Author

Kevin Urgiles

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Naveen Mallangada was looking forward to spending his day doing research inside the Division of Cancer Prevention at the Health Science Center before he entered the tunnel. The frigid February air was not enough to kill the excitement the sophomore felt as he walked towards his lab, but the decrepit grey walls that shape the underpass connecting Stony Brook University’s East hospital campus and West undergraduate campus drained his emotion. “I realized that this underpass is one of the only ways students and faculty get to either campuses,” Mallangada said. “It should be an entrance that inspires or at least invigorates people, not depresses them.” Mallangada decided to take matters into his own hands. He began Heartbeats of Stony Brook, a beautification project that aims to add color and vitality to a part of campus that students describe as lackluster, according to Mallangada. “A lot of people say that we…

Dr. Frank Darras has a light meal on this kind of day. It has to be big enough to keep him going, but small enough to not to break his focus later on and add pressure to the knife of anticipation over his head as his patients wait for him in the presurgical area. This routine is familiar and has not changed significantly, even though Dr. Darras has practiced surgery for nearly 32 years.                   “No matter what type of surgery I’m doing, big or small, I always play the operation out in my head like a video tape,” said Darras in his 19th floor office inside the Health Sciences Center. “I play out the steps of what I am going to do, how I am going to do it and always with the thought of what I would do if something goes wrong.”   Dr. Darras is an older…

Winter Storm Mars left nearly 250 Suffolk County children uncared for after snow storm warnings cancelled a free dental treatment event organized by the Stony Brook Dental School. The annual event was scheduled to take place on “Give Kids a Smile” Day and aimed to provide children up to 17 years old with free dental services including screenings, cleaning and fluoride treatments that help fight tooth decay. The event is accessible to anyone who registers, but the dental school’s goal is to help children who lack sufficient medical insurance to cover the cost of dental treatments according to Margaret Bakos, the Director of Community Outreach. The event is also designed to teach children about oral hygiene and provide parents with their child’s dental summary, a referral list of dentists and information about dental insurance. “I think it’s terribly disappointing,” Michael Forbes, a father of two who attended last year’s event…

Peter Jasko sifts through a crate of records inside of Stony Brook University’s tight-spaced vinyl library. A dusty record player in the corner of the room begins to spin a disc that is colored with a hallucinogenic blend of yellow, green and purple. An occasional scratch occasionally interrupts the smooth flow of cosmic sound emanating from the record’s grooves, but Jasko–a 20-year-old vinyl collector–does not mind because he did not buy the record for its audio quality.  He was simply fascinated by the idea of being able to hold his music. “Most people my age who are buying records aren’t concerned about the sound quality they’re getting,” Jasko said. “They keep buying records because there’s just something romantic about having a physical copy of music and then watching it play at the drop of a needle.” Today, many bands are trying to press vinyl records for a growing market, but…

Twelve locations on Long Island will be featuring haunted houses through the end of the Halloween season, taking part in the multi-billion dollar season of horror. “Halloween is a billion dollar business,” Tom Gibson, CEO of the Interchange Business Organization, said.. “So many people are into the whole mystique of the holiday. It makes it a great time of the year to open a seasonal store.” Haunted houses, like Darkside Haunted House, are just one of the many small business on Long Island benefiting from the seasonal market, Gibson said. Costume shops often rent empty spaces for a short period of time and run with part-time employees to keep the costs down. “The trick to running a seasonal business is to have limited to no cost” during downtime, Gibson said. “Haunted houses… need to pay for the property all year round.” Long Island haunted house businesses have found a way around this…

I grew up in a community where your barber was Dominican, your neighbor was from some oddly-named town in Venezuela and your closest friends ended up being the people who rooted for the same South American soccer team as you during the FIFA World Cup. Not everyone was Hispanic, but there were enough of us around that whenever I blasted Daddy Yankee’s latest hit from of my uncle’s 2005 Ford van I could be sure someone else was enjoying that music too. Two years ago the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that roughly 54 million Hispanics were living in the United States, but counting the Hispanic populace remains problematic because the term “Hispanic” represents a vague characterization of Spanish-speaking people. By U.S. legislative definition, anyone with a Spanish-speaking background can identify themselves as Hispanic. The word “Hispanic” was adapted into the U.S political vocabulary in the early 1970’s, and ever since…

Chazwick Bundick, better known as Toro y Moi, has been at the forefront of “chillwave” music since his career breakthrough in the indie community sometime around 2010. Chillwave is synonymous with much of his early music, most notably his debut full-length Causers of This.  Fans, for the most part, have gotten accustomed to hearing angel-like hums, faded out vocals and funky sounding pieces that are the perfect ingredients for smooth headshakes – one of the little pleasures in life. In his latest release, titled What For?, Toro stays true to one thing, but it’s not chillwave. Instead he makes it clear that he is not just being a hipster when he tells music writers that he does not want to be part of any one genre. There is a digression from the use of sounds that have been part his style for so long and a noticeable shift towards rock-friendly…

I don’t really like Toys R Us. Its linoleum floors are covered with mysterious brown streaks. The air is a suffocating mixture of cashier sweat and children’s tears. Every store is pretty underwhelming, even the one in Times Square with the awkward Ferris wheel, but there is one section that stands out. The Lego section. As a kid you could always find me rummaging through the Lego section looking for one thing – Bionicles. Bionicles entered my life some time in 2001. My love for them began  with a gift from my mom after doing well in school and eventually blossomed into a zero income profession that consumed all of my time, making it hard to focus on the rules of first-grade mathematics. I was always that kid that did not take care of his toys. I left them around the living room, inside the bathroom, hell, sometimes even the…

Lupe Fiasco spent some time being a misunderstood figure in the hip-hop community. While he was trying to portray himself as a pseudo-intellectual artist, tackling complex social issues, the genre was evolving, becoming what it is today. After his critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Cool, Lupe’s work failed to connect with the audience he was trying to reach, causing his limelight to dwindle for some time. LASERS was a project that did not match Lupe’s style of hip-hop while Food & Liquor 2 had an overwhelming number of Lupe-like ideas that failed to synchronize. However, Lupe’s latest release, Tetsuo & Youth, is an album that seems to have finally found balance between conscious hip-hop and a well-executed concept. The first track, titled Summer, is a minute and a half long instrumental.  The next track, Mural, starts with a light setup of vocals and a sample with jazz drums before Lupe…