Graduation Location Changed Back to the Quad

By: Stacey Axler and Catherine Collins

The location of the 2012 graduation ceremony has been changed to occur on the traditional venue of the residential quad.

This decision occurred after a Jan. 30 meeting between the senior class officers and the Hood senior administrators, in which the senior class officers discussed the preference held by many seniors, underclassmen and alumni to hold graduation on the quad.

“It was great to work with the senior staff. We had a very productive meeting and we are lucky to have such great advocates for students here at Hood,” said Zeppa Kreager, president of the senior class.

The administration had initially decided to hold graduation in the arena in the new athletic center. This decision had been made without consulting any students.

A large part of the senior class communicated their preferred location for graduation to Kreager, who could then show that there was overwhelming support for having graduation on the quad.

The senior officers were able to strike a compromise with the administration: the ceremony will be held on the quad, but not under a tent; in case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the arena.

This is the first year that the ceremony will be held in the open air.

“The absence of a tent affords the College the opportunity to provide additional seating for friends and family members as well as greater opportunities for socializing and photographs,” President Ronald Volpe said in a written “Message from the President” statement.

The cost of renting and setting up a tent (approximately $25,000) had been one reason why the administration wanted to use the new indoor arena.

Nonetheless, the senior class was able to effectively voice its collective opinion and reach a compromise.

 

Alternative Spring Break Trips Offering New Volunteering Opportunities for Students

By: Ariel Grove

This March, Hood students will participate in any of six alternative spring break trips, four of which are organized by the chapel, one by the student organization Students Helping Honduras (SHH), and one by Provost Katherine Conway-Turner.

Rev. Beth O’Malley, dean ofthe chapel, and her graduate assistant, Sarah Johnston, have provided students with a variety of alternative spring break trips.

One group of students will go to Fort Lauderdale and Immokalee,Fla.where they will work alongside volunteers from local organizations to serve the homeless and migrant workers.

Another group of students will travel to Whitakers,N.C.to serve at an educational center for justice advocacy.

A third group will work with Hood’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity on the Gulf Coast.  The fourth trip organized through the chapel will participate in what O’Malley is calling a “Staycation” here in Frederick where students will volunteer at local agencies such as Centro Hispano.

A fifth alternative spring break trip will be led by Hood’s chapter of SHH.  Students serving in Honduras will work with communities to build schools for children.

Conway-Turner will lead the sixth option for an alternative spring break trip.  She has traveled to Haiti many times, but for the first time this spring break, she will bring Hood students with her.

The group traveling to Haiti with Conway-Turner will volunteer with the organization H.O.P.E. to work with Haitians in four different areas: health care, sanitation, reforestation and education.

Each service site provides students not only with the opportunity to work but also to learn from the agencies with which they partner.  For example, students on the Florida trip will support the Immokalee Workers Project while learning about issues of social justice related to migrant workers, and the North Carolina group will stay at the Franklinton Center at Bricks, an educational facility emphasizing justice advocacy.

O’Malley believes that alternative spring break trips fulfill Hood’s motto, Corde et Mente et Manu (Heart and Mind and Hand) because students are given the opportunity to dedicate their whole selves to altruistic service and grow as a result.

Senior Ethan Chase went on alternative spring break trips to the Franklinton Center during his freshman and sophomore years at Hood and plans to go again this spring.

“The time we spent at the Center was ultimately more than just the physical work we did,” he said.  “I think that anyone who has attended this trip will understand that the true benefit of the N.C. break is the wider perspective we gain on the nature of race relations in our own communities, as well as understanding how we ourselves can begin to break down walls of all kinds,” said Chase.

Johnston, who attended the same trip, agreed.

“When you have the opportunity to learn something about another person and you reflect on that, it usually leads to learning something new about yourself,” she said.

According to O’Malley, another key benefit of alternative spring break trips is the opportunity it provides for building relationships with other students, faculty members and the local people.

O’Malley added that alternative spring break trips are a great way for commuters to get connected with other students.  Trips through the chapel are open to undergraduate students, gradutate students, commuters and residents, as well as a few faculty and staff members.

