I Have Something To Say

Tears of Guilt By Stefani Gillen

Finally… tears. Odd enough as it is, I have been waiting for this moment for as long as I can remember—the moment of seeing tears puddle up in his eyes and trickle down his cheek, one by one. Not just any tears, though. The kind of tears you just can’t contain anymore because the feeling of butterflies is so extreme when you look into each other’s eyes, that all you can instinctively do is cry. The kind of tears that nobody would ever imagine come out of his eyes—cold, steel eyes that shut out the world and keep to themselves; eyes that have never shown any ounce of emotion—happy nor sad. My friends have always called me weird for saying all I ever wanted was a guy to cry for me, but if they saw these tears, maybe they would understand why. I could see his tense body just ease up, his muscles relaxing one by one as he kept his gaze locked on me. All I could hear was the faint muffle of the engine as I lay there on top of him in his torn up backseat, my chin perched up on his chest, moving up and down in unison with his breathing. Neither of us said a word—we didn’t have to, for we both knew exactly what the other was thinking. We loved each other. At least that’s what I figured we were both thinking. It was the last night we had together, and in four hours would be 7 a.m., the time he would throw his raggedy old Giants duffle bag I’ve seen one too many times into his trunk, along with all the other taped up boxes and pictures of us.

“198 miles is nothing,” I kept repeating over and over. 198 miles is nothing. College life is nothing. Living on his own was nothing. My sister warned me that things would change when he went. Thrown into a whole new environment he’s never dealt with before, knowing absolutely nobody, seeing thousands of new girls every day, none of which were me. He was going to change right before my eyes, well, theoretically speaking. He would be 198 miles away from my eyes. But no, he wouldn’t do that to me. He loved me. It’s only a month, then we would be right back in the back seat of his Honda in an empty parking lot; the only thing near us would be the flickering street light thirty feet away and maybe a raccoon or two. Everything would be back to normal in a month—we would be inseparable for two whole weeks until he had to go back up again, and more tears would shed from his genuine, loving eyes.

A lot can happen in a month. I never would’ve imagined that the next time I’d see him cry, I would be the one staring with the cold, steel eyes. These weren’t the tears I had seen a month ago. These weren’t the tears I had longed for and they definitely weren’t the type of tears that came from butterflies in our stomachs; more like knots or from a fist to my gut. These were empty, shameful, begging tears. Never again would I ever want a man to cry for me. These were tears of guilt.

Sponge Bob and The Brain, A Comparison by Arianna Violante

When I think of the brain and all its functions, I think of Sponge Bob Squarepants and how, in that one episode, Plankton was able to control his every move by climbing into his head and putting an electrical devise on the very top. Now let’s be realistic here… One little devise is NOT going to be able to control our body along with all of our body’s functions… also we all know sponges don’t have brains. To examine the brain, we need to look at ALLLLLLLL the different functions, regions, lobes, and association areas. To cover the brain we need to cover the older brain structures, the cerebral cortex, and then divide the brain and individually look at the left and right side of our brains. Unfortunately for us, we don’t have Plankton in our brain controlling our bodies.

First off, the brain is protected by the skull. It’s held up by the brainstem. There is a slight swelling on the brainstem and that is called the medulla. This is what controls your heartbeat and breathing. Right above this is the pons, which coordinates your movement. Well that seems pretty simple, right?

Basically, the brainstem is a crossover point where most nerves crosswire to connect to the bodies opposite side. I like to think about it like this: a TV has so many plugs and they always cross wire to get into the outlet. Well to me that’s kind of like the brainstem. The brainstem is the outlet and inside of it is a bunch of nerves that go all over our body connect where it’s supposed to (like the TV).  All the different functions of the brainstem come together and essentially control our heartbeat, breathing, movement and arousal.

Secondly is the thalamus. The thalamus sits at the top of the brainstem and controls all of our senses except for our sense of smell. It intakes information from our senses and sends it to the part of our brain region that deal with seeing, hearing, tasting, and touching. A good real life example of something similar to the thalamus is a taxi. Think about it, a taxi takes people to the places where they need to go. The thalamus does the same thing. It intakes information and then sends it to one of the sensory regions where it needs to go (either the medulla or the cerebellum).The cerebellum is referred to as the “little brain”. This helps us judge time, modulate our emotions, and discriminate sounds and textures.  Mostly, though, with the help of the pons, it is about movement. If this part of the brain is injured then you would have trouble walking, keeping your balance, or even shaking hands.  The Limbic system contains the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. This is associated with emotions like fear and aggression and also for food and sex.

Next is the cerebral cortex. This is a thin surface layer where information is processed. The structure of this is where the body’s ultimate control is. If Plankton were to be anywhere in the brain while he was in Sponge Bob’s brain, it would be in here. This is where all the lobes are: the frontal lobes, the parietal lobes, occipital lobes and the temporal lobes. When you think about it, these are just divided into four hemispheres. The frontal is behind your forehead, the parietal is at the top and to the back, the occipital is at the back of your head and just above your ears are your temporal lobes. All of these lobes have different jobs and functions like touch and movements.

