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editorial.

EXHALING, A GOOD IDEA

EDITORIAL: LEGALIZE IT

It’s time the nation ends its marijuana prohibition and legalizes the drug for those over 21 Colorado, on Jan. 1, will become one of the first places in the world to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Oregon and Washington are also pioneers in this budding movement. With new research and growing reform movements for the drug, it’s only a matter of time before cannabis prohibition becomes a national issue. The Harbinger believes it is time for full legalization of marijuana recreational use for those 21 and above. From the horror stories of “Reefer Madness” and D.A.R.E. programs, we were taught in elementary school that marijuana would destroy our bodies and our lives. We were taught it caused diseases like lung cancer, anxiety and schizophrenia. We were taught it would lead us to harder drugs like LSD and heroin. But the truth, is most of that was simply fervor from President George W. Bush’s War on Drugs. Studies done by a University of California at Los Angeles research team showed no correlation between smoking marijuana and lung cancer. There was a study done linking marijuana use with testicular cancer, but this, even with marijuana use is a very rare cancer. There’s little evidence showing marijuana as a cause for mental diseases like depression and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, it’s more likely that people use marijuana to as a ‘selfmedication’ to treat their depression or anxiety, not that the drug causes them. The majority of marijuana users also never use other illicit drugs, according to multiple studies including “The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Main Findings” and “Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect.” Marijuana use has no correlation with use of other hard drugs, such as cocaine and meth. The idea that marijuana is a gateway drug isn’t true. And when comparing marijuana with legal drugs like alcohol, find-

ings have actually shown it’s safer. Alcohol causes about four percent of all deaths across the world, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Studies done by the British Medical Journal have found no correlation between marijuana and higher death rates. It’s also almost impossible to overdose from marijuana like you can alcohol. Marijuana is one of the biggest cash crops in the United States. In 2006, it beat out both corn and soybeans, making a total of $35.8 billion, according to ABC News. With marijuana as a legal, taxable market, the U.S. would be able to raise $6.2 billion a year in tax revenue, according to Harvard professor Jeffrey Miron. With a struggling economy, why is our country banning one of the largest cash crops? Along with the added tax revenue, Miron showed that the U.S. would save $7.7 billion dollars a year in enforcement of laws. Prisons would be less crowded and there would be less spent on court and lawyer fees for those caught with marijuana. With a recovering economy, adding another cash crop to our agricultural market would create new jobs and spur new companies. It would create more competition in our economy and would also make us the power house of the industry in the international market. The U.S. would be the largest economy in the world that produces marijuana, and with few other countries allowing it. U.S. companies would have a monopoly in the market. It’s simply irresponsible and illogical for the prohibition of marijuana to continue. New research is showing that marijuana isn’t as dangerous as it was originally thought and with the amount of money we could make off of it, it just doesn’t make sense to keep it illegal. Keeping this safe plant illegal hurts not only our nation’s economy, but the people in it too. It is time to end the prohibition.

EDITORIAL BOARD VOTES FOR AGAINST ABSENT

6 5 0

ART BY TONY JONES

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A week in photos

F E I R B NEWS IN

Senate approves filibuster changes

PHOTO BY DARA O’CONNOR Juniors Sally Williams, Maggie McGannon and Emily Perkins Rock participate in the blind fold activity that the psychology class conducts.

PHOTO BY MARISA WALTON Senior Jay Anderson teaches the crowd new chants with fellow senior Luke Haverty during the pep assembly on Nov. 22.

PHOTO BY MADDIE SCHOEMANN Senior Mitchell Tyler runs the ball in the substate game againset Olathe North on Nov. 22.

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The soon-to-be tallest waterslide in the world — “Verruckt” — is currently being built at Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts in Kansas City, Kan. The record for World’s Tallest Waterslide has been held by the Kilimanjaro slide at Aguas Quentes Country Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil since 2002. Although the exact height is being kept secret until the official measuring event this spring, Schlitterbahn claims the Verruckt (German for “insane”) will beat out Kilimanjaro when building is complete. The slide will be 17 stories high, with 264 stairs to climb to reach the top. According to the waterpark’s website, Verruckt was designed by Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, who has numerous patents for various waterslide innovations. Schlitterbahn is building smaller versions of the Verruckt in the other four Schlitterbahn parks, but only Kansas City will get the record-breaker; Schltterbahn wanted to give Kansas City an iconic ride all to itself. Senior Corinne Stratton, a self-proclaimed waterslide fanatic, is planning on trying out the new slide this summer. “I went to Schlitterbahn this summer and saw it being built,” Stratton said. “When I was there the park was really just like a typical waterpark, but I think this new slide makes it one of the best around. I love thrilling experiences like roller coasters and waterslides so the new ride sounds really fun.”

Men’s choir goes on annual Chipotle tour

PHOTO BY MEGHAN SHIRLING Students and returning students gather at the Tyler Rathbun memorial in the senior lot to remember Tyler Rathbun on Nov. 25.

WRITTEN BY CAROLINE KOHRING and GRETA NEPSTAD

the old rule

The rules regarding a senator’s ability to filibuster nominees for government positions have been changed. On Nov. 21, it was decided that a majority vote was needed in order to prevent a senator from filibustering a nominee for a judiciary or executive position. Previously, the rule stated that 60 votes were needed, instead of 51 out of 100. Filibustering is a term that describes a long speech given by a senator who wants to prevent a given proposal. Senators use them to prevent voting on bills, and therefore getting rid of them. Recently, the Republicans have become known for filibustering any nominee chosen by President Barack Obama for government positions. “It’ll be interesting,” senior Brian Philips said. “Right now the Democrats are in power and it’ll work to the president’s advantage.” Philips, who created a blog three months ago, writes about politics and other current events. “I don’t think that the change is necessarily a good thing because it’s always been a rule that 60 votes were needed,” Philips said. “It’ll be interesting in the future to see how this rule will impact the political process, because the change benefits the ruling party, which, at the moment, is the Democrats.”

Kansas City receives tallest waterslide

news.

On Nov. 26, the men’s choir held their 16th annual Chipotle Tour. On the tour, the boys in men’s choir went around to the eight East area elementary schools. At each school, the choir spent about 10 to 15 minutes singing what the boys in choir call light-hearted, manly songs. A few crowd-pleasers include “Silhouettes” and the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme song. In between schools, the boys traditionally go to Chipotle for lunch before they finish the rest of the day, giving the tour its name. According to senior Calen Byrd, this tour is a chance to for the boys to both promote the choir and revisit the schools they grew up in. “We look forward to it all semester,” Byrd said. “It’s a good day to goof around with your friends and to have a good time revisiting the schools they grew up in and just have some fun before [Thanksgiving] break.”

60 votes are needed in order to prevent a Senator from doing a filibuster the new rule

A majority is needed in order to stop a Senator from conducting a filibuster of an appointee

fil·i·bus·ter

(noun)

an effort to prevent action in a legislature by making a long speech

3 longest

filibusters

1

24 hrs 18 min

2

23 hrs 30 min

3

22 hrs 26 min

In 1957, Sen. Strom Thurmond filibustered the Civil Rights Act

In 1986, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato filibustered a military bill

In 1953, Sen. Wayne Morse filibustered the Tidelands Oil Bill

54

democrats in the SENATE

46

republicans in the SENATE


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news.

Top Tweets From the SME Office Twitter Account

SME Office

Nov 23

@SMEOffice

A New Media WRITTEN BY SARAH BERGER PHOTO BY KATHRYN JONES

Tweets coming from the office ranging from MORP reminders to supporting various teams and clubs have been filling up the Twitter feeds of East students. Vines of principal John McKinney and associate principal Jeremy Higgins stealing each others’ tots have become weekly occurrences on the video announcements. This school year, the East administration has begun using social media outlets such as Twitter and Vine for the first time. The administration’s purpose of using social media, according to McKinney, is to connect and communicate with students through technology. “Technology is a really important part of what we do at East,” McKinney said. “We would be remiss if we weren’t preparing students to enter college and careers without acknowledging that technology plays a big part in everything that we do, and will continue to play a big part in everything that we do.” The @SMEOffice Twitter profile was created this past summer. In the past four months it has gained over 500 followers composed of students, parents, alumni and community members from across the East area. The account has been used for purposes ranging from congratulating the football on winning sub-state to consoling SM West after the passing of two of their students, Houston St. John and Andre Maloney. McKinney and his three other as-

#STATEBOUND + #MORP = #SMEast :-)

