Category Archives: Uncategorized

Move to Live Better

Moving your body every day can make you fit and healthy, give you energy and help you focus, according Heather Mclennan-Murray, a yoga instructor at Breathe.

Her advice is simple: “Just move. Move every day. In any way that brings you joy, especially,” said Murray. “If you’re doing something that bores you…it doesn’t keep you engaged.” It makes sense. People are more likely to stick to an activity they enjoy.

And there’s a snowball effect. “The more you move, the more you want to move…so just start small and get a little bigger. Make little goals for yourself,” said Murray.

If you think you’re too busy to exercise, think again. Physical activity can actually increase your productivity so you can get more done. “When I do yoga, it creates more time in my schedule in a really weird way…it makes me feel present,” said Murray. She explains that our distracted minds are often what make us feel so busy. “It takes away our ability to focus and so it takes us much longer to do things,” said Murray. Exercise calms your mind so you can be more logical about your day.

Time spent on exercise is an investment in your body and your well-being. “It brings your priorities back into focus,” said Murray. Being busy and distracted makes it easy to get derailed from what brings you happiness, she explains. “For me, movement is more than just a physical thing. It’s an emotional experience,” said Murray.

It’s tough to exercise when you’re tired, but Heather says you’ll feel better if you do. “[I know] it’s hard to believe it when you’re in the pit of your exhaustion, but if you just get up and you start doing it, you’ll eventually get your second wind and it will wake you up and you’ll feel better at the end of the day,” said Murray. “You’ll even sleep better. If you exercise, you’ll sleep better at night, so you’ll be more rested by actually expending energy,” Murray adds.

Some people don’t exercise because they think they’re too out of shape, but Murray says: “It’s about having a healthy relationship with yourself and your body. When you want a little baby to walk for its first time, you’re not like “Get up and walk now! You know, some people are like that with their bodies when they’re working out. I need to get up and work out now!” Murray suggests encouraging yourself with positive self-talk to build a sense of excitement. But what if you’ve tried before and failed? “It starts with forgiving yourself first and just getting back up on the horse,” said Murray.

No matter what your age or body type, it’s never too late to start moving. People that have the farthest to go can often reap the most rewards. Murray explains: “They get discouraged and they think it’s too late but, honestly, the people that are the worst off, when they make a little bit of a shift, they’re the ones I see that get so excited then they keep going…it doesn’t take much…to get re-excited about your body again because you’ll start to see those results sooner, and you’ll start to feel better.”

Heather primarily teaches “acro” style Yoga – a combination of yoga and acrobatics – but Breathe offers classes for people of all different skill levels and interests. Murray said she loves Breathe because they are integrative and bring together all different types of movement. “They just make fitness fun,” said Murray. Breathe is located at 601 Capitol Way S in Olympia, WA and offers classes on yoga, zumba, tai chi, belly dance, meditation.

Breathe is planning to give demonstrations at ArtsWalk in downtown Olympia April 26-27, 2013.


The Right to Protect Ourselves (Op-Ed)

The gun debate has heated up recently, spurring passionate responses from both sides. Anti-gun advocates fear that they or their loved ones will become victims of gun violence. Pro-gun advocates fear the loss of fundamental gun rights that allow them the means to defend themselves. The debate affects us here at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) because some of our adult students and faculty are law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, The Sounds newspaper focused much of its January, 2013 issue on the topics of guns violence and grief. They reported that some students and faculty at SPSCC believe concealed carry on campus puts them at risk. However, statistically, carrying concealed weapons reduces violent crime. And not just for the person with the gun, but for the rest of us as well.

According to research published in the January 1997 issue of the Journal of Legal Studies by criminologist, John R. Lott, Jr., PhD, concealed carry laws “coincide with fewer murders, aggravated assaults, and rapes.” Lott reported 8, 7 and 5 percent reductions in these crimes following the passage of state concealed-carry laws.

