Page 1



January 21, 2011


Band members English project takes off honored By Sarah Li Graphics Editor

MSJ music students have once again been invited to participate in a variety of honor bands through-

By Frank Chen and Alekya Rajanala Staff Writers

it work very hard.” Local A large number of MSJ students are sent each year to the FUSD High School Honor Band and the Alameda County Honor Band, and

high school curriculums across the nation. Geers and Moore have attended

about the pilot program and decide if they wanted to participate. Moore and Geers believed that this proj-

staff writer alekya rajanala

Sophomores Aishwarya Thakur, Rachel Chang, Jubilee Cheung, Rebecca Wang, and Anita Alem discuss their project in Geers’ class..

graphics editor cassie zhang

State Honor Band members. Top row, left to right: Grace Wu, 9, Garrett Chan,10, Alex Qin, 11, Stephen Eng, 11, Thomas Feng, 11, Lindsay Kageyama, 10, Amy Huang, 9, Sarah Au, 10. Second row, left to right: Khanh Nguyen, 10, Maki Tohmon, 10, Mindy Lai, 11, Justine Liang, 11. Not pictured: Michael Liu, 10.

out the state. Highly talented high school musicians from across California were selected through live and recorded auditions. Of the honor bands, Music Director Monica Kraft says, “They’re good opportunities for students to play a wide variety of music and work with esteemed conductors. It’s inspiring to play different music with great players. Each year, we keep sending more people, and we’re seeing more and more student involvement. Students who want to do

this year is certainly no exception. After live auditions and weeks of rehearsals, the FUSD High School Honor Band will perform at the Ohlone College Smith Center on Saturday, February 5 at 7:30 pm ($7 admission), while the Alameda County Honor Band will perform at the Chabot Performing Arts Center on Sunday, January 30 at 3:00 pm. State

See BAND, NEWS Page 2

English Teachers Katherine Geers and Jennifer Moore’s sophomore students are currently participating in a pilot program that is co-directed by the non-profit organizations Facing History and Ourselves and Voice of Witness. This project may be featured in the Smithsonian Museum of Washington, D.C. later this year. The purpose of Facing History and Ourselves is to help give educators the resources to teach students about concepts such as human rights crises, human behavior, and narrative history. Voice of Witness is an organization that serves as a platform for oppressed or unheard voices to be recognized. Together, they aim to integrate the importance of oral narrative history into

several literature and human rights workshops hosted by Facing History and Ourselves. They were nominated to take part in a conference at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Their involvement in this and other programs led to an invitation for them to hear

staff writer alekya rajanala

Sophomores Priya Sunderenan and Arthi Rao discuss the pilot project.

ect is a great opportunity for their students, and they agreed to take part while “being the guinea pigs.” Based on the results, the students’ work and feedback will be used for developing a curriculum for other teachers across the country to refer to. According to Geers, the main reason behind their choice to participate in this program was the chance for their students to be able to make a human connection with another individual by listening to his or her story. This method, in her opinion, outweighs the intense behind-the-scenes work involved in shuffling the curriculum and work-


Arizona shooting shocks nation By Maya Ramachandran Staff Writer

On Jan. 8, 2011, gunman Jared Lee Loughner allegedly targeted Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic congresswoman for the Eighth District of Arizona, outside a supermarket in Tucson, AZ. Despite misdemeanor drug charges and supposed mental instability, Loughner was able to purchase a Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol and fire 31 shots in the midst of Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” meet-and-greet with her constituents. Among the six people who succumbed to the gunshot wounds were federal judge John Roll, Giffords’ staffer Gabe Zimmerman, and nine-year-old Christina Green. The congresswoman was shot through the head, but she is showing signs of recovery. Loughner’s rampage, although tragic, raises

Six people were fatally shot in Tucson. Clockwise from upper left: Christina Green, 9; Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; Phyllis Schneck 79; John Roll, 63.

January 26-28

See SHOOTING, NEWS Page 2 January 31

February 1

photo courtesy yearbook

Class registration changes for 2011-12 school year By Sloka Gundala Staff Writer,

Representative Gabrielle Giffords, above, was shot by Jared Loughner, below.

February 14

• Final Exams • Semester 2 begins • PRAA meeting • Valentine’s 12:10 pm release • Minimum Day 6:30-8 pm Day

Students stacking four or five Advanced Placement (AP) and/ or Honors courses are not rare at MSJ. However, this can result in burnout, stress, and a sinking grade point average in their senior, junior, and occasionally sophomore years. Stressed Out Students (SOS) has decided to implement a new method to make picking classes a little bit easier.SOS

asked every department chair to survey teachers about the amount of time it takes to get a passing grade in the class. These times will then be averaged and a datasheet will be sent home as part of students’ registration packets. The parent and student will then have to sign off on the student’s class choices, which forces them to look at how much time


2 News

News in Brief Sudan split to be voted on The necessary number of voters for the referendum of independence of South Sudan from its northern counterpart was reached when 60 percent of citizens of South Sudan came out for the vote. The vote, which began January 9 and extended to January 15, is to determine whether North and South Sudan will become separate countries. Concerns have been raised about the safety of this split, which will leave the South with plentiful natural resources and the North with one of the most maligned governments in history.

The Smoke Signal

Friday, January 21, 2011

a shattered economy and a failing financial system. Since then, at least 11.5 million people are underemployed and unemployment rates are nearing 10 percent, a shocking increase compared to the 7.4 percent at the start of Obama’s term. This proves the ineffectiveness of his $787 billion stimulus plan, comprised of tax cuts and government spending on infrastructure, that was supposed to create more jobs. The

Healthcare Reforming healthcare was one of Obama’s largest goals throughout his campaign. Last March, his historic health care bill was finally passed. When the bill takes effect in 2014, it will require Americans to be covered by a minimum level of health insurance. It will cover nearly 32 million more Americans, nearly a 95 percent coverage rate in the US. However, these reforms will be another costly

Obama’s Semester Report Card

By Omar El-Sadany and Jonathon Teng Staff Writers

Exactly two years have passed since President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Since, Americans have experienced many changes, some positive and some less so. As the new Congress settles in, the Smoke Signal analyzes how Obama’s plans and promises have fared.

made, the effect of his efforts remains to be seen as more fiscally conservative Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.

The War When Obama entered office in January 2009, the US had been engaged in the war in Iraq for six years. The war divided the nation; everyone held different opinions on how best to address the situation.,, graphics editors sarah li and cassie zhang

Pro-separation activists hold signs and chant slogans in southern Sudan.

Bill approved in eliminating death row in Illinois On Jan. 11, 2011, state lawmakers in Illinois voted to end the death penalty in Illinois. However, it is up to Democratic Governor Patrick Quinn whether the bill will be passed or not. If the bill is passed, Illinois will join 15 other states without capital punishment. The Senate approved 32 out of 35 votes to pass the ban and the State House, dominated by the Democrats, approved with a 60-to-54 vote.

Public Education Among Obama’s primary concerns during his 2008 presidential campaign was the deterioration of the public education system. On his campaign website, Obama stated, “We need to stop paying lip service to public education, and start holding communities, administrators, teachers, parents and students accountable.” His goals included improving elementary, middle and high school systems and making education after high school more affordable. To date, Obama has been reasonably successful. With passage of the health care reform bill in March 2010 (which contained legislation concerning education reform), almost $68 billion dollars were diverted to areas including community colleges and federal scholarships. Obama also created Race to the Top, a program that allows states to compete for funds for K-12 schools. Despite the progress Obama has

While campaigning, Obama made it clear that his vision for the Middle East included ending the war responsible and refocusing attention on more “critical challenges in the broader region.” Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have created a foreign policy based on diplomacy and building a democratic Middle East. So far, Obama has been true to his promises; he pulled all combat troops out of Iraq before September 2010. This has not signaled the end of US presence in the Iraq, however, as troops still remain in the country in diplomatic and advisory roles. Additional troops have been transferred into Afghanistan, leaving many citizens wondering if America will ever leave the Middle East. The Economy Ever since Inauguration Day, Obama had to face national challenges; foremost among them were

main problem behind the deficiency is that jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries. Obama also attributed the crippled economy to the failure of the bank system. His multi-trillion dollar bailout for the nation’s largest banks provided a margin of profit that fortified them with more power and enough money to pay off their debts. Recently, Obama named William Daley, former commerce secretary, as his new chief of staff and former budget director Jacob Lew as his budget director, both of whom served former President Bill Clinton. During Clinton’s management, the US had its longest economic expansion in US history; gross domestic product grew by one-third and more than 18 million jobs were added to the US work force. With these new members added to Obama’s administration, hopefully similar results will be produced.

extension to the government. As a result, the Republican Party is preparing to repeal Obama’s health care law, with many members deeming it “unconstitutional,” as it forces American citizens to purchase health care insurance. The Office of Management said that this repeal “would explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.” Obama has worked hard to cover the majority of the Americans, but in the process, it will cause the cost of healthcare to increase drastically. Even though the law has been passed, it remains to be seen what the Republican Party will do to hinder the law and if Obama’s health care reform will help or harm the country. ▪

continued from page 1

formance schedule includes pieces both classical and contemporary from prominent composers such as Leonard Bernstein (“Mambo” from West Side Story) and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (“Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture”). The Northern California Band Association (NCBA) hosted the All-Northern High School Honor Band earlier this month, which took place at San Joaquin Delta College from January 14-16 and featured 19 MSJ students. Structured similarly to the CBDA Honor Bands, All-Northern Honor Band students attended seating auditions, two full days of rehearsal, and a concluding concert on Sunday, January 16. ▪

SHOOTING | National tragedy BAND | Students fill honors bands continued from page 1

It is up to Quinn to decide whether Illinois will continue to send people to death row.

Human trafficking conference to be held in Fremont On January 21 and 22, more than 30 local, national, and international organizations fighting human trafficking will gather for the Freedom Summit 2011 at Harbor Light Church in Fremont. The conference seeks to raise awareness of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people that are illegally trafficked across state borders each year. Guest speakers will include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Not For Sale Campaign President David Batstone, and Lt. John Vanek of the San Jose Police Department. For more information about the event, visit

The goal of this year’s Freedom Summit is to bring the Bay Area’s attention to human trafficking. COMPILED BY STAFF WRITERS OMAR EL-SADANY, ALLAN KO, AND JONATHON TENG

Daniel Hernandez, Giffords’ intern, stands beside Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at a memorial service. Hernandez is credited with saving Giffords’ life.

some important questions about the connection between mental illness and the purchase of firearms. According to the Gun Control Act of 1968, people diagnosed with mental conditions are barred from buying weapons. Federal law also prevents former drug users from owning a gun. However, Loughner’s expulsion from college for unsettling behavior and failure to join the military due to drug problems did not show up on a perfunctory check of his public record, allowing him to legally buy a gun in Arizona. Arizona is one of the few states, unlike California, that allows people to carry concealed weapons, so gun-control advocates have been using the shooting as evidence of the easy accessibility of the purchase of weapons. The Tucson shooting also raises questions about Loughner’s motives for allegedly attacking Giffords, a Democratic congresswoman who voted in favor of the health care bill and gun control, opposing her Republican constituents’ views. Some attribute Loughner’s alleged actions to political motives, inspired by the vitriolic rhetoric and violent imagery

with which politicians from both parties have penetrated the mainstream media all over the country. Sarah Palin’s picture of a map with crosshairs targeting specific districts to defeat has been used as an example where one political party uses a violent metaphor while speaking about another party. Although not directly responsible for Loughner’s assassination attempt, the angry imagery used by opposing political parties has created a tense and fearful atmosphere. Capitol security officials report that, in the past year, threats against members of Congress have tripled in this strained environment. Usually, the shock of national tragedy brings the country together, united in collective grief. However, some comments in the aftermath of the shooting, polarized the country along party lines. President Barack Obama traveled to Tucson to offer his condolences to the victims of the shooting. In an eloquent speech, President Obama reminded the country to “usher in more civility in our public discourse” and to speak “…in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” ▪

Hosted in Fresno, the California Band Directors Association’s (CBDA) 54th annual All-State Convention will take place on February 17-20, and feature 15 MSJ students in the All-State High School Honor Bands. At the start of the four-day convention, concert band and orchestra students will take part in an evening of blind seating auditions, after which concert band students will be sorted into three groups (Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony). Students will then attend two full days of rehearsal, concluding with a day of concerts on February 20. The per-

for the december 16, 2010 issue

• On News page 1, “Inside MSJ: Bullying,” 1,405 students were surveyed. • On News page 3, Graphics Editor Cassie Zhang’s name was truncated. • On Opinion page 5, Staff Writer Ginger Werner took photographs. • On Photo page 12, Aaron Yang is a junior. • On Sports page 12, Staff Writer Connor Williams took photographs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

PROJECT | MSJ sophomore projects to be featured in Smithsonian continued from page 1 ing to include new lesson plans. The students are following steps similar to the steps that Facing History and Ourselves and Voice of Witness take when they create their books, which contain narratives based on personal stories. In order to make the planning portion easier for the students, Geers and Moore

person. Mrs. Moore and I like the aspect of writing and editing a narrative based on the person’s story, and also the creative aspect which involves producing a final project. And of course, the fact that our students are learning to be gracious and respectful while interacting with adults—that is an added bonus.” Since this program is relatively

“ [The students] may be inspiring thousands of teachers, if not more, to do the same thing.”

