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FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010


By Jamie Lin Staff Writer

By Raymond Zhong Staff Writer Three years ago, they went to New York, two years ago, Alaska, and last year, Washington, DC. After winning the Sea Lion Bowl held in San Francisco this year, MSJ students

By Sargun Kaur News Editor

On March 27, Junior Richie Zeng pranced around in a skirt constructed out of playing cards at the Odyssey of the Mind. California State tournament. The skirt, along


It took them just five minutes to completely disassemble and reassemble a desktop computer. They raced through a set of questions based on A+ Certification tests for IT professionals and successful l y completed trouble-

See STRUT, NEWS Page 3


Social networking impacts MSJ By Ravneet Kaur, Joy Xu, & Jordan Zhang Staff Writers The present generation lives in an era of rapidly developing technology that changes what relationships once were by allowing a new form of communication through the internet. Social networking sites (SNS) highlight the massive reception of internet communication. These sites are becoming increasingly popular and garner billions of users from all over the world, opening a door to a new kind of social activity. Ever since

THE SIGNALS April 26 - May 7 •STAR Testing May 3-21 •AP Testing May 7 •Jazz Dance at the Fremont Marriott at 6 pm May 28 •Minimum Day Release at 11:55 am May 29 •Senior Ball at the SF Galleria at 7 pm May 31 •Memorial Day NO SCHOOL


their rise to popularity, there has been fierce debate about the publicity, time consumption, and anonymity of SNS. The Smoke Signal conducted an investigative report on Social Networking Sites and the resulting effects, benefits, and draw-

backs on the lives of MSJ students. In agreement with popular knowledge, at least fourth fifths of each grade at MSJ actively uses SNS, and 85 percent of those students use Facebook. According to Junior Christine Gan, “[SNS] is

like school without the academics.” Perhaps that is the main attraction of SNS- the community effect. Almost every survey from student and teacher alike listed instantaneous connection from user to user as the main benefit. Senior Sarah

By Gurleen Chadha Staff Writer

brought them together in the chaos of raising two children, working two jobs, and generally trying to maintain order. After another couple reveals that they are going to get

a divorce, both Phil and Claire take a closer look at their own marriage and decide to take a more spontaneous approach to their usual (and highly predictable) date night.


Thomsen said, “SNS allow easy and efficient ways to communicate with friends and peers. They are more convenient and versatile than an email, phone call, or text message.” People who do not use SNS generally believe that they consume too much time. However, students realize that SNS have a greater impact on their lives than just time management. While English Teacher John Boegman had many positive things to say about SNS, he also brought up concerns regarding the negative effects of social networking on the users on a level of personal development, saying, “I also won-


A ‘Date Night’ to Remember

Date Night, the latest romantic comedy to hit theaters, takes the stars of two of the most popular comedies on TV, puts them in a relatable predicament, and then tosses the clichéd set up into a joyride worthy of a hyperactive ten-year-old’s attention span. Tina Fey and Steve Carell bring their acting chops to the personas of Claire and Phil Foster, a relatively young, suburban couple who have lost the original spark that

The plot begins with a decision to abandon the couple’s usual restaurant for the high-end Claw (it’s so hot that the Maitre D’ answers the phone with, “This is Claw, you’re welcome”). Unfortunately, the night’s spontaneity means that the Fosters haven’t made a reservation. When Phil, in a charming effort to keep the night’s mood going, steals the reservation of the absent Triplehorns, he and Claire


2 News


News in Brief Space satellites give tickets The United Kingdom is testing the use of satellites in an effort to enforce speed limits. Satellites will work in tandem with two “Speedspike” points on the ground to monitor the cars’ average speed between points and if a car is monitored to be traveling at high speed, the satellite will be able to take a picture of the license plate. The system works even when it is cloudy or dark. If this trial is successful, the system will be used to monitor traffic around schools, urban roads, and more highways.


UK drivers better stay under the speed limit, because the traffic authorities are watching from outer space.

Library of Congress tracking Twitter Be careful what you Tweet, because the Library of Congress has begun to save Twitter content for posterity. Twitter will add to over 100 terabytes of digital media that is already saved as part of the “Web Capture” program. Library of Congress officials believe that the Twitter feed is becoming a part of history, as the dissidents in Iraq used it to give the world updates on election protests in June of 2009. Fittingly, the Library announced its plans on their Twitter feed, username: librarycongress.


The US Library of Congress plans to digitally archive all of the billions of messages known as “tweets” sent on Twitter since its launch four years ago.

iPhone prototype found in bar A prototype of Apple’s fourthgeneration iPhone was found in a bar and subsequently sold to Internet news site Gizmodo. Gray Powell, the Apple field tester who originally had the iPhone, was celebrating his birthday when he left the iPhone on a bar stool. It was later found by a fellow bar-goer, who recognized it and sold it to Gizmodo for $5000. Gizmodo took apart the iPhone to verify its authenticity but was asked to return the prototype to Apple.

The Smoke Signal

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES | SNS central to MSJ studentcontinued life from page 1



dents report wasting valuable time on SNS instead of finishing school work. Students often go online to do research for assignments but end up being distracted by the latest status update or Tumblr posts. Senior Kimberlee Hu shares this experience, “I’m on SNS for however many hours I’m on the computer ‘doing homework’.” In fact,

be a distraction, but anything can be a distraction if you are avoiding work!” said History Teacher Nancy Benton. For example, the events application on Facebook has made it significantly easier to mass communicate with the student body and receive updates instantaneously. Social Networking has become a staple in our generation and has

der if the development of interpersonal skills is impacted negatively.” Freshman Angie Wang agreed saying, “[Using SNS] is a wimpy way of apologizing or breaking up with someone. People say you can use it to talk to friends, but why not just do it in person, or on the phone?” SNS users often feel that in order to be well established, they must be connected to everyone else, even if there is little or no real life contact. Some students feel this makes relationships a lot less personal as relationships are built solely online. To others, just the opposite is true. “If you’re shy, [SNS] can build your confidence.” said Freshman Noa Kretchmer. Of all students surveyed, 67 percent stated that SNS can act as icebreakers and help build relationships that would otherwise not happen. Students, such as Freshman Ivy Kuo, also view SNS as “a chance to meet many interesting people outside of your town and also a great way to stay in touch with old friends.” Unfortunately, there is no way to verify the identity of anybody who you interact with on SNS. The internet becomes a place where people can settle personal grudges behind a mask of anonymity with slanderous or degrading messages, known as “cyber bullying”. At MSJ, 47 percent of students have heard of or even experienced incidents of cyber bullying. By joining SNS, users are instantly vulnerable to attacks through the internet. Formspring, where people who are not subscribed can ask personal questions anonymously, is a site that students have reported the most issues with. Freshman Tamara Aboumrad said, “ many people write nasty stuff on Formspring, which is

why I deleted mine.” While some students like Aboumrad are able to quickly rid themselves of negative influences, many are unable to. In regards to Formspring, one anonymous student commented, “It’s addicting, it’s like a drug. Once you start you can’t stop to do homework. You’ll get hurt by what other people say, but you still go on it.”

The addicting factor of SNS has its consequences, such as procrastination and lack of sleep. High school students are already known for irregular sleeping patterns and failing to receive the suggested amount of nine hours of sleep. Only four percent of MSJ students report receiving at least nine hours of sleep per night. The lack of sleep is usually attributed to excessive homework and extracurricular activities, which forces students to cut sleep to manage the work load. However, the majority of MSJ stu-

more than one-fifth of the students surveyed reported using three or more SNS, which compounds time management problems. About 43 percent of students agree that SNS negatively affect productivity and distract them from their work. SNS are beneficial in that they provide a networking system that allows constant updates on community events and instant results for questions regarding homework. “I find Social Networking Sites very convenient for keeping in touch and conveying information. It can

resulted in a lifestyle where communication is more convenient, but one which comes with consequences. MSJ students may overestimate their ability to multitask and as a result, lose sleep and valuable time. Also at times, the anonymity online may cause concerns for “cyber bullying”. On the other hand, the community aspect allows for users to build upon relationships and use the sites to their advantage. SNS continue to increase in popularity and transform communication at MSJ and throughout the world. ▪

By Hannie Dong Staff Writer

said Chang. “The point of the mural is to make people see that there is still hope for our earth.” Christensen plans to have her art students start painting the mural in May, when the weather clears up and wishes to have it finished before the school year ends. The mural, which measures up to sixand-a-half feet by 12 feet, will be painted by the old woodshop near E-7. Only eight people from Art 2 and 3 will comprise the team of students working on the mural. The chosen design has already been transferred to a grid , and the team is preparing to transfer Chang’s idea from from paper to the wall. Despite the poor economy and

budget cuts, there are enough resources to paint the mural due to generous donations from parents. “I appreciate the parents who support the arts, and their donations help a

great deal at Mission,” Christensen said. “Despite the difficulties the economy presents, we still have a strong program, and I’m proud of the students’ wonderful work.” ▪


MSJ students begin new mural project

Art 2 and 3 students will be painting a mural, based on the theme of environment, to represent the different aspects of MSJ and to beautify the school campus. Senior Catherine Chang drew the winning design for the new mural. On one side of the drawing, there is a factory spewing smoke and lava to represent the detrimental effect humans have had on the earth. On the other side, there are butterflies, flowers, etc. to represent nature. “The mural is supposed to contrast the beauty of nature and the destruction of nature by humans,”

Senior Catherine Chang’s winning design.

The lost iPhone which was camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS, was disassembled by Gizmodo.

Friday, April 30, 2010


CORRECTIONS • On page 1, the Charity Fashion Show pictures should be credited to Staff Writer Mary Lan. • On page 19, Adriana Aboumrad’s name was misspelled. • On page 20, the photos should be courtesy Sneha Jayaprakash.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal


SEA LION BOWL | Team places third in nationals continued from page 1

News 3

headed off to Florida to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals where they placed 3rd in the nation. This year’s team consisted of Captain Junior Jared Shen, Freshmen Wesley Chou and Audrey Huang, and Seniors Joy Chen and Youngjun Na, two members that placed second at nationals two years ago. The competition was divided into rounds played between teams of five, each consisting of two sets of buzzer-beater questions and twos Team Challenge Questions (TCQ), case

studies on a topic like the feeding practices of lugworms or applications of oceanographic technology. According to Chen, the TCQ “makes the competition a lot more team-based compared to quiz bowl and science bowl.” The team members worked together to complete a worksheet, which determined their score on the TCQ. Because few schools in the Bay Area have oceanography classes, many teams were illprepared to take on MSJ. “In our area, the

competition isn’t that tight,” Chen explained. “[Our main competitor] Albany was unlucky and really suffered. They were eliminated before we got to them.” Shen was on last year’s Ocean Science Bowl B team, which edged out A team to go on to place 4th at the 2009 nationals in Washington, DC. This year, though, there was no MSJ B team. “We organized one with all the members but found out they couldn’t join,” Shen said. “[The coordinator] said that to attract more diverse teams, [there wasn’t]

enough room for a B team. Shen attributed the team’s success to researching topics and writing questions to practice with. “All of us help ourselves. Other schools’ teams have coaches who write questions to help them study. It’s our own dedication that helps us succeed,” he said. Senior Joy Chen mentioned the importance of teaching underclassmen. “We have two freshman and we want to keep recruiting more. They have a lot going and we’re looking forward to seeing them getting better.” ▪

with armor consisting of pipettes borrowed from Science Teacher Karrie Ware, were part of his costume for his team’s skit. His team, along with three others, competed at the state tournament after advancing from the Silicon Valley Regionals, and three teams will go on to represent California at the 31st Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Odyssey of the Mind is an international program that promotes creative problem solving in students. The teams must solve one or more long-term problems but must also solve

a spontaneous problem for each long-term they do. The top two finishers then proceed to the next level of competition. Through creative skits, the teams solved their given problem. One team portrayed Kanye West as President and sang a somber cover of “Barbie Girl”. Another team had a jellyfish versus clownfish battle and utilized aircrafts like an “urchin catapult” they had built themselves. Afterwards, three teams emerged with spots at Worlds. One team, comprised of Juniors Erik Chen, Eugenia Chung, Ar-

thur Jeng, Aileen Lu, Christina Shih, Audrey Wu, and Richie Zeng, achieved a rare feat by attaining a Worlds spots with both of thier problems, winning 2nd in Discovered Treasures and 1st in Column Structure. For many of the participants, this is not their first time to Worlds, and their veteran experience comes in handy at competition. Odyssey of the Mind Club President Junior Richard Lu has been involved in the program since sixth grade and the structure problem since seventh grade. Odyssey of the Mind

adviser, Math Teacher Charlie Brucker has great faith in the teams, noting that “Their presentation and choreography and creativeness is exceptional,” and his only concern is if “their tower [can] hold the weight.” The advancing teams will be going to Michigan State University with Mr. Brucker to compete in Worlds from May 26 – May 29. You can learn more about Odyssey of the Mind at its official website, www.odysseyofthemind. com. ▪

shooting a Packet Tracer ITE, or in plain English, a computer network simulation. On April 4, 2010, Senior Raymond Zhong and Juniors Roger Chen and Vaishaal Shankar won 5th place at the StRUT (Students Recycling Used Technology) tech competition sponsored by Ohlone College’s Regional Cisco Networking Academy. The MSJ team, Team Rocket, beat out top-ranked teams in the Quiz Bowl tournament that followed, winning first place and an enterprise laser printer for MSJ. The competition was divided into three categories: a computer build and presentation, a written test, and a troubleshooting

exercise. These determined the overall standing of the teams before going into the second portion of the competition, the Quiz Bowl. Here, the teams faced buzzer-based questions that were projected onto a screen, challenging the players’ instinct and tech know-how. “The teams were seeded—power-protected—based on standings from the three sections played out previously. So we had to defeat several teams before facing Irvington in the semifinals and American in the finals, and we ended up first,” said Zhong. “Although this was the first time that the school had participated in the competition, Team Rocket held its own against some of

the top performers of previous competitions, such as Irvington High School and American High School,” said Chen. “We were really surprised by our performance; the majority of the schools there had Cisco Academy classes on campus where students could learn the material.” Cisco Networking Academy is a global education initiative that aims to provide technical support for school computer networks, while giving students vocational training. Local teachers created StRUT, a separate organization, to organize students to refurbish and set up donated computer equipment at local schools. In addition to their computer

recycling efforts, StRUT coordinators organize the annual tech competition, usually open only to schools with computer technology programs. “This year, they made an exception for us,” said Shankar. “I think that other schools were pretty surprised at our performance. Based on our experience, however, we will be trying to bring Cisco Academy to our school in the coming years.” ▪

