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Denebola » Gabe Feldstein http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Student Obsessions http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/student-obsessions/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/student-obsessions/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 09:20:27 +0000 Brittany Bishop http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4582 In a sea of students, a world of obsessions swirl through the minds of those walking down the halls. Everyone thinks of something different, from a specific boy to their favorite pasttime. Here, we’ll dive into the minds of a few students and their favorite obsessions.

Boy Bands? Can’t Get Enough
By Brittany Bishop

For me, two bands are everything. Despite the embarrassment, I can’t help but immerse myself into these groups, these seven boys, along with their bodyguards, their families, their managers, and their street team leaders, lives. I am obsessed with two bands: The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society; I know everything about them. In the last 365 days, I have gone to a Jonas Brothers concert, two Nick Jonas and the Administration concerts (two nights in a row, along with meeting Nick), five Honor Society concerts, and three rounds of promotion for the bands.

Now, I’m sure most people will turn the page upon the mere mention of these bands, but that’s because they do not understand how they make me feel.

With every concert, every picture, every live chat, and every song, a new piece of appreciation forms. It’s not just their appearance that attracts people, mostly teenage girls, to these boys, but their morals and their actions (even if they do come off slightly forced every once and a while).

Still, it’s truly difficult not to crack a smile when Joe calls a girl during a live chat and pretends to be her principal, or when Andy Lee makes jokes about Mike’s body rolls for a good ten minutes straight. It’s also hard not to feel proud to be a fan when both bands continuously raise money for important funds like diabetes, the Salvation Army, or the Special Olympics.

They use their fame for good and in the best way possible.

Most bands also do not give to the fans like these two do. Most bands don’t have meet and greets, or make funny videos, or have live chats, or go to a friend’s house to make up for leaving early from a house party two years prior. Most bands aren’t so kind.

With every song comes a new depiction into the lives of these seven boys. They speak directly from experience and, being young, allow the fans to grow up with them.

Yes, that sounds a little cheesy, but with every interview and every song, you can learn something new about them.

I also happen to be lucky, already having the chance to meet Honor Society countless times, spending time with them exclusively because of one of my friends. Having met them first hand and being able to joke with them in person changes my outlook on them. Being familiar with them makes me proud to say that they are truly who they make themselves to be: honest, funny, amazing gentleman.

Finally, half of the fun of the bands is the friends you make. Going to concerts, or even talking online, allows fans to make an endless amount of friends, all of who connect and understand each other just because of one or two common interests.

The Jonas Brothers and Honor Society are binding factors for teenage girls, and maybe the rare guy fan.

Madonna: The One and Only
By Justin Quinn

Madonna. It is more than a name. It is an attitude, a way of life. And I have been living it since I was eight years old. It all started at summer camp in music class when we played freeze dance.

The counselor put on Madonna’s then new “Music album, and it all went downhill from there. That year for my birthday, I asked my parents to buy me the album, which I overplayed on my portable CD player for the following months.

While still young, I bought “American Life when it was released a few years later, but my major Madonna-awakening was in 2005, when I discovered the masterpiece that is “Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Fast forward to July 2006, the best day of my life, the first time I saw Madonna live. The Confessions Tour was magical.

From the time I bought my ticket to the night of the show, Madonna was all I talked about (ask anyone who knew me in seventh grade).

I still remember the rush I felt as the giant disco ball descended from the ceiling of the Banknorth Garden, and the video projections of horses were so loud, the floor shook. When the disco ball opened and Madonna emerged, I was lost in a Madonna-induced bliss. I saw Madonna again in 2008 during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, another amazing, unforgettable experience.

I still get goose bumps thinking about the image of the whole arena jumping to “Like a Prayer.

I spent a long time immersing myself in Madonna’s back catalogue to find a world of music spanning from the 1980s to right now. I have since bought all her albums (in multiple editions) and seen all her tour DVDs and movies she has acted in (and I attest that Madonna is in fact a good actress). Currently, I have 492 Madonna songs on my iPod, including studio albums, concerts, remixes, and unreleased tracks.

The thing I discovered about Madonna is that she is more than just the music.

I fell in love with her music, but I have grown to respect and admire the person behind it as well.

Madonna tells us never to go for second best, become better than we are today, and save the world, which are all qualities that she demonstrates herself and inspires other to do. She is a self-determined woman, and I hold a great amount of respect for her.

She knows what she wants and this value is apparent in her music, motivating me as I get pumped for a big day, dig through the last mile of my run, or am in need of inspiration.

This may seem crazy but Madonna, her music, and her message is an integral part of my life.

