Tag Archives: feature

Album Review: “Love Death Immortality”

By Acadia Otlowski

“Love Death Immortality” is the second album released electronic group The Glitch Mob. It was released in early 2014. While not quite magnificent as the group’s previous album, “Drink the Sea,” this album combines slow beats with fast ones to create a complete work that can only be enjoyed fully by listening to the album straight through.

The album opens with the song, “Mind of a Beast.” This fast-paced song is not only diverse musically but it provides a strong opening that engages the listener almost immediately. The beginning of the song is slow, hooking the listener and tempting them to continue listening.

A pause follows the first song and the mellower intro to the song “Our Demons” begins. It features softer notes, while still maintaining the fast beat that listeners heard in the first song. Like the opening track, this song builds quickly, transforming from its initial mellow tone to something more intense. This song features Aja Volkman whose powerful vocals drive the song forward.

This is followed by the song, “Skullclub,” which follows the same theme as the previous songs. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It features a strange mechanical voice that chants, “We are. We are. We are. We are the wild ones.” This serves as a transition from the slower, more melodic beginning, to an insanely fast beat that begs the listener to dance to it. This song is pretty heavy; it features disjointed high-pitched voices and still follows the same cadence as the previous two songs.

The second to last song on the album is “Carry the Sun.”  It follows the same  sort of vibe as the rest of the album except it starts off at a high point instead of building. Then it slowly lowers in mood, later lifting again. While it is not the best song on the album, I have no reason to dislike it. The song slowly fades to end.

When the music picks up again for the final track, “Beauty of the Unhidden Heart,” a soft female singer opens the song. The opening makes me dislike the song. The female singer does not fit the tone set by the rest of the album. When the electronic parts take over, the song improves. Then the female singer comes back in. I wish the album did not close in this way. It is a weak way of finishing an album.

There are only 10 songs on this album, but all of them are long enough to create a hefty album. The total run time is 52 minutes.

One of my favorite parts about this album, and The Glitch Mob in general, is the fact that similar melodies and themes are used throughout the album. This creates a cohesive piece of art rather than a collection of songs. It is similar to the way a melody is able to be carried throughout a movie soundtrack, clearly defining each song as part of the whole.

Even the last song, despite its weaknesses, carried the similar theme. It is an older style of doing music, creating a fluid piece of work. The difference is that they use new instruments, filling the space with computer-generated sounds that somehow manage to remain appealing.

It’s not as good as the group’s debut album, but “Love Death Immortality” is definitely worth the listen.

Urban Outfitters Seeks Attention, Offends Again

Urban Outfitters has outdone themselves, yet again. The clothing company has proven to dramatically and improperly cross the fine line between edgy and tasteless.

The company is once again under fire for its offensive clothing choices, this time for releasing a bloodstained Kent State hoodie, labelled as “vintage” by the company.

For those unaware of Kent State’s history, in 1970, four students were killed and nine others injured when the Ohio State National Guard opened fire on a large Vietnam War protest. The incident sparked national outrage and closed hundreds of universities and colleges as more than four million students went on strike.

This tasteless article of clothing would have set back the twisted buyer $129, a ridiculous sum for any hoodie, never mind something so vile.

The company issued the same sort of response it always does when it offends others. It claims that it didn’t realize that it crossed a line.

“It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970, and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray,” said the company in a statement.

Perhaps it would be believable if the company didn’t have such a history with creating clothing that causes controversy.

Urban Outfitters was under fire just recently for a shirt emblazoned from top to bottom with the word “Depression.” Before that, there was shirt proudly proclaiming “Eat less.”

This is why it’s hard to believes Urban Outfitters when it says that it had no intention of offending anyone with the bloody hoodie. Other vintage college hoodies are sold by the company, none featuring the bloodstains that were featured on the Kent State hoodie.

Clearly, Urban Outfitters has decided that offending people is a viable business model. Still, the company’s extreme clothing decisions doesn’t deter shoppers.

In fact, the company gets free publicity every time it makes the country angry. The half-hearted apology the company gave will be more than enough for some of the young consumers who frequent the store.

Urban Outfitters makes itself seem edgy, appealing to its consumer base which is more than used to being bombarded with advertisements from every side. It cuts through that cloud by evoking an emotion from the public. Instead of wasting money on heavy advertising, the company gets free publicity at the expense of the sensitive public.

There is one way to stop whoever has decided that this method is a decent way to run a company: treat it like an annoying advertisement, don’t buy the product. Stop shopping at Urban Outfitters. This is a company that is overpriced, prospering from any manner of attention. It’s time to treat Urban Outfitters like a whiney child and ignore it. Your wallet will thank you.

Fall CAN Concert: Bryce Vine

By Inasia Woods

The Trendsetter Tour made a stop at Central on Thursday night for a free Bryce Vine concert. The show was a special edition of Devil’s Den brought to students by Central Activities Network.

Touring is Vine’s favorite part of being a musician,according to the artist.

“Getting to do the tour: seeing places I would never get to see and meeting people I probably would have never met,” said Vine.

Bryce Vine fell in love with music when he convinced his mother to buy him a guitar at the age of 13.

“I didn’t realize I wanted to do music until I was 13, I didn’t know I was good at it until maybe like a couple years later,” said Vine, who thinks the guitar sets him apart. “Well it makes me a musician instead of just a rapper. People recognize that they’re not used to seeing a rapper who can play an instrument, especially seeing a DJ who can play a trumpet. We’re musicians, and then we just found this and its our own way of doing it.”

Students got taught a thing or two by rap-artist Professor Lyrical who opened the show with his sidekick, a DJ and Rapper named Scott. The crowd took up a little less than half of the theatre. Of course, when the performer is a new artist there aren’t immediately arms waving side to side, or girls screaming at the top of their lungs. The Crowd began to warm up a little when Professor Lyrical asked the crowd to talk back to him with his phrases “When I say Hip Hop, you say music.” One thing is for sure, these two got the crowd going by throwing t-shirts and giving out mixtapes and albums. With Professor Lyrical spitting his educational and intellectual rap lyrics, it drew the crowd into yearning to hear more. I have to admit, his lyrics gave me chills.  He left the crowd with chilling words and a final statement before walking off the stage.

Bryce Vine’s DJ came out and the crowd had already began to scream for Bryce as the DJ began to set up. When Vine came out the crowd immediately started screaming, so it was quite obvious that he had a good following. After his first song he started introducing himself to the crowd. During his second song “Guilty Pleasure,” it seemed as though the crowd knew more of the song. He introduced a new single that he performed for the crowd; although no one knew it, people were still bobbing their heads along. He then played his single “My Holiday” from his new EP Lazy Fair, which was definitely a crowd pleaser as everyone began to sway their arms in the air, left and right, along with the artist and the DJ.

Many bands have influenced Vine’s music.

“Kid Cudi, Steven Jenkins, Third Eye Blind, Rolling Stones, Beetles and like half of the songs Tupac Wrote. Blink 182. We like to perform carefree. I just try to combine everything that I listen to and I just try to figure out what it is about it: is it the writing, is it the lyrics? It’s so intricate and different. I think my favorite writer is Third Eye Blind, which is random to someone like a rapper but he is so specific with things that he talks about in his songs that it’s really easy to hold on to his songs, and I understand,” said Vine.

The remainder of the concert maintained the same energy. During the last song, fans ran to the stage and danced as the DJ played the trumpet. The show came to an end as Vine danced and sang to the DJ’s trumpet, at the same time giving attention to the group of fans in front of the stage.

CCSU Takes First Steps to Becoming a Smoke-Free Campus

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Students return to a campus that now caters to non-smokers through the creation of new smoking stations around campus. The university hopes smokers on campus will voluntarily use them to smoke.

Smoking centers are located sporadically among the grounds: Diloreto-Willard Hall parking lot, near Copernicus Garage, between Welte Hall and the Student Center and Kaiser Lot are the areas that students and faculty must be when smoking.

Each smoking center is designed to protect students from the elements and is clearly marked so smokers know where to find them.

“I’m unsure about how successful this will be because it’s not like every student is constantly smoking so I don’t think it’s going to make any difference,” said Kristee Bisson, a student at CCSU. “I don’t think there’s going to be any more or less smokers on campus than we had before.”

“In keeping with the University’s goal to provide a safe and healthy work environment, and in conformance with Connecticut’s General Statute 31-40q(d), smoking is prohibited everywhere on the campus other than in four designated areas,” states CCSU’s official smoking policy. “This policy applies to students, employees, contractors, and campus visitors.”

Despite the impression this statement is giving most students, Dr. Christopher Diamond, Director of Health Services insists that smoking on campus isn’t necessarily “prohibited,” but rather is intended to be a voluntary action.

“The president made it clear that it’s not going to be enforced it’s requested to be voluntary,” said Diamond. “I’m not a fan of prohibition so I don’t think that if your goal is to get people on campus who are smokers to be non-smokers. Prohibiting smoking on campus will not achieve that end.”

In President Jack Miller’s address, prior to the start of the semester, he explains how this approach seemed to best reflect the sentiment of those responding to the surveys that were conducted on those attending CCSU last year.

“I hope this is not a ‘rule’ which requires ‘enforcement,’ but rather is one with which we all voluntarily comply,” said Miller in his statement. “It may take a short time of transition for people to remember our new policy. If you see anyone violating our policy, remind them in a courteous way that there are only limited places where smoking is allowed.”

Eliminating the amount of second hand smoke is a major goal of the new smoking policy. Diamond explains how we don’t often think about how second hand smoke can affect others, such as triggering heart and asthma attacks to those who are especially vulnerable.

“When you are around a person who is smoking, you inhale the same dangerous chemicals as he or she does. Breathing second hand smoke can make you sick. Some of the diseases that secondhand smoke causes can kill you,” states the Surgeon General’s warning on second hand smoke. “There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. Children, pregnant women, older people, and people with heart or breathing problems should be especially careful. Even being around secondhand smoke for a short time can hurt your health. Some effects are temporary. But others are permanent.”

“Secondhand smoke is actually worse for you than cigarettes it definitely could trigger some sort of health issue in someone,” said Bisson. “So in that sense, yes I think this new policy is a good idea.”

Diamond explains that he hopes the students will look at this in a positive light, which could lead to opportunities organized by the university to help guide students to a smoke-free life. Although as of now, there are no such official plans.

“There needs to be more education about the effects of secondhand smoke,” said Diamond, who believes that if CVS, one of the biggest pharmacy chains in the U.S., has stopped selling tobacco in their stores by October 1st, anyone can do the same.

“I think it would be so cool if we had a smoke-free campus through voluntary wellness activities and health improvements and with consideration and understanding of others,” said Diamond. “If we looked at others rights instead of our own first, and the wellness of others before our own, it’d be a pretty amazing thing.”

“Recess”: Skrillex Releases First Full Length Album

by Sean Begin

Sonny Moore, better known by his alias Skrillex, grabbed the attention of American pop culture in 2010 when he released his YouTube-sampled “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” EP. With songs more reminiscent of angrily arguing Transformers than traditional instrumental music, Moore succeeded in helping take dance music mainstream.

Now, after six years of singles, remixes and extended plays, Moore has released his first full-length effort with “Recess,” an 11 song LP that nods to both the style that made him popular and the influences his music has seen since his ascension.

The opening track, “All is Fair in Love and Brostep,” is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment from Moore to the subgenre of dubstep attached to his style that has nearly become cliché since. The song features the Ragga Twins, pioneers in the United Kingdom’s early 1990s jungle and drum and bass scene.

The Ragga Twins are also featured on “Ragga Bomb,” the reggae-influenced drum and bass track that feels pulled out of the 90s and touched up with Moore’s unique style. Moore delves into the genre further with the jazzed up just-in-time-for-summer tune “Coast is Clear,” featuring up-and-coming hip hop act Chance The Rapper, whose bubbly crooning seems fit for driving with the windows down.

