Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Cirice: In Our Darkest Days

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #9

In our darkest days we look up to the highest powers. – Aldo Baricevic

As it draws closer to the end of the semester, the world becomes darker. Partially due to the upcoming winter solstice, but also because of the stress and anxiety caused by deadlines, homework, papers, exams, and finals. It is times like this that I am reminded of this drawing I once saw on Tumblr. It was a three-point diagram entitled something like “Life”. The three points were entitled SLEEP, SOCIAL LIFE, and SCHOOL and there was a caption that read “Choose two”. Honestly, if you’re a master at time management you could actually be able to have all three without having any horrible repercussions, but for people like me who also have to add work to the equation, life feels like a never-ending merry-go-round in hell. For the past few weeks, a cold has been lingering in my body and last week brought me to a dark place, so I’ve been trying to recover, but sometimes, due to my mental disability, I get these uncontrollable, unexpected waves of depression. I’ll just be sitting down enjoying a banana beside my friend or I’ll be in the library studying for a quiz or I’ll wake up from sleep and then I just feel my whole being sinking downward and I feel hopeless, directionless, and it’s not elicited, it just happens. I have a lot of different coping mechanisms for this, some healthy, some not so healthy, but when I was having a bad morning today I listened to one of my favorite bands, Ghost, and tried my best to feel better.

The particular song I was listening to was called, “Cirice” (Ghost actually won a Grammy for “Cirice” last year and of course, Papa Emeritus, the frontman of Ghost, and his nameless ghouls were in full garb and he was in full makeup as well). It’s one Ghost’s best songs, hence the award they won for it, and it has a wonderful music video that is worth a watch as well. It’s great because of its powerful lyricism. It tackles the topic of religion, a theme that most of Ghost’s songs deal with. They’re not actually Satanists but their songs do mention Satan and revolve around satanic themes. “Cirice” doesn’t explicitly mention satan but one could interpret the song as the voice of Satan speaking to a troubled soul. Satanism aside, the lyrics are so beautiful and heart-wrenching, they’re also even a little bit comforting. Papa Emeritus sings, “I know your soul is not tainted/Even though you’ve been told so”, which is really validating. There’re a lot of negative people out there who will talk down to you and try to make you feel bad, but no one deserves to be talked to like that or feel that way. We’re all flawed creatures, but that doesn’t make us damned. Papa Emeritus recognizes the pain within us all as he sings, “I can feel the thunder that’s breaking in your heart/I can see through the scars inside you”. It’s hard to be optimistic and a positive ball of energy all the time. There will be days when we don’t know what to do with ourselves and everything seems to be falling apart when we’re already broken down inside, but like the voice in this song, there is hope. There is someone. You may not even know them, but there is someone to reach out to for help. Please, always remember that.

When I put on Ghost, it always puts me in a good mood, even as dark as the music is, because even in the dark there is light. That light for someone could be God, could be Satan, could be a parent, a friend, a co-worker, a teacher, it could even be a song or a book or food. My old friend, Aldo Baricevic, once wrote this poem back in high school that had the line “in our darkest days we look up to the highest powers”. His poem really resounds within me at this time in my life. Those highest powers are many kinds of different people and things for all of us. If you are ever in the dark, and you feel like you don’t know where to reach out to, there’s always someone who will listen, who will care. Keep on keeping on and before you know it the sun will come out again.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

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Posted in Homepage, Steven's Newest Posts

Spirit of Poseidon

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This is an image I made during my sophomore year of college, representing my zodiac sign, Pisces. Aside from the zodiac representation, it also represents my ruling planet Neptune, and my affinity to water. When I made this, I was thinking about zodiac signs in an artistic way, and let my imagination take me to what lead up to this photo. The original photo of me was posing on the scaffolding bars. At that time there were people fixing up the one of the buildings at my old college. The blue bar-like handle of my weapon you see was actually a scaffolding pole. I cut myself and that pole out of the original image, blended it into the ocean backdrop, added what looks like a harpoon shooter to the tip of the pole I was hanging on to, and blended in a photo of Poseidon to make it look like I’m emitting the spirit of the God of the Sea. The name on the corner of the photo (Aurora-V Gala) was my personal symbol at the time, and I would use it as a mark to say I made the image. I made this image because I have great interest in mythical beings (Though I don’t like to spend too much time reading about them. I’d rather visualize it in photos like these), and was particularly inspired by the ocean god. The image of this being that projects from me in this photo sparked ideas to me the most, because it goes well with one of my favorite oceanic sounding songs, called “Sun In Your Eyes” by Above and Beyond. The song’s soothing beginning, dramatic climax, and soothing fade at the end caused me to imagine a scenario where I’m out in the middle of the ocean, where no ship has ever traveled. In this scenario, I encounter various beings never before seen, including a silhouette of Poseidon himself. My photo manipulation is also representative of my masculine and my feminine characteristics, as they sometimes carry themselves with grace and a calmed mood. The fact that people often find me unapproachable and somewhat intimidating at first glance is the reason my photo represents the calm and graceful side of me. I’m usually in this mood when I’m by myself, because I have no one around to draw my chatty and silly side out of me. I also use this side of me to keep myself from paying people mind when they judge me by appearance or stare too long. Staring back at them with the same calm mood makes them turn away to avoid my eye contact as well. Thinking in terms of spirituality, it’s as if a guardian spirit (In my case, I prefer to imagine it as Poseidon due to his intimidating stare in my photo) repels them away to protect me. I’m not saying this is for real, but when I use my imagination, I see it that way. It’s fun to re-imagine various situations based on what goes on in one’s mind, so long as you don’t lose touch with reality either.