-Jennifer Moore, English Teacher

created a timeline that students must strictly follow. The students, working alone or in groups of up to four, located an interviewee and conducted an interview. By the beginning of January, students had already finished transcribing their interview and editing it into a narrative that honors the interviewee and faithfully tells his or her story. By the end of first semester, students will have turned in their final project, which may be a song, poem, video, graphic novel, or another appropriate venue that recounts the interviewee’s story. When asked about what skills her students are gaining from participating in this project, Geers said, “[The project] teaches them everything from how to listen, really listen, to an individual, to how to record, to transcribe, and to edit an interview accurately while still honoring the

new for the students (and teachers), some have been overwhelmed by the process and the work. Geers says, “I am so thankful that my students have been very forgiving about the fact that I don’t have all the answers to their questions regarding the project. They understand that this is a pilot project,

By Nihar Parikh Staff Writer In November, Fremont voted to support FUSD schools by passing Measure K with an overwhelming 70 percent majority. The measure created a $53-per-parcel tax on Fremont residents to be used within FUSD that could not be taken away by the state. The parcel tax, a type of local qualified property tax, covers approximately 63,000 parcels within the city. The recent economic downturn and national budget crisis hit the school system the hardest, especially in California. FUSD’s budget has steadily decreased yearby-year, with a $15 million drop for the 2010-11 school year. As a result, staffing has fallen from 1,658 employees in 2008 to 1,487. Schools and their programs are receiving less money as the district spent conservatively, hoping to avoid a major deficit. Nevertheless, the district has been forced to withdraw millions from its limited reserves each year. The parcel tax is expected to raise a total of almost $17 million over a span of five years after it is implemented in 2012. The money is aimed towards maintaining math, science, reading and writing programs, keeping school libraries open, supporting classroom/learning technology,

staff writer alekya rajanala

Sophomores Aaron Liu, Christopher Cai, Brian Sun, Brennon Ng, and Alvin Zhou compare research. The projects are due at the end of January.

which means this is the first time it is being done. We’re all in unknown waters together right now.” Cliff Mayotte, the educational program director of Voice of Witness, describes how the pilot program educates students. “Oral history nourishes empathy, which in turn motivates students to engage with their communities and to connect with issues and narratives from around the world.” Mayotte, as well as Moore and Geers, hopes that the pilot program will teach students to

staff writer alekya rajanala

maintaining college and workforce preparation programs, and retaining qualified teachers. None of the money will be used to pay administrators. Although just a small percentage of the district budget, many feel it will be beneficial. “When it comes to the difference between keeping libraries open, it’s not a drop in the bucket,” Superintendent Jim Morris said. School Board Trustee Ivy Wu said, “We do have a lot of challenges. We do the best we can. A lot of changes are not within our control. The $3.3 million is not a lot but it does reflect a group effort. The parcel tax gives us an opportunity to reach out to the community and work together.” It is unclear how much of news editor gurleen chadha this money will reach MSJ and what it will be used for, but the general consensus is that the money made from the tax will be valuable to the school. Mission Possible President Martha Kreeger said, “We were one of only two districts in California to pass a law like this—I think that’s really impressive.” Voters in Fremont showed that they support measures to sustain the city’s educational quality, even if it comes out of their pocket. Only time will tell what effect this will have on the city and its school system. ▪


Registration changes continued from page 1

Sophomores Mahima Goel and Apoorva Dornadula work together during class.

Measure K aids FUSD schools

News 3

be active citizens in their community and to realize that everyone has a voice that deserves to be heard. As the final stage is starting to come into place, Moore and Geers have high hopes about the project that their students have been working on for the past few months. Moore says, “I think the goal of this is for it to go nationwide eventually. I think it is pretty exciting that it is starting so small right here at Mission and [the students] may be inspiring thousands of teachers, if not more, to do the same thing.” The pilot program at MSJ and other schools in the Bay Area, if successful, will become one of the examples that teachers and students alike will follow in the future. The students are currently finishing up their final projects, which will be turned in on January 25. Regarding the future of the pilot program, Moore said, “It’s all trial and error; you do it one year, and you have to figure out what you can do differently next year. But I think this program is going to go big.” ▪

will really be devoted to each class the next year. SOS, administrators, counselors, and department chairs want to stress that the times are a rough estimate, and will vary from student to student based on their studying habits and the grade they want to achieve. When asked whether the new system will help, AP US History teacher Bill Jeffers said “Eighty percent of students come into my class well aware of how difficult the class is.Twenty percent don’t, but most of them adjust. However, I think if a student really wants to do an AP, he or she will take the class and won’t mind the effort it takes to be successful.” The goal is ultimately to help students make informed decisions regarding their classes and understand the huge amount of time and effort they have to spend if they overload themselves with Honors and AP classes. Junior Charlotte Miller, Publicity Manager of SOS, said “It’s not so much stopping kids from taking too many APs, although we hope it discourages it, but helping everyone realize how much time this will really take them, and if they can handle it. That way they don’t find themselves in a tough situation the following year.” ▪

4 Opinion


Smoke Signal

Mission San Jose High School Est. 1964 Vol. 46, No. 5 | January 21, 2011

41717 Palm Ave. Fremont, CA 94539 (510) 657-3600 Editors-in-Chief Alissa Gwynn, Elisa Ting News Gurleen Chadha, Megan McLaughlin Opinion Roger Chen, Arthur Jeng Feature Sonia Dhawan, Audrey Wu Centerspread Aileen Lu, Tina Tseng A&E Vishal Yadav, Jordan Zhang Sports Grace Han, Amit Patankar Graphics Sarah Li, Cassie Zhang Web Mary Lan, Richie Zeng Tech Vaishaal Shankar, Kevin Zhai Business Ravneet Kaur Circulation Matt Farberov Fundraising Stephenie Yuan Marketing Jamie Lin Ads Rebecca Dutta, Joy Xu Events Chelsea Dass, Mekala Neelakantan, Diya Roy

Writers & Photographers

Vishal Bajpai, Ditha Balaji, Leland Bernstein, Anthony Chen, Frank Chen, Sloka Gundala, Andrew Han, Savina Khangura, Allan Ko, Sida Lu, Edward Nguyen, Nihar Parikh, Alekya Rajanala, Maya Ramachandran, Omar El Sadany, Sanjna Shukla, Courtney Tam, Jonathon Teng, Aishwarya Thakur, Angie Wang, Ginger Werner, Connor Williams, Ellie Wong, Michael Wu, Alice Zalan

Advisor 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.

Roger That Getting a Fresh Start

One more week until we hit second semester. One more week until a fourth of this school loses their motivation to study. Pity it could have started a month early; then I would have really been looking forward to this new year. We currently start school at the end of August, experience a weeklong break in November and two weeks off in December, then have our finals during the last week of January. On the other hand, a number of other schools, such as Harker and Lynbrook, start school in mid August, have the same breaks as we do, but conclude the semester before winter break. The winter break should live up to its name: a break and nothing else, giving students time to hit the slopes at Tahoe or head down to Cancun without the pressure of oncoming finals. Students should have the opportunity for a well-deserved rest rather than a two week hiatus from school to catch up on work and study for finals. Not only that, it’s hard enough to get back into the mojo of studying after the break, even without finals coming up. Even as I am writing this article, I blearily rub my eyes as I think about the sleep I had been getting throughout the winter break. It’s been four weeks already, and I’m still not back in a working mood yet. Aside from granting us a better break, readjusting the schedule would solve the quintessential problem for AP teachers: what to do after AP testing. Despite the projects assigned, being the typical

Friday, January 21, 2011

get Jengky with it New Congress, Old Habits By Arthur Jeng

By Roger Chen Opinion Editor

The Smoke Signal

Mission students we are, we start off the year with anywhere between four to six APs, and once those two weeks of exams are over, we’re left with four to six free periods for us to improve our actions per minute score and learn some new card games. If first semester concluded at the end of December, the dead month after AP testing would be eliminated, and students would get to start off their summer a month early instead of pretending to work in the classroom. The only downside to this entire plan is that the annual Starcraft LANs would have to move to someone’s house instead of being hosted in the most convenient classroom. For this to work out, school should start about three weeks earlier, in the middle of August, that month of summer where we sit at home in front of a computer killing time on Facebook. For those of you who say that August is for going to visit relatives in Taiwan, China, or India, chances are you’re also spending your time in front of a computer killing time on Facebook. Students would then able to go on summer break by midMay, giving friends more time to hang out before everyone heads their separate ways, whether it be to intern at universities across the nation or going on vacation in the Carribean. Students should be able to go on break with peace of mind, able to do anything they want without being hindered by scholarly obligations. ▪ Send letters to the editor to

Opinion Editor

The GOP recently consummated one of their most salient campaign promises. Beginning with the 122th Congress, new bills will be required to cite “as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.” In other words, the constitutional authority for Congress to pass a bill must be identified by the sponsor of the bill. Adhering to the noble roots of politics, the new law manages to contradict itself and its goals. The law, known as the Constitutional Authority Statement, was passed to guide America back within the Constitution’s sentiments. Reckless spending and value of international politics over domestic anxieties have become especially noticeable this past decade. I agree with the GOP; the ideals of our Constitution need to be brought back, but Congress may soon find themselves in a hole. The law only weakly addresses our country’s fallacies, and its existence solidifies Congress’s admittance of its past failures. Congress has always had to consider the constitutional basis of a law; members must take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” The new law is simply a bit of early spring cleaning, tidying up previous years’ poor decision making. As expected, Congress can’t even come clean properly. Congress has always had the implied powers of the Constitution when passing or rejecting bills. The new

law, however, requires the sponsor to explicitly cite the excerpt of the Constitution that gives Congress the authority to discuss and enact the bill. Given the age of the historical document, it could very well be that the constitutional authority to allow discussing the bill is vague. Our elected politicians will debate over the constitutional authority to debate a bill. I doubt two de’s make a do. To make this hole a little deeper, the powers of determining whether a law is unconstitutional or not is reserved for the Judicial Branch. While the bill would be in the jurisdiction of the Legislative Branch, Congress is essentially taking power away from the courts. The Judicial Branch would still have the final decision once the bill is to become law, but the two branches are essentially arguing over the exact same matter. If this bill gives any indication for the political progress of 2011, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. At best, the bill lets America know that Congress is trying to get back on track with the Constitution. But, the strings attached to the Constitutional Authority Statement keeps the new law from having any real effect. Congress should be putting our tax dollars to better use. The economy is supposedly improving, but times are still as tough as ever. On the flipside, if Congress digs this hole deep enough, they might find some help in China. ▪ Send letters to the editor to

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

EDITORIAL: MSJ infrastructure

sorely in need of renovation The Opinion of the Smoke Signal Editorial Board Ask any student or teacher about their experiences with technology at MSJ, and their answers are likely to be negative. Whether it’s doing research on the Internet or checking grades on iParent, users face many problems with our school’s technology. From the flotilla of nice Macs in the library to a wireless network that blankets the entire school, a number of improvements have been enacted during the last four years, but the Internet connection remains more or less the same as it was four years ago. The district is cited as having at least a T1 connection, which is on average much faster than the Internet in our homes, but both students and teachers complain about the sluggish Internet. Let’s do the math: a test run from a Smoke Signal computer during a work day on Saturday indicated that the approximate bandwidth available was 20 megabits per second, enough to download a full length movie (800 megabytes) in a little under six minutes. Diluted among the forty-two schools in the district, the Internet slows to a crawl, with students spending much of their time waiting for pages to load instead of completing Internet based research. Although the same test, run during the middle of the school day, resulted in an acceptable download speed of 1 megabit per second, the upload speed of 0.01 megabit per second means that requests leaving the school take much longer to process. Part of the blame can be attributed to the firewall, which web sites are forced to pass through in order to filter out sites deemed inappropriate, such as social networking sites or pornographic content. However, just how useful is the firewall in preventing unauthorized usages? Plenty of students and even teachers use proxies dai-

ly to circumvent the firewall, whether it be to post to a blog or access educational material deemed “inappropriate.” If anything, the firewall is an annoyance, not only to to the teachers who have discovered how YouTube can function as a learning tool but also to frustrated parents and students whose emails were filtered by the district firewall as “spam”. We cannot ignore the reality: we attend a school where new equipment and software is loaded onto an aging infrastructure that cannot handle the demands of a twenty-first century education. Despite persistent complaints from people on all levels of the educational ladder, nothing appears to have been done to rectify the problems. The Internet at MSJ remains as sporadic as ever, and even when it does work, the trigger-happy firewall renders enormous chunks of the Internet inaccessible. The wireless network, which was shut down last March, remains closed to students despite plans to enact the laptop program during the 2011-12 year. The district should lay out a plan for renovating the network infrastructure. For example, some local network problems can be resolved by replacing linked hubs with a single switch to achieve a more efficient distribution of bandwidth. Bandwidth allocations to each school, if they exist, should be recalculated to better reflect the number of users on each network. Nearly all school computers incorporate a local firewall of some sort, which makes the district level firewall redundant. The firewall should either be completely overhauled to be more discriminatory in the content blocked or it should be eliminated altogether. The school’s computer infrastructure is clearly unable to support the number of current users, and the problems will only continue to persist as more and more users are added to the network. The district needs to address the school’s aging infrastructure, which is a source of headaches for many users and is clearly unprepared for the influx of laptop program participants expected in the coming year. ▪

