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Journal By and for the students of Guilderland Central High School

This Issue

Volume 63 Issue 3

Guilderland Center, NY 12085 January 2011


Uncle Joel’s Comb








Photos courtesy of Devin Keenholts/The Journal

Mike Dvorscak Frantic musicians, broken strings, and some good rock and roll? Just the Guilderland High School’s Annual Battle of the Bands. Every January, the bands of Guilderland High School compete to see which band is the most talented. After all the bands perform, the top three bands are announced. Even though all the bands have potential and talent, there can only be one winner. This year the band Uncle Joel’s Comb took first place, Aunt Josephine’s Brush came in second, and The Pangaea Alliance landed them in third place. Playing third on the night was The Pangaea Alliance, a fun, good natured, punk rock band. Mike Tolfa and Petey Pezzulo stayed on stage after their per-


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formance with Depth and were joined by guitarist Matt Pasquini, a junior from Guilderland. Playing as only a three piece at the show, with singer Guilia Pezzulo at a Disney internship in Florida, Petey took over all the vocal duties of the band. Playing all originals, they produced a big sound for only having three members. Their set was filled with comical moments. “Drink ‘Power -Up,’ you’ll power up!” said Pezzulo after taking a sip of something on stage. In between the comedy, they beautifully blended classic punk riffs with modern melody lines, which were captured perfectly in their song “She’s Too Cool For Me.” The Pangaea Alliance, formerly known as Petey and the Crew, are very familiar


Paul Travers and Alex Koste perform at Battle of the Bands (top) and Cody Okonski sings (bottom).

Quidditch takes off at Guilderland 13


Join our Facebook group The Journal 2010-2011 Follow the Journal on Twitter theJournal518

Abby Levy In 2001, we saw J.K. Rowling’s magical game of Quidditch and the wizarding world of Harry Potter brought to life on the big screen, and in 2005 the first Quidditch intramural league was formed at Middlebury College. Since then, Quidditch has taken flight and become a competitive intercollegiate sport between various colleges and universities. The International Quidditch Association (IAC) has helped students from over four hundred colleges form teams, and recently the IAC has opened up to high schools in order to get them involved as well. This prompted senior, Mark Ciccarelli, and junior, Madi Taylor, to create Guilderland High School’s very first Quidditch team, which is now recognized

by the IAC. Quidditch consists of four balls: the “Quaffle,” two “Bludgers,” and one “Golden Snitch.” There are also seven players per team: one Keeper to defend the three goal posts, three Chasers who pass the Quaffle to try and score points through the opposing teams posts, two Beaters who throw Bludgers at opposing players to temporarily knock them out of play, and one Seeker who’s goal is to catch the Golden Snitch and end the game. IAC’s Quidditch has several changes from J.K. Rowling’s version. Of course players aren’t on flying broomsticks, but they do hold brooms between their legs, maneuvering with them throughout the field.


page 2 (theJournal)

January 2011

Journal 2010 - 2011 Staff

Winner of a $25 Crossgates Mall gift card, chosen by Facebook “likes:”

“You know you shouldn’t smoke, it causes premature baldness.” - Daniel Ferris Runners-up:

“Wine and cigarettes at breakfast? I think you’re getting retirement mixed up with your early twenties.” - Isaac Malsky “Don’t make me snap my fingers in the z for-ma-tion” - Justina Liu

The Journal is published by and for the students of Guilderland High School and is the school’s official student newspaper. We publish accounts of, and perspectives on, people, issues, and events that affect members of the school as well as the community. Although initialed by the writer, editorials reflect the majority opinion of the editorial staff. Reviews, columns, commentaries, and letters to the editor, however, represent the view of the individual writer and not necessarily those of the staff. Although we try not to solicit advertisements from competing businesses in a given issue, we cannot guarantee that a conflict involving advertising will not arise. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their respective advertisements. We are not responsible for printing and/or typographical errors that may occur in a given advertisement. We reserve the right not to print a given advertisement. Also, we cannot assure that columns, editorials, news, reviews or feature stories will not cover issues or events relating to any advertiser in this newspaper. We welcome signed letters from our readers. To be printed, letters must be of a reasonable length and contain neither libelous, slanderous, nor profane material. We reserve the right to reject any letter received. Unless otherwise noted by the editor-in-chief or the managing editor, all accepted letters will be printed in the letters to the editor section. We reserve the right to edit for length, grammar and content.

How to contact The Journal Mail: The Journal c/o Guilderland High School 8 School Rd Guilderland Center, NY 12085 Phone: (518) 861-8591 Ask for The Journal Email: -ManagementEditors-in-Chief Mike Marcantonio Beatrice Malsky Managing Editor Gregory Barber Associate Editors Tony Pitkin Ved Tanavde -Content-

by Isaac Malsky by

Tucker Seinberg

Hallways Editors Abby Levy, Devon Gingrich Fine Arts Editor Noah Rubin Pop Arts Editor Anastasia Mazur Around Town Editor Haejin Hwang Opinions Editor Libby Gioia World & Cultures Editor Meghan Bodo Sports Editor Bram Peterson Copyeditors Hannah Cohen, Jimmy McQuade, Larry Gerchikov, Rory Carroll, Hannah Liu -DesignPhotography Editor Devin Keenholts Graphics Editor Katherine Bickmore Layout & Design Editor Mike Dvorscak -BusinessBusiness Manager Mike Crupi Distribution Manager Tara Jackson Advertising Manager Matt Simon Marketing Manager Austin Cornell Faculty Advisor Christopher Mazura Building Principal Brian McCann Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marie Wiles

Journal January 2011

In this section:


-Quidditch continued - page 4 -Dance Squad expands performances- page 5 -Best Buddies lends a hand- page 5

Ceiling tiles struggle to withstand snow Mary Powathil It is no surprise that the winter season has arrived with not just with snow flurries, but with heavy rain storms as well. And even inside the school, students and staff have been feeling the effects of the downpours. A leaky roof is to blame, and it is taking a chunk out the district’s already dwindling finances. Music teachers have been dealing with leaks in the music rooms, putting music and instruments in harm’s way, while custodians must go multiple times to patch the same leaking ceiling tiles. The hall monitors must look out for students; someone could get hurt. In addition to their usual responsibilities, student safety is of heightened concern. Students have had a consistently negative reaction towards the leaking, at well as the school’s efforts to stem the problem. One student claimed, “They haven’t done very much,” while another student complained, “I think it’s annoying. They have already redone the roof like what, three times? And it’s not getting any better.” These students, along with many others, are beginning to believe that the administration is not doing its best in coping with the recurring problem. Some students are providing their own ideas. They wonder why the roof can’t simply be replaced, while others demand to know why higher quality materials weren’t used in the first place. For students, the numbers aren’t adding up. They are seeing money

spent on Elmos and laptops, while the bare essentials aren’t given adequate funding. “It’s kind of ridiculous that they could afford a flat-screen TV in the lobby, but not fix the roof,” said

one student. offered that the numbers don’t include laBut students, say the administration, bor or any kind of grid work replacement. are failing to take one key factor into He also added that “this would have to account: cost. “This is a huge campus be a capital project in order to complete of buildings to which the entire buildthere have been many ing in one shot.” renovations with at As frustrating The cost to replace least four for the roof,” as the roof dilsays school principal emna may be, a ceiling tiles in the Brian McCann. “Now, full replacement high school would be seems nearly imthere are three main areas of concern: the possible. around $170,000. long hallway, the area by Any largeguidance, and another scale renovation area.” in the future is In response to the flat screen televi- doubtful, due to the district’s poor budsions in the main lobby, Mr. McCann get situation. According to McCann, the provided this comparison: “To fix the school will have a tough time accumlating ceilings of one hallway, you would spend new funds for the project. enough to purchase 400 flat screen T.Vs.” McCann explains the situation in terms And when prodded as to why the of a classic home renovation. school was replacing and not com“We wish to paint and furnish our pletely fixing the home when leak, McCann respondwe buy it but ed that the problem may not have Why not with the roof has been the money at a continuous battle. completely change the time to do “There’s only so much so. Instead, we the roof and be money in our budget. wait, saving 60-70% of the roof has up the money done with it? been redone as part of needed to finish the 22 million dollar it properly, and summer renovation,” doing simpler he explained. From projects in the when he started as our building princi- meantime.” pal twenty years ago till now, the roof Photo by Dev Gingrich/ The Journal has continued to leak. When asked about the high cost of roof replacement, Clifford Nooney, the director of Physical Plant Management and Energy Manager for the district, also

Club Spotlight: Ultimate Danielle Heath Many people connect Ultimate Frisbee with thoughts of the 60s and love-ins, but Ultimate is a sport that has evolved to be much more than that. Now, Guilderland High School has its own team, the Skying Dutchmen. The team formed last spring, and was approved as a school club this fall. They have played against Averill Park and Shen, as well as Union College. “We plan on really heating things up this spring, with a couple practices a week, a lot of local games and maybe a few tournaments,” said co-founder Paul Travers. Most practices are held at Tawasentha Park and Farnsworth Middle School. Skying Dutchmen has been coached by various members of the Albany Ultimate community.

One of these coaches, Chad Boulay, said, “I’m really glad these kids are forming a high school team. It’s great to see the future of our sport.” “We encourage absolutely everyone to join. Just come to a practice once in a while, you don’t need to commit. We just Photos by Dev Gingrich / The Journal want you to try the sport out; we think you’ll love it,” said mate with the Skying Dutchmen, co-founder Matt Simon. As the team join “GHS Ultimate Club” on is in its beginning stages, it is actively facebook and “like” the “Skying pursuing new members and does not Dutchmen” page, or contact corequire any experience. founders Paul Travers and Matt If you are interested in playing Ulti- Simon.

Captains Paul Travers and Matt Simon practice for their upcoming game

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January 2011

Quidditch team launches with growing support continued from pg. 1 “This is nothing like anything else… it’s a contact sport, you can play it in any weather, there are not rain checks,” said Taylor Another major change is the Golden Snitch. In the books, the Snitch is a tiny golden ball that the Seekers from each team try to catch. In IAC Quidditch, the Snitch is an actual person that takes on the character of the Snitch. “They have a mind of their own. They are the only person not on a broom. They can run anywhere, do whatever they want. They are there to entertain the crowd and to get them involved in the game,” explains Cicccarelli. Getting Guilderland’s team started is not so easy though. Ciccarelli and Taylor formed a “Guilderland High School Quidditch Team” page on Facebook to provoke interest from students, and found math teacher, Warren Bollinger, to commit to being head of the club. There is also a series of steps that needs to be followed for the club to be created and

One Seeker:

tries to catch the Golden Snitch to end the game

approved by the school principal, Mr. McCann, the superintendent, and the Board of Education. Ciccarelli and Taylor are in the process of getting the club approved. “It’s going to have to be a really big group effort for this to work. Because of the response we got on Facebook was huge, I think the group effort will be there, but it is all depending on if they follow through because that usually tends to be where it stops,” says Taylor. For a Guilderland Quidditch club and team to really work, equipment is needed. Much of the equipment the high school already has, such as hula-hoops to make the goal hoops, and broomsticks from broomball, but money would need to be fundraised for legitimate equipment to be made. Right now, Quidditch would be a club at Guilderland and multiple teams of seven players would be created to play each other. The first meetings would be to see who really is interested and involved and to organize teams. Eventu-

ally, if interest spread to other schools, Guilderland could have an official team to play neighboring schools teams. “I think it would be so cool to have a Guilderland Quidditch team as an actual sport and start a trend among other schools… It wont happen in our years, if anyone sees it in the school right now it will be the freshman. I think it would be so neat to see it as an actual sports team like a football team that people would go to but, Quidditch,” states Taylor. College Quidditch teams have been playing each other intercollegiatey for four years and hold and annual “Quid-

ditch World Cup,” similar to in the Potter novels. This past Cup in- cluded for ty-six teams with over twenty thousand spectators that came to witness the competition. For Guilderland’s Quidditch club to be successful, “we just need a lot of support because we are still in the beginning stages,” says Ciccarelli.

