Category: Personal Works


Death in a Bottle

I remember that moment. That cruel and dark moment. I  remember the struggle. The pain. The horror.  I remember the darkness that clogged and seeped into my throat- compelling me to gag and retch in agony. I desperately seeked refuge in a glass of water but they were nothing more than mere gulps of hopelessness. That existential taste of pure evil still lingered in my mouth. My mind grew distorted as it struggled to process the madness and the shock to my nervous system. The lights in my parents bedroom dimmed and flickered haphazardly. The violent flashes of despair. My soul became cold and numb.

Nothing made sense. It was that moment I had lost my innocence as a child and I  finally grasped that the world was a very very wicked place. It was that horror that consumed me forever. It was the horror of consuming a colon-cleasing tonic named Living Bitters.

I remember the gleeful sadism in my father’s eyes. ’til this day I refuse to forgive him for what he put me and my siblings through. No child deserved that.

However, I must digress and reflect.  If one of the most truly horrifying things that could ever happen to me as a child was my dad giving me colon-cleansing tonic, then I really didn’t have it that bad.

In fact, I was a “Dada Bee.” I ate when I wanted because there was the “house girl” to cook jollof rice for me. The good kind. Ghanaian Jollof. Certainly, not Nigerian jollof.

I went were I wanted because there was  the “Drivah” to drive me around to any of my friends’ houses. There was the “house boy” who cleaned and ironed my school uniform. Shit was done for me and I barely had to lift a finger, most of the time.

I was a spoiled child but on that dreadful day I was forced to become a man.

It was a brisk and dewy Saturday morning with all the things a well-loved and pampered kid could look forward to. A bowl of Kellog’s Frosties, Power Rangers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Malta Guiness and four-corner soccer with the street kids. They were often referred to as Kubolors.

Everything was going well as usual. I was the black Richie Rich bossing his minions, terrorizing lazy watchmen and insulting girls that didn’t want to talk to me and my entourage of kubolors. I mean, I had just bought the whole block of East Legon Fanta and Malta Guinness.  I was the King of Accra.

But once my parents called me back to the house, the parade through my neighborhood was over. I might have been a spoiled young brat and a nuisance in my kingdom but never to my parents. I immediately hurried back home and conducted myself into my parents’ large bedroom. My two older siblings Kojo and Afriyie were there as well. I’ve known them to be the most confident and fearless people I’ve ever known but something wasn’t right as I walked into the room. That day I saw fear in their eyes.

They were cowering together using each other as human shields. As my father slowly walked towards them with a tablespoon and a dark bottle of what appeared to be thick and goopy sludge.

“You go first!” My oldest brother snapped at my sister in panic, “You know what they say. Ladies first!”

“NO! NO! NO! Don’t even try! I went last time! YOU ARE GOING!” she retorted with just as much of a scowl.

“What’s with all the commotion? Do we seriously have to go through this every time?” my father asked in a stern yet reasonable tone. “It doesn’t taste bad at all. It is good for you all. I will clean your insides right out. Come on, step up and be done with it.”

My father turned his attention to me. “Oh Kuuku, good you’re finally here. Before, I thought you were too young to have some of this medicine but after seeing what comes out of you in the toilet, I’ve had my concerns. You most certainly need this.”

A look of embarrassment came across my face.

“What’s this, daddy?” I asked, staring reluctantly at the tablespoon of black sludge. If I recall, It looked like part of the Venom Symbiote that usually corrupted Spider-Man.

“Living Bitters, it will make you stronger, faster  and make you very smart. it will keep you sharp, my boy. Most importantly, it will exorcise those horrific demons inside you.  And keep you from destroying my bathrooms. After this, be sure to eat all the oranges in the house. God knows you need it.”

“Kuuku, don’t take it. It’s so disgusting, you will die.” My brother warned.

“Swallow it as fast as you can. Don’t be scared.” My sister added.

“I’m not scared.”

“Oh, if you’re not scared? Then why don’t you go first?” My brother taunted.

“YES! YES! Kuuku go.” My sister said.

I sucked my teeth and looked right at my older siblings with defiance. I stepped up to my father. “Fine, let’s just get this over with.”

“Very good, Kuuku. I appreciate the pragmatism.”

“YOOOOoooooo, you just wait and see. You will suffer!”

And suffered I did.

But I could not give them that satisfaction. I could not give them the satisfaction of watching me wince and struggle like dying prey being mauled by a lion. In fact, I tried to be strong for the both of them.

I stood fast, braced myself and calmly walked up to my father without fear or emotion. I was calm, cool and collected.

“Okay, open your mouth.” My father said. I stepped up like a Catholic boy awaiting  communion. But instead of consuming the blood of Jesus Christ, I consumed the blood of Satan Spawn. The moment it slimed onto my tongue and the roof of my mouth, There was nothing but bitterness festering and trickling in the small spongy crevices of my taste buds. This dark sludgy matter violated every part of my being. My soul left me. Waves of bitter disgust and filth raged in my mouth, It tasted like dead rotten plants, corrosive oil and corrupted honey. What came afterwards was unspeakable.

For the first time, I tasted hell. I was instantly transported into another dimension and trapped in my mind. Everything faded to black

I was in the woods by myself. staggering to my knees. I realized I was in a very dark and cold place. I saw angels with broken wings fall through the dimly lit sky. Demonic hands clawed from the earth. Dragging to me the depths of hell. I felt the sludge of living bitters fusing with my mouth and the rest of my body. Swallowing me whole from the inside.

Suddenly, Tyler Durden appeared. He Grasped my hand tightly, pulling me away from my nightmare. He calmly said, “Stay with the pain. Don’t shut this out”

“DEAR GOD! I WANT TO SPIT THIS OUT! I WANT TO VOMIT!” I pleaded.

Tyler Durden grabbed my hand more tightly. “Without pain, without sacrifice. We will have nothing.”

I tried not think of the words. Putrid, vomit, gaggi…

“STOP IT! This is your pain, this is your burning throat. It’s RIGHT HERE!”

“I’m going to my happy place. I’m eating two balls of kenkey with pepper and Titus sardines. I’m finding my power!”

“NOOOO!” Tyler said dismissively while yanking my hand towards him. “Don’t deal with the toils dead people do. Come on!”

“Please, make it stop!” I begged.

“What you’re feeling is pre-mature enlightenment.”

I tried to drift away from the bitter pain. I tried to picture Rashida Jones feeding me kenkey with fish.

Tyler gave me one big dirty slap! TSSSS!

“This is the greatest moment of your life and you’re off somewhere missing it!”

“No I’m not!” I said back.

Tyler went on to explain how our fathers were models for God but had betrayed and abandoned us. I started to believe that he was right. For how could my own father subject me to this cruelty? How could my own father give me Living Bitters. Tyler then asked me.

“What does that tell you about God?”

I whimpered and stuttered. Tyler gave me another dirty slap. TSSSSSSSS!

“LISTEN TO ME! you have to consider the fact that God doesn’t like you. He never wanted you. And in all probability, He hates you. That’s why he gave us Nigerian Jollof.”

Despair ran across my face. Not Nigerian jollof I thought.

“This’s not the worst thing that can happen.” he said.

“It isn’t?” I asked. Wondering what could have been worse than Living bitters and Nigerian jollof.

“WE DON’T NEED HIM! or Nigerian jollof for that matter.” Tyler said. “Fuck damnation, fuck redemption. Fuck Nigerian Jollof. We are God’s unwanted children. SO BE IT!”

“Okay, okay. Please just make it stop!”

“First, you have to give up. First, you have to know, not fear. Know that someday you’re going to die. It’s only that we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” Tyler said calmly.

In that moment,  I accepted Tyler’s cold hard truth. I accepted my fate and let the cleanse and the purge take place. That one must find comfort in the struggle and that life is not always a bowl of Kellog’s Frosties. I accepted that there was no God. I accepted that life is too short to be rude to the house help. What I was experiencing was growth. An evolve. I had gone through the cleansing fire and rose from the ashes a brand new man with a heart of gold and balls of steel. I had swallowed Living Bitters with perseverance and solidarity. And in that brief second my nightmare was over.

“Hey Kuuku, are you okay?” My mother asked with grave concern. She had probably noted the brief lifelessness in my eyes, that I did not seem myself or that I wasn’t here. I stood in the bedroom with no emotion on my face.

Suddenly, I looked around. Slightly confused. I was back in my parents room. I almost didn’t recognize my family for a second. I had to  re-adjust with coming back to reality.

“Well, that’s it. See? No fuss. no struggle. I’m very proud of you. You took that like a man.” My father bellowed. He turned over to two my older siblings. They looked on in awe and confusion.

“You two can learn a lot from your little brother here. He didn’t even flinch once. Macho guy!”

My siblings looked at each other. Probably thinking to themselves what was wrong with me but I couldn’t help but notice how impressed and amazed they were at the same.

I calmly and quietly excused myself from my parent’s bedroom. My big brother gave me a high five as I walked out. “You’re one weird kid.” He said.

“Good job, Kuuku.” My mom said. “I’m proud of you. I thought you would spit it out.”

I shook my head slowly and barely said. “No, I’m ok. ”

I went to my room and started playing Street Fighter. I sat and reflected on my recent experience. I might have appeared calm and brave during that moment but my family would never know the internal and emotional turmoil I was experiencing in that split second. That I was forever a changed man. Either way, I survived.

I wondered what new struggles would come my way and how I could overcome them. But with my newfound toughness in life. I wasn’t so concerned. If a little kid like me could swallow a whole tablespoon of living bitters, then there wasn’t much I couldn’t do. I smiled finally.

I also drank a shit ton of Malta Guinness afterwards.

It’s been over two years since I last wrote on this blog. So naturally, it didn’t survive the inevitable writer’s block and the dark void in which abandoned blogs go to die on the Internet. But thanks to my older brother who helped established this space for me in the first place, he’s now retrieved the domain for me. So I transported myself here and like that of a hero’s homecoming, I’ve been gone for too long but needed more than ever. I re-read old articles I posted here and I have to say it’s a shame I stopped . I am a good writer.

But I’m here now and it’s time to pull away the cobwebs of inactivity from this space.

The first thing I want to do is just have a heartfelt discussion with myself and just reflect on where I am with my life. Reflecting, the only way I know how. This is my only outlet.

I’m not working in the field for what I studied in college. I was not really sure of what I wanted to do with my life. To be honest, college was just a huge waste of money and now I’m in debt but nothing too bad compared to what the average college student is paying in student loans. So I decided to learn a skill that was valuable in the job market- Coding and web development.

I took a three-month class of learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript and after six-months of grinding away on the minimum-wage slave ship afterwards, I landed a salaried job that’s helping me live.

At least, I’m now on track to paying off my credit and student loan debt and that’s a start.

I’m still not sold on therapy yet but I know it’s important but I haven’t drafted an action plan on how I can get started.

That’s another issue in itself.

But back to the matter at hand and the deep soul stirring questions I’ve been asking myself lately for a long time now.

If I died today, would I have made a difference in the world? Would I be happy about the things I accomplished? Have I contributed enough to my community and those less privileged than myself? Have I seeked forgiveness from people that I hurt, wronged or betrayed? Have I said thank you for the opportunities and privilege I’ve been given? Even as a black, African, Ghanaian man in the United States?  Am I spending enough time with my family? Have I crossed off the things on my bucket list? And what the hell is on my bucket list? Have I taken that road-trip I’ve always talked about? Have I traveled enough? Have I gone back to friends Have I reconciled or initiated contact with some of my long-lost friends? Have I personally told them I’m proud of them instead of secretly wishing and rooting for their success on social media?

To be honest, the fact that I can not answer yes to all of these questions and that represents a huge disconnect on where I am emotionally with my life.

I want to be happy but I’m truly not. Not until I correct all of these things. So I’m planning to be happy again.

I have friends that I deeply care and want to reconnect with but life (but actually, excuses) get in the way. On top of that as men, we are not even allowed to think this way “of wanting to connect with long-lost friends” because that seems vulnerable and men can’t be vulnerable or open about their feelings.

You appear weak but I don’t give a shit anymore. I truly miss my fucking friends. I need to reach out to them and my family more often.

I have my dreams. And a dream with a date becomes a goal. A goal with steps becomes a plan. A plan with action becomes reality.

These are constructs of my perfect world and I’ve trudged slowly through them for way too long. I have to do these things now. I tell people this but people will tell you

“Yeah, but you’re only 20-something, you’re still so young. You have time.”

But the most fucked up thing I’ve noticed about time is that time’s like a doctor without any patients.

Time doesn’t treat you right at all and it’s surely not waiting on you.

That’s why I have to write that book before the zombie Apocalypse becomes real, I have to become a soccer coach for girls before a nuclear meltdown hits New York, I have to pay off my debt before I get hit by a bus, I have to see Arsenal play before Donald Trump bans soccer, strips away my freedom and makes “America great again.”

You never know. I’m getting older and I don’t have much time.

I can’t bear the fact that I’d be an old man slumping away in a chair at a nursing home, not being able to speak  with some youth volunteer looking at the regret in my sullen and baggy eyes.

If you ask me, people don’t think often enough about this shit before it’s too late but I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’m going through that “almost 30” crisis and when I reflect, I feel like spent my early 20’s not grabbing the opportunities before me and wasting all my time on things that did not move me forward.

I hope you guys can relate.

You can’t make up for lost time but you can sure set a new timeline of your own.

But this will take patience. And I have to be realistic. I’ve got my dues to pay and I have to work hard.

I hate that I sound gloomy and depressed but for the most part.  I’m blessed to have this hope.

So for the next couple of things I write are going to focus on steps and action plans to cross off  my bucket list and reconnect with my long-lost friends and family.

They will raw, pure and honest. I can’t fuck around any longer. I’m going to be happy.

The Theory of Hipster Relativity by Dustinland

If you ever heard someone say or tell you “I was using Twitter before it got popular,” or “Dude, I was like wearing thick rimmed glasses before Kid Cudi made them look cool,” chances are that person is someone who really has low-self esteem but tries to make up for it through social narcissism and an elitist choice of lifestyle. In simpler terms, that person is a hipster. Well, that’s not a nice thing to say but I will try and tell you why it came to that.

Hipster- a word that is so horribly vague that there is no way to pinpoint its meaning or origin. So I will be honest. This projection is only based from what I’m experiencing or more like discovering in my society of 20-somethings and over. I don’t know what the word specifically means or who it is supposed to define but through the shifting of pop-culture between the underground and mainstream, its connotation now is not good. To my understanding, I believe something terrible happened for the word hipster because it is now  branded with a certain stigma. At first, if you were a hipster, you were someone who was cool and unique. A person who brought innovative creativity that changed the way people think and do things for the better. Whether it was music, art, fashion or even politics. The hipsters were people who brought about inspiration in others.

Now, a hipster is someone who believes they are doing all those things but know too well that they are wearing a mask of fakerism and deceit. A hipster does things because it’s “cool” not understanding why or how the choice they made is essential to themselves. The hipster now is not genuine or sincere. The hipster wants to take credit for a movement they didn’t start but wants to highjack for their own personal gain. The hipster now wants all that is good to be drowned in his or her own delusions of confidence. The hipster is a douchebag.