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

Seven Billion

There are some that are acknowledged for the differences they have made in the world; they win prizes, and trophies, and are written about in books, magazines, and newspapers. Then there are some that go about life never realizing they have made a difference. As you grow up, you wonder what you want to be in the world when you grow up and how you want to affect those around you; when you grow up, you realize that being able to make a difference in one person’s life is more than enough. You don’t need to be a famous prizewinner; you just need to be you.

Emily Dickinson’s poem, “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking” allows me contemplate the importance of our humanity and the ability to influence others around us. We are able to make a difference, and it doesn’t take a grand gesture to do so, it just takes a little compassion. In Dickinson’s poem, the speaker states, “if I can stop one heart from breaking / I shall not live in vain; / if I can ease one life the aching / or cool one pain / or help one fainting robin / unto his nest again / I shall not live in vain.” While it is important for us to build a life for ourselves, it is also important for us to use our humanity in order to inspire someone else to do the same.

There are seven billion people in the world; if each person was able to perform one small gesture of kindness a day, then that’s 7,000,000,000 gestures of kindness each and every day. As the end of the fall semester nears, we’re all stressed out; we are tired and we cannot wait to get all of our final projects done so that we can finally relax. With that said, if you see your friends or peers are too overwhelmed, take five minutes and talk to them. You have the ability to help someone simply by listening, simply by letting them know that they are not alone. We all need a boost of encouragement every once in a while. We each contain the ability to make a difference in the world; it is up to you to decide what kind of change you will be putting forth each day.  As Emily Dickinson’s poem “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking” states, “if i can ease one life the aching…I shall not live in vain.” There are seven billion people in the world, and it only takes one to begin making a difference by simply by showing a little kindness.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage

When You Meet Geet

CINÉMONDAYSWITHHARDIK:

Jab We Met

(dir. Imitiaz Ali)

(Available on Netflix)

Geet has never missed a train, or an opportunity to talk. She holds onto the ‘talking’ part pretty tightly. As for ‘missing a train,’ that happens, once, thanks to a fellow stranger Aditya whose life-story so engages Geet that she understands her duty to make sure he doesn’t miss the train. 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!

What follows is a journey that celebrates free-spiritedness, what it means to be Geet, and how important it is not to lose the Geet in you, only recognize and cherish it. Who is this Geet I am talking about? Watch Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met and find out. The movie is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

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Geet: “All my friends tell me their problems. And I solve them. Do you know? I am that kind of girl, like an agony aunt whose articles come in the magazines. I’m just like that. Tell me. What’s the matter? Tell me what is your problem. Tell me. Don’t feel shy. What is your problem? Tell me.”

What is your problem? I mean, feel free to tell me how this semester is a drag, in the comment section.

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~ Hardik Yadav

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Scott Pilgrim: We’re Human, Therefore, We Suck

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #8

Humans suck. They’re selfish, they’re cruel, they’re lazy, they’re ignorant– they’re a perfect example of imperfection. And there is no exception for the characters in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book (whose books are shaped like traditional manga volumes), Scott Pilgrim. These characters embody the deadly sins and they mess up a lot and sometimes can be downright mean. I was talking to my friend who lent me the series about how it’s hard to choose a favorite character, not because I was all “OH MY GOSH, they’re all so great! How could I ever choose one?” but rather I was feeling like “Oh my gosh, they’re all so flawed and kinda sucky, I don’t have a favorite character. I think I see myself in them.” Yeah, I totally had a small identity crisis when I was reading Scott Pilgrim. I had that epiphany moment where I realized how all the characters are not the best people, but then reflected on myself and thought, “Who am I to judge when I am just as flawed as them?”

I think that’s the mastery of O’Malley’s character writing. He knows how to make them real. Really real and complex. This is not hard to do. I notice in a lot of the comics I read, sometimes even in books I like, the characters can be unrealistically nice or awesome. Think Ned Flanders from the Simpsons pure and holy. These characters seem to be untouchable and infallible, but this is not how life is. Life is filled with bruises and bad people who aren’t all that bad. O’Malley acknowledges this with his characters and I feel like he knows that his readers might pick apart these characters he makes, in their own attempt to salvage the good parts of them, but ultimately, if you want to choose a favorite character, you got to do that thing that people do when they go for the long haul in committed relationships. You’ve got to accept them as they are. Warts and all.

I’m not surprised that the character I most identified with was Knives Chau, the sole Asian girl character who, of course, is in high school who is definitely a warts and all character. *SPOILERS AHEAD* She falls in love with our protagonist, Scott, or thinks she does, and then gets her heart broken leading her to seek vengeance on the one who stole her beloved from her. She cuts and dyes her hair hoping to be noticed, hoping for a change. I’ve totally done that before when I was feeling like I wanted a big change in my life; my hair has been blonde and different shades of pink, as well as pixie-cut short overnight. Beyond the unplanned urges and physical appearance, I feel Knives in a more spiritual sense. I’ve discovered that I am capable of feeling an ugly, uncontrollable jealousy just the same way as Knives and when I realized, it sucked. I didn’t want to be that jealous girl, but I was. In that moment I came to the self-actualization of being human.

Recently, I did a stupid thing, not regrettable, but just selfish, careless, and stupid. Not going to say what it was because it’s super embarrassing and worth about a thousand facepalms, but you could say I’d fit right into a Scott Pilgrim storyline. My story would probably be an off-book storyline really briefly referenced with me in a panel looking at someone I was involved with after they mentioned something that happened in the past that wasn’t… the smartest of moments, then I have a flashback to that particular stupid moment. He would quietly mouth “Sorry” for bringing it up and my face would be brimming with chagrin. The story writes itself. Scott Pilgrim has much more to offer than characters who “suck” (but also kinda rule). It has fist fights, beautiful manga-inspired art, and a pretty rad storyline. So, if you like any of those things, it’s definitely worth a trip into O’Malley’s world of Scott Pilgrim.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier