Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trance Hour with the Sandman

Among the many clubs and activities here at Elmira College is WECW, the college radio station. WECW broadcasts at 107.7FM throughout the Elmira area and brings to you a variety of genres- from talk shows, to classical, to alternative music. WECW is located in the campus centre, where DJs can be seen and heard in action by anyone walking by. With two microphones, the broadcast booth can accommodate up to two DJs. Equipment allows DJs to play music on almost any modern platform including iPod, laptop, CD, and cassette.

Anyone can be a DJ, all you have to do is sign up and sit through a couple of training sessions. For some people, being a DJ is second nature. For me, it took a bit of practice. My first few shows were choppy, to say the least.

When I first sat in the booth on my own, it was a little overwhelming. Talking into the microphone was awkward because it felt like I was talking to myself. The soundboard has about a million knobs, and I was trying to remember all the rules while saying the right things, picking songs, adjusting volumes. For my entire first hour-long show, if I wasn’t stuttering into the microphone, I was either playing two things at once, or nothing at all (which was definitely against the rules). I left the microphone on while playing a song, and I talked into the microphone for about two minutes when it was off. I felt like I was a one-man band who had zero coordination.

Practice was really all it took. By my second or third show, I had it down pat. I had memorized the buttons I needed to press and I was way more comfortable talking into the mic (there IS an audience, you just can’t see them). Now, I even use a computer program that simulates a turntable, so I can mix my music, slow it down, add sound filters, etc.

The genre of music I play is called trance. Its like dance music, only a little more deliberate in the progression of the rhythm, and has less words (if you can believe that). But to be honest, if it has a steady beat and a catchy melody, I’ll probably play it. That’s where the virtual turntable comes in. Even with my amateur skills, I can mix beats and pretend I’m a real DJ… You can laugh, but its pretty fun. If you tried it, you’d love it! I even have a DJ alias: ‘The Sandman’. It’s a sweet nickname, yes, but it does serve a purpose. You’re not allowed to say anyone’s full name on the air, so I adopted a nickname that was given to me.

Trance is definitely not the most popular type of music in Elmira, which is why I wanted my own radio show. Now I can play the music I want to hear. If you’re interested, and you’re in the Elmira area, check it out! My show, ‘Trance Hour’, is Thursday nights, from 9-10 on 107.7FM.

Here's a sample:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mid Term Break

As you may know, I’m a member of the Varsity Hockey team. We’re on campus over break again, preparing for our first playoff game this Saturday, February 27. The women’s hockey team is still here, so are a number of international students and students who wanted to work on campus. Other than that, it’s pretty deserted.

To keep everyone updated on what’s happening here, I’ll have you know that the campus centre floor has just been refinished with a glossy coat, and the dinning hall will be out of deli meats for the next week and a half. And that pretty much sums up the exciting news thus far. I’ll keep you updated, so no one loses any sleep.

Without classes, one thing that passes the time extremely well is following the Olympics. Watching the various Olympic competitions has restarted the friendly competition and rivalry that made our Christmas break on campus enjoyable (The World Junior Hockey Championships was over Christmas break). The Elmira men’s hockey team is about half Canadian and half American, with one Swede. Whether it’s speed skating or ski-jumping, watching the events is that much more exciting, and unnerving, knowing that you’ll have to answer to the haughtiness and arrogance of the supporters of the winning team. For example, I had someone say to me “why does Canada even have a team? Canada’s not even a country.” This was over a curling match, which is arguably the least intense Olympic sport. So you can see how things get heated.

Nothing ignites excitement more, however, than Olympic hockey. As it stands now, team USA beat team Canada once – much to the chagrin of myself and my Canadian teammates- but both teams still moved on. The US just defeated Switzerland in a nail-biter to advance to the semi-finals. Team Canada also advanced to the semi-finals with a win over Russia. With a win later tonight, Sweden will advance to the semis to play Canada. Everyone on the team is watching with bated breath; no one wants their country to be eliminated, and everyone wants the bragging rights associated with a gold medal.

Despite the rivalry between all the different nationalities, everyone knows that it’s all in good fun. The Olympics are a great way for people to come together and appreciate the talent of the world’s greatest athletes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


If you’ve been talking to someone on campus and had an unexplainable urge to stare at his upper lip, well, you may not be crazy. There definitely HAS been an increase in facial hair at Elmira College. I’ll explain.

For the entire month of January, the Men’s Hockey team and other participating students are growing moustaches. This event is commonly known as “Manuary”. Similar months include Moustache March, Movember, Stachtember, The Stanley Cup Playoffs (for hockey fans), and Handlebar Hapril (okay, I made that one up). Each of these events has the same premise: no shaving of the agreed-upon portions of facial hair during that month.

The motivation behind most of these occasions is not entirely understood. Why, specifically, does one grow a moustache in the month of March? Not sure, but I imagine you could find these months labeled under the “just for fun” category of facebook groups.

Although Manuary may seem to be one of the more pointless occasions of the calendar year, at Elmira College, it does have a purpose. The purpose is to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Almost everybody has been, or knows someone who has been affected by prostate cancer. It is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting close to 1 in 6 men. For that reason, it will be Prostate Cancer Night at the Murray Athletic Centre on January 29, where the EC Men’s Varsity Hockey team will play host to the Utica Pioneers. Soaring Eagles play host the Utica Pioneers. The puck drops at 7:00pm. Tables where you can make donations will be set up around the arena.