So where did it all go wrong? Well like I said, it started with my social interactions and experiences- on the YouTube comment section of videos,  the parties I go to, and the things I hear. So there are no facts here but I’m making a plea that I hope you can identify with. Sometimes, I just feel like I’m surrounded by people who think they are better than others because they don’t share their same plane of “unique” tastes. Just because someone doesn’t  know what you know or doesn’t agree with you on a certain topic doesn’t give you the right to insult or belittle others. Here’s exactly what I mean:

I don’t know how skinny jeans for dudes became a trend but they did. To be honest, I like them and I even think they are fashionable. It’s 2011, and we’re transitioning from the baggy basketball jerseys of  ’02 to the H&M of body hugging button-up shirts. That’s cool. I have a lot of friends who make skinny jeans look good and more power to them. However, I will never wear them because  they look impractically tight and are clinically proven to be unhealthy for the scrotum. That’s been my thought out decision from day one. Another thing that I don’t like about skinny jeans are the assholes wearing them who think they are so irresistibly cool with swagger and superior to anyone who doesn’t wear them. I remember telling some guy at a party that I didn’t like skinny jeans because they weren’t my style. This guy looked at me  like as if I had insulted his mother. He replied “Seriously? That’s lame bro.” It was as if his crotch-hugging jeans were the foundation of his character and I had attacked it with my honest opinion. To me that’s your hipster. A person who places their sense of being into material things and activities. Desperately wanting to gain the approval of others through those things instead of who they are as a person.

One YouTube comment I highlighted from one user had the cynicism of a typical hipster all over it. “Toro Y Moi is such a great artist. He makes really good music and I’m glad a lot of  people don’t know much about him. The radio plays shitty music and I can’t stand people who think Kesha and Katy Perry are great artists. Those idiots don’t know anything lol.” I agree, Toro Y Moi is a great and upcoming techno artist but I don’t think it’s great that “a lot of people don’t know about him” because they should at least check him out if they like Electronica or techno music. I know I’d be happy if I heard him on the radio but his presence is mostly based online via music blogs and social media.

When I said I didn’t like dubstep and that it sounds distorted to me, some hipster douchebag told me “Man, you don’t know good techno. Dubstep is the greatest thing on earth but only few people know about it. You’re obviously not one of them.” But here’s one of most typical hipster statements I hate the most. “Man, I was way into Drake before you got on him with ‘Best I Ever Had.’ Y’all just bandwagon. Y’all don’t know about that Comeback Season when he was underground.”

Oh Wow! Do you want a freaking cookie? What credit are you possibly trying to claim? Yeah, you’re awesome and obviously a better human being because you heard this song three months before I did. I must be definitley wrong if I don’t agree with you on something that is totally relative to preference. My hat’s off to you for pointing that out and achieving  such an accomplishment. I don’t get it- because I don’t know what you know, listen to what you to listen to, dress like you or do what you do, I’m a loser? I’m an idiot? I’m not cool? I’m not up to your snobby standard of quality to pick out bands people have never heard of? It’s people like that who give the true hipsters a bad name.

First. I don’t get why people need to hold on these insignificant things about pop-culture to uplift themselves or justify whatever they do. It’s coming to downright narcissism. You say you were wearing plaid shorts before some  artist made it popular. Hmm… so how come when you started wearing plaid shorts that they didn’t become popular? Oh yeah, that’s right that artist made plaid shirts popular by marketing them under a brand name but you’re just jealous because you never made any money off plaid shorts. Don’t worry I get it.

So to all the “hipsters,” if you think wearing certain clothes or listening to “underground” music equates to some sense of individualism or higher being than others, you’re dead wrong.  That’s a dreaded misconception that has been placed within our society by ignorant people such as yourselves. The real hipsters do whatever they want  because it is simply  true to their nature. Their style, fashion and beliefs are genuine to them. They love what they do and will share what they have learned with others who aspire to do what they do. Real hipsters don’t need approval of others or go around begging others to follow them. They already have people who want to follow them out of their own will.

Your true hipsters are people like Madonna, who brought about the art of weird costumes and pleasantly strange music only for others like Lady Gaga to follow the same road or Barack Obama who heavily used social media to connect with and make use of younger vote to make history. (Okay, being black helped too)

But all that’s been destroyed by a young society of people that are so narcissistic and think they deserve credit for things they never created but are lucky to be a part of. Sadly, today’s hipsters will never realize that because they are too busy telling others how cool they are because of some obscure band they discovered on Pandora. This is why people hate hipsters.