Senior Monica Chickering, president of Hood’s student chapter of Habitat for Humanity, participates in the planning for the Gulf Coast trip.

“It will be my eighth trip to the area and the third one with Hood. We work hard while we are there but have a great time. I love getting to know more about my peers while working side-by-side with them as we create something to help someone else,” said Chickering.

Students traveling to Honduras or Haiti have the unique opportunity to build relationships with people from those countries.  Working alongside local Hondurans is a key component to what the organization SHH does.

“It’s been proven that when a community has a say in the project, they’re more likely to sustain it because they invested part of themselves in it,” said senior Hilary Lawch, president of SHH.

Conway-Turner’s hope is that students will begin a project Hood students can continue to work on during each successive alternative spring break trip.

“I really believe strongly in providing international experiences for students.  We live in a really global world,” Conway-Turner said.

The Florida trip costs approximately $450 plus the cost of airfare.  The North Carolina trip costs approximately $375. The Frederick “Staycation” costs under $100.

The Habitat for Humanity Gulf Coast trip will end up costing approximately $500 to $600, which will include the cost of airfare.

The Honduras trip costs approximately $650 plus the cost of airfare and a $35 exit fee to leave Honduras. The trip to Haiti costs $1500.

Hood does provide a few need-based scholarships to go on alternative spring break trips.

SHH organizes fundraisers for students going on the trip,and will also be partnering with the Student Education Association to raise money within Frederick County public schools for construction projects in Honduras.

The chapel will be holding a fundraiser around Valentine’s Day to sell free trade chocolates.

O’Malley would like students who are interested in signing up for alternative spring break trips through the chapel to do so as soon as possible.

Students who are going on the trip to Haiti were required to sign up before the winter break.  Anyone interested in going next spring should begin looking for information during the fall semester and contact the provost.

Conway-Turner said that visiting Haiti makes her more aware of what is really important in life: “being around people you love, making a difference in the world, and helping the person next to you.”

She added that one of the most gratifying things for her is when she sees the service work a person does inspire someone else who has never served or donated and they begin to look for ways to help others.

“You go on these service trips with the idea of serving others, and you are,” Lawch said. “But in addition, you are, in a way, gaining something yourself, whether it’s a stronger ability in leadership or a sense of perspective (something that’s different than what you know) or even basic skills such as construction skills, learning to make cement…not to mention the bond you create with people when you’re working side-by-side.”

Note from the editor:

The following quote is an addition to the story entitled “Alternative Spring Break Trips Offer New Volunteering Opportunities to Students” in the Feb. 9 edition.

“We appreciate Ariel Grove’s article highlighting the alternative break trips which appeared in the last edition of the newspaper. While fundraisers provide some financial support to trip participants, extra money comes from several generous Hood donors. I’d like to acknowledge  financial support for [alternative] breaks by  Dr. Volpe, Dean White,  Dr. Conway-Turner, Student Life and the Chapel offices. All of these groups have provided money so that more students are able to afford to participate in our service/learning trips.”

Rev. Beth O’Malley

McHenry Dean of the Chapel

 

Equal Sex Prepares for V-Day Event

By: Hilary Lawch

This month, Hood’s Equal Sex organization will put on two productions of “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer” as part of the V-Day campaign.

The V-Day campaign, which is recognized and participated in by colleges and other organizations all over the globe, is a global activist movement which aims to end violence against women all over the world. The event not only raises awareness, but also raises money for organizations who deal with this social issue, like the Heartly House inFrederick.

The past two years, Equal Sex put on productions of “The Vagina Monologues,” one of the most well-known performances associated with the V-Day campaign.

This year, Equal Sex will produce “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer,” another V-Day production. This production differs from “The Vagina Monologues” in that it includes pieces written and performed by men.

Olivia Wolz, current president of Equal Sex and event coordinator for V-Day, is excited about the new performance.

“I am so happy to be doing something that is just so powerful,” Wolz said. “Readingabout performances all over the globe and seeing progress that has been made in people’s lives because of the creativity of others is really special to watch.”

Senior Lindsay Cogdill, former president of Equal Sex and event coordinator for V-Day, for the past two years has high hopes for the event.

“I hope to bring more awareness of the violence that women face both inAmericaand around the world to Hood students by producing and participating in this event,” Cogdill said. “I also hope to raise more money than we raised last year. Last year we raised over 2,000 dollars.”

For Cogdill, who is acting as a mentor this year as well as a member of the cast, the experience is also an emotional one.

“A large part of the V-Day mission is to allow women to speak out about their experiences,” Cogdill said. “My monologue ends on a note of victory and hope, and that is the message that I hope everyone will take from V-Day at Hood: we can end violence against women by refusing to remain silent about it and by coming together to protect and educate ourselves and each other.”

The play will be showing on Feb. 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium. Tickets are free for Hood students, faculty, and staff and five dollars for the public.

Donations are accepted, and all proceeds go to the Heartly House and V-Day’s charity that supports their spotlight country ofHaiti.

 

ROTC Students Selected for Summer Programs

By Stacey Axler

Three Hood ROTC students recently applied for and were offered the opportunity to travel out ofMarylandwith various programs.

As the first students from the Hood ROTC to have this opportunity, sophomore Gunther Zimmer, sophomore Bethany Johnson, and junior Erica Burgess are eager to travel with different programs for a time period of roughly a month in the summer to gain real world experience.

“I’m really excited to travel to different countries—something I get to experience through ROTC,” said Zimmer.

Both Zimmer and Johnson applied for CULP, Cultural Language Program, and were chosen out of 1500 applicants to participate in a program that allows them to travel to various countries.

Zimmer currently prepares to leave for Kazhikstan on June 18 as a part of the American Corners Program, which strives to teach high school students about the college application project.  Zimmer will also meet with foreign dignitaries and learn more about the country of Kazhikstan during his month in the program.

Johnson prepares to travel toMozambiqueinSouthern Africa, and will take part in an English language learning program.

“The [ROTC] program at Hood has doubled in the past semester… there are a lot of opportunities [with ROTC]; you just have to seek them out,” Johson said.

Burgess looks forward to going toSavanna,Georgiathis summer as a part of the Cadet Professional Development Training program.  InGeorgia, Burgess will serve under chief engineers to manage a project.

“I’m extremely happy about this, because [people in ROTC] often cannot have an internship due to ROTC obligations,” Burgess said.

“This is a great chance for cadets in ROTC to see what they would like to do in the future.,” she continued. “Personally, I hope to have the opportunity to work on an environmental service project while inGeorgia.

“It’s also nice that I can translate what I do this summer into a civilian job,” Burgess added.

All three students express gratitude towards the opportunities and community ROTC offers.

“I wanted to join ROTC because I thought it was a great opportunity,” Johnson said. “I wanted to go to college and I’ve always wanted to join the army ever since I was little, because I’m fromSouth Koreaand I think thatAmericais my promised land.”

The three leave this summer for their programs, and all say that they are “excited” about the upcoming experience.

“For ROTC, we represent Hood College, but largely, we are also representing the army…and this program is good to teach people about what the army is about,” Zimmer said.

 

From the Editor

Aside from the good news about graduation on the quad and the victories of men’s indoor track, most of the content in this edition is feature stories about the interesting things Hood students are doing – which I think is a great improvement to the news section, and I hope our readers enjoy it!

We also (obviously) have color on the first and last pages as well as on the center spread in this edition, which we could do by saving money from buying lower numbers of each edition.

Since there isn’t a major news item for me to consider, I want to discuss two topics that are completely unrelated to one another.

1. I was recently informed by the Marketing and Communications department that The Blue and Grey has been using photos taken by that department without any permission. These photos were mostly athletic photos, both of sports matches and also of the athletic center.

It is unfortunately true that we had not been getting permission to use these photos. The problem is not only a copyright issue, but also that the people in the photos wouldn’t have known that the pictures would be used for additional purposes beyond the Marketing department.

There’s no excuse for not having permission to use photos, and it’s my fault that it became such a regular practice. It’s easy to act like a student newspaper isn’t a “real” paper, and I frankly became somewhat lazy over the past few years in regard to photographs and assumed that we could use whatever the college had. There’s a lot wrong with that, especially ethically, and I will make absolutely sure that we have permission to use every single photo that we publish.

