Friday, January 24, 2014

The Starter

Amanda Howe 

Life is expensive. Life as a high school student is really expensive. You’re in that awkward phase of needing money, but no longer able to just mooch off of the parents. That and wanting a new thing every few minutes with a limited cash flow don’t mix well. Books, games, tickets, food, clothes, computers, cars, etc. and then there’s college looming in the nearing future. For many high school students, getting a job is the only way to fund their extravagancies.
            However, being a teenager also limits the places that will offer jobs. With a confining number of hours and restrictions on what you can actually do, attaining a job is tougher than it would seem, but not impossible. And once you’ve found a job, it can be quite fun. Kayla Martinez, a CCHS senior, works as a CYC counselor for the after school program at Saddlewood Elementary. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up so that’s part of the reason why I like [the job]. I get to interact with kids and I think what’s really fun is that while you’re on the job you still get to have fun and you can goof off a little bit. You don’t get yelled at for playing with the kids. I get to talk to them, color with them, if they want to play a game with me I’m allowed to do that.” Martinez says that her favorite part is showing up to work and having the kids want to play games with her, but she has to work three to six every day after school so she doesn’t have a lot of time for homework and dinner.
If working with kids isn’t great, there’s always food. Jen DuPont, also a senior, works at the frozen yogurt shop, Sweet Frog. She likes the freedom of working on her own, but the work can get a little tedious with the repetition of cleaning and cashiering. Courtney Kerin, another senior, works at Macaroni Grill as a hostess and opera singer and says, “I like all the people that I work with but I don’t like when people stare at me when I sing or when I’m alone and people take a long time to take off their coats so a line forms, because even though I’m doing my job correctly, I feel like I’m doing it inadequately.”
And there’s always working as a store clerk or cashier. Senior, Macy Waddingham, a sales clerk at Aeropastale, loves cashiering best about her job. The only thing that bothers her is, “straightening tables that are completely messed up because sometimes when I’m straightening and cleaning up, a customer comes over and destroys the pile that I just fixed.” Senior, Megan Vallee is also a cashier, but at Party City. “I like being a cashier because I like talking to people, but I don’t like cleaning the bathroom.”
Every job has its highs and lows. But if none of these seem appealing, there are other options, even whole websites dedicated to finding jobs for teenagers. Finding a job has its difficulties, but just remembers that this job is a start, not necessarily what you’ll be doing forever.

Halfway There

 Kaitlyn Craig               
                As the end of the semester draws upon the school, it is hard to believe senior students at Colonie High are almost through with the 2013-2014 school year. Although it may not affect underclassmen as much, seniors especially are getting ready to say goodbye to high school and create a life of their own independently.
                Personally, as a senior doing her best as she finishes school, it is hard to believe how close we are to the end of everything we knew up to this point. After we walk across the stage at graduation, we will have the world at our fingertips to discover and venture into. We will have the ability to make our own decisions and choose the paths we want to take, while we evaluate whether it would be the right choice for us. Although it is scary to think that we will make the wrong decisions about our lives and our futures, it is important to have a positive outlook for the future.
                Students have varying opinions when it comes to leaving high school, but it may be an exciting  thought to move on to the next stage in our lives. “It feels like it’s taking a long time to graduate,” senior Victoria Tallman said as she thought about the nearby future. Graduation date is just months away for seniors, and students are thinking to the future and what they would like to do once they graduate. “I’m becoming a nurse and going to Hudson Valley,” Tallman said. In two words, senior Yesenia Coello sums up her future; “college and freedom!”
                Students may be moving to some greater point in their lives, but they will most likely never forget all the good and bad times we have had in our high school days. “You have a better judge of character,” Coello said, reflecting on how school has impacted our lives. However, some feel that high school simply gives you work to do before you go to college or get a job, and do not find any potential value in the high school system. It seems that this education level does not always provide you with what students feel are important to move on, grow, and develop into who they are planning on becoming after school is over. “They don’t teach you the real world,” Tallman agrees. Although Olivia Berrington is a junior this year, she is in one of the most important years in high school, one that people say colleges look at the most. She is planning and looking to the future, with her graduation date planned for next June. Trying to think of the ways high school may have prepared her for the future, she says “sometimes you’re going to use English – it teaches you that.”