Three Chasers:

Pass the Quaffle to score points through the opposing teams hoops

Gr a p

hic b y

Abb yL evy

One Keeper:

Defends the goal hoops

Two Beaters:

throw bludgers to temporarily knock out opposing teams players

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January 2011

Dance Squad: it just keeps getting better Clarissa Schmidt In its fifth year, Dance Squad is expanding its horizons more than ever. This season, Dance Squad introduces slower music and more defined choreography, bringing its performances to colleges including Siena and Sage this winter. Dance Squad started with an idea from two Junior girls, Alisa Sanberg and Morgan Bernat in 2005 when they developed a high interest in making a club for students who aren’t as athletic. With their heavy dance background, they committed themselves to form Guilderland High School’s first dance squad. “Personally, I think the club was an amazing addition to GHS’s clubs.” says this year’s Senior Dance Squad co-captain, Joelle Turek, “It gives people an opportunity to be a part of something in high school, a team to make friends, have fun, and dance. It’s always fun for anyone who wants to be a part of something to have that opportunity.” With just 18 members in 2005, the five year old Dance Squad has grown to 86 members this year. It has been split into two groups: one group meets on Monday, and another on Wednesday to compensate for the large number of members. “I have been so amazed at the interest for it and how it has grown.” comments Coach Relyea, who has been the Dance Squad leader and teacher of Creative Dance and Dance Styles for five years.

Over the years, more hip hop has been introduced to the choreography as the captains changed and influenced the squad with their own style and unique dance background. “The songs that we picked were based on our personalities.” says Senior Brittany Lynch, one of this year’s captains, “Joelle, her songs are ‘krumpy’ because she can krump so well. Carli loves the song ‘Church’ so we let her have that song.” In 2006, Alisa and Morgan decided that they wanted more performances than just Girls’ Varsity basketball games. After talking to Mr. Bertrand, head of the athletic department, the dance squad started to perform at Boys’ Varsity basketball games as well. “Most of the girls love to dance. Some like the thrill of performing for people. It’s a way to be a part of something. Some just like it for the social aspect, and that’s great. [It’s] something phenomenal to be a part of,” gushes Relyea. “I love performing at the basketball games.” says Junior Carley McLean, a member of three years, “It’s a lot of fun to show the school our hard work. I like the bond that you form with the members; I met a lot of new people through this club.” Although Carley has been dancing since she was three years old, not every member has had dance history prior to joining. “I danced before when I was little, but then I switched to cheerlead-

ing.” says Sophomore member Skye Purzycki, “There was some dancing in that but the Squad has definitely improved my dancing,” Being a captain for the Dance Squad was a dream for these girls. “When I was a freshman, Joelle and I really looked up to the captains [Alisa Sanberg and Morgan Bernat].” says senior co-captain Jenna Witzelben, “We just fell in love with Dance Squad. We knew then that becoming captains was a goal of ours. It felt awesome to have achieved that goal,” “It’s awesome to be captain. I never even expected it, and I just love meeting all of the new participants.” says cocaptain Carli Jurczynski. As a captain, they all communicate. They talk about fundraisers, costumes, and how the teams are progressing. Each captain makes up their own choreography to a mix of their own song choices, but being a captain of Dance Squad has its positives and negatives. “Playing ‘bad cop’, as Dollar calls it, and being critical of the girls is not something I enjoy doing. However, the positive effects are so much more prevalent and make that negative effect insignificant. We witness extreme improvement, meet talented and wonderful dancers, and share our passion with others. That, to me, is much more important.” comments Witzleben. “Captains get chosen based on a number of things. The biggest, [aspect] in my opinion, is their personality. In order to be a captain, a good candidate is outgoing, personable, and has leadership qualities. Another big quality the candidates have to have is a strong ability to dance and choreograph.” says Joelle Turek. Although Dance Squad has performed at basketball games, school events, and

competitions, this year is the first for its members to perform at colleges. They have performed at Sage College and are working on performing at Siena as well as trying to volunteer to perform at Crossgates mall. “I think I consider myself lucky. I have a great group of people. It’s fun and I enjoy coming. The best feeling is seeing the girls’ energy when they dance at the games and then afterwards, they’re so excited and proud of themselves and it’s nice to just sit back and watch that.” says a

Upcoming Performances: Friday 1/21: Boys Basketball Game Friday 1/28: Boys Basketball Game Friday 2/4: Girls Basketball Game Saturday 2/5: Sage College, 1 pm. and 3 pm. Tuesday 2/8: Boys Basketball Game Friday 2/11: Girls Basketball Game Photos By Abby Levy / The Journal

Best Buddies creates new friendships Danielle Martin Have you ever noticed your friends in development for people with intellectual the hallway but as you walked past they and developmental disabilities (IDD).” In didn’t acknowledge you? That would Best Buddies a peer buddy is partnered make you either confused or sad if they with a buddy and they talk weekly and kept doing that every day. Best Buddies meet at least once a month. A lot of budis a club that helps kids with disabilities dies have made connections with their get acquainted with and make new friends peer buddies. Nicole said that Best Budat GHS. Nicole, one of dies “has helped the buddies in the club me work with said that “when people people I have not I see you. As a say ‘Hi’ to me in the halls necessarily worked it makes me feel happy with. When I am classmate. As an because I like saying hi with my Buddy I equal. As a friend. to people. I would like like to go shopping people to know that I or talk about the Do you see me? like art, painting and holidays.” softball.” In Best BudMost students, dies everyone makes when walking friends and always has fun together. through the halls at GHS see someone Best Buddies is a club started at who doesn’t look like them or doesn’t Guilderland High School eight years hang out with them and are more apt to ago by Ms. Martin and Ms. Lazarus. The just keep walking by. One of the logos mission statement for Best Buddies from for Best Buddies is “I see you. As a classthe Best Buddies website is “to establish mate. As an equal. As a friend. Do you a global volunteer movement that creates see me?” This is one of the key points opportunities for one-to-one friendships, for Best Buddies. Zachary Belokopitsky, intergraded employment and leadership the co-president of Best Buddies, said

that “if people ignored me in the hallway I would feel like an outsider and not part of the GHS community. I would feel like there was something wrong me. I would not feel good.” There are so many opportunities that people in this club have to make an impact on others, as well as a chance to directly influence the lives of others by helping them to Photo By Danielle Martin appreciate what they have. Sam Segal, the other co-president Amanda Markessinis sits with Ricky Haggerty of Best Buddies, states that “I of our lives.” can honestly say there haven’t This club allows its members to give been many high school experiences that have opened my eyes and touched me in back to the community through the ansuch a profound and powerful way as Best nual community service project. One year Buddies has.” Sam said that his favorite they raised money for Relay for Life which part of the club is hanging out with his collects money for people with cancer. In the same year, they wrote letters to local buddy Ben. Ms. Martin said she helped start the nursing homes. club because the club is for “friendships If you would like to join in on the fun to form that enhance the lives of the stu- and be a part of Best Buddies, please dents and families involved. The message contact Ms. Lazarus in room 20 or Ms. would then be that friendships enrich all Martin in room 612.

In this section:

Journal January 2011

Around Town

- A not-so-sweet treat - page 6 - Coccadots hits the spot - page 6 - Christmas lights keep shining on - page 7

Crazy for cupcakes: two bakeries go head-to-head

Photo by Nina Obwald / The Journal

A not-so-sweet treat Ali Sima and Nina Obwald

We had high expectations for Bettie’s Cakes Double Decker Cupcake Bus, which is affectionately named Dee Dee. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to visit a pink, double decker bus that sells only cupcakes? Dee Dee was easy to find; you could see the bus easily from Route 20 well before you had to make the turn into Hewitt’s. Once we arrived, we eagerly pushed open the door and awkwardly stepped into the first floor of the bus. The space was a little bit cramped for the five of us, but we got over that quickly once we saw the cupcakes we had to choose from. The server was very friendly and nice, and made us feel welcome. Then, it was time to pick our cupcakes. There were a variety of flavors to choose from: Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla with Chocolate Frosting, Vanilla with Vanilla Frosting, Black Cherry, Cookie Dough, Pumpkin Pie, and Red Velvet. Each cupcake was beautifully decorated with sprinkles, swirled frosting, or, in the case of Cookie Dough and Peanut Butter Cup, a piece of the actual food. After selecting one of each kind, which cost us fifteen dollars, we took our selections upstairs to the upper level dining area. It wasn’t the nicest looking place, not to mention it was freezing! You could see your breath in the air, and there wasn’t much room to move around. Contrary to the outside of the bus, the upper level had white walls, white tables, and black chairs. It wasn’t the most inviting of places. However, the idea of sitting down at a tiny booth with friends to enjoy some beautiful cupcakes made up for the frigid atmosphere. We tried the Pumpkin Pie and Red Velvet cupcakes first. It took a little while to slice through the icing to divide the cupcakes amongst ourselves. The Red Velvet cupcake was the perfect holiday cupcake, a red cake decorated with white frosting, and red and green sprinkles. It didn’t have a taste that was anything special, or anything you couldn’t get anywhere else. That was the case for most of the other cupcakes as well, except for the Pumpkin Pie and Black Cherry, which were more original than the others. The Pumpkin Pie cupcake was successful in capturing the real taste of pumpkin pie. The Black Cherry was as much of a surprise on the

outside as it was on the inside. The icing was a mixture of brown and pink frosting with pink and brown sprinkles. The gooey cherry interior contrasted well with the cold icing of the cupcake. Some enjoyed the filling, but others found the addition

Overall, the cupcakes didn’t live up to our expectations. of the overly sweet cherry overwhelming. Overall, the cupcakes didn’t live up to our expectations. They were very expensive, ordinary, and very filling cupcakes. We would be interested to visit Bettie’s Cakes original location in Saratoga to see if there would be an improvement in the cupcakes, but for now, we have had our fill of Dee Dee, Bettie’s Cakes Double Decker Cupcake Bus.

Photo by Devin Keenholts / The Journal

Coccadots hits the spot Julianne Legnard Hankering for a sweet treat? Bypass Bettie’s cupcake stand and make your stop at Coccadotts Cake Shop. Known as the Capital Region’s finest “cupcakery”, the goodies, ambiance, and credibility at Coccadotts are all things to be craved. It all started with a sweet tooth, “I had been decorating since I was 12,” explained co-owner Rachel Cocca-Dott, who had grown up around a family bakery. After marrying the owner of Dotts garage in 2007, Rachel sought to carry on the family tradition. With the support of her best friend and co-founder Matt, she opened a confectionary adjacent to her hubby’s repair shop on Central Ave in Colonie. Stringing her maiden and married names together, “Coccadotts” was born, followed by flour, frosting, and fun! Coccadotts’s prized “cuppycake”, one of the trademark products, draws in many hungry customers. With an assortment of 15 unique and appetizing flavors, it’s nearly impossible to indulge in just one. Their cannoli, banana split and s’mores varieties undoubtedly transcend the mainPhoto by Nina Obwald

Above: The double doors of Bettie’s Cupcake Bus, decorated for the holidays. Below: A beautiful display of Coccadotts’ cakes, just one of their many tasty treats.