In the 2010 edition of Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, he reports that murders fell by an additional 1.5 percent and rape, robbery and aggravated assaults fell by 3 percent for each additional year that states’ right-to-carry laws were in effect. The decline in violent crime is greater the longer carry laws are in effect.

Defensive gun use, which is often unreported by victims and the media, is even more compelling. Brandishing a gun during an attempted crime is frequently sufficient to deter criminals and may therefore not be reported, especially if the person carrying the gun lives in a state where concealed carry is illegal. The media can be biased and underreport defensive use stories because gun violence – and fatalities in particular – are more newsworthy. Subsequently, the public gets a skewed view of gun reality.

Fifteen national polls, including those used by Gallup and the Los Angeles Times, imply that defensive gun use is extremely common. They reported that guns are used defensively 3.6 million times a year and handguns make up 760,000 of defensive uses.

We make our own safety in many different ways: walking to our cars with a buddy, locking our cars and houses, living in gated communities, keeping an eye on our neighborhoods and reporting crimes to the police. Knowing how to safely carry and use a gun is just another tool to keep us safe. Admittedly, carrying a gun may not be for everyone, but the decision should be left to the individual.

SPSCC’s current policy of honoring state law in allowing concealed carry for qualified adults is sensible and fair. I am glad to hear that SPSCC’s new President, Tim Stokes, will consider all the facts before he makes a decision regarding future policy. If we discard logic and allow fear to make our decisions for us, we may very well find ourselves without the means to protect ourselves when we need it most.

Tabatha Blacksmith has had a concealed carry permit for Washington State for over 10 years. She regularly receives firearms safety instruction from, and practices with, her husband, Eric Blacksmith. Eric is an Army veteran and gun enthusiast that used to work in the firearms industry.

Upcoming Job Fair for Veterans

(original submission dated February 16, 2013)

A free hiring event is being held in Seattle on March 5, 2013 for veterans, active duty military, guard and reserve members and their spouses. Employers and job seekers will meet face-to-face from 9AM to Noon at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center 2211 Alaskan Way Seattle, WA 98121.

The March 5 “Hiring Our Heroes” event is one of a series of 400 job fairs being held nationwide each year to reduce veteran and military spouse unemployment. The goal is to match up veterans and military families with employers who are committed to hiring them.

The event is being held by the US Chamber of Commerce, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and other public, private and non-profit partners.

According to Bryan Goettel, Communications Director for the US Chamber of Commerce, the Hiring Our Heroes events have steadily gained momentum since they were launched in March of 2011. More than 14,100 veterans and military spouses have obtained jobs and more than 750 businesses have hired employees from these events.

“We’re definitely seeing more enthusiasm,” said Goettel. The number of repeat employers that participate in the events – and describe them as a “positive experience” – is telling, Goettel added.

During its second year, the Hiring Our Heroes initiative is being expanded to include a stand-alone program for military spouses and a sustained campaign to obtain hiring commitments from small businesses.

Information regarding the March 5 event is available at Pre-registration is required for employers and encouraged for job-seekers.

Additional information regarding the Hiring Our Heroes initiative is available on the US Chamber of Commerce website at

SPSCC Meets Needs of Non-Trads

South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) does a good job of accommodating their needs, say non-traditional students. From on-site day care to evening and online classes, SPSCC makes it easier for students with work and family obligations to attend college.

Local schoolteacher and student, Sean Finn, characterizes SPSCC as convenient and said the classes fit his needs. He takes classes at SPSCC to hone skills that will help him in the classroom. He’s currently taking Introduction to Video Film Production in the evenings so that he can make videos for his own students and their parents, but he has taken other classes at SPSCC as well.

“I’ve taken classes here [at SPSCC] in the same kind of situation before, you know, picking up things for school and had great experiences,” said Finn.