East office uses social media for the first time to connect with students and reach out to the community

sociate principals chose to use Twitter first because of the large role it plays in students’ lives and its quick nature. He says it has enabled the office to quickly and easily communicate information about events at East with the community. “Why not just share [our school’s news] with as many people as possible as quickly as possible?” McKinney said. While McKinney says he first utilizes face-to-face congratulations, he has also been using the @SMEOffice account to reach out to students and recognize them for their individual accomplishments. Senior Rob Simpson was tweeted about by the office celebrating his perfect ACT score. After being mentioned by the account, Simpson received numerous congratulations for his score. “I think [the account] is a good way to show the office’s appreciation for students,” Simpson said. “Sometimes you don’t feel that [at other schools], but its very present here at East.” The administration also created the SMEOffice Vine account at the beginning of the year. This account was created to participate in the video announcements’ weekly Vine contests. They have submitted Vines to several contests including reenacting the Karate Kid in #SMEremake and doing the Harlem Shake with #SMEdance. “Its just another way of reaching out to [the community] to show when you see a principal it’s not always a bad

thing,” McKinney said. “It can be kind of a good thing. Hopefully people have had fun with it.” Currently the administration does not have an East Facebook page, but have considered the possibility of creating one. McKinney has personally never used Facebook before but believes it could be a good way to create a central location to communicate information concerning various events that are occurring on the same day, like MORP and sub-state. He says it could give out more in-depth information regarding East events, rather than the quick pieces of information @SMEOffice is currently providing. No decisions have been made about the page yet, but if it were to be created it would be facilitated by McKinney and his colleagues, like the Twitter profile and the Vine account. Even if the administration does not decide to create a Facebook page, they still plan to continue using the Twitter and Vine accounts. “I think that it’s neat we have over 500 followers on SMEOffice, and when you send something out there it’s going to grandmas and grandpas and parents and patrons and other schools and their administrations and students,” McKinney said. “We try to put things out there that show East in a very positive light, albeit sometimes a silly light. I think that really represents our school and our students in a positive way.”

Harbinger Sports

SME Counseling

East Accounts to Follow:

SME STUCO @STUCOSME

@HarbieSports

@SMECounseling

SME Office

Nov 15

@SMEOffice

@SMEast_Cheer & #LancerDancers Thank you for all you do for #SMEast #smepride #smestrong

SME Office

Sep 26

@SMEOffice

We’re almost ready! Remember to Silent Cheer! #SMEast #lipdub


“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”

-Rob Ford

“QUOTED ” WRITTEN BY MORGAN KRAKOW AND PAULINE WERNER

EXPLAINED:

After multiple allegations about his drug and alcohol use, Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitted to a slog of reporters outside of his office that he had indeed smoked crack cocaine. On Nov. 5, he fessed up to the press. His confession was followed by a tumultous barrage of more press conferences and Toronto’s city council battling to remove his mayoral powers. On Nov. 18 the entire council voted in favor of removing his powers. He will only act as a ceremonial mayor with much of his budget and ability to conduct executive committees cut. The weeks after included Rob Ford sky-rocketing into many morning headlines as well as a couple Saturday Night Live sketches.

EXPLAINED:

After the roll-out of HealthCare.gov, the United States’ new healthcare marketplace website was wrought with problems and techinical difficulties. Some Americans also realized that they were going to lose their current healthcare plans. Obama apologized to the American people in an interview with NBC News on Novemeber 7. The president expressed that he and his staff are making an effort to fix the issues. According the Washington Post, an anonymous White House official said that the problem could be fixed with a possible andministrative solution. Throughout November, Obama’s rating dipped to record lows. From a CBS poll on Novemeber 20, his job rating hit 37 per-

HIGHLIGHTS of the month

EXPLAINED:

From twerking onstage with a married man to swinging on a wreaking ball wearing only Dr. Marten’s on her feet, Miley Cyrus’ wtransformation from a teenage Disney star to number one on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 list (and all the drama in between) has caused backlash. While hosting SNL, Cyrus showed that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. After she expressed her dislike for shirts that completely cover her, a variety of eyebrowraising skits followed. At one point, she impersonated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ended up ripping off the top of her pantsuit. Whether this reinvention is the result of a rebellious stage or this new Miley is here to stay, she has captured some attention.

“If I owe anyone an aplology, it’s the people who make the bottom half of shirts”

news. Get up to date on what people in the news talked about this November ART BY GRETA NEPSTAD & PHOEBE AGUIAR

We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

-Barack Obama

cent. The faulty roll-out of the health care website has been attributed to this recent drop in ratings. Since the roll-out, he’s seen a nine percent drop in approval rating numbers.

“We were absolutely under false impressions on what the video was going to be about.”

-Arthur to KCTV5’S

Bonyen Lee

Archaeologists discovered ancient ruins in Israel, ranging from a 10,000-year-old house and a 6,000-year-old temple.

$

Twitter’s shares were worth $45.10 the first day it went public on the NYSE

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” breaks November record afgter bringing in $161.1 Million

-Miley Cyrus 2009 court case is settled as 26-year- old Amanda Knox is given a 30-year sentence for murdering her roommate in Italy INFORMATION COURTESY OF: CNN, EW, & GOOGLE FINANCE

EXPLAINED:

Two University of Kansas students agreed to let a journalist from Al Jazeera America, a news network, follow them around for a night of partying at the school. According to the students, just wanting to be known as Arthur and Casey, the journalist indicated that the story would be about the nightlife in American colleges. But after the special was released, both students were horrified to see it. According to them, the video seemed to focus more on the issue of sexual assualt and hook up culture at colleges, . In the video one of the students was quoted as saying, ““I think [the situation] depends on the girl. So she goes home with some guy, she wakes up in the morning, ‘I made a big mistake’ but yet it’s on her, you know?” The same student later spoke out against his previous comment, apologizing and trying to make known that the comments were taken out of context.

“These veterans here today represent the superheroes of America fighting to give us liberty, freedom and justice,” he said.

-Joseph Westphal

EXPLAINED:

Brookwood Elementary School students, veterans, parents and teachers crowded into the auxilarary gym to hear from local veteran Sgt. Al Lemieux and the Undersecretary of the U.S. Army Joseph W. Westphal. On Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, the Brookwood Elementary choir students sang in a choir as well a s a bell band. Both men spoke about the importance of the protection of freedom by the war veterans. Westphal’s granchildren attend the elementary school and he is the second-highest ranking civilian in the army. The ceremony was also attended by superindent Jim HInson, as well as other members of the school board.


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news. New club forms at East based on the game ninja, but with an added twist Senior Tony Jones comes to social studies teacher David Muhammad’s room after school one November day, covered in chalk. He asks Muhammad if he would sponsor his chalk ninja club. Slightly confused, Muhammad asks Jones what exactly chalk ninja club is. Chalk ninja, which Jones invented, is a spin-off of the game “ninja.” In ninja, players take turns hitting each other and are only allowed one movement per turn. The objective is to karate-chop another player, for example, in the hand. In this case he or she wouldn’t be able to use that hand for the rest of the game. In chalk ninja, players hit each other with colored chalk on their hands. “I just thought [using chalk] would be interesting and more fun,” Jones said. “Hitting people with color instead of blank hands makes it more exciting.” Unlike in the original ninja game, in the new chalk ninja club at East, players lose one of their three lives when they are hit. They can still move about freely. Chalk ninja is usually played throughout the first three floors of the school. Every Friday after school, the 10-15 regular players get ready in Muhammad’s room by choosing teamsgenerally of two- and rubbing chalk on their hands. The purpose of the chalk is to allow them to tell who hit them at the end, to determine a winner. They then have 30 seconds to find a hiding spot somewhere in the school.

WRITTEN BY NELLIE WHITTAKER

Players can hide in the hallways, the cafeteria or Muhammad’s room, but not in any other classrooms. Once the game begins, they chase each other around, trying to hit each other on the legs, arms, or face with chalk all while avoiding getting hit by the other players. After 15 minutes, the players all meet back in Muhammad’s room to assess the colors on their arms and determine the winner. Jones got the idea for the game during a class at a Kansas City Art Institute camp. They had been playing ninja and, during class, a friend was using pastels for a picture, and Jones put his hand in the pastels and smacked him. That’s when the idea popped into Jones’ head. At the beginning of the school year, he organized a group of 10-15 friends, and they played the game after school on Fridays, in art teacher Jason Filbeck’s room, since he allowed them to play there and they had access to chalk. In November, Jones decided to ask Muhammad if he would sponsor it as a club. This way, he reasoned, it could become a more official, well-known club. “When we needed a sponsor, we asked Mr. Muhammad, because we knew he’d say yes,” Jones said. Muhammad decided to sponsor the club in spite of his doubts about its legitimacy; he thought Jones was kidding about the club when he first asked. But he realized playing chalk ninja was a lot better

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than other things high school kids could be doing. “[I support] kids trying to do something better than unproductive lifestyle choices,” Muhammad said. “If [playing chalk ninja] is going to keep them from doing something else, then hey, I support it.”

PHOTO BY MAXX LAMB Seniors Chris Shrieber, Adam Bowles and Toni Jones prticipate in a Chalk Ninja Club meeting at Harmon Park.

Questions? Contact Susan Glatt at rnglatt@juno.com The Harbinger is one of the front-runners in stu-

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opinion.

S Y A W HALL

PDA

There is something about PDA (public displays of affection) that really grinds my gears. I don’t fully understand it and have some questions I would like to address. First of all, what about school makes you want to get it on? Does being in school just really make you want to make out with someone? Ew. School makes me feel tired, gross and watching you two swapping saliva makes me gag. I would like to get my education and leave in peace Next, do you not feel uncomfortable? Really, are you not worried everyone’s judging you on your kissing skills? Isn’t it weird having teachers watching you grab each others’ booties? I would just feel violated, other people don’t need to share that intimate moment with me. And going to class, wouldn’t teachers feel weird having a student they’ve seen seconds before licking someone else’s mouth? Don’t your hands get sweaty? Most people at East have learned to not engage in this repolsive display and to all those people, I applaud you. For all of you that

haven’t, I hope you understand where the rest of us are coming from and respect others by not participating. The thing that peeves me the most about PDA is when it actually gets in my way. Most of the time its just looking at it and being grossed out. But, sometimes two people will be going at in right in front of my locker or classroom door and I can’t decide whether to shove them off of it or physically seperate them. If you’re going to publically show much much you love each other, please don’t make it disturb other people. There is an overly simple solution to this problem: WAIT. I promise you will almost always see each other again, most likely in the next 45 minutes. You can fight the urge to fondle each other until 2:40 -- if not for your own personal reasons then for mine, people.

HISE gets HEATED

As a senior girl, I’ve seen every girls bathroom at East and I can say with confidence each bathroom is a different experience. Each bathroom is crusty, smells and could use a clean up. All the individual bathrooms have their own unique flaw. The bathroom next to the cafeteria always has one stall that never works. Going in there, I have to be ready to wait in line because there is probably minimal working stalls. In this case, there is usually no toilet paper because all girls use the same stall. So next time, bring your own. The worst: when the lighting in the bathroom makes you look bad. The bathroom makes me looks abnormally ugly on my Monday slump. You leave feeling beat down and with low self esteem. The whole day I walk

I

an opinion of

MADISON HISE

around self conscious until I use another bathroom and remind myself that no, my skin is not a pasty yellow color and no, my hair is not a nasty as it looked. There is no solution to this, do as I do, avoid the mirrors in the bathroom at all costs. Another thing that frustrates me is when there is stuff on the inside of the bathroom stall like the ones by the gym. Writing that makes me feel weird about myself, like “Santa is watching you pee.” Or the beautiful pictures of Shia LaBeouf staring at me as I’m on the can. Although, I will say the bathrooms are kept fairly clean (at least the girls’ are) taking the signs off the inside of the bathroom stall would help enthase my bathroom experience. Every bathroom has the soap that we all know is just colored water and doesn’t actually clean our hands. There is an easy solution: use the hand sanitizer in the teachers’ classroom. I don’t want to touch your dirty post-bathroom hands.

S M O O R H T A

B

The hallways have always been a problem. But for me, I find some rather ironic things in the hallways of Shawnee Mission East. First of all: we are like herded cattle. We’re supposed to keep moving at all time according to the “no loitering” signs. Even though they are right under the TVs that are meant for us to stand there and read. C’mon, if that isn’t ironic humor at its finest. I have found an easy solution to this. Wait in your classroom until the minute music comes on then sprint to your next class. You may be winded but saves you a lot of problematic situations. Next, the stairs. There is so much wrong with them. Maybe the most embarrassing fact is how out of breath I get going from the third to fifth floor. I am literally having to catch my breath. Another awkward moment every SMEaster experiences is getting their backpack stuck on the stairwells and holding up the line

of f re sh man while in a rush to get to class. I never know how to go about this situation. Should I go up and move it or wait for someone to unstick me? Should I turn sideways and let people pass by me or be that girl who holds up the whole stairwell? Finally, the dreaded falling down the stairs or in my case falling up the stairs. Either my shoes need new traction or I am extra prone to falling. Somehow I always find a way to trip then comes the deciding moment: laugh about it or be awkward and pretend like nothing happened? However, the stairs are a painful but simple fix: break something. The elevator key is easy and avoids the most stressful time at East—passing period.

love Shawnee Mission East. The sports, the student body, the administration and most of all, the school spirit. It is and has been without a doubt the highlight of my life so far. There are very few things about East that bug me. But as Every time I am in the parking lot I get in and out as soon as possible. I get a mean case of road rage, or parking lot rage, becaust its a cluster. So, first thing in the morning I pull in and I have parents cutting me off left and right. I’m sorry, but you have already dropped your child off, what are you going to be late for? I’m the one you’re about to make late for class. A couple hours later, I leave for lunch. Usually no big deal unless I happen to turn left toward my house and end up with an $85 ticket even though there isn’t a single car headed in my direction. Then, coming back to lunch, chances are someone took my prime front row parking spot to waste another five minutes walking the long walk from nearly the Prairie Vil-

we all know, the more you’re around someone or something, the more annoyances become big things. I thought it was time to voice my minisculel problems to hopefully create change in the school to make it my perfect happy place.

lage City hall to the school. Okay I’m sorry non-seniors, but where has seniority gone? In my day (last year), we respected our elders who had the right to the senior lot. The good juniors we were parked in the junior lot as to not disturb those older and wiser seniors. I get that the rules have changed, but when I see a junior in the front row of the senior lot something in my gut makes me a little sick to my stomach. However, much worse: seeing a sophomore or freshman in the senior lot makes me want to punch all of them square in the gut. At least the juniors had to pay for a pass, the underclassmen don’t. The upperclassmen spent two years respecting the rules, a precedent that should be followed. One of the few things I can’t deal with. This is not a hard thing to fix: Park in a respectful place. Juniors that park in the back of the lot, I salute you.

T O L R O I N E S


opinion.

GUILTY PLEASURES Guilty pleasures, everyone has them, here are Phoebe’s WRITTEN BY PHOEBE AGUIAR PHOTOS BY MARISA WALTON

MAXXED OUT ON MOVIES Flipping through my Netflix instant queue you will probably find more mindless action movies than anything of substance. If a movie has guns, explosions, blood, boobs and a simple plot line, count me in. It’s easy to stay focused throughout the whole movie with the continuous action, especially for someone like me who has the attention span of a goldfish. Whenever I get a chance to watch a movie and there is no one around me, you can guarantee I’ll be watching something that has all of the above qualifications. After watching so many movies of this genre I know the

basic idea: seemingly-normal person gets swept in some kind of plan to destroy the word that they somehow managed to foil despite all odds, and of course they get the girl. With movies like, these the endings are almost predictable. Some are exciting and others are just so over-the-top and implausible that you can do nothing else but watch and try not to think too much. Which makes these the perfect movie to waste your Saturday night watching by yourself alone in the basement.

TERRIBLE TUNES Lil Wayne, One Direction, Ke$ha, Chris Brown and countless others. They all have no musical talent or value aside from a catchy beat, as popular as they may be. Regardless, I will play them loudly and proudly. Well, as long as there is no one else watching or listening to me. The terrible pop and rap music that is popular today is my crack. I know that this isn’t the music I should be enjoying this much, but you can sing along and shamelessly dance to it, and that’s good enough for me. This is

the only music I listen to in the car and I don’t just listen; I sing and I dance. I have perfected the car dance, which I only do with my upper-body at stoplights. I make a point to memorize all of the words to my favorite songs, so I can have my own karaoke session whenever I want. I know the words better than I do my pre-calc equations. Now this isn’t the only music I listen to, but it is the music that I enjoy the most. It’s fun and peppy and can instantly put me in a good mood.

RARE READS I’m embracing my awkward phase, which I’m apparently still in. When I say that, I loved and still love to read science fiction, fantasy and books about magic. When you’re 12, it’s perfectly acceptable to be reading books about dragons; but when the series isn’t finished until I’m in high school, I’ve got no choice but to read that last book. And not just read it, but enjoy it more than whatever profound and thought-provoking book I should be reading. I’ve read books from all over this genre: “Inkheart,” to

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” to all five “Game of Thrones,” books. These books are more than entertaining because you get to suspend reality and you can escape from the real world. They also discuss morals and what is really right and wrong. They have a deeper layer than just imagination. You can learn things about life, and reading some of these books as young child really had a profound effect on me.