Photo by Devin Keenholts

stream chocolate and vanilla. “I can’t get enough of the carrot cake,” admits GHS Junior Kara Sour, “The mix of spices is delicious and the cream cheese frosting is just right!” To top it off, the delicate designs on these signature cuppycakes, like spiral beading and hand-crafted flowers, truly are the icing on the cake. The interior of Coccadotts Cake Shop is also quite pretty and tasteful. Spunky phrases and black polka-dots line the pink patterned walls, for a cute and cozy experience. Tempting scents from the ovens waft over the counter as you peer into the showcase to select your confection. “It brings people back to their childhoods,” says Cocca-Dott. Admittedly, the Coccadotts business runs on more than just its owners. As the cupcake industry booms, Cocca-Dott has taken on 14 new employees and some pretty innovative ideas, like their traveling cupcake bus. Appearing at venues all over the Albany area, you can track down the truck on the Coccadotts Cake Shop facebook page. Also on the account are pictures of the bakery’s most extravagant culinary creations. Themed birthday, holiday and wedding cakes are in fact Coccadotts’ specialties. From three-tier bridal cakes with intricate detailing to life-size cake replicas of outdoor grills, these culinary masterpieces are the highlight of any event. The shop has even designed for celebrities, recently decorating a cake for Donald Trump sprayed entirely in edible gold. Coccadotts also catered a birthday cake for singer Carrie Underwood in March of 2010, after her sold-out performance at the Times Union Center. Amidst orders from high profile clients, Coccadotts takes the time to invest in the community, as well. At the Albany little league season-opener, hungry kids cheered as Coccadotts gave away free cuppycakes, making Rachel Cocca-Dott feel “like Jeter hitting a home run”. The store always offers yummy new concoctions and seasonal favorites on location. “We strive to keep our quality of taste and design high,” states CoccaDott. Though the products can be pricey at $2.50 per cuppycake, Coccadotts treats are worth every penny. Their scrumptious cuppycakes, adorable storefront, and business reputation will surely keep you hungry for more.

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Around Town

January 2011

“Lights in the Park” keeps shining

Photos by Nina Obwald

Bernadette Javier Once the yellow and orange smudges of the sun dwindle hesitantly over the horizon at the end of the day and are replaced by the sudden pitch-black darkness that is the winter sky, the city of Albany suddenly experiences a dazzling array of Christmas lights that could impress even the great, jolly Santa Claus himself. The beaming display of holiday spirit shines so brightly that it could put those glistening stars painted across our black canvas sky to ultimate shame. The fourteenth annual Hannaford Capital Lights in the Park held in Washington Park each Christmas season opened on November 26, the night following Thanksgiving Day, and ran all the way through January 2. For most, it

is a must-see family tradition that carries on from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M. from Sunday through Thursday and 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. during Fridays and Saturdays. This spectacular light display that ignites the holiday season each year wowed us with over 125 displays and scenes during this year’s “The Magic of the Season” theme, bringing back the most amazing light displays from previous years along with a couple of new surprises. Ah, the memories of Santa riding his sleigh with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer leading the foggy way and the house outshining any home out there with its decked-out appearance. Or even the nativity scene for a more religious aspect of Christmas. Those seemed to

be the fun, earlier times of Holiday in the Park. But don’t get the wrong idea. Albany took it a step further this year by adding new themes in their striking collection of lights galore, including the likes of America’s Heroes, Toyland, Santa on Vacation, Victorian Holiday, and Peace on Earth to spice up the jolly ol’ show. Speaking of spicing it up, from Thursday to Sunday, Saratoga Horse and Carriage offered visitors a ride through the light displays in epic style in one of their fun-filled carriages. Or ask for a trolley, if really desired. However, most visitors ride through the displays in the comfort of their very own (and probably very warm!) vehicles, for $15 per car. At the end of the ride, they serve delicious refreshments at

the Washington Park Lake House, along with all sorts of craft activities, costumes, and even a couple of visits from the big guy in the red suit and his reindeer friends to hear the hopeful wishes of young visitors. Told you he was greatly impressed with the lights! Surely Rudolph can’t be the only source of light he relies on and appreciates during his journey around the world. All proceeds earned from Hannaford Capital Lights in the Park are donated to juvenile crime prevention programs led by the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL!). It’s a good way to support a cause as well as heighten the holiday spirit in the Capital Region. Just snuggle up, keep warm with a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the show!

This year, the Capitol region integrated themes of “Around the World” to celebrate the diversity of several different cultures. Viewers got a chance to experience the word “peace” in several different languages in order to understand the message of diversity. The second, third, and fourth pictures all mean “peace” in Spanish, French, and Korean respectively.

Upcoming local events What: Ice Skating at Western Turnpike Golf Course When: Now/ 9 A.M. - 4 P.M. What: The Guilderland Parks and Recreation Department is offering residents to skate in the pond behind the Western Turnpike’s clubhouse. Bring your own skates! What: Lake George 50th Anniversary Carnival: First Weekend When: Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5th and 6th What: Opening ceremonies start on Saturday at noon followed by the 50th Anniversary Gold Parade at 4 P.M., the Outhouse Race and Chili Cook Off, the Giant Ice Slide, and the Ice Castle. What: 7th Black History Month Step-Off at Proctors When: Feb. 11th at 7 P.M. What: Celebrate African American culture by viewing the high-energy performances filled with amazing choreography.

In this section:

Journal January 2011

World and Cultures

- UAlbany Language Cuts: p. 9 - Zumba: Fun and Exercise p.8 - Hannukah Photo Story p. 9

Conflict continues for North and South Korea Recent events reflect continued strife between two countries that were once united Hannah Cohen Since the 1940s, the United States has concerned itself with a small peninsular country in the Asian continent: Korea. Since that time, at which Japan relinquished its control of the country, Korea has seen much unrest. For sixty years, the country has been divided at its 38th parallel. A stark contrast has developed between North Korea, controlled by communist dictator Kim Jung Il and South Korea, a republic led by President Lee Myung-bak. Over the span of decades, there has been huge tension between the two. The conflicts came to a head in the past year as a result of the combination of North Korean policies and two separate events. Last March conditions between the two countries began to worsen when the South Korean naval ship The Cheon was sunk off the coast of Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. Forty-six of the 104 seamen aboard were killed, and after an investigation involving experts from several nations, it was determined that the ship was sunk by a torpedo from a North Korean submarine. The area in which the attack occurred has been one of considerable tension

between the nations since the division of Korea. The UN released a statement con-

In November the conflict was further intensified. North Korean authorities ordered South Korea to halt military drills near the border. When these orders were ignored North Korean forces retaliated by shelling Yeonpyeong Island, killing three civilians and one South Korean marine and wounding over a dozen. The attack has posed a serious threat to the armistice which has existed between the two countries since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The conflict between North and South Korea is of interest and importance to the rest of the world because of its volatile nature and the current state of the North Korean government. Kim Jung Il has made numerous threats of nuclear warfare which has been a source of concern for the surrounding nations considering the far reaching negative impact of any nuclear attack. The world waits on bated breath to see any new developGraphic courtesy of Kate Bickmore/the Journal ments or possible resolutions between the two Korean nations which demning the attack but made no mention were once one. of the assumed culprit, and the sensitive situation was not truly resolved.

Zumba: Latin rhythms meet cardio workouts This eclectic form of dancing provides a new, fun way to burn calories Taylor Tewksbery What happens when you mix lively Latin rhythms and easy to follow dance steps? Sprinkle in some body sculpting routines, and you get a fun, energetic workout that is unlike any other trip to the gym. You get Zumba. This energetic workout is relatively new to the exercise circuit. It was only about fifteen years ago that it was accidentally discovered in Columbia by fitness trainer “Beto” Perez. Perez was walking into his aerobics class when he realized he had forgotten his aerobics music. As a result, he was forced to use the Latin salsa and meringue tapes that he had in his bag. Using this music he was able to improvise the entire class. From there, Zumba Fitness party grew in popularity as it spread throughout Columbia, the U.S, and to the rest of the world. This fitness trend has spread like wildfire, leaving behind a sense of excitement that burns in each of its die-hard participants. As of October, 2010, the Zumba program has sold millions of DVDs, is being taught at over 90,000 locations in 110 countries, and has a monumental 10 million enthusiasts taking classes each week. So how has Zumba become so popular? “The instructors really make it feel like a party instead of a workout,” explains

Being great at Zumba definitely doesn’t Zumba instructor, Rene Scavio. Rene has been teaching classes at the come without a couple of stumbles along the way. You aren’t going to be able to Guilderland YMCA since last April. “I think it has an addicting quality be- just jump into a class and do every move cause the music is so unique and people perfectly. In order to truly know what you are doing, it takes practice. like to have fun when they work out.” “At first, it was hard to keep up… it Participants everywhere are feeling the beneficial results of their Zumba addic- was a little embarrassing. Some moves tion. Without hours on the elliptical or are easier than others,” recalled Jordan those countless crunches, you can burn Vanina, a freshman at GHS. She is also a part of Guilderland calories and have fun doing it. “Zumba increases your energy, helps cheerleading program and loves dancing tone your muscles, burns calories, gets during practice. “But it gets easier with practice beyou more fit, and just boosts your mood,” cause you know what move is coming said Scavio. “You can be dragging or in a bad next.” I decided to take a Zumba class at the mood, but once you get into the music, you really know you will have fun and get Guilderland YMCA, and discovered it isn’t as easy as it looks. Not falling on in a great workout.” Not only has Zumba found a home my face was a feat in itself. I commonly at our gyms, but has found a place right caught myself tripping over my own feet here at Guilderland High School. After or moving in the wrong direction. My school, you may occasionally hear the neighbors took the numerous knocks and upbeat sounds of Zumba pulsing from bumps they received with unbelievable tolerance. a cheer practice. No one was there to judge, just to “Sometimes, we do Zumba at practice as conditioning,” said Fiona Hayden, have a great time while getting a good a ninth grader on Freshman this year. workout in. Once I got passed my emShe is just one of the freshman and JV barrassment and let myself succumb to cheerleaders that have gotten the chance the mesmerizing rhythms, I really had a lot of fun. So when you get tired of to try Zumba for themselves. “I would definitely choose it over running circles around the track and you push-ups and curl ups for conditioning want a truly unique gym experience, give Photos courtesy of Albany Symphony Orchestra/Gary D. Gold Photography Zumba a try. any day.”

Feature Recipe

Laura Tang

Deep-Fried and StirFried Chopped Potato Ingredients: 1 pound potato 1 pint of oil 1 teaspoon of salt 2 teaspoons of sugar ¼ cup of water w/ 1 teaspoon of starch 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce 1 strip of scallion ½ teaspoon of Chinese spicy sauce (optional) peanuts (optional) Directions: 1. Chop the potato to the size of croutons. 2. Deep fry the potato chunks in a cooking pan with the flame on medium-high with hot oil until potato chunks turn a yellow-brown color. 3. Put the just-fried potato chunks onto a plate. 4. Put about two tablespoons of oil in another cooking pan and put the flame on medium-high again. 5. Chop the scallions and add the chopped scallions into the new pan after the oil warms up. 6. Add a tablespoon of dark soy sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of Chinese spicy sauce (if you like) to the pan and stir thoroughly. 7. Add the deep fried potato chunks and peanuts (if you like) to the cooking pan. Stir again. 8. Wait for about a minute before adding ¼ cup of water with 1 teaspoon of starch. 9. Wait until the water you poured in boils. 10. Take everything out and serve your deep-fried and stirfried chopped potato! Background/History: This dish originates in northern China, and has been modified throughout the generations. It is not associated with any specific holiday, but instead eaten normally throughout the year.

