Monthly Archives: April 2017

Shaved Head Allows New Freedom and Confidence

by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor

If you asked me for advice, I would tell you to shave your head. On December 20, my hair went from short to barely there. Perched in the salon chair, my family’s eyes ate at me like a vulture chowing down on its prey. The last words I heard before the big “snip, snip” were my grandma’s as she repeatedly whispered, “I cannot watch this. I simply cannot watch her do this.” Fast forward to a few short minutes later and she was hurriedly shuffling out the door.
Shaving my head was the best decision I have ever made. Since that fateful day, I have discovered that, for me, no hair means no insecurities, a greater appreciation for the small things in life, and more confidence.
I have been changing my hair from the day I came out of the womb. Every time I went into the hair salon I would ask for something different—and usually walked out looking like a younger variation of Justin Bieber. I was never satisfied or comfortable with my appearance.
Nonstop I would be tossing my bangs from face, running my fingers through my hair, wishing it curled up, instead of down, lay flat, instead of rolling at the ends. I either had fantastic or drop dead horrific hair days, and these made my emotions either drop or soar based upon how I felt my hair looked.
Now, every day is the best hair day of my life. I wake up with my hair looking virtually the same as when I went to bed. Shaving my head has helped me realize that my self-worth should not be based upon my hair—I know my worth, and it is greater than my physical appearance.
Shaving my head has also allowed me to focus more on the little, seemingly insignificant things. The way the wind feels when it rushes by my head, how my eyebrows twitch when I ask a question. I have noticed new things about myself and about the world around me simply by clearing my head—literally and figuratively—of worries that stemmed from my hair. As someone who genuinely appreciates the details, I cannot stress how amazing and eye-opening this is.
Being a self-proclaimed “bald baby” has given me so much confidence. I can walk down the halls knowing I am literally not hiding a single thing from those that pass me. You can see my lumpy head, the deeply ingrained bags under my eyes, my lopsided ears—all things that I have grown to love and accept about who I am.
By putting myself so unapologetically on display, I am saying, “accept me like this or not at all.” This statement has brought me closer to some people than ever before, and weeded out some negativity in my life.
But, this hair cut does not come without its repercussions. I mean, many people have probably just assumed my sexuality by now, only by looking at my hair. And based off that, they think they know “what I’m all about”. And that is ok with me. All they are doing is missing out on getting to know me on a deeper, more personal level. It makes the relationships I have more meaningful to know that these are the people who appreciate who I truly am.
And, not to mention, growing out a bald head… Not a quick journey. You have to be committed to the change, and accept that until the day you decide to grow it out, you will spend some time every couple weeks buzzing a razor across your head—which is actually very therapeutic, if you ask me.
Shaving my head has completely reinvented the way that view and act in my day to day life. It has eliminated my self-doubt, opened my eyes to things I was previously oblivious towards, and increased my confidence.
Why don’t you give it a try?

Popular Makeup Trends Started by Drag Queens

by Grace Frunk – Ad Manager

For as long as drag queens have been around, they have constantly faced unwarranted hate. Despite the amount of dislike drag queens face, we owe many of our favorite beauty trends to them. Drag queens have invented, augmented or just brought to life several popular beauty trends.

contouring2
1. Contouring is the technique of using bronzers or brown tone bushes in any areas of the face that people desire to appear smaller or more defined. Drag queens would use bronzer to define or soften the appearance of cheekbones and jawlines. They also used bronzer to make the nose, forehead and Adam’s apple appear smaller. “Queens have been using these tricks from the very beginning… Contouring allows you to remove the man and reveal the woman by changing the shape of your face, removing the male jawline and even toning down the Adam’s apple.” Said make-up expert Ricky Boudreau/Ultra Violet the Drag queen. Kim Kardashian may have made this concept trendy, but drag queens who made the trend what it is.

stacking lashes
2. Since before the time of Cleopatra, cat-eyes has been one of the most desired looks. Eyelashes being longer on the outer corner of the eye is a classic look; it makes the eyes appear larger and more seductive. Drag queens would not be drag queens without lashes. “Stacking lashes” is taking two more sets of fake eyelashes, and applying one full set on the eyes, then cut the outer portion of the lashes away from the rest of the lashes. Apply these outer-only lashes on top of the already applied lashes.