What seems to make “Recess” shine is the way Moore blends his unique style of growling robots and gigantic bass drops, while adding elements and entire songs showcasing his branching abilities as a producer.

Songs like “Fire Away” and “Stranger” are reminiscent of Moore’s work on 2013’s “Leaving” EP that was released only to members of The Nest, the subscription service for Moore’s Owsla label.

Moore has always been about weird sounds, though, and they shine through in “Doompy Poomp,” which sounds like the theme song to an Oompa Loompa-run carnival on acid. And “Dirty Vibe,” which serves as a first taste of Moore’s work with Diplo as the group Jack-U (who debuted in Miami at Ultra this year) is a blend of styles: techno and hardstyle with a dash of K-pop in the form of featured artists G-Dragon and CL.

The tracks that fit the mold that made Moore such a huge star, however, have been scaled back from the usual exploding bass drops favored in his early work for more subtle, but still intensely powerful, sonic shifts.

Moore works with Owsla signee, Alvin Risk, to make “Try It Out,” which is actually a mix of a bootleg tune titled “Imma Try It Out” that surfaced as early as 2011 and was featured in the 2012 video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. “Try It Out” features the ragged growls and laser sounds so familiar to Moore’s work.

Working with another Owsla artist, Kill the Noise, the title track to the album fits perfectly with the backing sounds of kids screaming and playing, and comes packed with a bass drop that sucks all sound in favor of hyped up chords. “Ease My Mind” may be the album’s fiercest song, building slowly with sampled female vocals and breaking smoothly into an upbeat laser-filled drop.

A full length release from Moore has been a long time coming, especially after mainstream success and his winning multiple Grammy awards in the past two years. “Recess” is a spectacular blend of both Moore’s pioneering style and the influences that have shaped him as an artist thus far.

Lacrosse Splits First Two of Four Straight Home Games

by Sean Begin

Winning in sports by one is a unique situation. For the losing team, it can be particularly devastating to come up just short of a win. For the winning team, elation at pulling out the win can be a boost of confidence.

In the first two of four straight home conference games, the Central Connecticut women’s lacrosse team experienced both sides of the one-goal game.

The team held off St. Francis (Pa.) to win 11-10 on Friday before falling to Robert Morris 9-8 in sudden victory double overtime Sunday afternoon.

“I think what we found in [the St. Francis] game was we played an excellent first half,” said head coach Laura Campbell. “And then we kind of put our foot on the brakes a little bit, so to speak, in the second half.”

“So our big goal going into this game was to put a complete game together and to keep responding and keep being resilient. And so I’m really proud of them that they rose to that today.”

And respond they did. The Blue Devils faced a fierce Colonial attack in the first half and were outshot 15-to-6, but thanks to a couple wide shots and stellar goalkeeping from junior Morgan Tullar, they entered the half with a 4-3 lead.

The Colonials (9-4, 3-1 NEC) scored first 6:33 into the first half on a free position shot, but Central (5-8, 2-2 NEC) responded at the 21 minute mark with a free position goal from senior Claire Healy to tie the game.

Robert Morris took the lead back with 11:17 to play. Four minutes later, Healy’s fellow captain, Amanda Toke scored the first of her three goals, assisted by sophomore Falynn McCartney. The Colonials once more took the lead with 1:23 to go, but the McCartney-Toke combo struck again 32 seconds later to tie the score.

Then with one second on the clock, McCartney fed Healy for the go-ahead goal and her third assist of the game. Tullar had 10 saves in the half.

“She rose to the occasion and she stepped up for us big,” said Campbell of Tullar’s day. “I hope she takes it and feels good about it, and she should.”

Campbell added: “I also think our defense as a unit, they really did a very good job. [Robert Morris] controlled a lot of the possessions with draws, and it was down our end a lot and defense did a really good job forcing some low percentage shots. So it was a team effort on that.”

Robert Morris opened the second half with three straight goals until McCartney scored unassisted to make the score 6-5, before the Colonials answered with two more goals to pull away 8-5.

