Archive for January, 2012

Emeka Leads the People: Column #3

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I’m looking for the perfect (Valentine’s, holiday, birthday) gift for my boyfriend. Any suggestions?

-Diana

 

Luckily, I have no idea who your boyfriend might be, Diana, so I can answer this question nice and impartially. I once got a set of clip-on ties as a gift, and I was ecstatic. Why? Because I had no idea how to tie ties, but was still able to look spiffy like my dad. That gift was basically a gateway to bigger and better things and a new improved Emeka. Obviously you shouldn’t get your boyfriend — whose identity I don’t know — clip-on ties, but my point is that you should consider his interests. What is his primary interest, and in what way is he looking to expand on that interest? If you consider those two simple questions, which I assume you know the answers to, you’ll have no trouble getting him the perfect gift. No gift cards.

 

 

I’m going off to college next year and quite frankly I’m worried about living with a total stranger. What should I do to get to know him better, or at least give a good first impression?

-Borges

 

Well, Borges, you’ve already taken care of about 75% of the workload, which is cutting your unbelievable hair. Without such an attention-grabbing palette on your head, your new roomie will be able to focus on those deep, deep eyes and have something reasonable to talk about. Basically what you have to do is walk in there with your game face on, because it’s game day, and decide the game from the first snap. You tell him who you are, what you will do, and how you’ll do it, in as polite and conservative a fashion as possible. Just because you’ve been in high school and had an easy schedule does not mean you’re soft. You can take care of the college guys with the right mindset.

But my best advice, seriously, is not to use Facebook before you actually meet him. DO NOT MEET HIM ON FACEBOOK. You will be predisposed to judging him inaccurately, and will not want to know much more when you meet, so your friendship will already feel jaded when you first shake hands.

 

My unicorn was stolen yesterday. I am extremely emotionally distraught and am having trouble moving on from this tragic event. Do you have any advice for me?

-Sophie Vandenbroucke

 

Frankly, I’m turning this article in about a month late, so your debacle has probably been resolved as of this writing. But I’ll answer it anyway because it’s pretty funny and I might be able to aid any future unicorn trouble. And for all you suckers saying, “Hey, this is a corny joke! There’s no such thing as unicorns!” Activate your ignorant brains and do a quick Google Image search to see that unicorns have been proven to exist.

I know how hard it is to lose something or someone close to you, so I know how you feel. Unicorns are wild, so the thief won’t be able to keep control. That means it’s important to call pest control and tell them that a unicorn is at large and dangerous. That should prompt immediate action, which will help you with initial panic. Next, call your best friend and tell her what has happened, then do the same with your boyfriend. These people, being your closest friends, will definitely rush to help you with your problem. If that doesn’t do the trick, call up a good talk show like Springer or Dr. Phil. Coming on one of these shows and letting the world know about your serious problem should kill all your fears. Finally, just sit down and take a deep breath. You’ll get through it.

 

Do you think MKA has changed since freshman year? If so, in a good way or a bad way?

-Allie

 

Really, it’s hard to judge, because you are forced to judge through the lens of your own class, and that lens changes dramatically each year. Freshman year, many of us cowered in fear at the 6-foot senior boys, class of 2009, and the insane makeup jobs of some senior girls. The school felt big and intimidating like those seniors. I personally think the next senior class, class of 2010 was filled with a bunch of hard-knock guys, who imprinted that particular quality on the school. Next senior class, class of 2011 brought an abundance of artsy theater-y folk, who laid that on us. But I don’t really know all this, because it’s so hard to judge as a member of this particular class, class of 2012. The current senior class is the most diverse I’ve ever seen here, and we might be putting that on the school, but I can’t tell through that class lens. I do believe that the atmosphere of the school is mostly decided by the seniors, though a good number of flamboyant froshies are changing that this year.

Emeka Uwakeneme ‘12 Staff Writer 

Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park Review

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Ever since the nonsensical July announcement, it was hard to tell what kind of album to expect from Mac Miller’s “Blue Slide Park.” Despite being a little disappointed by one of Mac’s live performances at Governor’s island last summer, my faith in his mixtapes has never faltered. Mac Miller understands his strengths, and knows how to use them on his usually excellent samples, where he couples above-average flow with generic subject matter over eerily sentimental tracks. “The High Life”, “K.I.D.S”, and “Best Day Ever” each offer something special, and as his first commercial release, Blue Slide Park shouldn’t be any different. Unfortunately, Blue Slide Park is perhaps Mac Miller’s weakest addition yet, and almost certainly won’t propel him into the upper echelons of mainstream hip-hop.