Opinion 5

Unwarranted Elitism By Anthony Chen Staff Writer

We often hear about being shielded from the “harsh realities” of the world outside MSJ by the bubble of relative affluence we live in. But one aspect that most people fail to point out is that we’re not the only ones sitting on this academic throne. There are many other high schools that are of equal or higher caliber, and there are countless individuals who are just like the students at MSJ. The Mission Bubble has created a false sense of superiority and complacency. We continuously receive boosts to our collective ego in the form of a nonstop barrage of awards and accomplishments; it was only during the last school year that MSJ was ranked as the 36th best high school in the US. Our Academic Performance Index (API) has been steadily rising: in 2008 it was 931 (out of 1000), in 2009 it rose to 948, and in 2010 it rose even more to 952. The pressure-cooker environment only contributes to the problem. When people work hard, they feel like they deserve the reward. An attitude of somewhat mild elitism has taken hold. Getting a high score on a relatively hard test now results in quite a bit of boasting, as revealed by the recent bullying survey conducted by the Smoke Signal. Academic

bullying is remarkably high at MSJ thanks to the competitive environment. Many students have complained about the condition of our campus and the dearth of funding; I have heard our academic excellence being cited as a reason to receive increased funding over and over again. It is, however, groundless elitism in that we deserve the money no more than quite a few other high schools in California. There are a number of comparable high schools in the Bay Area alone that are like MSJ in the academic arena. Lowell High School, located in San Francisco, has an API of 954, which is higher than MSJ’s. Monta Vista High School in Cupertino has an API of 943. Lynbrook High School in San Jose has an API of 939. The average SAT scores for these schools are also very similar to MSJ’s. All of these high schools, and more, have “geniuses” and are the “cream of the crop.” Just like us, they send students to top colleges including UC Berkeley- something we associate with the “Mission Culture.” It is not that staff writer frank chen students at MSJ don’t excel. We do, as evidenced by all the accolades the school has garnered over the years. We must remember, however, that hardworking, successful students abound in other places as well. MSJ may be ranked very high statistically, but the upper side of the bell curve can still fit quite a few people. ▪

MSJ Sprezzatura By Vaishaal Shankar Staff Writer

Apparently in order to fit in at Mission, I must practice this art known as “Sprezzatura” (you know, appearing effortlessly cool). The concept was simple enough, whatever I do, whenever I do it; I need to act like I don’t care. The “act” was emphasized which allows me to work hard on the inside but seem effortless on the outside. And the more effortless I seem, the cooler I’ll become. It was a lot harder to execute than I thought it would be. I had to fight my inner Asian tendencies, for example whenever the teacher would post grades it would take all my energy just to stay in my seat while everybody rushed over. At the end of class I’d casually glance at the sheet, and if I saw the expected A, I’d pretend to shrug it off and hold back my joy. But if I saw a B, I’d have to temporarily lie (temporary cause I’ll obviously bring it back up) to my friends in order to keep my aura of intelligence. At first these rules were foreign to me. I’d practice for months to no avail, and when I was just ready to quit, people started noticing me. People that I considered “cool” started talking to me. The plan had worked. Soon, things got kind of ridiculous. I was

told to become a closed book, conceal everything that I desire. I’d also have to demean myself at some points or lie about the effort I put into a piece of work to stay in the game. Within a few weeks my default reply to “how was the test” was “I failed that so hard”, and people would suddenly shower me in sympathy and respect, whereas the kid who talked about how easy it was, was ignored and hated. Even if I set the curve on the test (because I studied so hard at home) I’ d just say “wow, I didn’t study at all…” and everybody would gape in awe, like I was some sort of magical superstar. And if I failed, I’d use the same excuse, it was a win-win. This new lifestyle was working for me, I had the grades, the staff writer allan ko friends, and the status. When I told my parents about it, they flipped out. It was against every principle they ever learned they said. Hard work is supposed to be flaunted ,not hidden. The scariest thing they said was that if I kept telling everybody else I didn’t care about school, I’d soon believe it myself. I am assuming they were bluffing because it hasn’t caught up to me yet…I think. Besides, it’s more important to look cool right? Also, I wrote this article in five minutes. It’s no biggie. ▪

“You are now a Libra- sorry, you are no longer compatible with your boo.”

centerspread editor tina tseng

graphics editor cassie zhang



The Smoke Signal

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

Cooking in the cold By Mekala Neelakantan Staff Writer

Ingredients 3 cups boiling water 3 tablespoons honey 1 lemon, juiced Directions Boil the three cups of water in a saucepan. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in the honey and the lemon. Chocolate Snowballs This quick yet delicious recipe is a great way to enjoy a warm chocolate dessert that retains a visual aspect of the winter. Ingredients ¾ cup softened butter ¾ cup brown sugar 1 egg ¼ cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Directions In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Then, add in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and gradually pour into the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F° for 8-10 minutes or until tops crackle. After cooling, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes This twist on the classic comfort food is sure to leave you begging for more. It is fairly easy to make and smells delicious! Ingredients 6 cups water 1 ½ pounds peeled and cut potatoes 1 ½ tablespoon salt 1 clove of peeled garlic ¼ cup butter Black pepper Directions In a saucepan, add water, potatoes, and garlic, bringing them to a boil. Add salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes on reduced heat.Drain but retain the water and pour potatoes back into the saucepan. Add the butter and mash, periodically adding in the cooking water. ▪

In one year and out the other By Kevin Zhai Staff Writer

The first month of the New Year is almost over. You’ve made resolutions but you’re just too busy to meet your goals. The only true way to succeed in your resolutions is to set the bar low. Consider this analogy: if you put a bowling ball on a hill, it easily rolls down the hill, but takes a lot of extra effort to go up. And what do you get when you roll it to the top? You see some grass and realize you spent precious minutes of your life rolling a bowling ball up a hill. The moral here is to go with the flow. Gravity is a law of nature. Don’t break the law.

1. Follow a new diet The problem You want to lose weight and live longer, but diets are just so hard to stick to. There are so many things that can go wrong: your food scale might break or you accidentally overdose on multivitamins. What’s more, you’re only allowed to inhale the moisture from the atmosphere for hydration, and the constant hum of the refrigerator reminds you of all the wonderful food that you’ll never be able to eat again. No wonder you can’t keep it up!


Sara Jacoby, Pastry Chef By Gurleen Chadha News Editor

While the beginning of winter brings the holidays, presents, and the New Year, it soon settles into nothing more than rainy, cold weather, and an increased chance of catching the flu. Here are three warm recipes that are sure to help you survive the harsh winter months after the wrapping paper is put away and the ornaments and lights are taken down. Hot Lemonade Instead of the usual “Hot Chocolate”, this easy-to-make beverage is sure to warm you up and suppress any cold or sore throat symptoms.


Revised resolution The root of the problem lies in your motivation to diet. Why do you want to live longer? You’re just going to spend it complaining about how life was better in the old days. Why do you want to lose weight? Are you a mindless sheep just following the herd? Instead of being a puppet to the rules that society dictates, gain weight. Try to see how many bags of chips you can eat each day or time yourself on how fast you can chug two liters of soda. To get motivated, compete with your friends to see how many Twinkies you can fit in your mouth in one go.

2. Go the gym weekly The problem So you bought a gym membership and got a progress journal. But every time you go to the gym, there’s always a bunch of sweaty half-naked men grunting and flailing around heavy objects. And then there’s the suffocating carbon dioxide atmosphere in the room with all of the treadmill runners and flickering fluorescent lights. How ironic that the fitness building is actually a giant safety hazard.

Senior Sara Jacoby isn’t your typical MSJ student. While by day she takes classes like AP Spanish 5 and AP English, after school she transforms into the only dessert baker at The Rising Loafer, a local café in Pleasanton. The Smoke Signal sat down with this talented young woman to talk about her interest in the culinary arts. Smoke Signal: What got you interested in cooking? How old were you when you first started to cook? Sara Jacoby: I was 10 years old when I cooked my first full meal for my family: heart-shaped pancakes and a few side dishes for Valentine's day dinner. I loved seeing all of my creations arranged on our table, so I started reading cookbooks and looking for new inspirations. SS: What does your job at The Rising Loafer entail? How did you find out about the opening and apply for the job? SJ: I had actually gone to Pleasanton to interview for a job at a bakery around the corner from The Loafer. They told me they weren't looking for anyone, so I walked down the rest of the block. I came across The Rising Loafer, and I remembered that one of my old teachers mentioned being good friends with the owner, so I called her and set up an interview. I brought all of my food photos with me and went through each one of them with the owner. She was very impressed, and hired me right off the bat, but she hadn't mentioned what position I was being hired for. She told me that her pastry chef had just quit and she really needed someone to re-do the whole bakery section of the restaurant. She wanted me to bring all of my own recipes. I was in shock; I cried the whole way home. As of now, I'm the only dessert person at the restaurant. I have a whole display case that I'm in charge of keeping full of cakes, cookies, and brownies. Revised resolution Play video games. With the Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move, and Xbox Kinect out, there’s no reason why you can’t get a workout while also having fun. Extra points if you actually get up and move instead of thrashing your arms around while lying on the couch. By the end of the year, you’ll have the buffest thumbs in the neighborhood.

3. Learn something new every day The problem You’ve got all those test-prep books but all they’re ever used for is to keep the uneven chairs from wobbling. Sure, you know learning will be good for your future, but the future isn’t here yet, now is it? When you try to learn difficult things and fail, your self-esteem is lowered. Why take the risk? Revised resolution Truth be told, you’re probably already learning new things daily. For example, you’ve probably recently learned who your top-ten followers on Facebook are. And your friends’ Tumblrs are chock-full of knowledge just waiting to be discovered. Just think of all those lyrics you’ve memorized from the newest pop songs. Congratulations! This information is useful no matter what life throws at you. If the root of this resolution is the need to feel smarter, go onto Yahoo! Answers and laugh at the sixth-graders desperately asking for answers to math problems on the Internet.

courtesy sara jacoby

“I want to thank everyone for all of the support I've gotten, especially from my Facebook album. I never thought the photos would receive as much attention as they have, and all of the positive feedback has really encouraged me to continue.”

SS: What plans do you have for the future? What culinary schools are you applying to and how is the application process different from applying to non-culinary schools? SJ: I applied to the City College of San Francisco's Culinary and Hospitality Program. The application is definitely unique; it focuses on physical ability and ability to deal with stressful situations. Some qualifications include being able to lift and carry 40 pounds and stand for 6 hour shifts. Right now I've got my heart set on going to cooking school in Italy after I get my A.S. degree in San Francisco. Eventually I want to open my own restaurant. SS: If you had to choose between running a Michelin Star restaurant and hosting a show that taught quick and easy cooking on the Food Network, which would you pick? SJ: Michelin Star restaurant, hands down. I'd like to be known for making unique, delicious food that looks stunning on a plate. I think there's so much art and creativity that goes into making a beautiful dish, and that's something Food Network doesn't put as much emphasis on.▪

4. Make new friends The problem You want to expand your social circle and meet new people. But once again, that’s just work, work, work. Think about it: after you make new friends, you always have to ask how they’re doing. And then you have to listen and nod at their stories. And those stories always wind up leading to other stories. What is this, 60 Minutes? To top it all off, they never believe you when you say that yawning is your way of showing sympathy. Revised resolution Resolve to spend less time hanging out with Hollywood celebrities. There’s only so much clubbing an MSJ student like yourself can take. The next time Katy Perry calls for help with her new song, apologize and turn her down. 2011 is going to be all about you and doing shows with Letterman is just going to cut into your personal time. After a few weeks, check and see how many times famous people have called you. If the answer is zero, you’re on the right track.

