Category: Lifestyle

LA Manager undergoes plastic surgery to improve selfies

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

How far would you go to improve your selfies?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Rondo Estrello

How far would you go to improve your selfies?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Rondo Estrello

Just how far would you be willing to go to take better selfies?

Apparently, trying to take another one from a different angle or putting a filter on wasn’t good enough for Triana Lavey, 38, a talent manager from Los Angeles, who spent around $15,000 on cosmetic surgery solely to change how she looked in her selfies.

In an interview with ABC News, Lavey said she “didn’t like the face staring back at her in Skype chats or in Facebook pictures.”

Evidently, untagging unflattering pictures wasn’t enough to solve the problem. Lavey has been undergoing plastic surgery to change her self-image for the past two years, resorting to a nose job, chin implant and fat-grafting. She recently went under the knife for corrective surgery on her nose, along with regular Botox treatments.

Like the rest of the world, she loves taking selfies. Millions are taken every day, thanks to the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, and plenty are posted on other sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well. So are we as a society becoming more vain, or are selfies helping us create and maintain an online identity?

Lavey clearly thinks it’s more of the latter. In a video interview with ABC News last week, she said, “Your social media presence is just as important as your real-life presence.”

It sounds like she’s got a point there. After all, we can’t hear enough about employers deciding whether to hire an employee based on what they can find on their personal social media profiles, right?

“Today this business is moving at the speed of the internet [where] your selfie is your headshot,” Lavey  said. “You can reinvent yourself every single day with simply your iPhone.”

While these are all valid points, most people wouldn’t be willing to go to such great lengths to change how they look in their front-facing cameras — not to mention the price paid.

But hey, to each their own, am I right?

Soccer player leaves racism on the field

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Screenshot of Twitter search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

Screenshot of Twitter photo search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

When life throws racist innuendos in the form of bananas your way, what do you do? Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked it up and immediately took a bite during a soccer match at Villarreal last Sunday.

Alves is a Brazilian, playing for Barcelona. Evidently, someone in the stands didn’t appreciate Alves’ presence. At the time, he was about to take a corner kick when the banana flew from the stands and landed at his feet. With no hesitation, Alves picked up the banana, took a bite, and proceeded to go through with the kick.

In the past, racism has been dealt with by walking off the field, like then AC Milan’s Kevin Prince-Boateng in 2013. However, utilizing humor to belittle the culprits while still bringing attention to the problem has appeared to be a better option.

After the match, Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram with a caption joking about how his father always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramps.

He later told reporters, “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”

Justice was served when Barcelona won 3-2. Also, Villarreal located the perpetrator and withdrew his membership as well as banning him from the El Madrigal Stadium for life, stating the club “deeply regrets” what happened.

The world was quick to stand in support behind Alves. His teammates, as well as fans and celebrities, sent tweets of praise as well as pictures of themselves with bananas, using hashtags such as #noalracismo and #weareallmonkeys. Even the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association tweeted, “What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at WorldCup.”

Still, racism is a problem in the world of soccer. CNN reported that not many Spanish authorities or media have addressed the incident, saying this sort of behavior is not accepted but tolerated as part of the game. Let’s learn this lesson Alves imparted with his phenomenal response and do our bit to end the ridiculous reality that is racism.

Social project shines light on homelessness

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

Have you ever walked by homeless people without actually looking at them? It’s okay to admit to it, I definitely have. Now, what if those people you were passing were actually your beloved relatives?

Well, this video is going to shock you.

People’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and even wives volunteered to pose as homeless people, and were positioned so that their loved one would pass them. You would think that they would notice their own flesh and blood — but they didn’t. Every single person who walked by a family member did not recognize them and kept walking.

This video was created to advertise the Make Them Visible Project, hosted by the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM).

The NYCRM is a nonprofit organization created to provide help to the “people in crisis in New York City.” The organization gives people the food, shelter and clothes that they need in order to survive. Even for long term residents, it makes sure to provide help to develop careers to help people get back on their feet.

This social experiment shows just how unnoticed the homeless are in urban areas. Every day, hundreds of people walk past the homeless and don’t even acknowledge their existence. This video illuminates that phenomena by bringing awareness to the way our culture and society affects people. After all, if we cannot recognize our own family members dressed up as homeless people, what does that say about our actual perception of homeless people? If they are that invisible to everyone around them, how can we see them as actually being there?