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Remembering

opinion.

Houston

Junior reflects on her friendship with former SM West student Houston St. John who passed away in November thing. I want to find the words to show all of you the Houston that I knew — the Houston who loved Jesus, the one who never judged, the one who always listened. And I know already that no matter what I say or how I say it, it will never be enough.

an opinion of

CLARA MA

Olive juice. A boy with ruffled brown hair mouthed these words to my 11-year-old self dramatically from across the cafeteria at Sunflower Elementary. Olive juice, I mouthed back. I laughed silently and went back to my lunch. To anyone who happened to be watching us, it would have looked like “I love you.” The boy’s name was Houston St. John. He was a goofball, but so was I. We were in sixth grade then, and we had our entire lives ahead of us. I never could have imagined that I would lose him. Three weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to Houston. It had been raining that entire week, but on Saturday there was sunshine. Everything seemed so normal; everywhere in the world people were going about their lives. They were whole, but I was not. I was sad and broken and numb. I was hurting. As I sat in the church at Houston’s funeral service among the hundreds of other people who had been touched by his life, I couldn’t help but think of the transient moments we shared in the cafeteria. Olive juice. It was silly, but to me it was still important. I saw Houston’s face in the open casket — perfect, angelic. His brown hair was no longer ruffled; it was coiffed and straight. I had never seen him like that before, and I had no words. I didn’t know what to say, so instead, I said nothing. But now I’m going to try to say some-

LANCER VOICE Students share their memories of Houston St. John

* * * I can’t remember a day on the E.L. bus that Houston didn’t sing. We would have spent a long day at Rosehill Elementary, and more often than not, we would be tired. But Houston always seemed to have an unending supply of energy. Houston is the most talented person I have ever known, and at 12 years old, he had already made up his mind that he wanted to be famous someday. But Houston didn’t want to be famous for himself; he wanted to be famous so he could share with the world his love for God. He was passionate about his religion, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. It was that same passion that drove me to join Club 121, a student-led Christian organization, in middle school. Although I had never really gone to church before, Houston had asked me to come to at least one meeting, so I did. And then I kept going because I was immensely inspired by the amount of love and faith that could be contained in such a small classroom in the basement of Westridge Middle School. Everybody accepted me, and nobody ever tried to pressure me into being something I wasn’t. Houston taught me that God can change your life if you let Him in — sometimes in unexpected ways — and that what matters most is the love you have for what you believe in, for yourself, for the people around you. * * * There were 10 minutes left until the movie was supposed to start; Houston and I

PHOTO COURTESY OF AUSTIN ST. JOHN

were in eighth grade. I glanced nervously at my phone — I hoped he would show up. Houston had seen “Soul Surfer” probably a dozen times that year, but I knew for a fact that he was still obsessed with it (or more specifically, with its star, AnnaSophia Robb). Five minutes later, Houston came rushing into the Westglen 18 Theater, a little out of breath. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had promised my friends that I would get him to see it with us, so I was extremely glad that he actually showed up. Houston was incredibly popular as a middle schooler, and I still couldn’t believe that I was friends with him. “What, did you think I wasn’t going to come?” he teased. He gave me an awkward hug, and together we walked into the darkness of the theater. And it was then that I realized that at the end of the day, I could always count on him. Houston may have been an amazing singer, dancer and football player, but to me he was an even more amazing friend. Later that night, my phone buzzed. It was a text from Houston. Hey. The beginning of one of our many conversations about his hectic eighth grade love-life, of me giving him my decidedly awful advice. But I knew Houston — he would listen anyway, he would appreciate what I had to say, and I was grateful for that. * * * It has been almost three weeks since I found out that Houston passed away. I think of him haphazardly, and it will be in the middle of a day in math or English class that I find myself trying hard not to cry. I am still hurting, and I know that a part of me always will. I forget that I can’t text him, that I can’t say hi to him at the next football game. He is gone. But then again, he’s not. I see Houston everywhere — in myself,

Q: What is your favorite memory of Houston?

sophomore

Amy Meiring

A: “I remember one time he complimented me when I was singing backstage, he was really nice. He was a generous person, he was always really happy.”

sophomore

Leah O’Connor

in my friends, in his favorite movies, in Tarzan songs, on miniature school buses, in the stars and sky. He is up there, and I know he is keeping us safe, cheering us on and making us strong. I have no doubt that in this very moment Houston is watching over all of us — over his unbelievably kind parents, David and Theresa; over his sweet and talented older brother, Austin; his beautiful girlfriend, Maggie; and anyone and everyone who ever took the time to get to know him, to talk to him, to care about him. Once in awhile, we are blessed enough to meet people who end up making a difference in our lives, albeit in quiet ways. I always felt like I could be myself around Houston: I knew no matter what that he would accept me for the clumsy, shy, nerdy and soft-spoken person that I was. Because of Houston I learned to feel comfortable with myself, to not be embarrassed by the way I looked or how I dressed or the things I was passionate about. I am different because of Houston St. John, simply because I had the privilege of knowing him. There are things that happen sometimes that I don’t think I will ever understand. I will never understand why Houston had to leave; I will never understand why bad things happen to the very best of people. But one thing I do understand — now more than ever — is how fragile and precious life can be. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so we must do whatever we can to make the most of today. Above all, we must make sure we let people know that we love them, because we never know when it could be too late. Olive juice, Houston, I love you. I love your voice, your smile, the way you could always make me laugh, the way you lit up a room when you walked in. Olive juice. You will always be in my heart.

Q: How do you remember Houston? A: “I was in StageRight Performing Arts with him over the summer, and although I didn’t know him personally that well, just getting to be around him and watch him perform and work with him has definitely changed me.”

senior

Maddie

A: “To everyone he was very, very sweet. He was very talented, and he was a man of God. I’m very close to God, too, so it was cool for me to meet someone else in theatre who was, too. He Heigelealways saw the best in everyone.”


opinion.

CRAZY C My name is Maxx, and I’m a coffeeholic. I’ve been drinking 40 ounces of coffee every day for the past two years. That’s roughly four soda cans worth of caffeine every day. an opinion of * * * MAXX LAMB Every time I walk into the East coffee shop I’m greeted with a “There’s our best customer!” I slide to the front of the coffee shop and slip the cashier 50 cents. I maneuver myself around the person in front of me to get my coffee from the pot behind the one they’re using. I’m anxious for my coffee in hopes that it’ll alleviate my massive headache. The other day as I was filling my thermos, I said to the coffee shop cashier, “I’ve got to have my fix of caffeine or else I’ll be a zombie like the rest of society,” I closed my thermos and zipped out of the coffee shop and into college prep across the hall. My thermos sat on my desk for half an hour taunting me. It’s too hot to drink and I can’t think about the secant segment of a parabola right now. I wait. And wait. And wait with a headache. I need my coffee. And FINALLY is it ready? No. I just burned my tongue. Half an hour later: sweet fulfillment as I drink my coffee and my headache recedes. As it is, I drink my coffee black. The bitterness also helps keep me awake. I used to drink my coffee with every additive they had at the coffee shop. And I had it down to a science: six squirts of French Vanilla creamer. Three seconds of caramel. A bit of milk. Stir. The smell. Perfect. * * * My freshman year, I couldn’t stand the taste of black coffee, but I had insomnia and needed something to keep me from passing out in computer apps. The girl next to me in computer apps was a grumpy sour puss until she had her coffee. About half-way through the class, she’d pep up and all of the sudden be the kind and energetic girl she is. So I figured it might