This was a reminder to me that a student newspaper – or any student organization – needs to be treated as professionally and ethically as a “real-world” one would be. Having permission to use any type of information or photograph is pretty much Journalism 101, and, like I said, it’s inexcusable that I was letting photos get published without permission.

On one hand, working on a college newspaper is a learning experience, and some mistakes are inevitable; but on the other hand, I need to be applying the same principles I would apply to a real job with real consequences to this position.

2. Last week, I was interviewing some professors about their thoughts on the first-year seminar pilot (which way they voted and why, if they were interested in teaching a seminar, etc.), and I was surprised to find out that some professors were unaware that the seminar offered in the pilot would be optional for freshmen.

Clearly, I have no idea what goes on in Faculty Senate meetings, but I’m starting to get the sense that they can get fairly confusing. Based on conversations I had, some professors were voting on this pilot without being aware of some details associated with it, such as its length (three years) or the fact that it’s an optional course.

This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, but I think it’s pretty troubling. If your reason for supporting the pilot is the common experience it creates for freshmen, but then you find out that the class is actually optional, the potential benefits of that “common experience”don’t necessarily apply. Supporting the idea of a freshman seminar isn’t the same thing as supporting this particular pilot.

Again, I’m not trying to cast the blame anywhere, but I think it’s a legitimate concern for students if academic measures are being passed without all the details being clear to everyone casting a vote.

 

Catherine Collins

Editor-in-Chief

 

How to Defend Yourself

By: Lindsay Codgill

This is not my usual type of column – normally I cover more political themes. However, I consider protecting oneself from assault and harassment to be political, because violence against women is politicized by the media and popular thought.

It is frequently assumed that women who are assaulted – whether it be sexual assault, assault and battery, robbery, or harassment – should have “known better” than to walk down the street at night or be alone. I consider this assumption to be based on the same misogynistic principles that form the basis of gender inequality in the law and media.

In my opinion, the way to avoid getting hurt or violated, as a woman, is not to avoid independence – rather, one should learn how to protect oneself and be smart in any situation.

The reason I am choosing to write on this topic is because I have heard of several instances of harassment in the past week or so, in the Hood area. We all received an email from Chief Puller on January 30, informing students that “a man grabbed a young woman at the intersection of Dill Ave.and Elm St.  The woman was able to spray her assailant with orange pepper spray.”

This incident aroused student interest and fear – my Facebook news feed included several posts about the increasing crime rate in Frederick and how scary it is to walk around downtown at night or alone.

The same week, I heard about two other incidents of harassment from a man following and verbally harassing female students near Hood. One student in this situation called Campus Security to pick her up, which was a smart move. Although the incidents that took place this week were scary, we can learn from them what to do if we find ourselves in similar situations.

First of all – buy some pepper spray.  It’s the easiest and quickest way to fend off an assailant, because it can incapacitate them without permanent damage, and doesn’t require you to get very close to them.

Pepper spray is available in some stores, such as gun stores and auto stores.  It is also available on many websites; one with an excellent selection is Safetygirl.com.

There are laws about pepper spray in some states, but in Maryland it is entirely legal.  If you live somewhere else on breaks, however, you should check the laws in your area.

Second – take a self defense class, or at least learn the absolute basics of how to physically protect yourself.  I took Self Defense at Hood in my sophomore year, and served as a TA in the class for 3 following semesters.  I am currently enrolled in Advanced Self Defense.

Learning how to protect yourself makes you more confident – and confidence in itself can protect you from being harassed or attacked.  When you walk alone or at night, be aware of your surroundings and maintain confident posture.  Your strength will discourage potential attackers.

Even knowing the basics of self defense can help.  Stand with your legs apart, to maintain balance, and utilize a fighting stance (like a boxer) to protect your upper body.  When you strike, aim to distract if the situation is not life-threatening, or to incapacitate if it is (by going for the eyes, nose, and throat.)

Above all, don’t get into a fight unless you absolutely have to.  If someone says they want your valuables, throw your wallet away from you and run in the other direction.

