Winter and I: It’s complicated! by Esti Goldstein

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. It’s actually an unfortunate state of affairs, because when I was younger I loved winter. I loved the soft snow falling and chomping on icicles that I would pull down from low hanging parts of our roof. My favorite after-school activity was racing off to the mini hill created in my neighbors driveway by the snow plow and sledding down a million times. I loved peeling off my wet layers and leaving my boots and mittens by the heater as I waited for hot chocolate. And while I am sure I would still enjoy these winter activities, I have absolutely no time for them. The snow that I was enamoured with as it fell, each one unique, has become a burden in the darkened mornings as it piles high on my car. I am certain anyone unfortunate enough to witness my attempts to leave the driveway in the morning will laugh at the bundled figure stomping and wielding a snow brush, cursing when I sweep snow onto myself instead of the ground. While my younger self used to wish and hope for snow days, that innocence has dwindled as I know how unlikely they are. Plus, snow days mean extra work as teachers desperately try to keep up the carefully planned curriculum.

But while it may seem that I have some serious winter FOMO hatred, there are winter experiences that getting older has given me in addition to the experiences that were taken away. Winter running is one of the most enjoyable experiences, though my teammates will testify that I complain unendingly about how cold it is. However, once we actually start running, the frigid air feels much cleaner and sharper in my lungs than the warm summer smog. Winter is when we often sing christmas carols while running, throw the occasional snowball, and giggle at the snowflakes sticking in our hair and eyelashes. But still my favorite part of winter is the hockey games. I have so much fun dressing in the theme colors, shouting cheers during rivalry games, and falling off the benches in the student section amid laughter from my friends. So, while the elementary kid in me mourns that winter life, I have greatly enjoyed the other winter activities that high school has brought.

A Winter Drive by Gabbi Fortin

driving down the winding, never ending road

with trees hugging both sides,

which are white and heavy from the day’s constant snowfall.

they appear to be a shelter from the winter.

 

the dancing white crystals float slowly down from the sky

and then faster

and faster 

until the flurries charge toward the windshield,

as if they’re soldiers trying to win the war

and then the bright yellow signs read ‘road closed’

and the neon orange signs read ‘detour’.

 

turning on a smaller and forgotten road-

the snow still furiously roaring from the sky-

there is a hidden waterfall, struggling to keep moving

and a small cabin fighting gravity’s pull

surrounded by a frozen lake.

and pine trees that look like they stop growing only once they hit the moon.

 

the snow has yet to settle down

and the wind is only getting angrier

the sun is saying goodbye to the grey skies.

 

and the cabin looks warm, with smoke coming out the chimney

and an inviting smell takes over.

 

into the cabin to escape the winter storm, but only for a little while. 

only until the snowflakes surrender. 

Vacation by Kevin Jiang

Vacation is such a foreign concept to me. Unless you count the many college visits I’ve been on over the past two years, I haven’t been on vacation for at least five years. This time period might seem short to some people and long to others, but that’s not the point. What I’m really excited about is finally going on a vacation with my family this summer. The planning has been left up to me, but… I don’t really know where I want to go.

I feel as though the ideal American vacation envisioned by many is a relaxing stay at a secluded island paradise, with no intrusion from the harried nature of the outside world. However, where is one to find this private island? Are some islands better than others? Moreover, I don’t even subscribe to the notion that spending time burning on a beach with turquoise water nearby constitutes an ideal vacation. After all, who wants to have their skin fried in the name of having a relaxing time? Next idea.

Some would suggest the idea of going on vacation to a large city. Personally, visiting Singapore, Sydney, or Stockholm seems appealing enough, but I worry that there won’t be enough time to explore everything that I’m interested in. In a way, it’s the exact opposite problem from above. So, beaches are boring, cities are crazy. I have one more options to think about. Next.

The last idea I’ve had is a good ol’ road trip. A thought out road trip is, in my opinion, one of the least appreciated methods of travel and vacation. Equally spontaneous and planned, meandering through cornfields and towns along Route 66 sounds quite appealing. However, the common gripes about road trips are very true. Spending half of my vacation driving, even if the cornfields are colorful, just doesn’t sound desirable.

I guess I’m out of ideas, but I have three more months to think about it. Maybe I’ll have decided by the next blog.

Some Songs I Like Right Now ( With a Preface) by Lane Murray

I got put in gym class instead of a free period, and sitting in the sweaty North Gym is really dampening my mood to write this. I’m a senior, and I’ve completed all my gym credits, yet here I am due to a schedule glitch that no one has cared to fix no matter how many emails I send or doors I show up at. Its seriously, seriously killing any motivation I have to come up with a creative blog idea. I typically love writing these, they’re the best opportunity I’ve had to just write about random stuff that I think about where I know it won’t just sit in my computer forever and not go anywhere. Not that our blog site is blowing up with views, but I know there are some that find their way here one way or another 🙂

Its Friday of the first week of the second semester and I’ve been in this class since our first day back, a whole week. I’m starting to think I may be forgotten about and will have to spend what was supposed to be my first ever free period of high school in the North Gym playing dodgeball… Either way, I can’t even play dodgeball because I have such a severe case of asthma that I will assuredly end up hospitalized if I have to play. So basically this is terrible news.