“It was starting to go down a road where we’re getting frustrated and that’s been something that we’ve been working on this whole year,” said Campbell. “So I just told them we can’t go down that road. We’ve got to know that we have each other’s backs.”

Like they had been doing all match, Central responded, scoring the final three goals of the half to force overtime. Toke scored her third goal of the game with 11:42 remaining to make it 8-6.

Central didn’t score again unitl a free position goal from McCartney with just 2:15 remaining. McCartney assisted on senior Meaghan McCurry’s goal just 49 seconds later to send the game to overtime.

After a scoreless first overtime period, the teams entered sudden victory double overtime that saw the Colonials pull out the win with 1:38 to go in the first half of the double OT period.

“It came back to clears,” said Campbell when asked where she thought the team struggled on Sunday, “which is funny because against St. Francis we did really well with the clear.

“Our goal was to play a full 60 minutes so it’s kind of ironic that we went into overtime.”

McCartney continued her standout sophomore season on Sunday, tallying two goals, four assists and a team-high four draw controls, which Campbell called Robert Morris one of the best in the nation at. McCartney managed to draw control the ball that led to the Blue Devils’ tying goal.

“I think with that, Falynn was just changing things up a little bit on her just trying to keep her out of any sort of rhythm,” Campbell said of the play.

Captains Toke and Healy finished with three and two goals, respectively, while Tullar finished with 14 total saves.

In Friday’s game against St. Francis (Pa.), Central outscored the Red Flag 9-3 in the first half, putting up seven unanswered goals to take an 8-1 lead early. But St. Francis scored the final six goals of the second half to climb within one before the Blue Devils could close the game out.

McCartney scored four goals on Friday giving her six for the weekend. Toke finished with six as well scoring three against the Red Flash. Freshman Marissa Soto had a good game as well, scoring two goals and adding six draw controls and three ground balls, both team highs.

The Blue Devils will next host conference leader Bryant on Friday, April 18 before facing Sacred Heart a week later, in their last home game of the season.

Ban the Death Penalty

By: Joe Suszczynski

Capital punishment has always been one way with dealing with violent criminals. Sure, they have killed people to receive such a punishment, but is it right to carry out the punishment given? No. The death penalty in the United States should be prohibited in all cases.

There is no point in discussing the morality of the death penalty because it can be debated until the end of time.

Facts are the only way to determine whether or not capital punishment should be abolished in America.

It costs a lot of money to put a prisoner to death. The Death Penalty Information Center says the cost of the death penalty is more than a life sentence in some states. In California, for instance, the death penalty costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the cost of keeping convicts locked up for life. In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about three times the cost of imprisoning someone at the highest security level for 40 years.

The reasons for the expenses are the pre-trial costs, jury selection, the trial itself and the appeals. America isn’t in the best financial shape to be putting people to death – which also can clog the system.

Supporters of the death penalty say it deters crime. But sadly that’s not the case. The DPIC stated in 2012 that the average murder rate in states that allow the death penalty was 4.7 per 100,000 people, while states without a death penalty were 3.7. Granted, other variables can be equated to why the murder rate is lower in non-death penalty states, but the numbers show that the death penalty will not deter crime in states where capital punishment is permitted.

We also know that innocent people have ended up on death row. The justice system was created by, and is made up of human beings, and humans make errors. According to the DPIC, since 1973 144 people were exonerated for crimes they did not commit; 144 people that would have been put to death had it not have been for new technologies such as DNA testing, which could prove the innocence of a person. Who knows how many more innocent prisoners are on death row that are close to being executed for crimes they did not commit—only time will tell.

The death penalty is something that needs to be abolished in America. It costs way too much to execute a person. It really does not deter crime, otherwise the murder rates in states that have the death penalty would be zero, and the murder rates in non-death penalty states would be skyrocketing. With new forms of DNA testing, there is that chance to not only release innocent prisoners from not only prison itself, but also from death row. Connecticut is one of the 18 states that banned the death penalty, while the other 32 still have it in place.

