Central Texas State Fair hosts Josh Ward
Sep12

Central Texas State Fair hosts Josh Ward

Josh Ward, one of country music’s hottest stars, brought his band and their pure country sound to the opening night of the 31st annual Central Texas State Fair in Belton on Thursday, Aug. 30. Playing at an outdoor venue, Ward’s music at the Bell County Expo Center sounded the way country music used to. It had the classic twang that makes country, country. Somewhat based on the sounds of his favorite stars growing up, it is Ward’s own, unique brand. “We’re the more run-of-the-mill country,” Ward said in his blue jeans, T-shirt and a ball cap in an interview behind the stage prior to the show. “I was raised up … you know Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley … ,” Ward said. “I cut my teeth on those guys, so we kind of got this ’90-ish vibe going on. We’re definitely not mainstream … it’s just not my brand,” he said. Ward, who has frequented Belton, said he opened for a fellow Texas group, the Josh Abbott Band, last year, but this was his first time to headline at the Central Texas State Fair and he said before the show that he was looking forward to it. “We’re here to play country music for them, so [if] they show up, they’re going to get a good show,” Ward said. A majority of the music Ward and his band played at the fair were songs off of their last two albums, “Holding Me Together” and “More Than I Deserve.” However, they did play some cover songs by his country music idols growing up, such as Haggard, Jones and Whitley. The songs that received the best reception from the crowd were “All About Lovin” and “Ain’t It Baby,” a song he played in tribute to the women in the crowd. The audience, varying in age and gender, were dressed in outfits one might expect to find at a country concert – plaid shirts, tight blue jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Some people were leaning against the metal stage barrier, getting the closest spot they could to the stage. Some were dancing and singing along to the music, while others were enjoying their corn dogs, funnel cakes and other fair foods. All in all, about 300 people seemed to be enjoying a great show. After a few songs, Ward gave a special acknowledgment to veterans, active duty servicemen/women and first responders. Ward explained he does this gesture during all of his concerts. “It was a good concert … I play his music in bars, I’m a DJ,” said Daniel Williams after the show. Regarding Ward’s songs, Williams said, “I like...

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Kin: a fatal flop for the sci-fi genre
Sep12

Kin: a fatal flop for the sci-fi genre

Kin is a movie created from the minds of Jonathan and Josh Baker, and based off of their 2014 short film titled “Bag Man” (imdb.com). Both movies are about a young boy who finds a powerful otherworldly weapon, which, by the way, we never learn anything about. However, the weapon is somehow used to save Jimmy’s adoptive brother Eli from a crew of thugs. Before long, the two of them are also pursued by federal agents and mysterious mercenaries aiming to reclaim the weapon (imdb.com). The acting in this movie was terrific. Eli Solinski is played by Miles Truitt and you wouldn’t know that this was the first time he has ever acted in a movie. He played a boy who had a hard life, and who’s mother died at an early age. For a long time it was just he and his dad living together because his brother Jimmy was in prison. He acquires the mysterious weapon when he goes to an abandoned warehouse to find and take materials that he can then sell for money. While he was there he finds the weapon that he keeps secret. Their father, Hal Solinski, is played by Dennis Quaid, who was great in the movie. He is by far the character with the best morals. Eli’s and Jimmy’s dad might have been hard on them at times but he taught them many things like the importance of honesty and family. It is evident that both Eli and Jimmy look up to their father because Jimmy tells Eli “be more like Dad and less like me.” Jack Reynor plays Eli’s brother Jimmy Solinski and did a great job portraying this character. However, I did not like this character because as soon as he gets out of jail he just falls back into his bad ways. He then takes Eli with him and isn’t a very good example for him. It’s like he did not learn from his past mistakes and that is kind of frustrating for the viewers. The man Eli saves his brother from is named Taylor Balik and is played by James Franco, and I loved his performance in this movie. Jimmy owes Balik a large sum of money. Balik will do whatever it takes to get the money, including following Jimmy and his brother around the country. While Eli and Jimmy are running away from Balik and his gang they run into a character named Milly played by Zoë Kravitz. She wants a better life for herself and she convinces them to let her go with them. I really liked Milly as a character. I really felt for...

