“Music, Life and Nonsense” – What is Life Without Music?

What would life without music be like? 

This is a question that none of us could fully understand the answer to, for music has always and will continue to be an integral part in our lives. 

It seems that music is as vital to some of us as air is. 

Walking down the streets of UConn, you can see the majority of people carrying around their phones with headphones in their ears. We use music to soundtrack our lives, and frankly, sometimes we need it to get by. 

With the indifference that life can sometimes cast upon us, music is always there to remind us why we keep on keeping on. 

If you were to put yourself in a context like a breakup, the loss of a loved one, or simply partying with friends, could you imagine yourself getting by without the familiar comfort of your music?

Not only is it what makes us feel alive, but it has been the pinnacle of culture. 

When looking across cultures among centuries, music has been a relevant part of people’s existence.

Over the years, music has influenced generations of people, given a voice to the invisible and helped rally movements across the world.   

The types of music a culture creates signify who those people are and what they represent. 

From urban jazz during the Harlem Renaissance as a creative outlet for African Americans, to rock and roll at Woodstock as a symbol of peace, music has lead the trail in human development. 

It can be a sign of protest, “The Unknown Soldier,” by Jim Morrison and the Doors (1968); as well as peace – “Imagine,” by John Lennon (1971).

So this begs the question: Why is music so important to us? 

According to Discovery News, listening to music causes the release of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter dopamine in our brain. The neurotransmitter is involved in both addiction and motivation. 

“You’re following these tunes and anticipating what’s going to come next and whether it’s going to confirm or surprise you, and all of these little cognitive nuances are what’s giving you this amazing pleasure,” said Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal.

There is an innate biological element to our connection with music. We seem to have been born with the innate desire to have it in our lives. 

Music, along with other art, can elicit feelings that words sometimes cannot reach. 

Whether the lyrics represent exactly what you’re going through at the moment, or if the melody can capture what words fail to convey, music has a way with explaining sense into our fluctuating world. 

Music can make us feel understood, comforted, and alive. It has been vital for our existence and the flourishing of culture. 

So again I beg the question, what would life be without music? Or is music as integral to life as any other necessity?

Advertisements

Art on campus: Getting to know UConn’s Masterpieces Through the Annual Benton Art Walk

 

How much do students really know about the artwork that beautifies the UConn campus? There is a monument or statue around almost every corner, as well as showcased artwork inside most buildings. Hundreds, or even thousands, of students pass these works of art on a daily basis and it is possible that many often wonder how they found their home at UConn.

The William Benton Museum of Art offers Campus Art Walks where a representative from the museum leads students on a tour of campus showcasing the different monuments and statues. They give a description and history of the artwork and encourage tour group members to take part in conversation. Tour guides provide questions to create discussion about each piece. 

“Students will gain an appreciation of contemporary art through docent guided discussions and inquiry regarding the selection of artwork,” the description of Campus Art Walks said on the museum’s website, “why it was made, who made it and why it is sited where it is.” 

According to The Benton’s website, The Campus Art Walk meets during lunchtime at The Benton Welcome Desk. Students can also schedule a personal tour with their friends, but a group of six or more is required. The site also highlights that a personal, self-guided tour that can be done with a cellphone is coming soon.

“Color, texture, light. All sculptures have more than one way that you can view it,” Shoshana Levinson, docent at The William Benton Museum of Art, said in a video created in 2010 by Bret Eckhardt and Sheila Foran for UConn Today. 

The video titled “Art on the UConn Campus,” which can be found on the UConn Today site, as well as YouTube, serves as another resource for interested students to learn more about the artwork they see on campus. 

The short video gives detailed information on several major statues on campus including “Mobius Solaris,” located just outside the Castleman building, “Elements,” located between Engineering II and MSB; “Shift” and “Plain and Painted Parts,” artwork located inside the Bio-Physics building; “Slip Edge Bis,” situated outside Wood Hall; and “The Walking Wall,” the stone lettering that is displayed on the side of the Rowe Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE). 