January 2011

World and Cultures

Department cuts at UAlbany cause controversy, have rippling effects Justina Liu

The world within reach. Except for France, Italy and Russia. SUNY Albany is straying away from this theme, with language cuts suggesting a “confusion of purpose,” a phrase used written in a letter by various members of the Stanford University staff in response to the cuts. In the midst of the brutal economy, the state funded universities of New York are becoming less funded. This year, New York slashed off nearly $12 million from SUNY Albany’s budget. Over the past three years, SUNY Albany has lost 30% of State tax support, the equivalent of $33.2 million. “I’ve been teaching here for 20 years… and for the past 5 years or so, the numbers [of faculty] have definitely decreased” Observes Lee Bickmore, a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Director of the Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. “Faculty continue to retire, but it’s rare that they’re actually replaced.” In early October, University President George M. Phillip announced a developed plan to cope with the decreased money. It meant the suspension of 5 programs— Classics, Theatre, and languages, French, Italian and Russian. “We knew there was a possibility of programs and faculty being reduced, but hoped mightily that other ways would be found to deal with these cuts,” says Bickmore. New admissions to the programs will not be accepted. Students in the process of completing a major or minor will have to opportunity to finish. Those that have completed a number of courses but have yet to declare a major or minor, will be able to appeal for an ‘intended major’. The University offers this option, though the fates of these students remain uncertain. Losing foreign language programs has an affect on the entire student body. The Director of the UAlbany Choral Program, David Griggs-Janower explains, “…our voice majors are required to study the meaning and pronunciation of the languages of the important historical vocal repertory, which means Italian, French, and German.” Bickmore agrees, “…it becomes difficult of Linguistic majors to fulfill their two language proficiency requirements.” Faculty at SUNY Albany shoulder the weight of the budget as well. Since 2008, 200 positions have been eliminated from campus. Phillips recently announced “…by the end of 2012, we expect that the equivalent of another 160 full time jobs will be eliminated- bringing the campus total to over 360 positions.”

Society outside campus is feeling the ripple effect. Of the students studying the rudiments of foreign language here at Guilderland, many will continue the use of these languages in years ahead. “I cannot give you the number, as I do not know it… but I can say that a very large number of students that come back to visit tell us they are continuing languages in some form of study,” says Marta Teixeira, a foreign language teacher at Guilderland High School. Knowledge of foreign languages has become a necessity in the world today; many careers involve interactions over seas. Teixeira comments, “The program here at GHS is a very solid and good one.” Though when asked if such decisions, like those of SUNY Albany, will affect

“CAS has a budget larger than the budgets of the other seven schools and colleges combined,” said Wulfert, “…a

page 9 (theJournal)

“8 Crazy Nights” through Pictures: Capturing the Spirit of Hannukah see for full story

... we cannot afford it all anymore.

- David Griggs-Janower, Director of UAlbany Choral Program

budget cut of the same percentage results in deans of small units having to relinquish lines… CAS, deplorably, stands to lose programs.” Language departments in CAS also show a significantly small student to teacher ratio. The French department has seven fulltime faculty members and 40 majors; Russian employs 3 faculty for 19 majors. The Communications department offers 6 full-time faculty to 520 majors. Russian, French and Italian are European classics. It was a surprise to many that SUNY would choose to dismiss the trio. Richard N Haass, the President of the Council of Foreign Relations caused a stir with his speech in November “…if we’re going to remain economically competitive and provide the skill and manpower for government, I think we need more Americans to learn Chinese or Hindi or Farsi or Portuguese or Korean or Arabic. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t mean fewer people would know Graphic courtesy of Zach Sicard/the Journal students and teachers at Guilderland Spanish, French, German and Italian. But High, the answer is, “In the long run, in a real world, it might.” It is inevitable that along with time yes it would.” The freezing of five programs has yet comes growth. UAlbany, along with the to be accepted by students. There have rest of the world, has changed. “When I arrived, there was no nanobeen a number of student rallies protesting the decision. UAlbany emphasizes science,” recalls Griggs-Janower, “…we studied mostly western civilithat these programs have not been ‘cut’; zation. Chinese and Japanese were less only ‘deactivated’. There is possibility that they will return, if the economic situation important then, and Spanish was not spoken by such a large portion of our gets better. “…but it is quite possible that if the own country’s population.” But the goal of the University remains budget situation does not improve, another round of deactivations might be the same, ‘To Learn, To Search, To Serve’ SUNY articulates it into six words, seemannounced,” says Bickmore. The five suspended programs are ingly simple. Yet under this economic also all within the College of Arts and burden, the task grows more difficult Science. Many are outraged and have each day. “This is comparable to a family sayaccused SUNY of a biased decision. When asked all the other colleges under ing,” Griggs-Janower continues, “We can the SUNY umbrella were able to keep eat only fruits and vegetables and no meat their programs, Elga Wulfert, the Arts or ice cream so we can go to the movand Science Dean, points out the size of ies occasionally... Or we can afford both CAS (College of Arts and Science). The movies and hamburgers if we move into college represents a quarter of the Uni- a smaller house, but we cannot afford it versity’s operating budget, and reduced all anymore.” spending by $5.5 million.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Sonenberg/the Journal

pURSUiT page 10 (theJournal)




“I’m most happy when I surro people who make me happy.

“I think the one true way to a is to do what you’re passio do it well; the rest wil Happiness for me comes from finding inspiration in my surroundings. I search for and stumble upon unprecedented beauty in a variety of places. It can be in the evanescent haze that pours through my bedroom window on a Sunday afternoon; it can be in the intricate floral detail on a dress that’s decades old; or it can be in the fluid rush of memories and images, brought by a few measures of my favorite song. Whether they’re

fill up the nooks and crannies of my room, creating an area which is

completely my own. In this sense I strive to collect or buy things I like and which are special and unique to me— not because of their “market value” or the “usefulness” they have, but for the beauty they hold and the happiness they bring. Whether it’s an old, abandoned home, overgrown by a sea of weeds and ivy, or the soft white petals of a sweet syringa plant, I try to devote a certain appreciation to the many simple yet beauti-

I strive to collect or buy things I like, which are special and unique to me—not because of their “market value,” or the “usefulness” they have, but for the beauty they hold and the happiness they bring.

visually appealing or hold a deeper meaning and emotion, these things ignite a certain flame in us, which makes us inevitably attracted to them. When I’m fortunate enough to come across these things, I tend to muse on them, collect them, and save them. There’s a great comfort that comes with establishing a collection of things that make up an aesthetic that is completely you. An assemblage of old photos, flowers, and antiques

ful things I stumble upon from day-to-day, whether they’re natural or manmade. Emerson once said, “We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts…” Along with working hard and helping others, it’s surrounding myself with these simple things that keeps me waking up each morning, knowing they’ll make my day just a little bit brighter.

Katherine Bickmore

by crun supreme to Biggie.

“I stay h ever a

page 11 (theJournal)

y 2011

Happy A

It is ironic that a concept as elementary as “happiness,” one immediately familiar to preschoolers, should prove difficult to articulate.


ound myself with .” – Megan Malamood

achieve happiness onate about and ll follow.” –Tony Pitkin

“I stay happy y eating a nch wrap e and listening .” –Amber Hedjazi

happy by starting ry morning with nice, hot cup of joe.” –Zoe King

Still, despite so many thousands of years of human experience and despite so many revered philosophers shut away in their ivory towers, the essence of that rather simple emotion eludes any clearcut consensus. Instead we are left with an endless cacophony of world views, lifestyles, religions and self-help books that— more often than not— conflict with one another. The path to happiness resembles something more like a labyrinth. How then, can we define happiness? More importantly, how can we pursue it? Oh, but aren’t we an advanced society? Certainly with our modern knowledge of neurology and the scientific method we should finally be able to clarify and quantify what the self-important philosophers have failed to deduce. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Sure, science provides some interesting insight on the mechanics of happiness— we can objectively observe the brain in a state of “happiness.” We can see how hormones and endorphins are released, how neurons and ganglia transmit signals throughout our skulls. But what does any of this mean? Nothing more than an exhausting exercise in vocabulary. The problem with examining happiness from a scientific standpoint lies in uniting objective evidence with subjective experience, a tired task that not even the staunchest advocates of realism dare approach. Science can only ever present happiness as I might present to you a picture of someone smiling— a meaningless and ultimately uninformative gesture. After all, we only ever experience happiness as a metaphysical state-of-mind, rather than a physical state-of-being. Without science to truly define happiness, one might be tempted to ascribe to the promise of pleasure. As Americans, we are quite familiar with hedonism as the omnipresent commercial specter that haunts our media and ultimately runs our economy. Every day we are told to buy this, eat that or smoke the other thing. We are promised pleasure, and as any hedonist devotee (or corporate spokesman) wants you to believe, pleasure is happiness. However, while they both represent a positive subjective experience, there is a distinct difference. Pleasure is a fleeting sensation reliant on external stimuli, while happiness is lasting and passive. Arguments for Epicureanism quickly grow tired on the Hedonic Treadmill, a concept that describes the tendency of humans to eventually return to a baseline of happiness (or unhappiness) despite immediate pleasure or pain. If not superficial pleasure, what does the aforementioned baseline of happiness depend on? While there are no easy answers, there does seem to be one unifying thread amidst the myriad of philosophies and religious schools of thought. Echoing from the austere virtue-ethics of Aristotle to the ascetic Eightfold Path of Siddhartha Gautama is one principle: self-fulfillment. This is a term I can’t fully articulate. In part, fulfillment is to want for nothing, to need nothing in terms of food, water, human relationships, profound experience, or even such shallow things as commercial goods. However, self-fulfillment relies less on what you have than on who you are. Simply put, if you can look in the mirror and know the person staring back is glad to see you, you’re in good shape. How does one go about all of this? I honestly don’t know. The answers can’t necessarily be found in any religious dogma or in any self-help book or (least of all) in any secondary school publication. No, the real definition of fulfillment, the definition of true happiness, has to come from within.

Michael Diana



1. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher – Jackie Wilson 2. You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne 3. Better Things – Passion Pit 4. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates 5. If You Wanna Be Happy – Jimmy Soul 6. No Such Things – John Mayer 7. People Should Smile More – Newton Faulkner 8. 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 9. Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley & The Wailers 10. Send Me On My Way – Rusted Roots 11. What I Got – Sublime 12. Just a Friend – Biz Markie 13. Follow Me – Uncle Kracker 14. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 15. Everybody Learns From Disaster – Dashboard Confessional 16. The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) – Jason Mraz 17. Vultures – John Mayer 18. Don’t Worry, I’m Yours – Jason Mraz vs. Bobby McFerrin 19. Drift Away – Uncle Kracker 20. Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti – Tara Jackson


Administration on happiness

Happiness isn’t hard to find at GHS. Just take a look in the hall during passing time or in the cafeteria during lunch and you’ll see students laughing and smiling. Though the academic part of school may not always make students happy, the social part of it does, and Spanish teacher Mrs. Wood-Irvin claimed that she thinks kids like to be in school because of that reason. “I think kids like to be in school because their friends are here. They like to be here for the social aspect, probably more than the academic aspect,” she explained. Mrs. Wood-Irvin is a teacher that always tries to keep a positive attitude and a happy environment in her classroom. “Classrooms run better and you can accomplish more if students are in good moods [and happy].” Mrs. Wood-Irvin isn’t the only one who thinks our school is a happy environment. Principal Brian McCann also believes this. McCann claimed that these four years will be the best years of students’ lives in terms of freedom and responsibility, and that these years should also be the happiest as well. He stated that if students aren’t happy they should get involved in something other than academics. Whether it’s in the classrooms, on the stage or on the fields, students at GHS are happy, and that’s all that matters.