You will know what the big deal is once you’ve had your first Pronto-pup, or over-sized bucket of home-made french fries. Out in the mid-west, Minnesota is a place that takes its State Fair foods to heart- and arteries.

The food at the Minnesota State Fair is as crazy as it sounds- chocolate-covered jalapenos, pizza kabobs and cheese curds, the lines between normal and absurdity are blurred. Even the vendors themselves know it as one sign in front of the Bacon kiosk reads, “Deep-fried and chocolate covered bacon. It’s bad for you but tastes fantastic, any questions?”

Just for the fun of it, you have to indulge yourself in such ridiculousness. Other than the rib-sticking foods, there are other noteworthy attractions, There’s Minnesota’s largest pig that’s almost bigger than a tractor and weighs 1160 pounds and The Grand Stand- an enormous dome with vendors and features performances from big artists such as Weezer, Train and Maroon 5. Fair warning, the State Fair can get overwhelming with an ocean of people crowding on Underwood St- so be prepared to do a lot of walking.

With 1.7 million visitors annually, The State Fair is one of the most anticipated events to hit home and is also a symbol of tradition that is The Great Minnesota Get-together.

Hollywood may be an entirely different planet where the biggest movies come to life and celebrities live as over-glorified human beings. But Hollywood didn’t come to such a powerful status without having influencing society in America in several ways.

The historical evolution of the biggest film industry in the world is too broad to pinpoint but it probably starts from an era where Hollywood came to explosive prominence and solidified its place as an American landmark of tradition during the 1920-40s. During this time, Hollywood became very good at three things–entertainment, influence and profit.

The main objective and goal of Hollywood has always been to entertain and it has done so for decades. Throughout the course of black-and-white silent films of Charlie Chaplin to the 3D-rage that is bludgeoning theaters, we always gain some memorable experience (either good or bad) from watching production films or cinema blockbusters.  Throughout history, Hollywood has also given birth to some of the biggest entertainment studios such as Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures. Hollywood also brought us talented performers from musical geniuses Frank Sinatra to Oscar award-winning actors such as Gregory Peck and Michael Douglas. As a result, Hollywood consistently churned out many other celebrities who have become household names because they have given great performances that have entertained millions. Celebrities such as George Clooney have also created their own wave of influence and that is another reason why society looks up to Hollywood movie stars as role models, highly respected figures or people with crazy drug addictions. Point is, celebrities become a part of our lives in some way. Oprah anyone?

Apart from serving as a channel of entertainment, the Hollywood industry is one of the most powerful and influential enterprises in the world. Its voice is heard around the globe. From recollection of the Roaring 20’s and the Harlem Renaissance, Hollywood brought about trends that has impacted society heavily. Which other institution promoted smoking cigarettes as cool, attractive and “fashionable” and sent the tobacco industry laughing all the way to bank?

Icons such as Marilyn Monroe have even transcended a whole unique sense of fashion that people have copied for years. Because of Hollywood, there will always be parts of society that want to dress up or look like their favorite idols through make-up and work-out tips. In fact, Hollywood will always be an industry that can promote anything deemed stylish as a result of their influence. But fashion trends are not the only things Hollywood is known for but it has always been an industry that has created its own propaganda and political statements that affects governments, industry and communities.

It’s become a prerequisite for Hollywood to have some sort social responsibility. Labeled mostly as liberal-thinking syndicate, Hollywood has projected political messages of anti-war when George Bush opted to move troops to Iraq in 2003 after 9/11. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Sheryl Crow and Martin Sheen made outspoken anti-war statements such as avoiding threats of nuclear warfare and pleaded with the US government to bring troops back. Such statements were also reiterated by every possible news outlet because of Hollywood’s extensive influence. Secondly, Hollywood can asks society to come to a call of action or engage in social responsibility. One simple example comes from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Celebrities and the Red Cross came together in a campaign to help victims of New Orleans and also pleaded with the public to make donations that helped in anyway. In summary, Hollywood marks itself as a great contributor to the American society that always voices its belief in political issues or worldly events.