Full-time mom, employee and college student, Caty Walsh, 33, chose SPSCC to be close to her son. Walsh already uses a daycare facility nearby, but she thinks that on-site daycare is a good idea. She appreciates the college’s child-friendly attitude and said she has even seen children in the classrooms at times.

“They [SPSCC] are very accommodating,” said Walsh.

The Campus Child Care Center, which is operated by the YMCA, has trained staff that care for children aged 3 months to 6 years.

Chris, 22, has been attending SPSCC off and on for about four years and is about to graduate. He says he chose SPSCC because it was close and affordable.

“They work well with your schedule,” said Chris, who added that SPSCC “does a great job of meeting student’s needs.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students for which one or more of the following is true are considered “non-traditional”: they delayed enrollment following high school, work full-time while enrolled, are financially independent (for financial aid purposes), have dependants, attend college part-time or did not complete high school.

NCES reported that 73% of all undergraduates in 1999-2000 were in some way “nontraditional.” More recently, NSEC reported that overall enrollment at degree-granting institutions increased by 37% between 2000 and 2010; the percentage of students age 25 and older increased by 42% (compared to a 34% increase in their younger counterparts) and is expected to rise another 20% by 2020.

Gallery Opening Profile

(original submission dated January 18, 2013)

Fifty-nine local and regional amateur and professional artists of all ages participated in the arts gallery’s second annual fundraising event, “My Kind of Place.” This year’s event is going on now through February 15, 2013 at the Kenneth G. Minnaert Center for the Arts.

“I like that [the event] brings the whole community in,” said Robin Ewing, Art-Instructional Technician at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) and member of the arts gallery committee.

The postcard-sized entries are currently on display on the second floor of building 21 on the main SPSCC campus on Mottman Road in Olympia, WA Monday – Thursday from 12 – 4PM or by appointment. A silent auction will be held on February 15 from 6 – 8PM where the public can show their support for the art gallery by purchasing this year’s exhibits.

Last year’s fundraising event, “Wish You Were Here,” raised $1,000 for the arts gallery and was so well-received that the committee decided to hold another event this year. The response to this community event was overwhelming, said Ewing.

“My Kind of Place” also coincides with another important event: SPSCC’s 50th Anniversary.

More information is available on the arts gallery’s web page at Ewing encouraged would-be artists to sign up for the arts gallery’s mailing list so they can participate in future events. The entry fee for this year’s event was $5.

Clint Mullins Profile

Clint performing_edited

Bassist, vocalist, guitar player and songwriter Clint “Dogger” Mullins doesn’t just love music, he wants to share it with the rest of the world. And he’s found two new ways to do just that: writing and teaching.

This summer, Clint plans to start writing a book, documenting his musical career. He has created and performed songs with local rock/grunge/metal bands Gebular and Screaming Sons Of for a decade.

He also hopes to teach music and business classes after he graduates from college. Clint currently attends South Puget Sound Community College full-time, plans to transfer to The Evergreen State College and eventually obtain degrees in both Business and Communications. Clint may go on to get his doctorate, perhaps even a PhD. He’d like to see more classes for aspiring musicians outside of expensive specialty music schools.

Clint wants to continue being a professional musician, but said he’s not in it for the money. His inspiration comes from the fans. His bands keep in touch with fans, some as far away as India, through social media. He adds that the fans’ support and encouragement give them the drive to seek wider audiences for their music.

Music is more than a creative outlet. It’s vital to Clint’s well-being. “Performing is like going to counseling,” he said, referring to the emotional release brought on by powerfully executed lyrics and movements on stage.

He enjoys going to live concerts and sharing experiences with other music lovers. His current musical tastes can be traced back a life-changing Soilent Green concert in 1997. After hearing the grindcore & sludgemetal band live and dancing in their mosh pit, he fell in love with rock and never looked back.