The SIPPING STAFFERS

FFEE FANATIC

work for me too. I tried it black. That was awful, so I added all the additives the coffee shop had to offer. I loved it, but there were repercussions. One day after school at wrestling practice when we were running, and drinking all the sugar-and-additive-filled coffee I drank that day killed my endurance. I couldn’t breathe. I should’ve known better; whenever I have sugar in any form, I lose all my endurance. That practice sucked. I made that mistake more than once. Eventually I stopped wrestling. This is when I lapsed and became a coffeeholic. When I no longer needed to vigorously exercise after school, this opened up an opportunity for a productive addiction. I do not want to count how many quarters I’ve given the coffee shop. I’ve spent at least $380 on coffee at the coffee shop over my high school career. It’s been worth every penny. * * * Last year I drank my coffee out of a plastic blender cup. It was excellent because of its 20 ounce size, and two cups per day. I got more bang for my buck, but the paradise of economic amounts of coffee would not last forever. In physics class, Mr. Martin was talking about superimposing waves. I was about to doze off, and my coffee tasted like old soap. I love coffee, but the taste was horrendous. Even at its worst taste, I still couldnt keep from drinking it. Hungry before lunch, I had some dried pineapples in my lunch box that I’d been meaning to try, and expecting something sweet, I was given a taste of horror. It was dry, chewy and bland. It made the soap-coffee taste worse. Oh god, I couldn’t take notes on the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow with this taste, and I couldn’t find my water. Or my soap-coffee. Help. I decided to stuff my mouth like a squirrel with peanut butter crackers to sterilize the taste. I chewed. Slowly. Determined not to vomit. I must’ve looked something-awry because Mr. Martin looked at me and laughed at my stuffed cheeks. The taste was excruciating. I decided to wash it down with some coffee, forgetting it tasted like soap. It had grind in it. Grind in my coffee. I was going to cry. The taste was al-

ready like dried pineapple and soap-coffee, but now it’s soapcoffee grind and dried peanut butter crackers. It was the worst palpable experience of my life. But despite this, I got another cup of coffee that day. I drink my coffee black now because I later realized that the soap-coffee taste was due to the absorption of the coffee taste into the plastic blender cup because of all of the additives. It took five more cups of coffee, a week of soaking in Dawn and 12 washes in the dishwasher to realize that the cup was the problem. Whoops. * * * Robotics trip. Exhausted from taking photos with a coffee headache. I convinced my driver to give me a ride to Starbucks. Drank five shots of espresso black. It tasted horrible, but I finished an English essay that I’d effectively neglected to do for weeks. After that, I slept sounder than I had in days. (My grandma used to drink coffee before bed. It put her right to sleep. I’m assuming it was having a similar effect.) It wakes me up when I need and puts me to sleep when I don’t need to do things. I love coffee. The energy, the taste, the headaches when I don’t drink it. Okay, I don’t love the headaches, so I just drink more. * * * Sunday night. Headache. No homework done. Seems like a good time to have a coffee with my pal Ty. One dirty south, my and Ty’s favorite, with a hint of cinnamon, more caffeine than is healthy, and a smell of beauty and coffee, from the MudPie (a coffee shop downtown), and a deep discussion about The Scarlet Letter later, I got home and rocked two essays and did my college prep. Boo yah, difference quotient. * * * In a way, my life is controlled by coffee. When I get a headache, I get more coffee. If I need something done, I get more coffee. If I can’t sleep, I get more coffee. It’s my miracle drug, my penicillin, my rice: the everything food, my duct tape, the fix-all. I don’t know where I’d be without coffee.

Staffers share details about their own coffee addictions TAYLOR ANDERSON

“I started drinking coffee when I was three or four, my mom let me because she thought it was funny. Now I’m super addicted and can’t go a day without it.”

JACK STEVENS

“I don’t really drink coffee, but I was a barista at Lucky Bar last summer.”

MARISA WALTON

“I started drinking coffee around sophomore year, and I drink 2-5 cups of black coffee every day.”


features.

Sewing

Success

PHOTOS BY TESSA POLASCHEK WRITTEN BY MORGAN KRAKOW

Two hours is the maximum. Junior Violet Rettmer can’t sit still longer than that. She would drive herself crazy. But it has to be perfect, her customers are expecting it. The pressure behind creating handmade “My Little Pony” stuffed animals is always in the back of Rettmer’s head. In the low-light basement of her Leawood home, scraps of fabric are strewn across an art table. Among toy train tracks, old high school memorabilia from the 1970s, racks of books, there are intricately embroidered, cartoon-like eyes made of cloth and half-finished costumes. Rettmer is perched on the corner of her couch on a Wednesday night. She still has IB French homework, and has to come up with an idea for her design lab in IB Chemistry over the weekend. Her workload never seems to let up. She is involved in NaNoWriMo, a national writing contest where she must write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. She’s also running a self-made business out of her basement with just fabric, a sewing machine and a little determination. Rettmer’s stuffed animals sell for as much as three hundred dollars on the internet. The colorful animals are mirror images of the ones on the TV show “My Little Pony.” Officially, they’re called ‘plushies.’ Customers contact Rettmer with size measurements and a picture of the character they would like. Her usual clientele is made of people who are a part of fandoms. They are fan communities who enjoy a certain topic like a cartoon or Violet’s personal favorite: Japanese anime. Clients buy her’s because they are larger, and in Rettmer’s opinion, better than the factory-made versions available. She was inspired to create and sell these stuffed animals

WHAT

12 9

3 6

About 24 total hours are needed to complete, in this case spread out over one week

Junior operates business making custom ‘plushies’, mixing her talent for sewing with other obligations

at a Japanese anime convention last Spring. One of the speakers at a panel during the convention was talking about making plushies by hand. Rettmer decided to go home and try to make one herself. The finished product didn’t really live up to her standards. “At first, I was kind of discouraged, but then, when I looked at other people’s [that] had been making [plushies] for a while, mine was as good as theirs,” Rettmer said. “I was like ‘Oh, well in that case, I could pursue this as a career.’ Because a lot of people are paying a lot of money with [them].” So as time went on, Rettmer began practicing her craft more and more, learning about the lucrative aspects of the handmade creations. The low cost to make them as well as their high price tags were a signal to her that this was a genuine business idea. She began putting up her art on sites like Etsy and Deviantart, where individuals can sell hand-made products to consumers. Much of her business has slowed due the heavy workload of school. “The really difficult part is that you have deadlines for school and you don’t get forever to work on [plushies],” Rettmer said. “Either because sometimes people will be like ‘Hey are you done with it yet? And I’ll be like ‘No, I had a French test’, but I can’t tell them that.” When she’s not cranking out custom plushies or getting through her schoolwork, she’s with her friends enjoying anime. She attends conventions that celebrate this art and cartoon two to three times a year. Rettmer and her friends spend days preparing for them. She uses her skills at the sewing machine

IT TAKES:

Using the example of a plushie she made recently, Rettmer gives information on what usually goes into each one

Above: Rettmer’s work table, in the basement of her home and strewn with materials for her plushies Far left: Rettmer works on the seam on her current commission

Rettmer doesn’t usually have to purchase more than $30 worth of materials per plushie

to create hand-made costumes of her friends’ favorite anime characters for them to wear at conventions. Junior Kayla Schuman had her idea for a costume with the picture ready and everything. She just needed the finishing touch — a tail — to be added. It was the night before the Naga Convention, and she knew exactly who to ask for help. “[Rettmer] basically could figure out what exactly she needed to sew where,” Schuman said. “And she also talked about inseaming and just stuff I had no idea about and so it was amazing. We got it done in one night.” Rettmer’s skill in the sewing craft was a surprise to her mom, Maureen Kenny, because Kenny had tried to get Rettmer to share her interest in sewing, to no avail. “I wanted to give her sewing lessons immediately,” Kenny said. “I love sewing, I’ve sewn all my life. And so when she started I was really happy.” She is happy that Violet is expressing herself creatively. As an art major herself, she values creativity. Kenny’s paintings line the walls of their bright living room, varying in styles and sizes. She isn’t just excited that Violet is bonding with her over a mutual love for the needle and thread. Kenny sees this as an important opportunity to gain real-life skills before Violet goes off to college. Although Rettmer probably won’t pursue it as a career after college, she is saving the profit to help pay for higher education. “She has a purpose in life,” Kenny said. “She feels like she has some passions and goals and she’s pursuing those. So I absolutely applaud her for that.”

About 60 percent of each one is sewed by machine, since they can have more than 30 separate parts. She has to switch to handsewing when she gets ready to stuff

Each of the eyes are handembroidered, and usually take about two hours to make, though Rettmer says that she has gotten faster with practice.


spread.

spread.

STACY TEVIS

Senior channels anger after father’s death through tattoo art

INKED WRITTEN BY SOPHIE TULP

S

THE PROCESS

The process that Tevis goes through when designing a tattoo

Someone approaches Tevis with a tattoo request.

+

Tevis asks for details on her client’s intended design.

+

Tevis sketches the tattoo in her book and then double checks with the client.

+

Finally Tevis’ client takes her sketch to a tattoo artist who inks it onto their skin.

