About Andrew


Global Security & Intelligence Studies

AZ can be snow much fun.

Apparently it snowed last weekend. I didn’t see it happen.  When I left for a Students for Liberty conference in Washington DC last Friday, the weather was warm and the only snow on the ground was the hunks of ice that lurk in the shady areas of my condo neighborhood. When I returned, there was cold air and heaps upon heaps of snow. That just goes to show you what weather can be like here. And yet, as I write this, the weather has turned warm again and the sun is shining. This is good news for me. This, however, is good news for the snowmen whose spherical remains now litter the quad like the elephant graveyard from the Lion King.

In a few weeks, the weather in Arizona won’t matter however, for I shall be headed to California for Spring Break. My friends and I will be travelling the PCH looking for the perfect wave to ride. Plans of my other friends include trips to Lake Havasu in AZ, trips to Las Vegas, Various vacation locales in Mexico and day trips to Phoenix. The location of Embry-Riddle affords this all with its great location. Many of my friends back in Kansas will be making a two hour drive back home to hang out in the small town from which I hail. No sun, sand or fun. One may get homesick their freshman year, but they’ll learn to love the opportunities AZ has for them.

A Very Kansas New Year

The funny thing about being an Alpha, get-things-done personality type is that during the school year, I am constantly forward to some leisure time. However, it always seems that when that leisure time arrives, I am desperately wishing to be swamped with work again. The entertainment situation here in KS is bleak. Almost as bleak as the scenery. The trees are dead and so is the nightlife. I’m really quite excited get back to Embry-Riddle.

That’s not to say that I have no plans to get out and have fun while here in Kansas. This New Year’s, I will be going to participate in the nights festivities with some friends at Kansas State University. That’s usually quite a bit of fun. Also, it allows me an interesting opportunity to compare contrast ERAU with a different, larger school.

First of all, the students at KSU are mostly Kansas students. This often seems to lead to a lack of cultural diversity. And I’m not talking ethnic or international diversity, I’m talking American diversity. Surrounded by cowboy hats and country music, I begin to miss the California attitudes of many of my friends from ERAU. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a social event at ERAU where country music was played non-stop, if at all. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. My fraternity brother, Alan is like a poster boy for John Deere. However, the name of the game at ERAU is diversity of thought, and I definitely miss it. So, as I wander the streets of Aggieville in Manhattan, KS this New Year’s Eve, I will definitely be thinking about all my ERAU friends spread around the country. Happy New Year’s students of ERAU. I will see you soon.

Finals: Fall 2010 “This time, it’s personal.”

Finals week has come upon us, and I just had my first one today. I don’t know if it was too much caffeine, the three hours of sleep or no breakfast, but those five pages of essays I wrote for Dr. McNabb were very uncomfortable. Only two more to go, however. I love it as finals week progresses, because you get to watch the students get stressed to the point of hysterics and then become ridiculously exuberant as their tests are all done and they get to travel back home for Christmas. Not only that, many of the finals beards that are being grown by many of the guys right now are pretty legit. Mine is getting to be a serious piece of art.

The weather here on campus has been very warm. Yesterday was a beautiful 70-some degrees! A couple of my fraternity brothers started a baseball game out on the grassy lawn, a welcome break from studying for many.

Another great thing about finals, is the never ending supply of snacks. Here in the library we have had free soda, coffee, hot cocoa, tea and snacks donated. Also, SGA, at ransom intervals throughout the day, puts out full size candy bars for those lucky enough to find them.

I really need to begin packing for my trip back to Kansas Friday, but我有一个中文考试 I must study for. Also, tomorrow my business partner and I have to travel to Flagstaff to meet with the small business incubator who has picked up our fledgling company. It seems to come from all angles at finals time, but the awesome feeling at the end is worth it.

MLTD (My Life To Date)

Times have been just crazy. A few weeks ago, ERAU gifted its students with a much needed 3 day weekend. Logically, one might assume that students would take this time to rest, relax and prepare for the next stretch. That is always my plan going in to three day weekends, however, it never works out.

Thursday night ended and Friday morning had come. It had been a blissful morning of waking up at 9:00 AM rather than the usual 7:00 AM. (Although, I wake up at 7:00 every morning automatically, and I have to convince my body to go back to sleep if I want to sleep in.) I walked downstairs and began to figure out how I was going to spend my day, to start to decide which bits of homework I would do first.

