C Magazine Vol. 6 Edition 3

Page 1

ISSUE NO3 dec. 2017 vol. 6

arts & culture

04 Back to the Essentials

24 Plants & Prescriptions 20 Open Mic 32 Up in Smoke


Dear Readers,

As finals season approaches, students like ourselves grow increasingly aware of our own health – mental and physical. While we don’t always take the time to acknowledge it, we are in a perpetual cycle of ailment to healing. This issue is centered around the factors that influence health and medicine: seen and unseen, intentional or accidental, traditional or new wave. In the cover story, Plants and Perscriptions staff writers Lhaga Dingpontsawa, Lara Nakamura and Emily Filter analyze the controversies of Western pharmaceutical medicine, and compare its practices to those of holistic alternatives. Staff writers Lia Salvatierra and Isabel Hadly examine the connection between mental illness and comedic talent in Open Mic. Through interviews with psychologists and comedians, the article dispels the myth of a tortured genius, offering a more sophisticated analysis of an unlikely correlation. In Up in Smoke, staff writers Katie Look, Charlotte Amsbaugh and Alexis Pisco discuss the reincarnation of big tobacco into a debatably greater beast: e-cigarettes. While e-cigarettes have prompted a new generation of nicotine addicts, some companies have presented themselves as mechanism for a “safer” tobacco alternative. In Behind the Screen, staff writers Grace Rowell and Rosa Schaefer Bastian delve into the complexities of an often forgotten art – cinematography. Whether you’re a film fanatic or just in it for the entertainment, understanding the artistry involved in the making of films is something all viewers can benefit from. With the awards season around the corner, theaters will soon fill with hopeful contenders for a prized Oscar or Golden Globe. Can the same be said of the music charts? In All That Glitters is Not Gold, staff writers Gabe Cohen and Alexis Pisco explore the decline in prestige of music awards shows, and the effect this has had on the cycles and culture of the music industry. If you’re sticking around this winter break and looking for ways to fill those blissful post-finals days, look no further! Staff writers Sam Guernsey and Maddy Buecheler have compiled the best of what this season has to offer in Winter Events for your convenience and enjoyment. Happy reading!

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Chiara Biondi, Hannah Darby, Amanda Hmelar, Ally Scheve CREATIVE DIRECTOR Katie Look


STAFF WRITERS Charlotte Amsbaugh, Gabe Cohen, Angie Cummings, Emily Filter, Jaime Furlong, Sam Guernsey, Isabel Hadly, Darrow Hornik, Leon Lau, Claire Moley, Mattie Orloff, Benjamin Rapperport, Grace Rowell, Lia Salvatierra, Talia Stanley, Jack Stefanski, Gigi Tierney, Maddie Yen

MANAGING EDITORS Maddy Buecheler, Alexis Pisco, Rosa Schaefer Bastian

ILLUSTRATORS Bo Fang, Andrew Huang, Leon Lau, Katie Look, David Foster

COPY EDITORS Charlotte Cheng, Hollie Chiao

ADVISER Brian Wilson



WEB EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lhaga Dingpontsawa



culture snippets









































ssential oils are a great way to improve many aspects of your life. They can be used for increasing focus, mediating headaches, improving skin and mitigating anxiety. Extracted from natural oils in plants, essential oils share the same properties and fragrances as the plant of its origin. Here is a guide to some of our favorite essential oils and how you can implement them into your daily routine!



Winter Events Read a book

Where: Bell’s Book Store, Palo Alto When: Open all days except Sunday Cost: Depends on the book!

Bay Area Ski Bus Where: Kirkwood Ski Resort, Northstar Ski Resort, Squaw Valley Ski Resort When: Nov. 17-Dec. 10 Cost: From $155 for a one day trip

Christmas Tree Lane Where: Fulton Street, Palo Alto When: Dec. 17-31, 5pm-11pm Cost: Free

Not So Silent Night Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland When: Dec. 8-9 Cost: Tickets range from $25 to $240

Get Hot Chocolate Where: Timothy Adams Chocolates, Palo Alto When: Open all year Cost: $6.25 - $8.95 depending on the cocoa





ith autumn in full swing, it’s hard to ignore intoxicating pumpkin-spice fragrances and cravings for apple pie. Instead of covering basic turkey or snowman shaped-desserts, C Mag collected a few of our families’ homemade fall & winter recipes, just like mama made it.

but it’s hot in the kitchen!





• 1.5 tablespoons of butter • 1 chopped onion • 2 cubed potatoes • 1 peeled, cubed butternut squash (medium) • 1 box of chicken stock • salt and pepper as you see fit

• 6 large eggs • 3 ½ - 4 ½ cups flour • 1 ½ cup sugar • 1 cup margarine • 4 teaspoons baking powder • 2 teaspoons vanilla

directions Beat eggs very well (about two minutes). Add sugar gradually. Beat until smooth at high speed for four minutes (electric mixer works best). Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Add cooled, melted margarine and vanilla to sugar/egg mixture. In a new bowl, sift flour with baking powder. The less flour you use, the daintier 6 | SNIPPETS

directions and crispier the cookies will be. Add flour and baking powder mixture to the egg mixture. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by tablespoon onto preheated, ungreased Pizzelle Waffle Baker. Bake approximately 45 seconds. Remove from grill and cool on wire cake rack. Makes at least 60 cookies.

Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, potatoes, and squash for five minutes, or until lightly browned. Soak vegetables in stock, bring mixture to a boil. Cook until vegetables are soft, approximately 40 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any

remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.




• 1 egg, slightly beaten • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled • 1/2 cup coconut sugar • 1 cup almond flour • 1/4 cup coconut flour • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 2-2.5 oz 80% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, add in beaten egg, melted and cooled coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla extract. Add in almond flour, coconut flour and baking soda, mixing well to combine and form a dough. Fold in dark chocolate chunks (put as much or as little in as you prefer). Use a cookie scoop or

large tablespoon to drop dough onto ungreased baking sheet. Gently flatten the dough with your hand. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 12 cookies.


ingredients • 1 cup sweet rice • 2 pounds of pork ribs • 2 tablespoons sugar • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine • 1 teaspoon salt • 2 cloves minced garlic • 1 kabocha squash

directions Soak one cup of sweet rice in water for around two hours. Marinate the ribs (2 inches in length) with soy sauce, sugar, Chinese cooking wine, salt, and minced garlic for about two hours. Cook whole Kabocha in the microwave for around 5-6 minutes until it’s ¾ of the way cooked. Cut a hole

around the stem, 1/3 into the whole squash, and put it off to the side. Clean out the seeds with a wooden spoon. Put the Kabocha in a steamer, and place part of the ribs in the bottom. Every layer of ribs should be covered by a layer of soaked sweet rice. Steam for about one and half hours.



General Tips • With your group plan out ahead of time who is important to see, because there are many stages and set times will overlap. • No matter where you are, music festivals are a harsh environment and it is vital that you stay hydrated. • Music festivals aren’t know for their good service. To avoid a disaster, pick out a set location or landmark to meet at when you lose your friends in the crowd. • If none of your favorite artists are playing, go to one of the smaller stages and see someone you have not heard of before. • When you feel tired, take a seat and try some people watching. • Wear comfortable shoes because music festivals entail a lot of walking and standing, so be nice to your feet. • Most music festivals will have an app that tells you when and where artists are playing. Make sure to download the app to stay updated!


Rollling Loud WHERE EXAMPLES Mountain OF ARTISTS View, CA Travis Scott, Lil COST Wayne, Kodak Black, $149 2 GA day pass


During October

Lil Pump, Ugly God, Young Thug, Playboi Carti, 21 Savage


• The concert is outside so make sure to wear layers. • Bring a water bottle that you can fill up– hydration is key! • If you want to push to the front, mosh pits are your friend. Run through them to get to the other side. • Bring ponytail holders if you don’t want your hair to get pulled every five seconds. • Wear sneakers. You are going to do a lot of jumping up and down and your feet will thank you.

Outside Lands WHERE EXAMPLES OF ARTISTS Lana Del Rey, Red COST Hot Chili Peppers,

San Francisco, CA $375 3 day GA pass

WHEN Mid- August

Kanye West, Arctic Monkeys, Spoon, Pearl Jam Lorde, Gorillaz, Schoolboy Q


• Bring a jacket; San Francisco can get nippy. • Make sure you try the fried chicken sandwich from Global Gourmet. It’s amazing! • Follow the giant human snake if you’re trying to get to the front. • Don’t forget to get a picture with Ranger Dave!


t music festivals you see your favorite artist plus five more artists you have never heard of. You get thrown around in a crowd for hours on end, and when the concert’s over, you return to an unfamiliar sleeping arrangement. Then you wake up, you do what you did the day before. All. Over. Again. Here are some of C Mag’s tips for surviving the insanely harsh and fun world that is a music festival.

Lollapalooza WHERE Grant Park, Chicago, Ill.


$340 4 day GA pass


Early August

EXAMPLES OF ARTISTS LCD Soundsystem, J.Cole, Radiohead, Blink 182, Eminem, Outkast, The XX, G-Eazy, Tove Lo


• It can get rainy in Chicago, so bring a rain jacket to fight off the rain! • Again, you don’t want the rain to put a damper on your dosey doe so bring extra socks in case the ones you are wearing get wet! • Bring a backpack with all the items you could want during the day. • A towel could be useful if you feel like sitting for a quick rest stop.


Snowglobe WHERE South Lake Tahoe, CA


$219 3 day GA pass


EXAMPLES OF ARTISTS Big Gigantic, Khalid, Snoop Dogg, Major Lazer, Odesza, The Chainsmokers

Coachella WHERE Indio Valley, CA


$375 3 day GA pass

WHEN April

Dec. 29-31


• Wear heavy duty snow boots; keeping your toes warm is the most important thing. • Snowboots won’t be enough: wear wool socks and bring toe warmers. • Don’t forget about your hands: bring hand warmers and gloves. • Wear layers on your legs! A warm pair on bottom and a fun pair on top so you can stay warm while looking cool. • If leggings aren’t your thing, wear a onesie over your warm clothing to stay in the festival spirit. • Spunk up your look with some sparkles or a light-up sign.

