Outdoor Stage, one of six stages featured at the festival, I used my Wolverine super sensitive nose and sniffed out my friends to watch Britain’s beatboxing master, Beardyman. His performance was the most entertaining half-hour set of the weekend.

After that, my group headed back to the campgrounds. Coachella allows its patrons to go in-and-out from the festival grounds and return to their camp sites, allowing you to rest up for a bit, eat food, drink beer that isn’t overpriced and to take your drugs at your campsite – which is an excellent way to make sure your contraband doesn’t fall out of your underwear while you’re waiting in line to re-enter the festival.

Could you imagine the humiliation of being the person that is busted at Coachella? That’s like getting a ticket for urinating in the ocean.

One of the biggest disappointments of the night was Modest Mouse. Frontman Isaac Brock acted like a drunken mess. He would ramble for minutes in between songs; god knows what the fuck he was talking about. They probably could have fit one or two more songs in their set if Brock would just shut up.

It’s disappointing to think I missed Dog Blood (Boys Noize/ Skrillix) for Brock’s inaudible ramblings (I don’t even like Skrillix, but Boys Noize is an incredibly talented DJ). Had I gone to Dog Blood it probably would have grooved better with the Molly I was on. Molly is pure MDMA. It’s so pure it doesn’t bond to itself the same way a pill of ecstasy does.

Thankfully the Yeah Yeah Yeahs more than made up for this. Coachella veteran Karen O knew how to entertain, putting the head of the microphone in her mouth, holding it with her teeth and making this guttural, shrieking roar from her belly. It was both frightening and sexy at the same time. Molly can make everything feel sexy and change your physiologically. I started to peak on my high just as they played their big closer, “Heads will Roll,” making my heart sync with the kick drum and a snare.

On Saturday night, we returned to find our campsite in shambles. High wind advisories had been posted. But did we listen? No.

The skeletons of canopies all over camp turned the site into an elephant graveyard. One of our canopies was flying like a kite… not the kind of thing you want to see when you are candy flipping (a combination of LSD and MDMA).

Sunday I took acid again and found myself at a computer station in the festival taking an online quiz for class. That’s right, I was doing homework at Coachella. Just because I may participate in the occasional recreational drug use does not mean I am irresponsible. I advise against that as it is really hard once the letters grow little legs and go wherever the hell they feel like.

After I finished my homework I met back with my party, ingested more MDMA, then enjoyed The Faint.

The Faint, known for their heavy, prominent synths that I can’t ever get enough of. Synthesiser can be your best friend while under the influence of MDMA. Your ears become hyper-sensitive, allowing one to focus on audio frequencies commonly ignored.

If I have any advice for future festival goers it would be to stay hydrated. I spaced out each alcohol drink with a bottle of water.  Sure I was peeing every hour, but I felt refreshed and invigorated the next morning. I also encourage festival goers to be safe and have fun. And to say no to drugs.


Sleeping Beauty’s addiction nightmare

When Princess Aurora woke she was covered in glitter and confetti. She had just attended one of the many ragers that she convinced her husband was a good idea for the kingdom to have every three weeks. She decided that she had slept long enough and wanted to spend the rest of her days celebrating.

She greeted her children as she walked up the staircase. Margaret, Jane, and Gerald nodded passively as their inebriated mother slurred a “Good Morning.” They’ve accepted the fact that she was a conceited drunk who married a man she didn’t know.

Aurora entered her bedroom and started to peel away clothing she didn’t remember putting on. A bath was already drawn when she realized Philip was nowhere to be found. It was a common occurrence in their marriage as he would disappear quite often to spend his nights in the bed of yet another villager.

She could never understand his sexual appetite that was so often random and unprejudiced to his own sex and women that his reputation had preceded him to neighboring kingdoms. After his suggestions to include other people in their lovemaking, she drew the line and let him have his affairs.

She had already given birth to their second child when Aurora began compensating her unhappiness with plastic surgery for her lack of self identity.

The girls would be over next weekend though and that would prove for some excitement. Ariel’s intervention for hoarding was scheduled and ready to be catered. After that, Cinderella was going to take them on a road trip to show off her new castle in the Hamptons. Wine would definitely be served but Aurora would pack a flask just in case.

