Day in the life of a high school student

By: Caden Kipfmueller & Toby Martin-Kohls

Webster’s dictionary defines senoritis as: an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades. Senioritis is very real and affects at least one student at Highland Park Senior High annually. We chose to follow one such student around for a day and dive deep into the psyche of a slacker.

In order to minimize the time spent in school, this particular student has opted in for a late start. This option, as well as early release, are only available as an option for seniors.

Not only has he obtained a late start, he has managed to fit his class schedule into working for a double late start. This is a remarkable feat of laziness, and it should be appreciated largely because this is a decision that the counselors usually try to steer you away from taking. Somehow, the student we followed managed to convince the counselors to allow him to take this unique opportunity, although we have no clue how (potentially bribery?).

As the writers of this article are also seniors, we also want to note that the current Late Start/Early Release form only includes Period A1, B1, A4, and B4. So, this particular student took the time and energy to talk to the counselors about a course selection alteration to make his schedule easier for his last semester of high school.

After sleeping in well after 10am, this student arrives for his first class, which is Honors Band. This student plays the trumpet. They had a special guest give them a lesson. When interviewing this particular student about his thoughts and feelings about band class, he replied “Uh yeah… we suck.”

After his first class of the day, the student has first lunch. He opts to pack and bring lunch from home. His meal includes a singular slice of ham on two pieces of white bread. No cheese. Just ham. He also packed a brown, sad looking, once-green pear. Personally, I would have not touched that pear with a 10-foot stick. He then moves onto the next part of his meal. He has packed two protein bars. He ended up dropping one on the bacteria filled high school cafeteria table and still proceeded to eat it. What a way to support the elimination of food waste. Kudos to such an environmentally sustainable move!

When interviewed, this student said, “I enjoy lunch because I get to refuel my body for my last class of the day.” Such great words to hear if you are his Chinese teacher!

His last class of the day is IB Chinese. But wait! First, he needs to head to the CCRC (College and Career Readiness Center) to print out his almost late IB Physics IA. This is quite an important assignment, for those who don’t know, IA stands for Internal Assessment. We take a nice walking trip around the first floor, and as we get to the CCRC, he notices the red sign on the door noting that they are closed for advisory. He exclaims “!@#%! Hopefully the library is open?” I don’t say anything and let him ponder about his struggles. As a senior, it is surprising he doesn’t know how the school operates.

We make it to the library and log in on the slow computers. He struggles with getting to Google Docs, so I have to step in and help him navigate. After around 15 minutes in the library, he has his 4 page Physics IA. He quickly runs up to the third floor, only to find that Mrs. Hedwall’s door is closed. He knocks, and interrupts a class of juniors. The class is dead silent as he walks in and awkwardly hands his fresh off the printer IA. But, he’s managed to do the hardest thing of the day, getting his Physics IA in.

Our student walks in late, but the teacher does not seem to care. When prompted by the reporter about his tardiness, the student replied “I don’t care.” His class is preparing for the IB Chinese exams. His class was rowdy and energetic, but ultimately focused. Our student talks in Chinese sentences about the family in a picture, showing off his multilingual abilities.

Our subject is not perfect, however. The teacher asks him a question and he struggles to answer for a second before replying in Chinese. This response is met with laughter, though this humble reporter is not fluent in the language and thus does not understand the joke he made. At the end of the class, our student asks for clarification on the homework. His teacher makes a joke about how he wants to do two assignments instead of one.

The day ends, and our student is ready to go home after a long, tiring day at school. One of our reporters asked him about the latest history assignment on WWII, and our student revealed himself to be pro nuclear bombs. What an awesome day at school!

It should be noted that this article is 2 weeks late, showing that senoritis truly affects everyone.

Extremity in music: What makes something sound heavy?

By: Charlie Boone

In 1965, 17-year-old Tony Iommi was working at a sheet metal factory when a large press dismembered the tips of two of his fingers, leaving him unable to play guitar without homemade plastic prosthetics and lower gauge, detuned strings to suppress the pain. These accommodations gave his playing a deep, metallic strength that ended up inadvertently changing music and culture forever when he formed what is widely considered the first metal band, Black Sabbath, in 1968.

This innovation that focused on darker themes, lower tunings, and fuzzy distortion presented a new challenge for young musicians, pushing the boundaries of music and honing in on extremes to create visceral new sounds. Heaviness, extremity, brutality, are all subjective terms, representing different things to each listener, but I’ve narrowed it down to three factors: Speed, subject matter, and dynamics.

In terms of speed, the obvious logical conclusion is grindcore. Popularized in the 90s and derived from both the death metal and hardcore scenes respectively, grindcore’s sole focus is speed and aggression in short bursts. In fact, the shortest song ever recorded is actually a grindcore song called “You Suffer” by one of the staple bands in the original British scene, Napalm Death. Grindcore is inherently rough around the edges and typically features more raw, unpolished production. For some people, this adds to the aggression and brutality of the sound while others prefer a more tight and refined style of extreme noise terror in that of technical death metal. As implied in the name, the focus here is pure technicality and skill, so, still blisteringly fast but not typically as raw or pissed-off.

What is often sacrificed for speed in technical death metal is dynamics. If an entire four-minute track is all at the same face-melting tempo, it gets tiring to listen to and the visceral feeling of the speed wears off. To put it simply, if everything is fast, nothing is; and the same thing goes for volume. Juxtaposition of soft and hard sounds increases the sense of dynamics and makes the heavy parts of the song hit that much harder.

A subgenre that better understands this juxtaposition while staying mind-bendingly heavy is brutal death metal. First achieved by Suffocation with their 1991 album, ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’, brutal death metal combines raw production reminiscent of grindcore, with the technicality and speed of death metal, and an added element of groove and bounce.

There are also bands that take speed to the exact opposite extreme and play as slow as humanly possible. Early sludge metal bands like Grief and Melvins played with this idea, but no sound truly embodies the feeling of being crushed by a gigantic boulder like funeral doom metal. The slow, hypnotic melodies of this style were directly inspired by funeral dirges, adding another layer of heaviness through the exploration of themes like grief, depression, and solitude. In a style saturated with gore and demons, extra weight is carried when the horrors being described are true. Good examples of this style are Bell Witch, Ahab, and Mournful Congregation.

Further listening: If you are interested in looking further into the world of extreme music, here are four modern records that I think embody each of the factors of heaviness mentioned earlier.

Nails – ‘You Will Never Be One of Us’ (2016)

Ridiculously brutal grindcore that makes use of the iconic HM2 chainsaw guitar sound present in classic Swedish death metal.

Whitechapel – ‘The Valley’ (2019)

Emotionally dense and progressive deathcore, overall fantastic and dynamic record. The only record on the list to feature clean vocals as well as growls/screams.

Cerebral Incubation – ‘Gonorrhea Nodule Mastication’; (2012)

Quintessential slam/brutal death. A solid midpoint between raw and polished production with the classic high-tuned pingy snare and guttural vocals.

Archspire – ‘Bleed the Future’ (2021)

Some of the most extreme and balanced technical death metal out there. Every member of this band is inhumanly talented; insanely polished and tight performances.

Sakana vs. Yumi

By: Rose Ramadan & Thea Berg

In this article, we will be comparing two different sushi restaurants that we visited last Saturday. The first sushi restaurant, which was Sakana sushi, was loved and appreciated way more by us. Although, we both did appreciate Yumi sushi, we have both decided it was not the best, and we will not visit there again.

Both restaurants are located in the Highland area of Saint Paul. Sakana is on the corner of Cleveland and Pinehurst, and Yumi is on Selby and Arundel St. Yumi sushi is not the only one, it has multiple locations with one also in Edina. Sakana is more local and it does not have other locations. There are other competing sushi restaurants in Saint Paul, but Yumi and Sakana are the main and more popular ones.

The restaurants give off very different vibes. Yumi sushi has more of a sports bar vibe. It’s a bigger space with many TVs and open seats around a big bar in the middle. It’s very dark there as well. It seems less like you would get sushi and more like you would get burgers or bar food.

At Sakana the vibe is a lot calmer and it’s much brighter. There are many windows and natural lighting along with less seating around a bar and more seats at tables and booths. Sakana has a much smaller space, but it fits the vibe of getting sushi more than Yumi does.

At both places the waiters are very nice and welcoming, the environment created by the workers is great, and we have not had a rude experience.

