December 13, 2005

About your revised NeoVox articles

If you haven't already, please post them here. Next semester NeoVox will be moving to publishing in a blogging format, so it will be easy for the designers to shift your articles over. Look for them to start showing up in Feb.

Posted by Alex Reid at 1:49 PM | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

Revised Neovox2

Change is the Only Constant

“I’m leaving.” The words slipped easily between her lips and crashed down at his feet. The shattering sound caused him to jump inside his skin. A wave of disbelief and resentment washed down on him and quickly collected in the back of his throat. He could not swallow it all, the taste was too sharp for his throat to accept. Blood drained from his face. She stood only feet in front of him just outside her bedroom door. He searched her eyes, looking for something to prove to him she felt the same bitter taste in her mouth. There was nothing.

The semester had ended and she was ready to move on to a new college. She threw her last bag over her right shoulder. He held out his hand to take it from her, but she shook her head and began walking down the hall. He took a couple of quick steps to fall in stride with her. Anxiety worked feverishly to tie quick, tight knots in his stomach. The feeling seemed to siphon out the air in his lungs. The air was becoming increasingly difficult to recover. By holding his lips together in a thin, straight line, he contained the emotional explosion he could feel in his gut.

The tiled floor of the hallway was usually filled with squeaky sneakers walking back and forth from room to room. At this moment, their silent sneakers were the only ones that walked the hallway. Only slight mutterings from inside various rooms could be heard, because for some reason the hall was quiet this particular afternoon. With a lack of surrounding distractions, he could only let his mind roll back and forth over the fact that he could no longer share his day with her. As the lonely idea overwhelmed him he felt as though he barely knew this place anymore. He had come to know it so well over the months, but at this point he felt at such a distance from everything. Even from the back of her hand that grazed the back of his every so often as they strode down the hall.

The two steel pieces of the elevator door knocked into each other as it clumsily slid open. She stepped onto the dusty square floor inside the steel walls. She blew him a kiss goodbye and he watched as the doors slowly slid back into place. He watched her eyes as he held his hand in the air waving. The door shut completely and he could hear the machinery come to life inside as it took her to the bottom floor and out of his life.

He turned to walk back to his room down the lonely, quiet hallway. The florescent lights overhead hummed as lightly as ever, but for the moment the sound seemed to echo off the inside of his mind. None of this was right. He couldn’t just turn his back on all of this and pretend it was for the best. No!

A chirp split the air as he quickly turned his sneakers against the tile and began at a sprint for the steel door at the end of the hall. He gripped and twisted the cool, metal doorknob and laid his shoulder into the hard surface. The door swung open and slammed against the wall inside the staircase. The sound of the rattling metal echoed down the stairwell until the his pounding footsteps leaping down each step became all that he could hear. He bounded down each landing until he met the ground floor door and it met the same fate as the door several floors up.

The front door was just ahead of him now, but she wasn’t there. She had already made it outside. His sneakers splashed through the puddle that had formed just inside the main entrance from people dragging their feet every time they entered the building. The drops of water landed on the on the tops of his feet and soaked into his socks. Pressing through the main door, he met with the bitter whip of the wind that caused him to falter. He paused and looked down the sidewalk. A long figure paced slowly away with a backpack over her shoulder. He jogged toward her then finally came to a stop just behind her.

His feet rested on the layers of dead leaves that were plastered to the ground by the cold rain that had lasted for days. The girl’s back was to him as he approached. The sound of his footsteps against the wet ground touched her ears and she turned her blue eyes around to look at his cheeks that were turning red against the bitter feel of the wind. When he saw the reflection of the sun glistening in the moisture in her eyes he began to wonder whether her emotions were driving those tears there or if the sting of the cool wind had summoned them.

She seemed very uncomfortable as the edge of her lips formed an awkward smile. The way she crossed her arms and slightly turned away began to make him uncomfortable. He leaned down to make direct eye contact with her and asked, “Why?” His back seemed to quiver as a set of chills ran down both sides of his spine. The hesitation in her response made it too clear that this wasn’t going to work.

Cold needles shot from his shoulder blades down into the small of his back as she explained, “I have to do this.” His mouth ran dry and he tried to suppress his shock by reacting with a calm answer, but what could he say? In moments like this, he would rely on his heart to supply the words that he needed, but now it was too busy trying to squeeze blood into his veins through the vice grip the news had put on it. He only managed to spit out, “But . . .”

The girl he had spent the past few months befriending was now walking out on him. As the wind whipped around the hair on their heads, he realized why this loss meant so much to him. He cared for her in a way that would make it hard for him to go a day without being able to see her. The hand at his side began to rise toward her, but he quickly wrapped his cold fingertips inside a fist and brought it back down to rest against his hip.

He couldn’t tell her how he felt. It would be selfish to attempt to make her stay because of the way he felt. Never before had he felt awkward around her, but at this moment neither of them were speaking. His tongue remained still for fear he might let the truth slip right off the end of it if he opened his mouth. Her words had struck him down like a swift blow to the back of the neck that caused his mind to drift from the confines of his skull. He dared not do the same to her.

That day was the first day the sun had shone in three days. As a passing cloud glided past the sun, light began to shine down on their faces. Her eyes glowed beneath the brilliant rays and he cursed the weather for radiating her beauty at such a time.

She reached into her backpack and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and a pen. She examined the pen for a few seconds then reached back into the bag. This time she brought out a yellow pencil. He watched as she opened up the paper and then carefully brought the graphite tip of the pencil down onto it. He watched the eraser swing through the air in tight little circles as she wrote something down. She then squeezed the paper back into a ball and extended her fist out to him. “This is for you,” she whispered.

He laid out his hand underneath and let the ball drop into his palm. She smiled and he returned it. She then once again turned her back and continued off down the street. He used both hands to flatten the paper back out. Small sporadic drops of rain carried down with the wind fell upon the paper and formed tiny rings of moisture randomly about the page. He ran his index finger across the neat lettering she had managed in the palm of her hand. The statement he read to himself:

Change is the only constant.

Posted by Brenden Hendrickson at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

The Southland neovox article/ profile/ show review

The South Rises
The Southland: Influence of Geography shows strength
CD Review by Aaron Fallon

If you're a fan of such great groups like The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie or even The Postal Service, you may want to check out the debut CD from the band The Southland, “Influence of Geography”. The title in itself is amusing, because once you listen to it; you easily can hear the influences of those other bands, and a few others as well.

The band was born out of the friendship/ roommate collaboration in 2002 from lead singer Jed Tucker Whedon and lead guitarist Nick Gusikoff. They initially made songs together as Christmas gifts for friends. It paid off, leading to the other members to join in and create a strong, original sound of their own, while blending in their own influences to create the melodic sounds and strong lyrics you hear on “influence of Geography”. You can hear some of their own influences, like Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Jane's addiction, in their music. However they manage to pull it off without completely ripping them off, they still have their own original sound. I wish most debuts could say the same.

One of the strongest songs on the record is “305”, about arguing with someone you love. “Silence only explains/ everything you're trying not to say/ I'll leave this city and escape/ even if it stops my heart someday.” Combining that chorus with great guitar riffs and percussion and you have the makings of an excellent song. There's also the song “Miles”, which sounds like a Death Cab or Postal Service song. Whedon's cherub-esque vocals over the tranquil techno beat with sad, almost haunting background vocals that are reminiscent of older Peter Gabriel songs. “Who knew you'd have things so heavy/ there's barely a bright side to see/ I say I'll come to rescue/ with perfect timing.” There are numerous examples of how well Whedon and Gusikoff's collaborative writing pays off on “Influence”, and with an article so short, it will not do The Southland nearly enough justice.

In a nutshell: Pick Up This CD! It's one of those albums you can listen to when you are thinking of sour times, sorting out pass failures and mistakes that we all make in our relationships, or just working on homework. You can also see them live in Ithaca on Wednesday November 16th. For details on that show check out www.thehaunt.com.

Note: I will be following this up with a show review and I am trying to contact the band's PR person to possibly interview them for a band profile as well.

Posted by AaronFallon at 10:22 AM | TrackBack

NeoVox Article #2

Ever since I could remember, NASCAR racing has been a part of my life. My dad loves sitting on the couch watching (and sometimes napping through) the races, his lucky socks on with his favorite driver’s number on them, hoping he wins. Some think NASCAR racing is for rednecks and they’re pleasantly surprised when I tell them I am a fan of the sport. But as soon as they hear the word “sport” they become defensive. “NASCAR is not a sport!” they’d say. "They’re driving around in circles, how hard can it be?” I personally don’t care either way whether it’s a sport or not. But it makes me wonder: Is it a sport? And what are the elements involved in order for something to become a sport?

In order to resolve this long-running debate, deep investigation was needed. I looked on the Internet and discovered a nifty website called www.sportnonsport.com that gave a scoring system to determine whether an activity is just that or if it could possibly be considered a sport. By using this scoring system, I can then put to rest all of my (and maybe some other people’s) fears.

The scoring system is very simple. Four criteria are used to determine what an activity is: physical exertion, skill, rules, and competition. If something has all four of these criteria, they can then move on to the scoring phase. When all the subscores are added up and the final score is over 75 points, the activity can be considered a sport. A score between 50 and 74 is a recreation activity (like a contest or a game), between 25 and 49 is a leisure activity and anything below 24 is a hobby.

Each criteria has several subcategories that are assigned scores which then determine whether something is a sport or not. Physical exertion has the following subcategories measuring it: conditioning, endurance or “toll”, lifespan, injury, and who or what. Skill is established by practice, body type, athlete, equipment mastery and equipment involvement/participation. Rules are basically how the winner is determined. Competition is based on physical contact, offense/defense, interaction, environment and head-to-head. (A complete breakdown of what each subcategory means can be found at http://sportnonsport.com/sport2.htm.)

Each criteria has 30 maximum amount of points to be earned, except rules which is only 10 points. Going through the extended version of the subcategories, I will try to give an unbiased score of NASCAR racing to see if it is actually a sport.

Physical: For conditioning I give a 0/6. If someone knows how to drive a stick shift, he/she can drive in NASCAR. There is not physical preparation required. For toll I give a 3/6. It depends on the race day and whether or not the driver crashed into a wall. Lifespan: 3/6. The older a driver gets, the harder it is for him/her to take the physical toll. Injury: 6/6. The slightest move can send them crashing into the wall and potentially kill them. Who or what would get a 1 out of 6 because it’s not the driver doing the majority of the work, it’s the car. For Physical I give NASCAR racing a 13.

Second criteria is skill. For practice I give a 4/6. Not much practice is needed to drive the car, but to drive at those speeds does take quite a lot. Athlete gets a 2/6. There is no strength or agility involved, but endurance is a big one. Not being able to stand high temperatures for a long period of time means you canot race cars. Body type receives a 0 out of 6. No one has to train their body in order to race, as long as they are fit for driving. Equipment mastery gets a 2 out of 6. Nearly everyone of legal age knows how to drive a car, NASCAR racing just adds a few extras. For equipment contribution I give a 2 out of 6. The car does most of the work and can go at high speeds with any type of driver. Overall skill has 10 points.

Rules would get a 10 out of 10. It is totally up to the drivers to determine who wins a race, it is not determined by judges or someone outside of racing completely.

Competition has 5 subcategories. For physical contact I give a 4 out of 6. If the driver’s car comes in contact with another car, and the first driver is knocked unconscious, that driver cannot continue with the rest of the race and the outcome is thus affected. Offense/defense receives a 6/6. Not only do drivers need to have a plan to win, but they need to be ready to defend themselves against other drivers. Interaction also get a 6 out of 6 from me. One driver’s actions directly affects another’s. For environment I give another 6/6. The drivers are surrounded by others who want to win as well, so everyone is everyone’s enemy and the environment is more aggressive. The last factor is head-to-head. I give this a 6 out of 6. Everyone is driving at the same time, not separately. Competition gets a 28 out of 30.

In the end, when all the scores are added up, NASCAR racing gets a 61, which is a recreational activity. While it does not qualify as a sport it is still pretty close. I suppose NASCAR racing isn’t actually a sport, not in the way rugby or football is. But it is still extremely competitive and has a lot of elements to it. I’m not going to stop watching, and other fans shouldn’t either. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a sport, it’s still enjoyable.

What Is a Sport And What Is Not
http://www.sportnonsport.com

Posted by Heather Cobb at 10:09 AM | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Neovox Article Numba 2

I've gone through four or five different ideas, getting severe writer's block after about 2 paragraphs each. I think I finally got something halway decent. This is still a very rough version that needs to get cleaned up, but the more criticism I can get from you all, the more I appreciate it.

The Spider is my Idol

Because it is both a creature of purpose
And a creature of indifference.

The spider creates beauty.
When his home glistens in the afternoon sun,
It creates a design and lighting
Unmatchable by human hands.
And it does not care.
Function will always outweigh aesthetics
And that design will not change as long as the spider catches flies.

The spider creates anarchy
By having a web in an area of high traffic.
And every person who walks into it
Screams and shouts
And flails about
And curses out
The spider who built it.
And still it doesn’t care.
The web has an important purpose
And that location will not change as long as the spider catches flies.

The spider creates a better place
Every time he eats a fly.
And we should thank it for removing these pests
Who spread disease
And buzz around
Serving no purpose but pissing us off.
But the spider doesn’t care.
Eating is his main purpose
And that diet will not change as long as the spider catches flies.

The spider creates hostility
By simply existing.
People hate spiders for being tiny
And having many legs
And eating things that we don’t eat
And looking all different and gross.
But the spider doesn’t care.
How it looks and what it does,
That’s what makes it a spider
And it will die before it changes itself to make others happy.

Posted by Kevin Bahler at 7:16 PM | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

NeoVox #2

This a short story about how quickly your life can change and how quickly you must accept and adapt.