As she entered the bath her long blonde hair toppled over the rim and lay lifeless after the years of partying and chemical treatments. She took a mirror and looked at her recent lip enhancement. The swelling was starting to go down so she made another appointment for a larger dose. Her husband came in and awkwardly took out a robe to take his bath in the opposite side of the castle.

Aurora, “Hey”

Prince Phillip, “Hi”

And with that he swiftly exited the room without saying another word. However, Aurora thought it was progress considering they haven’t spoken to each other in six months.

After her bath, she returned downstairs to find the dogs eating the furniture and the servants still dressed in their underwater themed costumes from the party before. The butler was cleaning confetti dressed as Poseidon and a group of maids were mopping the floor all dressed as seaweed. Aurora smiled to herself and realized the week had just begun. It was only Monday so Booze Day Tuesday was just around the corner.

New workout involves playing with drumsticks

WorkoutWe all grew up wanting to be ballerinas and astronauts and we all at some point in time dreamt of being a rockstar.  Along with the rocking out experience, we all want that rockstar body especially for that upcoming swimsuit season. There’s a new way to achieve both. POUND is a new 45 minute group fitness class that goes to the beat of the music using drumsticks. It is a mixture between pilates and drumming,  an addictive rhythm-heavy workout that combines cardio and strength training.

POUND was created by two recreational drummers, Cristina Peerenboom and Kirsten Potenza,  who wanted to find an innovative way to combine working out and rocking out.  “We wanted to create a jam sesh of a workout,” Potenza explains.  They first came up with the concept when they were drumming without a stool and realized that holding that position while drumming to a beat is similar to a workout.  Along with their unconventional workout, Peerenboom and Potenza created Ripstix.  Ripstix are green drumsticks that weigh a quarter of a pound, double the weight of a normal drumstick.  “Your body has to absorb all of the shock when using the Ripstix, which causes your core and your lower back

to constantly contract, so you are getting worked three dimensionally and the result is a really lean, strong body,” Peerenboom explains. Each class gives you an entire body workout with energetic instructors and music that ranges from Rihanna and Macklemore to Rage Against the Machine. You are burning 800 calories per class without even realizing it.  Many workouts are set to music but POUND is the first workout that allows you to become a part of it, and make your own beat.  With your concentration fully on making music, you don’t even realize how hard you are working out. “It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before,” POUND instructor and participant, Amber Bruehl explains.

POUND has spread across the United States and internationally in Crunch gyms and it has also been in the talk show circuit, on shows such as The View, Access Hollywood, Extra and The Doctors. It has also been published in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Self Magazine and many more.  POUND is not only in Crunch gyms.Founders Peerenboom and Potenza offer online classes as well as opportunities to become a POUND Pro instructor and have POUND be taught at your local gym, simply by paying a small venue licensing fee that lasts a lifetime. For more information or to sign up for online classes visit, or head to your local Crunch gym and try a class that takes you away from reality, with the promise that no matter what level of ability you are at, you will feel like a rockstar.

The harsh truth behind being a screenwriter

Truck driving. I’m really excited; I graduated from college to be a truck driver. It was who I knew.” That’s Jon Vang’s story, at least part of it.

Vang graduated from CSUN in 2011 with a degree in screenwriting. That’s what he wanted to do, write comedy. He’s a funny guy with ideas. He learned structure, he learned proper comedy, he learned how to pitch his ideas. What he never learned was how to network, who to talk to.

Now the 25-year-old has a stack of potential hit-comedy scripts for original sitcoms tucked gently away in his bedroom that may never see the light of day.

Maybe if he followed in the steps of 27-year-old Jeremy Wick he would have been better off.

The year Vang was in his cap and gown with diploma in hand, Wick was accepted and ready to register for classes here at CSUN. He’s an economics major, at least that’s what he thought he was until he said “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk.”

After dropping the retail-apparel stocks that had kept his wallet padded in favor of his obsessive inclination towards writing, he dropped the idea of higher education for the same. Fast forward to a chance encounter with a friend of a friend outside a suburban Starbucks a couple months back. Wick is now working on the screenplay that’s about to land him in the Writers Guild of America – the organization that is a must for all screenwriters of any caliber.