I am not saying that the law should be easy on murderers. People who commit heinous crimes should be locked away for the rest of their lives with no chance for parole if their crimes are that reprehensible.

If the human race still finds the “eye for an eye” principle acceptable when dealing with murderers, then we cannot move forward as a species.

Society has to be better than the individual.


By: Devin Leith-Yessian

Simone Brown, a student at CCSU, was crowned at Miss CCSU, a pageant put on by Women’s Involved Now and the Black Student Union.
“This pageant’s very different,” said Cynthia Calderon, the organizer of the pageant. The pageant stressed looking past superficial beauty and focusing on the personality and talents of the woman.
The pageant was composed of two sections, one where the contestants spoke on a social issue of their choosing, followed by a talent portion.
The issues the contestants spoke about ranged from the lack of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields to relationship abuse. “I truly fear for our future if this continues,” said Victoria Hellberg, who spoke on violence and discrimination against members of the LGBT community. “We are all one in the same.”
The talent portion was launched with a taekwondo exercise put on by Calderon’s father, Calderon being a second degree black belt herself. He led a small group of children as they displayed their skills through practicing on him and each other. The presentations which were met with the strongest reactions from the crowd were a self-defense tutorial put on by Alleah Red and a monologue acted out by Brown, which she created herself.
In the monologue, Brown played the role of a fictitious woman describing the abuse she had faced from her husband to a man who was only described as having hit a woman. After the woman told her husband that she was pregnant, he threw her down the stairs telling her that he didn’t want to bring a child into this messed up world. The husband became an alcoholic after his brother was killed. The audience listened with frequent gasps and fascinated silence.
Red’s performance involved her teaching how to respond to the most common ways women are often attacked. To show how to react to being grabbed from behind she threw her partner over her back, causing him to lose his breath and eliciting concerned gasps from the crowd. After he got back on his feet she demonstrated how to throw an attacker off yourself when they have you pinned to the ground, again seemingly effortlessly tossing him aside.
The pageant was not without it’s difficulties, however. The taekwondo exercise lacked an introduction that provided context, causing it to feel disjointed and out of place in relation to the rest of the pageant. CCSU student Crystal Lopez took issue with the contestants, and female students in general, being referred to as women, rather than girls. Lopez also said that she believed that it lacked organization, with occasional mishaps occurring throughout the show.
“It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way,” said Spencer Perry, the president of WIN. However she does think that “it was a fantastic experience” especially for a first event. She hopes to turn this into an annual event with continuing collaboration with the BSU.
WIN has been around for years, but was just restarted this semester. The pageant is their first event in this reincarnation. The BSU, which co-sponsored the event is a student run organization who’s goal is “to develop a black consciousness at CCSU and to improve the cultural and social development of black students,” according to their web page.
Despite coming in expecting the pageant to be lackluster, afterwards Lopez said “The event was very touching, I cried a few times.”

Celebrate Life With a Laugh

By Acadia Otlowski

Unlike so many people, I was lucky enough to go 20 years of my life without having to truly grieve.

That all changed a few weeks ago with one phone call. I woke up on Tuesday morning at about 11 a.m. to my phone ringing.

My heart dropped.

For months now, my 80- something-year-old grandfather had gotten progressively sicker. They attributed it to this infection or that infection, but they failed to see the root of all of these lesser infections.

It was cancer.

My mother knew weeks in advance, even telling me that he must have cancer; that’s the only thing that could be causing this man, who just months ago was still driving to visit my grandmother, to be going downhill so quickly.

So it wasn’t really a surprise when we got the diagnosis a couple weeks ago, although it didn’t  make it any less frustrating.

He was full of cancer, at least that’s how my mother phrased it to me. They said he only had three months to live, but he didn’t even make it two weeks.

Now I’m confronted with an empty place in my life.

My grandfather had a heart of gold. For years, I would wake up in the morning and just somehow know that grandpa was coming that day.

He came every week, showering us with little present of stuffed animals and sweets. These changed a little over time, but were a constant for the majority of my life.  He was a man of his time, showing little affection outwardly, instead giving little presents to win our affection. He would slide us our treats with a sly little smile, like we had our own little secret.