She is inspirational to fans across the world and although universally accessible, her music is undeniably personal.

I feel lucky to be a fan and, to quote Madonna, “you can love me or leave me, but I’m never going to stop.

Lost in a World of TV
By Gabe Feldstein

It’s 9:00 pm. The screen is black. Boom! All of a sudden, an eye is staring at you.

Whose eye is this? It’s Jack Shepard’s eye. He is covered in blood, his own blood.

He is in a jungle. A woman is screaming. Who is this woman and why is she screaming?

It doesn’t matter because you are experiencing the first few moments of one of the greatest network television shows ever.

You are experiencing the first few moments of Lost.

On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 departed from Sydney Australia, headed for Los Angeles.

Oceanic 815 never got there. The plane crashed landed on an island in the middle of the ocean, where a bunch of confused strangers would have to make do with this new fate that some higher power had granted them.

Now, this is not a story with a happy ending. This isn’t Gilligan’s Island, this isn’t Survivor, and nobody is going to get a million bucks after a month.

This is reality. People live, people love, and people die.

Now, what is it about Lost that is so good? Personally, I can’t really describe it, but I can say that since I was admitted into college, I have watched an absurd amount of that show in all my new free time.

I probably watch so much of it for one of two reasons. The first potential reason is that it is genuinely one of the best shows of all time, and to not watch it would be missing out on a part of television history.

The second potential reason is that I am an idiot, susceptible to the juvenile ploys and hooks the show uses to pull me in every time I watch.

Honestly, it is probably the latter. Lost pulls out all the stops: eerie music, seeing dead people, a fat guy; you really can’t help but buy in to such a catchy show.

Everything about the show is done knowing exactly what effect it will have on the viewer, except in the most recent season, which is simply putrid television.

When there is a close-up on John Locke’s face as he stares at what either may be a ghost, monster, or strange combination of both, and then the show suddenly cuts to commercial, the people who make the show know that the viewer is going to be sitting through that commercial break heart pounding with bated breath.

At times, Lost is more than a TV show, it is a way of life. For seniors, getting home after a long day of sleeping through classes and barely paying attention, nothing is better than coming home to an episode of Lost. It’s refreshing; Lost is a source of drama and mystery in the monotony of everyday second semester life.

Wizarding Wonder
By Lily Fein

The premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a week earlier, and even though I had gone to the midnight showing in full costume, I still wasn’t satisfied. To fulfill my Harry Potter needs, I saw it for a second time, again in full costume.

It’s moments like this that define my obsession with Harry Potter. Since 1997 when the first book was published, Harry Potter has been a major part of my life. At first, I just listened to the audio books in the car with my family on long drives, but soon I would immerse myself even further into Harry Potter’s world.

From Hogwarts to Hogsmeade, Dumbledore to the Dursleys, every essence of the Harry Potter series intrigues me. Rowling’s quirky writing style and complex story line sucks me into a magical world. I can’t count how many times I’ve read the series and every time, it gets better and better.

Maybe I love the stories so much because no matter what is going on in reality, Harry Potter is always there. Maybe it’s because Harry kicks so much butt. Maybe it’s because when I was little, I was desperate to become a witch myself. For whatever reason, I have fallen hopelessly in love with the Harry Potter books.

Dumbledore is like my second dad. The countless morals he passed to Harry, I have also taken to heart. He has taught me that it is the choices I make that define me, to not fear death, and to give everyone a chance to redeem themselves. The lessons he has taught me prove that Harry Potter isn’t just another silly kid’s book.

However, the aspects that make it so youthful and fun for kids to read also entice me. Every book is full of laughs and comic relief that contrasts with the dark magic threatening Harry’s world. Whether it’s Dumbledore exclaiming, “Alas, earwax! or Molly Weasley screaming “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B****, I know that J. K. Rowling will mix humor perfectly with the increasing intensity of Harry’s world.

My friends think I’m crazy, and I can understand it. They love to laugh at the video on Facebook of me crying about the death of one of the characters. But in the end, it’s so worth it; I wouldn’t trade my obsession with Harry Potter for anything.

After all of these years, I know this isn’t just a phase. Ten years from now, I’m sure I’ll still be dreaming about throwing back butterbeers with Rubeus Hagrid.

No matter how many times I relive Harry’s seven years fighting Voldemort, I want to know more and more.

Even though all of the books have come out, I still embrace every Harry Potter related opportunity I get.

Like just this year, I went to a Harry Potter concert with musicians in the Wizard Rock genre. It was totally dorky, but the love for Harry Potter was immense. In the end, I don’t care how dorky it is.