First, let’s consider what Mac got right. Right off the bat, you’ll notice a marginal increase in production value from his mixtapes. To Miller’s credit, the album lacks for the most part any 4-chord sell-out tracks designed solely to appear on the iTunes top 100 lists. In terms of instrumentals and samples, each track is unique and diverse, although the same can’t be said about Mac’s lyrics.

Blue Slide Park’s objective was to introduce Mac to the commercial mainstream, and he deserves props for taking risks and delivering a less than safe album for this task. But there are several major flaws in Blue Slide Park, which must be addressed by Mac Miller in his future projects. One of his greatest strengths comes through his sentimentality. Throughout K.I.D.S and especially Best Day Ever, the subject matter focuses on a sort of fountain of eternal youth. The overarching message of Best Day Ever tells us to always hold on to the memories of childhood and the lessons of our pasts for guidance – that the “Best Day Ever” is really the product of revisiting our childhoods. Mac had built up to this conclusion from the beginning of The High Life and K.I.D.S, and he nailed it by the end of Best Day Ever. On top of a dope sample, he captured the nostalgic theme of the mixtape so perfectly in “BDE Bonus” that the video for the song (a bonus track on the album) has garnered nearly twelve million hits to date on youtube. The greatest weakness of Blue Slide Park is that it’s desperately trying to hold onto this nostalgia, but the product is a rather fragmented album lacking a powerful theme. The name “Blue Slide Park” is a reference to a playground from Mac Miller’s childhood, but the tracks on the album, even the title track, fail to maintain the eternal youth theme, which at this point is becoming a little bit old. By no means should we neglect the album entirely, because several tracks deserve plenty of recognition from Mac’s listeners for revealing new sides of him. On the contrary, “Blue Slide Park” demonstrates that a new, original Mac Miller, is lying dormant somewhere in that kid’s brain – it just hasn’t made a full appearance in his first commercial release, and he’ll be trapped in a limbo between mixtape stardom and mainstream success until he get’s another try. But with enough “thumbs up” and optimism, escape from that place may not be too far off.

Alex Amari ‘13 Staff Writer

Stylus Open Mic Night Wows

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Never in my life, save for ShopRite, have I been in a room with so many cereal boxes before the I attended Stylus Open Mic Night on November 29th. There were Lucky Charms, Reese’s Puffs, Honey Nut Cheerios, Captain Crunch, and I believe Rice Krispies. In addition to the cereal, the Upper School’s artistically inclined brought in chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate, and other assorted sugary snacks. Apart from the several boxes of pizza, it was essentially a giant display of sugary death foods.

The first Stylus event of the 2011-2012 school year was an event for arts appreciation. Students were invited to read or recite any piece they wished, play music, or just come and appreciate the atmosphere.

The attendance at the open mic night was a surprisingly good turnout: aside from the editors, Sarah Finn, Devon Geyelin, Will Dudek and this reporter, there was a good group of artsy students. Musical performances by MH Johnson and Will Dudek, Sarah Bradley, and Billy Lennon livened up the slightly awkward atmosphere, especially Sarah Bradley’s acoustic guitar versions of her own original songs. (One of them is still stuck in my head.)

As senior Sophie Vandenbroucke puts it, “The Stylus open mic night opened my eyes to poetry – to a whole new world of words and phrases and ideas I had never once fathomed in my wildest imaginings. However, I do believe that the most inspiring and sensational part of that night was in fact the dizzying array of comestibles that was the cereal bar.”

The attendees sat in a circle, around a paper tablecloth on the floor with the word “STYLUS” across it in huge magic-marker letters. Emma Sterling and Sarah Finn, along with others, read poems by authors like Billy Collins from books Finn brought along to the event. Across the circle, Emeka Uwakaneme read selections from his own works of poetry and prose, as did Kelsey O’Connor and myself. The combination of works written by famous poets and MKA writers fashioned an atmosphere of respectful listening and creative appreciation, as everyone in the circle gave “snaps” after each recital. Sophie Vandenbroucke’s unicorn-printed socks also lent an air of fun and spontaneity to the event.

The overall experience of the fall 2011 Stylus Open Mic Night was a positive one. People who might not normally talk were able to connect in a friendly way over music and art. The night ended with a few rousing covers by Billy Lennon and his ensemble of instruments and musicians. The editors and faithful members of Stylus look forward to many such events in the future.

Zoe Ferguson ‘13 Editor in Chief

Loud. Confetti. Lasers.

