Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Hard Times: Embracing the Struggle

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #13

It’s here. The dreaded finals week. The end of the semester that feels more like the end of the world. Everyone around me is sleep-deprived, highly stressed, achingly hungry, and on the cusp of a mental breakdown. I’ve had my share of late nights in the 24/7 hours Leonard Lief Library cramming with friends and what I’ve learned is that peace of mind in college does exist as long as you do your assignments as soon as you get them, attend all classes (and pay attention, duh), and study at least four hours a day… it really works… in a perfect world. Which we don’t live in. Anxiety and depression exist. Death and heartbreak. And the bane of every college student’s existence– procrastination. So, how do we achieve this seemingly impossible peace of mind with all these things coming at us? My coping mechanism is always music.

While you’re huddled at home or in the library with coffee running through your blood a pretty poppy tune to get you through it is Paramore’s “Hard Times”. Hayley Williams’ lyrics tell the story of a struggle with self and with others. That’s what we all go at this time of the year especially as people who are just trying to figure out if what we said we wanted a year ago is what we wanted now. That goes for careers, friends, lovers, and even family members. Things that we have been neglecting or are toxic. These are the things that she sings about. “Hard times, gonna make your wonder why you even try/Hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry/These lives, and I still don’t know how I even survive.” She’s basically singing about how life ain’t easy and how it can be a cruel captor of your time, love, and energy. The song is kind of ironic because it’s a super upbeat 80s jam vibe that fools you into thinking that everything is hunky dory when really it’s spiraling downward and we’re about to hit rock bottom. That’s the mystical and funny thing about music. It could be lyrically about something sad but it can make you break out into song and dance.

The reason why I wanted to share this song at the end of the semester was that I felt like, as a struggling, emotionally distraught college student, others like myself would appreciate the throwback to a musically amazing decade and also the painfully relatable lyrics. I hope when you listen to this song it empowers you to push through the deadlines and the brutal exams. To all those who read my blog, thank you for making it all the way to the end of the semester with me. You’re the real MVP. Kat out (for now).

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

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Posted in Homepage, Steven's Newest Posts

Flames of Confidence

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The flames of confidence. They are what appeared upon my death. My death as an insecure person, desperately trying to disappear with the crowd around me. My death as as the one who had to face the reality of their true passions for other men. My death as someone who believed there was only one way to be in a relationship. These very flames transform me again and again. The first time I died one night in 2011, I was reborn into a man, now sure of his sexuality. The second time, I died in 2013, and was reborn into an experimental person, now accepting his feminine side and allowing it to be a part of his masculinity. The third time, I died as an amateur in my style, and was reborn with more secure tastes in clothing. With every “death” I go through, my rebirth brings me back stronger, with new viewpoints and abilities. I died not too long ago in 2017, and came back with a new view on relationships and how to better manage the dilemmas that are presented to me. Of course I can’t say what I’ve learned, considering that not everyone goes through the same situations. But if anyone were to speak to me about what they go through, they’d get similar, but not the same info. I modify it to their situation to avoid close-minded advice. But anywho, back to these flames. For this image, I got four different transparent images of the fire element. I took the original photo of me striking a pose mid air by setting my phone’s camera on timer, which automatically took burst pictures in order for me to pick out the best pose. I then kept the image the same, but added and positioned the fire images in a way that makes me look like I have fire wings spreading from my body.  added another ball-shaped flame over me to make it look like I’m about to make the flames burst all round me. I also used the fire ring image, increased its size, and positioned it around me to make it look like I’m causing a heatwave, which is a symbol of my confidence influencing others. Finally, I added the sunny filter to change the lighting of the entire piece so it looks more authentic. As usual, I put my personal symbol to let viewers know that I created the image. All of my transparent images were found on google images. From my point of view, the elements each represent a certain characteristic. I also see the elements more than just water, fire, earth and air. I see them as more specific kinds, as well as more varied kinds (because pokemon inspired me, so I see water, ice, steel, and electric as their own elements). The final piece is also inspired by Phoenix (Jean Grey), and the Phoenix five (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus, and Namor). I found out about marvel characters such as these in 2014, and became inspired by their heroic art ever since. I’ve also always loved the idea of me being possessed by the cosmic flames known as the phoenix force, mostly because of the cool poses and abilities. My dash of heroic characteristics were inspired by marvel heroes and villains alike. The image I made can be loosely connected with my natural body heat, because I heat up fast and am more resistant to the cold than many people I know. And because I’m confident, it along with my warm body connects to the image I made as well. For my next post I want to play more with fire, and symbolize the consequences of too much confidence, giving myself a more “corrupt with power” image where I strike a pose that looks like I’m losing control while my flames run wild, hurting everyone around me. I’m not usually the overly cocky type, but I, like everyone else, have my days where I’m hyped up to the point where I have too much confidence.

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

Motivating Distraction

As the semester comes to an end, we scramble to complete our final assignments and study for our exams. Time seems to drag on as we hope for the days when our sleep patterns will return to normal. With one week left, the pressure seems infinite and our deadlines appear to be closing in on us. However, as we all know, appearances can be deceiving. As this is my last blog post of the semester, I’d like to dedicate it to all the Obscurians who can and will succeed. You got this!

 

In William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence,” the speaker states, “to see a world in a grain of sand / and a heaven in a wild flower / hold infinity in the palm of your hand / and eternity in an hour.” This poem reminds me of all the different thoughts I have when I sit to do my homework.  I begin to fantasize about the beauty of the natural world and it becomes a welcome distraction of escape from homework. William Blake, however, used his observations of the world and his thoughts as inspiration for the poem above. With a little motivation, we can persevere and use our distractions as inspiration while we strive to finish the last few pages of that essay, or try to think of more effective ways to study. The speaker continues by stating, “the questioner who sits so sly / shall never know how to reply / he who replies to words of doubt / doth put the light of knowledge out.” Do not doubt yourself. You are in the final moments of the semester and you can succeed.