ODYSSEY | Students prove creative thinking in Worlds continued from page 1

STRUT | MSJ stomps on veteran competitors continued from page 1

We don’t often hear about a magnitude 7 or higher earthquake. In fact, only about 15 occur each year around the world. But in the past four months, there have been five earthquakes of this magnitude or greater. In the past few weeks, California has been rattled by 16 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 and above. This is strong enough to topple over decorative items, books, and more. Could these recent earthquakes signify the onset of “the big one?” A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Baja California, Mexico, on April 4. The epicenter was located 40 miles south of the US border, at the plate boundary between the North American and Pacific plates, which are the same two plates on which the HaywardRodgers Creek Fault lies. This earthquake was felt as far north as Los Angeles and had over 1,000 aftershocks. The earthquake was strong enough to temporarily shut down Disneyland. No rides were damaged, but the shaking left tourists flustered and confused. This is the largest earthquake to strike the area since 1892. Since 1988, geologists have been predicting an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or above

For upcoming coverage of MSJ student teams at the Santa Clara University Math Competition and Economic Challenge, visit


in the Bay Area within the next 50 years. The Hayward-Rodgers Creek fault has a 31 percent probability of a major quake, the highest of all faults in the Bay Area. The Hayward Fault lies close to MSJ; it runs along Mission Blvd. The last damaging earthquake along this fault was in 1868. The 140 years since then is the same length of time as the past five earthquakes along this fault. For more information see “MSJ Ready to Take on a Rumble” in the November Issue. Earthquakes and seismic trends tend to go in cycles, from more activity to less activity and so on. This is thought to be the cascade effect”where one quake changes the stresses on another. This could mean pressure is being added or removed to the nearby faults. The recent earthquakes don’t necessarily mean “the big one” is on the way, but they could

mean that California is entering a period of greater activity. If “the big one” on the Hayward Fault does occur, the people of Fremont would be greatly impacted. Water would be cut off for over 2.4 million people around the Bay Area. MSJ does have a safety plan in place. This involves clearly mapped evacuation routes, plentiful supplies, fire extinguishers, and first-aid backpacks. There are ten teachers on campus who are Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT trained. These teachers know primary first aid as well as search and rescue. “Having this knowledge will be really helpful in a time of need,” says Librarian Nancy Kent-Berge, “If all the teachers were CERT trained, our safety in case of an earthquake would be much better.” Schoolwide earthquake simulations are set to take

place within the next few months. While MSJ may not have state-of-the-art buildings, they were evaluated and upgraded this past summer. Some of the recent seismic retrofitting includes new plywood, bracing, and window openings. Furthermore, while many MSJ students worry about the safety of the portables in the P- and A-wings, they are the safest of all buildings on campus. The portables are built using moment-frame metal, which means that the whole building is more-or-less a metal box. In the case of an earthquake, the whole building will sway but no part of it will actually fall. Even so, MSJ is not trembling at the threat of an earthquake. “It’s just not that constant fear. That isn’t to say I don’t care when it happens, but I’m feeling much better now that I’m working with the parent organizations, and we are good with supplies,” says Assistant Principal Diana Brumbaugh. “We just all need to stay calm and do the best we can.”▪

4 News


The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

Crossing guard program implemented at MSJ I think the new patrol “ It’s very successful. The system actually makes the “ pedestrians are safer and traffic go slower, but at the By Gurleen Chadha & Megan McLaughlin Staff Writers

same time, it’s a lot safer for students when they cross the streets. Since there are a lot of students driving in and out of the parking lots, it make it more difficult to come in and get out. -FRESHMAN


For [the police] to know “there is going to be greater safety on the streets around the school is great.


On Monday, April 19, the Safety Patrol’s plan to create “a safer Mission community” came to fruition. A team of parent volunteers, led by Traffic Safety Committee Chairman Andrew Law, closed off the horseshoe and acted as crossing guards to shepherd pedestrians across Palm Avenue. Using the crosswalk in front of the horseshoe and another “cone” crosswalk, created to help students cross safely, the Crossing Guards also regulated traffic and handed out treats to drivers “caught” cooperating with the new regulations. All of the Crossing Guards were equipped with notebooks and pencils to write down the license plate number of any uncooperative driver. Despite the increased safety, reactions to the new program were mixed. Junior Andrew Kim, who drives to school, does not view the changes as helpful. “This morning it took me 10 more minutes to get into the parking lot, and I was late for class.” Senior Deepak Lingam disagrees, “It felt much safer than [when] cars [were] trying to run us over.” The majority of MSJ administrators that the Smoke Signal talked to also seemed pleased with the program: on the first day of its implementation, Assistant Principal Diana

A police officer monitors traffic with Principal Sandra Prarie.

Brumbaugh took photos because she was so impressed with how well the traffic was flowing. The Fremont Police Department (FPD) has also been highly appreciative of the new program, and their increased presence on campus was intended as a show of support for the program. In the words of Principal Sandra Prairie, “They are 100 percent behind this [because] safety is our number one concern.” Thanks to the police involvement, the school administration noticed a small phrase in the penal code that requires the program to be approved by certain criteria that are not specified in the code. To rectify this issue, the Traffic Committee has suspended the Safety Patrol and sent a request to define the criteria. The Traffic Committee cannot move forward until the city government responds. Prairie, alluding to a point made by Sergeant Sean Washington of the FPD, said “When you know there is a possibility that you are not strictly adhering to the law, you do not bend it to suit your purposes.” The school administration is hoping to resolve the issue quickly, and hopes the Safety Patrol will return as soon as possible. In the future, the Traffic Committee hopes to get more parent volunteers, add an afternoon patrol, and extend their patrol area. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer for the Safety Patrol, please contact Andrew Law at ▪

the traffic flow is much better. I think we have come to our short term goals in the [Traffic] Committee.


are defi“nitelyThenotconditions faster or more ef-

ficient, but they definitely make conditions safer for kids walking to school and lessen the amount of traffic violations.



Students follow the crossing guard before school.

A parent volunteer stops traffic flow for walking students.

Friday, April 30, 2010


The Smoke Signal

Smoke Signal

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 45, No. 8 | April 30, 2010

Just B

By Rebecca Gao

41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 (510) 657-3600


News Megan Bernstein, Sargunjot Kaur Opinion Rebecca Gao, Jane Wang Feature Alissa Gwynn, Sonya John Centerspread Karen Lin, Tina Tseng A&E Niku Jafarnia, Cynthia Kang Sports Joseph Teng, Anthony Wu Graphics Elisa Ting, Albert Yuan Web Christine Cheng, Tanu Patel Tech Roger Chen, Raymond Zhong Ads Gurleen Chadha, Jamie Lin Business Henna Jethani Circulation Anastassia Tselikova Events Michelle Chu, Hannie Dong with Michael Feuerman

Writers & Photographers Rishi Das,

Chelsea Dass, Sonia Dhawan, Rebecca Dutta, Matt Farberov, Amisha Gandhi, Matthew Gosen, Sloka Gundala, Grace Han, Arthur Jeng, Ravneet Kaur, Mary Lan, Sarah Li, Aileen Lu, Megan McLaughlin, Mekala Neelakantan, Amit Patankar, Diya Roy, Justin Sha, Ginger Werner, Audrey Wu, Joy Xu, Vishal Yadav, Stephenie Yuan, Cassie Zhang, Jordan Zhang

Adviser Sandra Cohen Send letters to the editor to opinion@the Letters under 300 words may be considered for publication and must include a full name and school affiliation. The Smoke Signal reserves the right to edit for clarity and length.

To advertise in the Smoke Signal, e-mail Advertising that is included on the pages of, or carried within, the Smoke Signal, is paid advertising, and as such is independent of the news and feature content.

The Smoke Signal’s right to freedom of speech and press is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.


Welcome to My World

Editors-in-Chief Hannah Scobel, Jerry

Opinion Editor

Call me a prude, but I’d rather not have someone spying on me at home – especially not my teachers. The Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania is being sued for allegedly spying on students at home via webcams on school-issued laptops. Administrators were reportedly enjoying their newfound pastime, commenting that it’s “like a mini soap opera.” Employers and companies also actively engage in surreptitious data-gathering, eavesdropping on phone calls and tracking employees via GPS. Stores post unwarranted video surveillance in the name of customer service; public streets are often closely monitored with facerecognition technology. Google archives people’s searches, and our online “clicktrails” serve as digital bread crumbs for complete strangers. Offer your phone number or home address to sites like Amazon, and your personal data are bought and sold as commodities to the highest bidder. Whatever happened to the “right to be left alone?” Admittedly, there are benefits to the privacy exchange: records of consumer preferences power search-engine-driven advertising and tailored information, and we gain access to personalized medical records, computerized banking, and increased national security. And I’m fond of my Netflix picks and Amazon recommendations. But with convenience comes a price. Identity theft and online witch-hunts have never been merely

abstract concepts. People surrender personal information such as Social Security numbers for something as trivial as a 15-percent-off coupon for ice cream. Legions of Chinese netizens voluntarily form a “Human Flesh Search Engine” in a vigilante kangaroo court to punish anyone from adulterers to political activists, suggesting that real-life privacy and anonymity need moratoriums. Our lack of privacy stems from a new willingness to share the minutiae of our lives with just about anyone. Ate a cream cheese bagel for breakfast this morning? Tweet it. Bought lingerie at Victoria’s Secret? Blippy will flourish your credit card purchases to the world. What’s next? Strewing our genetic information across the datasphere? Our Google Generation sinks into disturbing complacency - and even comfort - with creeping encroachment on privacy. But this should come as no surprise. From 24/7 monitoring of reality show contestants to marital spats over Facebook, bloggers baring their souls in tell-all memoirs, and celebrities photographed even walking out of a McDonald’s bathroom, it seems as though nothing is safe from the public eye. Exhibitionism has never been as acceptable - or as fashionable. So who ultimately knows about us, and how much do they know? A safe assumption may now be that anyone can know everything, for in the age of social-networking and global “sharing,” there’s no such thing as TMI. ▪ Send letters to the editor to

MSJ Traffic Improvements By Roger Chen Staff Writer

On April 19, new rules aimed to “improve the safety and flow of pedestrian and automotive traffic” were implemented by the Traffic Safety Committee. (See “Crossing Guard” News pg 4.) The changes included the closure of several areas for drop-off and the placement of safety guards to direct traffic. This dedicated group of parents has put in a tremendous amount of effort in an attempt to resolve traffic problems at MSJ, as driving the last quarter-mile stretch on Mission Blvd. has always been slower than walking the same distance. Two days into the program, many students and parents view it as a success. As a recent post from a parent on the school network “msjtalk” stated, “I witnessed a tremendous improvement where pedestrians and cars were moving in an orderly fashion.” Although the program enjoyed an early success, it was put on hold for an indefinite length of time as the Police Department tries to get feedback from the state level regarding school safety policies. In light of its recent cancellation, we should take the time to consider whether the program will create traffic issues in areas around MSJ and whether it can be maintained. These rules may end up moving problems elsewhere rather than resolving them. By closing off certain areas for drop-off, such as the horseshoe, the traffic safety program inadvertently increases congestion in other areas adjacent to the school, such as Mission Creek Dr. and Camino Santa Barbara. Residents in these areas are sure to notice

increased traffic bottlenecks on their street, and dropping kids off in those areas will be a hassle as well. In addition, confusion created by the safety program may end up exacerbating the traffic problem. As Junior Aileen Ren said, “More safety programs do not always result in a better traffic situation...I thought it got worse because it meant more stopping and going, rather than a relatively smooth albeit slow path to the parking lot.” Another question is how can this program be sustained? Students graduate, and when they leave, the support of their parents leaves as well. Finding parent volunteers will be difficult, as two mornings a week for forty minutes a morning is a serious commitment. A crucial way to resolve traffic problems around MSJ during the morning rush would be to force greater compliance with the rules: no left-turn and U-turn violations or haphazard cuts through thick traffic. This would allow for pass-through lanes on Palm and redirect a substantial amount of traffic. In addition, MSJ could adopt a program where students earn service learning hours for volunteering as crossing guards, similar to elementary school safety patrol programs. This could bring in a stream of volunteers. The traffic program represents an enormous step forward, not only in safety but also in parent-administration communication, where a program conceptualized by parents is actually being implemented as school policy. Unless this program is continually well-received by both parents and students, however, the traffic safety program will have a hard time correcting a dangerous and frustrating situation. ▪ image courtesy