lip makeup
3. As Detox the Drag Queen once said “The secret to the perfect lip is, surgery. If you cannot get surgery, over-line your lips until you can.” Kylie Jenner might have extremely influenced the big lip trend; however, drag queens have always ruled the world of lips. Lip-liner has been around for a long time and the idea of big lips was never a truly popular trend, until drag queens made it one. Since many drag queens try to conceal their masculine features, over drawing lips or getting lip injections, gave drag queens the opportunity give themselves a more glamorous and over the top look. drag queens brought this look to life in the 1980’s. Drag queens back then started to step outside the comfort zone and use every lip color there was. They made it look good! Their secret, lip liner.

cut crease
4. Creating a cut-crease is a technique that contrasts eye shadow color in the crease of your eye for a sharp, defined look. The idea of a cut-crease became popular by pop culture icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and even Barbara Streisand. The look of a cut crease is making a comeback, and drag queens are taking advantage of it. Drag queens normally like to take make-up to the next level. Their take on this classic look, is changing the game. Whether it is neutral browns, neon pinks, or any colored glitter, drag queens make cut creases all the more glam.

These are just a few of the current trends people have started to use more and more. The culture of drag queens was built around the concepts of theater. Drag make-up is exaggerated and dramatic. It can be hard, but stepping outside of the comfort zone and trying out these trends can be fun and something new. There are definitely more trends drag queens have created and surely will be more trend they will create. Keep an eye out on for these future trends by supporting the drag queen community. Try checking out some drag queen on YouTube or watching the newest season of Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Senior Trips Allow for Post-Graduation Adventure

cabo san lucas 2 ocho rios jamaica

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Reporter

Congrats seniors, you are almost done with school. What a better way to celebrate than to go on an exciting senior trip! We have complied together 3 trips that are affordable and exciting, both in the United states and across the world.
Everyone dreams about the Caribbean, the warm summer breeze and bright blue waters, however, for those of us that do not have money to splurge on such a vacation, we have found the Caribbean’s doppelganger, Florida Keys. Of over 1,700 islands to choose from, you can tailor your trip to you. A four-day trip through the company adventurestudenttravel.com includes action parks, dolphins, Bahama breeze eating and laser tag. Adventure studenttravel.com will customize the trip too you and your group, whether you want to fly or drive or take a train. A group of 20 people can go for only 600$ per person, minus airfare. This trip is great to go in a group with all your friends to celebrate the end of an era.
Feel more adventurous? Travel to Jamaica, an island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. Highschoolvacations.com has a trip flexible to your needs and wants. Highschoolvacations.com says, “Negril, the “capital of casual” located on the western tip of Jamaica, is a favorite spot to view the sun sinking into the ocean. Swim among dolphins, find breathtaking waterfalls, expansive beaches, tropical gardens, and fern gullies; if you are up to the climb, the 700-foot cascading waterfalls at Dunns River Falls beckon. Depending on your tastes, your Jamaican vacation activities can include horseback riding, polo, golf, tennis, shopping, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, sailing and surfing, rafting, swimming and sunbathing on gorgeous beaches. Add shopping and fabulous dining to the list!” The cost of this experience cannot be determined because you get to decide what you do, so the cost will change according to your plans.
Highschoolvacations.com also has some exotic Mexican trips available. Straight from their website, they describe the trip here. “If the site of a magnificent mountain desert disappearing into the cobalt blue Pacific Ocean is your idea of bliss, then Cabo San Lucas is your ideal destination. With more than 300 days of annual sunshine and less than 10 inches of annual rainfall, the spring’s temperature is typically 80°F.
You might spend a day deep sea fishing in the marlin capital of the world or go sailing or kayaking past the famous Land’s End rock formations. With a little luck, you might spot seals, whales or even a regatta race. Golfers delight the challenge of a world-class course while beaches beckon sunbathers. As evening approaches, prepare for an amazing meal and dancing at a variety of restaurants, clubs, discos, and bars.” The cost of this experience cannot be determined because you get to decide what you do, so the cost will change according to your plans.