So I guess in all reality, Plankton had no idea what he was doing while he was trying to control Sponge Bob.

Shangghaied, A Review by Michael Violante

A 15 year old first generation American Irish boy in the mid-fifties runs away from home to pursue his dreams to work and travel on a cruise line around the world. Instead he wakes up on a cargo ship after being drugged and kidnap in Mobile, Alabama. And so starts, this true life adventure that will take the reader from Mobile, Alabama to Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.

I found this to book to be a beautiful coming of age story of a young boy who grows up on his own terms. I lived as a young boy in the same area in Venezuela that the story takes place. I found Collins descriptions so real and vivid that it brought me back to my own past as I related with Jack.

A truly captivating read!

Life Without Smell by Arianna Violante

Personally, I do NOT know what I would do if I couldn’t smell anything. Maybe I’ve grown accustomed to my Italian nose, but this is the most significant sense to me because not only would we not be able to smell anything but it would also impair us through taste as well! I don’t know about ya’ll, but that doesn’t fly very well with me.

This isn’t just a re-occurring nightmare that I have but people like this DO exist! It’s called anosmia which is the lost sense of smell. This can be caused by a bronchial infection, a chronic nasal sinus disease, a viral infection, inhaling something toxic or a head injury and can really do some serious damage. It’s also very DANGEROUS not to be able to smell anything… for example someone with anosmia wouldn’t notice a gas leak or the smell of smoke. Personally, I’d be a little concerned with personal hygiene. They wouldn’t be able to smell themselves! Those poor souls…

Let’s all take a moment and think about what the world would be like to us if we couldn’t smell anything. For example, there are certain memories that we tie into a certain scent. They can bring us happiness, sadness or any other types of emotions. Losing this would be like losing part of your memory. Another example, I forgot the smell of my old house in Texas, but as I was going through my clothes I smelled the detergent that my mother would use and it brought back so many memories. But the first thing that comes to my mind wouldn’t be not being able to smell flowers or something cheesy like that, but FOOD or food-flavor perception, to be exact. If you were to eat your favorite food, you wouldn’t know it was your favorite food, might as well feed you cardboard and tell you that its pasta.

Losing your sense of smell is like losing two senses, because it diminishes taste as well. That’s a double whammy! There’s no recovering from that. Out of the six senses, losing one of them sometimes means that you could maybe enhance another but losing the sense smell definitely isn’t one of them. For example, I could handle being blind or deaf, but definitely not being an anomic. If I were to be an animal, I would be a dog. I smell EVERYTHING. I smell food before I put it in my mouth, I smell flowers in Publix as I’m walking through and I love smelling a guy’s cologne. If I were to LOSE that, it’s like I would lose part of myself. I don’t know what I would do if I could never be able to enjoy the taste of Nutella ever again. That’s just a depressing thought. What is a dog without its cute little button of a nose?  NOTHING.

Lasting Impressions by Arianna Violante

Is there really a perfect way in making a great first impression? The answer is always yes. All you really need is charm… for the most part. Over this past week, I’ve been insistent and determined to make my way through my new surroundings. Along the way, I’ve made fabulous first impressions to my new teachers and future classmates.

This whole week I’ve always walked the halls of my new school drilling teachers with hopeful questions. (Teachers ALWAYS want to see that the student is excited… even if, in reality, it’s not true).  For example: I knew that for sure I was taking AP French 4 because I had signed up for it and I knew that the class wasn’t full so I would for sure get it. I went to the French teacher and introduced myself; yes, in French. Not only was she impressed by my spectacular knowledge of the language, but she applauded my courage for such an introduction. Needless to say, I charmed my way into her heart. For my courage, not only did she let me see who all was in my class (which doesn’t really matter, considering I know none of these people), BUT she was able to pull up my schedule!! (Listed below)

                                English Honors IV

                                ADV PL Psychology

                                2nd Studio Art

                                Physics 1 Honors


                                American Government Honors

                                ADV PL French Lang

I am one lucky duck! Most students wouldn’t have figured out their schedule until the first day of school, and here I am a week before school starts and I have my senior schedule. Boom. Roasted.

Another sneaky thing I did to win the heart of a teacher was on Thursday. Turns out I’d been speaking frequently to my Psychology teacher the whole week without even knowing it! I recognized his name and told him I was going to be in his AP Pysch class 2nd period. He nodded and said he looked forward to it, so I shook his hand and introduced myself as his new favorite student. He laughed and jokingly said “Haha well those usually don’t last long.” He then took me to his classroom and gave me the textbook! Another thing that was only supposed to be handed out on the day school started. He also told me the first assignment so I could get an early start. Crazy, right?

My advice to anyone starting in an unfamiliar place, whether it be a new job, college, or even high school is to just be outgoing and charming… It can really accomplish a lot and just like that, you’ve made a lasting impression.