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Stay on top of your semester: Time management tricks for students
Sep12

Stay on top of your semester: Time management tricks for students

The life of college student isn’t always easy. Between trying to get good grades, maintaining a social life, going to church, staying healthy, and getting a decent amount of sleep each night, we have a lot on our plate. How do we do it without going crazy? Time management is the key for any college student to survive. Here are a few tips to manage your time wisely: 1) Write everything down If I don’t write something down, I won’t remember it. So, when you’re in class and your professor gives you a due date and extra information on your homework assignment, jot it down. This way you can go back in your notes and remember exactly when the due date is for your upcoming homework assignment. 2) Maintain a planner This is a cheap and easy way to remember due dates, your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s birthday and the dates of the Cru’s football games. It’s all in one place. Some people like to color code their planner. Whatever works best for you. If you’re not a fan of planners, at the very least make a list of upcoming assignments starting with the one that’s due first. Prioritize assignments. Don’t work on an assignment that’s due 5 weeks from now if you have one that needs to be finished by tomorrow. 3) Make time for fun “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” You can’t study 24/7. UMHB has many student organizations to get involved in. Just don’t overload yourself with too many organizations. Find a couple that you are passionate about, attend their meetings, participate in organization activities and make friends. 4) Don’t be distracted by electronics We all get into the habit of working on an assignment, picking up our phone for just a minute or two, and suddenly 30 minutes has passed while we were checking our Facebook and Instagram. When studying or working on homework, put your phone away. Whether you must put it in your desk drawer or tuck it into the pocket of your backpack, put it away so you’ll be less likely to get distracted. 5) Don’t wait until the night before Many students think they can wait until the night before to finish an assignment due the next day. Speaking from personal experience, waiting until the night before to complete an assignment is very stressful. If you have a large assignment that is going to take you many hours, start early. Get a little bit done each week. This way you will not be stressing the night before. It will also give you time to ask your professor...

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An Evening with C.S. Lewis
Sep12

An Evening with C.S. Lewis

“Mere Christianity,” “The Screwtape Letters,” and “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” All of these books have one thing in common and that is their author, C.S. Lewis. According to the official website of C.S. Lewis, “Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.” “Mere Christianity,” “The Screwtape Letters,” and “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” All of these books have one thing in common and that is their author, C.S. Lewis. According to the official website of C.S. Lewis, “Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day.” On Sept. 6, 2018, UMHB hosted the “Highways & Byways Series: My Life’s Journey: An Evening with C.S. Lewis” with actor David Payne portraying Lewis. David Payne is a veteran British actor, and has performed this C.S. Lewis show over 500 times. Erik Vose, the director of the Performing Arts Center, has been working at UMHB for a little over a year and wanted to bring some of his work from California back with him.“We haven’t done anything like the Highways & Byways one-man performance before here at UMHB,” Vose said. “I wanted to expand out and do more theater projects here and this one is a great starter as a one-man show, kind of simple and can help us ease our way into integrating more theater into the Highways and Byways and UMHB in general.”Payne’s website said that he doesn’t believe it is an especially religious play but that  “you couldn’t do a play about Lewis and not include part of what made him tick, and that was his Christian Experience.”In his performance, Payne came onto the Performing Arts Center stage with a pot full of tea and made himself at home. There was a comfy looking chair and a side table with a tea cup and saucer resting on it. Payne sat down and immediately became Lewis. It is a plus that he looks like him, too. He talked about all the different aspects of his life starting with his early childhood in Belfast, Ireland and how his home felt warm and full, especially when his mother was there. Unfortunately, his mother passed away in 1908, and soon after he was sent off to boarding school in England. After graduating from boarding school, he was offered a full scholarship to the University of Oxford and while he was there he enlisted in the British Army. Payne/Lewis jumped ahead a few years and talked extensively about his friendship with...