Change is the Only Constant

His feet rested on the layers of dead leaves that were plastered to the ground by the cold rain that had lasted for days. The girl’s back was to him as he approached. The sound of his footsteps against the wet ground touched her ears and she turned her blue eyes around to look at his cheeks that were turning red against the bitter feel of the wind. When he saw the reflection of the sun glistening in the moisture in her eyes he began to wonder whether her emotions were driving those tears there or if the sting of the cool wind had summoned them.

She seemed very uncomfortable as the edge of her lips formed an awkward smile. The way she crossed her arms and slightly turned away began to make him uncomfortable. He leaned down to make direct eye contact with her and asked why she had asked him to meet her. His back seemed to quiver as a set of chills ran down both sides of his spine. The hesitation in her response made it too clear that something was wrong.

Cold needles shot from his shoulder blades down into the small of his back as she explained to him she was leaving. His mouth ran dry and he tried to suppress his shock by reacting with a calm answer, but what could he say? In moments like this, he would rely on his heart to supply the words that he needed, but now it was too busy trying to squeeze blood into his veins through the vice grip the news had put on it. He could only ask why.

The girl he had spent the past few months befriending was now walking out on him. As the wind whipped around the hair on their heads, he realized why this loss meant so much to him. He cared for her in a way that would make it hard for him to go a day without being able to see her. The hand at his side began to rise toward her, but he quickly wrapped his cold fingertips inside a fist and brought it back down to rest against his hip.

He couldn’t tell her how he felt. It would be selfish to attempt to make her stay because of the way he felt. Never before had he felt awkward around her, but at this moment neither of them were speaking. His tongue remained still for fear he might let the truth slip right off the end of it if he opened his mouth.

That day was the first day the sun had shone in three days. As a passing cloud glided past the sun, light began to shine down on their faces. Her eyes glowed beneath the brilliant rays and he cursed the weather for radiating her beauty at such a time.

A week passed and she walked with him to the elevator. The semester had ended and she was ready to move on to a new college. The tiled floor of the hallway was usually filled with squeaky sneakers walking back and forth from room to room. At this moment, their silent sneakers were the only ones that walked the hallway. Only slight mutterings from inside various rooms could be heard, because for some reason the hall was quiet this particular afternoon. With a lack of surrounding distractions, he could only let his mind roll back and forth over the fact that he could no longer share his day with her. As the lonely idea overwhelmed him he felt as though he barely knew this place anymore. He had come to know it so well over the months, but at this point he felt at such a distance from everything. Even from the back of her hand that grazed the back of his every so often as they strode down the hall.

The two steel pieces of the elevator door knocked into each other as it clumsily slid open. She stepped onto the dusty square floor inside the steel walls. She blew him a kiss goodbye and he watched as the doors slowly slid back into place. He watched her eyes as he held his hand in the air waving. The door shut completely and he could hear the machinery come to life inside as it took her to the bottom floor and out of his life.

He turned to walk back to his room down the lonely, quiet hallway. The florescent lights overhead hummed as lightly as ever, but for the moment the sound seemed to echo off the inside of his mind. He fell into the chair at his desk and pulled out a piece of paper. Usually he would reach for a pen, but in this case he felt that the ink of a pen was too permanent. He picked up the yellow wood from a drawer and held it in his fingers before bringing the graphite tip down to the paper.

He began to scratch back and forth obsessively on the paper, taking a minute to finish one piece of a letter. The words he had written down on the paper didn’t seem complete until he took one last stroke across the paper to underline the five dark, thick words he had embedded on the jagged piece of paper.

Taking the paper in both hands he held it up to the light of his desk lamp and read the words aloud.

CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT.

Satisfied with the messy lettering, he found a tack and pinned it up beneath a picture of himself and the girl he had just watched walk out on his life. In the picture, their heads touched as she arched her neck to lean on him. The smiles on both of their faces exemplified the joy of that moment, but unfortunately it could only be for that moment. The smiles side by side could only last for so long before something came along to change everything.

Posted by Brenden Hendrickson at 1:15 PM | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

Out of the Old and Into the New

College- it’s that exotic, exciting, alcohol consuming, class skipping, party paradise you spent most of your high school career fantasizing about. Your bags are packed two weeks before you’re set to leave, you’ve acquired all your friends e-mail addresses and screen names, and you’re ready to have that good-bye dinner with your significant other.
And for someone reason, he/she is the hardest person to say good-bye to. The water works begin, you can’t stop hugging each other, and the moment you’re in the car traveling to that magical place you’ve been dreaming about sans parents, you two are on the phone saying how much you miss each other.
Time warp to about a month later and normal long distance couples are usually the ones you’ll see standing in the hallway or rec room, with the girl usually crying her eyes out and shrieking about the possibility of a break up.
Usually, they don’t last very long.
Even the most hopeless romantic has to admit that the possibility of a long-term, long distance relationship is slim to none. It’s hard to be without someone for long periods of time while establishing a new life for yourself. The distance between you becomes greater than a few thousand miles.
The next step is the break-up. Once that’s over and done with, a new world is ahead of you. You’re living on your own with no parents to answer to and now you’re single. The idea of playing it safe is still in the back of your head just because your mother did such a fabulous job instilling her moral values there, but you decide you would love to have a relationship with someone the next dorm over.
This is where the reality of being on your own for the first time settles in. When you do actually meet someone who’s as interested in you as you are in him the easy access of it all becomes so apparent that emotions are swept up in a whirl-wind of sleep-over’s and party hopping.....