                Eager to move on, Berrington has evaluated the past two and a half years at Colonie High School. “What I will not miss is anything. I will miss…nothing,” she comments with a smile. When asked what she will miss, Tallman had a similar thought: “Nothing, maybe my friends - I will not miss the overpriced food!”

Is Microsoft Failing?

Connor McManus            
            In a world that seems to be dominated by companies like Apple and Samsung, the name Microsoft is seemingly always being used in negative light. The big question many are asking, is Microsoft failing?
            At the end of Microsoft’s Windows XP launch, tech analysts and consumers were expecting big things for the next version of the acclaimed Windows operating system. When Windows Vista was commercially released in 2007, it was immediately scrutinized for its security flaws and the complex user controls that left many consumers wondering what went wrong, resulting in downgrades to XP. While Microsoft was no stranger to failed launches, this was the first big bluff that seemed to start a down-spiraling trend of failure for the company.
            Moving to a more recent time, Microsoft has not learned from the past. The launch of Windows 8, their take of a more modern operating system, failed miserably with both consumers and analysts alike. The tiled “Metro” theme and a more focused design for touch screen use put Microsoft on a flashback to 2007, causing many people to downgrade to the more successful Windows 7. Though there are some faithful Windows 8 fans, it is impossible to deny that Microsoft has not been living up to its expected standards as one of the most powerful and well known technology companies in the world.

            While the future for Microsoft may appear bleak to some, it is true that the company has the tools it needs to reinvent themselves. With products such as the Xbox and the line of Windows 8 and Surface tablets, there is still hope for the company to make money and dominate the market. Only time will tell how and when success will be achieved. The next big test for the company based in Redmond, WA will be the release of Windows 9. 

The Man Who Sold the World

Eric Johnson

           Known as “the voice of Generation X”, the 1990s would never fall in love with, or be more devastated by any musical talents quite like the talent of Nirvana’s front man Kurt Cobain. Almost single handedly creating and destroying an entire genre of music that would change the face of rock into what we know it as today, Kurt Cobain was an artist, a poet, and a deeply damaged individual who would eventually bring himself and all of his work to a violent and sudden halt.

Cobain grew up in Aberdeen Washington under a family that could only be described as dysfunctional and unattached. With no proper guidance, Cobain lived by his own rules and alone in his own private world. His mother and his father divorced when he was young which resulted in his mother gaining custody of him. Living only with his mother, Cobain found an interest in music through listening to his mother’s Elvis records. He was not a big fan of Elvis’s music but he was fascinated with the idea of him. Cobain also found a great fascination in The Beatles. He enjoyed the dynamic of the band and was a big fan of John Lennon’s work. In an interview for MTV, Cobain stated that since he was young he had wanted to be like one of the Beatles. “I wanted to have the admiration of John Lennon but have the anonymity of Ringo Starr” Cobain said. With a newly developed passion for music, Cobain began to develop a creative mind in writing as well. He began to take drum lessons and write songs that contained strange lyrics and weird melodies. Little did he know that he was soon to create a sound that would define the sound of the 1990s.
Since a young age, Cobain suffered from bronchitis and chronic stomach pains that nearly consumed his life. This caused Cobain to drop out in his junior year of high school. Without a job, or a proper high school education, Cobain was forced to get a job as a janitor at the high school that he attended on what would have been his senior year. Cobain was also forced to move out of his mother’s house and with proper shelter, it is said that he would find places like hospitals or a nearby bridge to sleep under. It is also rumored that this was Cobain’s inspiration to eventually write his popular song “Something in the Way”.
It wasn't until Cobain made some money and met his first girlfriend Tracy, that he would find a proper place to stay. It was then that Cobain began to learn how to play the guitar and was introduced to his future band member Krist Novoselic. Cobain and Novoselic began to play in local bars and clubs using a drum machine. They called themselves Fecal Matter. As their popularity grew, the short lived Fecal Matter eventually evolved into Nirvana. Cobain felt that the name Nirvana was a more appropriate and a less disgusting name for a band that was beginning to develop some potential. Nirvana began to release records under their new name and by 1991 with their sophomore release Nevermind, Nirvana and Kurt Cobain became one of the most famous and most important alternative/grunge acts of all time.
As Cobain’s success began to grow, so did his anxiety. He began to struggle with his fame and saw that there was at that point no way back to his old life in the shadows. Dealing with severe depression, Cobain turned to heroin in order to help mask his perfect disguise as a happy successful rock star. His sadness and suffering began to show in his music and in interviews. In an MTV interview in 1993, Cobain stated that “As long as I’m going to feel like a junky every day, I might as well do drugs.” Cobain later went to rehab and was released after a few months due to reported progress.
In April 1994, Cobain was sent back to rehab by his then wife Courtney Love. Love had reported that Cobain was using again and was progressively getting worse. 2 nights after Cobain was sent back to rehab, Cobain had escaped from the rehab center that he was attending and was nowhere to be found. Many different people had reported to have seen him in the past few days after his escape, but it wasn't until April 8th that Cobain’s body was found dead by an electrician in his second home in Seattle. Next to Cobain’s body was a suicide note addressed to his family and fans. He had shot himself in the head with a shotgun and injected himself with an amount of heroin that would have killed him either way.
As soon as Cobain’s suicide was reported, people from around the country had come together to mourn the loss of their beloved musician. Radio stations played his songs on repeat and people from all over played his cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” as a way of saying goodbye to the musician. For a moment, the entire country had appeared to have gone silent. Since then, the genre of grunge has never seen a talent quite like the talent of Kurt Cobain and grunge would eventually come to die with him. Today Kurt Cobain is still recognized for his impacts on music, and among many it is still a common question that what would music be like today if Kurt Cobain had not sold the world?     