Finally, despite its role as a leader in trends and a core landmark of influence, the most important thing that has always mattered to Hollywood is making money. Hollywood is objectively a business and a multi-billion dollar industry. The cost that goes into entire production of films is to just generate box office receipts in which you the consumers spend money on tickets that costs more than a Hanes T-shirts these days.

Currently, the American film industry is worth over $754 billion dollars, making Hollywood one of the largest and entertainment media markets to date. Thus its success marks a symbol of great capitalism and a free market which the American society greatly appreciates or can’t do without.

Ultimately, Hollywood’s impact on society is undeniable because of its ability to entertain, influence and continually make profits forever.

 

 

 

With the semester closing in, you find yourself putting hours in and out of group projects but there are some group projects that feel more like you’re putting in blood, sweat and tears. Such was my experience in my Visual Communication arts class where my group had to put together Reveal Magazine to present at the end of the semester. In reflection, I have never been in a more time-consuming, screen-staring project. We even almost failed this project due to a lot of inconsistency in our magazine and lack of communication. It was a time nobody wanted to assume responsibility. When we reached that crisis, our director, Pamela Parker stepped up and finally took over what direction Reveal should head in.

We all had our chunky pieces of assignment to take up. Courtney Wiest and I took over as editors where we had to assign articles, come up with sections and copy-edit articles. Sarah Nguyen and Maura Callahan worked hard hours as photographers and scrapped a lot of unique photos for our publication. Callahan also worked constantly to put Reveal on the social media realm from Twitter, Facebook, Blurb, Blogger- in fact, thanks to her whole active PR, we are like everywhere. Tabitha Cassidy and Josh Brandenstein took over as our diligent staff writers who contributed a substantial amount of content to the magazine. Lauren Upchurch and Pamela Parker worked as our art directors who oversaw everything from the layout to the style of our magazine and we are thankful for that because of their in-depth experience with Adobe InDesign. I was also impressed with Parker’s work-rate who designed a very cool layout and template for Reveal and worked an indefinite amount of hours into finalizing our project, which automatically makes her our MVP.

When we were just staring at the face of failure and receiving a terrible grade, I’m amazed at how strong characters such as ourselves, just rolled up our sleeves and turned everything around. We finally came up with a bright and colorful product of college fun and wisdom, which is Reveal. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of talented individuals to work with on this daunting project. Thank God, it’s over with.

No boss is out to get you or put you in the hot seat but that doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare yourself in case of some tough questions.

A lot of topics have covered this but here is a reiteriation of what college students  should absolutely not forget when going in for an interview:

Once you acquire that really important internship or job that you spent all semester preparing for, the biggest thing that comes next is the interview with the recruiter or head supervisor.  Usually we see this as some make or break situation but remember the fact that the boss has granted you the interview in the first place is a sign of progress.

However, going to any interview requires that you be very proactive. It’s no bowl of sugar-coated frosted flakes. If you go to any interview without any preparation, you are going to run into a gauntlet of tough questions and you will be overwhelmed.

The key to a good interview is to be prepared, make a good impression and show that you are asset to the company or organization. Here are six tips that can help achieve that.

Research, Research, and Research: Find out things about the organization that can give you an edge before heading into the interview. Does the interviewer want you to complete an assignment before the interview? Who is the CEO, manager or supervisor? What has he or she done for the company? How do you pronounce his or her name? What is the current state of the organization? The more you know the better.

 Show face:  Show up early!  Allow 10-15 minutes before if necessary. When you meet with the boss, make eye contact, smile, give a firm grip handshake and shake that hand like crazy. It gives the impression that you are friendly and confident.

Have extra copies of your resume: Have about 10-25 copies of your resume with references at the back. Your interviewer may want a copy to share with other colleagues and this is ideal for networking. Also make sure your resume is up to date and presentable. Avoid spelling mistakes and use correct grammar! Anything wrong with your resume reflects poorly of you.