When you were home you could have dated someone all four years of high school and you probably only snuck out of the house a few times so the two of you could have a night together.
Now the responsibility has fallen completely on your own shoulders and it’s finally up to you to make some healthy decisions. Thus, you have now reached the second level of the dating-relationship-roller coaster that you will spend you’re entire life trying to figure out- you have now become so much more invested in this newfound “companion” then you ever would have in another relationship.
So which is better? Long-distance love or up-close and personal connections? Either way, they are both very touch and go. When dealing with long distance you have to trust someone completely and constantly prove to them that you’re trustworthy. Of course in any relationship you have to prove trust, but when he/she lives only a block over it’s easier to do that with someone when you can constantly see what they’re doing, or know the people they are hanging around with.
Coming to college is like starting a new chapter of your life. Whether you want to admit it or not, college changes a person. High school is a structured foundation to help prepare you for being out on your own. Even though some might say they never want to go back to high school, it really was the stepping stone to give you the basic discipline to get you through classes you couldn’t stand, fine-tune the art of skipping, and figure out who are friends, acquaintances and potential love interests.
Lindsay Mermell, 18, freshman, attempted to “do the distance.” Her reasoning was simple: “Because I actually thought it would work,” she said after only two months of being four hours away from her boyfriend. “I was so head over heels that I saw some kind of a future together.”
So what changed? “He became very possessive, and much more paranoid; If I went to a party I was expected to call him every fifteen minutes.”
Not to send the wrong idea, there was never any reason in the past for either one of them not to trust each other. The simple fact became that her boyfriend was driven to insanity because he felt there were things going on in her life now that excluded him. Things came down to the decision of either to try and stay together and possibly continue fighting, or break-up and try to salvage some sort of relationship in the future.
“It’s going to be very hard to stay friends,” she said. “He was such a huge part of my life and I changed so much because of him in a good way but I feel I didn’t have the same impact on him so I don’t want to see how he turned out afterwards. I think eventually I’ll be able way down the road I’ll be able to be friends.”
Hence, here’s what awaits the newly single freshman: House parties, no parents, bars open until 2a.m., no parents, co-ed dorms, the choice to go to school, and no parents. This is almost like being a kid locked in Toys R Us over-night with free access to everything they ever dreamed about- and how often did we dream about riding those two bikes and big wheels around the aisles of the store with no one telling us to get off?
Dating in college seems to be a passing fad. It starts off with the chance meeting, maybe a few casual dinners at the dining hall, and constant away message checking on Instant Messenger and constant IM chats.
Eventually, you get to the “movie.” This is when you’ve finally decided it’s time for said prospect to come over to your room and “watch a movie.” Movies relieve the pressure to talk, but allow the possibility of conversation if it arises.
It also leaves the window open for possible hand holding, cuddling or making-out without the thought of someone walking in on you.
After the “movie” date is over and you’re both coming back for me, this is where the relationship starts to bloom and things start getting complicated.
You soon develop this “move-in” complex. He/she is constantly sleeping over; their clothes start to accumulate so much they eventually get their own drawer in your closet.
You start seeing their little personality traits around your room or apartment, as well as their favorite cereal box in your cabinet, and eventually, the toothbrush settles itself next to yours.
And all of this just happened within a month’s time.
Most grown up relationships don’t even move this quickly. When adults in the “real world” begin dating, there may be the occasional over-nighter, but due to schedules for work or their other responsibilities, the idea of moving their personal belongings into your apartment isn’t a thought until things actually become serious.
College students do this at a whim. We take for granted that innocent relationship we used to have as something that only “children” do. But what’s wrong with the innocent, slow, getting-to-know-you process? We look at college as the chance to grow up and for some reason everyone’s racing for the finish line before the graduation date is even settled.
These relationships we’re discovering should be taken one step at a time. This is the only true way we will ever know if they can stand the test of time, and distance. Lauren Ranieri, 22, a graduate of SUNY Cortland now student teaching in the area, met her boyfriend, Roger, two years ago while they both lived in Clark Hall.
Even though neither was looking for a relationship at the time of their meeting due to plans of studying abroad, the instant sparks between them were undeniable and they agreed to see how things worked out step-by-step.
Two years later, Ranieri still says they’re going strong. “I can't say that we have reoccurring problems that last a long time,” she said. “There are times when either one of us will get jealous, myself more than he, but those disputes are quickly resolved when we reach out to the other person and reaffirm our feelings.”
The real triumph for this relationship, and why it is a prime example of two people trying to make it work, is that both parties studied abroad during two different semesters. Instead of a few miles separating the two of them, the Atlantic Ocean floated between them, allowing them only holidays and summer vacation to catch up on the time they had lost.
“Our homes are three hours apart too,” she said. “But I believe that distance makes the heart grow fonder... in moderation. Distance will make or break a relationship, but if it is meant to be, it will be. Distance made me appreciate what I had even more. When it came time to see him for the first time in four months, I was so excited, nervous, and anxious to see how it would go. It makes things that much sweeter when we are both at school living near each other.”
That brings us to the college portion of the relationship test. When the couple has managed to occupy the same area, choices are made on how much time they spend together. In any budding relationship you want to be able to see that person as much as possible without smothering him/her.
But does this get you far too attached too quickly. “I think sleeping over in moderation is beneficial to the relationship,” Ranieri said. “It is one of the greatest feelings to lay down and be held by your sweetheart. Life tends to get so busy that there may not be downtime until bedtime. It's like saying, ‘there's no place I'd rather be right now, no one I'd rather come home to’.”
Everything just has to be balanced. As special as these intimate moments during bedtime can be, there needs to be boundaries. “We will make sure that sleeping over each other's house is not an every night thing because it will lose its special-ness,” she said.
So when do you decide to take the plunge from high school heartbreak to adult-styled dating, just remember: a long distance relationship might not have worked straight from high school, but in some cases, it’s not hopeless. And relationships in college tend to be more on the level you’re aiming for but aren’t flawless either. Sometimes they might take even more work to keep them going.
But when you think something’s worth it, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Posted by Deena Aglialoro at 1:35 PM | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

Second NeoVox Article coming up

Let's here your ideas for your next NeoVox article.

Posted by Alex Reid at 10:11 AM | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Revised NeoVox Article

Going from home life to college life can be hard, especially socially. In high school friendships were different. The only times you had to get along with your friends were in school and the occasional hang-out sessions on the weekends. Your family was there all the time, bugging you and getting your way. And teachers had a big role in your life because if you went to a small school they were everywhere. At college you interact with people on a whole new level.

In high school you talked with your friends only in school. If you knew the person well enough you’d get your parents to like their parents so you two could hang out on the weekends. Most of the time one would go to the other’s house to watch movies or walking around the mall for hours trying to pick up people of the opposite gender. They were there for you to talk to but they hardly ever were involved in the situation.

College is much different. Generally your freshman year friends live the same dorm as you and most times on the same floor. These people become your closest friends or your biggest allies. Neighbors who you liked at the beginning of the semester may decide half-way through that you slept with their friend’s crush (both of which live on the same floor as you) but they don’t have any facts so when you ask them why they hate you they don’t actually tell you. And the truth is, another girl on the floor, in a drunken stupor, accidentally said your name to your neighbors instead of the actual person who did sleep with him.

Drama between friends is the worst you’ll even encounter. Sometimes one of your friends decides she/he doesn’t like another of your friends and they’re fighting all the time and you three can never hang out in one group. But when there’s not drama, times are fun. You become a big family, going out to parties together and taking care of one another when things get tough. People start to become a part of the hard times. It’s easier to talk to them about it because they were there to witness it.

Your familial connections begin to change, too. When you’re at home you hate being around your family all the time and having to ask them for rides places. They’re bugging you about homework and getting to bed on time and staying out past curfew. Once you get to college, everything becomes different. Your parents are never around to tell you what to do. They’re phone calls or IMs away, asking you if you’ve done your homework. And it’s easy to fib to them. You can say yes and they can’t ask to see it.

Most times you begin to miss your family more and the distance between you and them is frustrating. Being without home-cooked steak or good salad makes you quickly wish you could be back at home. And the bond between you and your family grows. You talk more about adult things instead of the petty drama of high school. It feels good to make them proud of you when you get a 3.0.

The interactions with teachers becomes different, too. In high school the teachers were everywhere. They’d show up in the lunch room, eating a sandwich, or in study hall talking to another teacher. They could teach other subjects besides the core classes. You could also become close to a certain teacher and feel safe to talk about anything with him or her. In a university you hardly see them outside of the classroom. Some live an hour or more away, so they don’t stick around much after classes. It’s also harder to talk to them because they mostly lecture at you and then leave. And if you do become close with some of your professors, they generally regard you more like an adult and open up more.