How to Survive in High School

Eric Johnson & Mikaela Turner

          The thought of high school in the eyes of a young student is one of the most intimidating things that they will have to experience in their short years as a scholar. As freshman, many students believe that they will be bullied on the first day as soon as they walk into the school. Students fear that they will be made fun of for their high voices and short heights. They also believe that moving on to a larger school means that they will have trouble navigating through the building to their next classes and have trouble finding their friends and colleagues. This is a perfectly normal fear for new high school students and is a major part in the survival of high school. As seniors now, we both have experienced almost all four years at this school. Many people would say that freshman year was “a struggle”. If it wasn’t for freshman orientation the day before school started, all would be lost. But quite frankly, freshman orientation didn’t help with all the upperclassmen that came in on the very next day. As freshman, orientation made us excited because we got to figure out how to get places before the year even started; little did we know about how complicated it would start to be when every single person finally got into the building. But surviving this year isn’t as hard as it seemed. Looking back now, it was mostly drama. People you grew up with started thinking they were better than anyone else. Freshman year is practically when you start to weed out friends and figure out your true ones. It was about starting your life, thinking about college which keeps coming closer and closer.

          As students reach their second year of high school, they begin to realize that although school isn’t necessarily easy, it’s not as bad as they had expected the previous year. Students now know how to get around most of the building and are more understanding of the way that the school functions. As experienced high school students, we found that sophomore year had been a lot easier after we had gotten to know most of the students and teachers that attend the school. Classes and activities were made less difficult because we had at this point figured out whom to go to for help if we ever needed it. We at this point had also begun to establish the people that we are known as in high school. We picked the personalities that people would associate us with, and we chose our groups of friends that we would be the people who would help us survive our short time in high school.

          As high school students reach their first year as upper classmen, they have at this point mostly gotten a grip of the high school life style. They are beginning to think about what they would like to do after high school and are beginning to reach a point of maturity. As a junior, a high school student has probably never faced a more stressful period of time in their entire high school career up to this point. With the SATs and junior prom breathing down your neck, from the viewpoint of a junior, this year is one of the biggest years of their entire academic life. Looking back, we still cannot believe that we ever survived that year of high school.
          As the last year of high school approaches, high school begins to feel like it was never that big of a deal. Being a senior makes a student feel like they have done it all. This causes a major case of senioritis in most seniors and becomes a problem as graduation approaches. Students become eager to graduate and go to college and forget how important it is to finish off high school to their fullest potentials. As seniors ourselves, it takes everything for us to fight the dreaded senioritis from taking over our short last year of high school. As long as a student focuses everything on college, graduation, prom, and their grades surviving high school will be as easy the last three years.  