Answer the questions in context: Try to answer whatever questions the interviewer may have to the best of your ability in relation to the subject. If it is about multi-tasking, explain how you could do several tasks at once in the office not about how you can listen to music, text and do homework in your dorm. Those examples are good but it’s better to focus in terms of the job.

Listen! Listen! Listen: Pick out key words the interviewer may ask you and formulate a decent response. Personal favorites from interviewers are “strength” and “weaknesses.” Focus on that and base your answers off those words.

Do you have any questions: This is the last question the interviewer will probably ask you and the answer to that is definitely yes.  Saying no is not recommended. In fact saying no is stupid. Saying no is practically telling the interviewer, “No, I don’t care what you have to say about your company because I am not interested. I just want to watch you babble like an idiot.” Listen to what the interviewer is saying and ask reasonable questions about the company policy or something that you may need to know about how things work here. Always have questions!

 If you stick to the tips mentioned above, the interview will be the easiest thing you’ve ever done in life and you will most likely survive the battle ahead.

This is isn’t the best piece of work I’ve done but I always wanted to create an abstract version of myself. Like a really cool avatar. It was inspired by the new Black Eyed Peas album cover, The Beginning.  The band members are rendered as 8-bit video game representations of themselves. That was the direction I was going for but I failed miserably. But with a little more work and practice, I could come up with something better but for now I’m sticking with this.

In Brave New World. The first thing that comes to my mind is the sci-fi world of a utopia. Children are no longer given birth to but mass-produced as clones and programmed to their respective roles.  Women do not have to be courted because they offer themselves like sacrificial pieces of meat. The advancement of science and technology is now hailed as religion. There is a set class of society ranging from the “perfect” Alpha males to the bottom-feeding Epsilons.  Brave New World is a place of gratification, orgies and elitism.  That is just the natural of order of things. Brave New World believes heavily in the motto “Community. Identity. Stability.”  Everyone knows their role and blindly upholds this law. However, the later introduction of “The Savage” changes everything. The Savage is viewed as an outcast because he was “birthed.” Thus society treats him as a lesser being. He is different.

Because “The Savage” is different, I visualized the savage as “bigger” and “better” than the high class citizens of Brave New World because he possesses more of a sympathetic and humane quality than they ever could.  As a result I believe it is appropriate for “The Savage” to be the focus of the cover. as he gradually becomes the protagonist of the book. I wanted to highlight him as a different color from the other stick figures that surround him. The color creates a dramatic effect. Red works perfectly because it gives a tone of urgency and “worry.” It also symbolizes how he is isolated from their bourgeois and above the cold-heartedness of Utopia. The computer-generated image of stickman figures also gives the cover that Sci-fi feel, which is perfect for the book cover.

I had a lot of help with this from my VCAR professor who helped with the cement background and the computer generated graphics I found on google made this project very easy. Regardless, I spent a painstaking amount of time  into making this a single communicating element.

It may be intramurals but I take it seriously. There’s nothing like competing in your school league for the ultimate bragging rights to be immortalized in a T-shirt. So my friends and I founded AC Liberty, an intramural team for soccer. Since ACL’s establishment in 2009. One thing you need to know is that we are awesome. 

This goes back  to the time a lot of people wrote us off when we first started. FC Kozmos were the top dogs of the competition. So no team stood a chance. Despite that, we made it to finals our first year. We were also the very first team to ever knock them out in the finals stage.  Unfortunately we disbanded the following year but have returned to glory for 2011.

During a regular season, other teams like to get matching jerseys with goofy team names but I wanted to go further than that. If we were going to get jerseys and be recognized as a legit team, why not create a logo as well?

As a result, I designed  a team emblem and logo so people could identify us as a real soccer club with unique brand image. With the  logo, I took a lot of inspiration from Roman, Latin and Greek symbols and old school crests. Even our motto in Latin reads “Inciter Champitus” which comes closest to “aspring champions”

On the shield is artwork of David with a slingshot. That symbolizes our team as giant killers, underdogs and ready to take on any big challenge headed our way.

AC LIBERTY