EXAMPLES OF ARTISTS Radiohead, Mazzy Star, Zedd, Lana Del Rey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gucci Mane, Kendrick Lamar


• This is your opportunity to wear anything you want, but keep in mind the heat! • Stay hydrated: you are in the middle of the desert! • Sunscreen is key! • Looking to cool off before the next headliner? Head on over to the DoLab, a stage inside of a tent where you can regroup and have fun while waiting for the next headliner to come on. • Go to the ferris wheel. • Bandanas, hats, and sunglasses are more than cute accessories. Use them to keep dust out of your eyes!


D o W N

How heartfelt are the progressive changes of the world’s original raunchy magazine? Sexism, years of exploitation





or the last 64 years, Playboy Enterprises has been branded by many as misogynistic for objectifying the women displayed on its sprawling pages, known as the Playboy Bunnies. Women pressured to satisfy the ideals of physical standards seem to serve a thinning number of people as the 21st century sets in. Multiple former playmates, including Holly Madison who published “Down the Rabbit Hole,” retold their experiences in the Playboy Mansion and of the dark ongoings behind its tall, metal gates. Madison, who lived in the Mansion for seven years– at one point as Hugh Hefner’s number one girlfriend– collected many stories and opinions about the hidden practices she experienced in Hefner’s playground. In October of this year, the magazine, which is a self-proclaimed supporter of equality, received both positive and negative publicity for featuring their first openly transgender playmate, Ines Rau. This caught the world’s attention, and has been used as a platform for equality by the LGBTQ community. The 26-year-old French model has since become a face of change in the Playboy world, displaying a fresh and empowering perspective of sexuality. However, it is yet to be determined if this new addition to the Playmate roster is enough to constitute a new direction for a company synonymous with pressured sex, misogyny and female dehumanization. In 1953, using naked photos of Marilyn Monroe and $8,000 worth of dona-

tions, Hugh Hefner was able to produce the first Playboy issue out of his Chicago apartment. 54,000 copies were sold, and the magazine took off. Hefner was a businessman and had claimed he was an advocate for civil rights, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, straying away from the beliefs of his conservative, Methodist family. After publishing his first issue, Playboy Magazine consumed his everyday life from then until the day he died. For over a decade the company grew and thrived, trademarking their infamous bunny logo along the way. It wasn’t until 1960 that Hefner bought the first Playboy Mansion, and the Playboy Bunny was born. After 60 years, the

men and women. Through Playboy Magazine, Hefner seemingly helped achieve that. The magazine issue diverged from the assumed social norms of the time, that saw intimacy and sexuality as something that went undiscussed; this aided in its rapid spread throughout the country and, later, the world. The premature label of sexual liberation — as well as racial liberation — was attached to Hefner and his company. Hefner had no restrictions regarding what races could or couldn’t enter his clubs in the midst of de jure and de facto segregation across the United States. The first African American playmate, 20-year-old model Jennifer Jackson, also appeared in an issue in 1965 amongst heavy societal racial intolerance. The company received backlash for this seemingly bold decision, but stood by it. Similar negativity and judgement arose with the publishing of Ines Rau’s cover issue. In response to the hostility, Hugh Hefner’s son Cooper Hefner tweeted, “We should collectively be fighting for a more open world, not one that promotes hatred and a lack of acceptance.” In addition to Playboy’s forward-looking proclamations displayed by risque content and advocating for racial equality, the brand has been alongside the LGBTQ rights movement. In 1991, the magazine featured their first transgender woman, Caroline Cossey. 26 years later, Playboy, specifically Hugh’s son Cooper, added Ines Rau as their first openly transgender playmate and centerfold bunny. However, many people, especially women, focused on the darker side to



Holly Madison corporation has grown to become a multimillion dollar enterprise. Some of the women deemed as Bunnies waitressed in Hefner’s clubs, a select group posed in the Playboy Magazine and the “lucky” few resided in the Playboy Mansion as one of Hefner’s many girlfriends. Ironically, during the 1960s and growth of Playboy, the women’s rights movement, which also encompassed the “the sexual revolution,” was in full swing. Throughout the ‘60s as American women fought for equality, the birth control pill became a highly debated topic with Hugh Hefner being an outspoken advocate for the pill and sexual freedom among both

Playboy’s sexualization by interpreting its openness as exploitation rather than expression. Many thought, and still think, that although Hefner was an avid advocate for women’s reproductive rights and supported their ability to display themselves and their bodies, these encouragements came at the benefit of men; those who received the issues every month indulged in the physical appearances of the playmates rather than relishing in women’s newfound empowerment. Although sexual emancpation for women is what Hefner so diligently preached, many pointed out his outright contradiction of that platform through the entire concept of his business and life. He promoted women being who they are and not being ashamed of their sexuality, but on the other hand he made the playmates in the mansion live by oppressive rules regarding their physical appearance and restricted them from dating any men other than himself. Hefner believed that everyone should be seen as equals when it comes to being sexual and intimate, yet by plastering women’s naked bodies on newsstands around the world for men’s satisfaction, he held them at their objective level. The life of a Playboy bunny, which many women around the world envied, consisted of restrictive rules and unhealthy habits. With a curfew of 9 o’clock sharp, the bunnies couldn’t sleep away without permission or have any visitors visit the mansion— especially men. The women living in the mansion were each given free room and board and a $1,000 weekly allowance for clothes, shoes or anything else they wanted. Despite the exclusive crite-

ria to become a Playmate and its seemingly dream-like benefits, it wasn’t always enough to make the Mansion what Hefner had desired. “Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship,”

“[HEFNER] USED [M0NEY] AS A WEAP0N.” Izabella St. James

said said Izabella St. James in her book “Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion.” “Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony

among the girlfriends— or your lack of sexual participation in the ‘parties’ he held in his bedroom. If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official ‘going out’ nights [when Hefner liked to parade his girls at nightclubs] he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.” The financial aspect of life at the mansion instilled an inferiority in the Playmates’ relationship with Hefner due to the fact that they were prohibited from having an outside job. In addition to allowance, the women were allowed to get their hair or nails done at any time and were expected to do so frequently; physical appearance was highly prioritized in Playboy and women were scrutinized if they didn’t meet the standards. Hefner also funded all breast augmentations for those living in the mansion, as it was expected for all of the women to have this procedure. Many former Playmates later had their implants taken out after leaving the mansion. All of the women were also required to partake in sexual intercourse with Hefner or other men at any time. Unspoken competition between the Bunnies flared, and the women were left competing to be the skinniest, prettiest and Hefner’s favorite. This constant competition made, “the environment in the mansion toxic,” Madison said in “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Though Hefner’s Playmate girlfriends who lived full time in the mansion with him received the most exploitation, it went beyond those boundaries into the horrors behind the sultry photos blown up on Playboy’s magazine spreads. The same nude photos of Marilyn Monroe that were placed on the cover of Hefner’s first issue, were published without consent or even knowledge from Monroe. The photos had been taken years earlier by photographer Tom Kelley, before Monroe’s career took off, and later purchased by Hefner.


Actress and model Brooke Shields, now 52, was photographed and printed in a 1975 issue, showing Shields naked in a bathtub with heavy makeup on at the age of ten years old, landing her an over-sexualized reputation before she had even hit puberty. Despite the company’s seemingly lewd and likely illegal busi- n e s s moves, Playboy, Hefner once said, “treat women— and men, too, for that matter— as sexual beings, not as sexual objects. In this sense, I think Playboy has been an effective force in the cause of female emancipation.” But if female liberation was his true belief, many think that he should have embraced the idea that women, not just men, can be sexually active and expressive for their entire lives. However, through his choice of playmates, girlfriends and wives he exhibited that his idea of “liberation” only applied to a select group: tall, petite, young girls who constantly kept up their physical appearance. This disposable attitude towards women has made Playboy a nemesis of the feminist movement since the 70’s. Following Hugh Hefner’s death, it is up to his will to determine who will receive part or all of his 35 percent share in Playboy Enterprises and 100 percent share in Playboy Magazine. Although it is unclear how it will be divided and to whom, Hefner’s 25-year-old son Cooper has assumed his father’s role as Chief


Creative Officer for the company. Cooper Hefner’s newfound control leaves the door open for the future of Playboy. Although Playboy currently does not have a strong presence in the media as it did three to four decades ago, the towering business continues its legacy as the original raunchy, risque magazine. Every year on October 31,

young women and men hunt for a constricting black corset and bunny ears, or a replica of Hefner’s iconic red robe and pipe; this is likely a trend that will never fade. While these widely recognized symbols will be carried through generations of costumes and merchandise, the message behind Playboy may change over time, as seen with the hiring of Ines Rau. However, this addition to the Playmate crew does

not automatically brand them as a platform for advocacy and empowerment. The absence of Playboy’s creator allows potential for the future of the company as a whole; however, the change in the message of the magazine, sparking ideas of LGBTQ representation in the media and the empowerment of women, may only be surface-level. Since his father’s death, Cooper Hefner has expressed interest in changing the way Playboy is perceived and, “recognizes his father’s intent, and he has a feeling for going about it as well— in his own way,” board member Dick Rosenzweig said. He plans to revive the nude aspect of the magazine in a more sophisticated way. Additionally, Cooper wants to use the nudity and the magazine overall as a promotion of women’s equality and a platform for their voice and opinions to be heard, a task in which many believed his father seemingly missed the mark. It isn’t clear whether this is the route the company and magazine will take, however, Cooper’s first decision in his new position of power with the addition of Ines Rau, leaves many hopeful for a transformation. Until then, the exploitative and degrading history of Playboy Enterprises will continue to represent them; it is the future decisions that will determine how the company’s legacy will shape in the following decades in the hands of its new successor.