Then the call came. My friend Wild Bill, who is beginning to become a recurring character in this blog, told me I needed to pack my bags because we were going to Las Vegas for a night. After a few minutes of futile arguing, I finally agreed. My logic was, “life is short”. So, Trevor Wilcher (T-Bone) came and picked me up. We grabbed some T-Bell and hit the road.

The drive was fairly entertaining. We spent most of it rocking out to XM Radio, until about an hour outside of Vegas when the energy ran out. Once we had checked into our hotel, however, the energy picked back up. We went out, walked the strip and took in all the sights. I’m sure we burned a lot of calories that night, because we ended up walking almost the entire strip. We got to visit what are my favorite hotel/casinos in Vegas by far, the Wynn and the Encore. They are incredibly classy and have no outside show/gimmick to give it fame. It just oozes class. We also watched the fire show at the Mirage. You could just feel the heat radiating off of the pyrotechnics. The next morning, we ate a delicious pizza buffet at CiCi’s Pizza. I put down at least 6 plates, amazing my friends. I have a very special stomach. It basically doesn’t feel anything. I have the ability to either go hours without eating, be satisfied by just a snack, or pile in a massive amount of food. My stomach is basically elastic.

My Future Whip

The Adventures of Brandon in Paris.

I'm like a chill Jane Goodall

Shenanigans a la MGM Grand

This last weekend, I got to go on a Recruiting trip for Embry-Riddle. I left for the airport in Phoenix at 5:00 AM. That’s wayyyy too early. However, by that afternoon, I had arrived in Chicago (my first time there), met Rob, the admissions rep and checked in at the hotel. We went out and ate at an Irish Pub, and I ordered the strangest sounding thing I could pick out, the bubble and squeak. Apparently it’s fried potatoes and cabbage which was, strangely enough, quite good. After dinner, we went and watched a performance of the Blue Man group. It’s really an incredible show, and you should see it if you get the chance. One instance, they used strobe lights in conjunction with uv lights and a gyrating mass of toilet paper and I almost became nauseous.

The next day we gave a presentation to a group of fine, young potential ERAU students. It went very well, and we flew to Minneapolis right afterwards. In Minneapolis, we got upgraded to the executive suite free of charge. The room was amazing, as it had 2 stories to it and was on the 31st floor. I decided to go out and walk the streets and Halloween is alive and well in Minneapolis. The streets were packed full of adults running around in their costumes. There were no Jersey Shore costumes, which gives me hope for the city of Minneapolis. I did, however, see a lot of Lady Gagas, a team of Shake Weight enthusiasts, the cast from Mario cart, an unusually large amount of Waldo from “Where’s Waldo?” and a large group of men dressed as Canadian Mounties that walked around yelling, “EH!” The next day, we gave our final presentation and headed on home.

The Presentation Room a la Hilton

At the bottom of these stairs is a sign that says "Champions Only".

Typical ERAU Dorm Room. LOL. Just jk.

The most recent development in my apartment is the addition of a litter of kittens. This is strange because we don’t own a cat. While watching TV, I heard the sound of Mewing. Running outside, I expected to find two cats fighting. I heard nothing. Returning inside, however, I began to hear the sounds again. Following the sounds, I was led to the garage where I found a litter of kittens in the bottom of a cardboard box. We have no idea what to do with them.

I'm more of a dog person, but... CUTE!!!

Shootin’ the Rez


Once again, my blog entry begins with me walking out of my Chinese class. 很好!This weekend, I’ve got very special activities planned. I will be leaving the PRC with my friend Kevin Johnson, A.K.A. Wild Bill Johnson, and heading up to Durango, CO. I’ve randomly stuffed some clothes in a book bag, and shortly after Chinese we are sitting in his Toyota Tacoma preparing to cross Northern AZ, or “shoot the Rez” as we like to say. As we drive through Flagstaff, we see a massive train derailment on the side of the road. Wild. Not only that, we see an RV dealership that has been torn to pieces. RVs are flipped to and fro. They lay upside down and gutted like empty sardine cans that some giant has tossed aside. In Tuba City, AZ, we stop to get a Taco Bell fix. It is at this point in time that I learn that Taco Bell has unveiled new sauce flavors. If you’re a Taco Bell fan like me (and like most every other busy student at ERAU who travels to the T-Bell down the street far more than is appropriate or healthy) you must be excited by this development. They have introduced “Fire-Roasted” and re-introduced “Verde”. I still remember the day I learned Taco Bell wouldn’t be making Verde anymore. This is a very important topic for me. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful.