PHOTOS BY ANNIE SAVAGE

enior Stacy Tevis sits in Mr. Kelly’s seventh hour algebra class. Her hands shake. She’s pissed. “Slut,” the boy who sits next to her says. “Say it to me again,” Stacy threatens. She thinks of all the ways she could make him hurt, all the ways she could force him to take it back. She knows she’s capable; the holes in her walls at home prove it. She’s angry. She’s always angry. Stacy takes to her algebra assignment; above the linear equations she scrawls “help me” thirty times over in shaking handwriting. She prays that if she gets the words onto paper, she will feel some relief. And eventually she does. Stacy says her anger defines her. Struggling with her father’s death for seven years, Stacy has tried everything to turn her sadness and anger into something she can deal with: BMX biking, cage fighting, fixing up cars. Nothing ever satisfies the anger. The only thing that comes close is her art, specifically the tattoo designs she draws for people. The emotions she releases into her illustrations take the edge off the rage for a little while, easing her back from the addicting place she wants to escape from. That day in algebra class, she used her homework. But normally, her words and art find a home in the thick sketchbook that never leaves her side. Worn, wrinkled and battered over time, the black book is her most precious possession. The book is a product of three years of drawings and writing. It contains sketches for the tattoos she draws, and the poetry she writes for herself. The inside cover bears a simple dedication in cursive handwriting. “This book is dedicated to a very special person in my life: Edward Tevis —my loving father who I love and miss so much”. “My dad was my favorite person in the world,” Stacy said. “He passed away when I was 10. It drove me crazy. It drove me pretty much to the edge for a while. I started drawing stuff for him, but I also started cage fighting, doing BMX and skateboarding. Anything to get me out of the house.” * * * Stacy picks up her sketchbook. She flips through the pages until she finds the tattoo she designed for herself. When she turns 18, she will get her father’s name inked over her heart, commemorating him forever. Drawing it gave a temporary relief, but she hopes getting the tattoo will make the feeling more permanent. It’s an ambigram, a word that appears the same both right side up and upside down. To Stacy, it embodies the

idea that her father is always there for her. No matter what way you look at it. Drawing it helped. It relieved. It made her feel whole for a little while as she recalled the years before his death. She was a daddy’s girl. He would pick her up from school and take her for McDonald’s Happy Meals. On Thursdays, they would watch bikers congregate in groups and repair their bikes together next to the Papa Kenos. “He wasn’t the type of person to tell you he loved you,” Stacy said. “He was the kind of person to show you. He pretty much got me whatever I wanted, like those battery powered plastic cars you sit in and go around in. I had a Barbie jeep, a corvette and a motorcycle. It makes me want to cry thinking about how he went from this strongwilled person to this incapacitated vessel.” When Stacy was nine, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. In just a few months the disease would take his life. It took over his body. It spread to his brain and everywhere else. In his final days, his hospital bed sat in the room next to Stacy’s. He was always tired, almost unconscious. Stacy says watching him deteriorate drove her to the edge. It makes me feel like I’m actually worth somebody’s time

STACY TEVIS, 12 “Think of it this way,” Stacy said. “It’s like I had a field of flowers in my body, and every day one of those flowers just kind of died out from watching [him] shrivel and go from who [he] used to be to who [he] was in those last days.” The day he died was also the day he was the most alive. For one of the first times, he told her he loved her. He told her she was talented, that her future was full and promising. The next morning, her father’s bed was gone and the room was empty. A black car was parked outside. Stacy assumed her dad was at the hospital for another round of chemo. It took her two days to realize he was dead. Following his death, Stacy internalized her sadness. She showed grief by using her fists. She picked fights for years with anyone who was willing. Entering high school, she began cage fighting, channeling her anger and desire to fight into the sport. But after a severe knee injury that kept her from competing junior year, Stacy was lost. She felt trapped in her

life, unable to let out aggression. Her grades dropped. She fell out of shape. She was in constant pain from crippling migraines. Her hair fell out in clumps. “When [she got injured] she let it effect her health and her schoolwork; everything just tumbled on top of each other and she expressed it as anger,” Stacy’s best friend, senior Tiffany Freye said. “She says like ‘I give up at everything’—but you can tell if you know her that she doesn’t really want to give up.” Stacy began to draw daily. During class, at home, all night. With no other outlet to express herself, she filled almost a whole book with sketches and words—more than any other time in her life. Her friends saw her talent, peeking at the sketchbook when she labored over it in class. One friend, senior Cody Dugan, asked her to draw him a design for the tattoo he wanted to get. Stacy, desperate to find some way to occupy herself, agreed. “I saw Stacy’s drawing of the tattoo — this wolf that’s clawing through the skin —and it was really good,” Dugan said. “Stacy was the first friend I made at East, so I knew I really wanted her to be the one that drew it, especially because she’s so talented.” When she saw the image she drew displayed on Dugan’s forearm, Stacy danced. Jumping into a lunge position, she pumped her fists into the air. Her father’s dogtags from his time in the Marine Corps bounced against her chest on their silver chain. She smiled. “It makes me feel proud,” Stacy said. “It makes me feel like I’m actually worth somebody’s time, and worth somebody’s money. It’s awesome; they’re going to have this [tattoo] forever and they are coming to me to [draw] it.” After posting pictures of her tattoo designs on Facebook, the requests flowed in. Stacy started a log of all the requests she received on a piece of paper folded into the seam of her sketchbook. The log contains 13 people she’s drawn for, who have, or will have, her artwork inked onto their bodies permanently. Even with the therapeutic outlet her art provides, she constantly struggles to suppress her anger. She fears snapping. She fears hurting somebody she loves. Sometimes she can barely control it. The anger and the sadness come and go, but never really leave her alone. “It’s like an ocean [wave],” Stacy said. “It’s lapping up on you, it’s choking you and its just destroying the crap out of you. But in time eventually it will just be lapping at your feet. It’s still always there—but it gets a little better.”


spread.

spread.

STACY TEVIS

Senior channels anger after father’s death through tattoo art

INKED WRITTEN BY SOPHIE TULP

S

THE PROCESS

The process that Tevis goes through when designing a tattoo

Someone approaches Tevis with a tattoo request.

+

Tevis asks for details on her client’s intended design.

+

Tevis sketches the tattoo in her book and then double checks with the client.

+

Finally Tevis’ client takes her sketch to a tattoo artist who inks it onto their skin.

PHOTOS BY ANNIE SAVAGE

enior Stacy Tevis sits in Mr. Kelly’s seventh hour algebra class. Her hands shake. She’s pissed. “Slut,” the boy who sits next to her says. “Say it to me again,” Stacy threatens. She thinks of all the ways she could make him hurt, all the ways she could force him to take it back. She knows she’s capable; the holes in her walls at home prove it. She’s angry. She’s always angry. Stacy takes to her algebra assignment; above the linear equations she scrawls “help me” thirty times over in shaking handwriting. She prays that if she gets the words onto paper, she will feel some relief. And eventually she does. Stacy says her anger defines her. Struggling with her father’s death for seven years, Stacy has tried everything to turn her sadness and anger into something she can deal with: BMX biking, cage fighting, fixing up cars. Nothing ever satisfies the anger. The only thing that comes close is her art, specifically the tattoo designs she draws for people. The emotions she releases into her illustrations take the edge off the rage for a little while, easing her back from the addicting place she wants to escape from. That day in algebra class, she used her homework. But normally, her words and art find a home in the thick sketchbook that never leaves her side. Worn, wrinkled and battered over time, the black book is her most precious possession. The book is a product of three years of drawings and writing. It contains sketches for the tattoos she draws, and the poetry she writes for herself. The inside cover bears a simple dedication in cursive handwriting. “This book is dedicated to a very special person in my life: Edward Tevis —my loving father who I love and miss so much”. “My dad was my favorite person in the world,” Stacy said. “He passed away when I was 10. It drove me crazy. It drove me pretty much to the edge for a while. I started drawing stuff for him, but I also started cage fighting, doing BMX and skateboarding. Anything to get me out of the house.” * * * Stacy picks up her sketchbook. She flips through the pages until she finds the tattoo she designed for herself. When she turns 18, she will get her father’s name inked over her heart, commemorating him forever. Drawing it gave a temporary relief, but she hopes getting the tattoo will make the feeling more permanent. It’s an ambigram, a word that appears the same both right side up and upside down. To Stacy, it embodies the

idea that her father is always there for her. No matter what way you look at it. Drawing it helped. It relieved. It made her feel whole for a little while as she recalled the years before his death. She was a daddy’s girl. He would pick her up from school and take her for McDonald’s Happy Meals. On Thursdays, they would watch bikers congregate in groups and repair their bikes together next to the Papa Kenos. “He wasn’t the type of person to tell you he loved you,” Stacy said. “He was the kind of person to show you. He pretty much got me whatever I wanted, like those battery powered plastic cars you sit in and go around in. I had a Barbie jeep, a corvette and a motorcycle. It makes me want to cry thinking about how he went from this strongwilled person to this incapacitated vessel.” When Stacy was nine, her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. In just a few months the disease would take his life. It took over his body. It spread to his brain and everywhere else. In his final days, his hospital bed sat in the room next to Stacy’s. He was always tired, almost unconscious. Stacy says watching him deteriorate drove her to the edge. It makes me feel like I’m actually worth somebody’s time