Social interaction with friends, family and professors changes quickly once you get to college. Living in close quarters with people, being away from loved ones and dealing with odd teaching styles is something new to deal with. But it makes the college experience more challenging and rewarding with people who will stick with you your whole life.

Posted by Heather Cobb at 9:58 AM | TrackBack

October 3, 2005

Rewrite of neovox essay

just wondering if anyone would be interested in giving any feedback on my revised neovox essay?


The Cinderella Myth Unfolded

This is dedicated to all the ladies out there:

Remember when you were young and watched "Cinderella" and you believed it could happen to you? You believed in that unexplainable, magical love that is pretty much only explained as perfection. But you've grown up, and now you laugh a little at your naivety, and you've moved on. You're pretty happy. But you've Settled. You go through a couple guys, one with nosehairs and big clown feet, one who cheats on you for a good year and half, the next who doesn't cheat on you but since you've been programmed to distrust everyone due to boyfriend #2, things don't work out so well with this one either. A few others go down your line, each with their individual flaws and maybe a few who dutch oven you, but in reality you're pretty happy. You've settled, but you're happy… you know this Cinderella thing is a myth; it's not even a distant hope that it might happen. It's just a myth. You're a big girl now, and you've learned it's all about unconditional love, or maybe unconditional learning-to-live-with.
But here's the thing. I was you—until this summer, that is, at a camp for children with special needs. This summer, I realized the whole Cinderella thing can come true. And it did come true, for me. He was basically everything I never even imagined could come true. Not in his perfection, mind you (although he didn't have terrible nosehairs or a problem with keeping food in his mouth while he chewed), but rather in his perfection for me. He was already going in life where I wanted to be going. You know how when you meet someone and in the back of your mind you automatically stick your first name with his last name and imagine for a moment describing to your grandchildren how you first met. And then, as things get more serious, or even maybe just more possible, whether you realize it or not, you kind of make your goals and ideals fit his. Sometimes you make them be his, but usually after the first couple of those mistakes, you learn to just compromise your goals to go in the same general direction that his go. "Sure, honey, I hate snow and cold, but it is sunny 6 months out of the year in Alaska…" No really, I know you all know what I'm talking about, basically because we all do it.
But with Gavin, he was going where I wanted to be going. His views on children with special needs are the same as mine. His love for them, is that like mine, but I guess a thousand times better; it's intense and hard to take in all at once, and powerful. His ways in dealing with people, his views on life, his genuine outlook—like mine. I liked that. I liked that he was already on the very same road that I see myself traveling, and it didn't take any compromising or left turns to get there. I liked that when I watched him life guarding out on the docks he would break out in dance, and all of my campers would giggle and tell me that he danced on the docks like I did in the bunks late at night before bed. I liked that he liked to lay beneath the sky and find new constellations, and as we lay on the sand looking up at the sky I felt as free with him as if I were in that open, dark sky. It wasn't just when we were alone that I saw this connection, it was when he walked in a room and I looked up to see him, head tilted, eyes smiling and thinking, and smile open and ready, just ready, and it was in the moments I would forget to breathe and for just a moment feel like I had landed from a long, hard journey. It was nice having someone walking on that same road as me. I felt…ready for life. I felt like I'd arrived.
So now maybe you've scrolled down your list of possibilities to all the guys who are exactly like you, but I have to tell you, that doesn't exactly work either. Because, and I think Jerry Seinfeld described it best when he said (and this is a rough paraphrase), "Why would I want to date myself?? I already hate myself! I wanna date someone I actually like!" Again, to pull us back to seriousness, because adding random humor helps make me feel comfortable when I discuss anything even remotely close to serious, if you date yourself, you have no one to push you to the limits, inspire you to explore your boundaries and many times even surpass them. You have no one to help you jump to life on a different level.
Gavin changed me in many ways. He did for me what they do in movies—he let me free a little bit. He inspired me to be more than I am, to try things completely differently and to be free. He challenged me and pushed me and made me laugh in new ways. And gave me new love. He asked me once, on our day off, "You would marry me right now, if I asked you, wouldn't you?" The five of us who had the day off had gone to Niagara Falls in the middle of the night, and after standing on falls at 4am, had found ourselves walking the streets of Buffalo, NY. We were staring at a wedding chapel and all of us had sort of just stopped in the middle of the street, staring at it. I looked at him, knowing that we all knew the answer. We just looked at each other for another minute, as the chapel's neon sign flashed, "we wed: o en 24 ho r." A lone taxi flew by us, honking. It was time for breakfast.
I couldn't tell you when I started to like him, but I do know that in one of my first memories, he sauntered up to me at the meal hall and, grinning, said, "Sweethawt, your very smile makes my day every day." He was kind of crazy at times; our first meeting, he and two other friends ran after me and my co-counselors to see if they could ride in the back of our pickup and do donuts because they had never seen a pickup before. Sometimes he was the loud one even when it involved no noise from him like the time he let his friends duct tape his face to see what would happen. And then sometimes he was the quiet one, holding the campers hardest to love and making them laugh or maybe even just smile. And then he was the deep one, the one that asked the questions about life that I'd always wanted someone to care about enough to ask, the one that understood me and wasn't scared by my past or even future.
My last memory of Gavin is the one that seems the least tangible. It was our last night at camp, and we had walked to our spot—a cliff above the lake and off beyond all the cabins. Dry lightning lit across the line between water and sky, and for moments alone lit up his face. I tried to memorize it as his blue eyes searched mine. He always tilted his head to the side when he watched me, like it helped him understand me better. I couldn't think of anything to say that night. Or rather, there was nothing to say that could change things, that would make his stay in America or make this new void in me fill.
They say write about what you know, but I'm finding as I write this that I am not writing about what I know, but rather what I don't know—and what I don't know is why I found this Cinderella love in someone who I can never be with—and I'd sort of hoped that writing this sort of self exploration would lead me to a greater understanding of love. Or at least I'm hoping that as I write this, I may come to some sort of peace.
None of that greater understanding/peace has happened, really. Except that I know what I have to find, and that is a magical love. Maybe if Gavin did not live several time zones away, or maybe even if he were from the same country or continent as me, we might have had a long term relationship. But I don't know if it would have worked out. Of course I think it would have. Otherwise, several months later, I would not continue to think of him, dream of him, and long for him. But in all actuality, if all he did was prove to me that Cinderella magic can come true, and help me aspire to find that again, he did his job—as usual—better than expected. My friend asked me, if I knew ahead of time the heartache of leaving him, would I do it again? I couldn't not do it again. Maybe I'll never see him again and maybe I'll always miss him. But there is one thing he did for me, and that was open up a new part to me that doesn't have to leave me. And while every day in secret daydream I will relive our moments together, our last goodbye, and the tangible spark between us, I can't really decide whether I truly want to get over him and move on, or whether I want to remember him. I'm not quite sure if there is a way to do both.
But what I want for you is that you may know, through a primary source (I hope all my history teachers are happy that I inserted this wise bit of academics), that Cinderella can happen. It does happen. But in the meantime, know who you are and be happy with that. Stop settling with losers who cheat on you or make you turn into their perfect and ideal girlfriend. Stop settling for someone who doesn't adore you, who doesn't make your stomach settle somewhere in the throat area every time you think of him, and someone who doesn't make your face hurt from smiling so much every time you say his name. And most importantly, don't settle for the guys who give dutch ovens.