I’ll love Harry Potter for the rest of my life, and I don’t care what anybody thinks about it.

The Power of Magic
By Leigh Alon

Imagine a world of creatures, sorceries, enchantments, artifacts, spells, and mythical beings. No, not Hogwarts, but rather Magic the Gathering, a card game which has kept some students around South occupied for endless hours.

While the intricacies of the rules are nearly impossible to understand without some experience, the basic idea is that one has a deck of 60 cards, 20-24 of which are mana, or resources. Resources are spent by casting spells upon an opponent until they lose the game. Cards vary greatly in rarity and value, with the most sought after card being the Black Lotus, with a limited print run, originating 15 years ago.

Although this may seem like merely another run-of-the-mill diversion, the competitiveness and environment in which Magic the Gathering is played in is quite unique and offers to its players much more than a temporary alleviation of boredom.

Players attend tournaments where they advance upon continuously winning matches against opponents they are pitted against.

After nine 50-minute rounds, only the top eight players remain, and they play in a final match. Even obtaining cards is an experience, as magic players attend drafts, called Friday Night Magic, in which each player opens a pack of cards, picks one, and passes it on in a circle until all the cards are taken.

There are indeed many around the world who have found this game intriguing, and therefore, some major tournaments have attracted hundreds and even thousands.

Senior Jason Gens attended one such event when he went to a tournament hosted at the Hynes Convention Center, where over 1500 magic enthusiasts from around the world attended, including many professional magic players who have gained much notoriety in the magic community.

Gens also placed 16th out of 259 people when he attended magic nationals. It’s these big tournaments and the interaction with other players that make magic so fulfilling for him.

“Magic is so much fun for me because I get to travel around the country and meet new people. Because Magic is also a strategy game, I work with other people to improve my play and decision making, Gens said.

Junior Jacob Tepper also enjoys being part of the unique combination of people that magic tournaments attract. “You’ll find mainly nerds, but there are kids who are ‘Ëœnormal’ like us. It’s interesting to see all the different types of people, and I would normally never interact with these people, but they play magic and I play so it’s something to converse about, he said.

As fun as it may be, Magic the Gathering does carry a social stigma that many of its most avid fans acknowledge.

“I never bring up that I play magic unless someone asks me. It’s not that I’m a closet magic player or anything like that. Most of my friends already know that I play magic and so it’s not a problem, but it’s just not something I would bring up in conversation, Gens said. 

Tepper is also affected by the stigma as people often pass judgments because of his involvement with magic. He, however, believes Magic the Gathering’s reputation is unjustified.

“Most people are surprised probably because it seems like only nerds play magic and I’m not a “nerd, but that’s not really true. It’s basically the same as playing video games but for some reason not nearly as accepted, he said.

As Magic fans continue to be lured by the game, many will undoubtedly attend an upcoming tournament in Hartford, Connecticut next week. Whether it’s the close knit community or the complicated strategies that keeps magic fans hooked, Tepper sums up the sentiment of many magic addicts with a simple statement: “it’s just a really fun game, that can be absurdly complex, which is probably why I love it.

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Maximizing your Slump http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/maximizing-your-slump/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/maximizing-your-slump/#comments Wed, 10 Feb 2010 07:59:14 +0000 Gabe Feldstein http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3680 There comes a time in every high schooler’s life when he or she realizes, “Hey, these grades no longer count. When this revelation occurs, apathy follows closely behind. The high schooler will completely stop caring about tests, homework, group projects’€you name it’€and instead will take the opportunity to focus on the sweet things in life.

The remaining portion of this article will consist of some of those sweet things in case you do not quite know how to manage your surplus of free time now that Slump has officially arrived.

Personally, one of the most fulfilling things I do with my newfound free time is run small painless errands. I do this mainly for two reasons.

The first reason is that it gives me an excuse to drive around. Driving is naturally a fun activity for a teenager because while driving there is always a chance that you will die in a car accident, and as we all know the activities in which death is a possibility are always more fun than those that are safe.

The second reason I run errands is because they make me feel like a big boy. As hard as it is to believe, we are going to have to take responsibility for ourselves soon. Running small errands is a great way to trick yourself into believing you are almost ready to become responsible.

Another favorite is literally watching a pot boil. As a child, you were always told that “A watched pot never boils. I assure you if you watch a pot on a stove for long enough, it will boil. Watching a pot boil is a great way of showing “the man that he is wrong. Watch a pot boil; do the proverbially impossible. ‘ËœCause hey, you’re in Slump. Be rebellious. Why not?