At Yumi sushi, we ordered the honeymoon sushi roll. In this roll is spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, snow crab, avocado, cucumber, wrapped in soy paper, and topped with honeymoon sauce. We really liked the way it tasted, but we felt the bites were almost too big for our mouth. They were completely packed and each roll seemed to have a different amount of meat and vegetables. We wouldn’t order it again based on the price, it was not ideal and not what we were expecting. However, we really enjoyed the spicy taste and the honeymoon sauce was to die for.

At Sakana sushi, where we have been a lot, we ordered two different orders. First, we ordered a simple California roll. They are always tasty and one of our favorite types of sushi. However, we feel as though it didn’t have enough sushi on the plate for our liking. This is fine, though, for it was still cheap enough for us to enjoy.

We also ordered Thai lettuce wraps. These included wok seared Thai basil, diced chicken and vegetables, with hoisin sauce. They are an absolute go-to order for us. They taste delicious and you can add as much or as little of the vegetables into the lettuce wraps as you want. We would also like to say it is a fairly healthy meal.

In the end, we would rate Sakana 9.2/10 on sushi restaurants. They have good prices, good flavors, good environment, and a good location for us to go to.

We would rate Yumi Sushi 6.7/10. The vibe wasn’t something loved by us; it was too bar-ish and we didn’t feel comfortable there. They were also very expensive which was a big turn off for us. Their flavors were great, but their portions were too much and each bite was different. We would recommend this restaurant to an older audience.

Yet, Sakana will always be our favorite and we will recommend it to anyone who is looking for a quick sushi stop any day.

Upcoming trends in 2023

By: Lauren Kottke & Ella Sutherland

Each year there are new fashion, beauty and lifestyle trends. Last year some popular trends were low rise jeans, baggy clothes, platform shoes and many more. And every year the trends change. What are the top predicted trends for 2023? Let’s find out!

A trend that has been popular the past few years is 2000s and vintage clothing. This style trend is mostly fueled by Gen Z. We saw the low rise jeans, short vintage crop tops, 2000s sunglasses and much more. And this trend isn’t expected to stop, but expected to grow even more. It’s predicted that this year we’re gonna see mesh or sheer tops, leather skirts, leather jackets and funky print tops. The 2000s style can be cute, but sometimes can be tacky. So, we think you just have to do it the right way.

Another trend that is predicted in 2023 is ballet pumps. They have already made a comeback and have been a hit. You can wear them to the office or to run errands. They’re a great option if you want a more elegant pair of shoes but want to be comfortable.

An unexpected fashion trend that is predicted to come back is the skinny jean. The past couple of years, the trend that has taken over is baggy and oversized clothing. That included jeans. People stopped wearing skinny jeans and instead started wearing baggy jeans. But it looks like we’re gonna see a comeback with them. Some people have started to steer away from the excessively baggy jeans and gone back to a more fitted jean.

The fourth trend we’re going to see is denim maxi skirts. This is a trend personally, we’re not too fond of. Denim skirts used to be very popular but recently haven’t been as popular. We like short denim skirts but we don’t like long skirts as much.

Image taken from: Upcoming trends in 2023

Another denim trend that’s predicted is denim on denim. We’ve seen more and more matching denim sets.

Headbands are also expected to make a comeback. We’ve seen celebrities like Bella Hadid and Matilda Djerf wearing them. We’re not gonna be seeing the skinny plastic headbands that are uncomfortable, but the fabric ones. We’ll start to see thicker headbands. Personally, we like this trend. We think it’s a cute way to add accessories to your outfit. And it’s practical!

The next predicted trend for 2023 is ruffles. It’s predicted that we’re going to see shirts and dresses with ruffles or rosettes. It’s a great way to make the top or dress more exciting and interesting. We think they will be very popular this summer.

A trend that we think will make a comeback is tube tops. We’ve already seen this trend before, but we think this time it is going to be different. Before we saw straight cut tube tops, and they were cloth. But we think the new tube tops we’re going to see are going to have a sweetheart neckline and will be made out of different materials.

The new tube tops are going to be crocheted tops. Over the past few months, crochet tops have become more popular. So, with summer coming soon, we think crocheted tube tops are going to be very popular. We think these tops are very cute and we will definitely be wearing them!

Trends are like a wave, they go up and down. They’re in and then they’re out. We think some of these fashion trends are really good, but others not so much. But it’s all about what you want to wear! That’s what makes fashion so great. You can wear whatever you want and shouldn’t be judged!

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