Opinion 5


Money Matters By Jane Wang Opinion Editor

Hypocrisy in a character can be one of the best sources of humor in the world of television. It becomes a wishing well of irony, sarcasm, occasionally even satire. But translate that same moral inconsistency into the real world, and the situation isn’t so facetious anymore. We don’t need to look far to find traces of hypocrisy within our society. In the Bay Area’s liberal atmosphere, most of our families stood by Obama’s economic stimulus, wholeheartedly supported the passage of the healthcare bill – that is, until it came time to take out the checkbooks. We like the idea of developing new energy alternatives but flinch when gas prices top $3.00. For all our bluster, we fail to follow through with actions. In applying for college financial aid, students across the nation deliberately falsified family income levels in an attempt to receive more aid than they deserved. Oftentimes these claims are difficult to track and for the most part, are fairly successful in securing a sizeable sum of money, whereas many students who reported their family’s actual earnings received little to no aid. Seems like a classic case of nice guys finishing last. Rule abiders are left biting the dust, and the only real way to get ahead is to cheat the system. Yet in many capacities, we know this not to be the case. Lawful individuals aren’t so terrified of overstepping authority as content with the knowledge that they could but choose not to. Our integrity is

what defines our sense of self, and once we cross that line, it becomes impossible to respect ourselves. By now, you may have already painted a picture of some greasyhaired, soon-to-be criminal in your mind’s eye, but rest assured that these individuals are perfectly friendly people in reality, and I believe that fundamentally, these people are not so much ill-intentioned as unaware of the far-reaching consequences. For many of us, a small slip here or a sly transaction there adds up to next to nothing. But what we don’t realize (or what we choose to disregard) is that every penny we pocket in our illicit dealings is a penny stolen from someone who might genuinely need the money. A family friend of mine, also a graduating senior, received over $50,000 in aid and grants – not because he cheated on his FAFSA, but because his education couldn’t have continued otherwise. His father was out of a job for several months, and his mother, after suffering through prolonged terminal cancer, recently passed away, leaving his family swamped in medical bills. Imagine denying him aid because you lied on your application. We should live up to our ideals as best as we can. Donate to charity without feeling bad about losing money; be honest so that those truly in need receive what they deserve. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s the right thing to do, and you’ll feel better about your decision in the long run. ▪ Send letters to the editor to

8 Feature


Road trip gone wrong By Rebecca Dutta Staff Writer

Dear Diary, April 2, 2010 9:30 am I’m starting on my first college road trip today! Sure, it’s not time to start worrying about applications just yet, but I’m really excited to visit SoCal and have a taste of that crazy college experience. Four colleges in five days! It’s too bad I have to lug around my AP books. Way to put a damper on things, Collegeboard.

12:30 pm It’s been three hours since we started, and I am getting so impatient. Well, my parents sure seem to be enjoying the ride. Every few seconds, my dad screams, “Look, cows!” Then my mom hurriedly takes out the camera. You’d think neither of them had seen a cow in their life. Dear Diary, April 3, 2010 4:30 pm You won’t believe what happened to me at UCLA today. We were on our tour around the campus and somewhere along the way, my iPod mistakenly dropped out of my purse. After a while, I heard someone yelling to us. When I turned around, I saw the most amazingly cute boy running towards us, and in his hands iPod! MY iPod! He asked if the iPod belonged to anyone, and when I stepped up, he actually smiled! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but oh my gosh. He was the nicest, cutest boy I’ve ever seen. I bet SoCal is full of guys like him. Yup, I’ve made up my mind; I’m definitely going to SoCal for college next year. Dear Diary, April 4, 2010 8:30 am Did you know that in SoCal some of the highway exits are on the left instead

of on the right? Well, we apparently don’t because we’ve already missed about five of them, and the GPS system doesn’t seem to be helping. It just blares, “Recalculating” every few moments. My dad swears that he’ll chuck it out the window any minute. Wait… is that a police car I hear?! No, it’s an ambulance. Oh wait, it is a police car. Uh oh…

8:50 am So apparently we were driving too slowly on the interstate, but when the police officer saw my mom hunched over the enormous map of San Diego and my dad looking like he was about to murder the GPS system, he started laughing! At least we didn’t have to pay a ticket.

The Smoke Signal

Student Spotlight

Melissa Brandle By Michelle Chu Staff Writer

Melissa Brandle, MSJ’s resident baton twirler, recently was selected to represent the USA at the World Baton Twirling Championships in Bergen, Norway this August. Only a single Jr. Pair and single Team entry per country is eligible for competition at Worlds, so the Smoke Signal caught up with her to talk about this amazing opportunity.

Smoke Signal: When did you start baton twirling and how were you introduced to it? Melissa Brandle: I started baton twirling way back when I was in kindergarten. A couple of kids came to our school and did a baton twirling demonstration for my class. After, they handed out lesson coupons to try it out. I took one, and after my first lesson, I was hooked! I wanted to twirl for the rest of my life.

Dear Diary, April 4, 2010 8:00 pm I loved UCSD. It’s right next to the beach! And our tour guide assured us that there are plenty of surfer dudes. Of course, my dad wasn’t too impressed by that, and he began a very long list of questions about safety regulations. I’m sure I saw our tour guide smirking as I sneakily vanished into the crowd. Sometimes dads can make the most exciting days turn into embarrassing nightmares. Dear Diary, April 5, 2010 8:20 am It’s the last day on our trip, and I’m not thrilled to be going back to high school. Of course, now I’m also a little scared about going to college. I heard some classes only have two tests! And some classes have more than 400 students... that’s like… ten times the size of my largest class. Oh boy, here comes the stress. Come to think of it, I think I’ll just enjoy my last year of high school. ▪

Friday, April 30, 2010

courtesy melissa brandle

SS: What do you like about baton twirling? MB: I love everything about it. But my favorite parts would have to be learning the fun choreography to a new routine, learning a new technique and catching a new trick, and that amazing, irreplaceable feeling I get when I do a great routine at a competition. SS: Can you explain in detail the USTA tournament and what you had to do to qualify for it?

MB: The US World Team Trials took place in Clarksville, TN on March 26-27, 2010. It’s very similar to the Olympic Trials that select the Olympic athletes. This competition selects the athletes for Team USA who represent our country at the 2010 Baton Twirling World Championship to be held in Bergen, Norway this August. It is a very long, [multi]-year process to even get to go to the US Trials. You have to prequalify like you would in the “Belt” system in karate. Only athletes in the top level, Elite, can go. At Trials, the top twirlers for each event get selected to participate at the World Championships. I won two gold medals in the Junior Pairs and Team events, which means that I got selected to go to Worlds! When I heard my name at the Awards Ceremony and it was announced that I had gotten 1st place in both events, I hugged my pair partner and teammates super tight and immediately broke down crying. I had never been so proud of myself in my life. I’ve been preparing for this moment for 5 years, and all the hard work and intense practices have finally paid off.

SS: How much time do you spend a week practicing baton twirling and where do you learn it? MB: I try to practice baton twirling an hour every day and at least 3 or 4 hours on the weekends. Once or twice a month, I travel to Sacramento, Ohio, or Florida to practice with my coaches and team, Encore. We practice for the entire weekend, starting at 7 or 8 in the morning and twirling into the night. It usually amounts to being 16-20 hours on those weekends of grueling practice. SS: How do you see baton twirling playing out in your life in the future? MB: I wish to continue twirling for as long as I can. Hopefully, in college I can twirl in the marching band like I do at Mission. It would be so cool if I could perform at the Rose Bowl or another televised football or basketball game like a few of the girls on my team have. ▪

feature editors alissa gwynn and sonya john

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

Forums for-you By Justin Sha Staff Writer

Since September, you’ve witnessed the Smoke Signal’s many endeavors in tackling the World Wide Web. However, although we’ve scoured the Youtube sea floors for those need-to-see channels and explored the digital jungles for the top blogs, there’s still one thing left undiscovered in the online realm: a group-interactive myriad of information, ideas, and all called the forum. WorldFitness Training Calorie counters and non-calorie counters alike, just admit it: that sometimes you feel out-of-shape, out-of-date, or even just maybe out-of-place. Now, but before feeling all down, just know that there are 67,000 others at WorldFitness Training Forums discussing ways to shelve these similarly unwanted feelings away. From forums for Fitness Info and Health & Wellness to Fitness Enhancement and Locker Room, this website features threads on the latest studies, healthy foods, injury prevention, weight training, and exercise techniques. And what’s more is that these forums aren’t just limited to reading about ways to become healthier or more fit; a very popular and easy-to-use option used for creating your very own work-out plan is just one click away: Soompi Already five years running, Soompi Beta Version 0.1 is still the reigning champ for the title of “Ultimate Site for K-Pop and Asian

Community Entertainment.” Sort of like a Facebook, blog, and photo gallery-fan club all mashed into one, this forum attracts nearly 4,500 users every 15 minutes. It features user-run news posts ranging from Music and Dramas to Celebs and Fashion, and with its fanboy-fangirl fan clubs, Soompi is able to support multitudes of “superfans” worldwide. And what’s more is that these forums aren’t just limited to K-Pop and Asian culture; there are threads for beauty & fashion, health & fitness, current events, love & relationships, fanfix, and even cars. For an entertaining time, go: College Confidential Most popularly defined on Urban Dictionary as the “worst website… where…snooty geniuses…brag to make the ‘average high school student’ pity themselves”, College Confidential stands sturdy amongst the top forums most stereotypically directed toward the MSJ student body. With specified forums such as College Search, SAT/ACT, Financial Aid, and Ivy League, College Confidential aims to demystify the numerous aspects of the college admission process. And from the many threads discussing the next “in thing” that colleges look for to the very popular “What Are My Chances” sub-forum, a peer-to-peer evaluation of a user’s college acceptance rate based on grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, there’s simply no reason for you not to check out: ▪

All that Jazz

Feature 9

By Alissa Gwynn Feature Editor

Are you “In the Mood” for dancing, singing, and dining, 1950s style? Then don’t miss out on Universal Performers and Parents of Universal Performers Foundation’s 16th annual Jazz Dance, “The Best is Yet to Come,” on Friday, May 7. With a raffle, live entertainment featuring MSJ’s jazz band, a silent auction, and more, this fundraiser promises to be a fun-filled night for all ages. The Fremont Marriott now graciously sponsors the dinner and dance, which was originally held in MSJ’s gym in its early years. The night begins with the auction preview and no-host bar at 6:30, opening band performance at 7:00, and three-course dinner at 8:00. Dinner, provided by the Marriott, includes a Mediterranean salad, choice of flat iron steak, vegetable dish with a puff pastry, or chicken served with vegetables and potatoes, and dessert. MSJ’s jazz band will play three sets (approximately 50-60 minutes each) throughout the night, which will include music that caters to a variety of interests and age groups. Songs will cover everything from classic jazz and swing to pop and rock with a jazz flair. Additionally, lead vocalists Amy Mendonca, Lance Smith, Scott Kavanagh, Dita Kruger, and Rochit Gupta will perform onstage. Monica Kraft, MSJ’s musical director, said, “Jazz is the original American art form; this is a music that developed only here…[it’s] great for all ages. [You can see] grandparents dancing to the same music as 14-year-olds.” Part of the event’s magic is its ability to take

The Best is Yet to Come Dinner and Dance May 7, 2010 at the Grand Ballroom Fremont Marriot 6:30 Registration 7:00 Band plays

attendees back to another era and bring generations together. For those interested in attending, tickets are $55 per person or $50 for UP members, and order forms can be found online at jazzdance_2010.html. Additionally, the Marriott is offering a special convention rate, $79 per room, the night of the dance. Proceeds from “The Best is Yet to Come” will go directly towards the performing arts department. Specifically, UP is saving up to purchase new band uniforms for the upcoming year. Kraft said, “We’d really like to see more of student participation. Come out and support your fellow [performing arts peers]!” ▪,,

Late night hangouts By Matthew Gosen, Arthur Jeng & Karen Lin Staff Writers and Centerspread Editor

Suju’s 3602 Thornton Ave. Open until midnight This secluded place off of Paseo Padre Pkwy. is one of the better hangouts on our list. The two tables outside make for a nice late night chit-chat. Inside, the modern furniture arrangement, soothing lighting, and the quiet sound of other studious customers taking advantage of the free wi-fi provides a comfortable study environment. On the menu, we tried the Milky Steamer which is a nice sweet and hot drink that comes in many flavors. While the Italian soda was delectable, most of the cup was filled with ice cubes. Also, be wary of the Caesar salad, which was nothing special compared to anything you can get from your local supermarket. Since there is only one employee working at night, the service is a bit slow but overall this place has a good combination of late night treats, quiet study areas for those AP tests coming up, and seats outside to hang out with friends.