Posted by Christine Dance at 1:00 AM | TrackBack

September 21, 2005

neovox short story

Leonard Broytman
Writing in Cyberspace
September 21, 2005
 
            Mercilessly making its way through the cold November air, the wind pounds against Sal’s face with force and just enough might to send him racing for the stairs heading downward that are just ahead.
            Flying down the steps towards the warmth of the crowded sea of bodies waiting on the platform, Sal stares down at morning rush and prepares himself for another long day down at the bureau. He eyes everyone he passed with suspicion and extreme unease as he passes, pushing through the sardine can which has formed on the tiny platform. He has made a living out of trusting his instincts and doing all that he can to provide safety and peace of mind to those around him. But those days seem to be behind him now for the instincts he once valued are beginning to dull down.
            Sal checks for the possibility of an oncoming train but it is nowhere in sight. He stands at the edge of the platform, cautiously eyeing the groggy eyelids staring back at him. The morning looks just as any other but then again, well that’s how it always happens. He knows better than to simply accept the normal circumstances around him and take them for what they appear to be.
            His eyes drift from person to person but everything seems to be in order. A young mother busily looking after a rather active toddler, an old man reading the paper at the early hour even though he is dressed as if he has seemingly nowhere important to be… yeah, everything looks about just right. But what about that guy over in the corner behind the two garbage cans. Why the hell is he looking around like that?
            Sal begins to watch him rather closely and studies his every move as he mentally anguishes over the possible meaning and tires to interpret the subject from afar. He stands as the train arrives at the platform, most of the morning commute whizzing by him in an effort to secure a comfortable seat once inside. He continues to observe the rather peculiar man who has now turned and is beginning to walk away, still looking around as if wondering if anyone can or is in fact watching him. He begins to make his way down the nearly deserted platform as he buries one hand deep in his pant pocket, the other clutching a small brown bag. He continues to walk as he steadily picks up the pace, almost power-walking towards the exit. With his head now buried between his shoulders, he hurries faster and faster, doing everything he can to leave the platform as quickly as he can. Sal doesn’t even think twice about it as he unflinchingly follows.
            All of a sudden, the man turns into a staircase previously unseen to Sal as he begins to down to a lower platform for train heading the opposite direction into Queens. This platform however is far from deserted and makes the mysterious man a bit hard to follow. Sal begins to exhale painfully as he searches for the man, his thoughts racing over the danger that is about to be inflicted on all of the innocent and unsuspecting people around him. He pushes through the crowd, impervious to the groans of those he disturbs. This is for their own good.
            He finally spots the man standing near a group of young kids and notices that the man is still holding the bag. Sal slowly walks through the crowd, somewhat relaxed and inconspicuous. He locks eyes with the man but for some reason, the man does not react and simply looks away. After a few more moments, the man turns and begins to walk yet again. This time however, Sal does not waste any time as he darts down the platform.
            Yet again however, Sal turns the corner to find nothing but bodies… the man absolutely nowhere to be seen. Sal stumbles around for a few moments as he tries to pull himself together and consider his next move. He decides that there is nothing that can be done now but feels confident about what he had just prevented. Whatever that may be is something that Sal cannot even begin to think about… or maybe he just doesn’t want to.
            He looks down at his watch and realizes that he is going to be late once again. He turns and begins to walk back to his platform as his feet suddenly stumble upon something, nearly causing Sal to fall. He stands for a moment as he eyes the small brown bag laying on the ground. He stands for a moment as he studies the half-eaten tuna salad on rye which has slipped out of the bag and onto the pavement.


Posted by Leonard Broytman at 9:55 AM | TrackBack

September 20, 2005

Here's my first Neovox article...