Michael Marcantonio –

theJournal January 2011

In this section:

Pop Arts

- Battle of the Bands - page 13 - Movie Reviews - page 13 - A look at the music industry - page 14

Bayside returns to strong reception Tony Pitkin

For the first time in a long time, Northern Lights saw a concert where every band on the lineup held their own against the headlining act. The opening band, State Champs, even got fans to crowd surf during the first five minutes of their set. State Champs, hailing from Albany, features five local college kids each with talent beyond their years. Playing a mix of pop-punk and melodic hardcore, much like popular bands like Hit The Lights and Set Your Goals, made their sound predictable but easily got everyone in the audience engaged. “With many of our friends home from college we were really able to get the audience involved since many already knew the songs,” said guitarist Tyler Szalkowski after the show. The band opened their set with a new song called “How It Used To Be” off their new EP, Apparently I’m Nothing to astounding energy. The crowd was pushing and shoving, a pit opened numerous times and friends and fans of the band unexpectedly cruised across the hands of fellow attendees. After a good listen through the new EP it’s hard to understand how these local college kids are still unsigned. Lead Vocalist Derek Discanio fronted the group with a commanding stage presence and even stronger vocals. Discanio expressed his desire to retain his youthful energy in the opening song, asserting that “We’re growing up but it’ll stay young even if it kills me.” Buried in the middle of their brief set, the band played its sugar coated acoustic track, “Stick Around” for the very first time. This time however, the full band joined in. After the song Discanio cautiously stated, “This is our first time trying this one live so we’ll see how it goes.” The raw vocal power of Discanio combined with simple yet satisfying pop-punk riffs created a surprisingly impressive opening act. Next on the lineup was the newest project of ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist and backing vocalist Fred Mascherino, a band called Terrible Things. On a quick side note, the first song of their set was called “Terrible Things”, by the band Terrible Things, off their full length record, also with the name Terrible Things. Slight comic humor aside, the band looked to be the oldest group on the stage that night, but don’t let age fool you. Masherino’s voice was still as raw as his younger days with Taking Back Sunday. Truthfully, the band’s riffs, drums, and even vocals sounded at times like Masherino’s former band. However, even though the band played a strong set, the venue’s sound engineers couldn’t seem to get Fred’s vocals under control through the duration of their set. Because of his vociferous rasp the microphone frequently spiked creating ear splitting volume levels from sound peaks. After a near power crisis at the venue, The Sleeping, known for their hit in Guitar Hero III, “Don’t Hold Back”, followed. After nearly half an hour of silence from Northern Light’s sound system the band came out strong. The

photo credit

caption caption caption caption caption

(Top): Guitarist Jack O’ Shea feeds of crowd reaction during a solo and (Bottom) local opener State Champs shows their fun side during a photo shoot.

band’s lead singer, Douglas Robinson had another interesting voice. His voice was equally as raspy but this time didn’t cause problems with the sound. I didn’t care much for the band, but I also had a beer dumped on a close friend of mine during their set so my opinion may be skewed. The band’s underground emo/post-hardcore sound was enjoyable but not fit for a large club venue like Northern Lights. At an underground, neighborhood bar venue like Valentine’s their sound would’ve been much more fitting. Nonetheless they still played a respectable set. While all the openers held their own against Bayside, the group still stole the spotlight. The band came on stage starting their set with the title track of their 3rd record, “The Walking Wounded.” The band was in-tune with the crowd from the minute they took the stage. Lead Singer/Guitarist Anthony Raneri controlled the masses like frantic puppeteer, constantly encouraging circle pits, bouncing and shouting of lyrics to ensue. The band’s new album, Killing Time, is set to release February 22nd, 2011 on the new label Wind Up Records. The newest single, “Sick, Sick, Sick” received surprisingly good reception from the fans, with much of the crowd chanting the songs title during the pre-chorus loud enough to down Raneri’s already amplified voice. Other hits played included old hits like “Masterpiece” and “Devotion And Desire.” The most unexpected yet entertaining tune of the night was when the band paid tribute to alt rockers Weezer with a cover of “My Name Is Jonas” that fit Raneri’s range astoundingly well. For a band that has been around for over ten years now the group’s sound has matured both lyrically and musically. Jack O’ Shea may have chopped off all his hair, but he still blends tasteful solos in the middle of melodic emo-punk rock music. Bassist

Nick Ghanbarian and drummer Chris Guglielmo stay in sync the entire show. With their third performance in the last two years, fans can only hope that the tight knit emo-punk group will return this summer playing the latest cult sensation, after all, every Bayside fan knows, “Bayside is a cult.”

Photo by Hannah Dordick

Photo courtesty of State Champs

State Champs’ new EP, Apparently I’m Nothing, is now available for download through iTunes and Bayside’s new album, Killing Time, is set for release through most major retailers on 2-22-11.

January 2011

Pop Arts

page 13 (


Movie Reviews

Andrew Fedorov The dark rocky walls seemed to close in. Claustrophobia enveloped the mind. Trapped in a crevice beneath the ground where no one is likely to ever find him. Aron Ralston’s mind was focused on that 200 pound chalkstone boulder crushing his hand into oblivion. He was too busy to pay any attention to those hallucinations of Scooby chuckling in the corner and the memories of incredible phish concerts flashing through his mind. Ralston’s right arm was decaying while still attached to his body. After 5 days of stuck under the rock and about three days without water Aron Ralston tried his last chance at escape. He chopped his arm off, left it in a cave, and fled from his own retreat into nature. After a recovery period Ralston showed he had guts left (the ones that weren’t smeared on a cave wall). He relived the experience by writing about it in a book. Recently the story hopped mediums and was released in the form of a film.

The film flies past the previous incarnation like the raven that daily flew over Ralston’s head. While the book periodically offered the reader a chance at momentary escapes, the film goes in for no such foolishness. It is pure confinement. Though the film is only about an hour and a half it feels like the full 127 hours. This is in no way a negative attribute; the audience is forced to live through the anxiety and experience the gruesome act of cutting an arm off and understand the change that occurs in him from the average plainsman he was moments before to the redemptive man escaping. The viewer can almost see a realization pass through Franco’s face the desperation of needing to escape and do anything he can to make that possible. Just watching the movie was an experience in its self, becoming so close to Ralston that his pain might as well be felt by the entire audience. I came out of that theater in a state of shock. I wriggled my pale fingers just to know I still could.

(cont. from page 1) with taking the stage to perform in local competitions. They’ve played Nervosity, The Altamont Fair Battle of the Bands, The GHS Bonfire, and the GHS Battle of the Bands last January. Even with different members they’ve kept a solid sound and it’s that sound that landed them in 3rd place this year at the battle. After the show Pezzulo commented saying that he felt they were “definitely better than last year,” and that he was happy with how they played. For the final band of the night, Aunt Josephine’s Brush took the stage, coming in second place. For their first song, only three members of the band took the stage, singer Ian Campbell, a junior, with his acoustic guitar, Joelle Turek, a senior, playing piano, and Ryan Wager, a senior, playing a cajón, a box-shaped percussion instrument played by slapping the front face with the hands. All three are Guilderland students. They played a fantastic acoustic version of the hit

song “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, which was a ‘blast’. For their next song, Joelle Turek left the stage, but the rest of the band came on stage. Guitarists Austin Malerba and Nico Turek, both juniors from Guilderland, traded solos during the next tune. Ryan Wager, now on the drum set, and bassist Justin Clark, a Guilderland alumnus who now attends SCCC, showed off their musicianship, keeping perfect tempo for the rest of the set. Jake Benninger joined the band to play saxophone. His saxophone parts flowed perfectly between Campbell’s vocal melody lines. The band also had a guest appearance by Shane Foley, a senior who plays drums in the local band The Summer Switch. The original songs, by Ian Campbell, were well thought out compositions, with a light airy sound, but one that also filled the stage. The core of Aunt Josephine’s Brush played the GHS Battle of the Bands last year under the name Coach Tunnels, and won the competition. This year, despite some backstage confusion, the band took second place. The winn e r, U n c l e Joel’s Comb, an energetic ska-punk band, hails mainly from Niskayuna. The backbone of the band is like a well oiled machine. With Clay Kaledin,

Aimee Denn

Black Swan staring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel is a fascinating story about a ballet dancer who slowly goes neurotic working herself to play the lead role in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. In the movie Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) tries to prepare herself to play the leading role of the delicate white swan, but as she works herself too heavily she starts to become more like the evil black swan. Hearing about the plot of the movie may not sound interesting, but in reality the movie captures you, invites you in, to get lost in the world of Sayers. As the audience, you watch as she goes from a character of pure innocence and perfection, to someone who is purely insane, and physically hurts herself, literally peeling off skin, to try to be the best she can be. When out of

Battle of the Bands cont. from front page

a senior from Niskayuna on drums, and Luke Olsen on the bass, also a Senior at Niskayuna, they never miss a beat, The horn section, or the “Fat Ass Brass,” consisting of the Guilderland members of the band, Paul Travers, who plays trumpet, and Jon Bintz, who plays trombone, really define the band’s sound. But between the beats and the horn parts which will be stuck in your head for days, appear the vocal melodies of Alex Koste and the perfectly executed harmonies from guitarist Cody Okonski, that blend flawlessly. The newest member of the band, Jon Bintz, has had no problem fitting in. His first show with them was the GHS Bonfire and they’ve played “at least eight shows since then,” he says. The highlight of their set was the song “Paul’s Jam,” named after trumpeter Paul Travers. Along with “Paul’s Jam,” their set was filled with original tunes

town dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis) comes to perform in Swan Lake, the story takes an interesting twist and becomes even more intense as Lily becomes prime for taking the leading role out of Nina’s grasp. Nina and Lily form a twisted friendship that takes the movie in a direction that you wouldn’t expect. The strength and power of watching this movie will have you coming out of the theater electrified. This movie had so much buzz around it that Natalie Portman won best actress for her powerful part of Nina in Black Swan at the Golden Globes. She is also up for Screen Actors Guild Award and her name will surely be mentioned when the Oscar nominations come out next week. Warning, after seeing Black Swan, you will not be able to get the story out of your head.