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Avicii’s performance at Pier 94 on New Year’s Eve (or, more accurately, New Year’s morning) was a blur of glitter and synthetic beats. Coming on past midnight after several openers, Avicii reveled in all his precise arm-thrashing, square-jawed glory before a crowd of thousands, all pulsing to the same technologic mandate – though pulsing under varied levels of sobriety.

It was less a concert than a full-body experience. My troupe entered with excitement and left with tired legs and dazed expressions. Says Diana Lawson of the night, “I danced my heart out. I couldn’t really give you an accurate play-by-play of what happened, or even a vague play-by-play, but I know it happened.” By the end, I don’t even know if we were dancing or just vaguely swaying to the throb of the crowd, within which one man politely asked, “Am I infringing on your personal space?” Yes, yes you are, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

Avicii plays house music, often remixes of other songs and artists. During the night, he played Levels, one of his most popular tunes, multiple times. His remix of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Otherside brought a calm groove to the festivities, slowing down the bouncing to a more mellowed pace.

Says Aaron Shrensel, “It was like every problem in my life disintegrated when a new song came on.” Lauren Martin echoes that sentiment with, “The Avicii concert was like pure bliss. It was the most perpetual and widespread sense of euphoria that I can ever imagine existing. For six hours, thousands of people were connected by the same incredible beating heart that was Avicii.”

It was a good time.

Devon Geyelin ‘12 Editor in Chief

Childish Gambino Takes the Stage

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

As is visible from lines like, “Took the G out your waffle, all you got left is your ego” and “made the beat then murdered it, Casey Anthony,” Childish Gambino is not your ordinary rapper who simply raps about drugs, cars and women. Donald Glover, the man behind Childish Gambino, is a huge talent from writing for 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live to doing his own stand-up comedy; the fact that he can sing and rap is an added bonus. Donald Glover writes his own lyrics and produces his own beats while writing for 30 Rock and starring in the hit NBC TV show Community. The fact that he can sell out a NYC show in a matter of minutes really makes his line, “A lotta rappers saying that they’re better than me, I’m doing three other jobs, you better be,” seem extremely false.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend his NYC show at Terminal 5 on November 3rd, 2011. Terminal 5 was a amazing venue with three stories overlooking the huge stage, and I was able to be two or three rows in from the stage. His opener was a tiny, small girl. At first, looking at her, I thought I was in for another long, annoying opener while I was just waiting for Childish Gambino, but she was amazing. She was a D.J. who knew how to keep the crowd going by playing various Childish Gambino songs and mixing them with soft calming music. It was a real experience.
When Donald Glover came out, the crowd obviously went wild. He came out with a bang by playing his most famous song called “Freaks and Greeks.” With images and anything and everything in the background, I was mesmerized. What surprised me the most about Donald Glover was that he could actually sing. He sang a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” that made me realize how talented he really is. Another great part of the concert is that when he was promoting his new album Camp by playing songs off on it, he had lyric videos plastered in the background so we could sing along. I was so fortunate to see him and it will be a concert that I will never forget.

Rebecca Strickland ‘12 Issue Contributor

Checking In With MKA’s Step Team

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

“I truly look forward to coming to practice everyday. The team is like a family and we have so much fun while stepping and our newest edition to the team; community service is so much fun!” says captain Sydney Freeman. The MKA step team is one of the most vital and enjoyable aspects of the MKA community. For basketball games, the gathering, and throughout all the other events, people look forward to watching them perform. This year, a new edition to their team is a mascot! This mascot cheers them on and often times accompanies them on their community service trips to the Boys and Girls Club, where they teach the children different steps. In addition, they really enjoy entertaining the faculty and students at the school. “One of our biggest goals this year is not only to cheer on both the boys and girls basketball teams, but also to give back to our community using our talents” explain Sydney. Interestingly, the step team also plans on incorporating music into their steps to make it more engaging! The step team season is so excited and filled with so much excitement and MKA pride. The step team is the pinnacle of MKA’s school spirit.

Puja Singh ‘13 Staff Writer

What Not To Do: College

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

The college process is something that every senior in high school must go through. On top of an already demanding workload, seniors have to deal with applications, supplements, and standardized testing. The process is not easy; hence, the countless books and repetitive websites that try to brainwash you. So instead of offering advice that I’m sure you’ve all heard, I hope I can enlighten you on what not to do in the college process.