If running errands and watching a pot boil still don’t quite do it for you, there are still other options. Playing Risk is a great way of wasting extra Slump time. For those of you who have ever played Risk, you know that it is the most long-winded, repetitive board game in existence.

Each game takes an absurd amount of time. Playing too much can legitimately cause a personal existential crisis as you begin to realize that not only have you been doing nothing with your life but playing Risk for the past three hours, but you have failed to even capture Kamchatka.

A plus to Risk, however, is that victory can result in partial, temporary fulfillment of your Freudian desire to conquer the world. If your parents forbid you from playing Risk because they know it will ruin your life, look for Monopoly.

Monopoly is quite simply the best board game there is; there is no board game better than Monopoly.

As we do grow older and more independent, it is important to learn our own limits. If you are bored at home one day, see how long you can hold your breath. Offer yourself an incentive for certain benchmarks. Say to yourself,

“Alright, for every second seconds I hold my breath, I will get myself one cookie. Don’t cheat! Really test yourself. For those of you who attended Oak Hill Middle School, don’t be afraid to “Find Out How Good You Can Be, and learn your limitations.

Another productive use of Slump time is conducting random experiments. Calculate the ratio of red to blue M&M’s, see how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, see how high your cat will jump for a laser pointer, find out how long it takes for your parents to get really aggravated if you speak in only gibberish and yell sporadically throughout the day.

There are all sorts of things to learn and test out. Because even in the midst of Slump, you can still learn. So slump away. This is your time to enjoy the sweeter things in life. Homework? Let it slide. Test? Make it up the next day.

It is time to slump, and hopefully my list of fun activities will grant you some joy and entertainment over the ensuing months. Enjoy, be safe, and as always, don’t forget to bring a towel.

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CON: Opposing Views – Is it okay to cut corners in schoolwork? http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/25/is-it-okay-to-cut-corners-in-schoolwork/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/25/is-it-okay-to-cut-corners-in-schoolwork/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2009 05:05:23 +0000 Gabe Feldstein http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=1984 In all good conscience

Every Monday morning, millions of children across the country wake up. They slouch to school no matter how sick of it they may be in order to learn enough to become important members of society. After all, school is meant to cultivate individuals who can survive and prosper in the real world.

Today, however, a certain competitiveness is associated with the educational process. It has become increasingly apparent, for instance, in daunting standardized tests, like the SATs, which have juniors signing up for class after class to raise their scores.

This tense atmosphere carries into the classroom as well. Students obsess over grades to the point when they feel forced to compromise understanding for higher marks to save time.

Students turn into memorization robots, temporarily processing and spitting out information on tests, only to forget that material the day after. After the assessment, the entire unit is simply forgotten.

The problem is, cutting corners is a natural result of today’s school environment. In the midst of all the academic rivalry, it seems like the only option for success, especially in high-level courses.

For the fatigued student, it’s fast, it’s simple, and it’s a way to keep grade averages high. But resorting to such measuers spoils opportunities to learn.

It is simply not worth it to cheat through Honors and AP classes, copying work instead of comprehending it, because such a method will only ultimately hurt a student. If students avoid actually learning material and choose to cut corners and take shortcuts in their education, they completely defeat the purpose.

Students who shortcut their way through school miss out on valuable chances to expand. Whether on nightly homework assignments or on tests and quizzes, they miss out on chances to expand their realm of knowledge and increase their cognitive abilities. They mindlessly copy rather than fully understand the material.

When students start cutting corners in their schoolwork, they should reconsider the courses they take, their grades, and whether they are receiving the full benefits of them. A potentially higher GPA is simply not worth a spoiled education.

Also, cheating negatively affects the honest. Those who cut corners have an easier time getting good grades than those who don’t, which, from an objective perspective, makes them appear to be better students.

After all, the college applications of kids who copy-and-pasted their way through high school are mailed alongside those of students who worked thoroughly and painstakingly.

It is unfair, but often happens, that the latter may end up drawing the short straw. Even if they genuinely fit colleges’ criteria, if their grades aren’t quite as good as those of the less honest, they could lose their place in a college they wanted to attend.

Ultimately, taking shortcuts in schoolwork spoils the educational system. It allows students to survive in courses where they do not fully understand or absorb the material.

As well, it generates unnecessary competition for honest students in the academic arena. And finally, it undercuts the real goal of education, preventing students from reaching an adequate level of comprehension.

Students who cut corners take the easy way out, but suffer in the long run. It’s not worth it.

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