“It’s really a lovely thing to imagine that there is art all around us,” Levinson said at the end of the video. “Just to give you a perspective, this is maybe a third, or less than a third, of the structures that we have on campus.” 

Levinson shows what a wide variety of artwork exists across campus, which members of the UConn community can take in and experience every day. 

“I really like the art as you walk into the library,” said Emily Sherwill a 7th-semester special education major. “I think it’s an awesome place to showcase art that a lot of people wouldn’t have seen if it wasn’t there.” 

Artwork dots the UConn campus in unexpected places or in places students may not even realize. 

“I would recommend to anybody to look at the art, to think about it,” Tracy Lawlor, Education Coordinator at The William Benton Museum of Art, said in the “Art on the UConn Campus” video. “You begin to be inspired.”

Thrilliards, a fast paced, thrilling pool game

 The game of billiards is a classic game, but in today’s fast paced society, it can lose its appeal. The game of strategic aiming and slow back-and-forth play is starting to evolve. 

Thrilliards is a new sport that found its beginnings on the UConn campus. As the name suggests, it is a modification to the game of pool, adding thrilling and fast-paced elements. The sport has only been created for about two weeks, and already has over 40 members. The three guys who created the game are Keregen, Ben and Chris. They call themselves the “pool board,” in charge of the rules of the game and also all official business for the sport.
“People have been playing Billiards wrong for millions…..nay, billions of years. Thrilliards is the best way to play,” Chris Hanna, a Thrilliards club board member, said.
Thrilliards was created on a night plagued with extreme boredom. The game intrigued onlookers who were very interested as to why people were running around a pool table. The cue ball cannot stop moving; players must keep it going, travelling around the table to get it. The rules dictate that the sport is full of penalty shots and many other rules that make things even more intense. There are also defensive plays allowed, to prevent shots from going in. 

“The game gets very sweaty….and also very competitive. It’s pretty hard to hit a moving shot,” said Keregan Schoenhurr, a first-semester computer science major.
Some aspects of Thrilliards have been preserved from its predecessor. There are only two players involved in a match, and each person is assigned either the stripes or solids. If you make a shot, you get rewarded with a still shot, an ordinary billiards shot where you are free to aim and also catch your breath from the laps you just ran around the pool table.
“Thrilliards really is a spectator sport. It is really fun to watch the game, its so fast paced, and just exciting in general,” Schoenhurr said.
Every night, Thrilliards players are in the game room playing, and anyone is free to come watch and play rounds. The preseason tournament is already underway – 32 players are in a bracket, playing single elimination to determine a champion. Going forward, the club will be having a regular season where games will be played at scheduled times. As the members involved grow, they hope to end the year with a 64-player round robin tournament. The seeding for the tournament will be assigned based on results from the regular season. That is not the only growth expected from the sport; as the club’s membership continues to rise, Schoenhurr stated that he hopes to have different dorms also participate in their own regular seasons. The games take place in Buckley every evening. 

Skateboards VS. Longboards: Know the Difference

 

 While collectively referring to those who skate as “skaters” would not be considered incorrect, it is not uncommon to hear someone generalize all skaters as “skateboarders.” In reality, there is a huge difference between skateboards and longboards, both in design and overall function.

On any given fair weathered day, you’re bound to see skaters all over UConn. 

Whether they’re weaving around passerby while en route to class or just hanging out practicing tricks on any suitable wall or rail, the skater society of Storrs has grown to be extremely prevalent throughout our campus.
Stephen Quick, a seventh-semester communications major and ardent skateboarder, highlights where the two boards differ.

“Skateboards have unique shapes by themselves but generally have two concaved ends to allow for popping the board to do different tricks or ollies,” Quick said. “Whereas the longboard is the way it is because of its need to go over cracks easily, they’re low to allow easier balance.”