DEADLINES. DEADLINES. DEADLINES. I don’t care how many times you’ve heard it, or that you may think you’re on top of them, pay attention to deadlines. Time is a college applicant’s worst enemy. Starting a supplement to late, or waiting to hear back from a college, time can be a b****. I don’t recommend starting a supplement a week before they are due. Nor do I recommend working on apps in sections; yes, ‘dream school’ come before safeties but don’t wait until the last minute to work on safety applications, because a hasty app can ruin your chances. Most importantly, double-check your deadlines. They can easily elude especially if applicants are applying regular decision to multiple schools. I learned the hard way and I almost jeopardized my future. So don’t be like me and make a list of all your schools and their respective deadlines. And do not submit that app on 11:59 on January 1st.

Don’t be boring – take a risk. Colleges don’t care what you write about as long as you show passion and a bit of creativity. I wrote about cats for a supplement….

Write about something you care about and don’t try to anticipate what colleges want to hear because it most likely will turn out dull and unoriginal. And remember, the people reading your apps are smart – they know all the tricks. Take time to write supplements, go somewhere unexpected, and don’t get frustrated if you run out of ideas. Explore your quirks and stay away from that life-changing community service trip you took to Nicaragua over the summer.

Don’t stress. The process is tough but if you start early, it could be fun. Frankly, college essays and supplements are a chance to be vain and talk about how great you are, so have fun with it. Most importantly, realize that rejection is not the end of the world. Don’t convince yourself that you have no future because you didn’t get into your reach. There are thousands of schools out there, so chances are, there is more than one that’s right for you.

Don’t dread the process. Don’t delay the process. Don’t aggrandize (another word?) the process.

 Nicole Steinberg ‘12 Issue Contributor

MKA’s New Rules: Are They Overkill?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

As I walked through the locker lounge after track practice last week, rehydrating as necessary, I tripped over a backpack on the floor. In what seemed like slow motion, my water bottle slipped from my grasp and floated gracefully through the air, cap loosely fitted upon the mouthpiece.  It flipped and crashed to the ground with a resounding thump. I tried not to look, for fear of the chaos that might ensue—but I worked up my courage and peered cautiously toward the carpet. My worst fears were confirmed: the water had spilled. What had I done?

About twenty minutes later, all evidence of the event had evaporated, leaving behind only a damp trace of the mishap.

While the locker lounge was certainly a mess last year, water was not the issue.  Starbucks, Skittles, Mountain Dew and Enzo’s were the problem. Complaints of pretzels ground into the carpet could be heard, but no one complained about non-existent water stains. So why has possession of illegal water become a detention-worthy offense?

One main issue with the rule of no water in the locker lounge is the vague nature of the mandate. The rule cannot be found in the handbook.  Students are permitted to walk through the halls with a water bottle, but cannot walk with closed water bottles in the locker lounge. I see students stuff water bottles in their pocket to avoid receiving a detention while walking from the main lobby to the arts wing. I see teacher give detentions to students for walking with water bottles in the halls, while that is perfectly legal under the outlines of the new law. No one seems to actually understand the decree, not even many of the teachers enforcing it. Alex Kelly received a detention for holding a closed water bottle in the locker lounge, from a teacher with a cup of coffee in hand.  Kieran Powell has received 4 detentions this year for simply hydrating properly so he could presumably work on his jumper or “get big” in the gym after school. Greg Froelich has run into trouble keeping us his necessary intake of water to counteract the protein and supplements he takes, due to the banishment of his trademark water jug.

The locker lounge is supposed to be a place of comfort, and this year an aura of tension has replaced the usual ambiance. While I don’t necessarily agree with the fact that we cannot drink anything in the locker lounge, I can understand it.  What I cannot understand, however, is why a student cannot hold a sealed water bottle in the area unless they are willing to spend a sunny Tuesday morning in room 24 for detention.  If students agree to carry only clear water bottles in the locker lounge, then there should be no issue.  It would be understood that anything besides a plastic bottle filled with clear liquid would be worthy of a detention, and perhaps the carpet would be slightly more sanitary with the occasional shower it would receive from a student spilling a bit of the odorless, colorless liquid.  Alas, we shall continue to be detained for taking swigs from our water bottles, unless something is done about the rule.  Until that day, dehydration will continue to be as common at the Academy as laptops and designer peacoats, perhaps causing us to lose a sporting event, or worse, a student athlete, due to lack of hydration.