Final Words of Motivation Remember, if you shoot for the moon and reach it, you will suffocate to death from the lack of oxygen, and if you land among the stars, their immense gravity and heat will vaporize and crush you in the cold vacuum of space. Happy New Year!▪

staff writer kevin zhai



Fremont Spotlight: Ro Khanna By Andrew Han Staff Writer

Meet Ro Khanna of Fremont. Khanna was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. This organization, which is part of the International Trade Administration, is a vital export promotion agency of the U.S. The Smoke Signal had the opportunity to interview Khanna over the phone.

The Smoke Signal SS: What do you do on a daily basis as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service? RK: I spend about half of my time on management issues. We have about five hundred employees around the country that work for me and our offices, about a $50 million budget that Congress appropriates. We’re responsible for overseeing and making sure that tax dollars are being efficiently spent and making sure that our customers or clients, which are small and medium-sized businesses, are getting the proper services that they need. SS: You played a central role in working with the Economic Development Agency to bring a grant to Fremont. What brought you to Fremont in particular? RK: The reason we brought the grant to Fremont is so we could figure out within the administration how we could help the area with new manufacturing jobs. The grant was to encourage the city to work with the local labor unions and leaders like Sharon Cornell as well as local business leaders and local elected officials to come up with a strategy of creating new manufacturing jobs for the area. If we as a nation want to lower our trade deficit, with almost 70 percent of our exports as manufactured goods, it’s critical that we grow our manufacturing base to reduce our trade deficit.

SS: Can you tell us a bit about yourself or give us a little insight into your background? RK: I went to law school at Yale [University] and came out to California, practiced intellectual property law [and] also worked with speaker [Nancy] Pelosi on issues of the innovation agenda. And then when the President won, I had the opportunity to serve at the Commerce Department as his appointee overseeing all our domestic commerce offices. SS: You practiced law prior to joining the Department of Commerce. What compelled you to join?

RK: I believe in President [Obama], and when the White House called to offer me the appointment, it was a great honor to serve him and the country. I also believe in the mission, my job, and I oversee 109 of our commerce offices around the country. I was able to work with Congressman Stark, and we were able to bring a grant to the city that helped fund a long range planning study to create new manufacturing jobs. I was able to come out to Fremont [with] the President to Solyndra about six months ago, highlighting the area’s potential to be a manufacturing hub.

Dear Diary...

SS: What kinds of projects have you been involved with as a part of the Department of Commerce? RK: I’ve been very involved in helping our offices work with small and medium-sized businesses and labor unions to meet the president’s goal of doubling exports. But locally, I was very involved in bringing the grant to Fremont. We partnered with Cal State East Bay in the Department of Commerce to create an internship program for students who are at least in college to prepare them for the global economy. We created that internship program and then I held round-tables with business and labor leaders about how we can continue to have manufacturing in the region.

Friday, January 21, 2011

SS: So a large part of your agenda is the creation and maintenance of green jobs, can you tell us a bit about your endeavors in that area? RK: Well, I would frame it broader. I would say the creation of advanced manufacturing jobs. They are jobs that require innovation, they’re jobs that require high skill, they’re jobs that require the ability to operate complex machinery, and that’s a place where we can compete. So the focus has been: how do we help create advanced manufacturing? The Silicon Valley economy is particularly wellsuited for leading in advanced manufacturing, whether that be solar, such as Solyndra or whether it be energy efficiency companies like Serious Materials, or science companies like Abaxis in Fremont which our offices have worked with, which have the latest medical technology. The point is, the Silicon Valley economy has the talented, skilled workers, dynamic unions, and businesses that can help create a new manufacturing hub. And so to the extent that our offices have worked with the Valley is because that type of advanced manufacturing company provides a model for the country. SS: You’ve also helped students prepare for the global economy. How might students at Mission do so? RK: I think that the best advice would be to, first of all, get the best education possible. We need to, in this day and age, have a deep knowledge of good writing skills, good math skills, good science skills, also to have some practical knowledge, especially if you’re going into fields that are involved in advanced manufacturing, like solar or clean technology or aerospace. It helps to have done things with your hands and actually know practical skills. So having internships in those areas would be good, and then working either with our Commerce Department for a summer, to learn about exports, or going abroad for a summer to understand the importance of overseas markets particularly in the emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), I think would be great experiences for Mission students.▪

First Semester Reflections By Angie Wang & Vishal Yadav Staff Writer and A&E Editor

Senioritis. Second Semester Seniors. While the senior class is most widely known to slack off during second semester, there are definitely going to be a few others in the mix. Second semester isn't just for seniors to enjoy. No matter what the grade level, any student can still make the most of the rest of the year. The Smoke Signal offers some insight from the perspectives of students from all grade levels.

staff writer conner williams

January 13, 2011 9:01 am All right, I think I'm finally getting the hang of this high school thing. I joined a few clubs, have a cool group of friends, and can pick out the best school lunches. But why are some kids starting to carry around books that aren't even textbooks and saying things like Barrons or Kaplan. Oh well, probably nothing I need to worry about. Great, I better head to class; the bell's about to ring. Off to the N-wing!

January 17, 2011 10:19 am A couple Bs here and there? No biggie. Second semester's almost here. So I'm spending today getting pumped about second semester instead of studying for my chem final. I mean, to give up one day's worth of chem material for a whole semester's worth of spirit and enthusiasm? I, for one, think that it's a pretty good deal.

January 19, 2011 5:49 pm So today I dropped by Walmart to pick up a couple six-packs of my favorite energy drinks in preparation for finals, but they were out of Monster energy drinks. Doesn't corporate America know to stock up on Monster during finals season? How else am I supposed to live through Dead Week? Ugh. I guess I'll check CVS tomorrow. Hm, I wonder if those 5-Hour Energy thingies would last for ten hours if I were to drink two...

January 21, 2011 8:56 am Second semester senior. Need I say more? Forget college apps, forget SATS, forget finals (just kidding, maybe); this is our time. Yeah I know, we still have some work (hello, annotations) but this Second Semester Senior thing is important too; it’s the last part of high school. I've got a plan laid out: friends, trips to SF, and going to every part of Fremont I haven't been to yet (Secret Sidewalk, anyone?). All right, Second Semester, bring it on.

January 23, 2011 12:03 pm Alrighty, almost done with first semester. On to second semester. New start, fresh leaf, whatever. I just want high school to be OVER. But senior year is approaching. College apps, more APs, SATs. I mean, I suppose I could procrastinate. But no, because I have my parents breathing down my throat, complaining that it's either the Ivy League or a measly job at McDonald's.

January 24, 2011 1:32 am Shoot, I just thought of something that's going to be a downer on that whole hangloose thing thing: college results. Yeah, we finished apps, but it was already getting tense when people started getting results from early applications. Those nervous glances at the clocks every five minutes are only going to get worse, because soon everyone will get results. But I'm not worried, I'm cool.▪

9 10 11 12

January 18, 2011 11:37 pm I've been asking around to figure out what changes there are in second semester, you know, besides just health and geography. All the sophomores and upperclassmen I know keep talking about Multicultural Week. From what I heard, it's about to be crazy. Churros, Korean barbeque, Jamba Juice... I wonder if MC Week will be able to compare to Homecoming. Well, I'll still keep up the spirit, even if I'm switching my blue t-shirt with a poncho!

January 26, 2011 7:21 pm Mom, I can explain. I mean, wouldn't you rather maintain a positive frame of mind for the rest of the year than ace a lousy chem test? No? Oh. Well, even if I end up with an 89 percent this quarter, which is technically a B+, I still have a 90 percent from last quarter, so my semester average would be an 89.5 percent, which rounds to a 90 percent, which is an A. YAY. See? I got this. What do you mean, not all teachers round?...Curses, foiled again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal



uuunexpecteduuholidays By Edward Nguyen, Savina Khangura & Diya Roy Staff Writers

The Holiday Season is over, and we are all mourning the lack of days to look forward to. However, the Smoke Signal found some unusual and somewhat crazy days that you can celebrate all year round!

january 31

national bubble wrap appreciation day Ever since we were little kids, we’ve all had an obsession with fragile packages. Not for the contents of the package, but for the bubble wrap surrounding it, of course. Bubble wrap has the power to entertain even the most studious Mission student for hours on end. We’re so addicted there’s even an app for it! Show your appreciation for the addictive packaging on January 31. You can show your love for it by popping every single pocket on a piece of bubble wrap or even playing the game on your iPhone.

april 23

Talk like shakespeare day On the 23rd day in the fourth month, The time cometh forward to pay tribute, To a man who maketh words into magic, Useith his language and taketh his words, And make them for your own. The day is Talk Like Shakespeare day, Wherein thine words shall not be normal. But shall sound like this paragraph.

july 17

February 22

Single-Tasking Day Not only is February 22 George Washington’s birthday, it’s also single-tasking day. It’s the one day in the year we are urged to stop being efficient. That’s right, close your email, Facebook, iParent, Tumblr, Missionpedia, Twitter, AIM, Oovoo, and half finished homework document. Put aside everything and do something you’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Whether it be cleaning your room, reading that awesome magazine, or just about anything you haven’t gotten around toon February 22, just do it!

may 14

national dance like a chicken day Admit it, you’ve probably rocked the Chicken dance at some point in your life. With music that seems to hypnotize dancers, you can’t help but clap four times while shaking your tail feathers. The Chicken Dance was first performed by Werner Thomas in 1963 at the Davos restaurant. This dance migrated to America during the 1970s where people couldn’t help but to bust a move. This May 14th, why not blast the Chicken Dance song in your car? It’s

august 22

March 9

get over it day Perhaps one of the rudest yet most useful days of the year, March 9 is Get Over it Day. That’s right, this is a day made solely for the purpose of “sucking it up.” Who cares about a math test, 50 pages of that boring English book to read, a science lab to write, a nagging mother on your back, and a best friend going on about how great her lack of homework is? This day is a day to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Face it, everyone’s life sucks. But guess what? It could always suck more! Move on and get over it already!”

june 17

eat your vegetables day “Remember to eat all your vegetables!”: the dreaded phrase that always got in the way of you and dessert. Everyone on the Mission campus is sure to have a horror story about vegetables to tell. Well the truth is, no matter how much tastier you may think a Big Mac is, this day could be the perfect chance to improve your diet. Why not try going vegetarian this June 17th? If that’s a bit ambitious for you, try adding a salad to dinner or make a homemade pizza with a splash of veggies.

september 5

yellow pig day

be an angel day

be late for something day

Back in the 1960s two math students at Princeton were given an assignment to analyze the properties of the number 17. After thinking about the number 17 for so long, they went a little crazy and came up with the idea of a mythical yellow pig. The yellow pig just so happened to have seventeen toes, teeth, etc. Now mathematicians in universities everywhere celebrate Yellow Pig Day by eating Yellow Pig Cake and singing Yellow Pig Carols. To join in the festivities exchange Yellow Pig gifts with your friendsers of this day!

Before you go out and buy some white wings and tape a halo above your head, this holiday doesn’t entail a costume. Be An Angel Day was created by Jayne Howard Feldman in 1993. This holiday is all about encouraging people to do random acts of kindness to help others in need. Give a compliment, offer a helping hand, or lend an ear to someone who needs it. For those who love to cook, why not bake an angel food cake for someone who’s been a bit down. Give to others and your angel is sure to come back to you!

Every year on September 5, procrastinators rejoice! For it is Be Late for Something Day. This will be an enjoyable day for the millions of us who are always finding it difficult to stay on schedule and just need an excuse to gather ourselves before arriving to appointments. Being late for things occasionally is natural and can even be tasteful! All you really have to do is be late for something. Groups and clubs of procrastination are in the process of making this date official, in the near future.

october 8

national fluffernutter day If you’ve ever eaten a Fluffernutter sandwich, you probably remember it as the yummiest memory of your childhood. National Fluffenutter Day, celebrated on October 8th, is a date honoring those delicious marshmallow peanut butter sandwiches. Originating from Somerville,Massachusetts, Marshmallow Fluff was created from a special recipe. Every year on this date, the town honors the creation with a “What the Fluff ” Festival. To celebrate this day, begin by eating a scrumptious fluffernutter sandwich!

november 21

world hello day Begin the 21st day of this month by simply greeting ten people. The annual World Hello Day demonstrates the importance of personal communication in order to preserve peace. This event has been running for 35 years and began in response to Israel’s and Egypt’s conflicts in 1973. Since then, over 30 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have acknowledged the value of World Hello Day as an “instrument for preserving peace” and as an event that makes it possible for anyone in the world to participate in.

december 21

look on the bright side day On December 21st, we hope you see the light on Look on the Bright Side Day. This is the shortest and one of the cloudiest days of the year, so we hope you stay optimistic. Today, look on the positive side of those bad situations. Do winter activities with family and friends to brighten this day! Don’t imagine the glass as half empty; it’s actually half full of delicious milk to go with those Christmas cookies.,,,,,,,,,


M-LIST 10 Centerspread

MSJ is not your average run-of-the-mill school. Sure, we excel in academics, but we also have a variety of cool trends and facts that many people are not aware of. From the hippest cars to the oddest hall passes, MSJ is definitely a unique place to be.