As far a raising awareness goes, growing moustaches works pretty well – that is, if you can grow a reasonable one. The idea is that everyone will ask why you are growing a moustache, then you can tell them about the cause. However, for someone who is not as proficient at growing moustaches, like myself, a certain amount of time was wasted. I went through about 2 and a half weeks of the ‘awkward stage’, where the hair on my upper lip more resembled peach fuzz or food particles than it did a moustache. (Someone handed me a napkin without saying anything once. I couldn’t figure out why, until recently…). At that stage, people seemed to be too embarrassed for me to say anything or ask me about it. I finally had to resort to dying my moustache to make it clear that, yes, I do have a razor, and, yes, I am intentionally not shaving my moustache.

Despite the ‘awkward stage’ and all the weird looks, I still think Prostate Manuary has been a good idea. All I ask is that everyone attend and make a donation on the 29th so that my awkward moustache was not grown in vain.

P.S. I caught Hank, may he rest in peace.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Friend Hank

Well, Hank’s not really my friend, he’s more of a nemesis. He’s a little brown mouse who makes his home in my suite in Towers. Apparently leaving an open bag of sunflower seeds on the floor is an open invitation for a mouse to come live in your vent. Who would have thought? I blame my not-so-tidy roommates. By no means is our room a pigsty – it’s normally pretty clean. It just seems like there’s always a half empty bag of corn chips under the couch, or bread crumbs on the floor.

Remarkably, my roommates are unphased by our resident rodent. They make comments, and even small-talk to the mouse as it runs across the common room. They named him ‘Hank’, and, yes, Hank IS cool.

When you have roommates, you have to make allowances for their habits. You can’t get bent out of shape about all the little things that bother you because you wont be able to live with anyone. Normally I let things slide, but you have to draw the line somewhere. I admit, I was fond of Hank at first – until he started leaving sunflower seed shells in my room. That’s when the line was crossed. I decided to get rid of Hank, no matter how popular he was.

I managed to get my hands on a pile of animal-friendly traps. They’re the ones with the superglue. Theoretically, you catch the live mouse in the glue, then release the animal unharmed it into the wild by dissolving the glue with water. There are a number of things wrong with this, but, to be concise and less opinionated, I’ll just say these traps didn’t work.

On a number of occasions, I put peanut butter on the traps and slid them under the couch. I caught more blankets, shoes, videogame controllers, and half empty bags of corn chips than I did mice. One time, I decided to switch to lemon cake. Hank loved the lemon cake. I know this because the cake was gone and there were tiny little scratch marks in the glue. I wondered if getting glue on his feet would make Hank mad enough to leave.

I apologize to animal lovers, PETA members, and friends of mice, but it was time for some heavy artillery. I picked up some real mouse traps – the spring loaded kind. The first night I loaded the trap and placed a big piece of Swiss cheese on it. I fell asleep dreaming of a mouse-less apartment. The next morning the cheese was gone and the trap was still loaded. I was baffled. Maybe the trap was broken? In one of my less inspired life decisions, I touched the top of the loaded trap with my finger…

The trap definitely worked, and it did a number on my finger. I thought I heard a little voice laughing inside the vent.

The rivalry between Hank and I lives on. I am more intent than ever on catching this elusive rodent. I’m pretty sure I’ll host a victory party if I ever catch him. I’ll keep you updated.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Break at EC

My winter break at home was short and sweet. Nine days flew by, and, before I knew it, it was December 27th and I was on my way back to EC. Members of the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams, Women’s Hockey team, and my team, Men’s Varsity Hockey, were all back on campus early to prepare for the games scheduled over break. The Men’s hockey team had to prepare for three very important games, including contests against Oswego State and Plattsburg State, the first and second ranked teams in the country.

It was pretty quiet on campus with no class and no one around. We spent most of the day practicing or working out at the rink. The evenings on campus meant movies, video game tournaments, and a lot of watching hockey.

The World Junior Hockey Championship started December 26th and ran into January. The top hockey players under the age of 20 from around the world represented their countries in a 14 team tournament. The favored teams were Team Canada and Team USA. Coincidentally half the Men’s Varsity Hockey team at EC is Canadian, and half is American. The friendly competition and rivalry between the two sides made for a lot of fun, especially when watch the games on TV. Being Canadian, the high point of the tournament for me was watching Team Canada beat Team USA in a shootout during the preliminary round. Unfortunately my bragging rights didn’t last long, as the US later beat Canada in overtime to win the gold medal.

By January 2nd, it was time to travel to Oswego to play our own games. We played the Milwaukee School of Engineering first, and won 4-2. The next day we played Oswego. Unfortunately, a poor performance all around left us with a 3-1 loss.

The next week was much the same, cumulating in a game against Plattsburg, which we tied 1-1. We remain ranked 6th in the country and continue to have high aspirations.

I can’t believe break is already over and second term is underway. The first part of the year went by so fast. It seems like yesterday that I was driving to Elmira in September, shocked that I was already starting my sophomore year. It’s amazing how time flies.