Wick had never considered screenwriting until teaming up with recent LA Film School grad Shane Strickland, 23, after giving him some feedback on a screenplay. The two immediately clicked and Strickland shook hands with his new writing partner.

The fact that Wick has no experience in film or screenwriting means nothing to the film school graduate.

“I could have learned without going to school. I wouldn’t know formatting, but you can pretty much buy Final Draft and figure it out after a while if you read a certain amount of scripts, (and) theory you can learn alone, just read a book on it,” Strickland said.

Hell, writers for the pinnacle of all sitcoms that is “Seinfeld” didn’t even learn the trade through school. Take Harvard graduate Dave Mandel for example. He studied government and planned on being a lawyer.

He did the bare minimum to graduate. Instead, he spent his time at the Harvard Lampoon he had learned about through his comedy-obsessed youth.

“As I got more and more involved in the Lampoon and writing, I was doing the minimal amount of schoolwork as humanly possible so I could just do writing. It’s not exactly what most people go to Harvard to do,” Mandel said.

Through the Lampoon he did a movie for Comedy Central in ’92, still studying government. It essentially snowballed into more work with Comedy Central, then Saturday Night Live on to Seinfeld.

“There’s no screenwriting at Harvard, that doesn’t exist,” he said. That clearly didn’t stop his future writing partners Alec Burg and Jeff Schaffer, also Harvard alumni, from getting his foot in the door at Seinfeld. It didn’t stop the trio from writing “The Cat in the Hat” and “Eurotrip” and doing work on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Vang shares the same sentiment as Strickland–if you’re into film, you can learn it on your own.

“They should give you a class on how to contact people. All they have is your pitch. I was good at doing pitches, but where do you go? “ I understand it’s a ‘who-you-know’ business. And I don’t know anybody”

Maybe it’s something they can’t teach. But through his education, he never learned.

Baseball: Matadors on wrong side of no-hitter

Senior center fielder Nathan Ring was one of only five players to reach base Tuesday afternoon against Loyola Marymount starter Matt Florer. Florer threw LMU’s second no-hitter in school history. Photo credit by Nathan McMahon/ Opinion Editor
Senior center fielder Nathan Ring was one of only five players to reach base Tuesday afternoon
against Loyola Marymount starter Matt Florer. Florer threw LMU’s second no-hitter in school history. Photo credit by Nathan McMahon/ Opinion Editor

The Matadors (22-18) baseball team’s three game winning streak came to a halt Tuesday night in historic fashion against Loyola Marymount University (21-19), losing 5-0.

Loyola senior starting pitcher Matt Florer threw a no-hitter against CSUN, only the second no-hitter in Lions school history; the other coming in 1980.

Facing four batters over the minimum, Florer was a little inconsistent at times on the mound, walking five Matadors and taking 134 pitches to complete the game.

Coming into the game, Northridge had compiled 23 runs and 35 hits in a three game series against Hawai’i the weekend before, but were unable to put anything together against Florer. CSUN was unable to advance a runner past second base against the Lions.

Loyola got on the board in the third inning after a fielding error by senior shortstop Kyle Attl with runners at first and third, scored one. A sacrifice fly two batters later would put the Lions up 2-0 against Northridge.

The Matadors had no answer for Loyola as they went down quietly and in order through the first five innings, with the only runner reaching called out in a double play.

Tacking on another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, Loyola scored their final run on a wild pitch by junior pitcher Harley Holt, firmly putting the game out of reach at 5-0.

Northridge was finally able to threaten and get a runner to second base in the eighth inning against Florer. Leading off the inning getting hit by a pitch, sophomore catcher Alexis Mercado advanced to second base as redshirt sophomore left fielder Kyle Ferramola walked.

The rally would be shut down there though, as the next batter flew out to center field and the Matadors then grounded into their second double play of the game.

Sophomore pitcher Brandon Warner received the loss for the Matadors, pitching four innings while giving up five hits, three runs and striking out two.