“Be good to your Mother”. “She’s the reason you’re here today”. “Would you talk to your Mother with that mouth?” All voiced reminders you may be taking your Mother for granted. You may roll your eyes when your Father tells you to mind her, thinking to yourself “She is so goddamn suffocating, I cant wait to live on my own.” You’re being dropped off at your first day of Junior High, you make her drop you off at the farthest corner of the school so that it looks like the two of you aren’t together, let alone blood-related. You’re bringing over the new boyfriend or girlfriend and that first meeting seems to go by slower than any Math class you’ve had to sustain, thinking to yourself “Please God...don’t let her tell the story of when I was two and a half, saw the dog shitting in the front yard so I decided to do so myself under the Christmas tree.” When her life ends, you’ll feel a gaping hole at first that whispers to you all of the things you wish you had told her, growing smaller with time but never completely healing. For the first couple months you realize what everyone meant in saying that you are lucky to have her and it the hardest thing you’ve ever had to adjust to- this is it, you’re on your own. Although, it is a whole different thing, to have her alive and very much so a part of your life, feeling as if you had lost her years ago to something more harmful than death itself.
*************************
It had been three weeks since her Mother disappeared for the approximate 243rd time. She came back that day to “recharge her battery” as the Grandmother put it. The daughter was simply grateful her car hadn’t been incorporated into the vanishing this time. Mother walks in looking pathetic and worn out from her extensive all night (and all day) partying over the past 2 weeks- or had it been three? She had no recollection. The daughter’s face conveys no emotion- she’s grown numb to such things as worry or relief to see her mother alive and in tact.
Mother says “Hi. I was at a friends. He’s having a really rough time, his uh brother passed away and he really doesn’t have anyone there for him. I called your cell phone but it went right to your voice mail I think.” Daughter processes and discards the excuse into the never-ending stash she’s stored away in her memory. Daughter says “We have to be out by the first of the month, your social worker called and your benefits wont go through because you’re not in compliance with your treatment. I cant afford the full $750 this month or any other month for that matter. This just isn’t going to work.” Daughter watches Mother’s face waiting for her to crack, show some sign of remorse, any trace of the woman she once knew in this frail, abused body standing before her. At the age of twelve it would’ve been difficult, but now almost twenty one she’d constructed a penetrable but usually reliable shield blocking her emotions from her tear ducts. Daughter feels like the parent who’s just finished dishing out a good serving of how dare you come home passed curfew. She’d give anything for this to be reversed. She laughs inside thinking she may be the only teenager in history to wish she were, at present, being grounded by her Mother. Mother says “Doesn’t Aaron owe you $310?” Daughter says “He doesn’t have it right now and you know just as well as I do that $310 wont so much as temporarily solve our problem.”
Mother walks into the kitchen, appearing 5-10 pounds lighter than she had two weeks ago. Mumbling something about the refrigerator being empty, she walks back into the living room, dragging her feet out of seemingly disappointment. Mother breaks the silence “Nana hasn’t sent anything over lately? No goodies?” She doesn’t wait for an answer, she’s afraid of what a pause might evoke from her Daughter. “Can I use your cell phone? I wanna see if she’ll lend me some bus fare.” Even though this is far from the first time she’s been in this position, making eye contact with her daughter cuts through her with the force of a machete. Having no dignity is one thing that has never gotten easy...or has it? Don’t think about it now she tells herself. Or maybe it’s the soberness, she’s conscious of the empty feeling that comes with not being high on crack. She’ll soon need to escape again to fill that void, to dull her senses to the reality she’s created for herself. “I’ll worry about it tomorrow” she thinks. Tomorrow never seems to find its way to her.
Two weeks later, the first of the month is tomorrow. Mother disappeared for the 244th time yesterday, leaving her daughter to pack the contents of the house on her own. Her father has come with a U-Haul and they spend the next seven hours loading and unloading. Daughter fronts the $54.00 plus tax for the storage space for Mother’s things. It may have been the perseverant snow that had started its ascendance the night before, or the couple hundred dollars he lent to her for the U-Haul, either way her Father had every intention on making the experience that much more intolerable. It seemed that with each inch of snowfall, her Father had another paraphrasing for “I told you so”. He had made all aware of his disapproval from the get-go, his Daughter renting out a house for herself and her Mother in attempt to help her Mother back on her feet. It had been bound for failure before it had been a mere consideration, but he was never able to convince his hard-headed daughter of this. It pained him to know she had thought she could save her Mother. He was among the first to lose all hope in his ex’s recovery and chance at getting her life back on track.
Next came the Grandmother, as neurotic and psychologically bruised as any normal, old woman could be. She’d never say so of course but she often blamed herself for her Daughter turning into the waste of life she had become. It was this guilt that fueled the continuing of loaned bus fare, hand me down furniture for each “new start” apartment, groceries and considerable amounts of shopping sprees. In addition to her escorting her Daughter repeatedly to rehab, this was the Grandmother’s contribution. She had no words, no pleas, no loving intervention, her emotions were never as open as her wallet. “Love is a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly”- this motto reigned true in her mind throughout the years she raised her Grandchildren as well. Pre-junior high is when the two girls were handed over. The day their Mother traded them in for the poison.
The Daughter made a conscious effort to remember 5th grade and every year before it almost daily. She was afraid that neglecting to do so would let certain things she’d like to remember about her Mother slip through the cracks, forgotten. Cornbread muffins on Thanksgiving. Reindeer made out of candy canes and pipe cleaners around Christmas. Learning to count money, and being ecstatic when she was allowed to keep the loose change. The ice cream man, making the other kids jealous because he’d give her free ice cream (everyone had a crush on her Mom). Shopping sprees to the Dollar Store (any elementary students dream come true) whenever she’d get an A in class. The not so happy memories were just as relevant, they stood for discipline, the Mother and Daughter had evolved into more of a friendship since the poison had been introduced. Roles reversed.
Daughter is moved into her new apartment with her girlfriends from High school. It is the 5th of the month and her cell phone caller id reads: “restricted”. Daughter knows she’s not wrong in assuming, “Hello Mom” she says. Mother says “Hey, how are ya?” (No pause) “What’s going on with the house?” Daughter says “I was up 48 hours packing and moving, but it’s done.” Mother doesn’t seemed phased. “What about the cats?” Daughter replying “They’re out too” Mother: “You didn’t leave anything in my room right?” Daughter: “Your desk, I had no room for it.” Mother’s silence is obvious pouting and resentment. Daughter’s bitterness and cold tone unintentionally turns to guilt and reassurance, “Maybe Grandma will take me over to get it with the station wagon.” Mother sounds reassured “Think she’ll let me come? I’m at my friend’s apartment and we really need toilet paper...I’m dying for chocolate...God knows I don’t need it...try and sneak me a care package...I love you” click. “Ditto”, Daughter whispers to the dial tone.
It takes a month before her caller id reads “restricted” again. Mother is needing to borrow money to pay the next month’s rent on her storage unit. Two more months pass and Mother is dating a black man in his fifties who (shh it’s secret) sells crack cocaine. She brags of the money he spends on her, although oddly enough hasn’t a penny to repay to her Daughter. Dealer gets caught and thrown in jail. Mother calls intermittently asking for hand-me-down shoes. Three months later the new boyfriend is “the one”. He has his act together, his own house, good father to his children, and a good job. He’ll be the one to rescue her from the poison. Another month passes and Daughter gets a call requesting that she confirm to the boyfriend that she did indeed give her Mother those old shoes, that old sweater, those earrings she didn’t wear anymore. Boyfriend is psychotic and assumes his woman has been cheating, her sugar daddy must’ve bought her all of these things. The piece of lint on her shirt is remnants of the man who she supposedly spent the day with while he was at work. Daughter hears of bruises, police calls, restraining orders, but hasn’t found time to hunt down her Mother. It’s funny how the human brain tries to heal itself, blocking entire people from entering a particular train of thought. A week later, phone reads “restricted”, she wants a ride to the emergency room but wont say why. The car ride reveals he’s indeed been abusive, and this isn’t the first time. She thinks her ribs are broken, and is furious that the hospital calls the police (obligated to by law). She wont press charges, she seems to like playing this role. Daughter feels guilty for thinking that her Mother is taking the abuse because for once, she can blame the destruction flooding her life on someone other than herself. They arrive back at the boyfriend’s house. The entire way Mother begs her not to say a word to him, because she knows her daughter better than that. She knows she intended on attempting more than words, in times like these her daughter likes to pretend she isn’t a female half the size of the person she’s confronting. Daughter complies and hates herself for it. Over the course of the next week, Daughter is moving Mother and her “necessities” to a battered women’s shelter. Mother is concerned about the rest of her stuff and what he might do to it out of spite. “My stomach flip flops just thinking about it, I cant lose everything- its all I’ve got”. Something in the Daughter has, at that exact moment in time, let go. A faint flame that up until now, regardless of any weathering, has burned in her. Strongest at first, hopeful and naive. Over years she had felt it getting colder, felt it go out in those around her...in anyone her Mother came to let down again and again. Those last three words hit her ear drums, embracing every nerve in her body, ricocheting off her heart and hitting its target, flame extinguished. “All I’ve got.” She watches her Mother push the cart containing clothes, TV, makeup case and stuffed pig (gift from previous boyfriend) into the elevator.
Three weeks come and go. Daughter hears rumors Mother has a plan. The Reverend working with the shelter has made her an offer to help get her an apartment, but she has to get clean. That poor Reverend.
It’s been 5 weeks, Daughter packs her car. She’s transferring schools, severing herself from every street sign, old/new apartment that she’s called “home”. Cell phone lights up reading “restricted”. Daughter hits ignore.

Posted by Nicole Hushla at 10:22 PM | TrackBack

NeoVox Article

Click below to read.

For the five semesters I’ve lived on campus, I’ve had as many roommates. I’ve also lived in four different dorms.

Freshman year I lived in the Pit of one of the low rises. Basically the Pit is the basement, which meant two things. 1) My building was built into the side of a hill. Half of my room was sunk into the ground and my window was practically even with the grass outside. I was always disturbed by people passing my room. On weekends I was also woken up by drunken girls and boys returning from parties. 2) The rooms were only located on one half of the hallway, the half less sunk into the hill. There were also half as many college kids on my floor compared to the other three, so I was friends with nearly every one of them.