STACY TEVIS, 12 “Think of it this way,” Stacy said. “It’s like I had a field of flowers in my body, and every day one of those flowers just kind of died out from watching [him] shrivel and go from who [he] used to be to who [he] was in those last days.” The day he died was also the day he was the most alive. For one of the first times, he told her he loved her. He told her she was talented, that her future was full and promising. The next morning, her father’s bed was gone and the room was empty. A black car was parked outside. Stacy assumed her dad was at the hospital for another round of chemo. It took her two days to realize he was dead. Following his death, Stacy internalized her sadness. She showed grief by using her fists. She picked fights for years with anyone who was willing. Entering high school, she began cage fighting, channeling her anger and desire to fight into the sport. But after a severe knee injury that kept her from competing junior year, Stacy was lost. She felt trapped in her

life, unable to let out aggression. Her grades dropped. She fell out of shape. She was in constant pain from crippling migraines. Her hair fell out in clumps. “When [she got injured] she let it effect her health and her schoolwork; everything just tumbled on top of each other and she expressed it as anger,” Stacy’s best friend, senior Tiffany Freye said. “She says like ‘I give up at everything’—but you can tell if you know her that she doesn’t really want to give up.” Stacy began to draw daily. During class, at home, all night. With no other outlet to express herself, she filled almost a whole book with sketches and words—more than any other time in her life. Her friends saw her talent, peeking at the sketchbook when she labored over it in class. One friend, senior Cody Dugan, asked her to draw him a design for the tattoo he wanted to get. Stacy, desperate to find some way to occupy herself, agreed. “I saw Stacy’s drawing of the tattoo — this wolf that’s clawing through the skin —and it was really good,” Dugan said. “Stacy was the first friend I made at East, so I knew I really wanted her to be the one that drew it, especially because she’s so talented.” When she saw the image she drew displayed on Dugan’s forearm, Stacy danced. Jumping into a lunge position, she pumped her fists into the air. Her father’s dogtags from his time in the Marine Corps bounced against her chest on their silver chain. She smiled. “It makes me feel proud,” Stacy said. “It makes me feel like I’m actually worth somebody’s time, and worth somebody’s money. It’s awesome; they’re going to have this [tattoo] forever and they are coming to me to [draw] it.” After posting pictures of her tattoo designs on Facebook, the requests flowed in. Stacy started a log of all the requests she received on a piece of paper folded into the seam of her sketchbook. The log contains 13 people she’s drawn for, who have, or will have, her artwork inked onto their bodies permanently. Even with the therapeutic outlet her art provides, she constantly struggles to suppress her anger. She fears snapping. She fears hurting somebody she loves. Sometimes she can barely control it. The anger and the sadness come and go, but never really leave her alone. “It’s like an ocean [wave],” Stacy said. “It’s lapping up on you, it’s choking you and its just destroying the crap out of you. But in time eventually it will just be lapping at your feet. It’s still always there—but it gets a little better.”


features.

Sophomore plays competitive Call of Duty: Black Ops II on an online forum, knowing that he has the opportunity make a carreer out of his hobby

WRITTEN BY PAULINE WERNER

A LOOK INSIDE MLG

85%

S

of people who watch MLG are male

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY HAILEY HUGHES AND MAXX LAMB

$160,000

60% of viewers are between the ages of 18 and 34

ophomore Micaiah Asriel has 30 seconds left in overtime. He’s hiding in a Panamanian slum, gripping an MSMC submachine gun, waiting for his teammates to do something. When all three of his teammates are killed, the camo-clad character sprints across the screen and grabs the other team’s flag with 20 seconds left. Asriel is hunched over his controller in his dark room on a bright June afternoon afternoon playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II. He’s in Xbox Live league play, engaged in mock firefights and strategy-filled missions, dodging shots and evading missiles in this high-stakes game of capture the flag. Back at his base with six seconds left, his teammates are dead again and his flag has been stolen by the other team, Asriel gets a triple kill and secures his team’s victory. Since that afternoon, Asriel has played in more than 15 online competitive Black Ops tournaments. He plays with his team, a group of four people that have never seen each other face-to-face. He’s part of a growing worldwide community of competitive and professional gaming, and knows that he could play this video game as a career. “I was really proud of that,” Asriel said. “[Winning that Capture the Flag game] is one of the things that got me into it and made me start playing competitively.” Asriel started playing Call of Duty in 2008, when the first Modern Warfare installment was released. He had a kill-death ratio of 5.88, meaning that, for each of his lives, he had almost six kills. According to Asriel, most players average a ratio of one. After playing only in Xbox for a couple years, he was introduced to gamebattles.com, a website hosted by Major League Gaming (MLG). It’s a forum where any user can make an ac-

700,000

worth of prize money was awarded at The Spring Championship in Anaheim, CA, June 8-10

statistics courtesy of www.majorleaguegaming.com

count for free to play different video games for cash prizes. “[Competitions] are usually relatively quick,” Asriel said. “Single elimination, kind of like March Madness in basketball.” Players compete in teams of four with one captain. They work out game strategies, have team practices and get used to eachothers’ playing style. Asriel, as captain, has the ability to choose who will be on his team. With the only other permanent member of his team, a 12-year-old boy in Michigan, Asriel has been been trying out different prospective teammates, looking for the best match. He looks for communication, teammwork and skill in potential teammates. He sets up team practices using Twitter. By tweeting @ MLGscrims and getting retweeted, he can connect with another team online to set up a game in Xbox Live. This lets his team work together on their gameplay and strategies. After a team is established, they sign up for a competition online and are placed into 16-team pools according to their win/loss record. In each game, two teams usually play three out of five rounds in one of three game modes: Search and Destroy, Hard Point and Capture the Flag. If they reach the top 32 out of the 120-plus teams, they go to a land tournament. At these centers, Xbox consoles are already set up and players just have to bring their controllers and headsets and play in one room. Winning enough high-level tournaments is how gamers become professionals. “The closest we got was the 50s,” Asriel said. “For an amateur team, that’s pretty good. And for a team that had only two months of practice prior.” MLG and GameBattles hosts competitions for players at all skill levels, from amateur to professional. At the professional level, MLG hosts championship tournaments for each season

gamebattles features 40 top titles

as well as smaller pro-level tournaments throughout the year. The winning teams will walk away with up to $50,000 to split amongst themselves. Championship tournaments operated by MLG draw thousands of spectators to watch the action on 100-foot screens stretches over players’ heads on a stage. They also live broadcast the game play online, complete with commentators and chat rooms where viewers can discuss what’s going on. Because young generations are growing up in such a technology-filled world, Asriel says that it’s only natural for them to try to find new things to do with it. Because of this, he says, competitive gaming is going to grow among younger kids. “So this is going to be something that they’re growing up seeing and say ‘This is a probably a good way to go’,” Asriel said. “Because you can make so much money off this if you’re good enough.” He compares gaming to chess. As opposed to being all about your kill/death ratio or from how far away you can get a headshot, he says that it’s more of a game of the mind. “It’s all about knowing how the game works and using your mind to figure out ways to beat your opponent,” Asriel said. He knows that, if he didn’t have school, football practice or his injury to worry about, he could devote enough time to gaming. Enough time to get to the next level and really compete. The professional gamers that he follows on Twitter have made their livings out of the competitive gaming circuit, and he thinks he could too. But he isn’t sure if he wants to pursue it that far. Until then, he will continue to play, and with more and more people that are going to be getting interested in competitive gaming. “I honestly just like having fun playing competitively,” he said. “I always try to win, but I have fun doing it.”


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a&e.

STARBUCK

vs.