Also, never let anyone take you to a second location (kidnapping).  Your chances of surviving a kidnapping are very low, and this is considered life-threatening force – so use the same amount of force in return if necessary.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t have the freedom or right to walk around alone or wearing a certain kind of clothing; but, always look out for yourself and your friends.

Be confident and know how to protect yourself.  Believing you have the right to go where you want needs to be accompanied by the knowledge of what to do if an unfortunate situation occurs.

 

Picking Oscar Winners with Jarred and Stacey

By: Jarred Braxton and Stacey Axler

The 84th Academy Awards ceremony is less than a month away and the film industry’s finest are excited to celebrate another remarkable year in moviemaking.

A broad collection of films ranging from the visually gorgeous to a sharply designed but silent film has taken the attention of the best of the movie business. Comedian Billy Crystal is returning to host the festivities and honor the finest film achievements of 2011.

The curiosity of who will win what is rich with debate and wonder. But for the moment, Stacey and Jarred will take a moment to throw their hats into the fire and debate who will win the acting categories as well as Best Director and Best Picture. The projected winner is the nominee with the most momentum going into the Oscars.

The nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role are:

•Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”

•Jessica Chastain, “The Help”

•Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”

•Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”

•Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Projected winner: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Stacey’s Pick: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”: Without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable characters on the silver screen for 2011 was Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of Minnie Jackson in “The Help.”  Spunky, feisty, and full of tough love and energy, Spencer’s characterization of Minnie provides both comic relief and emotional integrity, which definitely complements the film as a whole.  Spencer easily lit up the screen in every scene she was in, and as a result, deserves the Oscar.

Jarred’s Pick: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”: Spencer’s performance as the spunky and strong-willed housemaid Minny was absolutely awesome in Tate Taylor’s period piece. Spencer has been the favorite and frontrunner in the category before the nominations were out and she deserved every accolade possible for her astounding role.

The nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are:

•Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”

•Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”

•Nick Nolte, “Warrior”

•Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

•Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Projected winner: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Stacey’s Pick: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”: Christopher Plummer definitely deserves the Oscar for his portrayal of Hal, a father dying of terminal cancer in the film “Beginners.”  Plummer portrays his character as both poignant and amusing, and that is often a fine line to tread in any film.  In the movie, Hal comes out of the closet after his wifeGeorgiadies, and embarks in a relationship with a much younger man named Andy.  Plummer aptly portrays an dying man’s renewed love of life and the appreciation of the little time people have on Earth.

Jarred’s Pick: Nick Nolte, “Warrior”: Nolte’s depth and conviction in the highly underrated “Warrior” won me over instantly. His role as a recovering alcoholic deadbeat dad to two MMA fighters was incredibly wrenching and moving and he is my favorite to win this category.

The nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role are:

•Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”

•Viola Davis, “The Help”

•Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

•Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

•Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Projected winner: Viola Davis, “The Help” / Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Stacey’s Pick: Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”: If anyone has spoken to me directly since winter break, I’m sure I have managed to talk about how much I loved Rooney Mara in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”  Having only seen Mara in an episode of “Law and Order” and in a small role in “The Social Network” (2010), I was a little skeptical at first that Mara could portray the character Lisbeth Salander in the film—an antisocial computer hacker who can destroy anyone who crosses her path.  Mara makes her character both shockingly vicious and extremely likeable—when I saw the film, people in the audience were literally cheering when Salander enacts her brutal revenge on her sadistic counselor.  Mara overshadowed fellow lead in the film Daniel Craig, and she definitely stands out from the other Oscar contendors for Best Actress.  The award will probably go to Meryl Streep for her role in “The Iron Lady,” but Mara deserves the accolade for her masterful characterization work.

Jarred’s Pick: Viola Davis, “The Help”: Davis’ Aibileen was the rock that held the characters together in “The Help” and Davis was entirely sublime in the role of this amazing and strong woman who was the first to take a chance in a climate that wasn’t exactly ready for change. Her performance was the best of the year in my book.

The nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role are:

•Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”

•George Clooney, “The Descendants”

•Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

•Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

•Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Projected winner: George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Stacey’s Pick: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”: In my opinion, it is very hard to look at any actor in the film industry today and call that actor a leading man.  Dujardin shows that he is a true leading man throughout the film. He has the whole package: he is suave, handsome, charming and expressive throughout his nearly 100 minutes of screen time.  With only one word of spoken dialogue, Dujardin captivates the audience from start to finish.

Jarred’s Pick: George Clooney, “The Descendants”: Clooney was entirely down to earth in “The Descendants” as a man who is trying to keep everything together when the world looks like it is falling apart. He plays Matt King, a man who is torn between endless personally ethical dilemmas. Clooney just wouldn’t stop tugging at the heartstrings of the audience and he should be the favorite for Best Actor.

The nominees for Best Directing are:

•Woody Allen, “Midnight inParis”

•Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

•Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”

•Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”

•Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Projected winner: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Stacey’s Pick: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”: Michel Hazanavicius is, hands down, the best director for any film that released in 2011.  Every single executive choice he made for the film in terms of cinematography, editing, character work, meshed together to create one of the best films I have ever seen.  “The Artist” was both timeless, but also new and refreshing—a tribute to oldHollywoodbut a window in the film industry of today, and element that really made the film stand out.  This is the first Hazanavicius film I have ever viewed, and I sincerely hope to see more of this wonderful director in the future.

Jarred’s Pick: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”: “The Artist” is Hazanavicius’ gorgeous love letter to the era of silent cinema and his masterpiece proves that a film without words and color can still deliver a knockout blow to the hearts and minds of the modern day moviegoer. Hazanavicius came out of nowhere and is on the verge of taking home an Academy Award for a first class job on his artistic silent film.

The nine films nominated for Best Picture are:

•“The Artist”

•“The Descendants”

•“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

•“The Help”

•“Hugo”

•“Midnight inParis”

•“Moneyball”

•“The Tree of Life”

•“War Horse”

Projected winner: “The Artist”

Stacey’s Pick: “The Artist”: When I heard a few months ago that a silent, black and white film was coming out in theatres, I thought “well, that’s interesting…”  My dismissive attitude towards the film quickly ebbed away when I actually watched the film.  While silent  and black and white, the film pays homage to the era of cinema (the silent movies) that slowly lost footing after the invention and rise in popularity of “talking movies.”   The storyline is extremely lucid, easy to follow, and poignant—as it follows a silent film star’s descent from popularity and fame into a broken shadow of his former leading man persona.  With great characters, a  captivating plot, wonderful visual effects, and a great soundtrack, “The Artist” as a whole is the best film of the past year and deserves this recognition.

Jarred’s Pick: “The Artist”: The last time a silent film in black and white won Best Picture at the Academy Awards was in 1928 for “Wings,” and that was also the first Academy Award winner for Best Picture. 84 years later, I predict history to be made and to repeat itself because “The Artist” looks primed to take the movie industry’s biggest honor as it has taken the industry and the audience everywhere by storm.

The 84th Academy Awards are on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Awkward Advice from Stacey and Cassie

Dear Awkward Advice,

            I have a problem. For a long time, I’ve been struggling with this issue in private, trying to make it not true, but I can’t hold it in any longer. I’m a sleepwalker. I have been bearing this burden in silence, trying to hide the fact that I would wake up in strange locations, often in various states of dress. But, I can’t hide it any longer. (Partly because I’m tired of living a lie and partly because my roommate caught me walking around the room clucking like a chicken wearing only a kimono. On my head.) Please help me Awkward Advice, you’re my only hope.

                        Truly,

                                    Sleepless in Shriner

Dear Sleepless,

            There is hope for you and thousands suffering from the same issue. You are not alone. In fact, I would suggest proposing an LLC to Student Life for people in your situation. It would be good for you to be in a community of like-sleeping individuals where you can communicate and really discuss your problems. Also, whenever you embark upon your nocturnal outings, you’ll have plenty of company to interact with as you cha-cha and chicken dance your way through your REM cycle. In the meantime, I suggest you let your roommate strap you down whenever it comes time to sleep. This solution can actually be beneficial in two-fold. Hey Lovestruck, you could use those restraints to make your Valentine’s night extra steamy!