Primarily, the longboard is used as a source of transportation because it’s much more easy to manipulate, relative to the skateboard.  Where the longboard shines is in its larger board (also known as the deck), which enables greater stability for the rider, in addition to larger wheels which are better for shock absorption and potentially overall speed. This is not to say that there are no tricks to be performed on a longboard; however it is simply less common that these boards are used for trick purposes. 

Jimmy Bickerstaff, a seventh-semester engineering major, commented on the difference between the two boards after he was spotted riding around Hunting Lodge Apartments whilst simultaneously eating a chicken sandwich.

“Longboarding is like snowboarding but on pavement,” Bickerstaff said, “Longboards are much more suited for turning and carving than skateboards are, making them a preferable way to get around.”

Of course, skateboards can be used to get from place to place just as well, however, their smaller physical structures in both the board itself as well as the wheels makes skateboards much easier to perform tricks with.  Due to this, Quick suggests that skateboarding can be considered much more of a sport than longboarding. 

“There’s a lot of creativity in skateboarding – more than most would think. When skating around campus, you look at the infrastructure of the school in a really unique way,” Quick said.
Bickerstaff, an avid user of both types of boards, prefers his skateboard for fun but was longboard for practicality. He asserted that skateboarding is more difficult to master.

“Any random shmuck can ride a long board, but a skateboard takes skill, as well as epic amounts of steez,” Bickerstaff said. 

UrbanDictionary.com defines “steez” as “someone’s unique style,” which Bickerstaff displayed by kickflipping over the chicken sandwich he had just accidentally dropped.

 

Let’s eat MicroGreens!

By Nicholas Shigo, Campus Correspondent

University of Connecticut alumnus Frank Catalano will launch a Kickstarter campaign on Oct. 1 aimed to fund his business venture, MicroGreenz, a healthier and more cost effective way to eat vegetables.

Catalano is a 1980 graduate with a degree in horticulture. His wife Lisa began seeking an easier way to get the nutrition he needed after being diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 47. He switched to a vegan diet and started looking for better ways to eat healthy.

MicroGreenz is part of Catalano’s business Live Mulch, which also produces the floral ground cover system GroundCoverz.

In his search for what he calls “super-nutrition,” Catalano learned about microgreens, vegetables shoots only allowed to grow to an early stage in development and eaten fresh. Microgreens contain more nutrients than the full grown plant, but grow in less time and require less care and space.

“They’re basically the same plants you would grow in gardens, just in very tight situations,” Catalano said.

According to Catalano, microgreens have additional nutritional value because they still hold all the energy a plant needs to sprout from a seed, which would normally be lost by the time it was fully grown.

A study by the University of Maryland showed evidence that microgreens often provide higher concentrations of nutrients than the mature plant, but there is much variation between the nutritional values of different species.

Catalano turned to Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects, as a way to raise the capital needed for his business because he “has had it up to here with investors.” He pitched the business on the ABC show Shark Tank last year, but the episode was never aired.

“I said to myself, ‘we’ll go off in a different direction,’” Catalano said. “You get your proof that people want it, get presale on the product before it hits the market.”

The MicroGreenz kit includes a clear shelf that adheres to a window with suction cups, called the “veg-ledge” by Catalano, as well as a growing dish, four coco powder soil cores, misting bottle and greens seed mixtures for four plantings. The kit costs $40 and refills on the three different crop variations cost $10.

The system is set up by attaching the dish to a well-lit window and soaking the coco powder core, called a “grow-core,” with water and spreading the seed mixture on top and mist daily. Catalano said that each crop grows to harvestable size in 10 days.

“Most systems out there are more complicated,” Catalano said. “You need a large tray, lights and it needs to be covered.” He calls the system fascinating, attractive and easy.

Lisa Catalano said that after harvesting the microgreens are best eaten fresh. The MicroGreenz website recommends sprinkling them on food, in a salad or in a smoothie. They last about three to four days with refrigeration.