Photos by Devin Keenholts / The Journal

Aunt Josephine’s Brush (above) takes home second place with vocalist Ian Campbell’s (left) passionate performance

that make you want to get up and dance. It was all this energy that won them first place in this competition. I caught up with the band afterwards and they told me about their forthcoming album, which has no release date yet. “We have a bunch of new songs were just sitting on right now,” says Koste. He says they’re waiting for the new album to come out before playing any of the new songs live. The band says they’re going to put the prize money towards more time in the studio recording their new album.

page 14 (

Pop Arts


January 2011

A witty glance at what makes mainstream music

Tara Jackson What is mainstream music? The dictionary defines mainstream as belonging to or a characteristic of a principle, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement or style. So basically, whatever kind of music the majority of people like becomes “mainstream.” How democratic. Maybe if we wish on airplanes in the

night sky that are like shooting stars this will actually happen. Mainstream music is too often people that are conformist and afraid to explore other music out there. Mainstream music listeners will often be seen wearing a North face jacket and pair of uggs. This music is often unoriginal and fits a certain “mold” based on the

time period. How does a song make it to number one on a countdown by today’s standards? The “mold” seems a club beat and repeating phrases as a chorus. In the late 60s to early 70s it was hippie rock, late 70s it was disco, 80s it was catchy synthesizer, early 90s it was teen angst, in the late 90s through the early 00s it was

boy bands and rap with drums and now in the late 00s it’s dance music, auto-tuning and rapping over a heavy bass. What will the trend of the 10’s end up being? OMG, will I still throw my hands up in the air sometimes? Will everyone still love the way I lie? Baby, will you still like it? We can only hope.

Music industry helps cause: A look at To Write Love On Her Arms

who was in need of drug rehabilitation and suicide prevention. According to the World Health Organization 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression. This organization has received backing from large music groups like: Anastasia Mazur All Time Low, Anberlin, Boys Like Girls, Ever wondered what exactly TW- Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Switchfoot LOHA is? It can be seen plastered and many more. Anything from wearing anywhere from people’s forearms to their apparel to giving profits from conbanners behind major record labels certs to speaking out to teens that need artists. TWLOHA, standing for To help; this cause has brought together the Write Love On Her Arms is a nonprofit music world and their fans to talk about organization mainly targeting teen the serious issues affecting teenagers tosuicide prevention. Founded by Jamie day. To support TWLOHA t-shirts can Tworkowski in 2006 who started the be purchased at Zumiez and Hot Topic organization by printing t-shirts to raise proceeds going to the organization or money for a nineteen year old friend make a tax deductible donation!

Taylor Hanson of Hanson shows support (above). TWLOHA merchandise (center, right).

Journal January 2011

Fine Arts

An autobiography... a hundred years later

Andrew Fedorov The autobiography is a degraded art form. Every lord that you’ve never heard of and his mistress have written one. Mark Twain now brings a little class to autobiography. He comes bursting through the hard cover of a coffin and through compacted earth into the new century with a new, posthumously published autobiography. I suppose only the dead get good editors. The old lunatic couldn’t be silenced. His corpse might as well be running among you and your comrades in coat and tails. As you read this, his mustache may be drooping over your shoulder. That burning sensation you feel is the ashes from his cigar. Twain was more than some boring old man in a white suit. He was cantankerous, crazed, and the funniest writer of his time. He was a rascal who had not seen it fit to finish school, had grown up in a poor family, and called his cat Satan. And somehow, he managed to break into the upper echelons of literature. Literary executives who had not paid attention to the fact that he had specified multiple times that he did not want it published until a century after his death have published heavily abridged versions of the autobiography. They would have published the whole thing but their Victorian sensibilities prevented the elements that were not purely biographical from getting through. Twain is surprisingly lively and modern for a man who’s been buried for over a century. His views and writing are so modern it seems like he might be alive, living off small dogs and squirrel, in a small wooden hut floating on a bog by the Mississippi. The autobiography was written between 1906 and 1910 after the death of his wife, who edited all his work. This is one of the few books that is neither abridged by his wife’s blue pen (that might as well have been crimson) or the guilty pang of a literary executive who is going against the wishes of the author and lusting after a big

pile of money. They did not have a chance to edit this book into oblivion. It is one of the few works that is Twain’s own unexpurgated thoughts. Phrases of a mad nature got through. He has the chance to call people “bastard monkeys” and trail off into oddly specific threats involving steel clamps, shutting out all human succor from a not so gentlemanly fellow. Twain’s method for writing this book was to dictate it, that is to say he had a conversation which he called great art. As he puts it in the preface, the plan is to “start at no particular time in your life; wander at your free will all over your life.” Because of its conversational style, it is the most sincere thing he ever wrote, and, with the assistance of the author, the reader is able to pierce the shell that was subconsciously formed around Twain with his writing. The reader has a chance to pierce the murky water darkened by the slightly legendary status with which his life has been imbued in recent years. It’s only a coincidence that that’s the same color water they drank back in his day. His official autobiography is a 500,000 word document of which this 700 page long book is only the first in a 3 volume set. There is only a small amount of never-before published sections in this volume of the autobiography, “maybe as little as 5 percent of the dictations,” said Harriet E. Smith, chief editor of the autobiography to The New York Times . “But there will be a much higher percentage in Volumes 2 and 3”. This is the greatest autobiography I have encountered in a life that, so far, has been too short to have the authority to call it the greatest autobiography. I anxiously await the next two volumes and the full history of the universally American life led by the great genius of American literature.

“Nutcracker Season” Noah Rubin

A rotten tree in the living room, mountainous debt, and rejected toys can only mean one thing: Christmas is decidedly done. No more lights, no more excess, no more cookies. No more Nutcracker? Many of us—if we could only part with the eggnog—saw our Cousin Sally, or our neighbor Jody (and hey, maybe even your brother Steve) in an annual performance of the classic ballet. The Nutcracker wasn’t always the stuff of three-foot ballerinas (or your five-foot brother Steve the ballerino, for that matter). But in the United States at least, much of our familiarity with it comes from “Little Girls, Inc.” at “Cutesy Theatre” in the annual Christmas show down the road. And so, with its yuletide ubiquity, The Nutcracker is unquestionably the most famous ballet around. But is it getting the respect it deserves? The composer in question here, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is one of the 19th century’s romantic behemoths. He enjoyed wide fame in his time, and not just in Russia, once traveling six months to conduct at Carnegie Hall. Tchaikovsky, like many legendary composers, broke away from conventions of his contemporaries. And, to the detriment of his early career, Russia’s reigning group of composers, The Five, did not become The Six. Rather, it developed into The Five in criticism of the one. Today, Tchaikovsky’s themes define—in music—love,

patriotism, and … Sugar Plum Fairies? Hum that theme, or countless others from The Nutcracker, to anyone, and you’ll have them Waltzing like Flowers—even if you’re actually singing the Chinese Dance. Tchaikovsky’s music in this timeless ballet is innovative, perhaps most of all in instrumentation. Here we find the first famous use of the celesta: Tchaikovsky experimented with the new bell-piano hybrid in a duet with the bass clarinet. The Nutcracker was far from an instant classic, though. Not unlike many great pieces of art, The Nutcracker initially met criticism. “For dancers there is rather little in it, for art absolutely nothing,” one interviewer wrote, adding, “for the artistic fate of our ballet, one more step downward.” Another characterized it as “amateurish.” They even went so far as to take swipes at the dancers, with one ridiuculed as “corpulent” and “podgy.” What’s often lost in the first grade Christmas splendor is the fact that The Nutcracker is a true piece of art, not merely a perennial “classic.” So we often mistakenly think it achieved that status overnight. After all, since when hasn’t it been around? When have we had a Christmas without it? 1892, that’s when. Right as it was dismissed as “ponderous” at its premier. Be advised, though: don’t you dare say the same about Cousin Sally’s recital.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain Mark Twain $34.95

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Fine Arts

January 2011

Annual “Melodies of Christmas” concert series does not disappoint

Sharon Lin

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Price Chopper and Freihofer’s proudly present the thirty-first annual performance of CBS 6’s Melodies of Christmas!” As people are scrambling to find spare seats in the overflowing Proctor’s Theater, the loud voice blares, announcing that the show is about to begin. Once the voice disappears, people start clapping wildly as a group walks onto the stage, adorned with snow and pine. This group, known as Professor Louie and the Crowmatix (five time Grammy nominees!), settles down with their instruments, as the curtain behind them (the bright red curtain that people have been staring at ever since they took their seats, displaying golden letters spelling out “Melodies of Christmas” with green words underneath, noting that the curtain is, indeed, a “Fire Proof Curtain”) slowly rises up, revealing the Empire State Youth Orchestra and the Empire State Youth Chorale. Red headbands nest in the hair of several female members of the orchestra and chorale, gold collars and red robes dress the members of the chorale, and Santa hats rest on top of the large basses, showing that the orchestra and chorale is ready to bring festive cheer for all to hear. Helen Cha-Pyo, the conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, raises her baton high in the air, and once she brings it down, the oboes begin to sound, as the drummer of Professor Louie and the Crowmatix begins to play. After “Melody of Peace,” the opening number for Melodies of Christmas comes to a close, clapping ensues. Then, once Professor Louie and the Crowmatix leave the stage, four people take their place: Liz Bishop and Greg Floyd of CBS 6, Neil Golub of Price Chopper, and Bill Sullivan of Freihofer’s. There, the four people welcome the audience to “another fabulous performance by the Empire State Youth Orchestra and the Empire State Youth Chorale.” While people marvel, they also get the chance to introduce the Melodies Cookie Tin (a collectable that you can find in local Price Chopper stores for $9.99), and discuss the real purpose of the four performances, which lasted from December 16th to 19th, which is to raise money to help cure childhood cancer. As people applaud, they leave the stage, but not before introducing the conductors of the orchestra and the chorale (respectively): Helen Cha-Pyo and Ned Fleischer. Then, various Christmas tunes ensue, with special guest performances from the Northeast Ballet, the Orlando School of Dance, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, and Arthur DeLuke. The dancing and the music made for a wonderful night for not only the audience, but for the orchestra and chorale members as well. Guilderland High School sophomore Haewon Hwang, who attended the Thursday showing, especially enjoyed the Toy Symphony. “It was adorable and it made

me laugh!” she remarks. The Toy Symphony featured the percussion section of the orchestra, which played various toy instruments (a toy drum, a “Whirly,” a kazoo, and a toy piano, to name a few) to a joyful, simple tune provided by the string section. As the percussionists performed, the children in the audience laughed and squealed, making the one song most enjoyable for all. At last, when the show was about to come to a close, Liz, Greg, Bill and Neil took the stage once more to discuss, once again, the true purpose of the Melodies concerts: to raise money (and awareness) for childhood cancer. As they discuss, a group of people enter the stage: people that had experienced childhood cancer. As they enter the stage, the audience gives them a standing ovation, praising them for their strength and courage in the battle they had to fight. Then, the orchestra and chorale begin playing “Silent Night,” a classic Melodies tradition where the former cancer patients sing along to the famous Christmas tune. As the last notes of “Silent Night” fade away, the former cancer patients step off the stage, and another classic Melodies tradition, Händel’s “Hallelujah,” begins to sound. The audience stands up as the music plays, a tradition that started back when “Hallelujah” was first performed at Melodies. Once the string players lift their bows in triumph and the chorale lets go of their final note, the audience goes wild. Clapping and shouting fill the ears of the orchestra and chorale as they prepare

for a standing ovation. Both the orchestra and chorale feel pride as a result of the help they provided to the Childhood Cancer Center at Albany Medical Center, now renamed the “Melodies Center” in honor of the concerts. As a cellist in the Empire State Youth Orchestra, I can safely say that the time spent rehearsing for these four concerts was not in vain. The fact that I helped raise money for a cause gave me a feeling of exhilaration, knowing that I was part of an effort to make a difference in the world. Many members of the orchestra and chorale also felt the same way. Even though the time spent on rehearsing and performing (over three hours every night from Tuesday to Sunday) was frustrating and tiring at times, it was well worth it. The added bonus of being on the TV screens of people around the capital region on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was also another reason for me (and the rest of the orchestra and chorale) to believe that all my time devoted to rehearsing and performing was well spent. If you happened to miss the four performances (and the many TV showings), fear not. Since Melodies of Christmas is an annual concert series, it will happen again next year, and the year after that, and all years following that. It’s a colorful show that leaves you with a good feeling and the knowledge that you helped out an important cause, not to mention the fun dances and cool music.