First semester I lived with an overweight white girl from upstate New York named “Gloria”. She and I got along very well. We had the same taste in music, movies, friends and, best of all, boys. We would talk about everything, every day. She even acted as my mother in a few senses. But that winter break she called to tell me she wasn’t going back for the second semester. I was crushed. Who would I get as my second roommate?

The move-in day for returning students came and I waited for my new roommate. The next day she arrived. Diane was a tall, skinny black girl from Brooklyn. Now, I’m not a racist and I have nothing against black people. I was raised in a central New York high school with only two black people in my graduating class. I was just not used to black people. She turned out to not be a bad roommate. She hardly ever left the room and listened to a different kind of music than I did, but we still got along.

The summer of 2004 came and went, and that fall I moved the third floor of a low rise across the street from my first dorm. My roommate was assigned, and Alicia was her name. She was tall, skinny, and blonde. We got along the first few weeks of school, but by October I was fed up with the dorm.

A few things were different about my third semester than my first two. I was on the third floor, which meant I had to climb three flights of stairs at least four times a day. My window was also high up off the ground, though the noises of the geese in the pond across the road could still be heard at the early morning hours. The dorm life was also different. At all hours of the day there was loud (and in my opinion, crappy) music being blasted down the hall. People were running up and down the hallway, screaming and being drunk at four in the morning. This made studying extremely hard.

I also was beginning to not get along with my roommate. She would ignore me and have a lot of people in the room when I was trying to study. I was unhappy with practically every aspect of my life and becoming extremely depressed. A lot of things went into my decision to move to a different dorm. Finally I met with my Residence Hall Director (RHD) and we discussed possible plans. I eventually moved into a suite in a high rise across the street, next to my first dorm.

A suite is a lot different than a double. There are six girls and four rooms. Two rooms are doubles (two girls living together) and two are singles (a girl living alone). There is a small common room that connects all the rooms and a private bathroom. The suite was on the sixth floor, and the common room window overlooked a cemetery. I was put into a room with Cassandra, a short, spunky, slightly pudgy girl who liked to talk. A few weeks in, we stopped talking. I’m not sure how it happened, but it did. I, once again, became depressed and sad. I felt uncomfortable anywhere I was. At the end of the semester, at one in the morning, we sat down and talked about what had happened. We came to an agreement to talk more and become better friends and the last two weeks of my sophomore year were wonderful.

This semester I am up the hill, in one of the oldest dorms on campus. It has three wings and three floors. Two of the wings are female and one is male, and each wing has its own bathroom. While it’s not the same as sharing with just five other girls, it’s nice not to have to share with thirty. My room is a lot different than my previous ones, which were just boxes. This one has angles and a neat structure to them. The dorm is also located close to the major buildings where classes are held. Living up the hill has its disadvantages, though. All of the dining halls are down the hill, which means I have to trudge up and down it to eat.

My roommate’s name is Raquel. She’s a tall but sort of chubby girl who likes to talk but is willing to listen, too. Plus she’s really easy to talk to. She and I also have the same taste in music, which is hard to find on campus.

I’ve lived in different buildings and different parts of campus. Up the hill, down the hill, in high rises and low rises, in a double and in a suite, and things are different everywhere I go. I’ve also had an assortment of roommates, but they’ve all been good to me and I have tried to be good to them. I’m glad each semester has been different, because I might not have grown to be the person I am right now.

Posted by Heather Cobb at 8:09 PM | TrackBack

September 17, 2005

Neovox Article 1

Here is my first Neovox Article. I have many short stories, poems,and current event/education articles about a variey of topics that I could have worked with for this assignment. However, since I'm graduating in May, I am trying to experiment with genres of writing I am not yet familiar with. So, I decided to do a book review of a novel I just finished reading. I have only done one review, and it wasn't about a book. So, I'm not quite sure if this is the appropriate style of writing. I looked at the reviews on Neovox and got a general idea. Also, my review is not 1,000 words, but I felt if I made it any longer it would no longer function as just a review! Please feel free to give me any suggestions.


“What’s 251 times 864?”

“I thought about this and I said, ‘216,864.’ Because it was a really easy sum because you just multiply 864 X 1,000, which is 864,000. Then you divide it by 4, which is 216,000, and that’s 250 X 864. Then you just add another 864 onto it to get 251 X 864. And that’s 216,864” (66).

I bought Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, as a required text for a psychology class, and quite honestly, after reading the back cover of the novel, I thought it would be boring and clichéd. How fun, original, and profound could a book about an Autistic child searching for the killer of a neighborhood dog be?

My opinion changed within the first few pages. The New York Times explains it best when describing this story as “The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher and the Rye and one of Oliver Sack’s real-life stories” (back cover). This novel is amazing.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time tells a fictional story about Christopher Boone--an exceptional fifteen-year-old boy suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of Autism-- investigating the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog. What makes this quest so intriguing is that Christopher is the narrator. This allows the reader to step into the mind of someone who thinks and feels quite differently than the average person. How differently?

Christopher knows all the countries and the capitals in the world, every prime number up to 7,057, and how to calculate math problems such as 251 times 864 just by quickly thinking. He has a photographic memory and can remember every detail of every picture he sees. Christopher cannot stand to be touched, and he has no understanding of human emotion. If you think this sounds amazing, try reading the novel, where everything is told from this perspective.

More than exploring the mind of an Autistic child, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time embarks on the unavoidable difficulties parents face when raising such an “abnormal” child. Christopher’s parents, like many parents of Autistic children, find their biggest challenge is not having enough patience. Regardless of how hard Christopher’s parents try to be patient, there is always the time when all they can do is scream or throw things: “…if you do not behave I swear I shall knock the living daylights out of you,” Christopher’s dad shouts. (47). As shown in this story, the overwhelming stress only strains the marriage, and in some cases causes separation.

Author Mark Haddon, having worked with Autistic children as a young adult, brings a very realistic ambiance to the story. His story helps remind us that there are Autistic children out there exactly like Christopher, and there are parents who have to deal with the difficulties of raising an Autistic child like Christopher.

Haddon’s ability to artistically step into the mind of an Autistic child is an incredible art in itself. I’ve known Autistic children and have read information about them, but not until I read this book did I truly feel I understood the idea of Autism, specifically Asperger’s Syndrome.

Even more than giving the reader a perspective like no other, Haddon indirectly proposes thoughtful questions for the reader. While reading, I could not help but ponder certain questions: Who defines normality? Who says Autistic children are worse off than “normal” children? Are they? Are the parents wrong for deserting their Autistic child? Can you blame them?

If you are searching for an easy-to-read, yet artistic and profound novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is your choice. I am confident you will be left satisfied and in deep thought.

Posted by Ashley Lauro at 10:52 PM | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

NeoVox Ideas

Some of you have spoken with me about your ideas for your NeoVox article I'd like to hear some more. And then post your article as a separate post before next Wednesday.

Posted by Alex Reid at 2:05 PM | TrackBack