e grow up on a path. We go to school, get good grades, go to a good college, get good grades there, get a job and live happily ever after. This is how we have been told to live a fulfilling and successful life, but what if this isn’t the only formula for success? Graduating after four years of high school and then taking the leap into another consecutive four years of college is a lot to ask of young adults. What if they want to take a break? That’s where a gap year comes in, a break from the rat race and a chance to experience the world before hopping back onto the hamster wheel. A gap year is a chance for students to take a year off between high school and college and do, well, whatever they want. A gap year doesn’t have to involve traveling around Europe partying and drinking or working at a startup. For many people being immersed in nature and by themselves is exactly what they need to clear their mind and help them evaluate their life. The ability to take a gap year is certainly a privilege, but it doesn’t have to be expensive five-star treatment and nice hotels. For many,


the traveling and the experiences had on a gap year can be the most memorable of a lifetime and the last chance to set out without any agenda. With limited vacation time because of their careers, many students feel they need to make the most out of the time they have left to be a young adult and explore before taking on the responsibility of being fully employed. There are endless ways to make a gap year enjoyable, and that is really the best part. For the first time in your life, you have the ability to direct your own life. This is a real chance to meet new and interesting people, see places that you have never seen and be truly free. Many Paly students feel the need to take their trip after high school because of all the stress the school causes. We talked to a few Paly alumni that were willing to share their stories to inspire others. JOSHUA RAPPERPORT Joshua Rapperport, a graduate from Harvard who is working at a technology startup in San Francisco, knew he needed a break in the middle of his academic career. “I had been so caught up in the race to get to a good college I kind of wanted to slow down

and find what I wanted to do,” Rapperport said. Rapperport had been working hard for the 4 years of high school and 2 years into Harvard he realized he needed to take a step back. “I wanted some alone time and traveling around Asia on a motorcycle seemed like the best place to get it,” Rapperport said. Rapperport set out alone with only a few hundred dollars, ready to start his adventure, “I bought the motorcycle there, and just set out to ride across Thailand and visit different villages and places of natural beauty,” Rapperport said. Rapperport claims that he never doubted his trip and even after he came back he never regretted his decision. “My one piece of advice is ‘just do it,’” Rapperport said. “Don’t worry about what other people say or think because as soon as you get back everyone will be jealous. Every reaction I got was ‘I wish I took a gap year.’ Nobody has ever said ‘I am so glad I finished college in 4 years.’” NATHAN ZEIDWERG Nathan Zeidwerg had a different goal for his trip: see as much of the world while he still could. “I’ll have reached 12 dif-

ferent countries by December and somewhere over 20 by April,” Zeidwerg said. Zeidwerg had his heart set on seeing all corners of the world and that is what he did. “This semester I’ve been traveling primarily in Europe, with a brief excursion to Mexico in December,” Zeidwerg said. The Paly graduate had never done an adventurous trip like this before, but that didn’t stop him. “Going and traveling around the world is a romantic idea with a lot of flexibility so there wasn’t much to find unappealing,” Zeidwerg said. “I went alone at first and it wasn’t particularly daunting.” Without a real plan in place, Zeidwerg set out with almost no structure for his trip, all he knew was that he wanted to travel the world alone. Without relying on other people he was able to experience the world in a much different way than many who take gap years. “I’ve been traveling alone, primarily, but I’ve been meeting up with friends in different countries and sometimes people accompany me on certain trips.” Zeidwig said. After all of this Zeidwig had one piece of advice, “If you plan it like a short trip or vacation, you’ll exhaust yourself and

ruin your opportunities for spontaneous trips or detours, which almost always end up better than what you’d planned.” AUGUST RAMBERG-GOMEZ Just four days after receiving his Paly diploma at the class of 2016 graduation, August Ramberg-Gomez flew to Maine and embarked on a journey on the Appalachian Trail with a friend. The expedition would last four months and twenty days, covering 2,200 miles from the state of Maine to Georgia. “I’d been backpacking before, but nothing even close to four or five months,” Ramberg-Gomez said. This journey was just the beginning for Ramberg-Gomez as he fell in love with hiking and the challenge of completing one of the nation’s long distance hiking trails within one season. Using the skills he learned from the Appalachian trail, Ramberg-Gomez returned home to Palo Alto and worked tirelessly to save four thousand dollars, to embark on a second long distance trail over his gap year, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Stretching 2,650 miles, the PCT spans the entirety of the west coast, from Washington to

Mexico. He started by hitchhiking 120 miles through northern Washington to the trailhead, which was quite the feat for a 18 year old. “I had already experienced what it’s like to thru-hike with another person and surprisingly, starting the PCT alone was quite nice,” Ramberg-Gomez said. “It’s exciting to spend time moving through the backcountry alone.” Ramberg-Gomez began his expedition on July 11 of this year starting at the Canadian Border. He is now 78 miles from the Mexican border and excited to finish with four months remaining of straight backpacking. “My best piece of advice would be to take pictures of and with the people you meet,” Ramberg-Gomez said. “I have found that these are always the ones I want to look back on since my travels are often heavily influenced by the connections, acquaintances and friends I make along the way.” In the rush to success, many get wrapped up in the need to reach the finish line but forget to find what they really want out of life. It is important to have a chance to see a new perspective and get the experience necessary to come back to college and life with a new sense of understanding.





Teenagers today spend hundreds on designer items. But do they spend it for the right reasons?


n the 19th and 20th centuries, fashion designer brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior have succeeded in changing the way that fashion is used to express emotion, personality, individuality and taste. These upscale brands have been promoted by fashion magazines, celebrities and fashion shows. However, with these brands comes the image of superiority and giving people the opportunity to show their wealth. As we examine how these brands have made their way into society, it is important to recognize how teenagers have been grasped by these designers. In the Bay Area, many teenage girls rock their Hermes bangles, Louis Vuitton accessories and Gucci belts. With the knowledge that trends become archaic and that teenagers grow up, why do we spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars on these materialistic items? As someone who bought a Gucci belt last month, I became curious as to why I made that choice. Yes, I thought it was cute. Yes, it would add flash to my outfits. But was it really worth a $500 price tag? If the tag read $15, would I still buy it? As I pondered over these questions, I began to question

why I spent $500 on something used to hold up my pants. After conversing with my peers, I came to the conclusion that people might buy these items for a sense of clout and hype. Purchasing designer brands display wealth and the ability to afford such items, and the items provide an outlet to show it off. Emulating the celebrities that squander their affluence is, in this materialistic society, a way of showing power. The truth is, when the public sees celebrities dressed in designer items, the difference between the haves and the have nots are almost instantly noticeable. It creates a sense of “hype” around the article of clothing and people are always talking about it. I acknowledge that I am a teenage girl living in Palo Alto and have the privilege of being able to buy these items, but I can’t help but question my own consumerism. Honestly, I am unsure of what makes these designer brands so attractive and why I succumb to spending hundreds of dollars on objects whose merit comes from reputability rather than value. Is it because I crave the attention? Is it because I need some sort of social validation that I am trendy? The truth is, I will never truly know.



addressing the correlation between mental ilLness and comedy


II. the duo=

IV. bipolar

V. medication

III. depression


VI. finalE



he struggles associated with one of the leading debilitative forms of disease, mental illness, procures the stage for the intersection of intellect, creativity and art in the form of humor. Comedy arises when uncommon connections about the world are made, and laughter can come from seeing these things in a way that was not previously considered. This linkage between comedy and mental illness has led to some of the greatest comedic icons to have ever lived, such as Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Wayne Brady, Jim Carrey and Sarah Silverman, among others. The success of these artists in no way glorifies mental illness or the the pain that accompanies their disease, and often serves as a method they have employed for healing. To many the comedy and mental health are a peculiar pair, but it is important to understand the correlation between them, acknowledge the adversities that accompany mental illness and celebrate the art and the healing that has transpired.

grind, and the amount of effort that goes with it that really needs to be done out of love because so few people succeed, so few. To make a living out of it is very difficult.” According to Williams, ‘inducing laughter’ is an art form, and requires a basis of talent, time and effort. The focus on humor as the representative art form for mental illness comes from the combination of what are considered to be the brilliant manic and alternative thinking traits that come with depression and bipolar disorder, concluding that comedy can bring lightness out of dark times. “Humor is intelligence, creativity and art; it’s the three of the together,” internationally recognized psychologist Stephen Hinshaw

The science behind creating successful comedy “comes from the ability to see things in a way that most people cannot,” Sarvate said. This is often what creates a good comedian. Individuals suffering from depression experience a physiological and biological change in the brain that causes them to see the world in a different light. Therefore, the combination of the rewiring in the brain and the desire to express art as a coping mechanism is a promising mix for successful comedy. This ‘skill’ is often considered to be a desirable trait, but it is not as romantic as it sounds. The creative process that these comedians must go through in order to create thoughtprovoking and witty content is more difficult than what is seen on the surface. In fact, “many comedians have hyperactive minds which are constantly creating connections between disparate topics,” Sarvate said. “This constant activity of the mind can be stressful and exhausting.” It is an ongoing debate as to whether comedy should be considered catharsis or if it exacerbates the depression. Hinshaw confirms the struggle to identify the complex relationship between comedy and mental illness. “Does it cause depression or does it come from depression?” Hinshaw said. “ ... I think it is one of those yin yang cycles.” This cycle of creativity and stress can be the perfect equation for amazing art and exemplifies how comedy and mental illness, specifically depression, go hand in hand. It is important to note that one does not have to be depressed to become a successful comedian, but that people with mental illness have a different chemistry in their brains that can, at times, provide a source of creativity. Not all comedians suffer from mental illness, and therefore having a mental illness does not elevate a professional’s credibility, but instead can serve as a source of inspiration and an outlet for pain.



The leading mental illnesses linked with comedy are depression and bipolar disorder. Individuals who suffer from mental illness utilize unique characteristics of their mental states to express their talent and ingenuity in a way that can soothe the despondence of mental illness. Comedy itself is an extremely intellectual concept; it takes intricate strategies and an ability to form unique connections about the world to create successful humor, a skill that is remarkably challenging to master. Zak Williams, the son of the late comedian Robin Williams, talked to C Magazine about the idea of becoming a comedian and how it is an unconventional path that often arises from the need to cope with a mental illness. “Comedians are people who make a career out of helping other laugh or inducing laughter in others,” Williams said. “I think the path to becoming a comedian is not a straight and narrow path. It’s a very challenging path in the sense that there is a


said. The concurrence of these three elements are formed brilliantly by people who are dealing with depression and bipolar disorder due to the variant ways of thinking that come with each and the methodological influence of healing that it can have for psychological pains


Richard Sarvate, a local comedian who deals with depression, believes that “people who suffer from depression find ways to cope with the depression, and one of the ways is through humor.”

"I think the path to becoming a comedian is not a straight and narrow path. IV. BIPOLAR V. MEDICATION It's a very Bipolar disorder is linked to comedy through It is imperative to note that the creativity challenging mania and the either fully manic, or manic and intellect that can be apparent in depressive episodes, that individuals with bipolar individuals who suffer from mental illnesses is path in the disorder experience. Mania itself is the state of an not halted by the use of medication, contrary individual in a manic episode. Manic episodes to popular belief. sense that are characterized by hyperactivity, rapidly The concept of a tortured artistic genius transitioning thoughts and conversations, as well is socially romanticized to a point that many there is a as lack of sleep irritability, impulsivity and the individuals are willing to put their own mental initiation of new activities or projects– in this stability on the line by revoking treatment for grind. the case comedic ventures. Hinshaw believes that the sake of their art. Hinshaw states that this amount of this hyperactive and creative mindset is where the dangerous sacrifice does not have to be made. major link to comedy exists. The manic episodes A former fellow student of his pioneered effort that present individuals with a mindset in which their research around lithium as a treatment for drive and inspiration is off the charts, as well as bipolar disorder. goes with it their frame of mind being much more abstract A study conducted in Denmark looked at the effects that this method of treatment would really needs than logical. “When you are manic you engage in what some have on artists. The researcher internalized the people call a more primitive way of thinking– it’s fear that the consequences of treatment would to be done not as logical, like A to B to C,” Hinshaw said. affect the artist's creativity, and initially, the out of love He also mentions specific symptoms of mania: artists shared the same fear. “loose associations, grandiosity, thinking outside However, once the treatment was in because so the box, using all your senses,” all of which progress the vast majority reported that it was contribute to the formation of great comedy. beneficial to their success as artists because few people Mixed episodes, which consist of elements of both they obtained the organization necessary to depression and mania, are unique in that they complete the creative ventures they began in succeed. hold both the “energy of mania but the despair the height of their mania. of depression,” Hinshaw said. Overall, mania, “[They] said that, ‘I used to think that the To make a the main aspect of bipolar in conjunction with only way to be a successful artist is to just living out depression, has been noted to be a huge factor have these manic thoughts and to go all these in the correlation between mental illness and art, places, but I never completed [anything]. I can of it is very and applies to comedy in a unique way due to the still have my mania, but I am now organized intellect and creativity that it combines. enough to complete a project,’” Hinshaw said. difficult." ZAK WILLIAMS


Mental illness is a concept that is often misunderstood and looked down upon, but in reality it has helped bring laughter to the world. The connections made from the psychological and biological changes that come with depression and bipolar disorder can

construct humor cherished by many, as well as being mechanism for soothing the desolation that can accompany comedians with mental illness. A performance that brings light out of pain is extremely attractive to many, but this cycle that many comedians experience is

more strenuous than it seems. This connection between comedy and mental illness is a discussion worth having as it sheds light upon uncommonly associated and misunderstood topics.


PLANTS& PRESCRIPTIONS C Magazine compares and contrasts the different methods of medicine and healing.


“As a holistic system of healthcare, homeopathy treats the whole person as opposed to individual body parts. The body and mind are not seen as separate.”


n overwhelming stomach ache can be quickly, and effectively, alleviated with a Tums tablet, which tends to be at close reach in many homes. Brands as familiar as Tums have integrated themselves into the lives of many Americans, and in turn these companies have created a booming industry. The heavy reliance on Big Pharma is clearly seen through the seventy percent of Americans who take at least one pharmaceutical drug. In a way, people have become their own doctors there are numerous over-the-counter medications that we count on without the permission of our doctors. With a quick trip to the local drugstore, anyone has the ability to get their hands on hundreds of different medications. Many rely on these low-priced pretty packaged boxes at CVS, but do we really know the economic and social implications of what we put into our bodies? Over the past 120 years, modern medicine has advanced greatly, saving the lives of many, but these benefits have also allowed consumers to exploit these advances. Along with the advance of medicine came an abundance of resources, and with that the dominating corporations that now run the markets. The first safe, effective, and non-addictive prescription medicine was introduced in 1899, and was originally manufactured by

the Bayer Company of Germany. It was then heavily marketed to doctors, who were highly encouraged to prescribe this medicine to their patients. A year later, as the industry was in its nascent stages, new and popular over-the-counter medications made by pharmacists started to hit the market. Some examples of these over-the-counter medicines include opioids and morphine. As time went on, the use of these drugs became more widespread, and a way to control the sales and purchases was needed. This was addressed in 1914 with the Harrison Act, which was implemented to slow down the rapid growth of the prescription medicine use in America. Regulations of medicine were heightened after the 1919 supreme court case, United States vs. Doremus, where the government implemented a federal law that would monitor the production and distribution of opiates. Approximately 10 years later in 1928, alcohol was prohibited across the U.S. and consequently gave doctors more power. Many patients saw the opportunity and took advantage of their doctor’s ability to prescribe pints of alcohol. The results were under the table deals between doctor and patient, which allowed the patients to have access to banned substances. In 1938, through the Pure Food and Drug Act, more restrictions were put into place

and the Federal and Drug Administration (FDA) was given control over the use of non-narcotic medications. Following the FDA’s regulations, the process of labeling drugs became a new conflict of interest in the prescription drug industry. In 1938, new legislation was put in place that stated that companies were required by law to declare the ingredients and adequate directions for proper use of the medication. Today, the drug approval process happens over four steps, including controversial animal testing and clinical trials. On average, it takes 12 years for a single experimental drug to make the journey from the company’s laboratories to your medicine cabinet. The long process is not an easy one: in the United States only five in 5000 new drugs make it to human trials, and only one in 5000 make it onto the market. The ones that do make it into American and international markets are then sold by the corporations to your local hospital and doctor’s offices. This is where the conflict begins. Doctors and hospitals prescribe drugs to their patients, and these brands reward bonuses to those who prescribe more of their product. A story produced by National Public Radio (NPR), found that a direct relationship existed between doctor’s prescription “habits” and the companygiven bonuses that doctors received. While their findings don´t specifically state that bonuses lead to higher prescription rates, they do suggest that they can potentially sway the prescription approach taken by doctors when evaluating a patient. Studies have shown that there is no set procedure that a practitioner might take when prescribing a patient, but rather a series of questions that are asked in order to determine the correct course of action. Physicians then must decide whether the harm-benefit balance that accompanies any medication is beneficiary enough for the condition of the patient. Standard medical training effectively equips doctors with the skill

sets to properly and promptly diagnose a patient; however, controversy is introduced when the doctor is choosing the specific brand of medicine to prescribe. Because of the vast variety of medicine available, like any market, there is competition between brands. Marketing then plays a large role in the elimination process. With the rise of big medical corporations, there have been a handful of standouts that have an exorbitant amount of power when it comes to price control over medications that are in high demand. The rise and fall of medical prices are decisions that affect a majority of the population. Although insurance may take care of prescriptions from your doctor, the price of over the counter medication is rising, comes straight out of your pocket. The easy, cheap, and quick access we have to pharmaceutical medicine may be a door that is quickly closing. This was clearly illustrated throughout the EpiPen frenzy that occurred in 2016. The company had a monopoly on EpiPen which gave the company full control to monitor the prices, and restrict other companies from manufacturing a similar product. The EpiPen is tool that contains epinephrine, which is used to narrow down blood vessels and open airways to the lungs. It’s commonly utilized by people who have severe allergies, because epinephrine has the ability to reverse common allergic reaction symptoms such as low blood pressure, rashes, wheezing, hives, etc. The problem was that the prices of the EpiPen were being raised from $103.50 to $608.61. This huge spike in price was a significant financial shock to many people, as the EpiPen is in such high demand. This massive price increase was detrimental to the wallets and health o f

so many. For those who do not have full coverage health insurance, this new skyrocketed price became difficult for many to afford. Around 15 million Americans suffer from a form of a food allergy, and the EpiPen is a tool that has the ability to reduce the chances of a fatal reaction. The EpiPen dispute is just one case of large monopolies raising prices of medicine that Americans depend on. However, there is an advantage to relying on these pharmaceutical medications, which is the security many of us receive. Although it’s easy to sit idly by and put blame on these large corporations, it’s critical that we acknowledge the lives these drugs have saved and the importance they have in our society. There are many vaccinations that are required for people, specifically students, to take in order to protect the well-being of the entire population. Annual visits to the doctors may seem to be a hassle, but they are extremely important as these vaccinations are implemented to prevent infectious diseases from spreading. Along with mandatory vaccinations, there are countless other medications that have proven their importance. This was seen in 2009 with the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, or more commonly known as the “swine flu”. The outbreak started North America in April, and promptly started to spread around the world; it was officially recognized as an epidemic, the first since 1968. H1N1 is a respiratory disease that is transmitted through contact with swine and by the ingestion of contaminated food and air. In the next eight months, the epidemic only grew and many people feared for their lives. A well known medical journal company, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, estimated that the death toll from the 2009 pandemic was between 151,700 and 575,400. With the conclusion of the epidemic, many Americans finally faced the harsh reality of viruses and their alarming consequences. This new realization of the significance of vaccines set the


precedent for annual vaccines to prevent outbreaks like these in the future. Although advances in pharmaceutical medicine have had a positive impact on the American medicinal industry, there have been quite a few issues that have forced the multimillion dollar industry into the limelight. Along with some of these complications, there have been clear positives that are products of these huge companies, some of which are the annual vaccinations that prevent viral infections from spreading. In Western Cultures, the use of alternative medication is often trivialised; however, throughout time this divergent method of treatment became a cornerstone in the foundation of modern medicine. When standard pharmaceutical medicine is not ideal for a patient, some often look to the next option: alternative medicine. This pathway encompasses medical treatment that excludes traditionally used therapies, such as antibiotics. Also known as integrative or complementary medicine, these more holistic medicinal treatments are currently being used as an alterative by over thirty percent of adults in the US. Alternative methods are generally categorized into one of four groups: traditional, body, mind, or diet and herbs. Although this form of medical treatment has been pushed to the wayside due to lingering stigma and skepticism in the United States, it has gathered a significant following due to the natural approach these alternative doctors – homeopathic physicians – take. Fear of unpredicted outcomes drove many Americans to call the practice an “unreliable” medicinal

treatment. Now, it has evolved into a trusted and heavily relied upon new approach to modern medicine. Local homeopathic Selora Albin said, “I like people to know that this is another option, as homeopathy is perfectly safe, has no toxic side effects and treats someone’s whole picture.” When prescribing medication, many primary care doctors will ask questions like,

“Homeopathy is perfectly safe, has no toxic side effects and treats someone’s whole picture.” “how are you feeling?” and “what symptoms do you have?” to try and identify how your body is reacting to whatever affliction it is suffering from. After learning their patient’s symptoms, a quick diagnosis is made and medication is prescribed to be picked up from the local pharmacy. However, doctors who practice alternative medicine take a different approach to heal and treat their patients. Albin stated, “As a holistic system of

healthcare, homeopathy treats the whole person as opposed to individual body parts. The body and mind are not seen as separate.” Two of the most popular types of alternative medicine, acupressure and acupuncture, fall into the traditional category dating back to Daoist traditions of over a thousand years ago. Both acupressure and acupuncture are most commonly used to relieve stress and pain. People have relied on alternative treatments for emotional and musculoskeletal disorders such as anxiety, depression and neck and back pain. Acupressure is when pressure is applied to specific pressure points on the body. These pressure points follow meridians or channels throughout the body and when pressure is applied, pain or tension in muscles can be relieved. Acupressure can also be used therapeutically, as the treatment can bring on a deep state of relaxation. With proper teaching, acupressure treatment can be learned, practiced and performed on oneself. The process of acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but needles are used rather than finger placement pressure. Dozens of the hair thin needles are placed onto specific parts of the back and upper body stimulating specific nerve parts, which help with pain as well as treat health conditions such as stroke rehabilitation, menstrual cramps, asthma, and nerve damage. Originating from China in 6000 BCE, the ancient practice was performed with sharpened stones and bones. In traditional Chinese medicine, the practice was to help the treatment of diseases, as it was believed that illness would disrupt the flow of energy or qi, in the body. Today, major hypotheses behind the

treatment benefits of acupuncture are based on nerve stimulation and the release of endorphins. In 1972, acupuncture came to America and ever since has been becoming more and more commonly used throughout the country. Another alternative medicine that is popular in the U.S. is aromatherapy, which is exactly as it sounds, the treatment of the senses by scent. Aromatherapy falls into the herbs and diet category of alternative medicine, as the extracted scented oils used are taken from different natural elements such as different species of flowers, roots, leaves and seeds. By using natural resources, people promote the health of their mind, body and spirit while each method used provides a different purpose. For example, to treat headaches and migraines, a couple drops of either peppermint or lavender oil is said to soothe the ache with the application to the temples. For students, the scent and inhalation of bergamot and grapefruit oils have been said to improve concentration throughout the day. Aromatherapy is used for numerous purposes, with oils ranging in treatments for stress relief, hangover cure and improved circulation. Oils are used in three different ways: olfactory, massage, and cosmetic. The olfactory method of aromatherapy is the method most commonly used with oils today. Olfactory aromatherapy oils are used to enhance mood, promote better sleep and memory retention and improve the functionality of the immune, circulatory and respiratory systems. By just inhaling the different oils, the brain is stimulated and the soothing scents relax the body. Another type of aromatherapy is

massage aromatherapy. This method is most commonly used to relieve pain, muscle tension and other bodily discomforts. Oils are massaged into the affected areas of the skin and are commonly found in many massage oils used by masseuses.Cosmetic aromatherapy oils are applied to the skin to be absorbed through the pores to cleanse, moisturize and tone the skin. Aromatherapy has been in practice since 1937 when chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse’s curiosity about the healing powers of essential oils sparked due to a burn incident he experienced. Due to its use throughout the country, aromatherapy has become the most commonly used type of alternative medicine in the United States. Over time, alternative medicine has continued to become a more trustworthy form of medicine. Rather than heading straight to the doctor to be prescribed antibiotics, Americans are becoming more open to the idea of their other option. Prescribed pharmaceutical medicines apply to all people, whereas alternative medicine is catered to the individual. Because of the many different outlets in alternative medicine, each one can provide a different advantage to the individual.

“It’s very different than taking pharmaceutical medications that quickly and temporarily suppress symptoms in specific parts or organs.”


FINDING OUR ROOTS For my entire life, my health has been dictated not by doctors, but by a culture of natural healing uncommon to the practice of most Americans.


have a headache. Do you have some Advil?” is a commonly heard around the Paly campus. This is due to a culture where the minute a person feels a little bit of pain, they immediately turn to painkillers for help. However, for me, growing up, “take these homeopathic drops” or “put this natural cream on your face” were much more frequently heard if I had a headache. Or with something like an ear infection. “Let’s cut up an onion and put it on your ear.” Cough? “Why not drip lavender oil on a woolen scarf and wrap it around you?” The German culture that influenced my upbringing has a strong belief in trying natural medicine before anything more invasive. In Germany, doctors will mostly try to prescribe natural medicine first, and only turn to antibiotics and painkillers if the natural medicine doesn’t provide effective results for the patient. The pharmaceutical industry in Germany is unconventional by American standards: there, you go to a pharmacy before seeing a doctor, describe your pain to the pharmacist and they prescribe you a treatment based on that. The remedies they prescribe are often times natural, like pills made of bee pollen that are taken to strengthen the immune system. This belief and trust in natural medicine makes for a very different, less harmful culture. Antibiotics are known to have many negative side effects like the weakening of the immune system on the body that just do not occur when using natural medicine. The underlying belief of natural medicine is that the body should heal itself to emerge stronger after being sick. Natural remedies merely help the body do this job. So as opposed to antibiotic, which means against life, these help the body to recover by itself and thus are pro-life. Personally, I have had significant exposure to natural medicine as my mom is a strong believer in the use of homeo-


pathic and other naturopathic treatments. Homeopathy is a field of study that has a holistic approach to medicine. This means that whenever I am in any form of pain, my mom pulls out one of her homeopathic books and looks up my overall symptoms. The main symptoms typically have less significant indicators of illness that accompany them. For example, if the main symptom is a cough, then there is cough with runny nose, cough with headache, cough with ear pain and so on. Each different combination of pain has their own various suggested homeopathic medicines to take which start the healing process but do not have any side effects. Even though my mom commonly uses homeopathic healing methods, these are not the only natural medicines I grew up with. When I am sick, the first thing my mom does is make me drink a tea that will either make my throat stop hurting or calm a sick stomach. Instead of taking Nyquil or similar products I usually drink a tea that helps calm my nerves and makes falling

asleep easier while sick. However, there have obviously been times when this treatment method did not work or I was so sick that I just went straight to the Nyquil. I knew it would knock me right out and give me the sleep I needed. I don’t believe that all antibiotics and mainstream medicine are bad. I have taken antibiotics, I have taken painkillers and I will continue doing so throughout my life. However, I am aware that these aren’t my only options, and in my own life they have never been the first choice of care. Since this was the culture I was raised in, I didn’t know anything other than natural medicine for a long period of time. When I moved to the U.S., it was a shock to have the doctor immediately prescribe antibiotics with such ease for every health problem I faced. I have always valued natural medicine and have never been disappointed by the results, which is why I will continue feeling a strong connection to my cultural heritage when it comes to treating illnesses.



THE ALTERNATIVE SHAM Why alternative medicine and homeopathy do more harm than good.


he lack of regulation of homeopathic medicine quite literally kills people– not because the substances used are dangerous, but because they do not work. When someone who is diagnosed with cancer seeks alternative treatment out of someone’s house instead of going to a board-certified doctor, that healer is not legally obligated to inform the patient that there is little to no evidence proving that homeopathic remedies work. I experienced this very scenario with my grandmother. After my grandfather died from a heart attack, my grandmother began having hip pain. She went to see a doctor and was told she needed surgery. At this point she had not been to a doctor in more than 30 years and needed to have a full medical workup. During her workup they discovered that she had leukemia; however, she would wait a year until finally starting chemotherapy. That year, following the doctor’s diagnosis, she was taking expensive supplements a homeopathic doctor prescribed ones which carried no proof of being effective. After starting chemotherapy, she continued taking modern drugs and

receiving blood transfusions alongside supplements for several years, but she passed away two years ago. Although starting chemotherapy a year earlier may not have cured her cancer, the delay possibly took years away from her life. In 2000, my aunt’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and proceeded with chemotherapy as a treatment method. She became cancer-free at the end of the treatment and remained cancer-free for several years after. However, in one of her routine check-ups they found that the cancer had returned. Deciding she didn’t want to go through the draining process of chemotherapy again, she found a spiritual healer living in Hawaii who claimed that he, just by talking to her on the phone, could “feel her energy and pull the cancer out of her.” She was told that his method was working on her, and never having pursued modern treatment again, she passed away ealier this year. Most would assume that his

As a society and a culture, we have to make sure that people understand that homeopathic medicine has no scientific backing. TEXT AND DESIGN BY JACK STEFANSKI

claims were obviously lies; however, for the vulnerable, the issue is that as a non-certified healer has no governing body and can say what he wants. When someone is living under the conditions of a life-threatening illness, they do not always have the best judgement. Practitioners of homeopathic medicine may mislead their patients about the legitimacy of their treatments, which creates a combination of issues that can snowball into death. As a society and a culture, we have to make sure that people understand that homeopathic medicine has no scientific backing, and people who practice homeopathic medicine are not obligated to inform their patients of its scientific limitations. Additionally, family members and caregivers of people with life-threatening illnesses have to help their ill loved ones to make better decisions. It is one thing for someone to choose to die because they have a terminal and extremely painful illness; it is another thing for someone to die because the homeopathic treatment sought after has no power to medicinally cure.


FEAR ful


Everyone experiences fear. Not everyone conquers it.


alms sweating, heart racing, knees buckling, these are feelings that most people dread. Whether it be the sensation some experience when the lights are turned off in a room, or from looking down a steep drop of a rollercoaster, or staring up into the eyes of a big black spider, everyone experiences fear. Fear is a feeling that most people do not enjoy, so why do humans experience fear? Fear can provoke determination but can also be debilitating. No matter how fear affects the individual, conquering a fear always takes courage and hard work. Fear is a natural human emotion instilled in our brains to protect us from danger and potential threats. Being afraid of the dark is an instinct that protects against potential threats that could be lurking in the night. Due to external experiences, for instance scary movies that create unrealistic perceptions of being alone in the dark, it is understandable that this is one of the more common fears, especially among children. Sometimes fears


grow to be irrational, which can contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. When a fear is so strong that it begins to affect your daily life, it is no longer a fear but a phobia. Phobias range from Nyctophobia, fear of the dark, to Hylophobia, fear of trees. Depending on how extreme the phobia is, they can be treated through therapy and

“It’s like having superpowers for a very brief time.” Margaret King various types of medication. No matter how outrageous the fear may seem, it can consume an individual and stick with them throughout their lives. According to an article from Effective Mind

Control, an organization focused on informing individuals about fear, fear is triggered by the amygdala, an organ in the limbic system within the brain that detects possibilities of danger. The amygdala generates a sense of fear that cause an avoidance of activities that could be threatening. Memories or history of trauma can also trigger fear. Someone bit by a dog as a child may still experience terror and pain years later causing a long term fear of dogs. The brain identifies such events as threatening and triggers fear to be imprinted into neurological paths that last a lifetime. Although it is commonly suggested that fear is debilitating, it can also motivate people. Fear can drive people to conquer something scary. To push past every fearful emotion holding someone back is a feat that many cannot accomplish. Fully conquering a fear takes time, exposure and is not always successful. Some people choose to conquer their fears for the adrenaline rush.

Steps to conquer your fears 1. Name and understand your fear.

Identify your fear, note when it began, what the cause is (if there is one) and recognize that fears are normal.

2. Educate yourself

Research your fear and learn everything you can about it to become more comfortable with the concept.

3. Take action

In order to get over your fears, you must be willing to make a plan to attempt to conquer the fear.


Thrill seekers, or adrenaline junkies, are individuals who frequently indulge in the rush of adrenaline from participating in risky adventures. At its peak, fear causes every bodily emotion to be in overdrive as its only goal is survival; many may reference this experience to feeling alive. “It’s like having superpowers for a very brief time,” Margaret King, Ph.D. and director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis in Philadelphia said. Fear is a necessary biological emotion within the human body that is meant to protect us. Although in many cases fear protects us, individuals react in various ways to the chemical brain reaction. In some cases fear can be the most crippling emotion, however, it can also be the force that encourages an individual to push themselves to become more developed. The complexity of this emotion can cause an extended range of emotion in individuals, and whether it is paralyzing or electrifying, fear pushes limits of human boundaries.

4. Practice, practice, practice

Execute your plan and incorporate it into your daily schedule to transform that fear into an adventure.

10 most common fears: Public Speaking Heights Bugs Drowning Blood/Needles Claustrophobia Flying Strangers Zombies Darkness Check out the CMag staff conquering fears at cmagazine.org



We’ve turned our back on Big Tobacco. Why haven’t we turned on e-cigarettes? TEXT BY CHARLOTTE AMSBAUGH, KATIE LOOK AND ALEXIS PISCO DESIGN BY KATIE LOOK PHOTOS BY RYAN GWYN

moke upin


e the generation to end smoking.” This is a popular campaign slogan of the organization Truth, whose goal is to end teen smoking through the spreading of facts and information. Their advertisement campaign is targeted at teenagers and has an active presence in media like TV, Spotify and Soundcloud, just to name a few. However, many teens deem these advertisements ineffective because alternative nicotine uses like vaping are not acknowledged as a part of the problem. Boasting the claim that only six percent of teens smoke cigarettes, awareness advertisements step around a real and rising problem facing teens today: nicotine use through vaping. There is a discrepancy, however, between the intent to create e-cigarettes; Big Tobacco taking advantage of e-cigarettes as a gateway into more severe tobacco use, and Pax Labs — among other e-cigarette companies — that hopes to wean people off of tobacco use. Big Tobacco’s decline has been met by the rise of independent e-cigarette companies, such as Pax Labs — manufacturers of the JUUL — that generally aim to provide a cigarette alternative for adult smokers. Big Tobacco’s mission to provide a gateway into cigarette smoking through e-cigarettes causes companies like Pax Labs, who are trying solely to provide a tobacco-free alternative, to seem valiant in their intent. However, this pursuit is lessened by the staggering fact that its products have proven to be immensely appealing to minors who in large part don’t or wouldn’t otherwise use nicotine products.

The Fall of Big Tobacco

Long before JUULs and vapes, teens and adults across the globe regularly purchased and smoked cigarettes. Tobacco companies used targeted, misleading and intelligent marketing, using teens and athletes in their advertisements, contracting endorsements from doctors and dentists, infiltrating sponsored game shows,


offering Christmas and holiday bundles and purchasing billboards and magazine covers to promote their products. Their tactics were extremely successful— nearly half of American men and a quarter of American women picked up smoking between the 1950s and 60s, according to a Surgeon General’s report. Prior to the discoveries of the consequences of tobacco use, 43 percent of Americans smoked according to the same report. In the 1970s, the US Government banned Big Tobacco ads from TV and radio, and mandated warning labels on cigarette packages as the negative health effects of tobacco use became widely known. Their cancerous effects became more apparent, and people across the globe started putting down their cigarettes. By 1988, all U.S. commercial flights were tobacco free. From 2005 to 2009, the total number of Americans smoking cigarettes dropped from 21 percent to 15 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As tobacco companies’ sales began to fall, the invention of the e-cigarette was catalyzed. Many tobacco companies were


able to give a slight revival to their dying industry. This coincided with the birth of many small e-cigarette companies, like Pax Labs, which have been growing largely without FDA supervision ever since.

Teen consumption

Due to the accessibility of products like the JUUL, vaping is no longer a niche hobby among teens. According to the CDC, an estimated 16 percent of high school students vaped at least once a month in 2015, nearly double the amount of students who smoked cigarettes. While many focus on the near extinction of teen smoking, a clear, yet unrecognized, transition seems to be occurring. With the death of the cigarette comes the rise of the JUUL. While cigarette companies were once able to disguise the detrimental health effects of their products, there are now

many organizations like Truth and The Real Cost working to end teen smoking with well-known campaigns to deter tobacco use. However, vape companies continue to buy billboards; for instance in spring 2015, Pax Labs purchased a 12 unit billboard display that loomed over Times Square. These businesses also spend millions of dollars on online advertisements. An increase in the money used to advertise nicotine products increases the number of teens who use said products. E-cigarettes appeal to the masses with their sleek and simple packaging; publications including Wired and Men’s Fitness have nicknamed the JUUL “the iPhone of e-cigs.” Considering that the minds behind Pax Labs graduated from the same Stanford design program as many Apple designers, this comes as no surprise. Not only have their advertisements attracted the curious eye of the nation, they have captured popular culture. Their compact, sleek, and subtle nature makes them easy to conceal, and the convenience of the USB Charger make them the ideal choice for teens. While many see it as a

With the death of the cigarette comes the rise of the JUUL.

joke, nicotine addiction is an issue many teens now face. A study at UCSF found that even adolescents who do not display risk factors common among cigarette smokers are using e-cigarettes. Through targeted advertisements and a pervasive hold on popular culture, America’s youth is once again getting hooked on nicotine.

among teens who regularly vape — an abundance that nearly doubles those who are smoking. Additionally, a larger issue looms. Teens who use nicotine and vape products are four times more likely to start smoking in the next year, according to the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

Health implications

Why this matters

The negative health effects of cigarette-smoking have become common knowledge thanks to research-based education efforts. Bad breath, bad skin, smelly clothes and cancer are all deterrents that aid in keeping teen cigarette-smoking levels low. Few people, though, have a similar objection to the use of nicotine through vaping. Appealing design, cool flavors and a lack of information on repercussions have made many turn to an e-cigarette instead of a traditional one. Teens who are apprehensive about the health effects of cigarettes often turn to a vape or JUUL because they are “healthier.” However, e-cigarettes can be just as harmful as regular cigarettes. In a 2014 study, by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine at University of California San Francisco, found that e-cigarettes can produce 15 times the amount of cancer-causing formaldehyde that cigarettes do. The lack of awareness about the health repercussions is causing a transition that is swaying the statistics about teen smoking. Many awareness organizations are focused on cigarette smoking while the need for intervention lies

Teens across the nation are regularly using nicotine products that can, and will, negatively impact their future. In the same way the world turned away from the cancerous cigarette, the world will hopefully turn away from the JUUL, too. Companies like Pax Labs have captured the American teen through misleading advertising, sleek design and sweet flavors. Although they no longer have endorsements from doctors like the cigarette companies of the past, their grasp on popular culture proves similarly effective. Teens addicted to nicotine and unable to escape are more likely than other teens to use cigarettes in the future. But there is hope. Re s e a rc h by doctors

at the University of California San Francisco shows that the elimination of flavored e-cigarette varieties effectively deters a great portion of youth e-cigarette users — 96 percent of whom begin e-cigarette use with flavored products, according to a study looking at highschool and college students in Texas— while not largely affecting adult users, who primarily use tobacco-like flavors. A recognition of history can help prevent the issues presented by Big Tobacco; vape companies are deceiving the world, the same way Big Tobacco did 60 years prior by avoiding research and sidestepping proven facts to promote their products. They are fostering a society in which youth nicotine addiction and use is commonplace, it is acknowledged that the industry of e-cigarette is following the same path as Big Tobacco. Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore made a statement in 1995 that still rings true: “This industry, in my opinion, is an industry who has perpetrated the biggest fraud on the American public in history,” he said. “They have lied to the American public for years and years. They have killed millions and millions of people and made a profit on it.”