Voice of the Outsider: Pokemon Sun

by Jessica Pahutski – Staff Editor

Coming home from school on Friday, November 18, I intended to play the heck out of my newly-delivered copy of Pokemon Moon after nearly a year of waiting. Opening the box, putting the cartridge into my old 3DS and discovering a new world. Choosing Rowlet to start with was a given as I had become obsessed with the thing for no apparent reason. The problem is I could not do so right off the bat. 20 minutes that felt like 40 passed before said selection happened. Little did I know this would only be a sign of things to come.
My neophobic side wanted to quit right after sitting through all that, but I kept at it, for about an hour before torching my save file and quarantining myself in a corner of woe. After my conscience gave me a pep talk before bed, I restarted the next morning. Such traditions and determination being broken would become a theme of the ordeal. When I had to experience the tutorial and cutscenes again, I started using a “refilling popcorn” joke and wrote a scathing poem about the wait time. Within two days, a shiny “Battle Royal Dome” came to my attention. Following the standard how-to fight, I tried going in again. To my shock, every AI had overleveled monsters and unobtainable items. Not surprisingly, I swore off doing that ever again after being slaughtered two or three times.
Despite what had happened so far, I loved some aspects. For example, nicknaming all of my main monsters after ragtime singers helped dull the pain. Some NPC designs had me going wild as well. A new feature entitled “Festival Plaza” started out great until I realized some of its mechanics were game-breaking or just plain stupid. However, another addition, “Poke Pelago”, fared much better. It too had a broken part here and there, but was not nearly as painful, eventual Rowlet infestation aside.
By Thanksgiving, I was far enough along in the game to get to the character that started my rise from the ashes back in September. Looking up the main antagonist’s party while soundly defeating her helped reignite that feeling for a short while. Within weeks, I had reached the final dungeon, home of the “Elite Four”. Even though this dungeon was quite easy, the idea of the boss rush broke me. Almost all of them could be taken out by one or two of my mains and the final guy didn’t seem worth battling yet. Eventually, days turned into weeks and “Not yet” slowly became “Not on your life”. I had also long given up on getting Sun and playing as the other PC as I usually did.
To distract myself during and after this acceptance of awful period, I took up Rowlet farming. Using my Talonflame “Nora” (originally “Anna”) as a speed incubator, boxes and boxes of coconut owls served as a coping mechanism. About 50 gameplay hours logged and at least a tenth spent on hatching eggs. It was just as ridiculous as it sounds. Over time, more subtle flaws had sprung up regarding the villain, glitches, and Wi-Fi distribution. These, combined with revelations about the post-game, did spark a fire, just not a positive one. Every once in a while, I pick it up to check on/update Pelago, but it’s always tainted by the mess it became.

How to Survive AP Testing Season

by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

For many juniors and seniors, as well as several sophomores, the dreaded time of the year has finally arrived: AP Testing season.
Try as we might to prepare for this nightmare, all our well-meaning arrangements can fly right out of our heads the moment we step into that testing room. Students may forget facts and figures, and more than a handful of students feel like they are on the verge of panic all day.
In light of that issue, here are a few ways to get ready and keep calm in the face of testing.
Study: This seems extremely obvious, but there are many people who feel like they already know the material and will not study as a result. Even if you do know everything you need to know, studying can give you a feeling of security that will help you feel more confident on test day.
Look at the Rubric: Every AP Test is graded on a detailed rubric. Frequently, your teachers will evaluate you on the same rubric. If you can figure out what you have to do to get all the points you need, you will be completely set to take the test.
Breathe: Again, an obvious thing to say, but very relevant. Many people have stopped breathing in the middle of tests and it doesn’t allow for clear thinking.
Care Packages: This can work if you make one for yourself, although your friends would likely appreciate these too. Little care packages can help tide you over through the stressful days before the test and the even more nerve-wracking hours during the test. While things like pens and pencils are a practical gift, other items like face wipes and a stress ball can help with other problems like fidgeting or stress-activated acne.
Most importantly, though, just remember: It is not the end of the world. There will be other chances to prove yourself. The only thing that matters is that you do your best.
Good luck to everyone this testing season.