House Of Cards, A Review by Michael Violante

It all starts with the murder of a CEO of a large investing Bank and Security Firm during Halloween in Time Square, NY. Once again, Detective Martinelli is called to solve the mystery.  Once he starts to put all the dots together, the FBI shows up in the murder case and tries to shut down Martinelli’s investigation.

I found very interesting the premise of the financial world being involved with International terrorism, especially as Cohen mingles true fact with fiction. Cohen does it again as he creates suspense out of facts allowing the reader to confuse reality with fiction.

Thumbs up!

First Date By Arianna Violante

I will never underestimate my family again. Have you ever had one of those nightmares when you bring a guy home to meet the family and they embarrass you SO much? Well it wasn’t just a recurring nightmare for me; it turned into reality. The worst you think they can do is just showing baby picture’s right? Wrong.

I currently live with my aunt and uncle and my cousins spending my senior year in south Florida. Naturally, I met a guy. The day of our date, my eldest cousin and her husband decide to come by for the show. We’re all sitting on the couch waiting until it’s time for me to get ready when they start coming up with “ideas” on how to embarrass me. These are what they came up with:

Hand him the dog and tell him to hold it because it’s dying.

Tell him REALLY embarrassing stories of me when I was little.

Show him the stuffed animal that I sleep with (no shame).

Mention how she and her husband were high school sweethearts and say that we could be next to get married.

She added him on Facebook and wanted to ask him as soon as he got to our house why he hasn’t accepted her yet.

My mother wanted to FaceTime him and tell him “NO SEX.”

We were eating on plates that said “Celebrate” and they cracked a joke saying they were celebrating my first date.

Those are just a few things. First of all when the gate called everyone was freaking out. When he came over everyone was sitting on the couch waiting to interrogate him. That part went fine I guess, they were just routine questions that gave them a better sense on who he is and blah blah blah. HOWEVER. The next day I found out my uncle VIDEO TAPED him on his iPhone and sent the video to my parents…..

Honestly the whole night wasn’t bad but when I found out about the video I was so angry. I just hope to God that it won’t be repeated next time.

House of Cards by Theodore Jerome Cohen – A Review by Michel Violante

House of Cards begins with the murder of the CEO of a financial investment Wall Street company. Detective Lou Martinelli is in charge of the case. During his investigation he discovers immediately who did it. You would think it is a closed case, but not Martinelli. As he investigates further he gets tangled up with international and local criminals and suspicious profit during a financial crisis.

Besides the fictional story, this book kept me thinking about what really happens behind closed doors between the government and the Financial Companies, and how their decisions as they pursue their own agendas, affect all of us.

Ted did it again, as he creates a thriller out of true fact. The House of Cards kept me interested and guessing through to a surprising end. Definitely a page turner!

The adventures of a first time publisher

I have always been a ‘hands on’ person. Somehow I learn faster when I tackle things directly instead of just studying the theory first…this is why I decided to experiment with my picture book Tuma: The Tribe’s Little Princess. It’s been a learning experience, to say the least, to publish my picture book as my first project for I Have Something To Say Press.

How difficult could it be? I mean, the story had already been published in 1996 by Creative With Words. I had done the illustrations on pastels already. It was a matter of adaptation and lay out. I even knew how to use the software.

Well, it has certainly been a learning experience! Colors on the original are not the same on the screen. So there was a lot of editing of the art work. The adaptation of the story to the picture book was also challenging as I tried to make it entertaining and educational for toddlers to 5 years old. But the biggest challenge was working the layout. I pressed on and did it all! I finally created the cover templates only to realize that the printer doesn’t offer landscape orientation. Of course my entire layout was on landscape!

So, I had a chamomile tea to calm me down and re-did the whole layout, including the cover, and sent all the files to the printers.

 I celebrated going out to dinner with my husband and started counting the time left for when I would get the first galleys!

To pre-order a copy visit

Football or Futbol? By Irene M.

Summer soccer season is here! The European championship is underway with the final game on July 1st. My whole life I have been surrounded by soccer or “football” as the rest of the world refers to it. My dad is from the Netherlands where soccer is huge and he played since the minute he could walk, to a minor league team and now continues to occasionally. The same has been true for me since I was five years old. I’ve been attending soccer camps with my brother and playing for my school teams.

Whenever a tournament was happening all you could hear in the house was the sound of announcers and wild chanting fans. Thankfully for my family, our national team (The Netherlands, where we are from) is pretty good at soccer and always have been. So when the Euro Cup and the World Cup come around, my household is very lively. Two summers ago we were in Europe with my dad during the World Cup and we watched every game together, cheering as loud as we could for The Netherlands. They made it to the finals that year and I liked to think we brought them good luck Unfortunately, in the Euro Cup, The Netherlands were a disappointment but that is probably only because I didn’t watch any of their games!

Watching the Euro Cup this year got me thinking about American football and football to the rest of the world. I prefer soccer because the athletes have to be in much better shape since you have barely any substitutions. Soccer is played all around the world and there are several leagues, not just the NFL like in American football. Soccer immerses the whole world while American football is mostly limited to just America.

Susan Violante Author of Innocent War

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April 2014

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