Billiards Place 40515 Albrae St. Open until 2 am If you suddenly feel the urge to practice your pool skills late at night with some friends then Bay Billiards is the place to go. Unlike the tough guy pool halls that you see in the movies, Bay Billiards has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The place is located on the border of Fremont and Newark so it takes a longer drive to get to. Bay Billiards is a large building that houses around 24 professionally sized pool tables. The cost to play is not bad running at around five dollars a person per hour. What is nice about this place is that if you want to take a break from playing pool you can visit their cafe area at the entrance and grab a soda and play against one of your friends in a game of chess. So if you feel like relaxing while still reviewing for mechanics fundamental for your upcoming AP test then go check out Billiards place.

Cloverleaf Family Bowl 40645 Fremont Blvd. Open until 2 am Coffee shops and cafes are usually quieter in the later hours of the night, but Cloverleaf Family Bowl, the bowling alley in the Irvington District, remains lively and is frequented most days of the week. Though security officers are around at night, the area surrounding the bowling alley does not seem to be especially safe. Aside from that, the bowling alley is full of noise and energy, creating a fun and family-friendly environment to hang out in. Cloverleaf also offers a snack bar with pizza and fries, vending machines, and a small arcade in addition to the bowling lanes. Best of all, the prices for food drop to a dollar after 9 pm, and on Monday nights after 9 pm to only one dollar a game, making bowling at a clean and well-kept alley totally affordable.

Wingstop 43448 Boscell Rd. (Pacific Commons) Open until midnight This place is a bit hard to see as you’re driving down Boscell Rd. or Auto Mall, which is unfortunate because the wings are as good as advertised. Of the nine flavors that are available, we tested Garlic Parmesan and Hickory Smoked BBQ. The wings came with generous portions of sauce and were definitely much more savory than KFC. There aren’t many tables inside nor is the restaurant very spacey, so we were left to use the spacious planters outside as makeshift seats. It might be worth mentioning that their napkins are actually rolls of brown paper towels that you would normally find in bathrooms. ▪,

10 Feature

With Earth Day occuring a mere week ago, the Smoke Signal went on a mission to find out how green the average MSJ student is. We conducted a survey in a sample of classes across all grade levels, and here are our results. Didn’t take the survey? Take it below and see how you stack up against the rest of the school.

The Smoke Signal

By Sloka Gundala & Raymond Zhong Staff Writers

Friday, April 30, 2010

1. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. MSJ students, for the most part, do incorporate the three “Rs” into their daily lives. Over 75% of students recycle three -fourths of the time. Many buy reusable plastic water bottles, or have convinced their parents to take their own bag to the grocery store. Others have created compost bins for biodegradable items. 2. Work Right MSJ students are on the right track, with the majority using CFLs rather than incandescent bulbs in their households and turning off appliances when they aren’t in use. Also, upgrading your gadgets can help as well. For example, using a laptop instead of a computer, or switching to a flat panel screen can save half the energy of a normal computer. The next time you buy a new computer, printer, fax, scanner or copier, buy one that’s Energy Star-certified, because it saves energy when it isn’t in use.

1. How often do you eat animal-based products? (a) Never (Vegan) (b) Infrequently Vegetarian) (c) Occasionally (Meat rarely) (d) Often (Meat a few times week. Eggs/dairy almost daily) (e) Very Often (Meat almost daily)

3. Get creative While many of us recycle and use CFLs, others have found innovative ways to have fun and be green at the same time. For example, buying eco friendly clothes, from American Apparel or Levi, can be a great way to help the planet and shop at the same time! One eco-savvy student combined her love for the environment and art to make jewelry using recyclable items.

2. How often do you walk, take the bus, bike, or use other green forms of transportation? (a) Never/very rarely (b) Occasionally (c) Often (d) Very often 3. How many miles do you travel by car each week? (a) 1-50 mi. (b) 50-100 mi. (c) 100-150 mi. (d) 150+ mi. 4. How long are most of your showers? (a) <3 min. (b) 3-5 min. (c) 5-10 min. (d) 10-20 min. (e) 20+ min.

1. Buy locally grown food About 10 percent of of all the energy used in America goes to farming food, processing food, and transporting food. Merely switching who you buy your food from can add up to huge energy savings. Fremont has a variety of locally grown food, which can be found at the Irvington Farmers Market, every Sunday from 9 am – 1 pm. If time permits, grow a vegetable garden. Start with one vegetable, like tomatoes, and expand as you get better.

5. How many hours do you fly each year? (a) 0-4 hrs. (b) 4-10 hrs. (c) 10-25 hrs. (d) >25 hrs. 6. What portion of the light bulbs in your house are energy-saving fluorescents? (a) Almost none (b) ¼ (c) ½ (d) ¾ (e) All or almost all 7. What portion of recyclables (paper, plastic bottles, cans, etc.) do you recycle? (a) Almost none (b) ¼ (c) ½ (d) ¾ (e) All or almost all 1. If you answered A or B for question one, you are definitely a green activist. Eating vegetarian even for one day can save .35 tons of carbon. If you answered D or E you may be chowing down too much meat. 49.6 % of MSJ students answered E. 2. If you answered C or D, you are definitely taking steps to help the environment. For those of you who answered A or B, walking to school or back home just once a week can help the planet. 35.4% of MSJ students answered B. 3. If you answered A or B, you help the planet enormously. Each gallon of gas uses 19.4 pounds of carbon. For those of you who answered C or D, trying finding local equivalents of places that you normally visit. 41.8% of MSJ students answered A, and 41.3% students answered B. 4. If you answered A or B, you definitely conserve water. Every minute in the shower uses about 2.5 gallons of water. For those of you who answered D or E, try turning off the water whenever possible. Every little bit helps! 36.5% of MSJ students answered D. 5. For those of you who answered A or B, you are conserving a huge amount of energy. For those of you who answered C or D, switching one of those long-distance vactions for a local trip can be both fun and eco-friendly. 32.1 % of MSJ students answered A. 6. For those of you who answered D or E, you are on the right track to making your home more eco-friendly. For those of you, who answered A or B, switching to CFls is an inexpensive way to help our planet. 46.0% of MSJ students answered E.

3. Take a new ride While we all want to show off our ability to drive, cars are one the biggest sources of carbon emissions. One gallon of gas can produce an astounding 19.4 punds of carbon. Walking or biking, are much more environment-friendly options, For long distances, taking BART or the bus, and keeping your eye out for ways to carpool are better alternatives.

2. Discover your inner vegetarian Eat less red meat. The production of red meat (pork and beef ) is incredibly energy-intensive. Caring for animals requires more transportation, especially for their food. While we aren’t telling you to become strictly vegetarian, allotting a specific day of the week to be vegetarian, e.g. Meatless Mondays, can help the environment substantially.

By Sonia Dhawan Staff Writer

Green Club is MSJ’s only environmental club. Members promote environmental awareness and conservation of the earth through service, field trips, and other activities. The Smoke Signal recently talked to Green Club’s President, Aneesha Desai, to learn more about what Green Club is all about.

Smoke Signal: What events has the Green Club had recently? Aneesha Desai:Well, we have Green Club District Meetings with Washington High School and Irvington High School, and we go to their gardens. We don’t work too much with American or Logan, though. We’re also trying to raise money to

7. For those who answered D or E, you are doing your part. For those of you who answered A or B, maybe having several places for recyclable items around the house can make being green an easier task. 66.03% of MSJ students answered E. adopt a tropical rain forest, but we’re not sure exactly where it will be. There’s also a sponsor that wants to install things to regulate temperature in every classroom in the district, so we don’t waste energy. I think it’s called a thermostat (laughs). Another project we’re working on is raising funds to get a solar panel for the school. SS: How do you suggest students be greener in their everyday lives? AD: The first thing is to recycle. You see people throwing gum and trash everywhere, and that’s not good. You can also avoid wasting water by reducing a 15 minute shower to a 10 minutes or less. These are basic, daily things to do. SS:Do you have anything else to say? AD: Green Club usually meets Thursdays during lunch in Mrs. Luikart’s room, C9. Go recycle! ▪,,,,, courtesy yearbook, staff writer vishal yadav

& graphics editor elisa ting

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

For a new spin on taste, American Red Cross’s Vietnamese rolls were the way to go. Filled with shrimp, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, mint leaves, and beef wrapped in rice paper, this fresh appetizer may seem different but is sure to keep you cool on a hot summer day. To add to the flavor, spring rolls are often dipped in sauce made from sugar water spiced with garlic, pepper, and fish sauce. These rolls were a great way to start off lunch.

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This year, the Class of 2014 introduced a new favorite: hot wings from Wingstop. With a choice of barbeque, Parmesan, or lemon, these wings were an instant hit with students and teachers alike. The origin of these spicy appetizers is unconfirmed, but some believe that these wings were the creation of Teressa Bellisimo, coowner of Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. However, regardless of its doubtful past, these wings remain an American favorite.

By Grace Han, Henna Jethani, Megan McLaughlin, Mekala Neelakantan & Amit Patankar Staff Writers

Legend has it that breadsticks, originally called grissini, were invented in Italy in the 17th century to cure a duke’s illness. Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) were successful in their sales, as the breadsticks were highly popular with the student body, not just because they were a satisfying appetizer, but because they were hot out of the Olive Garden ovens!

This year, Leadership 2 decided to sweeten things up with a popular treat: cotton candy. This form of spun sugar made its debut appearance at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair, where it was sold as Fairy Floss. Today, it is well-known for being sold at carnivals and amusement parks all around the world. The sales during MC Week showed just how much students still love cotton candy’s sweet taste and wooly texture.

A decadent and spicy rice, Distributive Education Clubs of America’s (DECA) biryani was brought to India by nomads moving throughout South Asian countries. The rice contains saffron, cumin, curry leaves, ginger, caramelized onions, and various different types of oven baked meat, such as lamb, chicken, or beef. Biryani can also be served with various curries and even a cucumber and curd mixture known as raita.

Of the many drinks sold during MC Week, the glass bottles of Limca and Fanta at the Bollywood Club’s booth were especially eye-catching. Fanta is orange soda, while Limca is similar to 7 Up or Mountain Dew; both are popular in India. The drinks were a hit with the student body, not only for the taste but also for the stunning glass bottles they came in. The venture was successful; the sodas were sold out every day.

Those that searched for something to refresh their throats after a fulfilling meal looked no further than Ethnic Race Relations Committee’s (ERRC) attractive margaritas. In this case, the margaritas were made from a combination of soda and lemon juice blended with ice to evoke an Icee type of taste. For a new twist, other flavors like raspberry or mango could be added, making margaritas a preferred choice of drink during this MC Week.

Tech and Robotics Club’s pakoras are the Indian equivalent of French fries and onion rings. The difference between a samosa and pakora is that samosas usually contain a mixture of potato and peas, while pakoras can be deep-fried mixtures of anything, like potatoes, cheese, spinach, onions, and bell peppers. They are served with a sauce called chutney, a mixture of oil, sugar, and tamarind extract.

Green Club elected to sell cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon. These tasty desserts are special favorites in Sweden, where October 4 is the designated National Cinnamon Bun Day. The origin of the cinnamon roll is unconfirmed but may come from northern Europe, where it was called a Chelsea Bun. Despite its mysterious beginning, everybody enjoys a delicious cinnamon roll, especially if it’s for a good cause.

A delicious red velvet cupcake from Children At Heart was the perfect way to end a day’s lunch. The vanilla cake was made with hints of chocolate, dyed a deep crimson color from red food coloring. But instead of regular frosting, it was topped with cream cheese so it tasted much like cheesecake. Believed to have originated from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, this particular recipe came from Cupcakes on the Go. (

Asian Outreach sold popcorn chicken with great results. A crunchy, casual snack that originated from Taiwan, this delicacy migrated to the US during the late 1900s. The warm popcorn chicken is served in a small paper bag and is meant to be eaten using a small skewer. “We chose to sell popcorn chicken because it hasn’t been sold in the past, and it’s in the top three list of most famous Asian snacks,” said Senior Steven Lee.

photos: by staff writers gurleen chadha, sloka gundala, ravneet kaur, sarah li, jamie lin, aileen lu & megan mclaughlin

12 Centerspread

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

By Grace Han,

To begin the assembly, Mr. Hui performed his legendary kung-fu routine, requiring immense concentration and discipline. The origin of kungfu dates back to 2698 B.C.E., where the art was formalized by China’s Yellow Emperor Huangdi. What began as a means for protecting oneself against enemies has evolved into an art of a philosophical and spiritual significance today, garnering respect and honor throughout time.