Guilderland Senior Daniel Ainspan gleefully particpates in a performance of “The Toy Symphony” (top left). Members of the Northeast Ballet dance to Emmanuel Chabrier’s “Joyeuse Marche” (top right).

In this section:

Journal January 2011


-Year in Review - page 17 -Nicki Minaj vs. Lil’ Kim - page 18 -Changes to midterms week - page 18

Title by Zach Sicard


Music Libby Gioia

2010 was certainly a year for ground breaking music. There was a song dedicated to Lady Gaga’s dysfunctional telephone and even more dysfunctional romances, a fever going around for a tiny Canadian boy named Justin Beiber, another Canadian who is out to Do Right And Kill Everything took the world by storm while having his hand held by Lil Wayne. Perhaps those people blamed it on the ah— things inappropriate for school that they drank as they spastically snapped their necks back and forth— err whipped their hair back and forth. Dave Matthews graced our presence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the last time until the summer of 2012 rolls around. “Glee” was allowed to make a CD that filled the homes of “Gleeks” everywhere. Rhianna turned her life around and beat up the beat instead of being beat up herself, and admitted that she loved the way “you” lie (whoever


Graphics by Katherine Bickmore

that you may be.) Taylor Swift finally got to finish her song (nice try, Kanye) and showed the world that she really, really still wants to be in high school. The end of 2010 brought rap from artists such as Nicki Minaj, Eminem, and Kanye West. We learned that the Harijuku Barbie is not in fact Princess Jasmine or Aladdin, but a dungeon dragon; Eminem is not afraid as long as we walk the road together; and that Kanye autotuned a song about toasting to himself. We found out that all of Nelly’s life was just a dream and Drake likes his chicks fancy. Lil Wayne found no love while he was in jail, but when he got out we saw that he still had his swagger down pat. Over all, the music scene in 2010 dealt with Canadians of all sizes and musical talent (some questionable), Katy Perry’s cleav— lovely voice, Pink raising all of our glasses, and OMG! Ke$ha’s 15 minutes of fame is “Tik Tok”ing away slower than T.I.’s jail time.

Hannah Cohen

This year in movies has been a wild ride. The range of films has been incredibly vast, from the chilling psychological thriller Black Swan to the thought provoking Inception to the sensational penultimate installment of the Harry Potter franchise: Deathly Hallows Part 1. As we round out another year, one thing remains constant; w e always go back to

the movies hoping for a few hours of distraction from whatever problems plague us in our daily lives. This year in movies has truly delivered the thrills, chills, and laughs that we have come to expect. One of the most unique viewing experiences this year was indisputably Inception. The plot was complex, with endless twists and turns. The audience was able to unravel the secrets of dream navigation and creation, as long as they paid super close attention. The end left you wondering about reality: was Leonardo Dicaprio awake or still immersed so many layers into a dream that he couldn’t grasp that he was actually asleep? Some loved every minute, while others left the theaters

aggravated or scratching their heads. One

thing is for sure: there is no other movie like Inception. One cannot talk about a year in movies without mentioning Harry Potter. The franchise, which is truly a worldwide sensation (and some would say, obsession) which generates colossal hype and anticipation from people of all ages. From the lightning bolt bearing teens that wait in line for hours to see the midnight premiere, to the middle aged mom who brings her kids to the movies weeks after it has premiered, the film appeals to all. This installment was darker than the earlier films as the world prepares for the final movie, which comes out next year. The last of the movies will truly represent the end of an era. Hollywood continuously churns out dozens of movies a year and the public always shows up to see what they have for us next. 2010 was a year of extremes, and every moviegoer could find something that interested them. The movies in years to come are sure to be entertaining and original such as those in 2010.

Laura Tang

From Lindsay Lohan to Lil Wayne, the stars always seem to amaze the public with their exploits - both good and bad. The year 2010 was no different; from start to finish it’s been a rollercoaster ride in the entertainment industry. With crazy marriages, tragic deaths, jaw-dropping scandals, and unforeseen Youtube stars, this year did not disappoint. Young celebrities seemed to hit rock bottom in 2010, with Lindsay Lohan spending most of her time either in rehab or in the courts of Los Angeles. She’s not the only misbehaving star though: a video of Miley Cyrus was recently discovered showing her smoking a bong, which is legal in California but nonetheless damaging to her appearance as a role model for young kids. The jails were bustling this year, keeping rapper Lil Wayne in for eight months before his release in November. Despite being incarcerated for over half a year, Lil Wayne (“Weezy”) has been keeping in touch with fans (including former president Bill Clinton) with songs, letters, and videos. Just as he was released, another rapper, T.I, had been put behind bars again in October and is expected to be released in eleven months. Many knots were tied this year, including the newlyweds Alicia Keys to Swizz Beatz and country artist Carrie Underwood to Mike Fisher, both in July 2010. Hillary Duff and her husband Mike Comrie were officially married in August 2010. Hopefully there won’t be any more

heartbreak songs coming from these artists. Another couple that also got hitched this year is a famous face from the past: Alex Vega, popular for her role as Carmen in the Spy Kids series, married Sean Covel in October. While a few happy couples are getting ready to spend the rest of their lives together, some stars are facing struggles in their personal life. Sandra Bullock, an actress who starred in multiple movies including The Blind Side and The Proposal, was cheated on by her ex, Jesse James. Another famous couple that split consisted of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, who were together since the filming of High School Musical. Lastly, a few unexpected stars went viral, including “Double Rainbow Guy” Paul Vasquez who ooh-ed and ah-ed his way to stardom when filming a double rainbow in Yosemite National Park. His hysterical over-the-top reaction to the spectacle even resulted in a commercial for Microsoft. The only video that can top this one is probably the interview turned song by Antoine Dodson. While the double rainbow song has reached 18 million views, the “Bed Intruder” song has reached three times that amount, a shocking 54 million views. Another year has flown by already and hopefully 2011 will be an even more exciting year. Some events made us laugh until we cried, while others made us want to, well, “hide our kids, hide our wives, and hide our husbands” in 2010.

Television Mike Marcantonio

Oh yeah, reality TV, yeah. 2010 was the year of reality television. What was first thought to be controversial and inappropriate turned into hilarity and high ratings. Many new and returning hit reality shows premiered this year, such as “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom,” “16 and Pregnant,” “Pawn Stars,” “The Biggest Loser,” and many others. For some reason we liked watching Snooki put up her pouf and Farrah attempting to become a mother and even drop her baby. We saw how easy it was to sell junk on “Pawn Stars” and how much sweat is actually produced when you’re losing weight. We did not just like these shows either, we loved these shows. “Jersey Shore” not only became MTV’s most viewed show, but it also became one of the highest viewed shows on cable television. Both “Jersey Shore” and “16 and Pregnant” pushed

the limits of what could be seen on TV. Never before had we seen constant fighting between really, really tan people and girls pregnant while still in their teens. This year wasn’t all about reality television. In comedy we saw Jim and Pam from “The Office” get married to a Chris Brown song. America’s modern family was actually portrayed on TV in “Modern Family.” “Glee” returned this year with many awards in the comedy category. I don’t see how it’s considered a comedy because it’s not funny. I guess there’s no category for a show that involves a lot of singing. There was that show on ABC Family called “Greek”, but why watch scripted 20-something-year-olds party when you could watch the real thing on “Jersey Shore”?

page 18 (


Changes to midterm week seem promising The Journal Staff Midterm week has struck fear in the hearts of high school students since the beginning of their freshman year. We work hard for the first 90 days of school, and then once midterms strike we begin to panic, study, freak out and then study some more. All of this is for a two-hour test that is administered within the last weeks of January every school year. This year at GHS, there will be some longlasting changes to midterm week. Some minor changes have been made including the fact that there will be no tests given on Friday. Another new rule put into place states that all tests will be given in either the East Gym or the Large Cafeteria. The location changes have been made so that teachers and staff do not have to move as much furniture around, as well as to make it easier for close by questions for special needs students taking a test. We will have school on the Monday before midterm week because the week was originally designed for certain Regents that are given in January. Next year, it is a huge possibility that these Regents will be terminated due to budget issues. So we get four days “off ” from school which is awesome and ensures a three-day weekend since we all get that Friday off, (seniors are especially grateful for this.) As a staff, we feel having midterms given in smaller rooms makes for a less distracting testing atmosphere, which could lead to better results. The changes have been made with students’ thoughts in mind, which we are appreciative of. Teachers may not give midterms the week before midterm week. A possible downside to this could be the fact that teachers will have to choose between not giving their test or making it challenging and lengthy enough to fit the two-hour block that they are given. Another change made deals with the times that the tests are given. Instead of two three-hour sessions, there will be three two-hour sessions. We feel this makes it easier for yet another new rule they are trying to put in place, giving seniors and some juniors the morning off by having tests in senior/junior classes given in the mid-morning/afternoon sessions. They chose to make this the rule because most seniors and juniors can drive, and having tests for upperclassmen at a later time makes it easier and more convenient for buses and students. We, as a staff, feel the changes made for midterm week were a bright idea by administration because they make the dreaded week slightly more tolerable, organized and should help to make it run more smoothly. The changes were clearly made with both students and staff in mind, which is another positive thing about them.


January 2011

Nicki Minaj vs. Lil’ Kim: who’s the real winner?

Amber Hedjazi

Recently, the long awaited Pink Friday was released on November 19th. It was new comer and Young Money Cash Money Billionaire (YMCMB), Nicki Minaj’s first album. Pink Friday sold 375,190 albums in the debut week, making it the second highest debut in female rap. These statistics make Nicki Minaj the new face for female hip hop. Less than a week later, rap veteran Lil’ Kim dropped the single “Black Friday” attacking Minaj, Drake, and Lil’ Wayne who is president of YMCMB. Kim goes after Minaj saying she’s “A Lil’ Kim clone clown” and in many regards this is true. Lil’ Kim is the original and timeless face, for classic hip hop. Kim emerged in the early nineties in the group Junior M.A.F.I.A. headed by the Notorious B.I.G.  Her racy and provocative lyrics and apparel weren’t the only things that set this star apart from the rest, though.

Aside from her crazy moments and nonchalant attitude, Lil’ Kim made it acceptable for females to be rappers. In an industry that was once dominated by men, Kim stepped in and paved the road for future artists like Minaj. Minaj, although most people think to be eccentric and original, has done the same photo shoots, and even taken some of Kim’s lyrics. I can’t blame Minaj, because it is hard to follow such an impressive act, but I do think that she could come up with some better lyrics. I mean “The DunDun the sun done yep, the sun done” has absolutely no lyrical appeal. Rap should be about catchy and witty lyrics, but today’s rappers like Minaj are focusing solely on a catchy beat. It used to be metaphors that made the crowd go wild and controversy that left listeners begging for more. Rap used to be an art, but now is just more of a way for artists to imitate other artists and catch a fast break. It’s a shame that poetic rap has been associated with catchy R&B tunes, hopefully Nicki will step her game up in the New Year.