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How the magicians behind the film industry transform words on a page into a moving work of art. art


he seats of the theater are filling up with rows of people glancing up at the large screen in front of them, ready to become captivated by someone else’s story. This feeling of being swept off your feet and immersed into a separate world is something that filmmakers work hard to achieve. Cinematography proves itself to be both an art and a science, making it difficult to understand, recognize and produce. Cinema, and the ways in which it is consumed and fabricated is constantly evolving. Through this progression, movies have advanced into visual installments that are more than just a script, plot and a series of interactions between characters. Despite new technological advances, the definition of cinematography has stayed consistent. Poetically, it can be explained as the translation of the dreams and thoughts of a director to a realistic visual format in which viewers are transported into lives that are different from their own. Formally, there are multiple mechanical details that

support this process in which a cinematographer connects the gap between dreams and reality through interpreting the ideas of the director. Cinematographers apply their educational background with photography and filming to create a scene that evokes emotion and accurately captures the director’s idea for the film. These elements help convey the story in an appealing manner and are ultimately the most important visual aspects of a film. Cinematographers are characterized by their ability to capitalize on the current technological filmmaking commodities to yield a product that caters to the audience’s response and the director’s intended vision. The combination of ideas and technology result in the visuals that characterize a film. Certain cinematic elements make a film distinguishable, such as light, color, frame and depth. If viewers recognize these elements, they can better understand the underlying ideas of the film and thus the ultimate goal of a cinematographer is achieved.



n influential element in cinema is color, a facet that evokes emotional responses from readers through various depictions. A product of light, color and its usage impacts the visual experience, thus any variations of color will signify a change in composition. Color is commonly associated with emotions. The psychological element behind the use of color helps cinematographers link a certain mood to a frame or scene. It can also elicit responses from the audience or draw them to significant details, such as character traits and development or important themes. The three main components of color are hue, saturation and value. These terms correlate to the actual color, its intensity and its brightness. Differences within any of these parameters can impact the tone of the movie. Color schemes and palettes are created for certain scenes, and often cinematographers will use palettes that are of similar or different colors to create balance or discordance within the film. Additionally, balance and discordance can create harmony or tension within the film depending on the cinematographer’s usage of the basic color palette. A situation in which colors are used to convey a mood is exemplified to the right. Inspired by Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” childhood vitality and nostalgia are expressed through faded earthy tones. Warmer colors such as yellow, brown and orange, especially set at a lower contrast and saturation, tend to elude to lighter, more joyous sentiments. This color scheme and the way it creates balance within the film and influences the general mood ultimately reflects upon the importance of color in film.


epth of field is the area in front of the camera that appears in sharp focus in the frame. This is changed based on the amount of light and the size of the lens aperture. For example, a bright light and narrow lens aperture create a larger depth of field. Shallow depth of fields lead the viewer’s eyes to a specific object without the cinematographers putting in specific analytic cuts. Filmmakers use different depth of fields to focus in on different objects. They have certain elements in focus while others are not, attracting the attention of the viewer to those that are focused. In the provided example, it is clear that this is a shallow depth of field since the person in the front is focused while the rest of the image is just blurry in the background. In this scene, it is clear that the most important part that the filmmaker wants the viewers to focus on is the character in front.



ompared to theater, film is much more controlled and manipulated. Cinematographers use specific types of shots, or ways of framing a scene, to control what the audience sees, feels and perceives. A common example is the use of natural frames in a scene to draw the audience’s eye to one spot or character. This technique is especially favorable in scenes when the main event taking place is far away in the shot because by using leading lines and framing, the focal point of the frame is what the cinematographer intended. Different frames have the ability to control the feeling that a certain scene of a film instills in the viewer. Without a variety of frames, a film would not have the same ability to take the viewer to a different world.



ne of the most influential elements of a film is light. Light is an integral part of cinematography because of its flexibility, possible variations and endless options of composition. Whether or not they are extreme, any changes in light are noticeable to the human mind and body. Any alterations made to the overall brightness of a scene will subtly convey a change in mood. Additionally, lighting is a result of the mixture of other components, such as exposure, depth, contrast, contour and atmosphere; all pieces that can set the mood for a film. The use of these elements is exemplified in a situation where the cinematographer uses a sidelight as the only source of light. Light coming from a parallel direction would create chiaroscuro lighting, a traditional


technique used throughout the film noir period that creates a dramatic mood through the use of high levels of contrast. The lack of a sense of depth and the drastic contour add to the extremity of the composition, all elements the cinematographer has carefully considered to support the melodramatic undertone of the film. All of the inconspicuous ways in which light influences a film are intentional and are previously contemplated by cinematographers to create an emotionally responsive piece.


uch more goes into creating a film than expected due to the many factors of a film that are changed and manipulated to convey a specific emotion to the audience. There are many unnoticed aspects of each film that, even though they seem rather insignificant, have the ability to change the entire mood of the film. As unimportant as they may seem to the audience, filmmakers spend days fiddling with these different facets of the film to ensure that they produce a movie that will not be forgotten. Films would be less significant and impactful if these elements of the creating process were ignored. The magical ability films have to move people and fly them into another world, is the work of pure cinematographic genius.

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Emily Wood

40 | ARTS

To Bead or Knot to Bead


Junior Emily Wood has found her passion for beading necklaces and bracelets.


have had store owners see me wearing my jewelry, buy it off me and offer to sell it in their stores,” 16-year-old Emily Wood said. Not only has this Paly junior found passion within her hobby of jewelry-making, but has also encountered success. Emily Wood has been making jewelry since she was 10 years old. To initially learn how to make jewelry, Wood watched YouTube videos that taught her the basics, however she no longer needs such instruction. Now, with more experience, Wood has come to love the artistic freedom of creating unique bracelets and necklaces. A key component of her jewelrymaking process is shopping for beads and string that catch her eye. “I don’t go to bead shops often, but when I do I usually stock up on beads without a certain vision for each different strand,” Wood said. Her trendy and creative fashion sense is what drives her passion of making intricate beaded jewelry. This creativity shines through in her shopping stage of the jewelry-making process. By purchasing a variety of materials, Wood has more options when she begins the process of designing and creating the bracelets and necklaces. The detailed procedure of creating intricate jewelry is not something that can be rushed. Envisioning what she wants to create takes time, but so does constructing the final product. “I usually don’t sit down and finish it right there and then,” Wood said. “I start it and come back to it another day or later that day.” Taking a sufficient amount of time to create each necklace and bracelet is necessary to making a beautifully-crafted piece. When Wood is ready to begin a new piece, she incorporates influence from jewelry designs she has seen elsewhere. “I usually just choose combinations that I am inspired by,” Wood said. Inspiration from other designers guides her style; her jewelry looks very similar to a very high-end brand, Chan Luu. “I was truly inspired to make jewelry because I loved the wrap bracelets that are made by Chan Luu,” Wood said. These bracelets cost around $300 to $400, and Wood is able to sell her bracelets for a fraction of this. Wood’s primary customers are friends

and family, however her jewelry has also caught the eyes of numerous jewelers. Many of them have even offered to buy and sell some of her pieces. Jewelry is often expensive to buy due to the extended amount of time required to make it, as well as the cost of the various aspects that go into the final product. As a business owner, Wood takes this into account when deciding on a price for her jewelry. “The cost depends on what materials I used. If the beads are more expensive, then the bracelet or necklace will be more expensive,” Wood said. Making jewelry takes lots of time, as well as coordination. Being able to do this as an outside activity while keeping up with schoolwork is not an easy feat. “School always comes first so sometimes it’s hard to get around to it,” Wood said. Jewelry-making has become an escape from stress and school for Wood. “Jewelrymaking is an outlet for me,” Wood said. “It’s something I like to do for fun when I’m stressed.” Wood is a high school student who, like many of us, utilizes the internet and social media daily.. Today, the internet is a great outlet to begin and promote new businesses. People are constantly making online purchases, and social media sites such as Instagram have become a place for consumers to browse and purchase items. “I am hoping to create an Instagram account or website eventually where people can look at my work and buy it,” Wood said. For many people, hobbies like jewelrymaking tend to not last very long. But Emily Wood’s passion of jewelry-making hasn’t ceased since the day she started. Making jewelry was initially just a hobby for Wood, however it has since turned into much more. She has been able to profit from her hobby while still enjoying the artistic process. “I hope one day it could turn into a small business,” Wood said. Emily Wood’s unique ability to juggle the busy life of a Palo Alto High School junior with her passion of making exceptional pieces of jewelry is inspiring. By taking something that she enjoys to do and turning it into a potential career for herself, Wood has learned how to work for a profit, an experience not many high schoolers can say they have had.