Craig Mayes, executive director of the NYCRM told the Huffington Post, “The experiment is a powerful reminder that the homeless are people, just like us, with one exception, they are in trouble and in pain. And they are someone’s uncle or cousin or wife.”

Watch the video and be struck by the feels. I’m serious. I have a new outlook on this issue, and it’s because of this video. Check it out:

Love what you do

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer
@bluebird1278

Come graduation, will you love your job?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Bing

Come graduation, will you love your job?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Bing

Once again it’s the time of year where seniors (and sometimes juniors) graduate and begin living in the “real world” — a world where you enter true adulthood and (hopefully) land a job that both pays the bills and makes you happy.

As a rising junior, quite frankly this whole idea terrifies me. Luckily, I’ve still got two years to figure out what to do. But there are those of us in the B.U. community who will be graduating in less than two weeks. For these almost grads, Huffington Post complied a list of “15 Revealing Signs You Genuinely Love What You Do.”

Some are goals that are attainable (not looking at the clock all day, thinking in terms of positives rather than negatives), and some are a bit far fetched (I’m not sure if anyone will ever enjoy meetings). At the end of the article you can add up your points received for each answer provided to see which end of the spectrum you fall into: you really do love your job, or you should seek other employment opportunities.

In times like these, finding a job that fulfills the checklist can be difficult to do, due to financial concerns and job openings. People often find it hard to be picky about their opportunities, and being passed over for a job is bound to happen sooner or later. Despite a bleak outlook at the economy and job market, things are actually looking up.

According to the New York Times, the job market for college graduates is actually improving (even if it is only a slight improvement, it’s better than nothing). So, soon-to-be graduates, don’t give up just yet!

Leaving college can be scary, but you should know that there are jobs out there that will bring you happiness. You may get lucky and land it immediately, but if you don’t, be patient. Work hard, do your best to find ways to love what you do, and don’t get discouraged. Good luck and best wishes to the Class of 2014!

Boy Scouts shut down troop due to gay scoutmaster

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

The Boy Scouts of America./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Ted Eytan

The Boy Scouts of America cause controversy due to its new policies./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Ted Eytan

Last week, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) shut down a troop in Seattle for refusing to get rid of its scoutmaster, Geoff McGrath, who is openly gay.

Pack and Troop 98 are sponsored by the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church. In late March, upon discovering McGrath’s sexuality, the BSA demanded that the church remove McGrath, but the church refused.

Just last May, the BSA decided to break its 103 year-old ban on allowing openly gay youth from becoming members. However, the ban (which was put into effect on Jan. 1, 2014) did not extend to its adult gay and leaders, leaving many (myself included) in confusion. It even caused some sponsors, like the Walt Disney Company, to cut off all funding to the BSA starting in 2015.

But how can an organization decide to open its arms to only openly gay youth but not its openly gay leaders? It certainly seems like taking one step forward and another step back in an endless waltz of discriminatory actions.

Despite the BSA’s controversial ban, Rev. Monica Corsaro, the minister of Troop 98’s host church, admits that the church and the troop knew about McGrath’s sexuality, and that choosing him as their scoutmaster violated the BSA’s policy.

In a statement, Corsaro wrote, “We didn’t choose Geoff McGrath as a political statement. We chose Geoff because he was the perfect person for the job, an Eagle Scout himself . . . [who] has mentoring and leadership skills that someone taking on this role needs… The Boy Scouts of America need to recognize the growing number of churches whose beliefs include all people. And by all, we mean all.”

Although the BSA has given the boys from Troop 98 the opportunity to be placed in other troops, Corsaro has said that they will continue to meet next week, whether they wear uniforms or not.

New app makes sure you get home safe

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

“Text me when you get home,” is a phrase that we often give and receive when we part with friends and family at the end of a night.  I’ve used it, you’ve used it, everyone’s used it.  But most people forget to follow up once they do actually get home safely.

With the SMS app Kitestring, this will no longer be a problem.  Kitestring is a free web-based “safecall service” that allows its user to send automated text messages to themselves and their emergency contacts.