A group of 12 driven students, the majority of them trained at Ahn’s Taekwondo, delivered an impeccable and complex taekwondo performance at the assembly. The sport was introduced in South Korea as a method to promote unarmed combat challenges during a war-heavy period. Now, it is the national sport of the country of origin. In order to add a modern flair to this traditional dance, the taekwondo group incorporated some extreme martial arts steps to pique the audiences’ interests.

Contemporary Dance teacher Julia Madsen’s class performed an exciting swing dance and, later, a sultry samba dance. The swing dance developed along with the Jazz movement in the 1920s and is a class of dance that includes the Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Lindy Charleston, and the Jive. There are many different variations of swing, and each region has its own particular steps, music, and attire. The samba, despite its African roots, has become an iconic dance of Brazil and is widely popular across the globe.

When the Tibetan folk dancers stepped onto the gym floor, every eye was on their colorful outfits. The dancers were clothed in golden shoes, flowing brown and yellow skirts, and sparkling, multicolored tops, with long braids under cowboy hats. Folk dances are highly popular throughout Tibet and always have a special purpose or meaning. This one recounted the tale of a girl in love. She captures a boy’s scarf and plays with it, attempting to get his attention. Three dancers followed the plot, whirling across the floor as they exchanged the scarf. All in all, the Tibetan folk dance was full of energy and pleasing to watch.

Junior Jasmine Thottungal and the team of Bollywood dancers brought an interesting Indian flair to MC Week. One memorable moment during the performance was when the boys stepped onto the floor, popping their collars and joining the girls in their matching costumes. Beginning nearly nine decades ago with silent films such as Raja Harishchandra, Bollywood has turned India into the world’s largest film-producer, known for its large quantity of songs and dances in each movie. With this performance, the team of dancers displayed a bit of this aspect of Indian culture, bringing moves from the big screen to the gym floor.

This hip-hop group showed off their wide skill range with a jawdropping array of detailed moves. Covering a wide range of dances, hip-hop has a very freestyle character and involves styles like break dancing and popping. Each symbolizes a different era of dance and conveys its own original taste. Dancers can add different spins to a performance through their varied personalities and sense of rhythm. This type of dance developed from hip-hop culture which gets its roots in jazz, rock, and African American customs, which has propelled it to become the one of the most common forms of dancing in American culture.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

Centerspread 13

, Henna Jethani, Megan McLaughlin, Mekala Neelakantan & Amit Patankar Staff Writers

r their melodious, music, Chorale ucoin’s class had t surprise for the mbly. Dressed in awaiian clothing, up performed an g Hawaiian piece, a refreshing, new to the assembly. harmonious tones together perfectly. al folk music has been an important Hawaiian culture. ays a role in both and entertainment. to say, their ance was cheerful aging, enjoyed by all e present.

Sophomore Sneha Jayaprakash and her friends performed the classical Indian dance of Bharatanatyam, a dance that originated in Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the most popular forms of dance and is practiced all over the world. The dance is characterized by the colorful dresses and the jingling anklets worn by dancers. While wearing the anklets, the dancers tap their feet to add an extra beat and sound to the music.

The moment the troop of dancers in black entered the stage, the audience knew they were about to see some hardcore hip-hop. Because of its improv nature, hip-hop is free to many interpretations and attracts many youth in different cultures. This dance crew definitely alluded to the diverse roots of their dance of choice. Music representing every culture blared from the speakers as the dancers impressed with moves not only from hip-hop, but from other cultures as well. This original performance was no doubt exciting for everyone watching.

The Yoko’s dancers are an established performing troupe at MC Week, and they never fail to impress. In various red competition costumes, the dancers took to the floor to perform a jazz dance. The traditional pirouettes were mixed beautifully with more modern moves in the choreography. A lift was even performed during the dance. Jazz became popular in the 1920s, a time of social and cultural revolution. Formal ballroom dancing, which was a mainstay in society, did not allow the expression and close embraces that jazz required. Jazz continues to remain popular: the strong beat and constant motion kept the audience entertained, and the smiles never left the faces of the spectators or the dancers.

In accordance with senior tradition, Seniors Sonya John and Vikram Sangha choreographed this year’s Senior Bhangra dance. Bhangra started as a folk dance in Punjab to celebrate the coming of the harvest festival Vaisakhi. Today, it can be seen in dance and talent competitions, movies, and even on the gym floors of MSJ. Upbeat moves, exotic moves, and hip-hop elements all blended The dancers’ energy was infectious, and the pounding beats made for a dramatic ending to the assembly.

The Tahitian dance, led by Senior Jeankaylyn Ebreo, was flawless as always this year. The female warriors of Tahiti are represented through the dance, the performance honoring their talents and bravery. The dance has several different purposes, being performed to pray to the gods, to welcome guests, to seduce a mate, to challenge an opponent, or just to provide entertainment and enjoyment. Ebreo brought the group together by contacting those she heard had experience in hula and Tahitian dance. Without a doubt, the Tahitian performance allowed students to observe and appreciate Polynesian culture.

Since its origins from over 2500 years ago in ancient China, Wushu has evolved into a form of martial arts that incorporates different fighting techniques to create artistic pieces. Different weapons such as the broad sword, pudao, and double whip chain are used to add more style to the sport while aerial maneuvers and give it an awe-factor spectators love to watch. As a result, Wushu’s popularity has continually grown and it has received the honors of being called the national sport of China. These specific performers train at California Wushu Academy and Sun Kungfu and are currently rehearsing for the California Martial Arts Tourney coming up at Berkeley.

photos by: staff writers roger chen, joy xu, cassie zhang, jordan zhang & editor-in-chief jerry ting

14 Centerspread

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

By Grace Han, Henna Jethani, Megan McLaughlin, Mekala Neelakantan & Amit Patankar Staff Writers

Each year, MC Week brings out a variety of cultural garb from our closets. Celebrating the peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas, MSJ students donned the clothing of different cultures from around the world. Dashikis, kameezes, and togos were just a sampling of the garments seen throughout the week.

A large group of freshmen got into the spirit of MC Week’s Europe Day by unleashing their inner Romans. Before Wednesday, Freshman Mark Ruppert jokingly mentioned to his peers that they should all wear togas to showcase the Roman culture. Six of his friends took the idea seriously, and they put together simple togas using sheets held together with gold ropes. They also wore wreaths that had a contemporary kick from shimmering silver paint.

The dashiki is a popular garment originating from Western Africa that combines a myriad of colorful material with intricate patterns and style. It can be in the form of a robe or a top that only covers the upper portion of the body and has embroidered neck and sleeve lines. During Black History Month, many African Americans wear the dashiki to connect themselves back to their African heritage. Many Africans wear it as a casual, comfortable type of dress, especially in hot weather. Vikram Sangha, 12

Dating back roughly 1000 years, the sarong acquired its name from the Malayan word for “covering.” It is a suitable garment for both genders and can be worn as a skirt or fulllength dress. This brightly colored and loose fitting type of clothing is most commonly worn in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Depending on the culture, the weaving patterns on a sarong can symbolize different messages and historical significance.

Anne Liu, 12

Worn by women all over India, the salwar kameez is a combination of a long dress The churidar is a with various floral patterns different type of and embroidery (kameez) leg garment that is and long pants (salwar) usually tight and a that have either the same uniformly light color. or a complimentary color The salwar or shirt to the kameez. These is similar to the one dresses are also popular used in a salwar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, kameez. The churidar but the salwar kameez traces is famous for its role its roots back to Punjab. in Kathak dancing, The simple versions of this a storytelling dance dress are meant for day to from north India. day wear, but more intricate Aditi Amlani, 11 The churidar is also and fashionable patterns Jasmine Thottungal, 11 worn by both men can be worn for more formal and women during everyday occasions. and ceremonial functions. The churidar is popular in Bollywood films and is one of the few traditional Indian garments that are still worn today.

CJ Lemler, Ryan Graves, Erik Rosten, Mark Ruppert, Coco Liu, Taylor Garden, Melina Robinson. 9

Sophomore Ariel Figueroa was clad in a traditional folk dress from Honduras. Normally, Hondurans dress simply in cotton clothing; however, festivals call for elaborate colonial dress that includes embroidery in Mayan patterns. The indigenous Tolupane people also accessorize with necklaces of painted beads, much like Ariel’s red necklace. Open-toed sandals are common among all classes in Honduras and are the perfect footwear for the tropical climate.

Ariel Figueroa, 10

Junior Adrienne Lam dressed to impress in her Native American costume. Her fauxdeerskin dress is a modern interpretation of the buckskin dresses that Cheyenne women wore. In fact, as Native Americans were forced into closer contact, the fringed dresses and clothing designs unique to a single group became popular with multiple tribes. The Native American tribes of the Southwest, like the Navajo, used turquoise in jewelry long before Columbus arrived. Even her braids are appropriate: they are one of the most common hairstyles among both Native American men and women.

Adrienne Lam, 11

photos: by staff writers gurleen chadha, sloka gundala, ravneet kaur, sarah li, jamie lin, aileen lu & megan mclaughlin

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal


Location, Location There are five essential places, spread around the campus, where a starving student can satiate their stomach. First is the Student Store, at the corner of the Quad. On average, students rate the quality of food there at 3.09 out of 5. They thought the prices were just okay, at approximately 2.51 with 1 being a good deal and 5 being overpriced. Then there is the C-Wing Cafeteria, most quickly accessed by those with math or science 4th period. Students found the quality of cafeteria food at 2.83 and its price reasonable at 2.37. Next is the Kitchen, nestled surreptitiously between the E and C wings and thus unnoticed by those who don’t know about it. Those who did visit, though, found its quality between the cafeteria’s and the student store’s at 2.93 and its price also decent at 2.34. Then the lunch carts, competing with the Student Store in the quad, contain an array of food that can be found at any of the other locations. The combination still brings its quality to a 2.77 but its price is all right at 2.34. Finally, there are the vending machines, most dearly loved by underclassmen escaping P.E. Perhaps this escape is what bumps up the food quality to a 2.86, but everyone finds it overpriced at an average of 1.80.

Feature 15

By Sarah Li, Jamie Lin, Cassie Zhang & Jordan Zhang Staff Writers

Whether you’re a new-to-MSJ freshman or a ready-to-leave senior, you still know about campus food. You know that well, it may not be bad, per se, but there’s certainly much room for improvement. What you don’t know is why, or what exactly everyone wants to be changed, what are the best things to eat and where is the best place to buy them. Here’s your guide to MSJ food.

In the kitchen Despite the low ratings, MSJ’s kitchen works hard to serve students not only at our campus, but six elementary schools and Hopkins Jr. High as well. Over the years, the kitchen menu has gradually evolved from donuts and soda to more nutritious bagels and fruit juice. These changes are due to new laws made to combat obesity. Although this issue is not particularly evident at MSJ, it can’t hurt to eat fruits and veggies every now and then. Each serving of food is weighed in the kitchen before it is sold to ensure that each customer consumes a healthy amount of nutrition. Any foods that are left over for too long are thrown out..

Best Food Behind the scenes at the Student Store The Student Store, located next to the Career Center in the Bell Tower Quad, is run by an L2 committee chosen by the ASB Officers, with the ASB treasurer as the head of the committee. Committee members are in charge of ordering, restocking, and selling the food. The Student Store committee orders food from Hayes, Manu-Terra, and recently added a new company called Gateway Fundraising services. Any food sold at school, including multicultural week food, must follow a set of government guidelines that include limits on calories (250 for a snack and 435 for an entree). These standards make it hard to add new foods and have eliminated foods that the Student Store previously sold, like pretzels. "It's very difficult to find foods students can actually buy while following state regulations," said L2 Advisor Ben Breazeale.

Worst Food

Please leave a suggestion after the beef. Naturally at Mission our first and main suggestion towards improving campus food would be to lower the prices. But we don’t just care about our pockets, we care about our taste buds! Most of us want higher quality, fresher food. And more variety too, for a more balanced diet. And if the food were healthier, it wouldn’t hurt either, as undoubtedly most of us will sustain ourselves with cup-o-noodles in college.

It was the best of food, it was the worst of food While everyone has their favorites, as evidenced by 26.4% of the polled body choosing “Other” as their favorite food, generally we love our American classics of pizza (17.6%) and bagels (11.4%). Various snacks surpass bagels at 13.0%, while cookies are most adored by 8.8% of students. Pasta, however, while favored by 6.7% of those surveyed, is most detested by 36.6%. Other various foods follow at 29.3%, with burritos and pizzas tied for equal hatred at 9.8% each. All’s well that ends well. Overall, though, many of us (35.82%) think our food is passable, with 14.92% even calling it good. Granted, 22.39% of us believe there’s nothing good and 8.96% of us even go so far as to say it’s nasty, but clearly we’re all entitled to our own opinions. Maybe most of us would be happier if food was cheaper (as 49.25% find it overpriced), and the vegetarian population would like some representation. But at the end of the day, it’s just food. staff writers cassie zhang, sarah li, jamie lin

16 Arts & Entertainment

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

Music From Around the World By Christine Cheng, Chelsea Dass & Sarah Li Web Editor and Staff Writers

In the wake of the past week, you may be feeling a bit nostalgic for the variety of cultures celebrated during Multicultural Week. But after days of satisfying your taste buds, it’s now time to let your other senses take over as the Smoke Signal takes you on a journey around the world, hitting six continents and a multitude of countries, highlighting some of their most notable international music artists, both modern and traditional. Whatever your taste, you’ll be sure to find something to please your musical palate.