Video Games Spark Polarizing Debate Amongst Student Body

by Erin Bedry – Staff Reporter

Video games: beneficial or harmful? This argument has stood the test of time. Believers of each side are strongly stuck in their ways. On the harmful side, we have moms, grandmas, and some teachers, while on the beneficial side we have the game addicts and maybe some more game addicts. However, no matter how blindly each side supports it, there is no way to disprove the facts about video games.
We have asked students what effects they believe the games have on them. “I play video games because they prove to be a nice stress reliever, being able to play a character and experiencing things through their perspective is very fantastical,” said Justice Etafo. Matthew Silva shares the same point of view, saying video games, “Allow me to wind down after a long day, and cool down after a bad time or otherwise.”
On the flip side, Conner Chick said “Video games do have some harmful effects. They can be a waste of time. Whenever I play video games, I think to myself, ‘What am I doing with my life?’”
The one thing that they all agree on is the fact that video games can be very social and build teamwork skills.
Video games help build very critical mental skills. Even for the younger kids, games will help them follow instructions better and develop early problem solving and logic skills. “In a series of experiments on small numbers of gamers (10 to 14 people in each study), the researchers reported that gamers with previous experience of playing such action video games were better at perceptual tasks such as pattern discrimination than gamers with less experience.” In addition to this, countless other studies prove this exact same thing.
Moving to the harmful effects side, the most common argument is that video games can lead to violent tendencies and lack of exercise. According to Health Central, “Some studies have disputed this while others, indicate that young people who show more rapid desensitization to violent pictures are going to be more accepting of violence, which is dangerous to the community at large.” In addition, from the same source, they described the link to obesity from video game use; “In children, ages one to 12, ‘results indicated that while television use was not related to children’s weight status, video game use was.’”
So next time you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all your homework, or even stressed by some friend drama, maybe try pulling up a video game. However, don’t do it for too long, because you may begin to experience the harmful side effects.

“Into the Wild” Raises the Bar for Required Reading

into the wild

by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Many students have heard of Into the Wild, a novel by John Krakauer, but in this school, only those in AP English Language and Composition will likely ever read it. Like many required reading books, it is judged to be bland and uninteresting before the cover is even Krak-auered open. However, this book presents such an interesting dilemma that, even if you dislike the people this nonfiction book focuses on, it will always give an opportunity for discussion about the morality of humans as a whole.
Into the Wild is an account of short stories and interviews that string together the life of Chris McCandless, a 24 year old man who decided to go on a cross country adventure ending in a permanent stay in Alaska that resulted in his early death. Jon Krakauer started the book as an article for a magazine which grew to something much longer. From Arizona to South Dakota, McCandless travelled all over the United States. However, it is not his death and his journey that are such a topic for discussion, no, it is instead Chris’ reasons for doing so.
Due to the fact that Chris was going on this journey to explore the “inner country of his soul”, many people regard him as a skewed genius, a man on a journey more important than material needs and attachments. At the same time, his extreme lack of preparation and alienation of his entire family have led others to view McCandless as an arrogant idiot, someone who went into the bush of Alaska with little gear and a bag of rice and hoped to survive on his own. These two ideas are absolute polar opposites, which certainly gives us a lot to talk about in class discussions, but also gives way to a lot of debate about human motivation. Is leaving on a journey to find yourself worth it if you end up cutting off all close relationships in your life? Is successfully surviving in the wilderness for a time acceptable if you end up dying, or mishandling the wildlife around you? It is hard to say.
For many, the answer is clear in their heads, but nobody seems to be able to come to a universal conclusion. Native Alaskans especially see McCandless as a dime-a-dozen moron who wandered into a situation he did not know how to deal with, but there are an equal amount of people from around the country that see Chris McCandless as an inspiration.
When I first started reading this, my reaction was immediately sour; Chris McCandless, to me, represented every character trait that I disliked in other people, except it was all in one single person. He was foolhardy, arrogant, rude to his family, and even though he didn’t have the slightest idea of how to actually survive in the wild, he assumed he would be able to anyway. In his journey, he survived for as long as he did by pure luck, some of which involved shooting and killing game that he was not able to prepare because of his lack of research. Given all of what I perceived, it shocked me that other people could feel differently. However, many people in my class thought that Chris was impressive, or that he was incredibly enlightened in the journey he had. It proved to me that there was much more to this book than met the eye.
Whether you enjoy the book or not due to what you think of Chris McCandless, it is still definitely worth a read. If more people join the conversation, perhaps a conclusion can finally be reached.

The Best Chocolate Chip Recipe

cookies

by Emma Hartvickson – Staff Reporter

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon backing soda
¼ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of butter (room temperature)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla
One large egg
1-cup chocolate chips (Dark, semi-sweet, or milk) suggested: milk + semi-sweet
Recipe:
⦁ Mix all dry ingredients except sugar.
⦁ Mix in the butter, sugar and vanilla into the dry mix.
⦁ Add egg to the dry mix.
⦁ Beat slowly to incorporate, blend well.
⦁ Stir in chocolate chips.
⦁ Drop 2 tablespoon potions about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
⦁ Bake @ 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes
⦁ Cookies will be pale in center.
⦁ Let cookies cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack.
Review:
This recipe is by Sunset Magazine, is probably one of the best cookie recipes. It makes about 18 cookies and after you make them, you can put them in the freezer and they will last for about 2-3 weeks. The simplicity of it is nice as well, It does not take too long so if you need any last minute desert plans these cookies are the answer. Switching up the combination of chocolate chips is good too. The combo of both semi-sweet and dark is good, but for milk chocolate lovers, adding all three types is great!