When Kitestring is used, it allows the user to punch in their destination and how long their trip will take (30 minutes, 2 hours, etc.).  If the user does not return home by the time previously estimated, they can ask for extra time.  If the user does not respond to the checkup text within a few minutes, Kitestring sends out a custom-made text to your assigned emergency contacts to let them know that something might have happened.

The user can set up their own personal check-in-word, so that if an attacker has struck, they cannot check-in for the user.  There is also a duress code, which is used in case the user is actually in trouble. If the duress code is sent as a reply to the check-in text, the app pretends like the user checked in, but actually alerts the emergency contacts that they might be in danger.

As beautiful as this app sounds, it’s not perfect. If the user’s phone dies, and they miss the check-in text, the distress text will be sent to their emergency contacts. Also, there will obviously be times the user does not remember to reply to the check-in text, or ask for more time, which will result in another text sent to their emergency contacts (followed by unnecessary panic).

Depending on the situation, I get very frustrated when my friends don’t text me that they got home safely. For all I know, something could have happened and I would be devastated to learn that something did happen and I thought it to be forgetfulness.

Even so, it’s a really practical app.  It could save someone’s life, and it is worth investing in. Kitestring is a free app, so, as far as I can tell, there isn’t really any reason not to give it a try.

Student project aims to combat racism on campus

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer
@jacobca1995

I am too, NYU aims to combat racism on campus./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user DryHundredFear

Despite better efforts, racism still exists./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user DryHundredFear

Nine students at New York University recently banded together to form the “I, too, am NYU” project. The organization’s goal is to bring a voice to the campus’ many racial minority groups and illuminate the discrimination that such students frequently face.

The inspiration for the project originated from similar actions taken by students at universities such as Harvard and Oxford. Involvement in the mission came after the college’s president, John Sexton, proclaimed in a university-wide speech that “there is no racial majority ” on the campus. Needless to say, many students felt insulted by such a remark, as it minimized the importance of race and glossed over prejudices that still exist today.

The project’s most powerful element comes in the form of photos that have since been publicized by means of various social media outlets. In the pictures, each individual holds up a whiteboard on which he or she has written some of the racist or stereotypical remarks that have been addressed to them.

One black female student wrote down a comment made by her white male roommate, which reads “There’s no such thing as a black pretty girl.” Another student wrote down the words of a concerned parent who didn’t think her daughter would get into the school because the school was “letting in a lot of foreigners.”

Along with the photographs, the organization crafted a proposal asking the university’s administration to be more open in regards to issues such as race. Though their efforts are quite recent, the group has been met with large amounts of both support and criticism.

Most of the disapproval comes from those who claim that racial tension has been the only result of this project. Others are upset at how the project represents certain racial minorities better than others. On both accounts, I find these criticisms to be quite wrongheaded.

In regards to racial representation, the group itself wisely pointed out that the project is still in its early stages. Hopefully, as it continues to expand with new participants, it will not be long before a full spectrum of racial diversity is expressed.

However, it is the comment concerning racial tension that I found most disconcerting. By unveiling the discrimination that still exists in our current culture, these students have illustrated a problem that is often thought to be antiquated or irrelevant. Though prejudice is not as blatantly malicious as it once was, it is still an issue that demands to be addressed. Therefore, these students are not causing racial tension. They are simply uncovering an aspect of society that is all too often ignored by many people.

I was deeply moved by the project, and I hope that their efforts are rewarded by the presence of a more racially harmonious campus environment.

The aftermath of Columbine, 15 years later

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Fierce debate surrounds the gun control issue./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Josh Lopez

Fierce debate surrounds the issue of gun control./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Josh Lopez

This past Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the shootings that took place in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School. Two high school students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire on their school, killing twelve people and wounding over twenty. They then committed suicide in the school, leaving the tragedy that is Columbine behind them.

Since then, a total of 29 notable shootings in schools have occurred across the country from 1999 to 2012.

Let that sink in for a moment.

These 29 shootings span 13 years — U.S. citizens have witnessed this many tragedies.

The ages of the shooters themselves range, but what I find incredibly disheartening and tragic is that one shooting (although less fatal than some) involved a six-year-old boy shooting one of his classmates.

There are two sides to the issue of gun control. There are those for increased restrictions on gun usage, and there are those against adding restrictions to gun usage. The latter is spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

With recent shootings, like the one that took place just last year at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA has been criticized for its support of the use of firearms. In their defense, they claim that in pushing for more gun control, the Second Amendment right to bear arms will be put in danger.