 

William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” reminds me to have faith in myself, and I hope that it will inspire all of you to have faith in yourselves. You have made it this far into the semester, and with just a few days left you have it in you to work hard, study hard, and successfully complete the Fall 2017 semester! Wishing you all the best of luck: until next time Obscurians!

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage

Goodbye, Fall Sem

CINÉMONDAYSWITHHARDIK:

GOODBYE, FALL SEM

Between these breathless jumps and finding art in the art, the semester’s come to move on.

Breathless Jumps

Breathless is an experiment. Sad news is that there is no escaping that.

Konkana and Shutu

One night after a bit of drinking, all youngsters, Shutu’s cousins play a prank on him. A séance ensues. His reticent nature is tested. The cousins do not stop––they are having a careless fun. As is promised in the title, someone dies.

Did You See Capote?

Capote wants for Perry what the movie wants for Capote: “If I leave here without understanding you, the world will see you as a monster. I don’t want that.”  

Modern Ahalya

The tale is old. A modern spin, one might assume, would call for empathy for Ahalya. After all, she was tricked, and then cursed in spite of it. But that’s a story someone might choose to tell. Someone not Sujoy Ghosh. (Sujoy Ghosh has to his directorial credit: Kahaani, Kahaani 2, and Te3n.)

Pigeons Are Here

Pigeons are here. Thousands of them. In flight. Cooing. Carrying LED lights. Carrying whispered prayers. Yours, mine, ours.

Mother: Intense, not Mixed

Writers among us should aspire to create something intense and smart like that, so intense you don’t realize you missed the names until you’ve walked out and talked to a friend, tried to explain them a character’s motive, without getting around their name.

People, Places & Things, and Endings

It helps that as writers we aren’t powerless over people, places, and things, and how they end.

Don’t Ask, It’s Surreal

A lavish dinner party after an opera, company of other elites, and no one is able to just leave. Morning, then evening, then morning, then evening, so on. Elites have servants, but they’ve left. There’s no water, no food. But why? Don’t ask.

When You Meet Geet

Geet has never missed a train, or an opportunity to talk… Yeah, she misses the train just because she cannot let a fellow stranger miss the train; of course, that instantly upsets her, Aditya shouldn’t have done that––make her miss the train by missing the train himself! 

Thank You, Ms. Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is immortal, a sea. Her revolution: the quiet and the gushing of her poetry. She is one that could not be discouraged, not toward her poetry. Constantly flowing.

Masterpiece, or the Art in the Art

You say it’s a chair, I say it’s a chair. I say it’s a chair, people. People say it’s a chair then. Where is the art in that?

Where is the art in the art? Is it that art is in and of the art?

 

~ Hardik Yadav

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Lo Que Siento: The Spanglish Deconstruction of Toxic Masculinity

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #12

I took three years of Spanish back in high school and you’d think, at this point, if someone were to approach me speaking solely Spanish that I would be able to hold my own. Ha… no. It’s truly shameful because had I actually dedicated myself to my studies I would have gained a really useful language skill, but even better, I would have entered the beautiful world that is the Spanish language. I’ve always thought the Spanish language sounded super romantic and spicy, but I didn’t realize how poetic it could be. Then, I heard Cuco’s “Lo Que Siento” and now I can’t stop listening to it on repeat. There’s no better season for this level of audio cheese. 

So it’s cuffing season. I just recently learned what that is. It’s the season to pair up with someone and become a couple. It’s funny how much like wild animals we can be. Searching for someone to mate and hibernate with to survive the winter. It’s an emotional survival of the fittest. Cuco’s music is a healing balm for the cracked, crumbling souls longing for love. I will admit the first time I heard “Lo Que Siento” I didn’t really like it. I thought it was so corny and cliche, way too saccharine for my tastes. But then, like a victim of cupid’s bow, I got trapped in love’s spell and all the sickeningly sugar-coated sentiments in Cuco’s song became endearing and real. Both the English and Spanish lines are written pretty well, but it’s lines like “Sin ti mis días son largos y se sienten tan amargos (Without you my days are longer and they feel bitter)/Me ahogo en un lago de mis lagrimas que hago (I drown in a lake of tears that I make)” that really make me want to curl up in the fetal position, eat a pint of Häagen-Dazs, and silently cry.  Cuco, real name Omar Banos, is only 19 but his lyrics are so blatantly filled with sensitivity and vulnerability, which is something bold and even dangerous for a young, Latino male to express openly about.

The best part about Cuco’s “Lo Que Siento” is that it’s a public display of a young man’s emotions for someone. In a culture where you’re supposed to be filled with machismo or male pride, Cuco shows other young men that it’s cool and a-okay to cry and be lovey-dovey. I mean, his twitter handle is @icryduringsex which kind of speaks for itself. These types of personality traits would usually be shunned in the Latino male community and be considered something to be ashamed about. Often times, in music both visual and audible, women are overly sexualized and objectified so it’s refreshing to hear Cuco’s romantic ode to his beloved. We need more music like this to break down and dispose of toxic masculinity. ‘Lo que siento’ translates to “How I feel” and I think that’s all we really need to hear rather than “What I desire”, “What I want”, or “What I lust”. Not that those aren’t normal things to feel, but I think that there should be more recognition and attention for feelings and emotions of the young men in our urban community. These are our fathers, sons, teachers, politicians, artists. We need to nurture them, not emasculate them by feeding into the idea of toxic masculinity and machismo. 

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier