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SPRING 2012

SLOPE SUMMER IN ITHACA SLOPE MEDIA GROUP


photographer

elizabeth brooks shah ahmed sarah roger janice park mariel strauch colin budd

contributing writers

ariella weintraub, mckenzie sullivan, monique hall, kathy bruce, vrinda jagota, jacqueline glasner, elizabeth brooks, shah ahmed, olivia duell, trevor burns, jennifer pierre, casey ebner, tim weisberg, jean-paul lozada, anna ancona, leela chantrelle

editor in chief creative director design team

It’s a great relief to get my first issue as editor of Slope Magazine off the press. Working with insane schedules and impending prelims, at times it did not seem like this publication would ever be finished. Without a talented, productive, and occaisionally nocturnal staff it would not have. The little blurb above is far a cry from the thank you that you have earned. Across campus people often ask me what Slope Media is. I hate to admit that for a while I had trouble answering that question. We have always been a “powerhouse” of

Contact: lizzie.brooks@slopemedia.org Interested in Joining Slope Media Group? Email: melissa.lantzer@slopemedia.org Slope Media 2012 ©

Photo: Elizabeth Brooks

ed letter

student media, but that says little about what we provide to the student body. Slope Magazine chronicles the current pulse of college lifestyle, with a focus on the Cornell student. This issue explores summer activities for those who might be picking it up just before th year ends, yet also topics such as Adderrall abuse and relationship questions, which will carry on to next year. Elizabeth Brooks


contents 04

Slog 06

Deconstructing the Year’s most Polarizing New Artists 08

American Remakes of British TV 09

Save us from 3D Movies 10

Runway 11

Your Way 12

How Blogging Blew Up 13

Tribute to the Lunch Trucks 14

Slopeside Summer 16

Summer Soundtrack 18

Spice Up Your Summer- Hobbies 19

Warning: May Catch on Fire 20

Cornell Wrestling 21

Cornell Men’s Ice Hockey 22

Adderral at Cornell 24

Just Friends: Can Men and Women Really be Platonic? 26

My Time in Prison


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SLOPE 2012 FRESHMAN CLASS

Deconstructing the Year’s Most Polarizing New Artists Mckenzie Sullivan Lana Del Rey, Hipstress Queen Real Name: Elizabeth Grant Listen to: Video Games, Blue Jeans and Diet Mountain Dew, Sounds Like: Fiona Apple, Stevie Knicks, Mazzy Star You’ve probably heard of her by now, Lana Del Rey took the Internet by storm after releasing the track ‘Video Games’ online in late 2011. She had loads of backlash from a not-so-great performance on SNL yet she’s managed to launch herself into mega stardom. Her first major debut album Born To Die was released late January 2012 and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while sitting at the top ten for more than 9 weeks. She’s heavy into Americana nostalgia like Coney Island, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe. Absolutely worth listening to, you’ll be hearing about her for a long time. (Photo via. Born To Die video)

A$AP Rocky, Hip-Hop’s newest hoodlum Real Name: Rakim Mayers Listen to: Get Lit and Peso By now he’s unavoidable in conversation, A$AP seems to be hip-hop’s newest scholar. A killer show at SXSW to the top of the Coachella lineup, A$AP is everywhere. His second mix-tape LongLiveA$AP dropped in late 2011 with exceptionally positive reviews. Although he may not be the greatest rapper you’ve ever heard, his attitude and production will definitely win you over. He’s already teamed up with Swizz Beat and AraabMusik on a new track “Street Knock” released in March 2012. He is currently working on an “A$AP Mob” album and has plenty more collabs to come. (Image by Matthew Williams)

The Head and The Heart, The Indie Idols Real Name: Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, Charity Rose Thielen, Chris Zasche, Kenny Hensley and Tyler Williams Listen to: Lost In My Mind, Rivers and Roads Call The Head and the Heart the new poster child of indie rock. Not only has the band opened up for The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, and The Walkmen, but they were also on 2011’s cover of Billboard’s independent music issue. This sextet got its start in 2009 playing in Seattle coffee shops and at open-mic nights. Their soothing blend of folk, pop and Americana has generated huge buzz via appearances on Conan and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They have a phenomenal stage presence and put on fantastic live shows, as evident at last year’s Bonaroo Music Festival. Keep your eyes peeled for more big things to come from this motley crew of hipsters- they’re currently headlining their first tour and will be performing at Coachella in mid-April. (Photo via. Glide Magazine)

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fun., The Alternative Heroes Real Name: Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff Listen to: We Are Young, Some Nights and Out on the Town Sounds Like: Queen ‘fun.’ is something of a super group. Although this band has been recording together since 2008, it was their 2012 album Some Nights that catapulted this trio into the spotlight. The band is phenomenally good at crafting anthemic rock songs with catchy melodies and impressive musicianship. Some Nights, which was released February of 2012, is a pop rock album, and unabashedly so. They’re not Coldplay-esque synthesized sound though; they sound more like a gigantic rock band with a full orchestra backing them up. The first single We Are Young hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has remained there for a full 15 weeks. They performed at Cornell in the fall but if you missed them, they’re currently headlining their own North American tour, don’t miss out on an opportunity to see these guys live…you won’t be disappointed. (Photo via. The Mirror)

Azealia Banks, Rap’s Sass Princess Real Name: Azealia Banks Listen to: 212, Liquorice, NEEDSUMLUV, F*** Up the Fun Sounds Like: Trina, Missy Elliott She’s a 20-year-old rapper from Harlem with a filthy mouth and is one of music’s most intriguing new shape-shifters. She started posting songs and videos online a few years ago…fast-forward to today, and her cheeky black-and-white video for “212” has amassed more than nine-million-plus YouTube hits. She was recently signed to Universal, played a gig for Karl Lagerfeld and announced a debut album for the fall. This smiley, mischievous, rap princess has brought freshness to the female MC world that steers very clear of Nicki Minaj. She brings a charismatic naughtiness to her tracks unlike anything you’ve heard. She’ll definitely give you a reason to press rewind. (Photo via. 212 Video)

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american remakes of british television monique hall American television is often seen as one of the most creative and innovative types of TV in the world. Shows like “Arrested Development” and “The Wire” are definitely a testament to that. What many people don’t realize, however, is that American television has taken more than a few pages out of the British TV Guide, by remaking original British programs for the American market. Some of these remakes have gone on to achieve equal or even more success than their British predecessors, like NBC’s version of “The Office,” while others have turned out to be total flops, like MTV’s attempt at “Skins.”

Apart from sitcoms and dramas, American television has also remade many British reality and game shows. Programs like, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “The X Factor,” and “What Not to Wear,” among many others, are adaptations of British originals. With all of these American remakes and adaptations of British series, it makes one wonder if American television it losing the ability to make creative, original programming of its own. Whether or not this holds true, the fact remains, American TV has some serious work to do if it wants to reclaim the title of most creative and innovative television programming from Britain.

Viacom

The American version of “The Office” began its run in March of 2005 and has, since then, achieved critical acclaim throughout its eight seasons on the air. The mocumentary-style workplace comedy was modeled after the 2001 British sitcom of the same name, created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais. While the original version of the show lasted only two seasons, the series proved successful in spawning remakes all over the globe. In addition to the well-known American remake, there are versions of the show in Brazil, Quebec, Chile, and Sweden.

“Skins,” the award-winning British teen drama that premiered in 2006, inspired a Canadian-American remake for MTV in 2011. Unfortunately, this version of the show was not as well received. North American “Skins” was seen as extremely controversial for its depictions of teenagers, portrayed mainly by actors under 18 years of age, involved in drugs and casual sex, even though it was considerably less raunchy than its British counterpart. MTV ultimately dropped “Skins” after only one season.

NBCUniversal

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BBC

E4


save us from 3d movies I love Titanic.

Seriously, love. I generally consider myself a pretty well-read girl and my tastes to be of the classier variety. However, the indulgent, beautiful love story that swept away America and the Academy back in the 90s swept me away too, from the time I first saw it in elementary school to now. I grew up watching, absorbing, reenacting the scenes from my two VHS set. I can recite a little too much of its dramatic 194 minutes (I’ve gotten some confused looks from quoting the more obscure lines in casual conversation). I asked my diary, as a second grader, if it was ok if I pasted Leo DiCaprio’s headshot into my most sacred of spaces (apparently the diary consented, as Jack Dawson’s face did indeed grace its pages). Seriously, love. Which is why I find it pretty bittersweet that Titanic (1997) is becoming Titanic (2012), and James Cameron, fresh from exploring the Challenger Deep (but that’s another story), rereleased one of my all time favorite films in one of my all time least favorite formats: 3D. On the one hand, who doesn’t love more Titanic? Who wouldn’t want a fifteen-yearsyounger Leonardo (or a scantily clad Kate Winslet if you’re of that camp) flying over the Atlantic and into theaters near you? On the other hand, I have some serious issues with 3D. Obviously, James Cameron is not unfamiliar with the phenomenon, as he holds the title of writer and director of the only film that sits higher than Titanic on the list of all-time highest grossing films: Avatar (2009). No wonder the man has the means to design his own high-tech submersibles (but again, another story). Objectively, do blue people linking tails really beat out Kate and Leo doing it in a car? Does Stephen Lang in a robot suit trump Billy Zane in a suit-suit? At the end of the day, would it really have been so good if it wasn’t 3D? Cool, maybe, but

kathy bruce

actually good? Would it have even made so much money if every ticket wasn’t slapped with an obscene surcharge for the headache inducing effects of 3D? At the end of the day, 3D made the space jungle a little more space jungle-y and the helicopters a little more helicopter-y but did nothing to deepen the art, the plot, or the drama of the film. In 2010, as everyone and their mother, hoping to ride the Avatar wave, retroactively slapped on the 3D gimmick to their movies, Roger Ebert wrote an article for Newsweek entitled “Why I Hate 3D (And You Should Too).” I applaud Mr. Ebert on his to-the-point titling as well as his articulation of what my pounding head had been thinking since I recycled my realD glasses into the bins outside the Avatar theater: this phenomenon is absurd. I so appreciated Ebert’s article because it was refreshing to see an influential name in the world of Hollywood speak up against the 3D fad. The technicalities of the 3D experience which he goes into are a little above my knowledge (read it!), but the bottom line is that Mr. Ebert and I agree: 3D, for the most part, is a scam. But obviously, I bought into it, this one Image Courtesy time. And what exactly did I see? The of Moviespad.com exact same movie I’ve been watching since 1997. I hardly even noticed the 3D, and when I did, it was more distracting than anything else. The only thing cooler about it was the title, which had the appearance of floating over the ocean, but that was maybe 3 seconds of a 3 hour movie. Thankfully, I escaped my usual realD induced headache, perhaps because of the effect was retroactive and less noticeable than in Avatar. Behind my heinous black glasses, I still cried at the same place I always cry at, whether I’m home in my PJs, switching tapes on my VCR or paying $12 in the Ithaca Mall (and that’s the matinee price). My conclusion: All Titanic gained from the addition of 3D was a surcharge.

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DOLCE AND GABBANA was one of the most interesting designers this spring which released a line of food-themed prints Not surprisingly, one of the major trends for this spring is bold prints and textures.

runway trends

vrinda jagota

Missoni Bottega Veneta - Structure and Embellishments

Ferragamo

Etro

Celine Ferretti

Gucci

Ferretti Fendi

Giambattista Valli

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Versace Versace


spring fashion

Jacqueline Glasner

Ithaca’s spring is approaching (if that actually exists) which means it is time to get a whole new wardrobe. Toss all your winter black and dress up your wardrobe with lots and lots of colors. Sorbets (pastel) colored jeans, are IN. They come in lavender, light pink, light blue, light turquoise and so on. In order to wear these jeans, which is a pretty bold statement for anyone’s wardrobe, you should match them with a neutral colored top such as grey, black, white or navy. A bright colored shirt with these jeans are a big no-no. These jeans also come in shorts, which are probably not warm enough for Ithaca spring, but definitely later on and throughout the summer. Another bottom option that is very trendy for Spring 2012 are patterned shorts. You can wear them to class with a tank and cardigan and sandals, or dress them up with heels and wedges for a night out in Collegetown. Patterns on patterns is a risky move, but has been done if you are bold enough to accept the challenge. Mostly patterned shorts should be worn with a shirt on the plainer side, cropped is your choice, but definitely get a pair for when you are sick of wearing the same black skirt night after night. In addition, if you do not feel like going for the colored jeans one day, but still want to be trendy with your color

wardrobe, there is an alternative. Neon is also on the rise. Those bright greens, pinks, blues, and yellows make even the gloomiest spring days in Ithaca seem that much more cheerful. They are mostly making tanks and t-shirts which should be worn with neutral bottoms so that when someone stares you down, they are not blinded by the extreme brightness of your outfit. The favorite spring trend as of now, is the shirts that tie at the bottom. It is very unclear who decided that tying the ends of shirts was the cool thing to do, but it is definitely the trendiest college trend out there as of now. People have even started tying and knotting shirts that were not originally meant to be that style; they will do anything to be trendy. Furthermore, shoulders have recently become as an attractive feature to show with the recent trend of open-shoulder shirts. These shirts come in all different styles ranging from t-shirts to button downs that are sheer, patterned, lace, and more! Whatever the shape, pattern, or material, the shoulder skin showing is a must. As for shoes, the same as always is in fashion. Flats, Sperries, sandals, wedges, and anything else that is not a snow boot works. Shoes are the final finishing touches to an amazing spring outfit, but no need to go overboard in trying anything original.

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HOW BLOGGING BLEW UP Lizzie Brooks

In the late nineties the word “blog” emerged from “weblog” and so blogging was born. Most early blogs were online diaries accompanied by images. The popularity of blogging increased exponentially with the launch of blog hosting sites such as Open Diary and LiveJournal. In 1999 Blogger.com was launched. This site helped expand blogs to styles and themes other than journaling and after Google bought the site in 2003, it reached a massive audience.

Blogs became vehicles for public outcry that gained credibility after one spotted forged documents in CBS broadcast. The political and business worlds could not ignore the presence of bloggers and their influence on public perceptions. Today this influence has spread across the commercial world. Companies often sponsor posts by popular bloggers and sometimes start their won blogs as marketing tools. Professional Blogging: It became possible to blog professionally after the popularity of certain blogs increased to the point where their ad space became valuable. Bloggers often feature ads that relate to their interests or the topic of their blog. Some bloggers occasionally feature advertisement posts that appear to be typical non-sponsored posts apart from their clear bias towards the sponsor and obligatory “advertisement” label. Joanna Goddard often features giveaways on her site from brands who sponsor her, but also fit her interests. Sites like CurrentlyObsessed.me allow fashion bloggers to post items for sale that they feature on their own boutique page.

Photo Courtesy of Alicia Lund, Cheetah is The New Black

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Most Popular: As of April 1, 2012 according to ebizmba.com the top five blogs are: 1. Huffington Post- news, gossip, opinion; approximately 54,000,000 sources of hits monthly 2. TMZ- celebrity gossip 3. The Business Insider- business related news and opinion 4. Engadget- technology 5. Perez Hilton-celebrity gossip My Favorites: FashionCheetah is the New Black Cupcakes and Cashmere LifestyleHonestly…WTF Cup of Jo MiscellaneousPintrest Attack of the Cute


TRIBUTE TO THE LUNCH TRUCKS Shah Ahmed

LOUIE’S LUNCH TRUCK

The creator of Louie’s lunch truck was one Louis Zounakos, born in Greece of 1885. Louis traveled to the states during World War I and settled in Brooklyn, selling his mother’s gin during the end of the prohibition era. The establishment of Louie’s first legitimate endeavor ranges from 1926 to the 1920s, it was a cart he pushed around campus selling food. He later bought a simple truck that made stops at several fraternities and sororities to satisfy their desires for lunch. Louis purchased the custom red and white lunch truck around 1947 and settled near Risley Hall,

where we now see it today. The mythical Louis retired from the business in 1955 and passed away in 1956. The truck switched hands for a few years before the Machen family bought it in 1962 and kept it until 1997, the era known as the “Machen Dynasty.” Very few people experienced the Louie’s Lunch Jr. truck on West Campus, because it closed in 1965 for economic reasons. The original truck on North was purchased by Ron Beck in ’97, and is still running under him today.

HOT TRUCK

A KERFUFFLE

In late February, the city demanded that both Louie’s Lunch Truck and Hot Truck pay a fee to the city for being on city property. Both trucks argued that they grandfathered the right to be where they are, but the city

1960 marks the year Robert C. Petrillose Sr. established the Hot Truck on Stewart Avenue. Petrillose was originally a chef and manager at John’s Big Red Grill, a family-run restaurant in College Town. Using his expertise from the restaurant, Petrillose started the insanely successful pizza truck, selling his signature three-letter acronym sandwiches for four decades. The truck has become such an important part of the Cornell experience that one of the 161 things to do at Cornell is to order the PMP, or poor man’s pizza. Retiring in 2000, Petrillose sold the truck to Shortstop Deli, who still operate it now. Petrillose passed away on December 8th, 2008, but, the legacy and importance of the Hot Truck continues to influence the Cornell experience. refused their appeal. The trucks disappeared for a while in March, but are back in their respective positions. No one is sure if they will be back where they are when we return to school in the fall.

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by olivia duell

slopeside summer Maybe you’re taking a class or two, or perhaps you’re working in a lab. You might be stuck with a lease that starts in June and no sublet prospects, so you’re scrambling to find a part-time job on-campus or around Ithaca. Whatever your reasons for spending a summer in Ithaca may be, most agree it’s a worthwhile experience (it’s even on the list of 161 things to do). Ithaca saves its beautiful weather for when most of the student body is away, and those in town can view the town in a different light as they soak up elusive rays of Ithaca sun. And when students aren’t working or studying, Ithaca in fact offers a fair amount to do.

festivals

Summer in Ithaca kicks off with Ithaca Festival (lovingly called Ithaca Fest or I-Fest), a large, four-day celebration that begins with a colorful parade Thursday night and consumes The Commons for the rest of the weekend. If you thought Ithaca was eccentric, go to I-Fest prepared to have an experience that exceeds the eccentricity richter-scale. Thursday’s parade, for example, annually features two must-see attractions, the first being a group of tutu-clad Volvos spiraling down the road, and the second being the Chainsaw Chorus, a noisy group of chainsaw enthusiasts making chainsaw music. The entire parade creates quite a spectacle, a fun atmosphere, and a great introduction to a weekend full of performances, street vendors, food, and community.

music

Another local festival, this one musically oriented, is The Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, which takes place in neighboring Trumansburg in late July. The festival, also four days long, features local acts and a variety of music genres from folk, bluegrass, and zydeco to hip-hop, funk, ska, reggae, and even some Irish drinking music. Once inside the fairgrounds, you can escape the world for a few days, as the festival offers campgrounds and food stands. Like Ithaca Fest, Grassroots provides a quirky, relaxed, community atmosphere not without its hippietastic moments.

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Other music events offer the chance to experience a gorgeous Ithaca summer outdoors. Every Friday on the Arts Quad, Cornell offers free concerts, and on a beautiful night, the quad is packed with picnic blankets, frisbee and soccer games, tree climbers, hula hoopers, and the occasional juggler. The concerts wrap up as the sun sets behind Ezra’s statue, making for a gorgeous evening and beautiful end to a summer week. Similar concerts are held at Taughannock Falls State Park, just a short drive from Ithaca, and right on Cayuga Lake. Taughannock’s summer concert series are on Saturday evenings on the lawn in view of the lake. The park has barbecue areas and swim spots for those who want to make the concert more than just a picnic.


nature

It’s a worthwhile experience to hike Taughannock’s surrounding trails and to visit its famous waterfall, which stands taller tahn Niagara Falls. In addition to Taughannock Falls State Park, the Ithaca area features multiple other parks to explore. Stewart Park serves as a great picnic area with a direct view of Cayuga Lake. From Stewart, one can take the Cayuga Waterfront Trail down to The Farmer’s Market or take a rented Kayak or canoe out on the water (rentals are available from Puddledockers or from Cornell Outdoor Education). At both Treman Park and Buttermilk Falls Park, visitors are free to hike and camp, and swimming is available at Treman. We aren’t often able to appreciate Ithaca’s natural beauty during the cold months of fall and spring semester, and therefore students should explore the natural scenery while they have time and weather on their side.

food

Located on the way out to Taughannock is the Glenwood Pines Restaurant, a food joint home to Ithaca’s best burger. Brave meat-eating souls can take the Pines Burger Challenge, which involves eating four Pinesburgers in under an hour. It’s also a fun and casual place to eat with friends, and summer is the perfect time to visit its slightly out of the way location. As mentioned before, Ithaca has a wonderful farmer’s market open on the weekends at a pavilion overlooking the water. Summer is the best time to go, as

Image courtesy of folkins.net

vendors are stocked up on fresh produce and goods. Whether there for organic fruits and vegetables or for a prepared snack from a food stand, the Ithaca Farmer’s Market dock is a beautiful place to be on a hot day. Lastly, one should never spend an Ithaca summer without a trip to Purity. While it may be difficult to venture downtown for heavenly Purity ice cream during the school year, take advantage of extra time and indulge on the best tasting ice cream in the area.

Image Courtsey of Taughannock.com

Consider yourself lucky to be able to relax in Ithaca this summer. Even if you’re taking a class or working a job, take the time to explore what you haven’t yet been able to visit or experience. Ithaca can sure be a wonderful place when all its college students are gone, so take advantage of a quieter Ithaca scene with much more enjoyable weather. 15


GLOriFIed Summer Soundtrack Trevor Burns

I’ve assembled the top tracks to play in the background of those beach parties, nature walks, lazy Tuesdays, campfires, and subway rides back from an internship… 1. Mornin’ - Star Slinger Some people wake up to cell phone alarms, others news radio. Wake up to this jam and the day will start off right. Crank it up while you make that cup of coffee and lounge on a balcony wearing just the bathrobe. If a smile does not come to your face, your money back. 2. Polish Girl – Neon Indian Bump this beat in the car. You’re going out to pick up your friends for some shenanigans. The driving beat of this song captures and elicits excitement for all the tomfoolery you will perform today. 3.

house

To the lighthouse (Millionyoung Remix) - Memory-

This track is misleading; while it implies beach games it should accompany day trips in the city. If you’re stuck interning during the day, play hookey once. Make sure it’s on the sunniest of sunny days. Use this track to assist in city must-dos: eating from street carts, running through the zoo, people watching in a park, or longboarding through SoHo. 4. It Is Not Meant To Be – Tame Impala Lunch Break: meet up at the beach or backyard with the gang. Someone is grilling the summer lunch essentials while others are casually sipping Corona’s or PBR. Not a Keystone Day. Grab a Frisbee and join in on Kan Jam, lie back on a towel, or re-enact scenes from The O.C. 5. Summer Holiday - Wild nothing I like this one as it’s got that early 90’s distant guitar sound, similar to Sonic Youth on a good day. Cue this track up when you’ve got time to kill. Make sure this time is spent either on the hill of a grassy knoll under the trees or in the back of an old-pickup truck. Either way you should be lying down and analyzing passing cloud formations.

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6. Marriage (Star Slinger Remix) – Gold Panda Dusk is settling in on your busy day. This song plays underneath the setting sun, marking the transition from day to night. It’s warm out still and you’re on a blanket somewhere with a view. You start to think about where the night will take you and whose coming along for the ride. 7. New Beat - Toro Y Moi You’ve called your friends to meet at your place before the night begins. Throw this tasty jam as you doll yourself up, throw back a couple drinks, and try out your best pair o’ dancing shoes. 8. Lets Groove - Teen Daze Summer party: getting slizard. Get this one on your iPhone for during the party when you sneak into the DJ booth when no one’s looking. Suddenly change that overplayed Avicii tune into a classic funk anthem with a modern chill twist to it. Double points if you play this song while wearing an Earth, Wind & Fire T-shirt. 9. Don’t Move - Phantogram This summer is wrapping up and you’re realizing you are running out of time. Time for what? Time to finally make a move on Guy Cutie ___ or Girl Cutie ____. This song cues instantly after it’s proved successful and you finally got the kiss from the biddie you’ve been digging on all summer. This will most likely happen on a pier under stars. 10. Feel It All Around – Washed Out A great summer chillwave anthem. Captures all the months best times in one track. You know those moments when you look around you and swear you’re in a movie? Yup, this jam is playing over top…always.

It’s been a rough year – this summer should be one to relax, unwind…to chill. What better to accompany your restful time off than the relaxing yet groovy, loungey yet toe tapping, shoegaze yet dance-craze music of growing genre Chillwave. Pioneered in the mid 2000’s, Chillwave or “Glo-Fi” music can be distinguished by artful use of effects processing, synthesizers, samples and loops giving it a vintage feel, similar to the Nu-Rave jams of the 1980’s. Don’t be surprised to see a laptop laying down foundations or hear dry vocals almost as if singing from a telephone. The Results: small groups pumping out big tunes. Jon Pareles of the NYTimes puts it best, “It’s recession-era music: low-budget and danceable.”

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spice up your summer

hobby 1: hula hoop Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Hula-hooping, really? What are we, eighth graders?” That’s kind of what I thought too, the first time my roommate told at the beginning of June that her goal over the summer was to become a more serious “hooper”. What you may not know is that there actually is a whole world of serious, competitive hula-hooping. Hoop stars like Matt Plendl have been in the business professionally for over 30 years, and can land gigs as big as performing at NBA half-time shows. There are many different tricks that can be done with one hula hoop, as well as different types of hoops to choose from.

by jennifer pierre

For most college students, summer is three months of fun, relaxation, and the chance to try out something new while you actually have free time. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the usual go-to’s like weekend beach trips or days spent at a theme park, but why not reach out of your comfort zone this summer and learn a new skill you never thought you’d have? Here is just a small sampling of fun new hobbies you can pick up without the pressure of homework and prelims constantly on your back. Image courtesy of yuku.com

Just imagine sporting an LED hoop out on the arts quad; talk about that for a college skill. Hooping is an undeniably unique activity, it’s beautiful to watch, and it can even serve as a substitute to the gym. Fitness trainer and award winning body builder Cathleen Kronemer calls hula hooping a total abdominal workout, and cites the push/pull motion of the exercise as leading to muscle stretching and definition. You can start by watching a few how-to videos online, and it’s all about practice from there. Ithaca’s GrassRoot’s festival has $5 make-your-own-hoop station too, in case you needed any more persuading.

You may have been saving this particular pasttime for when you’re 80 and sitting in a rocking chair after your retirement to Florida, but knitting can actually just as fun for college age students as it is for the elderly. Not only is it a major stressreliever to zone out and twist away for half an hour, but it’s also quite cost-effective. As hardworking, money-saving, bargain hunting college students, it’s pretty easy be convinced of the magical saving powers of the knit-life when you

hobby 2: knitting

stop to think about the numbers. Remember that cute knit shirt you got on sale at Urban Outfitters for $10 last week? A spool of yarn from Joanne’s costs $5. And that’s about 2 of those shirts. Plus, what’s more unique than something handmade by yours truly? (It’s never too early to come up with totally untoppobable Christmas gift ideas). So sit back on your couch, pick up those needles, and knit away the summer months. Your wardrobe, and your wallet, will thank you!

hobby 3: start a band College brings together thousands of people all around the same age with seemingly endless different talents and knowledge to offer, so doing spontaneous and crazy things as a group can lead to a whole new slew of experiences. What’s more unexpected than starting the band you’ve always dreamed about? College campuses are practically a breeding ground for startup bands, what with the unlimited number of venues (countless parties, campus-sponsored barbecues, art exhibitions, etc.), as well as the diverse

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amount of musically talented individuals to choose from. When you meet people who play anything from the electric guitar to the tubulum and sing anything from classical to screamo, a unique sounding band isn’t too hard to start. It will sound impressive to your friends and family, and will certainly up your popularity points on campus come fall. What’s the harm? Get together with a few of your buddies this summer and try jamming out for a bit; it could turn into something better than you expected.


Image courtesy of cens.com

WARNING: May Catch On Fire Casey Ebner

As a college student who reads well over a hundred pages of text on an average school night, you would think that the last thing I would want to do on my Spring Break is read. In fact, if you had asked me what my spring break plans looked like, I would have probably responded with an exasperated “anything but reading.” Alas, this was not the case. Before I knew it I wound up spending a good chunk of my break thoroughly immersed in a world of violence, PTSD, and tweeny-bopper romance. Like most of my college counterparts, I raced through the first book in, give or take, a bus ride back. I wanted to, no, needed to get my hands on a copy of the next two books. Having traveled 3000 miles to bask in the foreign and gloriously cloudy and cold California (Come on California, really?!), I had no idea where to get my fix from. Now you might ask: why didn’t you just download a copy on to your e-reader? Well ye astute readers, I would very much like my future glasses wearing, voraciously reading, mini-me children to someday experience the extreme pleasure of surprise paper cuts and 9 am treks up the slope with ten pound, awe inspiring, Norton Shakespeare Anthologies. I neither own, nor intend to ever to own, an e-reader, or any variation thereof. With a poorly drawn map given to me by my hotel’s front deskman, I managed to locate one of the possible last independently run bookstores in San Diego… no wait… America. Warwick’s, the tiny store sandwiched in between an Armani Exchange and a drug store, surpassed my every expectation. Although it contained only a small portion of the books normally available in a chain retailer, I had to restrain myself from browsing the store for hours. Unlike B&N, or Amazon, or iTunes, Warwick’s had a. book sellers, b. book sellers who actually knew about the books they carried, and c. books by well- known authors exquisitely displayed side by side with new-comers and lesser known authors. I could tell you that I’ve never dreamt of becoming a famous,

award-winning author, but that would be a downright lie. I’ve fantasized about writing and publishing a book for as long as I’ve known what a book is. There in that dying breed of a store, I realized that any book I will ever write will probably either get lost amongst the monotonous mass of books in a chain store or be overshadowed by the web’s “Top pick of the Week”, unless, of course, it becomes a “Top Pick of the Week”. Back when I was just a burgeoning intellectual, my love of bookstores, and of course books, equaled my love of Mary Kate and Ashley straight-to-video movies and Beanie Babies (my room acts a storage space for every Olsen movie ever made, well over 200 Beanie Babies, and countless children’s, young adult, mystery, non-fiction, romance, and science-fiction novels.) I relished every trip to my local book store, spending hours just wandering up and down the stacks, flipping through the latest Arthur, or as I got older, Michael Crichton book. As I grew, my own personal library grew. The books on my shelf changed to reflect not only my advancing literacy, but also my evolving interests. My penchant for personal libraries and reading carried over into college. My four tier book-shelf now contains far too many books to be considered foundationally stable, and visitors to my room never fail to notice my masterpiece. Bookshelves and tangible books offer something no e-reader could: a physical representation of who you are and the topics you may be interested in talking about. For a good purpose, any person who comes into my room can easily see every book I’ve read in the past two years. At any point or during a lull one of my conversations, my friend or I can scan the books to find something to talk about: “Hey you’ve read Moonwalking with Einstein, me too!” or “Wait, stop, you took PChem? Oh never mind, that’s just your Shakespeare book”). With an e-reader, all the books are hidden from view, and just picking up your friend’s device on a whim verges on voyeuristic and creepy. So even though lugging hard cover copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay, plus two other novels I had been meaning to read for ages, on the plane back to the east coast was surely going to be a pain (literally, hard cover books are heavy), I gladly shelled out the money for them at Warwick’s. The New York Times recently wrote an article on a man, Brewster Kahle, who has spent three million dollars so far to create a “Noah’s Ark of Books” by purchasing, storing , and digitizing a copy of every book ever written. Inspired by the Library of Alexandria and the catastrophe that is microfiche/microfilm (a now utterly obsolete way of “digitally” storing information), his aim is to preserve our literary history in case of a natural, digital, or otherwise calamitous disaster. While technology makes the lives of students, travelers, researchers, vacationers, and female porn enthusiasts (look up the new hit e-novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” if you dare) easier, if there ever is disaster, I’ll be the one happily reading my books by candle light.

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cornell sports wrestling

St. Patrick’s Day did not mark the luck of the Big Red at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, Mo. March 17. Despite three national champions and the highest score (102.5) at nationals in school history, the Big Red placed fourth. Somehow, someway, the Big Red was unable to top their second-place finish in 2011. Somehow, three national champions and five All-Americans were not enough for the Big Red to come out on top. The Penn State Nittany Lions ran away with the team title with 143 points, followed by Minnesota (117.5), while Iowa placed third with 107.5 points, and Cornell fourth with 102.5 points. However, head coach Rob Koll was even more pleased with his team’s performance than last year despite a lower overall finish. “We need a little bit of luck evidently because this year, if you would have told me that at the beginning of the year, we were going to have three national champions and two All-Americans I would have said, ‘That’s great because that means we’re national champions,’” Koll said. “But we were nowhere near it. Penn State just had a monumental year–five guys in the finals just doesn’t happen very often.” Considered a “rebuilding year” for Cornell wrestling standards, the young team far exceeded expectations, according to redshirt junior Steve Bosak, who won the 184-pound individual title. “We weren’t expected to be one of the premier teams, and we proved everybody wrong coming in fourth,” said Bosak.

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by tim weisberg

Along with Bosak, senior Cam Simez won the 197-pound title, and two time defending national champion Kyle Dake won the 157-pound title. Dake joins an elite group as only one of 26 wrestlers to have won three individual championships, and the first of which to win in three separate weight classes. “We’re going to need a couple more Kyle Dake’s in our recruiting class,” Koll added. Simez’ national championship capped a storied career for the four-time All-American, who finished with the third-most wins in school history (140). “I’m not sure you can replace a Cam Simez,” said Koll. “He’s the all-time leader for scoring bonus points in matches in the 103 years Cornell has had wrestling. That puts it in perspective for how effective and what a leader he has been.” Yet for Koll, the fourth-place finish does not cap off what his team is truly capable of, as a national championship is still very much within reach. “Until we get to the top we can’t worry about keeping it there because we haven’t,” he said. “We’ve gotten second twice, but that’s not the top. The goal is to be the top (team).” The same holds true for Simez, who believes the program will only continue to grow. “This is the greatest finish in Cornell wrestling history, and it came from a very young team,” he said. “That’s pretty impressive and that’s shown where our program has come and where it is going to continue to go.”


men’s ice hockey

Skating on thin ice: Big Red lives dangerously through wild season of ups and downs

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat; the Cornell men’s ice hockey season best defined as a rollercoaster ride of emotions, hitting many peaks and valleys along the way.

A key win over Union Feb. 24 put the Big Red in a position to share the ECAC regular season title, and clinch the No. 1 seed in the ECAC tournament. But the following night against lowly RPI, the Big Red squandered a 1-0 lead late in the third period, and lost in overtime to the ninth-place Engineers, 2-1. The loss added insult to injury as the loss gave Union the ECAC regular season title, squandering any chance for the Big Red to earn their first regular season title since 2005. According to junior defenseman and assistant captain Nick D’Agostino, the highs and lows defined their season. “It was a wild ride, up and down all year. We played some great hockey at times, and we struggled at times, but we managed to battle a lot of adversity,” said D’Agostino in a phone interview. The biggest surprise came in the ECAC Semifinals when ECAC and Ivy League rival Harvard stunned the Big Red in a 6-1 blowout, taking away the opportunity to receive the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. “Losing the (semifinal) game to our rival (Harvard), it was hard,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ‘86. “Things went wrong right off the bat. (We) didn’t expect to not get another shot at an ECAC Championship.” The ECAC Tournament consolation game against Colgate became a must-win if the Big Red were going to have any shot of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Despite losing to the Raiders twice during the regular season, the Big Red responded with a 3-0 victory to keep their season alive, reaching another high when selected as the No. 4 seed for the Green Bay, Wisc. Regional. “It was a situation where if we wanted to move forward…

that we had to win the game (against Colgate) in order to move on. We didn’t want the season to end like this,” said Schafer. “We didn’t want to get all the way there and that close to an NCAA bid and just let the season end. It was tough for them to regroup after the disappointment of not (advancing) to the (ECAC) championship game, but they did a great job coming back that next day and focusing and making sure that we moved on.” And the madness ensued. Facing No. 1 Michigan in the opening round of the Midwest regional, the Big Red shocked everyone, prevailing 3-2 in overtime over the heavily favored Wolverines. And the winning goal fittingly came from sophomore Rodger Craig, a player who broke his hand in the regular season finale against RPI, and who had missed the better part of the ECAC tournament due to the injury. “It was awesome that a kid like (Rodger Craig) was able to score such a huge goal on a national stage, and very rewarding for him to persevere over the things he has gone through,” said Schafer. Yet once again, what goes up must come down on the Big Red’s rollercoaster ride of a season. Cornell fell to Ferris State 2-1 in the Regional final, one game away from a trip to Tampa and the Frozen Four. Since 2006, the Big Red are 0-3 in Regional final games, bringing up an eerie reminder for Schafer of his team’s last two appearances in the regional final. In 2009, the Big Red lost to Bemidji State 4-1, and in 2006, a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to Wisconsin. Yet as if a trip to Tampa would be any indicator of a vacation for coach Schafer. It would have been just another day at the office in the Frozen Four. “Tampa would not have been a vacation. For us, it would have been all business to go down there and win,” Schafer said. “Great location but you get in those places, it’s the same thing–hotel, bus, rink, and the bus back to the hotel.”

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Image Courtesy of dubcomusic.com

adderall at cornell jean-paul lozada

*All names in this story have been changed in order to protect anonymity

It is no secret that Cornell is a school full of gifted students and attracts many of the brightest minds in America. By no means, however, does this mean that being a Cornell student is easy. On any given hour of any given day, you can walk into a building on campus and find students slaving over amounts of work unfathomable to students at less competitive schools. We all have things that help us concentrate on this intense workload, whether that is classical music, a favorite study spot, a tall cup of coffee. Some, however, turn to the illicit use of prescription drugs to help them plow through their mountains of work and studying. One look at how Adderall affects the brain would reveal

The User

David* first encountered Adderall his freshman year. A friend of his, who had previously used the drug in high school, gave him a pill when they were doing homework one day. He isn’t hooked, but speaks of the drug in flattering terms. “I’d say you start feeling pretty good, you become much more alert,” he says. “You can focus more on whatever you’re doing.” David uses Adderall when he plans on pulling an all-nighter to study for a big test or complete a long assignment. “It makes you work a lot more efficiently. You have a lot more energy, you’re not tired, and you can work when you normally don’t have the energy to work,” he tells me. When writing, Adderall helps him “ramble coherently.” The drug makes him wordier, which for him gives his thoughts more depth. That does not mean that Adderall, like any other drug, does not have its downsides. David explained to me that being wired on Adderall for long periods of time eliminates his desire to eat or rest, which takes a toll on his body. “Your body is tired but your mind is still buzzing so when you try to go to sleep you just can’t,” he says, adding that he normally has to resort to smoking some marijuana after being up all night on Adderall in order to fall asleep. When looking for the drug, David usually asks his friends. If they don’t have any, one of their friends usually does.

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why it is such a popular study aide among Cornell students. The drug, an amphetamine, is a powerful psychostimulant normally prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Like other amphetamines, it produces increased wakefulness and enhances focus, while decreasing fatigue and appetite. The USDA, citing high abuse potential, classifies it as a Schedule II controlled substance. Adderall usage among Cornell students is no secret. If you don’t take it, odds are someone you know well does. As such, it is not a difficult drug to find; it is hardly ever more than a few phone calls away, especially if you know people that actively take it. Consequently, a sort of underground community has formed amongst the users and suppliers of Adderall at Cornell.

He also makes sure to buy some whenever he comes across it to avoid the hassle of having to ask around for it. “If someone has some to sell, they’ll let it be known,” he says. David normally pays around 7 dollars for a 20-milligram pill. For David, a normal dose is somewhere between 10 and 30 milligrams. If he takes less than 20 milligrams, he starts with half a pill and takes the other half later in order to make the effect last. He takes the drug orally but tells me of the one time he and a friend crushed up a pill and snorted it in the basement of Olin Library. Insufflating Adderall shortens the time it takes to feel the effects of the pill and also shortens the duration of the effects. David does not find much use for the pill aside from pulling all-nighters. “During the day it does not make much of a difference compared to, say, some caffeine,” he says. Overall, he does not think it has had any noticeable effects on his grades. “It affects my study habits more than my grades. It’s just a different way of getting stuff done.” David does not view Adderall as a necessity but recognizes its value during the rare situations when things would be easier if he had Adderall to help him stay awake and alert for extended periods of time.


The Dealer

Jason* is an opportunist. A former dealer, he sold a sizeable amount of Adderall the fall semester of his junior year. He had a friend who was a full time dealer who, without a prescription, was able to get Adderall pretty easily. One day, the opportunity presented itself for him to acquire a large quantity of pills at a competitive price. He decided to accept his friend’s offer. When I asked him why he decided to start selling the pills, he said, “I knew there was a demand, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on.” Jason did not have to try very hard to move the pills. He rarely told people that he dealt Adderall, but customers would keep coming. “I got some referrals but I didn’t really need to reach out to random people to find demand based off the quantity I had,” he tells me. He mostly sold to his housemates and close friends.

The Patient

Samantha* has ADHD. With over twenty credits, her course load is one that even typical Cornell students would find intimidating. Naturally, getting everything done in a timely fashion is a challenge for her. “It takes me twenty minutes to read what would take a normal person five minutes to read,” she says. Samantha is prescribed Adderall but chooses not to take it because she wants to avoid resorting to “relying on a crutch.” Every once in a while she’ll feel like a pill is a necessity, but the bottle usually remains hidden away in her room, seldom opened. Her friends often approach her for pills, but she refuses to sell them or even give them away. Samantha is quite vocal in her opposition to the illicit usage of Adderall as a study aide. She feels that those that take the drug give themselves an unfair advantage. Motioning with her hands, she explains this to me. “Normal kids function at this level, but I’m way down here,” she gestures with her right hand a few inches below her left. “When normal kids take Adderall, their brain capacity jumps way up here, but when I’m on Adderall, I can only reach the level they normally operate at.” She moves both hands up a couple of inches. To Samantha, illicit Adderall usage is a product of the rat race mentality that many Cornell students buy in to. In

It did not even take a full semester for him to sell his supply of 200 10-milligram extended release pills. Even a year later, he would still get calls from former customers looking for Adderall. According to Jason, “The demand was definitely there. It was a very seasonal thing; it matched up with prelims pretty accurately.” At 5 dollars per pill, he netted about $1000 total. In order to get rid of the pills fast, he would typically enforce a 20-dollar minimum for purchases but often made exceptions. Once he ran out of pills, he stopped selling. It was difficult for his source to maintain a consistent supply because he did not have a prescription. However, he did make enough money to cover the cost of his own Adderall usage, and then some. Aside from studying, Jason also took the drug to party or as a hangover cure after long nights of drinking.

her eyes, if she can complete all her work while suffering from ADHD, anyone should be able to. “It’s like cheating,” she says. “It’s an easy way out, and it makes me upset because I bust my ass to get everything done. But other people can put everything off until the last minute, pop and Addie, and cram all their work into one night, and we’ll both wind up with the same grade.” The way I see things, Samantha is right. Different people have different motivations for using Adderall, whether it is to make up for their habitual procrastination or to get a leg up on classmates the night before a big exam. However, the prevalence of Adderall usage most likely stems from our school’s competitive nature. For those that take the drug, getting good grades is non-negotiable. They obviously care enough about their grades to risk their health and potentially their freedom in seeking out and consuming a controlled substance. In my opinion, these students want the best of both worlds. A lack of time management skills affords them leisure time, but also necessitates the use of a drug to get things done in a timely manner. After all, our professors did not write their syllabi anticipating that their students will have brain steroids at their disposal. They wrote them knowing that we are all bright people that should be reasonably able to tackle challenges. My advice? Tap into your inner Cornelian and get your work done with a clear mind. Your conscience – and your body – will thank you afterwards.

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JUST FRIENDS: CAN MEN AND Anna Ancona

Perhaps the appeal of watching a good romantic comedy lies in its predictability. Seriously--when was the last time you watched a Katherine Heigl movie with a surprise plot twist? Cricket. But in addition to the basic storyline (girl and boy meet, girl and boy like each other, conflict arises, fight ensues, girl cries, they are reunited, they realize they are in love, cue upbeat music and the cast list), there seems to be another consistency in such rom coms: the existence of the “best friend”. It seems that either the man or the woman always has a best friend in these movies, but this friend is always flawed, or has some other reason for being JUST a friend. The leading lady’s best friend is usually female, but if he is male he is either unattractive, bizarre, or uninterested in women. Hollywood just can’t let Katherine Heigl live happily ever after with such a character! And what about Ashton Kutcher? He’s not proposing to Pimply Pam or Chunky Chelsea anytime soon. If the “best friend” is attractive, “normal”, and straight, however, chances are that the film is about two friends who fall in love. Some might say this is unfair. Some might say this is just Hollywood selling us what we want to see. But is it possible that some truth lies in these romantic comedies? What makes two people “just friends”? Why are they “just friends”? And in this college environment full of hook-ups and antidating epidemics, is it even possible for a man and a woman to be “just friends”? I went around Cornell and posed these questions to students: What is your definition of platonic? And is it possible, in college, to be platonic friends with someone of the opposite gender? Before going around Cornell and interviewing undergraduates for answers to these questions, I had hoped that the general consensus would be that platonic meant a non-sexual relationship and that it was absolutely possible. I have male friends, many of whom I would not, under any circumstances, remove from the “friend zone”. But turns out this mindset might not be enough… “I think that men and women can be just friends,” says Maddie Olberg ’14, “but there will always be slight sexual attraction.” But if there is “sexual attraction,” is it still platonic? Gianna Zoppi ’14 separates attraction from action: “There can be a platonic relationship, but not always platonic thoughts,” she says. So, many believe that there will always be “sexual thoughts”, at least from one side. Alex Pelta ’10 defines a platonic relationship: “[it is] one where neither party, male or female, has sexual thoughts about the other, ever.” And is this possible? “No,” he says. Jack Polivy ’14 agrees: “A platonic relationship is when a guy and girl are friends like you’d be friends with your sister. I don’t think [it’s possible]. It’s very difficult.”

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WOMEN REALLY BE PLATONIC? But maybe it depends on the type of friendship one has with this member of the opposite gender. Chelsea Tisosky ’14 explains, “I have lots of guy friends, but any friend that I’m really close with is hard to stay platonic. One party always develops feelings. If it is less close, like just to go out together or see occasionally for lunch, it’s totally fine. I have one girlfriend who has guys that she texts and hangs out with all the time—that’s a closeness between a guy and a girl that will result in some feeling.” Many agree with this: as the friendship gets more intimate, it becomes harder not to develop feelings. When this becomes the case, it seems that the definition of “platonic” also changes; rather than a platonic relationship being that there are no sexual feelings, “platonic” begins to mean not acting on these feelings. “If you’re friends with someone for long enough, you start to love them for who they are, and, maybe always, that blossoms into something more,” says David Leeds ’14. But for some people, the friendship matters more.” So it seems that in every male/female heterosexual friendship, both parties need to eventually decide not to act on their feelings, or to act—but here’s where it seems to get complicated. If you act on your feelings, that may very well be the end of the friendship. “It’s deterrent to have a sexual relationship because in college most relationships end in a break-up,” David continues. Max Gentile ’14 concurs: “As soon as one of the ‘friends’ makes an outward gesture towards the other, and tries to hook up with them or tries to tell them how they really feel, s*** hits the fan and the ‘platonic friends’ thing is out the window. It doesn’t matter if the other friend accepts the gesture or kindly denies it, the friendship will never be the same.” He adds, “If you lock it up and keep it pent up inside, you’re golden.” Not everyone believes that there is always something there, though. Harrison Lewis ’14 says that a platonic relationship is one where “sexuality/chemistry isn’t relevant.” In response to whether or not this was possible, he says “Yeah. You can like someone for the person they are. I think attractiveness is a big factor. If you’re not attracted you can be friends.” An anonymous source agrees: “There has to be a reason you’re not attracted to them,” he says. “If there’s some turnoff you can still like them as a friend.” Wait so now if you’re friends with someone it’s because they are turned off by you? I’d consider going on a Facebook de-friending power session, ladies and gentlemen. But this is not necessarily true: “My best friend is a girl,” says Patrick Mayer ’13. “It’s an emotional journey of ups and downs. We’ve never had any feelings or intimacy, but we do homework and party together. Here’s a metaphor for you: I’m like Dory in Finding Nemo, and she’s like Marlon.”

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leela chantrelle

[names are changed]

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I volunteer in Cayuga Correctional Facility. I can’t quite fully explain what it means to teach inmates, except to say that it is the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. At first, I will admit, I was apprehensive. The guards all told us to be careful and warned us about what could happen. However, from the second the inmates started trickling into class, my mind was at ease.

These people who were in jail for some crime, were not wasting their time in prison. They instead chose to use it as a way to improve themselves. I taught class on the GED to help them pass the exam. As the inmates came into class, the amount of African American men in the class struck me.

Image courtesy of dailyoffice.org

my time in prison


Though this seems expected, race was not something that I thought would come up during my classes. I thought I was just going to be continually scared of them. The inmates had been brought up mostly in impoverished parts of Upstate New York, and it seemed they had simply fallen into a life of crime. For them, crime seemed natural. These men, revealed themselves to be the best students anyone could hope for, even compared to Cornelians. Every inmate repeatedly asked questions and was honest about not understanding certain things, all the while remaining extremely interested in class. Without fail, most of the students I talked to would tell me that they had been in and out of prison for years. One of my students, Tom, was about sixty years old, and hadn’t had time to complete high school due to his incarceration. The ages of the other inmates ranged from their early twenties to forties, yet they all had the same basic level of math and writing. I was most intimated not by the inmates themselves but by the daunting task of explaining to them things I had learned when I was in middle school. About a month into the class, we started focusing on essays. Being an English and History double major I thought that I would be a great teacher. We spent weeks writing essays over and over again, trying to get the inmates to understand what a thesis statement was. It seemed so basic and natural to me, yet these men would write entire essays that had no basic structure and were riddled with typos. It took weeks of sample essays,

outlines and meetings to finally get even one student to understand how to write a thesis. When they finally wrote a correct essay, the reward was especially great because they were deeply proud of themselves. Because the inmates had been so nice, and had just taken the test, my co-teachers and I decided to have a spelling bee at the end of March. This was probably the most fun class we had ever taught. Not only were the inmates really engaged and competitive, they also were learning how to spell. Now, when I get ready to go to prison; instead of feeling nervous, I’m excited to finally reunite with my students after one week away. Teaching in a prison isn’t just about being a teacher, it’s about having faith in someone that barely has any faith in themselves. At our first class, my co-teachers and I walked in and put some math problems on the board. Every inmate seemed shocked at the question and extremely confused. After a couple of months, though not everything is perfect; the inmates don’t look so confused at the sight of any less than or equal than sign but instead tackle the problem with zeal. Prof. Jim Schechter runs the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP), and Cornell is lucky enough to be able to have programs like this. I cannot stress enough that if we have this opportunity, it would be foolish of anyone to not take it. Volunteering with CPEP has changed my perspective on race, learning and prisons as a whole and is therefore an eye opening opportunity.


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the big one five o’

Slope Magazine Spring 2012  

Summer in Ithaca

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