Catalano said that the Microgreenz system is not only a healthier alternative to traditional vegetables, but is also more cost effective.

“Cost comparison to get these nutrients consumed as opposed to buying them in a grocery store is tremendous. You only need a handful as opposed to eating half a cabbage,” Catalano said.

DeRosa against the world

By Sten Spinella, Staff Writer

Mike DeRosa, the Green Party candidate for the Connecticut Secretary of State, says the political world is against him.

DeRosa is running for Secretary of State against Democratic incumbent Denise Merrill and Republican candidate Peter Lumaj.

When speaking with The Daily Campus, DeRosa quickly pointed out that he ran for the same position in 2006, garnering 18,000 votes.

A UConn graduate, DeRosa spoke of his status as a spoiler in the two-party system.

“My attitude towards the whole thing is that, it’s not a question of lesser of two evils,” DeRosa said. “If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you’re gonna end up with the evil of two lesser. Our point of view in the Green Party is that these two political parties (Democrats and Republicans) are two sides of the same coin. Like McDonald’s and Burger King, there’s two of them in every town in Connecticut.”

Representing the ideology of the Green Party, DeRosa said that the two party system leads to war, the limiting of civil liberties, the destruction of options in politics, a lack of equal opportunity for citizens and impending environmental disaster (which he claims is obstinately ignored by both parties).

Like other third party candidates vying for election, DeRosa went into extensive detail about the plight of the write-in ballot candidate and the obstacles posed by the election process. In that vein, campaign finance reform and the voting process are two of DeRosa’s key issues.

“It is very, very difficult to get on the ballot as a third party candidate,” DeRosa said.

“Denise Merrill is a very nice person, but she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand that third parties are here to stay. Her office, as well as Democrats and Republicans, support a system which places barriers towards third party candidates.”

He then alluded to the struggle of recent Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who received write-in votes that didn’t get counted.

“Unlike Republicans and Democrats, we don’t believe in corrupt government,” DeRosa said.

In Connecticut, a candidate needs to have raised $70,000 dollars with donations under $100 dollars each, and has to collect a certain amount of valid signatures to receive the $750,000 Secretary of State grant. DeRosa said that he and other public candidates went to the U.S. Supreme Court four years ago trying to fix a bill that discriminates against independent candidates, claiming that it violates the First and 14th Amendments of free speech and equal opportunity.

Despite the difficulties of third party candidacy, DeRosa spoke optimistically of the Green Party.

“A lot of young people are joining the Green Party now,” DeRosa said. “Our Waterford chapter is made up of 26 young people below the age of 28, and many people in their 20s and 30s are running. In fact, 25 Green Party candidates are running for different positions in local and state government.”

Rather than seeing him and his Green Party colleagues as “spoilers”, DeRosa views third party candidacy as a noble pursuit.

“We want to test this system,” he said. “We believe there are concerted efforts on the part of political people in the state of Connecticut to not count write-in votes.”

According to his website, DeRosa is the “Founder of the non-partisan citizens’ organization V.O.T.E.R.” As mentioned earlier, he was also a litigant in “an ACLU federal lawsuit to allow third parties and independent candidates equal treatment under the recently passed CT Campaign Finance Law.” DeRosa has a radio show on 91.3 FM and is the co-chair of the Green Party of Connecticut.

 With this in mind, DeRosa is adamant about his credentials, saying “I have a proven track record about consistent concerns with procedural democracy.”

When asked about student issues, DeRosa became animated, calling climbing tuition and high student loan interest rates “an absolute scandal.”

“[The issue] has not been addressed by anyone in the Republican or Democratic party in an effective way,” DeRosa said. “I believe all these loans should be forgiven. We can spend 3 trillion on war but not on forgiving student loans?”

DeRosa’s own experience as a UConn student cost him a total of $620 a year. After this assertion, he outlined the Green Party’s platform. Tuition should be free, education democratized.