                        Yours,

                                    AA

Dear Awkward Advice,

            My roommate keeps walking in on me while I’m having my “gentleman’s time.” It wouldn’t mind so much, but he doesn’t even knock before coming into the room, so I don’t have time to pretend I was sleeping or remove the belt from my neck. I just want some privacy! Is that too much to ask? What should I do?

                        Truly,

                                    Low-fivin’ in Meyran

Dear Low-Five,

            This is a problem that plagues many college students. Do not feel like you are the only one who’s been caught wrestling the one-eyed monster. It’s a very natural thing. Everybody does it. Well, almost everybody. All the cool kids anyway. There are a few preventative measures that you can take to make sure that your roommate will never suspect a thing. As you may have noticed, 85% of our advice has come solely from watching John Hughes movies. That being said, clearly you must buy an old Macintosh computer and rig it to a soundboard, and you can then create myriad sound effect compilations to simulate any situation that you would like your roommate to believe is going on in the room. So, he’ll walk in seeing you looking guilty with your right hand beneath the sheets, but he’ll hear a saxophone solo. So, clearly he will think you’re practicing your Kenny G impersonation. Awkward moment averted, problem solved, homage to brilliant Matthew Broderick vehicle executed successfully.

                        Yours,

                                    AA

Book Review: ‘P.S. I’m Eleven’

By: Paige Jurgensen

“P.S. I’m Eleven (Surviving Haiti’s Quake)” by Mae Claire is a powerful story that speaks to the generation that witnessed a natural disaster. The short story gives the reader a look at Haitian life before the quake and how innocent lives were devastated or lost all together.

Antionette Gugion begins her story as a prepubescent girl who is both curious and aware of the world around her. Antionette tells of the aftermath of the quake, including the hope of finding her family alive and her search for survival. During the story, she encounters things that no child should be exposed to. Her undying hope in a time of hopelessness draws the reader into her heart, so her devastation is shared with the reader.

Claire was born in Haiti and raised in the Dominican Republic. Shortly after the quake, Claire returned to Haiti and witnessed the devastation. Her experience inspired “P.S. I’m Eleven (Surviving Haiti’s Quake).”

The story opened my eyes to a world previously unseen. Prior to reading the book I was unaware of the amplitude of the horror that struck in Haiti in 2010 and the story really made me realize how well off we are in the United States (a fact that Mae Claire points out in the very first chapter).

Mae Claire’s story forced me question myself. Would I be strong enough to face a disaster? To lose my family? If you’re strong enough to ask yourself these questions, then I recommend “P.S. I’m Eleven (Surviving Haiti’s Quake).”

 

Book Review: ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

By: Paige Jurgensen

I would like to formally propose that people stop with the zombie trend. Why? Because the world is exposed to abominations like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

The novel, which was also adapted into a graphic novel, is the two-headed baby of Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen, whom I’m fairly certain did not directly give Mr. Grahame-Smith the rights to her story. “Pride and Prejudice” is a classic novel, originally published in 1813, which will go down in history with “trendy” gore-filled remake.

The Bennet girls and Mr. Darcy are remade as ninja-trained assassins, who, between festive galas and balls, are fighting any zombies they may come by.

The zombies are viewed as ‘unmentionables’ with an unfortunate and unavoidable disease.

There are several points in the story where the words are identical of those in “Pride and Prejudice.” As a Hood student, who writes the Honor Pledge at least a hundred times a semester, I feel as though Grahame-Smith should not have used Austen’s words so blatantly, regardless of the legal rights secured by Grahame-Smith. The novel is a destruction of classic literature.

I shudder to think what other classic novels will be painted red with monsters. Will Huck Finn run away with a werewolf? Will Moby Dick transform from a whale to a kraken and be hunted by a vampiric Captain Ahab?  Contemporary authors should consider originality rather than adaptation.

I feel as though the only reason that “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was on the New York Times bestseller list because of the morbidly seductive cover, illustrated by Cliff Richards. Truthfully, I only went through the entire novel because of the talented artwork by Richards.