Is He Tripping Over You

Alexandra Fisher

            The male gender can be confusing, some don't express themselves as much as woman want them too. There is know way of actually knowing if a guy likes you without him telling you. But, when most guys like a girl they tend to all act the same. You don't want to become to clingy to the guy by asking him if he likes you, just study their signs.

            When most guys are attracted to a girl they can't stop smiling, half the time they don't realize themselves. They laugh at all her jokes even the corny ones, because when she tells it he only hears amazement rather than one of his buddies telling the joke. A huge sign is when you accidently catch him staring at you, and he looks away really fast. Ladies, guys facial expressions play a tremedous role when trying to discover their feelings towards you. Pay close attention!

            Guys are just like girls, they gossip. When a guy tells his buddies about you that means your something he is interested in. Especially, when his friends put you down and he defends you that is how you know he wants you. Most times you won't witness that, but when he attempts to bring you around his friends you know you're special. It means a lot when a guy starts to bring you around his friends, he wants them to see who he's got his eye on.

            Guys get nervous when it comes to asking a girl out on a date, so if they ask you too “hangout” that typically means they want to take you out and spend time with just you. However they approach you doesnt make a difference they still want to be around you. They seem to act more mature and respectful when they are trying to impress you, take it ladies let them WOW you. If he is not himself, don't take it as if you've done something wrong, he will be nervous the first time you hangout alone.

            Lastly, when he remembers the littlest details about you, that's a sign your perfect to him. A outfit you wore a certain day that he liked, your favorite color, or even just a inside joke you two have. When he picks up on these little things that means he can't forget about you. No guy would pick up on the cute things you do unless they want to be more than friends. You should feel special and show affection when they do, so they know you care.

            Not knowing if a guy likes you back can be stressful. But they are easy to read, because mostly every guy tends to have the same signs. Pay attention to their expressions, attitude, and mood. If you are making this guy happy you will know. Just pay close attention. If you see 1-2 signs from him dont get to excited, usualy 4-5 signs is when you will really see he likes you. Be patient, guys put their moves down at their own pace.


Friday, January 17, 2014

If I Stay

Emily Charton

Gayle Foreman’s If I Stay is a beautifully written novel about the power of music and the the pain in lose. Foreman’s way of writing makes you feel like you are experiencing everything the characters are. Every heartbreak is your own, every tear, every smile, every laugh is yours as it is the characters. Foreman has a way of writing like no other. Readers will feel every emotion possible while reading her novel.
            Mia, the main character of the book is a gifted cello player, who never received any special attention until that bow crossed her cello. Although never feeling like she really fit into her rock and roll family she loved them more than anything. Her mother was a punk rock chick who was very outspoken and would do anything to stick up for what she believes in. Her father was an old fashion rock and roll guy who was still in the band he had been in, in high school. Her brother Teddy is an energetic, happy go lucky boy who loved to laugh and make others laugh. With all the conflicting personalities and different musical interest the Hall family somehow made it all work. The Hall family is a strong and close nit family who always stuck together no matter what and readers will fall in love with them.
            The one thing Mia loved more than her family was her boyfriend Adam Wilde who is a perfect fit into the Hall family. Adam being in his own band himself always had a lot to talk about with Mia’s dad and his charming personality captured Mia’s mom as well. Readers will be captured by Adams rock and roll charm. The Hall family accepted Adam in as one of their own protecting and loving him like their own child.
            Mia’s life was not perfect but she loved it. Her love for the cello got her accepted into Julliard which her family was very proud about and her boyfriend’s band was on the rise. But one day in the blink of an eye Mia loses everything, including herself. On a snowy day Mia’s father lost control of the car as it crashed into a truck. Mia woke up on the sidewalk with the radio still playing in the car. Mia looks around and sees her mom, no blood but a bruised neck and no heartbeat. Then she sees her father head bleeding in the back of the head. Not breathing. She sees the paramedics lifting her little brother into the ambulance and she feels relieved. Then Mia looks to her left and sees it. She sees her own body bloodied and bruised in the grass. But how could that be?

            This novel teaches us the power of music and love and how combining the two can be life changing for Mia. Readers will not want to put this book down. Readers will quickly fall in love with Mia and Adams love story as if it’s their own.