Awkward and hilarious classroom moments are a daily occurrence at MSJ. Here are a few of the top stories of amusing, albeit uncomfortable, situations from around campus.

Beware of flatulence while exercising!

“When students fart during sit-ups, I suggest they exhale out of their mouths in the future, and never forget that going up in exhaling and going down in inhaling.” P.E. Teacher Linda Campana

“When Mrs. Campana’s class sings her ‘Happy Birthday’ because Mr. Vaz tells them it’s her birthday.” P.E. Teacher Julia Madsen “Mr. Vaz tells them twice a week! If it really was my birthday that much, I’d be about 97 by now.” P.E. Teacher Linda Campana

Friday, January 21, 2011

Centerspread 11


By Joy Xu Staff Writer

By Aishwarya Thakur Staff Writer

By Allan Ko Staff Writer

By Chelsea Dass Staff Writer

The hipster movement idealizes “individualism”, upholding that the unusual is cool and mainstream consumers deserve to be shamed. Interestingly enough, being a hipster has become the new trend. Here are 10 ways to spot an “MSJ Hipster.”

Dreaming of the day you get to drive the car of your dreams? Want to know what to get? Take a look at the top five luckiest rides we have here at MSJ.

Left a book in a locker? Need to use the restroom? It’s time to raise your hand and ask to leave the room, but don’t forget the hall pass. Fortunately, some MSJ teachers make sure to send you with a special something that will accompany and aid you in your hallway adventures.

A great way to get a snapshot into MSJ’s past is to talk to the people who were actually there. P.E. Teacher Linda Campana and previous Football Coach and Woodshop Teacher Bud Finely spoke of the fun events, memorable people, and Warrior camaraderie of our school’s history.

A Painted Wooden Tabletop Drama Teacher Anne Riley never sends students into the halls without a large wooden circle originally made to be a tabletop for a production of Les Misérables. One of the cast, Alumnus Eric Borlaugh, had broken Riley’s previous hall pass, so he made her a new one by taking the circle and painting it colorfully. The wooden circle is roughly twenty inches in diameter, and has a convenient string attached to it so you can wear it like a sort of shield-necklace. However, the bathroom is right outside the Drama room and a hall pass isn’t needed to go, so you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to fit the cumRiley’s hall pass held by bersome hall pass into a bathroom Sophomore Sailakshmi Moorthy stall.

P.E. Uniforms Believe it or not, MSJ did not always have P.E. uniforms. After reading about how uniforms made classes more controlled, the P.E. department wanted to implement the change, though worried that some students would not be able to afford them. Luckily, the department solved the problem by purchasing uniforms for those unable to pay. Around 1990, more than twenty years after MSJ was founded, we became the first school in the Fremont Unified school district to have P.E. uniforms.

Northface Backpacks Walking around the quad, these babies can be spotted in all directions within a two-foot radius. They aren’t popular without reason though; they’re functional, fit, and simple. Senior Ray Chung sports a Northface Optimus backpack.

DSLRs DSLRs are big, fancy cameras with strange buttons that hang around every hipster’s neck. People like the DSLR’s high photo resolution, especially for pictures they take of themselves. Still, photography is a great hobby, especially if the owner actually knows how to use the camera out of “Auto” mode. Trapper Hats and Other Big Headgear Trapper hats lined with fur, extra large loose beanies that hang off the back of your head, animal head hats, and big fluffy earmuffs: you name it and MSJ’s got it. The bigger or the fluffier, the cuter—whether it’s winter or not. Freshman Nathan Lee dons a fluffy trapper hat.

Raw Denim Jeans Raw denim jeans have dense dye in the pants that allow for consumers to “fade” their own bodies into them, which is perfect for those who want individuality in their jeans. Unfortunately, nice quality jeans can go for up to $300 a pair. Add in an extra three bucks for Febreeze, because you can’t actually wash these pants.

Belts Used for Fashion (and Not Function) Girls have started following a trend of using belts of all kinds of materials to create new looks. Most wrap the accessory around their waists or hang it loosely off their hips. Unfortunately for the ladies, belts for fashion often causes a variety of issues, from needing to adjust the belt in place to trying to breath comfortably after eating. Rayban Wayfarers Lookalikes The trend started with large, 3-D movie glasses with the lenses popped out. Soon, nearly everyone had a pair of the cute and nerdy eyewear. But as soon as they became popular, it was lame to wear them around. The style sticks around in the form of the expensive Rayban Wayfarers, but too bad most glasses people wear aren’t actually prescription!

“One Yearbook staffer was caught on film in a rather suggestive Sophomore Amanda Hong rocks a pair of black rimmed glasses. posture during a dance. A shout drew everyone’s attention when the Tucked-in Tops picture turned up as Simple rule: high waists are in, and the more you tuck, the better. they were scrolling The biggest appeal would probably the “vintage” look reminiscent of through the files. Marilyn Monroe’s high-waisted style, adding class to a simple look. Once the staffer was recognized, Toms everyone had to Girls and boys can be spotted sporting footcrowd around the wear from this somewhat pricey shoe brand all monitor and it was over MSJ. Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child a somewhat embarin need per pair bought, but that’s not the only attraction. A simple, solid-colored cloth shoe that’s rassing situation.” comfortable and cute—what’s not to love? Yearbook Advisor Yearbook staff around a computer. John Boegman A pair of well-worn TOMs modeled by Sophomore Jerry Wong. “When I first started out at [MSJ] this year I had some difficulty remembering student’s names. You can read about it on my Missionpedia! “(When calling for a student to answer a question) Okay, Emily! (Silence.) Come on, I know we have an Emily in here....we don’t? Alright, then Stephanie! We don’t have that either?” World History Teacher Jason Cain ▪

The Smoke Signal


Freshman Janay Nguyen shows off a wrist of colorful accessories.

“I noticed one of my students was squinting from his seat, so I had him move to the front of the classroom. Later we were talking about becoming parents, and I said I didn’t think people should have children until they are at least 30. The same student asked how old I was when I had my first child, and he was shocked to find out I was over 30 at the time. He told me he thought I was about 25 years old. I was incredibly flattered until another student said, ‘Well, he can’t see!’ It burst my bubble.” English Teacher Jennifer Moore

Friday, January 21, 2011


Heavy Duty Wristwear Thick layers of cloth, plastic, and rubber that cover entire wrists—the ultimate rainbow accessory. The best part is that each friendship bracelet is designed and made for a specific person, so no two people have the exact same bracelet. Plus, who doesn’t love rubber bands molded in the shape of dinosaurs?

Senior Kevin Roche shimmies.


Senior Mason Yang’s raw denim jeans.

“Once when navigating a website in photography, the photos did not have a filter on them and there were many nude pictures. It was awkward.” Digital Photo Teacher Valerie Montano “Senior Kevin Roche asked me to Dougie for him. I had no idea how to so he told me to ‘Put your arms out front, lean side to side!’ I did, and later saw a video of it on Facebook! I had no idea what I was getting into.” Government/Economics Teacher Roxanne Ponsi

The Smoke Signal

Lanyards The biggest attraction of lanyards to high schoolers would be its function, especially because as students, it’s not hard to lose a key. However, the need for lanyards extends mainly to older students who drive and need to pull car keys from their pocket or from around their neck. It’s become a trend to have branded lanyards hanging out from your back pocket. All around MSJ, you’ll see lanyards stamped with MSJ Warriors, sports team, colleges, and brands like Illest and Supreme. ▪

Porsche Boxster S Junior Tyler Huynh’s Porsche Boxster S tops the list with its sleek, sports-car-type body. It is a two-seater car with a convertible top. This particular Porsche is even more admirable because Huynh paid for half of it himself by saving money from working for his dad’s friend. The Porsche Boxster S

Toyota FJ Cruiser Senior Sunny Rupani was given this car as a wonderful surprise birthday present. “My dad kept on saying ‘I’ll see’. I begged him, but he [still] said ‘I’ll see.’” When Rupani got home that day, he was pleasantly surprised to see his dream car in the driveway. This blue SUV is certainly hard to miss in the parking lot, which is a reason Rupani picked it. “It looks like a Hummer…it has a white roof. And it’s a new car.” It has also been ranked number seven by U.S. News and World Report for the Most Affordable Mid-Size SUV— a good fact to tell your parents when reThe Toyota FJ Cruiser questing a car. Mustang V6 This Mustang belongs to Junior Sydney Ha’s dad, but he is letting her ride it for a while so she can go back and forth from school to home. When asked if there were any special features in her car, she said, “It has cool light-up lights near the foot area…It changes color.” These lights are called ambient lights, which are used for decoration. The Mustang V6

Mitsubishi Eclipse Senior Garrett Jee drives the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS 4th Generation. The Eclipse is known for its sleek body style and powerful engines. Gee’s Eclipse is an orange color, aptly named “sunset pearlescent” by Mitsubishi. He chose this car for the unique color, but also for the flat engine it contains. Yes, that’s right, flat engine— this car is too cool to The Mitsubishi Eclipse have a normal engine. Mercedez-Benz CLK500 Senior Elisa Ting’s Mercedez-Benz CLK500 was passed down from her brother when he graduated from high school. Ting’s CLK500 has a V8 engine and is much lighter than the SL series, making it accelerate faster and more efficiently. The car also has a Magnaflow Muffler, which increases the volume of the car’s The Mercedez-Benz CLK500 “purring.” ▪

A Walkman A what? French Teacher Geoffrey Gales has a Sony Walkman for a hall pass, which is apparently what past generations used to listen to music. (They also used something called “cassettes.”) Said Gales, “I think it’s a fun opportunity [for kids] to see what my generation grew up with…it’s the iPod of the eighties.” A brightly-colored yellowand-blue device, it’ll entertain you while you’re out of class and roaming the halls—if you can find a cassette to put in it. Gales’ Sony Walkman hall pass A Flyswatter Have you ever had to use the bathroom, but the toilet was “messy” and insect-infested? Fear no longer: the flyswatter that Japanese Teacher Mariko Okamura gives you for a hall pass is your greatest weapon against those buzzing guardians of sewage. Okamura originally bought the flyswatter for a vocabulary game, where, given words, students would compete to hit the correct translation on the whiteboard with the flyswatter. The activity got noisy and violent, and other classrooms complained, so it’s now a hall pass, adventuring into fly territory almost daily so it can swat flies instead of words. (Insert Okamura’s flyswatter hall pass Lord of the Flies joke here.) A Toilet Plunger After all, you are going to the bathroom, aren’t you? Science Teachers Jack Fendell, Robin Van Deusen, and James Camacho all use toilet plungers as hall passes, because, in Camacho’s words, “You never know when you will need to use it.” Additionally, the plunger is “sturdy, [it’s] related to bathroom functions, and no thief in [his] right mind would want to steal it,” says Fendell. No word on those insane thieves that may be out there, but when you have an asphyxiated toilet to conquer, these trusty hall passes will be sure to lend a hand—er, a suction cup thingy. ▪ Fendell’s toilet plunger hall pass is the perfect accompaniment to a trip to the bathroom.