In the week I’ve sat in the bleachers of this class, I’ve had the time to refine a newer playlist, so here are some of the artists and a few songs from each that have made this week of scheduling misfortune pass by seemingly quicker (as well as a photo of my dogs by the tree mentioned in my previous post):

Club Kuru: The Memory Junkie, Giving In

Steve Lacy: Dark Red, Ryd

TV Girl: Cynical One, Birds Don’t Sing

Peach Pit: Peach Pit, Sweet FA, Alrighty Aphrodite                

Her’s: What Once Was, Marcel                                                                  

The Internet: Special Affair, Come Together

Omar Apollo: Ashamed, Erase, Brakelights

Angele: Ta reine, Je veux tes yeux, Jalousie

Tyler, The Creator: See You Again (feat. Kalis Uchis), I THINK, RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Crumb: Bones, Part III, Locket

The Validity of Small Changes by Grace Geier

*This is not a lecture, and it’s not a cry to say that vegans are oppressed, I am simply sharing how how veganism fundamentally changed me throughout high school. 

Much of the culture at Shaker Heights High School revolves around the clubs and organizations that tackle social issues like equity and consent. Most facets of activism have a place of belonging, whether it be the prominent Student Group on Race Relations or the Gay-Straight Alliance, and the established organizations have earned respect in our community. Conversely, veganism can’t seem to shake its stigma, even in our progressive bubble. In no way do I mean to say that animal rights issues are of more importance than the causes advocated for in other various organizations, or that the fixed groups don’t face harsh ignorance, degradation, and other challenges from members of our district. Regardless, not having strong support for this cause or a community within this dimension of my activism, has taught me lessons of incredible importance.

I’ve gained further skills of acceptance and communication with whom I disagree, in this case, the many people simply not in tune with a mindset of animal welfare. I consciously work on my growth to speak from a place of empathy and understanding, instead of judgement or impatience, when asked about veganism (and not to bring it up unprompted or else risk perpetuating frustrating stereotypes). I aim to accept my friends on different journeys to disband animal abuse, whether it be eating vegetarian once a week or cutting milk out of their diet, and I’m learning how to truly appreciate and applaud their efforts. My beliefs in animal rights have guided me into compassion for different people’s journeys of activism and self-improvement. Having to master understanding of differing beliefs surrounding this issue, especially as everyone I know feels the need to give me an unprompted excuse for why they still eat meat (“it just tastes so good” being my personal favorite) teaches me again and again to respect any amount of change a person can make to help their local and global community. Especially when their journey of change appears tremendously different than mine. I can embrace and encourage the changes of the people who have the mental, economic, emotional, and physical capacity to make at any given time, regardless of their size.

 

What is Wrong with the Browns? (Part 4) By Isaiah Gundani

To the surprise of many, including myself, this Browns season was a complete and utter disaster. Going into the season, all of Cleveland had extremely high hopes for the team due to the offseason addition of superstar Odell Beckham. Some fans and even experts predicted the Browns to be in contention for the Super Bowl. As of today, January 24, the Browns are not playing in the Super Bowl nor did they even make the playoffs. So…what went wrong?

A variety of problems must take place for a team with this level of talent to finish a lowly 6-10, a record that is worse than a season ago when there was even less talent on the team. The problem started at the top with Coach Freddie Kitchens. At many points in the season, Kitchens’s play-calling seemed questionable, and overall he seemed unfit for the job. The Browns as a whole looked very inconsistent throughout the year. Some games, they looked like playoff contenders, while in others they looked like a college team. This was reflected in the play of some of the Browns key players such as Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, and Denzel Ward, who all had underwhelming seasons. The bright spots of the team were Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, and Myles Garrett. This was until Garrett infamously knocked Steelers’ Quarterback Mason Rudolph on the head with a helmet, ending Garrett’s season. This turning point signaled  the downfall of the Browns season as the team went 2-4 after this game, and losing any chance at the playoffs.

With this bad of a season comes repercussions in the organization. Both Freddie Kitchens and Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks were let go by the team. Replacing Kicthens is the Viking former Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski is left with the daunting task of correcting this dysfunctional team. In my heart, I want to believe that Stefanski will do better than Freddie Kitchens, however he is also a first-year Head Coach.

Image result for kevin stefanski

This year didn’t turn out as planned, yet at this point, I’m used to it. But hey, there’s always next year…

 

What happened to Rose Gold? by Emma Jevack

Does anyone else remember that era of 2014/15 where everything was Rose Gold? From phone cases to nail polishes, anything that had room for a glimpse of color was almost guaranteed to be Rose Gold. I remember watching Youtubers decorate their rooms with rose gold posters and decor, and then going on pinterest and looking in awe at the picturesque rooms, sprinkled with marble and rose gold accents.Then looking at my own middle school bedroom and acting as if I had the orginizational skills to actually recreate it.