Gold IS not



he highest accolade that any actor or actress can receive is an Oscar. The award recognizes their outstanding performances and is given by an elite circle of well-respected members of the film industry. Logically, musical artists deserve a similar endowment to reward them for their work, right? The question is rhetorical, and yet the decorations handed out to musicians are infamously tainted with ridicule, both from artists and the public. The most “esteemed” of these various music award ceremonies is the Grammys. The first ever Grammy awards ceremony was held in 1959. The idea for this awards show was concieved by a group of music executives who wanted to produce a show like the Oscars or the Emmys, both of which had great ratings and were largely respected. Since then, the Grammys have shifted their focus away from recognizing achievement, and onto a slew of other concepts that have left music fans scratching their heads in confusion for decades. Currently, the most publicized parts of the Grammy ceremony are the live performances. Specifically, collaborations: every year, the Grammys pair two artists together to mash their songs up or to perform each other’s songs live on stage. When these work out, they are awe inspiring; Elton John and Eminem famously duetted Eminem’s “Stan” in 2001, with John accompanying Eminem on piano and singing the choruses. These unlikely collaborations by artists are uniquely powerful performances

42 | ARTS

and help artists to reach across the genre divide and pick up new fans. However, when Grammy performances do not work out, the ceremony itself tends to be scoffed at. Outkast’s 2004 performance of their smash-hit “Hey Ya” was berated for its inappropriate portrayal of Native Americans, which included a tipi that dancers funneled out of as well as Native American inspired headdresses. CBS issued an apology after the ceremony. Two years ago, Madonna’s performance, which made use of satanic imagery, was universally panned. The focus on performances takes away from the concept of the Grammys; they begin to feel more like a concert than an awards ceremony, judged for the performances rather than the esteem of the award. Furthermore, some critics claim that the Grammys show favoritism towards the artists who agree to perform. As a possible result of the lack of focus on the awards themselves, the achievement of winning itself is largely disregarded by the music community. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, after winning an award for Best Hard Rock Performance, famously stood on the Grammy stage and said “I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything… That’s just how I feel.” While this might just seem like a fit of Seattle Grunge nihilism, Vedder’s claim represents how many artists feel. Dave Grohl, lead singer of the Foo Fighters, who has won 15 Grammys, has been known to use one as a doorstop. Frank Ocean purposefully chose not to submit his 2016

album Blonde for consideration, which shocked the public. There are countless other examples of artists who feel that the Grammys are not worth trying for. This disregard for the honor of a Grammy could possibly stem from the many “snubs,” or times when the Grammys picked albums or artists that did not truly deserve the award. In 2013, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won Album of The Year for their record The Heist, which beat Kendrick Lamar’s good kid m.A.A.d. city, upsetting many music critics as well as fans. Kanye West, an artist who has time and time again shifted the course of rap music with his albums, has yet to win an Album of The Year. Grammy snubs go back almost to the ceremony’s inception. In 1966, the award for Best Rock and Roll Recording went to The New Vaudeville Band’s novelty song “The Winchester Cathedral” instead of other nominees like The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” or The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” The problems addressed here parallel the problems seen by the other music awards shows. The MTV Video Music Awards have deteriorated into a “who can be the most outrageous” show, favoring shock over substance. The 2016 AMA’s (American Music Awards) had abysmal ratings with only 8.2 million people tuning in, an alltime low in the show’s history. The fact remains that musicians are not getting the awards ceremony they deserve. Even though the musicians themselves might seem indifferent, the Grammys may very well be heading down a path to cancellation.


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hen approaching the building on 214 Homer Avenue, the words Palo Alto Bread are visible above the wide doors. While you may expect a whiff of freshly made dough as you walk through the entrance, the interior consists of loud music playing and aisles of Apple desktops. All previous assumptions made from the exterior appearance vanish when playful colors emerge behind the doors. This is the home to Idean, a design and consultant company with multiple locations, all just as cheerful, worldwide. Idean’s specializations in design and business consultations translate into working with both large companies and startups. It aids these companies in the process of advertising and producing a project in an effective, appealing way in addition to its development. Idean pursues the creation of strong relationships between their clients and the customers their clients appeal to. Idean’s growth as a consulting company is represented through dominant clients that they have accommodated. The company’s location in Palo Alto relies heavily on a design-oriented environment, so employees such as Johnny Chen and Christian Van Meurs, who are both Interaction and Visual Designers, are of great significance. Chen and Van Meur’s work at Idean has helped large companies worldwide. The success that the designers are experiencing is undeniable, but the

significance stems from the prosperity perpetuated within the endless parameters of their creative jobs. The creativity within the company allows employees to pursue their interests and pioneer solutions to issues that challenge them. Chen and Van Meurs are not only participating in their companies’ efforts to improve customer relations and design interfaces, but they do so by using their creativity. In the four years Chen has worked with Idean, his role as an Interaction Designer

would profit well in the American economy. Chen was involved in the process of creating basic apps that would fill your home screen, similar to those found on Apple and Samsung devices. “We just came up with an idea, which [was] the spaces that dialed music, your favorite [apps], and an exercise [tracker] that was on top of the home screen” Chen said. Another big project that took Chen over a year and a half to complete was with an eminent billion dollar technology company. Chen and his partner worked JOHNNY CHEN solely on developing a controller for a drone. It is through this project that the creative realms of his job were highlighted; Chen got to explore his interests in a way that was benefitting an influential company. “I was basically flying drones for my job”,Chen said. As an Interaction designer, part of Chen’s job is to gain the perspective of a consumer. In this case, “you have to fly drones to understand the fears involved,” Chen said. Currently, Chen is rebranding an insurance company that has served more than ten million households. In this ongoing project, he is working on renovating a twenty-year old, non-user friendly website that customers use to buy insurance. “This project is a good example of de-


has contributed greatly to his clients and their endeavors. For the protection and privacy of their clients, the names of both Chen’s and Van Meurs’ clientele will not be mentioned. Chen’s first project was with a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company. In collaboration with four other designers, Chen aided this company in its efforts to make an intriguing concept design for a phone that

sign life,” Chen said. “It’s 40 percent com- tomer relations and design. He and the munication and 60 percent design. Half Palo Alto and Austin teams began assisting the time you [are trying] to communicate this company in their efforts to monitor [your ideas] to whatever audience you traffic for the cloud service they offered. are speaking to.” Chen’s renovations and Van Meurs explored different ways in design fixes for significant and impactful which he could make the cloud service companies like these have strengthened more interesting to engage customers. each company’s products, thus continuing To complete these projects, Van Meurs to grasp the attention of old and new cus- continues to use his skills in animation tomers in a developing consumerist soci- and three dimensional art from the past. ety. To do so, he has tested different softwares The element of interaction holds im- to create animations and artwork; many of portance when creating long-lasting rela- his creations have been contrived from the tionships between clients and customers. design software Unreal Engine. Unreal EnThis venture is represented through anoth- gine has proven to be the most useful to his er Idean employee: Christian Van Meurs. clients and co-workers. “Most of the time, Van Meurs is a Visual Designer who has been working at Idean for one and a half years. Previously, Van Meurs’ primary focus was on animation and three dimensional art. In his six years of experience with digital media, he has released successful games, such as Game of War and Mobile Strike. Before landing a job at Idean, he decided to switch from video games to virtual reality due to the platform’s increasing popularity. “I was interested in [virtual reality] and just wanted to make a switch since games burnt me out pretty quickly,” Van Meurs said. CHRISTIAN VAN MEURS During his short time at Idean, Van Meurs completed many important assignments for his clients. Recently, I’m just doing random models and anihe has worked with a multinational tele- mations for when somebody needs it for a communications company and a multi- presentation,” Van Meurs said. Van Meurs billion dollar computer manufacturing and other team members use virtual realicompany. ty technology to understand a consumer’s One of Van Meurs biggest assignments perspective and design softwares to create coming into Idean was helping a telecom- modern animations. munications company. He helped the Both Chen and Van Meurs carry an company find an efficient way to monitor impressive resume at Idean and are still network traffic for delivery of a television program. “We had this elaborate control room built in [virtual reality] where somebody could monitor what programs people are watching and how many people,” Van Meurs said. Another important task Van Meurs worked on was improving the services of a computer manufacturing company, specifically cus-


continuing to work collaboratively with companies to create new designs and visuals for their consumers. Creatives places within an interior such as Idean’s discover solutions to problems that continue to overwhelm companies, both large and small. Additionally, the large amount of support that team members have for each other aids Idean’s growth as they begin to take on grander challenges. Within this artistic and inviting interior, daring creators attempt to surmount impossible heights, while continuing to stay devoted to customer relations and creating and improving wholesome products that benefit our society.


Although it’s easy to resort to a light-hearted chick flick when picking a movie, mix it up and watch some stimulating informative entertainment. These four films will help you stay socially aware. TEXT AND DESIGN BY DARROW HORNIK • ILLUSTRATION BY LEON LAU


Another one of Ava DuVernay’s award-winning films, Selma tells the story of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches for African-American voting rights. These marches were led and run by Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, James Bevel and Hosea Williams. Gut wrenching and emotional, Selma begins with a scene of the KKK bombing in the Birmingham, Alabama 16th Street Baptist Church, killing multiple young African American girls. This movie discusses racism during the Civil Rights Movement, as well as depicting the power of media coverage. Additionally, we begin to learn about other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement besides Martin Luther King Jr, such as John Lewis – a changemaker and politician in America today.

Hidden Figures

Embark on the triumphant journey of three African-American female mathematicians as they serve an essential role in the inner workings of the NASA United States Space Program in the 1960’s. This movie is not a documentary, but a fictionalized retelling of the story of Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan and their work as human computers at NASA. Despite their brilliance, these women faced tremendous challenges in the engineering world because of their race and sex. Throughout the film you will witness the numerous barriers these women face such as traveling across the entire NASA complex in order to simply go to the bathroom. Through grace, perseverance and true intellect these women make a truly remarkable impact on the successes of NASA’s space exploration.

The Return

The 2016 documentary The Return follows two men on their journey of reintegration into society after years of incarceration through this 90 minute documentary. When California passed Proposition 36, it changed the “Three Strikes” law, which states that after your third strike as a criminal you are stuck in prison for life, and set thousands of men who previously spent decades in prison free. By watching the struggle of two men who were released after the passing of Proposition 36– and the conflicts they face in order to make a life for themselves outside of prison– you will witness how seemingly impossible it is for a recently incarcerated person to find a job. You will surely be moved as you watch these men reunite with their families and meet grandchildren for the first time. This documentary brings you on the painful and emotionally exhausting journey of reintegration into a world outside of prison.


Director Ava DuVernay helped create the universally acclaimed documentary Thirteenth. Named after the Thirteenth Amendment, which states that all slaves gain their right to freedom, this documentary discusses our nation’s racial history and how remnants of systemic segregation continue to apply to life today. From watching this film you learn that the supposedly abolished culture surrounding Jim Crow Laws in the 1960’s continue to exist through de facto forms of segregation and racism, manifested specifically in our prison system. One in three black men can expect to end up in prison at least once in their lifetimes, and Thirteenth does not fail to provide information that proves racism continues to exist in America today. Other Movies To Watch: Loving, Moonlight, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Marshall

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