Mexico: Rodrigo y Gabriela

When Rodrigo y Gabriela performs, fingers fly so fast that the eye cannot keep up. The intricate strumming and rhythmic guitar-top taps create a dynamic and riveting duo for both the eye and ear. Because of its Latin harmonies, this couple’s music is often associated with flamenco; however, its structure is based more on rock and inspired by metal. Their covers on Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion” are proof of their unique and innovative musical talents. Try: Buster Voodoo, Hanuman, Tamacum, and Diablo Rojo

Denmark: Asteroids Galaxy Tour

If the Ting Tings and the Beatles were to produce a lovechild, Denmark’s the Asteroids Galaxy Tour would be it. After the song “Around the Bend” was featured in an Apple commercial, the band then supported Katy Perry on her European tour. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s psychedelic sound is reminiscent of the classic rock of the ’60s, but effortlessly weaved in vibrant synth beats keep the music up to the times. Any song from their debut album Fruit is sure to bring about nostalgia for better, carefree times. Try: Around the Bend and The Sun Ain’t Shining No More

France: Yelle, Justice, and The Gypsy Kings

Korea: Big Bang

Big Bang, a five-member boy band that is popular all over Asia, is known for their catchy tunes and beats. The band features a variety of vocal talents, from G-Dragon’s R&B to T.O.P’s rap. Their music videos feature well-choreographed dancing as well as touching, though corny, plotlines. Though the group often performs and tours together (they have covers in English and Japanese), each of the members often solo. Try: Haru Haru, Last Farewell, Lies, G-Dragon’s Heartbreaker, and Taeyang’s Wedding Dress

Take Ke$ha and Katy Perry, remove the glitter, add French glam, and you’ll end up with Yelle, an electropop band named after its lead singer. Yelle’s music comes off as playful but precocious, certainly establishing its very own niche in the electronic genre. While Yelle’s music generally has a more electronic feel, the band’s feature on the song “Parle à ma main” by French rap group Fatal Bazooka showcases its diverse musical talents and is certainly worth listening to.

Despite Justice’s limited vocals, this French electronic duo takes heavy metal sounds and makes them catchy and cool with the musicality of such bands as Daft Punk and MGMT, whose song “Electric Feel” Justice remixed last year, winning them a Grammy. Gaining renown even outside the music world, Justice produced a mix for Dior Homme’s Summer 2009 Fashion Show and made a documentary concert film, A Cross the Universe. If you’re not attracted to the music, however, be sure to check out their music videos.

The Gypsy Kings, a world-renowned seven member band of Gypsies from the south of France, have entertained fans across the globe since 1987. They masterfully blend traditional flamenco with newer elements of percussion, bass, and keyboard giving birth to an original sound of their own, rumba flamenco. Complex strumming and rapid hand-claps, or palmas, are the foundation to the infectious dance-like beats. Be it a somber serenade or happy harmony, every song is infused with passion.

Try: À Cause Des Garçons, Tristesse / Joie , and Je Veux Te Voir

Try: D.A.N.C.E., DVNO (feat. Mehdi Pinson), and Stress

Try: Djobi Djoba, Bamboleo, and Volare

Malawi: The Very Best

Uruguay: El Cuarteto de Nos

Mixing traditional Latin sounds with modern bass-heavy rock influences, El Cuarteto de Nos takes on an eclectic approach to rock, making it surprisingly catchy and danceable. Those looking for a more fast-paced Kings of Leon or Muse will appreciate El Cuarteto de Nos’s fresh take on the genre. Despite its status as the oldest active Uruguayan band (30 years and counting), the group’s sound transcends the decades. Aside from the fact that their music is simply amazing, of course.

Malawi’s The Very Best takes traditional African sounds and just slightly modernizes them with hiphop beats, while not losing the sentimental quality of the music. Fans of Vampire Weekend will welcome the familiar African influences in their sophomore album Warm Heart of Africa, which features a song with Vampire Weekend’s lead singer Ezra Koenig. Try: Warm Heart of Africa (feat. Ezra Koenig), Yalira, and Julia

Try: Ya No Sé Que Hacer Conmigo, Yendo a la Casa de Damián, and Bipolar

Somalia: K’naan

Austrailia: Sia

Australian pop singer Sia is known for her soulful and jazzy style, and her powerhouse vocals rival those of British singer-songwriter Adele. Despite her older age, Sia’s music has a youthful and lighthearted sound which perfectly complements her mellow voice that at times can be both raw and riveting. Sia is also known for her highly stylized covers, ranging from the songs of Britney Spears (“Gimme More”) to those of Radiohead (“Paranoid Android”). Try: Breathe Me and Day Too Soon

India: A.R. Rahman

Spending the first 13 years of his life in his native country of Somalia, singer-poet K’naan (now based in Canada) embraces his Afro-Western identity in his music. Pairing hiphop with Somali instrumentals and Ethiopian jazz influences, K’naan sounds surprisingly like a combination of Bob Marley and Cobra Starship, while some have even likened him to Eminem. Regardless, he still certainly owns his own unique and unparalleled style, which is further accentuated by the strong messages he promotes in his music, calling for peace in his homeland of Somalia and the world.

Award winning singer, songwriter, and composer A.R. Rahman is an extremely prolific artist. In India, popular music is channeled through movies, and he is especially famous for his Indian film songs. Though known in the U.S. for his Oscar-winning pieces from Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has written scores for everything from advertisement jingles to musicals and top grossing films from all around the world. His songs range in style as he tries to blend both Western and Indian classical music, rock, and fusion into his work. Nevertheless, all his compositions share a common thread of beautiful melodies and catchy beats.

Try: Bang Bang (feat. Adam Levine), Wavin’ Flag, and Take a Minute

Try: Jai Ho and Dil Se

Japan: Utada Hikaru

Utada Hikaru’s songs are characterized by their strong beats paired with ballad-like lyrics, highlighted by her solid, traditional vocal technique. She has also performed covers of American classics, such as Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” Though she is a veteran to the music industry, she continues to remain popular and refrains from straying into acting. She has also ventured into the international music scene, but her following largely remains in Japan. Try: Simple and Clean, Addicted to You, Traveling, Flavor of Life, and Prisoner of Love


Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal



my whole life into a Volkswagen Jetta within an hour and a half. And up until I was 25 I could move at the drop of a hat. I had to move to New York, I spent time in Miami, I lived in Nashville for 2 years, and LA for 6. I think the number one thing that keeps people from succeeding is that they are so attached to their hometown and they’re so afraid to actually leave their town and their families – which is difficult – and I know so many talented artists in small towns who will never have careers because they were too afraid to leave.


this is just a lot more energetic, edgier album. It’s more fun to be honest. This is the kind of album you can put on and it doesn’t really matter what mood you’re in. For us that’s a lot more exciting. WORDPRESS.COM

By Vishal Yadav Staff Writer

OneRepublic has come a long way from starting off as an unsigned act on MySpace to becoming one of the top pop and rock bands today. After their song “Apologize” became a megahit in 2007, OneRepublic continued to dominate the music charts with other pieces like “All the Right Moves”. The band took a break from their Waking Up tour to talk to a panel of journalists, including the Smoke Signal, about their experiences and music. Smoke Signal: How would you compare the sound on your debut album to Waking Up? OneRepublic: The debut album is a lot mellower. “Apologize”, “Stop and Stare” – they’re very mellow kind of mid-tempo songs. Waking Up just has way more energy. The beats hit harder, the drums hit harder –

Arts & Entertainment 17

SS: Do you think your fame has changed you at all? OneRepublic: Well we’re all total pricks now. We only eat green M&Ms. We only wear socks once. Things like that. [Laughs] But other than that, no, we’re just the same version of ourselves, except with a little more money I guess. SS: Are you guys open to any genre of music? OneRepublic: We are open to any genre with the exception of heavy metal and hard core hip hop stuff. The thing about this band that’s different is we could do a straight up rock and roll record if we wanted to. We could do a straight pop record we could do a more urban hip hop leaning record. So I think that for us, we don’t really like to pay attention to the genre. It all comes down to the song and feeling good. I think the fact that we do what we want kind of leads to us creating our own genre. I know that people

that hear us don’t know exactly what genre we fit in. We’re somewhere in the mix of rock, pop, hiphop, and alternative. SS: What’s the hardest thing that you’ve ever done? OneRepublic: I would say that hardest thing that we’ve ever done is not give up. We had songs like “Apologize” and “Stop and Stare” and we literally would be playing for crowds of five people. We knew the music had something going for it, but we weren’t feeling much forward momentum. None of us knew the songs would become as big as they are now, and so when you’re standing in a club playing for at most ten people, it’s really hard. SS: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians? OneRepublic: Persistence is the key, even more than talent I think. Also stay out of debt and keep yourself as flexible as possible. Don’t get sucked into some dead end job just because you’re making 20 bucks an hour while you’re friends are making 12. Don’t get pregnant, don’t get a car payment. Basically, what we said earlier, keep yourself as flexible as possible. I used to brag that I could fit

SS: In your opinion, what songs of yours that haven’t gotten fame like “Apologize” or “All the Right Moves” deserve to get on the radio? OneRepublic: On our first album, we had this song called “Say”. It never really did anything on the radio [because] it wasn’t really simple enough for the radio. The only problem with radio these days is that things are kind of, you know, with Black Eyed Peas and [Lady] Gaga, everything is so – I don’t want to say dumbed down but it really is kind of dumbed down. The songs have straight up the easiest lyrics and nursery rhyme melodies. So if you do anything that’s not completely simple, it’s a lot harder for it to be successful and we’re not the kind of band that just wants to put out throwaway dance songs that make us famous for 60 days. I would say a song on the new album that I hope would be a hit is “Everybody Loves Me”. That’s the kind of song that I want to hear on the radio and that I think should work. Whether or not it will work is impossible to say. SS: What’s your favorite band to tour with? OneRepublic: Actually we’ve been really lucky that we’ve toured with a lot of awesome bands. You could break it into bands that are the most fun to tour with and bands that are fun to watch every night. I think we could all watch John Mayer every night and not get sick of it. U2 is our favorite band to watch in a live show and we’ll get to tour with them later this year. ▪

The Evolution of Disney By Mary Lan Staff Writer

Remember Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff)—the fun blonde teenager who went through embarrassingly sweet adolescent problems and solved them with simple Disney solutions of pure “good-ness”? Disney has since deviated into churning out cookiecutter teen stars of pop divas and boy band superstars with paparazzi problems. And the influences from these teens range from gossip magazines to Wal-mart clothing lines. Where is the original essence of Disney role models we used to adore? The original, ordinary “good-ness” that Disney has been lacking as of late is seen by the exaggerated shows of their current, tiring stars. Perhaps you have heard of the popular characters portrayed by Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Jonas brothers, and Demi Lovato. Although Disney’s intentions may be good, each of these developing role models have an unrealistic life as a wizard, pop star, rock star, or…TV show star. Oh, the irony. At least the characters still have a positive influence, or do they? Disney knows that kids look up to their favorite television stars and follow them with a passion. So of course this is fully exploited. An unfortunate truth is that those teens are signed into long-term contracts (that last for at least four TV seasons) with mass-market-

ing incentives. In addition to their own TV show, Disney stars provide moneymaking accessories of music albums, production movies, and inexhaustible merchandise. Production exploitations aside, how are these characters subliminal role models? Exhibit A: Miley Cyrus debuted as a charming Midwestern gal, portraying the pop star character in her hit series Hannah Montana as an excellent, innocent role model. During a TV interview in the episode Welcome to the Bungle, Hannah confesses that she doesn’t like carrots, which prompted many of her fans to stop eating carrots. Exhibit B: So what message is Disney sending kids when the real-life Miley Cyrus posed semi-

naked for Vanity Fair magazine, despite the fact that she, along with the other contracted stars, wears a purity ring and talks about her Christian faith? Don’t forget, she is still under the wing of Disney. Hilary Duff broke away from her Lizzie McGuire image after she broke away from Disney, but recent long-term contract stars are tarnishing their images while still representing Disney. Of course, they are model characters in their TV show, but their influence in reality as they mature is an entirely different story—voices become deeper, clothes become skimpier, and actions be-

come sloppier—their overall character is branching into a new type of “Disney”. This entertainment corporation seems determined to control stars from their preteen years to their early twenties. Meanwhile, during that later coming of age, many adolescents make mistakes but cannot escape the long-term contract. Scandals of supposed role models are broadcasted in association with Disney values and infiltrate young minds. Disney, please let go of your cash cows when they’re too old to be the bright and pure stars you make them out to be. ▪




Disney is known for its innocent stars, like Hilary Duff, but Miley Cyrus’s scandalous photos ruined that image, making us wonder what will happen to Bridget Mendler, the latest star.