Billy Lennon ‘12 Staff Writer

Billy’s Diary: A Senior Reflects

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I recently started keeping a diary of notable events in my life.  I realized that too many of the great times and memories I’ve made will go untold, unremembered; lost in the endless hustle that tends to consume our daily lives. I love my friends. I love every minute I spend with them, and feel our time should be cherished, especially now as we travel down the lazy river that is Senior Year, swiftly and aptly approaching the unnerving waterfall of college. It’s ready to throw us over the edge and effectively separate us from our closest friends, our life-rafts. Sure, we will still keep in touch, and see each other over breaks, but that’s really just shouting through the mist at the bottom of the falls as compared to the communication and availability we’re so accustomed to having now. We have to look forwards towards the horizon, just without losing sight of the beauty of the present. Our time together is dwindling.

College is daunting.  We think we’re prepared, armed with a private school education and a firm set of goals. We want to be successful, party a bit, and leave college possessing an even higher level of education and a new set of even further refined goals, though we’re not sure exactly what those goals might end up becoming. We’re certain that we’ll do great things, meet great people, and have a great time. We’re probably right, but we can’t know for sure. We might hate our roommates, might fail out of school. We might do everything perfectly and graduate only to be trapped in a drab, gray cubicle, getting paid less money than some bald, uneducated executive who passes off our hard work as his own. Perhaps we may find that college opens up the world, granting us access to the deepest, previously unexplored trenches of our beings, guiding us to our true callings.  We simply don’t know.  We have no idea what the future will provide for us.

The only thing that we know for sure is that we all love each other and have the next seven months before us, seven months that I would hate to someday exist only as a hazy, sparsely photographed blur. I want to be 65 years old and know without the slightest doubt exactly what my epiphany with Trevor was on November 13th 2011, or exactly why Franklin laughed so hard he cried some time in June of Senior year, or how I Moss’d Mr. Hu for the game winning score in Frisbee Club on the Friday before Spring Break. Life is just too pleasant to let it slip by unnoticed. I want to someday be able to read these diary entries and be brought back to youth. I don’t want to forget—forgetting would be an insult to the memories we’ve made, tossing them aside with such meaningless recollections as church on a humid summer’s day and the long car rides of our yesteryear. I should never forget. It’d be to throw away the period of life that laid the foundation for whatever I wind up doing later, the groundwork for who I become and who I am long after these diary entries, these fossilized memories, are written.  I cannot allow myself to forget.

Billy Lennon ‘12 Staff Writer

An Interview with Sarah Bradley: Marathon Runner

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Recently, MKA has received the news that Sarah Bradley, senior, completed the New York City Marathon. The following is an interview in which the young runner chronicles her experience.

1.     So, Sarah, what inspired you to run the marathon in the first place?

My biggest inspiration is my father. I cheered him on in 2009 when he participated for the first time, and I felt such a thrill as a bystander.  I thought it was incredible that my dad completed it, because at the time, I could not imagine embarking on such a journey myself. In addition to my dad as an inspiration, the supportive cheers of the spectators and the many helping hands inspired me to run the marathon.

 

2.     How has running track & field and cross-country prepared you for the marathon?  

Running track and cross-country helped prepare me for the Marathon tremendously.  My coaches, Tom Fleming and Alden Basmajian were very supportive during my training. I knew I was in the right hands, because Coach Basmajian is an experienced marathon runner and Coach Fleming is a 2-time winner of the NYC Marathon. I am very thankful to have such wonderful coaches, and I would not have been able to do it without them.

 

3.     Can you give a description of the race?

The hardest part for me was going to bed the night before.  I had a lot going through my head about what could go wrong, and the fact that the race was actually about to happen after months of training and anticipation was an incredible thought.

 

The beginning of the race was pretty intense because people were anxiously running around me everywhere. But after I ran over the first bridge, it became less claustrophobic and I began to enjoy myself. I gave millions of people high fives and people who didn’t even know me were cheering for me all over the city (I had my name on my shirt, which helped).  In the beginning of the race it was hard to look ahead and imagine everything I had to accomplish, but once I completed 18 miles and continued to work my way closer to the finish line I began to have faith in myself that I could finish the 26.2 miles. I completed something that I originally never thought I could do, and it felt incredible.

 

4.     How has completing the marathon affected your life? Can you apply any lessons that you have learned from completing the marathon to your life?

Completing the New York City Marathon affected my life in a positive way.  It was the longest and most extraordinary journey I have ever embarked on.  I believe anyone can run a marathon as long as they have the right mindset. Completing the Marathon made me realize that I could push through any obstacle.  It’s surreal to know that I finished something that originally seemed impossible.

 

5.     Do you plan to run the New York City Marathon again?

Despite the time commitment it took for me to train for it, I would definitely run it again, maybe even next year, depending on where I attend college.

 

Danielle Charpentier ‘13 Staff Writer