Clint recounts the day in July of 2007 that Gebular opened for the band Great White and performed in front of over 3,000 people. The audience loved them, he said. “At this point, I knew my calling,” said Clint. But his all-time favorite experience as a musician was the day in 2011 that he performed at the famous Robert Lang Studios in Shoreline, WA with Aaron Burckhard, Nirvana’s first drummer.

Gebular was formed in 2004 in Aberdeen, WA. Since then, the band has performed live at a variety of venues, toured the West coast twice and won two “Battle of the Bands” competitions. Their album, Escape, was released in 2008. In addition to performing original songs, Gebular does the occasional cover song by Nirvana. The high-energy band’s goal is to write and perform songs with real-life meaning to which listeners can relate. They are planning to record their second album this year.

Gebular also gives back to the community. In 2009, the band headlined at a concert to benefit youth that Clint organized called Grays Harbor Rock Fest. The following year, the festival was held as a free concert for all ages so that everyone could enjoy the show.

Screaming Sons Of recorded its first demo in 2011. Aaron Burckhard left the band in 2012. They are currently working on new songs for 2013.

When Clint is not on stage or at college, he enjoys fishing, writing and photography. He lives “in the woods” along the Satsop River with his wife, three dogs, six cats and an iguana. He also has a wide range of professional interests in addition to music, such as organic farming, audio and video production and computers.

Performances by Gebular and Screaming Sons Of can be heard on YouTube at…0.0…1ac.1.DWFpf2tp01o…86547.89591.0.89817.…0.0…1ac.1.7c4F3uNTJ3M

Photo Slide Show Assignment

This was a quick, in-class assignment where we were asked to gather still photos through windows around campus, make them into a slide show and add music (using iMovie), and then post the finished piece to YouTube. The choice of music was a little unfortunate as the singer started singing about jumping off bridges just as we see the slide of campus rooftops!

If I had to do this project all over again, I’d wish for a different POV. Shooting through windows resulted in window reflections and dark photos. I shoot strictly manual (no flash) and it was an overcast day and there just wasn’t enough available light. Given more time, I could have produced better work. Even so, it’s good multi-media practice, gave me a chance to learn iMovie and an excuse to set up a YouTube account!

Here is the link to my post:

Free Parking Policy

This was an audio assignment where I asked students and faculty how they feel about the new, free parking policy. I had to take audio recordings and edit everything in Audacity, which really forced me to learn how to use this software. I was so proud of myself by the time I was finished!

There is one track that I should have left out because you can’t hear the speaker. But, other than that, I think I did a pretty good job.

Multi-media/Article Review

Shejuti Paul’s opinion article “College students should choose sleep over cramming” in Kaleidoscope/Opinion is well-written and informative. And oh so true! I am in a constant state of sleep deprivation and I’m sure you other non-trads can relate too.

It contains some good statistics and a still photo. I would have liked to see some links in the story, especially to those great sources of stats! Interviewing one or more sources (e.g. experts) and quoting them would have lent the story even more credibility and a little more personality. But it was still a great article.

Read the article at

You can access Kaleidoscope’s main page at

Multi-media Article Review

Mariana Simoes and Max Nilsen’s article “16 Great Startups College Students Are Working on Right Now” is upbeat and inspiring. No matter a student’s age, great ideas abound and we should take advantage of them. This article is about students who just dove in and pursued their dreams. I prefer to wait for graduation, but I admire these students’ initiative!

I tend to be guilty of thinking that, because I work and go to college full-time, that my life as a writer is, well, on hold. And it is, but, hey, it isn’t all bad. Those ideas are still percolating around in my overtaxed brain, and I’m making note of them, even if I’ve decided to wait to implement them. So that has to count!

This article is well-written and makes good use of multi-media. Good still photos and lots of helpful links were included. The only improvement I would suggest is getting more spontaneous shots (of the students doing what they love) to replace the posed ones. Oh yeah, and including video or audio. Hearing the students would make their stories more personal. Great job!

To read Mariana and Max’s story, go to

Business Insider can be accessed at