Coach Walt Oden Does the name Walt Oden ring a bell? He was MSJ’s first swim coach. Because of him, we were also the first high school to have girls on a boys’ swimming team. Coach Oden’s progressive thinking made many happy, especially since he allowed for this change before 1976, when Title IX became a law requiring equal opportunities to be available for both men and women in sports. His name may sound familiar because James Logan High School’s swim complex is named after his Coach Oden (bottom left) with the P.E. teachers in the 1977 Costonoan. son, Dan. An Olympic Prank It is usually normal to see professionally-dressed school district officials strolling through the campus, but very rare to have a visit from an Olympian swimmer. One day, twenty-six-year-old Lynn Vidali, a bronze medalist from the 1972 Summer Olympics, came to try out for the MSJ swim team as a trick on Coach Walt Oden. Oden was the only coach who had no idea who she was, and when timing her laps, he was in utter shock by her speed. Extreme Bonding End of the season banquets and sleepovers are fun, but there was once a time when team bondings at MSJ were much more closely connected. Many years ago, when fewer females played sports and when most of the coaches were also teachers at MSJ, there was the Girls Athletic Association, or the GAA. This close-knit family of coaches, students and parents would take annual trips to go skiing, camping, or to visit the beach. This is perhaps something to think GAA Girls chow down during a bonding event about reviving at MSJ today. in 1977. Donkey Basketball During a time of fewer rules and restrictions, Donkey Basketball was one of MSJ’s most amusing springtime fundraisers. Student athletes competed against coaches and teachers, playing basketball while riding on donkeys in the main gym. This afterschool event always brought a full house crowd, and fans could also watch this game in other local schools. Mission Talent Talent at MSJ can be traced back many years, especially in dance. Donna Dellaria, the founder of Mission Dance and Performing Arts, and Janet Gan, who played Connie Wong in the 1985 film A Chorus Line, were both MSJ graduates. From around the 70s to the 90s, MSJ’s dance class held an annual fundraising concert for three nights, and in 1976, they raised over $1,800. Dancers performed their own choreography, and special awards were given for Best Dancer, Most Inspirational Dancer, Best Dance, and Most Technical Dance. ▪ Girls strut their stuff during the Second Annual Dance Concert in 1975.

photos by aishwarya thakur, allan ko, angie wang, joy xu & sida lu and courtesy of garrett jee & yearbook archives; layout by centerspread editors aileen lu & tina tseng

12 Photo

The Smoke Signal

Friday, January 21, 2011

An estimate of over 500 students attended the head-shaving Friday Activity.

Senior Matthew Nguyen hosts an auction to cut Chaney-Aiello’s hair.

Junior Ben Mansfield begins Chaney-Aiello’s transformation with a classic bowl cut.

On Friday, January 7, 2011, Science Teacher Nathania Chaney-Aiello went bald in her effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sophomore Noah Yang trims Chaney-Aiello’s bowl cut.

Beth Bonomo, History Teacher at Hopkins Junior High, shaves Chaney-Aiello’s hair. Senior Matt Nguyen mercilesly dispenses the contents of his can of

shaving cream onto Junior Anthony White.

Cancer survivor Adriana Aboum-

Bald Chaney-Aiello clutches the proceeds of

last of Chaney-Aiello’s hair.

Thank You” stitched on top.

Students await their fate after being covered in shaving Students (right) Loopswhile cerealwearing at the opposing seated the Fruit auction a beanie withstudents. “MSJ, radcream. does the honor of shaving the launch photos by graphics editor cassie zhang

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

Ad 13

14 Ad

The Smoke Signal

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal



Arts & Entertainment 15

Music Picks from the Editorial Board

This Month: Finals Cram Session Aileen: Gimme Sympathy by Metric Alissa: Make Me Wanna Die by The Pretty Reckless Amit: Rocketeer by Far East Movement feat Ryan Tedder Arthur: Sleeping In by The Postal Service Audrey : Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin Cassie: Eternal Sunshine by Jay Electronica Elisa: Hold it Against Me by Britney Spears Grace: Hakuna Matata from The Lion King Gurleen: Clocks by Coldplay Jordan: No Giving Up by Crossfade

Kato (Jay Chou) and the Green Hornet (Seth Rogen) sprint away from an explosion.

By Courtney Tam Staff Writer

A comical and modern rendition of the classic superhero tale, The Green Hornet traces the journey of two men determined to bring justice to the crime-filled streets of Los Angeles. The movie begins with the tale of Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), a hedonistic playboy who wastes his life away with incessant partying, much to his media mogul father’s dismay. After his father’s sudden death, Britt is forced to operate The Daily Sentinel, the Reid family newspaper. He soon discovers his that father’s mechanic, Kato ( Jay Chou), is a technological genius with razor-sharp martial arts skills. The two form a partnership that enables them to fight crime in Los Angeles: Britt goes undercover as “The Green Hornet” and Kato as his skilled assistant and chauffeur. Because the two are amateurs in the world of crime, they enlist the help of Lenore, (Cameron Diaz) Britt’s secretary and expert in criminology. She aids them in providing information about crime hot spots and researching about how the criminal mind works. The duo works at the newspaper by day and fights crime at night with their “The Black Beauty,” a vehicle reminiscent of the Batmobile. Their actions anger Los Angeles’s main villain, Benjamin Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz), who believes that “The Green Hornet”

is eradicating his “business.” As Britt and Kato battle the world of crime, their partnership is tested as Reid morphs into an egotistical superhero while Kato feels unappreciated. Seth Rogen and Jay Chou deliver a hilarious performance as the superhero duo in this film; Rogen is comical in his portrayal of the Green Hornet while Chou, a bit more serious in the film than Rogen, amazes with his lightning fast martial arts skills. The two balance each other out to keep the movie light and entertaining. Michel Gondry does a splendid job as director, playing upon each of the actors’ respective traits. However, much of the dialogue is filled with crude humor that was placed simply to evoke laughter and giggles from the audiences at random places in the movie. The action scenes have a witty spin on them, deviating from their typically serious and depressing mold, but oftentimes have unnecessary dialogue. The plot seems to have no depth, but does touch upon the everlasting motifs of brotherhood and good versus evil. The best part of the movie is the special effects stemming from “The Black Beauty”: the car can eject fire, self-destruct, shoot missiles and bullets, and remain unscathed during a battle. Overall, The Green Hornet is both humorous and intriguing; it is perfect for those seeking a film that will keep them laughing all night long. ▪ Rating: B


Left to right: Mark Sheehan, Danny O’Donoghue, and Glen Power

By Elisa Ting Editor-in-Chief

With the combined talents of lead singer Danny O’ Donoghue, guitarist Mark Sheehan, and drummer Glen Power, the band known as The Script released its second album, “Science & Faith” on January 18, 2011. The Irish alternative rock band’s album is similar to their first album, which featured songs like “We Cry” and “Breakeven” that climbed up the ratings in the UK’s Singles Chart. In “Science & Faith”, the single “For the First Time” has already reached number one in its debut in Ireland and the United Kingdom. With promising results from other countries, The Script has yet to prove its alternative rock music to the listeners in the United States. The album starts off with the predictable instrumental guitar background music building up to monotonous drumming in the song, “You Won’t Feel a Thing”. The hit single “For the First Time” takes a different approach on the opening, starting off immediately with O’ Donoghue’s vocal talent, but the lyrics about cherishing time spent with

loved ones seem clichéd and overdone. Additionally, the slow melody drones listeners to sleep as they try in vain to comprehend the words. The Script’s album overall is composed of songs that attempt to relate to the average listener’s heartaches. Many songs had clichéd lyrics, but listeners can still easily relate to songs like “This is Love” on a personal level. The deep lyrics and mental images painted by O’ Donoghue’s words, accompanied by the music of Sheehan and Power create a powerful wave of emotions that listeners can drown their feelings in. The Script’s new album is altogether a mediocre CD that doesn’t include any outstanding single songs that immediately attract the listener’s attention. Just like many other alternative rock or pop songs on the radio, The Script’s music can be generalized as another album in this genre. If you are someone who likes to listen to songs that are rich with emotion, this CD may just be for you. But, if your style of music is for dancing or to simply pump loudly in your car, this CD just may not be your pick. ▪ Rating: B

By Ditha Balaji Staff Writer

Upon discovering this band roughly seven months ago, I was shocked by two things. One would be the name of the band. The second would be the rawness of their music. Simply, for those of you who have not come across them, they are confused. Hailing from Bowling Green, Kentucky, the five members of the band set out to create a new sound; needless to say, they have exceeded expectations. Releasing their debut self-titled album in 2008, the garage-rock band rose out of obscurity. They achieved some acclaim with “In One Ear”, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Back Against the Wall”. The latter two became rock radio staples in their hometown as well as many others. Their newer release “Thank You, Happy Birthday” displays their emotional distress in the name of the album itself. It is a roller coaster of feelings from the high-pitched anguish to the calm, soothing ballads. The first single “Shake Me Down” depicts the multiple personality disorder beautifully. In every sense, it possesses the remaining songs in the album. With soft flowing rock melodies infused with a bit of metallic spice and a dash of hate, “Right

Megan: Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da by The Beatles Roger: Run by Epik High Sarah: Everything You Wanted by Kele Sonia: A Lack of Color by Death Cab for Cutie Tina: If I Die Young by The Band Perry Vishal: Your Hand in Mine by Explosions in the Sky Mrs. Cohen: I Am Woman by Helen Reddy Listen to the playlist at

Before My Eyes” is powerful. The toughness of “Indy Kidz” and “2024” shows the anger and almost scream-o side, proving too heavy for the rest of their album. The biggest contrast would be “Rubber Ball”, pulling pop ballads into a soft melody with an intent of capturing the simplicity of a rubber ball. Others such as “Sabertooth Tiger” and “Japanese Buffalo” fill their own unique categories of jumbled-up pop with a touch of angry rock. The surprise of “Aberdeen” and “Always Something” shows a slight return to their comfort zone as posed in their first album, but fell flat in comparison to the other works of this album. This album is radically different from their debut, taking more risks, yet succeeding without a sweat. But be warned, this album is not light listening, it’s a journey of it’s own. ▪ Rating: B

16 Arts & Entertainment

The Smoke Signal

Friday, January 21, 2011

In With the New...and the Old Rising Artists:

The Vaccines Formed in June 2010, this London-based indie quartet immediately garnered media attention with their demo track “If You Wanna.” Since then, The Vaccines have captured an ever increasing fan base with their stunningly upbeat live performances, selling out their first performance at London while on tour in October. Watch out for the band’s new album, What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?, coming out on March 21. Try: “If You Wanna” and “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” Sleigh Bells Alexis Krauss’s bubblegum voice and Derek Miller’s aggressively delivered instrumentals combine into a unique and energizing style from the 80s known as noise pop. Though their first single “Tell ‘Em” failed to make the charts, their May album, Treats, sat comfortably at 39th on the Billboard Top 200. Sleigh Bells’ bursting electric sound takes a little getting used to, but there is no escaping that infectious, danceable groove once it has a hold on you. Try: “Tell ‘Em” and “Rill Rill” CyHi Da Prynce Though this new rapper from Decatur, Georgia has been riding the coattails of Kanye West with features on Kanye’s songs like “Christmas in Harlem,” CyHi Da Prynce made a splash on the rap scene in 2010 with his first official mixtape Royal Flush. CyHi’s relaxed, mellow flow and clever lyrics

By Megan McLaughlin & Jordan Zhang News Editor and A&E Editor

make each of his tracks a work of art. CyHi Da Prynce will definitely continue G.O.O.D. Music’s streak of talented artists. Try: “Hero” and “Sideways” New Politics In 2009, when the Copenhagen based group wasn’t even an official band yet, New Politics placed in the top four of the Danish National Radio “Career Canon” competition. Since then, the band has been on the rise, hitting number 45 on the US Rock sharts. The band is known for their blunt critcism of the state of society, with lyrics like, “I met a bunch of children with no food to eat and no place to hide.” Their heavy rap-rock style give them a swaggering attitude that will have anybody rocking out. Try “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and “New Generation”


Linda Ronstadt Everyone wanted a date with Linda Ronstadt ( Jerry Brown succeeded during his first term as Governor). Ronstadt was one of the few successful solo female singers in the 1970s, and her music is country, pop, and rock all at once. She was the Taylor Swift of her generation. Her melodic voice lends itself exceedingly well to songs about being in (and out of ) love. Try: “When Will I Be Loved” and “Heatwave”

Cyhi Da Prynce

Sleigh Bells

ZZ Top

ZZ Top ZZ Top has been touring and recording for 40 years; their debut rock album was released in 1971. The all-male Texan band didn’t forget its roots when it became mainstream in the mid-80s. The members retained their individuality with long beards (the hair is now graying, but still there) and singular guitar rock with a bluesy hint. Though most of the tunes do feature drumming and guitars, the vocalists always keep it interesting. Try: “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Gimme All Your Lovin.’”