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In this section:

Journal January 2011

- NBA season - pg. 19


- XC kicks off - pg. 20 -Cietak twins shine - pg. 20

NBA mid-season update Reza Sayeed

Only about eight weeks into the 2010-2011 NBA season, things have already started to heat up and unravel. We’ve witnessed some rule changes, the emerging of some fresh new talent, and surprises and disappointments out of both teams and players around the league. Some rules were added at the start of the season, increasing the power of officials during game time. A new rule states that the referee can give out technical fouls to a player or a coach as soon as there is some sor t of rough arguing. This has been regarded as preposterous by some as it allows al-

most no expression of emotion from the players or coaches. The NBA contends that the new rule will keep games under control, and that thus far, it has been successful. Highlights of the year have come in the form of new athletes who have taken the league with gusto. Rookie Blake Griffin, the number one overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, has been showing what it means to dominate a NBA game. Not only does he lead all rookies in both points and rebounds, he is also averaging a double double. Derrick Rose, who has been spectacular since his rookie year, is showing more and more signs of real development, rising to the top ten in the entire league in both points and assists. Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder has also made himself a legitimate all-star contender by playing well alongside one of the best scorers in the league, Kevin Durant. All eyes this year were on the Miami Heat and their star-studded lineup. The Heat have added two legitimate MVP contenders, LeBron James and Chris Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Bosh, to play along side Dwayne Wade,

a one-time NBA champion already. LeBron came from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a controversial decision which drew much attention, both positive and negative, to the twotime MVP. At the beginning of their season, the Heat were not meeting expectations and the all-stars were failing to mesh. However, Miami has taken over control of the Southeast division and is showing the league that they are a team to beat. The New Orleans Hornets have really opened some eyes this year, led by a rejuvenated Chris Paul. The Hornets had a string of clinical performances towards the beginning of the year by opening with an eight game winning streak. The San Antonio Spurs have also given their fans a lot to cheer about, and have surprised many by leading the league in wins to this point. Amar’e Stoudemire’s New York Knicks have also done a much improved job this year, especially by winning games on the road, bringing hope to fans who have had to suffer some horrible Knick teams throughout much of the last decade. This year seems to be amazing for NBA point guards, as more and more seem to be entering the ranks of the elite. Names like Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams are all thrown out there in debating who is the best point guard.

Some other notable individual perfor mers include the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Amar’e Stoudemire amongst a plethora of other legitimate superstars. So far the 2010-2011 N BA s e a s o n has been full of pleasant surprises including some great team performances as well as an overabundance of superstars who have really been lighting it up. The season is not even half way done, so expect some great action and entertainment to come before the playoffs are set. NBA players Kobe Bryant (left) and Lebron James are among the league’s top five scoring leaders.

Indoor Track, still running Despite budget cuts, Indoor Track comes back strong Pranav Nayak Entering the large gymnasium, the athlete is baffled by the amount of people crowded into such a small place. About 600 people were scattered throughout the gymnasium, equipped with a track that loops around a pair of basketball courts, all doing various things from running, jumping, and taking a nap. The athlete does his pre-race routine, running around the track and stretching to avoid getting a cramp during the race. He wanted nothing bad to happen during his event. Weaving his way through the piles of people sleeping under blankets on the basketball court’s floor, the athlete reaches the starting line, and gets into his assigned lane. He aligns his toes right behind the line, and looks straight forwards at the man with the pistol. The athlete remembers the weeks of practicing before the race, all those miles he ran, all in preparation for this race. Right then, he knew it was time to showcase the work he did for the last few weeks. And right then the gun goes off. The race has begun. Indoor track and field is basically outdoor track and field held in an indoor gymnasium during the winter season. Athletes can do many of the things that people can do in outdoor track like run-

ning, jumping, and throwing. What makes Indoor Track unique from outdoor track is the size of the track you run on, which affects the events’ available to runners. An average outdoor track will be 400 meters long if you run one lap. One lap on an indoor track can be anywhere from 150 meters to 200 meters, half the size of an outdoor track. Because of this, many different running events are in indoor track that are not in outdoor track, like the 55 meter sprint and hurdles, the 300 meter dash, and the 600 meter run, in addition to more traditional events like the mile and the 4X400 relay, offering more options to runners who are interested in these events. As you may know, indoor track and field was almost cut due to budget issues. The district decided to cut freshmen and repeat sports, indoor track and field falling into the second category. Parents were upset over the fact that indoor track and field was getting cut, so they went to a board meeting and asked if they could run indoor track if the parents were able to raise the money. They were told that if the district was to run indoor track, they needed to raise $16,300. “Originally everyone thought this was impossible” Mr. Kosier, Math teacher and Coach of the distance portion of the in-

door track team, remarks. “Booster club (The club responsible for raising money for the sport it is for) couldn’t raise that” Then, when everyone thought all was lost, a group called Friends of Guilderland Athletics was formed, and its goal was to raise half of the money required to bring back each sport that was cut. If they could raise half of the money to bring back indoor track, it would bring the cost of bringing indoor track down to around $8000. “Now it seemed possible to bring back indoor track.” Mr. Kosier stated. Photo byTara Jackson/ The Journal With the help of the Guilderland Cross Country team holding a pasta dinner and Sisters Kaitlin Campbell and Sydney the fall festival, and Mr. Cure holding a Campbell run in indoor track together. golf tournament, enough money was Indoor track is a sport that should made to bring back indoor track. Indoor track is important to it’s ath- continue to run for many seasons to letes. It provides them a winter sport to come, due to the fact that it’s the only do between the fall and spring sports to option for many people to run, jump, keep in shape during the winter. Indoor and throw during the winter. Some athtrack is not only appealing to runners, but letes who wish to do track and field may it’s also good for those who want to work not be able to in the spring if they play out during the winter in preparation for another sport during the same season. their spring sport and the fall sport next If indoor track continues to run, that year. Indoor track shouldn’t be counted athlete will be able to do both track and as one sport, It is more like 6, running, field and their spring sport, Instead of jumping, and throwing, for both women staying at home doing nothing during the winter. and men.


page 20 (theJournal)

January 2011

Talented twins: the Cietek transition Julianne Legnard

Laxers, swimmers and identical twins: Mackenzie and Kendall Cietek eagerly made the switch from Spartans to Dutchmen last March of 2010. Making their move from Burnt Hills High to join the Guilderland student body, the Cietek sisters are goal-oriented on the field and state competitors in the pool. Sharing classes and teams all their lives, their enduring bond as twins has stimulated both athletic and academic excellence. Twin tricks and high-jinks Their work ethic and athletic ability sets an example for the other girls. - Coach Brenna Autrey

have also always been a mutual interest; “We would play tricks on our babysitters by switching beds before they came to tuck us in!” recalls firstborn Mackenzie Cietek. Yet as they’ve grown, the girls have also found individual outlets. While Kendall plays the violin for the GHS concert orchestra, Mackenzie finds her rhythm in running. A former hurdler for the Burnt Hills track team, Mackenzie just missed the state championship cutoff in the spring of her 8th grade year. Realizing it was time to get serious about their first love, lacrosse, the twins played for the Burnt Hills varsity and Albany Elite travel teams the following year. “Lacrosse didn’t really start for us until we joined Albany Elite, where we met the best coaches and players in the area” says Kendall. Getting to know several Guilderland lacrosse coaches and team members, the Cieteks felt an instant connection with the program. Turning in their maroon jerseys for red and white, Kendall and Mackenzie took their places, respectively, as #1 and #25 for the Lady Dutch. Entering into the rigorous Guilderland Girls lacrosse program was no small demand. Ranked 4th in the state after a NYS championship run at Cortland the previous year, the Guilderland Girls Lacrosse team was out to win. “It was really hard at first” confesses midfielder Mackenzie, “It

Photos by Mackenzie and Kendall Cietek / The Journal

Mackenzie Cietek and her swimming teammates show off their winnings at a swim meet (top, left). The Cietek twins smile for their team’s Section II win in lacrosse (bottom, left). Mackenzie Cietek dodges a defender (right).

was a lot more intense than Burnt Hills, with so many great athletes”. Kendall, an attacker, agreed with this sentiment, “I wasn’t very prepared lacrosse-wise, but it forced me to fix my bad habits”. Taking this rough start as a wake-up call, the twins worked hard to score and assist the Guilderland varsity team, which earned an impressive record of 17-2. “I love the adrenaline rush I get when playing, even if the game isn’t close” says Mackenzie. Her sister shares an identical passion for the game. Scholar athletes, both girls aspire to play for an Ivy League University at the Division I level. Now juniors, the Cieteks also hit the lanes as Guilderville swimmers this past 2010 season. As retired veterans of the Schenectady Sharks club swim team, the twins were excited to get back in the water. It did not take long to get their feet wet; “The transition was seamless” states

swim Coach Brenna Autrey, “Their work ethic and athletic ability sets an example for the other girls”. Fellow Guilderville “geese” flocked to welcome the pair. The two immediately began racing in some of the fastest events, even against each other, such as in the 50 yd free. Though Kendall eventually finished in 3rd place to Mackenzie’s 9th in the sectionals race, the Cieteks share a best time of 25.66 seconds in the event. While both girls fess up to sisterly competition, they concur it’s perfectly healthy. “We try to push each other to succeed, in that way we are competitive” Mackenzie admits. Indeed, these swimmers had a very successful fall, each participating in 4 sectionals events including the 200 yd free relay, which brought them to the NYS championships. Competing alongside junior Jenna Bickel and senior Reynalyn Canchela, the relay squad received 30th out of 50 contend-

ing at states. Having thoroughly enjoyed the states experience, both athletes look forward to returning next year for individual events. The Cieteks may not need to wait until fall as the Guilderland girls lacrosse team heats up for another state championshipbound season. Alternating lacrosse practices, fitness sessions and trips to the pool, the twins train 6 to7 days a week to prepare in the offseason. Yet somehow, it’s become second nature. “Every day it’s school, sports, homework” Kendall explains “I don’t really like to take days off ”. Such fervor and ambition has made for a prime transition. With hard work, natural ability and a little sibling rivalry the Cietek Twins have racked up two back-to-back successful seasons with a third in the works.

Cross country skiing greets new snow Tara Jackson

Photo courtesy of Ric Klug

Finally, a snow-filled winter! Up until recent snowstorms, barren field induced sadness has plagued the local children waiting with their sleds, hopeful snow-day enthusiasts and especially the GHS crosscountry skiing team. It seems as though Mother Nature has been out to get them, with the holiday break snowstorm melting when school began. Cross-country skiing (also known as XC skiing) is a winter sport in which participants propel themselves across snow-covered terrain using skis and poles. It is one of the most difficult sports endurance wise, as its motions use every single major muscle group. It is one of the sports that burns the most calories per hour (along with running, rowing and swimming). Cross-country skiing is a sport participated in around the world (in weather permitting countries) and is

featured in the Winter Olympics. How the team practices without snow, one might ask. When asked about this cross-country skier Marissa Buyck replied, “It becomes really hard when we’re stuck without snow. We have to do a lot of running and work with what we’ve got. Sometimes that includes skiing back and forth on a 50 ft strip of ice.” The recent snowstorms have saved the day for cross-country skiers around the capital district! Marissa Buyck stated, “I was so relieved when the snow storm came in. This means our season can finally start. I couldn’t stop looking out the window in every class to check how much snow built up.” Things are looking good for the cross-country skiing team and now they can finally practice their sport at school.

Championship Schedule Wednesday 2/16 2:00 PM

Sectionals Tuesday 3/1 2:00 PM

NYSPHSAA Championships Wednesday 3/2 2:00 PM

NYSPHSAA Championships Relays


Volume 62 Issue 3  

The GHS Journal Volume 62, 2010-2011 Issue 3, Jan. 2011

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