Upon arrival in Durango, Kevin and I went straight to his Alma Mater to watch the Durango Demons play the Blue and White team (Whatever they were) on the gridiron. We actually went to watch his sister dance, but it was nice to see some high school football since I haven’t had a chance to watch my hometown team play since coming to ERAU in 2007. Kevin’s sister did a wonderful job at dancing.

Afterwards, we all went to one of the most delicious Pizza Place’s in the world to eat some supper. “Homeslice Pizza” is soo good. Run by a bunch of hippies, they boast a wide variety of delicious pizzas from Thai Chicken pizza with chicken and peanut sauce to Autumn pizza with apples and cashews. For the rest of the night, we played around with toys in his dad’s shop. We set up a smoke machine and shined lasers through it, we shocked ourselves with electricity and moved a giant TV (this will be important later in the story).


Slept in. Best thing ever. You take these opportunities when you get them. Kevin’s parents made us some awesome biscuits and gravy and we got ready for the day. We pulled out a couple of dirtbikes and got them started up. Once we’d gotten them started, we climbed on and drove to the top of the big hill that Kevin’s house lays on. On the way down, we stopped by an old water pump for cattle and pumped out some ice cold, clear mountain water. I drank some and haven’t gotten stomach parasites yet, so I guess it was good water. We then set about cleaning out the shop. The giant CRT TV we had moved the day before was to be put into a dumpster, but, it’s pretty much impossible for us to leave well enough alone. We decided it would be necessary to test the thickness of the glass. I began to smash it with a cinder block. The TV annihilated the cinder block. Kevin then took a steel rod to it. That finally did the trick.

Later that night, Kevin’s family had some neighbors over for ribs and we set some old branches on fire. I love fire. We also set up some targets and shot at them with .22 tracers. Kevin made a ridiculous 30ish meter shot with a pistol on his first try.


Sunday was pretty incredible. We decided to load up some cooking gear and ride dirtbikes to the top of a mountain. This made me pretty nervous as, prior to this point, I had only built up about 30 minutes of motorcycle driving time. None of this time adequately prepared me for what was about to occur. Sitting up on a Honda 600, I began the ride easily enough. It was a nice flat, dirt road and a lovely day. Soon, however, I began to realize I might be in for a rough time. The bike path suddenly dove into the woods and turned to nothing but grapefruit sized rocks. I would carefully navigate down the path until I reached the bottom, which was almost always a stream, with or without obscene amounts of mud. It was like riding a bucking bronco. I had never experienced anything like it. The rocks would toss me from side to side and every time I hit a switchback, I felt like I was knocking on deaths doorstep. And the big 5 foot wide 1 foot deep mud puddles? Forget about it. I was sliding all over the place. I rode pretty well, but eventually, the path got so rough that I was outclassed and had to switch to a four wheeler. I only fell three times though, and I broke no limbs. I would consider that a success. It was definitely worth it though, the views were absolutely spectacular.

At the crest of the mountain, we stopped and cooked up some burritos on portable stoves. The drive down the mountain was much simpler. I plugged into my iPod and tuned the world out. It was pretty magical riding along in the colors of the CO wilderness listening to the sounds of the Silversun Pickups.

It was a wonderful weekend, but school beckoned to us, so Monday we packed up the truck and drove back to the PRC. We both had a midterm that night in Business Law, so we spent the 6 hour drive studying. So much studying.

The guysPitstopI can ruin any picture.The view speaks for itself.All the fixins'Wild Bill Johnson. Hard at work.I've got a need. A need for a moderate amount of speed.Who knew dumpster contents could be so interesting?Time for DestructionNice glass on that one.This is what the inside of a T.V. looks like... from the outside.I love fire.