I spent many hours in his house, which has long been passed on to another family, playing on the floor with whatever box of toys I could dig up from my mother’s childhood. We watched the same old movies together; he always remembered what each of his grandkids liked.

The man who showered us with affection was called “stone face” by the men who worked for him, but his family saw a very different side of him.

I can safely say, and I’m sure that all 14 of my other cousins will agree with me, that our grandpa was the one who told us our first dirty joke. We may not have been the targets of the joke, but he didn’t care if we heard. I think half the fun for him was the shocked gasp of a parent or his wife. Then he’d smirk like a schoolboy as he was chided. It never stopped him though.  I don’t know where he got them from, as he didn’t use the internet. But I guarantee if someone has a really witty dirty joke, my grandpa already told me the punchline.

And even though when asked what was up, he would tell you “same shit, different day,” my grandfather lived his life voraciously.  He would drive across the state and beyond its borders, just to see what was what.

It was only when my grandmother was too far gone from Alzheimer’s that he stopped taking road trips. He was crushed when he had to put her in a nursing home; the man had tried to hold her mind together with the sheer strength of his will.

Even when his “partner-in-crime” couldn’t remember who he was, he kept visiting until he was too sick to get out of bed.

I last saw my grandpa about a month ago, in his bed at the nursing home. I remember being shocked at how frail this man whose fullness dominated my childhood had become. As much as I regret not seeing him closer to when he died, I still carry more memories of that smile, that contagious chuckle, more than the  shadow of a man laying in that bed.

At his service last week, I felt as though it was wrong. It was far too serious for the man who taught me how to laugh. He wouldn’t want us to cry, though we all have.  This can teach us a valuable lesson.

Grief is something we all avoid, but it is something we as humans have to experience. Maybe, instead of channeling that negative emotion into tears, we can celebrate the life of the person we have lost. We can share stories about the one who passed and laugh with those around us, rather than focusing on what we have lost.


Inexpensive Travel How To: Destination: Block Island

By: Arianna Cecchini

With the cold New England weather subsiding and the warm weather approaching, a great place for college students to go right here in CT is Block Island. To get to Block Island one can take a ferry from New London, CT which is about an hour to an hour and a half away.

Now, there are two different ferry boats across the water to the island, one that is about an hour ride and the other being about 25 minutes. It costs around $22-35 a person round-trip, depending on the speed of the boat. Once you get to the island, it is just a gorgeous site. You pull up to a beach front with shops, hotels and restaurants, all of which are quaint and very beautifully New England themed.

The front strip offers souvenir shops, two hotels, seafood restaurants, bike rental shops and ice cream parlors. It is a great way to spend a spring or summer day – and inexpensively. One doesn’t even need to spend money on the island besides for the ferry. One can go to the multiple beach locations that are offered throughout the island, and bring their own lunch too.

It is a great way to spend a warm sunny day with some friends. Now if money is not an issue, the restaurants are really great to dine at. The food is fresh and inexpensive and sitting outside looking at the ocean is always breathtaking. It is a great time, and can account for great memories. Nowadays, Block Island also regularly offers scooter rentals which can be a fun way to spend a day on the island.

Block Island also offers a beautiful lighthouse at the top of the island, which can give a view of the whole island and is absolutely a must see. If a group of friends are all willing to go, renting a house on the island is inexpensive and is a great mini vacation away from home or school. It is a great beach vacation for some friends to attend and have a good time without having to drop a fortune in expenses.

The island also holds a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlor and a really cute candy store with amazing fudge: both of which are must-do’s on the island. They do offer a movie theater in case of a rainy day, so the whole day is not wasted.

It really is a great spot for a vacation with some friends. It has the ocean, great food and shopping for cheap prices, what more do you need? It’s even in our own state, it doesn’t get much more convenient. So, this summer, when you are thinking, “I need some time off” (because you worked your butt off to get good grades) head to Block Island for the day, or for a week. It’s a great place to go and you won’t need to spend everything you’ve saved in order to have a decent time.