Miguel Signed all the way in 2007, Miguel Jontel Pimentel released All Linda Ronstadt I Want Is You, his meticulously put together and well received debut album, in 2010. Miguel has cited Queen and Jimi Hendrix as his inQueen spiration, as well as The Notorious If entertainment is a top priorB.I.G. and Kanye West, incorporatity, look no further than Queen. The ing rock, hip-hop, and R&B in his 1970s British band routinely prounique tracks. A calming bass line New Politics duced catchy and humorous music. combined with Miguel’s exceptionQueen became highly popular in ally flexible and clear voice, add a the mid-70s, and produced music touch of emotion to his music ununtil the mid-90s. Many singles are like that of any other R&B musistill famous, like “Bohemian Rhapcian out there. sody” and “We are the Champions,” Try: “All I Want Is You” and “Sure but listeners are often ignorant of Thing” buzzowrthy.mtv,,,,

the less publicized songs. Queen doesn’t fit into just one genre. The band routinely mixed rock, pop, metal, and more to create each of its original hits. Try: “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) Cat Stevens is a storyteller. Each of his songs relates a tale that is still highly relevant to life today. Don’t believe it? “The First Cut is the Deepest,” a Sheryl Crow hit in the 1990s, was written by Stevens in 1967. His music is of a similar cut with a lyric style and delivery that is both peaceful and thought-provoking. Though Stevens is still producing his almost folksy ballads, his fame peaked in the late 70s, after which he took a break for philanthropic causes. Try: “Wild World” and “Peace Train” Pat Benatar Pat Benatar asked America to: “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” in the 1980s. America couldn’t do it. Benatar, a solo artist, was one of the first who could be called a punk rocker. She was like a more conservative version of P!nk: she had neither tattoos nor spiked hair, but made up for it with aggressive vocals and pointed lyrics. Benatar, therefore, sang more often about break-ups than about love, though she did have a softer side. Try: “We Belong” and “Ooh Ooh Song” ▪

Films Worth the Split AD,,

Bilbo Baggins (Lord of the Rings), Edward Cullen (Twilight), and Harry Potter will all star in massive two-part films.

By Mary Lan Staff Writer

Sequels have always appealed to audiences as a chance to continue the story. Why not have another adventure with that irresistibly likeable character ( Jack Sparrow, James Bond)? Hollywood will create or continue a film series if the debut movie is extremely wellreceived and/or based on a wildly popular book series. Beyond the obvious generation of revenue from guaranteed viewership, there is a certain reassurance that people will come back for more: whether or not the second movie measures up, leave a cliffhanger at the end so everyone comes back the third time hoping it will at least be as good as the first. They did it once, why can’t they do it again? Film series have always been inspired by success: successful books, successful television programs, successful comic book characters. The final installment of Harry Potter, the most commercially successful film series in history, is coming to theaters with not one, but two parts in the epic finale. This appealing idea of a commercial multi-part film has arisen as a trend in the coming year, including the highly anticipated two-part Breaking Dawn (fourth in the Twilight saga) and The Hobbit (prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy). This trend has the potential to become something more. Screenplay adaptations of popular

books have always received complaints from fans along the lines of “the book was better” because all the movie did was “act out the plot”. Regarding the seventh movie of Harry Potter, however, both critics and fans have agreed that it is “just like the book”. Detail, mood, and pacing were captured because the director made the decision to not cram everything into a tiring movie-watching limit of three hours. With the leeway of extra time, multi-part movies can be developed much more in-depth and satisfying to fans’ expectations. This new concept of splitting up a film may create just as much hype as the end of a TV season, with “what happens next” arriving within a year, and guarantee fans will watch both movies. The only drawback may be that part two would not stand as a separate, complete adventure that a new viewer would understand by watching it first out of the entire series. Will it ruin the mood if there is a recap in the trailer or before the movie that says, “Previously, on...”? Harry Potter 7 was made with the confidence of success and support from worldwide fans who already knew and loved the story, but the same confidence should be taken to further this concept. Multi-part films may not only continue to apply to guaranteed successes, such as bestseller book series with a large fan base, but it can also be taken to the next level in telling a more complex and meaningful story. ▪

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

Sidharth “Sid” Sriram, an MSJ alumnus and junior at Berklee College of Music, is quite the music lover. With the release of his first album, Be Easy; The Acoustic Sessions in October 2010 and his increasingly popular videos on Youtube, Sriram is garnering more attention. The Smoke Signal recently spoke with Sriram about his successes, passion about music, and plans for the future. Smoke Signal: Can you explain what you are doing in college right now, what you are learning, and how you got there? Sid Sriram: I'm currently at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. I'm a double major in Music Production & Engineering and Vocal Performance. MP&E is basically studio production, audio engineering, mixing. I'm currently a junior at Berklee. It's been an amazing experience, being in an environment full of musicians, with similar mindsets. When I first got there, I was working on vocal technique stuff, and also higher levels of jazz oriented music theory. I was also introduced to music technology, and how to use it as an amazing tool in music. Since then I've just been progressing with my vocal performance, songwriting, and music technology.

By Mekala Neelakantan Staff Writer

I also left Mission with some really good social skills that have helped me network in the music industry. SS: What would you consider to be your musical genre? S. Sriram: Hmm, good question! The album I released was all acoustic arrangements of five of my songs. I'm now working on a couple of

singles to release in the next couple months, which more holistically represent me as an artist. With that said, I think I would describe my genre as urban/indie/pop. My singing sounds mainly R&B (with a tinge of Indian Classical influence), and my writing has an indie flavor to it. The production on my new stuff is going to be a mix between mainstream pop, acoustic music, and hip hop.

Arts & Entertainment 17

SS: How did you become so passionate about music? S.Sriram: My mom is an Indian Classical vocal teacher, and I basically grew up with music all around me. I first started singing when I was three, and it’s the only thing that I've ever been so consistently and intensely into. When I was younger, a bunch of other kids would be into sports, and I tried to be into it, but music was the only thing I could legitimately relate to. In high school, I took classes somewhat seriously, did extracurricular activities, but music was the only thing that I naturally always tended towards. When applying to colleges, I realized that if it’s something I'm so passionate about, I should pursue it. Making it my career path has probably been one of the best decisions of my life. SS: Whom you most admire in the music world? S. Sriram: I have a couple people in the industry that I really look up to. One of my favorite musicians is Kanye West. He is quite the controversial character, but I love the music he puts, and how he is constantly pushing his musical boundaries. One of my biggest influences since I first started singing has been Stevie Wonder. He is so versatile and talented, while still being so grounded. I'm also a performing Carnatic (South Indian Classical) vocalist, and someone I really look up to in the Carnatic world is T.M. Krishna.

SS: How have your experiences at Mission helped you in college and getting to where you are now? S. Sriram: I think the main thing I gained from being at Mission was a disciplined mindset. Being in such an academically competitive environment definitely helped me develop a work ethic that I've been able to use with regards to everything I'm doing musically. I think gaining the depth of knowledge I did from being at Mission also really helped me. I mean, there is a ton of information I learned in high school that I have no use for now, but I think the general confidence I got from being well read gave me an advantage.

SS: Do you have any last words for aspiring musicians? S. Sriram: To all aspiring musicians: if you feel that you have the talent, and that music fulfills you like nothing else, take the risk and pursue it. Don't be afraid that it might not work out, because now more than ever, there are so many opportunities in the music industry. Make decisions with your mind, but balance it with your heart as well. ▪

Books For Book Haters The Harry Potter Saga by J.K. Rowling Nobody can deny the power of J.K. Rowling’s Potter phenomenon. And nobody in our generation can go through their life without reading at least the first of these seven epic books. Harry Potter has already been accredited for attracting general non-readers, and for good reason. With a male protagonist, it appeals to generally reading-averse boys, and the magical world of Harry Potter spellbinds everyone who enters it. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game may have a child hero, but it’s hardly a typical children’s novel. Centered around Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, it follows his adventures in a futuristic world. While science fiction may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the interesting characters and intense plot will draw anyone in. At times, the book may feel somewhat complex for readers not as well-versed in science, but Card’s writing is readable and great enough that even the most die-hard book hater cannot deny the brilliance of Ender’s Game. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak While categorized as a children’s novel, from the onset it is clear that The Book Thief deviates far from the standard. With Death as a snarky, insightful, and sympathetic narrator, it takes much effort to resist being hooked from the very beginning. Zusak brings a fresh take on the WWII genre by bringing humor to the story while still detailing the travesties of the war. Furthermore, the clear diction Zusak uses is much more readable than most contemporary adult literature. Watchmen by Alan Moore What turns off most haters from reading is the walls of text that usually greet their eyes

By Rebecca Dutta & Jamie Lin Staff Writers

cal, yet ghoulish villain. Still, few are aware that R.L. Stine also wrote a series aimed at young adults that presents readers with older characters and slightly more believable supernatural adversaries. Unlike Goosebumps, Fear Street novels do not shy away from gore and actually prove to be very frightening. There are over 30 titles to choose from and an original twist in each.

staff writer allan ko

from the first page. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem with Watchmen, as it’s a graphic novel (aka comic book). That doesn’t mean it’s not a fine piece of literature, however. With supernot-so-heroes, a murder mystery, and a little bit of romance, there’s something for everyone. And again, it’s a comic book. That means striking artwork accompanies the sparse text, making Watchmen’s messages and story even more poignant.

Stephanie Plum is an edgy bounty hunter from New Jersey who is just trying to pay the rent but finds herself battling psycho serial killers and long-forgotten enemies. With her crazy relatives, slick FTAs (Failure To Appears), and her sometimes sidekick Lula, Plum can keep any reader hooked from the first page. A fair warning, however: with 16 books and more to come, you may begin to find the plots repetitive.

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich Janet Evanovich is, by no means, a writer of classical literature, but her hysterical dialogues and slapstick comedy have definite appeals to even the most stubborn readers.

Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine As elementary or middle school kids, you probably spent considerable time fanaticizing over the Goosebumps series; from freaky fluorescent globs of goo to animated puppets, each story came with a uniquely comi-

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell This book may not seem the best first choice for those who are not compelled to read for leisure, but if you have the will and drive to battle classic literature, this loaded novel offers history, romance, angst, determination, slander, and virtue all at once. Scarlett O’Hara is the spoiled daughter of a Georgia plantation owner at the beginning of the Civil War, but after the war destroys her plans to woo Ashley Wilkes and her dream of luxury, Scarlett must pull her weak family through the horrors of Reconstruction with the help of Rhett Butler, a man with a scandalous reputation. With its intense emotion, this book has the ability to forever change your stoic view towards literature. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan Do you love murder mysteries, but aren’t fond of the less contemporary mystery authors? Louis Duncan offers several easy-toread, realistic thriller novels aimed at teenagers, the most popular being I Know What You Did Last Summer. This novel centers around the lives of four teenagers who are haunted by guilt and memories of a boy they once ran over while drinking in a car. It is a quick read but offers the suspense, thrill, and plot of any classic mystery/thriller novel. ▪

18 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Girls’ basketball off to good start By Ellie Wong Staff Writer

With a roster composed of veteran players and First Team All-League candidates, the Girls’ Basketball team this season is a truly savage force. The team boasted a stellar overall record of 13-1 in preseason and did well in multiple tournaments. In December, the Lady Warriors took first at the Fremont High School Firebirds Tournament, slaughtering other teams by scores like 61-14. Later that month they continued to overpower opponents at the prestigious Costa Mesa WinIlene is a stud

opponents to scoring very few points, often achieving their goal of keeping their opponents under 30 points. In the past few years, the Warriors have been one of the top defensive teams in NCS and are consistently recognized for this achievement. “Our coach always says our defense is our identity,” added Tsao. The team has also picked up a large number of talented underclassmen, including Sophomores Grace Lee, Alexa Iwatani, and Anna Monobe, making for a well-rounded team with little weak side. Along with an outstanding team effort, individuals also shine on the court. Junior

reinforcing the fundamentals. From specifically game-planning every matchup to giving daily pep talks, they have played a huge role in setting the team up for victories. With their strong play, the team has recently received some well-deserved attention. On January 6, Cal-High Sports came to cover their first home league game against American and interviewed the team after the game. In a highly anticipated matchup, the Lady Warriors certainly lived up to the hype, using their stifling defense to hold the Eagles to more than 20 points under their season average in a 47-31 win. While making it to CIF State Championships may be a stretch for the team, they are already guaranteed a spot in the North Coast Sectionals playoffs due to their stellar preseason record. The girls are also expected to contend for the Mission Valley Athletic League title and finally add their year on the League Champions banner in the gym, an accomplishment that hasn’t happened since 1995. “[The girls] pull for each other and pick each other up, which makes my job easier and ultimately brings us closer to reaching our goal of being League Champions,” said Sakamoto. ▪

staff writer jonathon teng

Maya Ramachandran and Senior Captain Jessica Woo, both of whom play post, average 9 and 13 points per game, respectively. Additionally, all four captains, Seniors Megan McLaughlin, Carolyn Chan, along with Tsao and Woo, all demonstrate a high level of leadership and work ethic every single game. Another instrumental aspect of the Lady Warriors’ success this season has been the role of the coaching staff. Head coach Doug Sakamoto and assistant coaches Chris Joo and Erica Fong have consistently maintained high standards for the players, while

Winter Sports Update Boys’ Basketball (0-3) 1/21: Irvington @ MSJ 1/26: MSJ @ Logan Girls’ Basketball (3-0) 1/25: Logan @ MSJ 1/27: Kennedy @ MSJ Boys’ Soccer (1-2) 1/21: vs. Irvington @ TAK 1/26: vs. Logan @ TAK Girls’ Soccer (2-2-1) 1/25: MSJ @ American 1/27: vs. Newark @ TAK Wrestling 1/26: MSJ @ Washington 2/2: MSJ @ Kennedy * All information is as of 1/17/11

Top Row (from left to right): Senior Alyssa Fujikawa, Sophomore Alexa Iwatani, Juniors Gigi Hsu and Maya Ramachandran, Sophomore Grace Lee, Seniors Jessica Woo and Megan McLaughlin Bottom Row (from left to right): Seniors Esther Chu and Grace Han, Sophomore Anna Monobe, Junior Ilene Tsao, Seniors Catherine Chen, Carolyn Chan and Lorshing Hsu

ter Classic in southern California where they placed 3rd out of 16 teams. The Girls’ Basketball team has a number of secrets to their success, but they attribute many of their achievements to their deep-rooted chemistry. “Many of us have been playing together since junior high and even elementary school,” said Junior Captain Ilene Tsao. With the numbers as proof, it’s undeniable that their strong team bond is paying off. In addition, the team’s defensive strength gives MSJ the upper hand during games. They have consistently limited their

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal would like to recognize the following teams for winning the 2010 Fall NCS Scholastic Team Award. This award is presented to the top three teams in NCS with the highest GPA. There are 168 schools in NCS.

courtesy gary iwatani

Senior Carolyn Chan looks for a gap in the defense as she brings the ball up the court.