18 Arts & Entertainment

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010


Prefix Magazine best described MGMT in 2007 as “a college-dorm experiment gone horribly right.” On March 20, the psychedelic synth-pop duo’s highly anticipated album Congratulations was released on the band’s website, with the simple statement, “Hey everybody, the album leaked, and we wanted you to be able to hear it from us.” MGMT’s debut album, Oracular Spectacular, sold over 1 million copies and immediately hooked its listeners with its catchy, upbeat songs a teenager might dance to in a club or blast rebelliously from their car speakers. As one of these teenagers, (you can guess which one) I immediately disliked Congratulations. It was different, and not the MGMT so many listeners had grown fond of over the years. But after careful listening and digesting of the album, I found myself liking this new MGMT. Perhaps not quite as much

as before, but the music is something I could appreciate, and play in my car nonetheless. There are several tracks on Congratulations that may have fans scrambling to pull out their old battered copy of Oracular Spectacular to make sure they are indeed listening to MGMT. “Siberian Breaks”, an over 12 minute long eclectic mix of random vocals and sound bites, was an interesting, if not boring, addition to the album. A personal favorite was “Song For Dan Treacy,” which included the use of an electric organ and had a strong mod-rock vibe to it. Ultimately, MGMT is not trying to top or be similar to their last album. They may lack the type of songs that originally made them famous, but they have indeed made a more interesting and perhaps eye-opening album that will test the devotion of their fans for their music, not only their chart topping sin-

gles. Said band member Ben Goldwasser, “… we didn’t want to make that typical second album, about fame. We’d rather people hear the whole album as an album and see what tracks jump out rather than the ones that get played on the radio.” MGMT is more than a few catchy pop singles, and Congratulations exemplifies a new aspect of MGMT many have not seen before and offers an impressive display of the different types of sound the band can produce. It leaves fans wanting more, and wondering what the band will do next. ▪ Rating: B


A Truly ‘Kick-Ass’ Production


By Amisha Gandhi Staff Writer

As any true comic fan has fantasized, the titular hero Dave Lizewski wonders why no one has tried to become a superhero. Sure, nobody really has real “superpowers” but those are hardly necessary to wear a mask and kick some criminal ass. It would be stupid, oh it would definitely be stupid, but aren’t people stupid in general? Why can’t one stupid person be gutsy enough to take on a few supervillains, a.k.a mob bosses, in the grand scheme of things? As an average high school student lacking any presence in his school, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to embrace his identity as the naïve idiot that he is and become a “true” superhero. He wanders the mean streets of Brooklyn seeking crime in a green scuba suit without the aid of radioactive spiders, without being an alien refuge, and without billions of dollars. But he really

isn’t crazy. He knows that his ideas are ludicrous and dangerous at best but he doesn’t want to give up even after his first disastrous foray into the crime fighting world. Thanks to Dave, or rather thanks to KickAss, more vigilantes begin to pop up everywhere. Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage) whose super hero alias is Big Daddy, is waging war on crime-boss Frank D’amico (Mark Strong) by killing his evil henchmen individually with the help of the ass-kicking Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). Dave is overwhelmed by both of them and finds himself at a loss because he can no longer identity himself as a superhero. Kick-Ass is a big serving of crazy and fun mixed in with a healthy dose of cynicism and dry wit. It’s not a simple superhero story, which we’ve been having too many of lately. It’s the story of the superhero that won’t really amount to anything considering he’s a rather pathetic high school kid with a crazy dream. With the powers, it’s hardly a challenge for those guys to be fighting crime. As Kick-Ass

quips at one point, “With no power comes no responsibility,” a cheeky reminder of Spiderman’s quasi-profound ideal; but, Kick-Ass does live up to a different standard of superhero, one that has the guts, the daring, and the belief that he really can kick-ass. Hit Girl, on the other hand, really is a superhero, killing ten grown thugs with a polearm. She’s a lean mean killing machine that steals the spotlight. As Big Daddy’s daughter, she has been trained to bring down Frank D’Amico. She is undeniably tough yet adorable, sporting either cute pigtails or a purple bob. She really brings the whimsy to the film as she slices people apart because you never know how to react to an eleven year old murderer with whom you will wholeheartedly support because, let’s face it, girls do kick ass. This film was a treat in its own quirky way. There is definitely too much violence and it is infused with terrible words you would never dare to repeat lest your parents make good on their threat of washing your mouth with soap. It was weird but delightful with the right amount of cheekiness thrown in. I think it’s the first movie that brings complexities into a superhero dynamic. But that isn’t going to stop the massive sales of scuba suits in all sizes this October. That can’t be helped though. Kick-Ass really does – well – kick ass. ▪ Rating: A-

continued from page 1 unwittingly take on the identities of a couple who have stolen the flash drive of feared mobster Joe Muletto. The case of mistaken identity leads to one wild, unbelievable night involving the district attorney, a shirtless Mark Wahlberg, and one of the most overthe-top car chases that I’ve ever seen. After Phil steals the Triplehorn’s reservation is also when one of the movie’s biggest flaws kicks in: the inability to stick to one genre. The intent of seamlessly blending family moments with raunchy comedy a la Seth Rogen does not work here. Instead, the “family moments” are worked into unrealistic situations (Phil pulls over to have a heartto-heart with Claire while being pursued by Muletto’s henchmen). Worse, the attempt at raunchy comedy is just awkward. The decision to set the climax in seedy strip club was bad enough, but watching Fey and Carell grind—as robots—was by far one of the least appealing scenes of the movie. What does work in Date Night are the witty one-liners, the subtly woven cultural references (at one point, Claire shows one couple a house selling for $300,000 originally priced at over two million—the couple turns her down because “we think it can do better”) and, most of all, the brilliant cameos. While Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, and Leighton Meester deserve a mention, it’s definitely James Franco and Mila Kunis that leave a lasting mark on the movie (and keep the viewer in constant stitches). Although it is a little short on heart, Date Night is worth it for its unexpected humor in a genre that is all too often trite and clichéd. ▪ Rating: B

Music Picks from the Editorial Board

This Month: Best Covers

Albert: Airplanes/Nothing on You by Clara Alissa: Everytime by Glen Hansard & Colm Maclomaire Anthony: Time After Time by Quietdrive Christine: Nothing On You by Park Jaebeom Cynthia: Everywhere by Vampire Weekend Elisa: Beautiful Creation by Young Dee Hannah: Hurt by Johnny Cash Jane: Starlight by DeCadence Jerry: No One Else Comes Close by Backstreet Boys Joseph: Fly Me to the Moon by Michael Buble Karen: Hallelujah by Kate Voegele Megan: Across The Universe by Jim Sturgess Niku: Billie Jean by Chris Cornell Rebecca: I Shot The Sheriff by Eric Clapton Sargun: You Give Love a Bad Name by Blake Lewis Sonya: Best I Ever Had by J.R.A. Tanu: Fireflies by Sam Tsui Tina: Apologize by Silverstein Mrs. Cohen: Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm Listen to the playlist at GRAPHICS EDITOR ALBERT YUAN

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

The Hipster

Mentality By Sonia Dhawan Staff Writer

Let me introduce you to: “the hipster”. The hipster is not average, not by a long shot. This person shuns all things mainstream, especially in terms of music and movies. He or she pretends to have never even heard of Lady Gaga or the Twilight series, instead preferring to listen to underground Swedish pop music and watch obscure foreign films. Hipsters scoff at the mere reference to conventional entertainment, and tend to flock together in dimly lit cafés (not Starbucks, of course) and have conversations about the idiocy of the general public, all while wearing ecofriendly ultra tight jeans bought i n a back alley in Paris.

Okay, so maybe that last part was a bit over the top, but look at the rest of the description. Sound like someone you know? Of course. We all have people like this in our lives—those who unfairly ridicule us for our love of better known music artists and movies. They look down on us for succumbing to the will of “corporate America” by supporting popular entertainment, and accuse us of not being true to ourselves, or not being original, like they supposedly are. But are they really being true to themselves? Are they really being all that original?

Perhaps in their quest to veer away from the preferences of the masses, they have lost their uniqueness and have become their worst nightmare—conventional. Lately, it’s become the “in” thing to shun the likes of WILD 94.9 and MTV in order to seem more mature or worldly, and this in itself is proof that the “hipster” is becoming more mainstream than anyone could have ever imagined. Furthermore, by limiting themselves to indie entertainment, these people are letting their tastes be dictated by an overwhelming fear of being like everyone else. In a way, they are being less “true to themselves” than any of the popular entertainment lovers whom they mock. They are closing themselves off to an entire (major) segment of the music and movie scene, and are depriving themselves of t h e freedom and

freshness that they so proudly claim to have. To be clear, I am not suggesting that everyone go out and listen to Justin Bieber songs all day long, and I am definitely not bashing lesser known entertainment. The point is that people shouldn’t limit themselves to one type of music or one type of film. And sneering at others’ choices of entertainment isn’t the way to go, either. Avoiding things labeled “mainstream” doesn’t give one person license to look down on others, and it certainly doesn’t make them cool. ▪ GRAPHIC BY STAFF WRITER MICHAEL FEUERMAN

Arts & Entertainment 19

Hookslide slides into MSJ By Anastassia Tselikova Staff Writer

Hookslide, an a cappella band that performed at MSJ on April 16, featured Mayank Thanawala, one of the tenors, the composer and arranger, and an MSJ alumnus. The Smoke Signal had a chance to interview Thanawala prior to the concert, which was a fundraiser for the club Universal Performers. The Smoke Signal: What is your most distinct memory of MSJ from when you attended it? Mayank Thanawala: There are so many! Lunch runs to Taco Bell and The Cheese Taster, reading plays out loud in ridiculous accents in English class, and all the hilarious moments rehearsing and performing Once Upon A Mattress, The Miracle Worker and South Pacific. But the experience that really defined my time at MSJ was singing with Chorale and (what was then called) Thor Throats. That’s when I understood the joy that singing and performance could bring to people. SS: How did Hookslide come to be? MT: Bud Anderson, one of the tenors in Hookslide, used to work with a music agency. They booked a lot of a cappella shows, but needed a good group that was part time (i.e. everyone has day jobs) so that they could take gigs for less money. He and the agency created Hookslide to fill that void. It’s an important lesson to see how being part-time is a great way to make a professional group -- you can have a great career alongside what we like to call a “professional hobby.” SS: What interesting stories would you like to share about Hookslide? Where have you performed? MT: Mythbusters was a really fun experience. What is not known about that episode of

Tales from a By Aileen Lu Staff Writer

Within the past month, a strange disease gripping the nation has finally infected MSJ. Test scores have been dropping like flies. Students’ eyes are perpetually glazed like donuts. Teachers have amassed piles of confiscated Nintendo DS consoles in their desk drawers like canned sardines. Apparently, with the release of the video games Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, the Pokémon p h e nomenon is back in town, and it seems like it’s here to stay. This violent Japanese creature craze started while I was a wee girl in elementary school. Because I had nothing better to do but to bother the neighborhood children or to stare blankly at the wall, I decided to take Pokémon out for a spin. At first, I was not totally enticed because my moral fiber refused to appreciate cute animals fighting to the death, but a few doses of peer pressure and Saturday morning cartoons convinced me otherwise. Soon, I had watched every Pokémon TV episode, played every Pokémon video game, and got swindled trading Pokémon cards multiple times. I also tried running away from home to become a Pokémon master. Unfortunately, my parents

Mythbusters (“Voice Flame Extinguisher”) is that we filmed the whole thing in a water treatment plant. The smell was awful! Aside from that, we’ve done a lot of national anthems, for the A’s, Giants and 49ers (which was really awesome). We’ve gone on several tours, usually 5-6 days, out to the Midwest and to the east coast. We’ve even sung in Lincoln Center in New York! We’ve opened for big name acts like Tower Of Power and Kool and the Gang, which is fun in that we can bring our music to people who wouldn’t hear it otherwise. SS: What is the hardest part about a cappella singing? MT: I think the most challenging aspect of a cappella singing is the constant attention and adjustments required on the part of each singer. Even pitch-wise, sometimes perfect pitch can be an impediment -- if three of us are a little flat on something, the fourth one needs to adjust to that new pitch, and the audience won’t notice, but if he doggedly sticks with the “right” pitch, it’ll sound terrible. Musically and rhythmically, there can’t be a single moment of inattention.Accompanied singing really is a lot easier, in that a singer has a lot more freedom and a lot more time to rest and breathe. SS: Is there anything you would like to add? MT: I just want to encourage everyone and anyone who has ever sung, or wanted to sing, to keep doing it! People will tell you you’re bad at it, but it’s a lot easier to criticize than it is to express yourself. I suppose this applies to other artistic endeavors as well, but keep putting yourself out there, keep working to get better at it, and never listen to a critic unless it really helps you improve yourself. Also, choosing a career outside of music does not mean you have to give up music. You can do both - we do! ▪

Addict stopped me before I could even wriggle out of the pet door, lecturing me afterwards about “media influence these days” and “when I was your age, I wasn’t as delusional.” However, all good things (and funding from parents) come to an end. Digimon caught my interest and I had no more money to sustain expensive Pokémon fangirl-ing, so I tossed my Game Boy Color aside and moved on. With the arrival of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS, re-makes of the original Gold and Silver games we were addicted to as kids, a wave of nostalgia just bulldozed through the entire MSJ population. There really is nothing better than defeating the same rival and catching the same Pokémon from ten years ago, but with better graphics. Of course, there are now hundreds of more ludicrously-devised Pokémon species to memorize. You can now be the proud owner of Arceus, the llama god of the universe. Hooray! So when exactly will this Pokémon fad die out? Well, I just heard that Japan announced a fifth generation of games for release this fall, aptly named Pokémon Black and White. Great, now we’ll never be able to catch ‘em all. ▪

20 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

Coaches’ Corner: Boys’ Basketball By Elisa Ting Graphics Editor

SS: When was your most memorable season? CV: The most memorable year was 19901991. Our [season] record was 16-4 and [we were] ranked ninth in the state. We also won MVAL that year. SS: I heard you know Michael Jordan and coached a camp with him. Is this true? CV: It is true. I’ve talked to him and worked at his camp for five years. He had over 600 campers and was there every day. He actually picked my daughter for a shooting competition.

graPhiCs eDitor elisa ting

Almost all MSJ students go through the rigorous training and exercise of Physical Education during our freshman and sophomore years of high school. Amongst the crowd of teachers is a dedicated individual who has been coaching basketball for 24 years at MSJ. PE teacher Pete Vaz recently announced that he will retire as the Varsity Boys’ Basketball head coach but will continue to teach PE. Smoke Signal: Why did you decide to take a break from coaching MSJ basketball? Coach Vaz: I just felt like it kind of ran its course. It was like a marathon race, and now I feel like I’ve got to run a different race. Mentally and physically, it’s become harder and harder to make the time commitment and the job. I did a lot of thinking about it and now was a good time to quit. I’ve coached for 25 years already.