DEVLIVERY MAN

A REVIEW C OM PA R IN G A N OR IGIN A L M OVIE TO TH E REMA KE

PHOTO COURTESY OF CARAMEL FILM

PHOTO COURTESY OF TOUCHSTONE PICTURES

WRITTEN BY GEORGIA DuBOIS “Delivery Man”: the plot is simple and comedic. David Wozniack, a now middleaged man has to face some financial choices he made in his early twenties when donating 693 times to a sperm collector under the alias of “Starbuck,” consequently resulting in 533 children coming into the world. And all this comes crashing down on him in the midst of a severe personal debt crisis. The movie is a haphazard heap of events that David encounters along his path to “finding order” in choosing to become a caretaker of sorts for the 142 now sueing the fertility clinic’s anononymity clause to know their father’s identity. Vince Vaughn as a straight-man interpretation of David is funny, if at times a little awkward and misplaced. The comedic timing is charming, yet a little backwards. The children are (variety), if not a little cliché. The movie feels tired, like it’s been done before. This is probably because “Delivery Man” is a remake of “Starbuck,” the 2011 French-Canadian film by the same director. It’s essentially a translated line-for-line, cookie-cutter reproduction from his job at a family meat company, to his initial sidescheme pot plants, to each of his children’s occupaitions. They even stay true to the name “Wozniack”, despite the protagonist taking on an Italian-American identity in the refurbished film. The similarities don’t stop at the plot line.The majority of the shot sequences even follow the same order as in the original, the same jokes pop up in the same spots. Maybe that’s one of “Delivery Man’s”

COMING SOON TO THEATERS problems: the jokes that were both funny and heartwarming in the original version are not executed the same way. Much of the comedic timing is a little off as the characters in the new version try to copy the acting styles of those in the former. It just doesn’t click when the character choices are plotted out rather than spontaneous and honest, throwing off the chemistry of what would potentially be a great cast, and in turn could have been a successful film. In truth, “Delivery Man” is by no means a “bad” movie. A good idea, in fact. Just one that should have just stopped at the original and called it a day. Often when directors rework pieces of film, what results is an updated, improved model that blooms after the test-run of the original. Plots thicken, characters develop further, and in comedies punch lines are knock outs. With a director reworking his own piece, I was excited to see what he would create after experiencing the reaction of the original firsthand. I went into the theater expecting a remodel, but instead sat through a reproduction. To say that Ken Scott’s 2013 revision didn’t have it’s improvements though wouldn’t give justice to his few but noticeable updates. For one, the film dropped from a more curse-laden “R” to a more family-friendly “PG-13”. The biggest cultural shift is the pasttime tranistion from soccer to basketball. Any sports-related scenes in the original (there are plenty) refer exclusively go soccer, and though the sport itself changes to

basketball, the theme of using one culturally cliched sport for any athletic references remains in the remake. Chris Pratt as Wozniack’s lawyer-byday-daddy-by-night friend, saves the comedy aspect of the film, and proves to be the funny man of the film - a role reserved in the former version for the protagonist, Wozniack. Wozniack’s portrayal transforms noticeably enough from a good-intending clutz to a sardonic slacker, though the audience can decide for themselves which interpretation they prefer. The stakes are a bit higher in “Delivery Man” - Wozniack personal debts stack up to a significant amount more, making his attempts at a for-cash counter-suit against the prosecution’s anonynimity case all that more necessitous. Vaughn’s Wozniack is also much less hesitant to assume his self-titled part of “gaurdian angel” to his mass of newly discovered kin than the original film. In all honesty, despite it’s dry moments and a few poorly-mislaid jokes, “Delivery Man” is a success in the sense that it fufill’s Hollywood’s aim: it presents a unique, humerous journey in a family-oriented format that comes together for a heartwarming ending even the grouchiest of movie-goers have to admire. That being said, my advice is to skip the remake - check out the original, which is convienently on Netflix.

“Starbuck” isn’t the only movie that has been remade. Check out some movies that have been remade or will be remade in the future. Both “Godzilla” movies (1998, 2004) were remakes of the original 1954 Japanese movie “Gojira”. “Groundhog Day” (1993), has been remade into the Italian movie “È già ieri” (2004). The Italian title translates to “Stork Day”. “Annie” is scheduled to be released in 2014. The original movie came out in 1982. The remake will be produced by Jay-Z and Will Smith. “All Quiet on the Western Front” is scheduled to be released in 2014. Daniel Radcliffe is rumored to be linked to the movie.

ART BY GRACE HEITMANN INFORMATION COURTESY OF IMDB.COM


a&e.

Oddly Delicious

Midtown coffee joint, Oddly Correct Coffee Bar, takes a unique and refreshing approach to a typical drink shop WRITTEN BY LEAH PACK

PHOTO BY KATIE LAMAR

Oddly Correct Coffee Bar is the perfect spot for any coffee connoisseur. Located on the corner of 39th and Main, the local joint’s eye-catching name and unique coffee attract an array of people. Unlike your typical coffee shop, Oddly Correct roasts their own coffee blends in house in search of the perfect cup of joe. Not only do they have one-of-a-kind coffee, but the service there is great too. This is the REAL deal. Walking into the coffee bar, I expected to find a menu filled with the typical sugary drinks that you would find at Starbucks or Lattéland. This was not the case. The Oddly Correct menu was short and sweet, featuring three different coffee options made in house and a short list of espressos. The person working the cashier was happy to explain the menu to me and let me know that they switch their roasts weekly. Something that sets this coffee apart from the rest is the fact that no cream or sugar is put in any of their blends. The roasters prefer to preserve the coffee’s natural flavors and show it off to their customers.

WinterPanel

the

Not knowing the flavor and caffeine overload I was getting myself into, I decided on a macchiato and a mini blueberry, raspberry and peach pie to bring home for later. I took my spot at one of the few tables and took in the atmosphere. The interior of the shop, made almost entirely of wood, gave the place a homey feel. There were regulars talking and laughing in one corner and a new customer learning that each cup of coffee was brewed to order. In another corner I saw two good friends catching up and later learned that one of them was the owner. My first impressions of the place were good because of the workers, and I hadn’t even taken my first sip. All of the employees were extremely friendly, helpful and showed their love and dedication to coffee. As silly as it sounds, it truly looked like the employee put everything he had into making my drink. When it was brought to my table, the presentation was simple and appealing. Sitting on a wood plank was my macchiato and a glass of sparkling water. I wasn’t quite sure why the sparkling water

What is your Favorite ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas special?

The one with the line, “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Oh yeah, “A Christmas Story”

How many snow days will we have this year?

was needed, but as soon as I tasted the macchiato I was overwhelmed by the strong taste. The sparkling water was a great compliment to the coffee drink and really mellowed out the overwhelming taste. Like I said earlier, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I am not a coffee expert or even a huge fan of coffee, so although the drink was strong for me, I could see how a regular coffee drinker would rave about this place. If I were to do it over again, I would have definitely asked the worker to suggest something for a novice coffee drinker. After spending some time there, the owner of the shop approached me to see how my first experience was. I haven’t been to many places that show the initiative and compassion to talk with their customers. That action alone would have made me like the place more. Oddly Correct Coffee Bar left me impressed with the passionate workers and bouncing off the wall from the caffeine.

What is your favorite winter accessory?

Probably four

My jacket, I guess

What is your favorite winter activity?

Definitely sledding

sophomore

MICHAEL KRASKE

junior

SOPHIE TULP

senior

MORGAN TWIBELL

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, the Jim Carrey version. I can quote basically the whole thing so it’s annoying for my family when we watch.

I can’t remember the name but they are trapped in a snow globe and it made me want to be trapped in a snow globe

I predict three

Hopefully a lot. I don’t care about them adding on days to the school year because I’m a senior and I graduate May 14 no matter what

Scarves

I like snowveralls.

I like all the fun secret gift exchanges and the atmosphere of holiday cheer you get

During the winter I like to snuggle up with my friends and spoon and watch movies


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photo essay.

PHOTO BY KATIE LAMAR

ABOVE: Molly Ross and friends chow down on pastries from Panera. “ I try to go to the breakfasts every Friday,” Ross said “They are really fun because you get to see classmates outside of class and work together and make something we all enjoy and spend time with each other.”

10.811

5

2-8-18-7

-3

B aking Ba d

Chemistry 2 AP and IB students cook breakfast for themselves every Friday morning. The event takes place in Chemistry 2 teacher’s rooms and use science equipment like hot plates to cook their food. Students and teachers bond over bacon before starting their day.

137.33

56 2-8-18-7

+2

PHOTO BY ANNIKA SINK

ABOVE: Junior Mattie German cooks bacon on a hot plate. “I really enjoy the food and being around my classmates,” German said “I think that they are gradually going to become much more elaborate and fun next semester.”

BELOW: Mr. Bardwell supervises the cooking in the science room. Students showed up around 6:30 to cook pancakes, bacon, and eggs. Students were also served juice and bagels.

PHOTO BY ANNIE SAVAGE


Issue 7