Besides my own failed attempts for a Rose Gold bedroom, it’s so crazy to me how a color became so ingrained in consumerism and lifestyle. It’s not just rose gold, everytime Pantone releases their color of the year, we’re sure to see pillows, lamps, and shirts with that same hue popping up everywhere around us. And then 2 months later, no one even remembers what it is. Color is such an important element of our lives, and while we might fixate over a color only for a period of time, that doesn’t change the fact that without color, life would be dull and not as exciting.

Maybe I was the only one with the Rose Gold obsession, so maybe my experience wasn’t universal, but I’m sure everyone has had a favorite color at some point in their lives.

Interviews by Tomasina DeLong

I had an interview with a college admissions officer earlier this week and I was nervous so I have been doing some research on preparing for interviews. I am going to share tips for interviewing (note – these are suggestions and interviews can be successful with or without them).

  1. Dress professionally yet comfortably. If you are too worried about what you are wearing, then you will not be able to focus on the interview itself. 
  2. Think beforehand about why you want to attend that school specifically. What programs or opportunities stick out to you? 
  3. Think about why you need that school and why that school needs you…it goes both ways!
  4. Prepare questions for the interviewer: 
    • What advice would you give to me as an incoming freshman?
    • Were there any campus traditions that stood out to you and how did they contribute to campus unity? 
    • What relationships are there between the undergraduate and graduate schools? 
    • What stood out to you when you were looking at colleges? 
  5. Remember to keep an eye on time. You don’t want to act like you don’t have anything to say, but you also don’t want to talk for too long because that gets annoying. 
    • Know yourself! I know that I tend to ramble and I should have paid better attention to the clock because I talked for longer than I should have. I just need to have a better understanding of the time and how much talking is too much.

I know that there are things I could improve on before my next interview but it is important to understand that interviews are to enhance your application by letting the interviewer know more about you that can’t be expressed on paper.

Romance! By Aaliyah Williams

High school romance has been on my mind lately. When I was in middle school, I thought I’d be swept off my feet sophomore year by some handsome singing and dancing jock that played basketball and had straight A’s (or in other words, Corbin Bleu’s Chad from High School Musical). I thought I’d have, or I might even want, a date to all my homecomings and a date lined up for prom by the end of junior year. As one might expect, this is absolutely not how high school has went for me or for anyone I’ve ever been friends with. No one has had the whirlwind romance we dreamed of as middle schoolers, and if anyone ever got close to such a candied reality, the couple broke up a few months later. The idea of a homecoming date seemed nice in theory, but my friends and I discovered just how fun it was to get dressed up and look pretty together for ourselves, and not to impress someone else. And don’t even get me started on how little I desire a prom date with the options I have now. Honestly though, it’s been so fine. I wouldn’t trade the friendships and experiences I’ve had with those friends for any relationship, and I know I didn’t have the emotional capacity or even the hours in the day to expend that much of my time and energy on someone other than myself. I’m older now, and having gained the tools to actually engage with others in a meaningful way, I think 2020 and beyond will hold many new opportunities for whatever romantic antics that I might want to get tied up in. Thinking back, I laugh all the time about my immature fantasies and the big, bold expectations I had about love before I even really understood just how unrealistic high school love stories in movies really were. I like reflecting on where I’ve stood with my grasp of reality, and it seems I’ve finally gotten good at differentiating between fantasy and reality, and what’s healthy versus what’s unhealthy. Let’s just hope I can keep my head on straight in college.

 

Parasite by Victoria Helmick

This past weekend I watched the critically acclaimed foreign film, Parasite. Let me just start off by saying wow, the foreign film genre, including Parasite, is filled with many hidden gems of movies. 

 

Furthermore, Parasite,  directed by Boon Jong Ho, stresses the emphasis of the social class system in Korean society. The story follows an extended metaphor on the higher class and lower class. Continuing, it highlights the major differences, yet even more obvious similarities between the two polar classes. I would love to type out the entire synopsis of such an amazing movie, but I suppose much of this audience are eager to avoid spoilers. To keep it short and simple, the story follows a financially unstable family that takes interest in a successful and wealthier upper-class family and begins to integrate themselves into the high-class society. (One possibly cannot do the film justice with just a one-sentence summary.) In addition, the film causes the audience throughout the film to question who is really good, and who is evil? Ho toys with the audience and has them think into a deeper meaning on how those of different classes can be plagued with arrogance and have no filter or emotion to others. 

 

With us now in the midst of awards season, Ho and the cast and crew of Parasite have already racked up many notable awards. Yet, the Oscars are the key to success, especially today with the controversial takes on the award nominees. Parasite is the first foreign film to be nominated for Best Picture in Oscars history. This is huge! Foreign films, as well as Korean representation, are being expressed on the biggest stage in Hollywood in weeks to come, and the entire world is watching.