SS: Which other famous coaches do you know or have coached with before? CV: I know the head coaches of Northern Arizona [University], UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Fullerton [State University], University of Oregon, Utah State, and the San Antonio Spurs, and I also know the assistant coach of the Chicago Bulls. SS: You know the assistant coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls? First Michael Jordan, now the assistant coach of his former team. CV: Yeah, here, I’ll give him a call right now… “Hey Dave! It’s Pete, listen, there’s a girl from the high school newspaper that wants to know a little bit about me. Want to talk to her?” SS: “Hello? What do you have to say about Mr. Vaz?” CV: What did he say? SS: Dave [Severns] said that you’re the man and the best teacher MSJ’s ever had for the past 25 years. ▪

feat. Masta A & Docta J Track 8 : “say what you want”

By Joseph Teng & Anthony Wu Sports Editors

The Issue Dismissed by the media, failed to meet criteria, Sacked by the media, image infected like bacteria. Didn’t get to step out on the football field, Critics looking to use him as a human shield. Hoping that he’ll fail even before he gets the chance to shine But he’s thinkin’ I want it forever, forever mine. Give him a chance to throw off expectations, Unhindered, able to play with no limitations. Can you see him? Have you see him? Turn your high beams on. You might be missing the picture; just one moment and he’s gone. On to become the next superstar, you might have jumped too quick To assume that one so low couldn’t become the very best pick. Docta’s Diagnosis It is obvious that there is an incredible difference in level between college sports and professional leagues. Those who shine in the NCAA have often flunked out or been “baptized” in pro sports. So, we can understand if people believe that college stars might underperform in the pros. Yet, some people have completely dismissed certain stars and their performances. They have been struck with the disease that automatically discounts and disrespects top prospects, predicting them as total failures. This mental infection is called dismissivemania. Masta’s Analysis With the intensity of a league like the NFL comes the demand for postseason victories on a yearly basis. When teams don’t live up to such expectations, they use the draft to change their fortunes. But some fans and experts contract dismissivemania and unfairly deem draftees as not worthy of being picked. This year’s poster victim of dismissivemania is undoubtedly former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Although Tebow will be remembered

as one of the most special players in college football history, his future in the pros is uncertain. The NFL is a different kind of animal, and Tebow’s unorthodox skill set may prevent him from being able to handle it. But many people have gone overboard, immediately declaring Tebow a bust and even blasting the way he values Christianity. I hope to see Tebow flourish with the Denver Broncos, who believed in his work ethic enough to draft him earlier than expected. It may take a few years, but he should be given time to prove himself at quarterback or another position. After all, the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Tim Tebow is out to shove criticism back into people’s faces.

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has also recently dealt with dismissivemania. The Philadelphia Eagles disrespected his future playing ability by having the guts to ship him to the division rival Redskins. Philadelphia mistreated McNabb from the day he was drafted, despite the decade of success that he brought to the team. It will be fun to watch McNabb get his revenge by destroying the Eagles as a new member of their most hated opponents. Yeah, there’s no denying that it’s fun to predict a player’s career. It’s even more self-satisfying when those forecasts, either positive or negative, come true. But every athlete deserves a chance to show that they belong in the pros before a verdict is reached; after all, it takes tons of work and talent to get that opportunity in the first place. So, the next time you’re about to dismiss an athlete as mediocre, think this: are they for sure the next Ryan Leaf, or could they possibly become the future Tom Brady? ▪

Sports 21

play hard or go home By Amit Patankar Staff Writer

The dust is settling in the NBA as we head into the 64th postseason. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant pushed the team into the playoffs with his stellar play, averaging over 30 points. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Bobcats finally made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Although both teams have displayed remarkable talent, neither team is ready to advance. The Bobcats cannot defeat Dwight Howard and his reigning Eastern Conference champions, the Orlando Magic. The Thunder will lose to the LA Lakers simply because they aren’t strong enough to knock Kobe Bryant and his crew off the number one spot. In the first round, every higher seeded team will win. The Eastern Conference will then sport two excellent matchups. The Boston Celtics will face the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by superstar LeBron James. With the addition of Antawn Jamison, the Cavs will have too much for what has now become the Celtics’ Big Four with point guard Rajan Rondo. In the other match-up, the Atlanta Hawks will face the Magic. Although esPn.Com the Hawks have shown their potency when contending with top teams, Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Vince Carter will pull the team through a grueling series. The Western Conference will pit the Lakers against the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony exploded this year, but the Nuggets do not have nearly as much talent as the Lakers do. Chauncey Billups and Anthony will be fighting

against a lethal combination of superstar Bryant, Pau Gasol, and the enforcer Ron Artest. The Lakers will take the series, but the scrappy Nuggets won’t lose without a tough fight. The interesting games will happen between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. With veterans Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki leading the team, the Mavericks have enough to take on Amare Stoudemire and his Suns. They will win the series if they can find a way to stop Stoudemire in the paint - this is easier said than done as his pick-and-roll combination with Steve Nash is unstoppable. In the two conference finals, the Cavaliers will play the Magic and the Lakers will face up against the Mavericks. After many close games, the Cavs and the Lakers will earn themselves a trip to the Finals. Bryant will look to stay at the top, backed up by his supporting cast that shares his passion for another championship, while LeBron fights for his first league title. If the Lakers are able to overcome the problems with their team chemistry and contain the King to the best of their abilities, they will repeat last year’s victory. But LeBron has a lot of help, so definitely expect one of the greatest battles in Finals history. At the end of the day, the Lake Show will be the one show left on air and Kobe will earn his fifth ring that will put him ahead in his race against Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal and allow him to taunt LeBron more in those familiar Nike commercials. “LeBron, have you seen my five championship rings?” Editors’ Note: These predictions were made at the beginning of the first round and are prone to inaccuracy based on what actually happens. ▪

The Smoke Signal

Friday, April 30, 2010

BOYS’ TENNIS Coming off a season in which they won NCS and made NorCal semifinals, Boys’ Tennis is looking to match that success this year. Even with the loss of five seniors, they finished the regular season 17-1 and were dominant in league play, winning all of their games. On April 22, the team took on Newark in hopes of continuing their streak. The Cougars didn’t provide much challenge as the team easily won all of their matches 7-0. With MVALs ahead, the boys hope to continue their impressive performances into NCS.


This baseball season had a rocky beginning under new head coach, George Peters. MSJ played Northgate on April 16, demonstrating their potential by winning 11-6. Although the team isn’t doing as well as it had hoped to with one win against Kennedy, the players remain optimistic. They have a strong pitching staff and excellent team batting, driven by the slogan “base hits to death.” “Our coach constantly reminds us of our immense amount of talent this year and the only way we can lose is by beating ourselves,” said Junior Chris Gaines. The team hopes to make it to playoffs but are trying to focus on each game as it comes.


Despite losing both coaches and seven seniors last year, the Softball team started the season off hopeful. Led by new coach Steve Thompson, the girls are determined to prove that they won’t lose without a fight. Their toughest game was on March 1 against Logan. Although they lost 9-1, they led 1-0 up until the fifth inning after Junior Captain Priyanka Singh drove in a run with a triple. The team hopes to make a comeback in league and place higher than predicted. “A lot of teams underestimated us, and we have and will keep showing them how far we have come,” said Singh.

By Grace Han, Arthur Jeng, Audrey Wu & Cassie Zhang Staff Writers

22 Sports

TRACK AND FIELD The team started off the season with a win against Kennedy and a difficult meet against league powerhouse Newark Memorial. Both Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity lost, but the Varsity Boys drew close to a tie with the score at 67-69 and hope to defeat the Cougars next year. In the next meet, MSJ defeated Irvington, leaving the team with two victories and one loss. After the meets against Logan and American, MSJ had a record of three wins and two losses. With one more dual meet against Washington left, the team looks to reach its peak and be in top shape for MVALs.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Smoke Signal

Sports 23


On April 1, the Badminton team beat their league rival, Newark Memorial. In a highly anticipated matchup, Senior Jesse Wu defeated Newark Memorial’s Dexter Vu in three games. Overall, Mission won 16-1 against their rival. MSJ also won their next four match-ups to bring their record to 10-0. Though the team lost a lot of top varsity seniors last year and will have eight graduates this year, it continues to assert its dominance in tournaments and school games. One game remains for the regular season, and despite having a 100+ win streak, the team will not let their guard down. MSJ will compete in MVALs on May 11-13 and NCS on May 22.


After reaching the NCS championship game last year in what was their best season ever, the Boys’ Volleyball team hasn’t lost a step as they look to repeat with a similar finish this year. So far in the season, the team has done just that, winning every game except one early preseason loss to top-seeded Foothill. They have also placed third in both the Pirate Invitational and Gold Division of the Northgate Invitational earlier this season. In a league matchup versus American on April 15, the squad easily defeated the Eagles 3-0 in a game that was truly an all-around effort. Every player contributed to the win and Junior Zaki Sarwary led the team with five kills.


To no surprise, MSJ’s renowned swimming team has remained undefeated since the start of the season, easily dominating the other schools in the pool. With its victory against Irvington on April 23, the team strives to maintain its winning streak and to carry on its success by winning the league championships once again. However, the season is not over yet, as they have one more dual meet against Washington today, April 30. The team will definitely be ready to perform at MVALs two weeks from now on May 14 and May 15.


The Boys’ Golf team ended its season with 3 wins and one loss. They lost their first match against Irvington, but they bounced back and won their next three contests. The team had its first day of MVALs on April 15. Junior Captain Kevin Ohkura played exceptionally well for MSJ, scoring 74, the lowest score of the tournament. At the end of the day, MSJ and rival Irvington were tied. On the second day, though Sophomore Captain Ian Dickeson put on an impressive effort with a score of 76, MSJ was unable to hold off Irvington. The team ended up second and will go to South Qualifiers on May 3.

laYoUt CreateD BY staFF writers graCe han anD Cassie Zhang; PiCtUres BY staFF writers graCe han, arthUr Jeng, ginger werner, aUDreY wU, stePhenie YUan, Cassie Zhang & JorDan Zhang anD CoUrtesY oF YearBook

24 Photo



The Smoke Signal


Friday, April 30, 2010


Warriors at Play Charity Badminton Tournament

Key Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual tournament encouraged students to play badminton as a way to raise money for the Pediatric Trauma Program. a. Seniors Kevin Nguyen and Jesse Chang pose after their excellent performance. b. Sophomore Chris Chan gets ready for a solid serve. c. Junior Gary Wong prepares to smash the birdie.



3 vs 3 Basketball Tournament

Leadership II gathered basketball players of all skill levels to raise funds for upcoming sporting events and Athlete of the Season awards. a. Junior Kevin X. Liu shoots the basketball for a beautiful three- pointer. b. Sophomore Shray Bansal tries to dribble past the defender.


Multicultural Week

photos by staff writers sarah li, sloka gundala, gurleen chadha, aileen lu, jamie lin, megan mclaughlin, ravneet kaur, chelsea dass, jordan zhang, amit patankar, cassie zhang, vishal yadav

& graphics editor elisa ting

The Smoke Signal Vol. XLV No. 8  
The Smoke Signal Vol. XLV No. 8  

The April (2010) of the Smoke Signal