“We’re the smart choice for students,” DeRosa said, talking about the Green Party. “People are not interested in the political system because the political system doesn’t offer alternatives. The system is so rigged.”

He went on to criticize Connecticut’s Citizen Election fund, saying it is biased in favor of Democrats and Republicans. He also lamented significant loopholes in the law.

“[The loopholes] are so big, candidates are able to take unlimited funds from 169 town committees and four state committees,” DeRosa said. “People can’t have a PAC, but the political class can have as many PACs as they want.”

Column: Chicago Blackhawks are the early favorite

By Tim Fontenault, Senior Staff Writer

Since the season-long lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 NHL season, the Western Conference has shown its superiority.

Six of the nine Stanley Cup champions since the lockout have come from the West. The Eastern Conference has not been able to retain the trophy in consecutive years and has been without a champion since the Boston Bruins in 2011.

As mentioned in last week’s Eastern Conference preview, the Bruins are once again the conference’s best hope of winning the Stanley Cup. That notion was reinforced Monday, when Boston announced that Reilly Smith and Torey Krug had agreed to one-year deals.

If the Bruins can avoid a repeat of last year’s collapse against Montreal, they should be in the Finals. In the West, it is not as simple. A loaded conference, especially at the top, means that all eight teams that reach May will have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

So who will win the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and the right to play for the Stanley Cup?

No. 5: Anaheim Ducks

John Gibson captured the hearts of American hockey fans in 2013, when he helped guide the United States to the gold medal at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Gibson is now the No. 1 goaltender in Anaheim, and he has a solid defense, led by Cam Fowler, backing him up,.

The Ducks, ever a one-line team, added Ryan Kesler and Dany Heatley, who should provide some much-needed depth on offense. Unfortunately for head coach Bruce Boudreau, he still needs to figure out who will fill the holes on the third and fourth lines. 

No. 4: San Jose Sharks

Patrick Marleau will score his goals, Thomas Hertl will make the highlight reels, and the Sharks will undoubtedly meet up with the Kings, losing in five or six games. That is what has to happen, right?

They always do so quietly, but the Sharks will push for the Pacific Division title and make a run at the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. That is what happens with offensive firepower, Brett Burns leading the defense and Antti Niemi in net.

No. 3: St. Louis Blues

One of these years, the St. Louis Blues are going to play for the Stanley Cup. 

All the talent is there. Their top two lines are tough to stop, and they have arguably the most talented defensive group in the NHL.

      Goaltender Brian Elliott will need to step up this season. He has long been second fiddle to Jaroslav Halak in the St. Louis net, and when Halak was traded for Ryan Miller, Miller assumed the No. 1 spot.

      Elliott went 18-6-1 with a 0.922 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average last season. Now that Miller is gone, he just needs to show that same ability while playing the majority of the Blues’ games between the pipes. His backup, Jake Allen, has not played for the Blues since the shortened 2012-13 season, having spent all of last year in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.

No. 2: Los Angeles Kings

     The defending Stanley Cup champions return without much change. Despite the loss of reliable defenseman Willie Mitchell to the Florida Panthers, the Kings are going to be right back in the mix this season.

      Los Angeles returns six valuable defensemen, highlighted by Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov and Stanley Cup hero Alec Martinez, but the Kings could put traffic cones in front of Jonathan Quick, skate shorthanded and still be in the mix.

No. 1: Chicago Blackhawks

    There is a reason why the Blackhawks and Bruins have consistently been the premier team in their respective conferences for five years: excellent management.

     Chicago General Manager Stan Bowman has managed to keep a team loaded with stars together despite the restrictions of the salary cap. The Blackhawks top two lines and three defensive pairs have hardly changed in recent years, a testament to Bowman’s work and the desire of the players to stay together.

     Keeping the Blackhawks together might get more difficult next year, when the combined cap hit from the contracts of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews becomes $21 million, but Bowman will worry about that after the rematch with Boston in the Stanley Cup Finals.