According to their website, the NRA has implemented programs such as the “Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program,” which is designed to train kids from K-6 to not touch a firearm if unsupervised and to alert an adult immediately, or the “Refuse To Be A Victim” seminar, designed to teach anyone how to attain personal safety at all times.

Remember that six-year-old boy I mentioned earlier? He did the exact opposite of what the program preached, and the boy’s relatives were convicted of leaving a firearm where it was easily accessible for children. With this situation in mind, it is difficult to trust the effectiveness of the program, when it has proven not to reach its entire intended audience.

At the same time, by instituting gun control laws, the purpose of a firearm for use of self-defense is defeated when there are so many rules and regulations.

I find the debate interesting, but with the ever-increasing worry about future shootings, it is necessary for both sides to come together and figure out a solution before the situation becomes even worse.

Chipotle plans to hike prices

By Robin Ngai, Staff Writer
@bluebird1278

Your beloved burrito bowl cost a bit more from now on./ PHOTO BY Robin Ngai

Your beloved burrito (bowl) may cost a bit more from now on./ PHOTO BY Robin Ngai

As a California native, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad burritos. However, when I’m away from home, I’m a pretty big fan of Chipotle. It’s a five minute walk from my dorm room and to have a full delicious meal for under ten bucks is a pretty sweet deal.

This might not be the case anymore: for the first time in three years, Chipotle is hiking up its prices. They are said to go into effect in the next three to six months, and as a loyal customer (and broke college student), this saddens me.

The reason for the price hike is that their food products are rising in price. Avocados are just one of the many products that have risen dramatically in the past few years. With Chipotle’s promise to using fresh foods and having healthier options, it is hard for the chain not to add a couple dollars for their meals.

This may be the point where customers ask, “why doesn’t their owner McDonald’s just save them?” Despite the popular belief that McDonald’s is the parent of Chipotle, Chipotle actually has no ties with the fast food chain. Briefly in 1998, McDonald’s took a minority stake in the business but decided to quit soon after, predicting that the burrito chain would not make it big.

Oh, how wrong they were. People have grown to love the fast food burrito chain so much that it is predicted to still make sales even if the prices rise (watch this guy inhale four of them in three minutes).

I for one, will still be a customer to Chipotle. If the price hikes scare you, just use these handy tips that will make your trip (and extra bucks) worthwhile. Me and my roommates have created a tradition since freshman year to go there once a week, and it’s something that we won’t be giving up any time soon.

Gender-bending portrayal of Disney characters offers a new point of view

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

You're sure to look at these gender-bent Disney characters in a different light./ PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

You’re sure to look at these gender-bent Disney characters in a different light./ PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered what your favorite Disney characters would look like as the opposite sex? Well, look no further!

Sakimi Chan is a Canadian digital artist who “loves to draw fantasy, sci-fi and gender bending.” Her works include characters from Disney, anime and original content. She also does commissions for avatars from the popular forum and social network Gaia Online.

In case you didn’t know, “gender-bending” is when an artist switches a character’s gender. A bad example would be if Spongebob were made to have more feminine qualities. A better example would be to portray Nintendo’s Mario and Luigi as females and Princess Daisy and Peach as males. Most genderbent characters are very attractive and reflect the original almost spot on, but it’s weird to think how characters would act or be treated if they were the opposite gender.

Some people have attempted to gender-bend Disney characters using screenshots and Photoshopping the characters’ physical features to look more masculine or feminine, but Chan drew her pieces with the original personalities in mind, creating something more true to character.

Chan doesn’t always gender-bend in her art. Her other works include portrayals of characters like Jack Frost, Wonder Woman, Princess Mononoke and Link, as well as characters from the animated television show “Adventure Time.”

Personally, I love looking at gender-bent characters. It transforms my interpretation of the character and lets my imagination wander to what they would be like as the other gender. My favorite character out of the entire Disney set was gender-bent Hades. She is beautifully crafted and is on point with the original Hades. She is, in my eyes, perfect.

Check out Chan’s set of Disney characters here. Or if you’re interested in seeing more of her work or want to buy a print, see her DeviantArt page.