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Dorm room cooking: 5-10 minute mug meals
Aug29

Dorm room cooking: 5-10 minute mug meals

Here are five quick, easy, and affordable microwavable mug recipes to make in your dorm this semester. don’t forget to cover your mug to reduce overflow. 1. Microwavable Mac and Cheese in a Mug For this yummy treat, you need 1/3 cups of pasta, 1/4 cups of water, two tablespoons of milk and 3/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Combine the water and pasta in a large mug and microwave on high for two minutes. Repeat this process twice, stirring between two-minute intervals. Remove your mug from the microwave and stir in milk and cheese. Microwave the pasta for one minute and enjoy your treat. (recipe courtesy of babble.com, Kelsey Banfield) 2. French Toast in a Mug Every lazy Saturday morning needs a classy brunch to set the mood for endless hours of mindless cartoon watching. For this tasty treat, you need 1 1/2 to two slices of bread, one egg, three tablespoons milk and a dash of cinnamon. Tear the bread into small pieces and place them in your mug. Combine the egg, milk and cinnamon in a separate mug or small bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the mug with bread and press the bread down with a fork so it can absorb the liquid. Microwave for one minute or until fully cooked. Remove your mug from the microwave and enjoy your brunch. (recipe courtesy of spoonuniversity.com) 3. Omelet in a Mug For this tasty breakfast on the go you need two eggs, one tablespoon of milk and your favorite omelet toppings. Crack the eggs into your mug and add milk. Combine the milk and eggs by beating them together with a fork and microwave them for one minute. Add your favorite omelet toppings and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove your mug from the microwave and enjoy a tasty breakfast while you head to class. (recipe courtesy of spoonuniversity.com) 4. Broccoli, Rice, and Cheese Casserole in a Mug This simple recipe requires two broccoli florets, five tablespoons rice, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, a pinch of salt, four tablespoons of grated cheddar cheese, three tablespoons of milk and 2/3 cups of water. Combine the rice, broccoli, and water in a mug and microwave for four minutes. When the rice is fully cooked, add cornstarch, milk, grated cheese and a pinch of salt. Place the mug back in the microwave and heat for one minute and 30 seconds. Remove the mug from the microwave and enjoy your personal casserole. (recipe courtesy of biggerbolderbaking.com) 5. Brownie in a Mug Every great meal needs a great dessert, and this delicious brownie recipe is the perfect ending to any Friday night...

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Tips and tricks to decorate your college dorm room
Aug29

Tips and tricks to decorate your college dorm room

Freshman year can be scary and exciting all at once. Making new friends, finding out where all of your classes are, staying on top of your college courses, getting involved in the community and finding a church home are all new things to juggle. What better way to prepare for the year than to spruce up your living environment? Decorating and organizing your dorm room will help build your feng shui and ease you into the year ahead. While you’re doing your homework, you want to have a nice and relaxing environment to do so. Some ways to create a calming atmosphere in a small space are: •Succulents (on a window sill or desk) •Wallflowers fragrance plugs •Carpet/rug •Posters/wall art •Standing lamp •Whiteboard/cork board calendar Feeling homesick? Here are some remedies: Make sure to bring reminders of your friends and family to keep them close, even if they aren’t physically present. •A photo wall mural on a bulletin board •Photos on the wall with washi tape borders •Picture frame of family/friends •Knick-knacks from family and friends, or items reminding you of your town Dorm rooms are tiny, so when friends or guests come over, the living space becomes even more cramped. Here are some ways to add more seating: •Fold up chairs with cute cushions •Beanbag chairs •Inflatable chairs Want to stay organized? There are many thrifty and creative ways to store your belongings in your dorm room. •Colorful plastic bins to stack on top of each other •Mason jars for pencils and pens •Hanging closet organizer (for snacks, larger items or shoes) In addition, make sure you check your dorm’s guidelines to see what you can and cannot decorate with. For instance, some living spaces with sheetrock walls require you to use picture hanging nails and thumbtacks instead of command strips. Talk to your RA if you have any questions regarding what you can use. Remember, it is important to make your living space as welcoming as possible so you can relax, socialize and study in an appealing environment. This is now your new home, therefore it is essential to love where you...

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