Girls’ Cross Country: 3.83 Boys’ Cross Country: 3.72 Girls’ Golf: 3.69 Girls’ Water Polo: 3.71 Girls’ Tennis: 3.73

Visit D rivers Ed during .com and e nter d the on is line p ayme count* code nt pro cess. CAHS

Take drivers ed all online! • Fun, flexible lessons so you pass your permit test • California DMV-approved • 50 free online permit practice tests • 2.1 million students and counting… Questions? Call us at 1-888-651-AUTO.

Want a fast, easy way to fundraise for your class? Earn a 25% commission and save your friends 15% off drivers ed. Visit *Discount for online drivers ed class only.

TA_BW_9x6_B9 © 2009

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Smoke Signal

By Grace Han & Amit Patankar Sports Editors

Take Five: “Flag on the Play-offs” On January 8, during the NFL’s wild card weekend, the Seattle Seahawks stunned the country by dethroning the reigning national champion, the New Orleans Saints. With their playoff berth hotly contested, the Seahawks pulled off an upset that literally shook the ground in Seattle. During Marshawn Lynch’s memorable 67-yard touchdown run that sealed the game, the QWEST Field “12th man” crowd made enough noise to set a small seismic tremor. Noted for being one of the more influential crowds in the NFL, the fans took cheering to the next level when the Seahawks, who had gone a lowly 7-9 in the regular season, defeated a heavily favored Saints team. But behind all the celebration, even Seattle fans couldn’t help but note the arguments about the flaws in the NFL playoff system. The NFL has two conferences (NFC and AFC), each composed of four divisions: North, South, East, and West. Unlike the NBA, where teams are ranked solely by conference, the NFL hands out playoff spots to each of the four division winners, and then to the next two best teams (wild cards) in each conference. This year, the Seahawks were able to win the NFC West, by far the worst division in the league, with a 7-9 record. On the other hand, teams in tougher divisions like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants were snubbed from the playoffs although they both went 10-6 in the regular season. It was the first time in NFL history that a team with a losing record made the playoffs. Fans were outraged that not only did the Seahawks receive a playoff bid as a losing team, they got one as a division leader, which meant they

AFC Finals New York Jets

Although they are the sixth seed in the AFC, the Jets have defied all odds and made it to the AFC title game. They beat the favored Colts and then upset the Super Bowl favorite Patriots to make the game for the second straight year. On offense, Quarterback Mark Sanchez and running backs Ladanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene have excelled in the postseason. But the key to the Jet’s success has been their defense, which has the ability to blitz and play solid coverage with their standout cornerbacks. If they can shut down Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well as they did Tom Brady, the Jets could easily beat the Steelers again and find themselves in the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers In spite of their quarterback troubles early in the season, the Steelers have made a name for themselves as the second seeded team in the AFC playoffs. The strength of the team lies with the speed of their wide receivers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be looking to get the ball out of the pocket quickly to either one of his talented receivers, Hines Ward or Mike Wallace. The defense is strong as well, even though star Troy Polamalu has been playing on and off due to an ankle injury. In addition, the secondary is solid enough to stop a team’s rushing game and quick enough to keep up with the opponent’s wide receivers. A big advantage the Steelers will have over the Jets is experience, and if the game comes down to the wire, it’s what may help them pull through.

would host the first round wild card game against New Orleans. Many complained it is unfair to seed by division when some are more competitive than others. From the other side of the spectrum, going into the playoffs with a losing record adds an interesting ingredient to normally straightforward matchups. When a team has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, the playoffs get the element of surprise and shock. The

Sports 19

Lady Warriors face off against Irvington By Matt Farberov Staff Writer

Coming off a tough match against long time rival Washington High School, the MSJ Girls’ Soccer team drew another close game against Irvington, losing 2-1. Controlling the ball most of the first half, the Warriors easily dribbled past defensive lines only to be shut down by the Ir-

and MSJ both working for the ball, fouls were becoming increasingly common on both sides. With less than ten minutes on the clock, Irvington broke MSJ’s defensive line to put in a goal and take the lead. Nearing the end of the game, the Warriors had the opportunity for a corner. Unfortunately, the powerful kick by Senior Alexis Markou was blocked inches away f rom the goal line by Irvington’s

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch breaks two of seven missed tackles by the Saints on his 67 yard touchdown run.

fact that Seattle got into the playoffs amidst controversy as huge underdogs, then upended the defending champions, reminds fans of the true beauty of sports. Although on paper, the Saints were the more talented team, the Seahawks looked past the predictions and showed that you can never underestimate the heart of a champion. In part, their naivety to preconceived notions opened a small gap to victory, and the team didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to break through. While it may not have been fair that the Seattle Seahawks made the postseason, they proved that there’s more to a team than just its record. At any given moment in sports, the great may fall and the humble may rise. We should learn to appreciate these moments, regardless of the circumstances. ▪

courtesy ron wong

Sophomore Kristin Moyer dribbles the ball up the field as teammate Senior Taylor Jackson looks on.

vington goalie. MSJ’s drive paid off when Sophomore Kristin Moyer was able to score, putting them ahead 1-0 towards the middle of the first half. Clearly f rustrated by the goal, Irvington made small errors in their passes, allowing MSJ to close out the first half with solid possessions. At the start of the second half, the Warriors’ performance began to dwindle and they were caught off-guard by Irvington’s renewed vigor and aggressive drive. Irvington managed to score early in the second half tying the game at 1-1. MSJ swiftly reacted, trying to get possessions however possible. With Irvington

By Sanjna Shukla Staff Writer

goalie. Using the remaining time to keep the ball away f rom the Warriors, Irvington clearly f rustrated the MSJ players. A few more close drives led the Warriors to within a few yards of the goal, but to no avail. Even with two minutes of extra time, they couldn’t bring the game to a tie and finished with the loss. Even with the loss, the team still has hope to repeat as league champions if they can regroup and take advantage of all their talent. There are six games left in the season, so be sure to come out and support the girls in their quest for another title. ▪

NFC Finals

Who will win Super Bowl XLV?

Green Bay Packers

Voices of MSJ...

staff writer sida lu

staff writer sida lu

“I think the New York Jets are going to win. They have a pretty impressive record and have played consistently throughout the season.” - Alexandra Ruff, 11

“I’m going with the Packers. They have a good offense and defense and Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback. They are the only good team left. ” - Kevin Huo, 12

The Green Bay Packers emerged from preseason as favorites to make it to the Super Bowl. However, untimely injuries led to an up and down regular season. But with the aid of a surprisingly superb defense, the Packers were able to grab the sixth playoff spot in the NFC. Since then, they have excelled beyond expectations to reach the NFC finals. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played like an MVP, putting on the best performance of the postseason so far in the Packers 48-21 defeat of the top seeded Atlanta Falcons. Against the Bears, the Packers’ dominant pass rush will make it difficult for Jay Cutler to get any quality passes in the pocket. If Rodgers keeps up his play, and breakout rookie running back James Starks can continue to carry the load of the rushing game, the Packers definitely have the offensive and defensive package to win it all.

Chicago Bears

staff writer sanjna shukla

“The Steelers will win because they are the best.” - Math Teacher Scott Sugden “I’m going to go with Pittsburgh because my husband likes them so we have to match.”

- Math Teacher Evangeline Sugden

sports editor amit patankar

“I think the Green Bay Packers are going to win because Aaron Rodgers is awesome. Oh and there are too many Steelers fans.” - Science Teacher Peter Geschke

The Bears may be the second seed in the playoffs, but their inconsistency could cost them a chance at the championship title. Although QB Jay Cutler and WR Johnny Knox have the ability to make big plays, they are prone to mistakes. In the end, it is the Bears’ defense that will keep them in the game. They are second in the league in creating turnovers, and with Lance Briggs back in the game, the Bears’ defense will be a force to reckon with. After a relatively easy defeat of the Seahawks, the Bears face a much bigger test in the Packers. But if the offense can limit their turnovers, the Bears will have a good chance at a win playing at their home field.,

20 Sports

The Smoke Signal

Extraordinary Sports

Friday, January 21, 2011

By Leland Bernstein, Sida Lu, Connor Williams & Richie Zeng Staff Writers

Underwater Hockey

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is played by two teams of seven using a specially designed competitive frisbee. It combines the non-stop running of soccer with the long distance passing skills of football. Much like football, the object of the game is to catch the disc in the opponents end zone. During the game, players have to quickly transition from defense to offense on turnovers that occur when the disc is dropped or intercepted. The result is a fast paced game where all players are moving on the field and perform stunning leaps and dives to catch the frisbee. The sport boasts a well established national league and is played in 42 countries worldwide. Want to join the fun? Check out the Ultimate Frisbee club here at school for improptu games.

Much like its land based cousin, the point of underwater hockey is to sweep a hockey puck into the opposing team’s goal in order to score. It pits two teams, each consisting of six members, against each other and is primarily played with a relatively short (350mm) stick to do the pushing. However, this aquatic sport is not very spectator friendly as it takes place on the bottom of a swimming pool. But despite this, underwater hockey has generated enough interest to have an official governing body that sets up world championships in alternate years and at least 10 colleges have official teams. This sport can be played locally at any pool, provided you have all the equipment.



Hailing f rom the icy regions of Canada, broomball has taken f rozen ponds every where by storm. Often compared to soccer and hockey, broomball has players run across the playing ice on special shoes, using a plastic tipped and shaped stick to maneuver the ball into their opponent ’s goal. The rules are very similar to hockey, but with no skates and no puck. The sport is mostly enjoyed in colleges in the colder regions of the US and all across Canada, and there is a small but growing community of broomball players scattered all over the US. Adventurous souls can journey to Fremont’s Sharks Ice and try broomball out for themselves.

If simply playing on one plane is not exciting enough for you athletic souls out there, rest assured, thanks to Joe Sobek’s invention of racquetball in 1950. Racquetball is played in a 40 x 20 enclosed room with an extremely bouncy ball and racquets. The goal of this game is to alternate hitting the ball off the front wall and outlasting your opponent. The first person that is unable to return the ball after the first bounce loses the point. Racquetball quickly becomes a frantic game as the bouncy ball is allowed to ricochet off of an infinite number of surfaces--as long as it touches the front wall before touching the ground. Racquetball can be played locally at Club Sport.

Fencing is one of the oldest sports in history, and while it did not originate in the US, it is quickly growing into a source of national entertainment and pride. Fencers from the US took home medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and continue to do so at the World Championships. Fencing has three distinct styles: foil, epee, and saber. The sport is gathering numbers across the nation. Junior Brian Wang, a fencer, comments “The tournaments are exhilarating. It’s a big adrenaline rush and the only time to see my hard work at practice paying off. The tournaments are also usually held out of state so it’s cool to see new places and make friends over the entire nation.” Tournament sizes have grown in recent years and are gathering over 6000 fencers at important tournaments such as the Summer Nationals or the Junior Olympics.

Founded by students at Goucher College in 2005, Humans vs. Zombies has since spread to over 200 colleges across the country. The main concept is simple, a group of humans try to survive and contain a small but growing zombie outbreak.The zombies must tag humans and convert them to the zombie horde, while humans must do whatever they can to protect themselves. The most popular variation of the game involves humans wielding Nerf guns and completing missions defined by a game moderator to obtain ammunition. Many college intramural games last several days, with players chasing and shooting each other as they run from class to class. For those interested, local games are held around school and near Lake Elizabeth.


Humans vs. Zombies

Vol. XLVI No. 5 January 2011  

January 2011 issue of the smoke signal