Daring Explorations of the PRC


Ahh!!! The weekend has begun. As I currently only need to take 12 credit hours this semester, the feeling of reward I get when walking out of my Chinese class probably isn’t as sharp or gratifying as that of some of my more overworked classmates, but that fact doesn’t bother me at all. The weather is beautiful, the breeze is nice and the promise of the evening hangs quite heavy in the air. First things first, however… I must take a nap.

Three hours later…

I emerge from my bedroom well rested and sharply dressed. Tonight is the culmination of weeks of planning and execution. Tonight, my fraternity will place pins on the pledges that we have so carefully recruited. My sweater vest and knit tie warms my torso while my arms are left subject to the cool breeze of the Prescott evening. I think back on when I was elected recruitment chair and had begun planning for the process that would end tonight. That date was more than four months ago. After hours of planning and excessive amounts of hard work and time given by my fraternity brothers and I, we had finally reached that point in the year where our effort would be rewarded by the addition of a whole gaggle of new brothers.

Let me tell you, they are quite the gang. The freshmen who have decided to pledge my fraternity are as numerous as they are energetic. I have never seen a group of young men more excited to take on the responsibilities of become gentlemen of a fraternity. There are nineteen of them; they are the largest pledge class we have had since I joined my fraternity almost four years ago! I am incredibly excited to see all of them be brought into the fold as full-fledged brothers of Sigma Pi.


Today started out like any other, but a quest to buy a dryer for as little money as possible would lead my friends and I on a journey of incredible discovery and intrigue. There was really no contest as to where we would find the lowest prices on used drying machines; the answer is always the DAV.

The Disabled American Veterans Thrift store (or D’Ardon Verre as I like to call it) is the most wonderful thing in Prescott. I have never in my 21 years of glorious life encountered such a vast treasure trove of wonder. After visiting this thrift store on numerous occasions, I must say that Goodwill is a RIP OFF! Why pay $3 to $4 dollars for a simple t-shirt when you can find it at DAV for 25 cents. That’s right, a quarter. Guess what. Almost everything else is a quarter. The DAV is to bargain hunters what a Candy Store is to a 5 year old with a sugar addiction.

We quickly found a dryer and priced it at $25. With that done, we began our ritual of exploration. It took me about five minutes to find a military grade, green wool sweater with shoulder and elbow patches. After walking downstairs, I decided to look in the glasses bin to see if I could find any fun hipster glasses. I like to bust the lenses out of them and ironically wear them about. I found two. Right next to that was the hat box. I found a beret. In the pants area, I found black, military ACU bottoms. I started to calculate how much this all would probably cost me. “Three, maybe four bucks tops,” I said to myself. I was wrong. The lady only charged me $1.75. Incredible. I just bought almost all the items I will need for my French Legionnaire Halloween costume for less than the price of one of my regular trips to Taco Bell.

Afterwards, my friends and I headed to the Outlet Malls at Anthem in Phoenix to find some great deals on clothes. I didn’t buy anything, but I did follow my friend Alex around and try to convince him to buy terrible outfits. “Yes Alex, that fuchsia shirt does go well with your skin tone.”

That night, we traveled to Method Coffee, a great little, local café, to enjoy the music of “Open Mic Night”. After scoring a free, award winning latte, my friends and I retired to our condo to play a very hard fought game of Cranium. “Team Bros” (my team) won. Saturday…. Done.


Brett (my roommate) and I awoke and decided to travel downtown and visit the Prescott Farmer’s market. We never made it there. When we drove by the courthouse, we saw a multitude of tents up and throngs of people. We decided to check it out. It turns out it was an antique sale. Mildly interesting. However, since we were already parked, we decided that we would explore a bit. We found that there is actually a nature trail straight through the center of downtown. In the four years I have lived here, I have not known this. We also stopped in a local art gallery and talked to the artist. He told us about the inspiration for his art. After snooping around a bit longer, we decided to head home. I then spent the rest of the day lounging around a pool in Prescott Valley. Life in the PRC is hard.

Antique Sale in Downtown PRCTables like this, only tens of tens more.Do this make my ego look big?Get yo' nature on.Prescott, putting the "u" in nature AND culture.Found this little lady downtown. I asked her for her number, but apparently they didn't have phones back then.