Top Three Comic-Book to Film Adaptations

by Nolan James – Staff Reporter

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“The Dark Knight” – “The Dark Knight” is the film that has defined this century’s cinema, apart from the “Lord of the Rings” series. The movie was an instant hit, and received critical acclaim for its dark, complex story and characters. It features an award-winning performance from Heath Ledger as The Joker, who is trying to spread chaos over the city of Gotham, as Batman, played by Christian Bale, attempts to stop him. The movie is a dark tale, with shocking character deaths and complex morals. Two-Face is a serious and dark character in this movie, quite unlike that other movie, with a deeply tragic backstory. The movie went out of its way to be one of the best comic book movies ever, proving that “DC,” at least at the time, could hold out against “Marvel.”

spidey

“Spider-Man 2” – Spider-Man is probably the most popular “Marvel” character of all time, so it makes sense that one of his movies would be within the top three. Directed by Sam Raimi, this sequel greatly improved upon the original, and focuses on deep themes about the complications of being a superhero. In the movie, Peter Parker struggles to balance his personal life and his alter ego’s life, ultimately damaging both. He ultimately decides to quit being Spider-Man, and focus instead on his personal life. However, complications arise, as the villainous Doc Ock starts killing people. “Spider-Man 2” ultimately deserves its place among the best sequels ever. Sam Raimi is very good at doing that.

iron man

“Iron Man” – Iron Man is the first movie in “Marvel’s” Cinematic Universe, and is probably the greatest, though “The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are close.  The movie stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, who basically defined the role, giving probably his greatest performance.  The movie is about Tony Stark, who is injured greatly while attacking Afghanistan with a new type of rocket he created.  After this, Stark builds a suit and becomes the superhero known as Iron Man, while trying to stop a villain named Obadiah Stane from taking his technology.  The movie is expertly done, and features great performances from its actors, as well as having a great sense of comedy, placing it on this list.

“Attack on Titan” Returns for the Long Awaited Second Season

by Nicholas Runyon – Staff Reporter

The wildly popular “Attack on Titan” (Shingeki no Kyojin) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by the Mangaka (Manga-Artist) Hajime Isayama. The monthly series debuted in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on Sept. 9 2009, and as of December 2016 the series has had 21 volumes.
The series is set in a world where humanity lives in cities surrounded by enormous walls as a defense against the Titans. These Titans are giant humanoid creatures ranging between 3–15 meters tall that eat humans seemingly without reason. The story initially centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and their childhood friend Armin Arlert, who join the military to fight the Titans after their hometown is invaded and a Titan eats Eren’s mother.
Season one of the “Attack on Titan” anime encompassed volumes 1-8 of the manga. After the Titans attacked the first city, killing Eren and Mikasa’s mom, Eren decided to join the military with Mikasa and Armin. “After five years, Eren, Mikasa and Armin graduated; and they were all assigned in Trost District. When the Titans attacked the district, Eren was eaten during the battle, and his friend Armin witnessed it. Surprisingly, another set of Titans appeared, fighting off the first batch and not harming humans. Soon, the military found out that it Eren has an ability to transform into a Titan, making him a threat to human race. After Eren undergone a trial, he was taken under the care of Capt. Levi. During the Scouts’ expedition to Shinganshina, a female Titan appeared and attempted to capture Eren. The Scouts captured the female, but it soon devastated the squad of Levi. Armin thought that the female Titan was one of the soldiers, as during the time, she attacked the squad, but the monster didn’t hurt him. Later on, Armin’s theory proved to be true. The squad found out that the female Titan was none other than Annie Leonhart.” Said Sarah Tejares
After nearly four and a half years, and multiple delays later the highly anticipated second season will finally air on April first. The new season will pick up right where the first season left off. This season will also introduce a new Titan, the Beast Titan, and will serve as one of the major focuses of season two. Readers of the Attack on Titan manga know the Beast Titan is a human with Titan-shifting powers similar to Eren, but intelligent, covered in hair, and possessing the ability to speak. It is important to note that season two will probabally not be sticking to the plot of the manga, since when the animating started the animators ran out of source material to work with, and added a filler story, although some characterizations and events should remain the same between both versions of the story. Either way, Attack on Titan season two seems like it’ll be just as action-packed as season one.