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A&E

Sorry,

by Marie Vega

 

After nine awesome years, "The Office" is sadly coming to an end. Personally, I believe Steve Carell's character, Michael Scott, leaving the show is the reason it's ending.theofficepic.jpg After Carell left, I feel that most of the audience left with him.  Michael Scott was a major piece of "The Office" family. His awkward presence and random improvised outbursts at office meetings brought a sense of naivety to scenes. For example, when he burnt his foot on a George Foremen grill he acted like his injury was equal to someone in a wheelchair. Of course, we can't forget about all the "That's what she said" jokes Michael's said over the years.


When Michael left, a problem arose in finding a replacement for the Scranton branches' regional manager position. Will Ferrel decided to step in as regional manager for a little while to help make the transition to new boss easier. I didn't like Ferrell's character, Deangelo, in his four episode arc. Deangelo was unknowingly mean and made Michael feel small. Deangelo made me a little mad by constantly making fun of Mr. Scott. I guess the writers thought, "Everyone else has made fun of Michael, why not the new guy who's going to take his job?" I, on the other hand, felt Michael's last days should have been celebrated, not made fun of. As Deangelo left it was announced that Andy Bernard, played by Ed Helms, would take over as regional manager.

Steve Carell leaving definitely hurt ratings for "The Office." Andy as office manager seems like he's trying too hard to be like Michael. He's awkward and not funny. I liked him better as the paper salesman with anger issues. I realized when Carell left, the show added a couple of new characters (maybe to help fill in the gaps Michael left behind). Who knows, but I definitely wasn't comfortable with the new characters at first. I just don't like having to adjust to new characters when the audience is already trying to begin letting go of Michael Scott. It's like getting a new cat after your old one passes away. You need time to grieve. So bringing in so many new "cats" to "The Office" took some getting used to.

New characters and old ones gaining new positions show that "The Office" is running out of ideas. Sadly, the show is ending. Michael is gone; Andy is manager; and one of the top NBC sitcoms is leaving our television screens. I guess after nine years it was really time for them to pull out... That's what she said.

Lincoln musicians share the music of winter!

by Serina Fang

On Dec. 7, a crisp, wintry night, Abraham Lincoln High School held its first winter concert in three years. IMG_2415.JPGThe revival of the music program gathered many musical talents together, and, as of this, school year Lincoln has a full orchestra and band as well as a chorus. Tristan Arnold, the music teacher, was the conductor and organizer of the concert.

 

At seven in the evening, I sat in the darkened auditorium, eagerly awaiting the musicians’ performances. I was impressed by the sheer size of the band, orchestra, and chorus, for last year the fledgling music program only had a combined band and orchestra with only a few strings and brass players. Now there are over 90 musicians of all kinds, playing a variety of instruments from different families or singing in the chorus. 

 

The concert started with the band playing a version of the familiar Lincoln Hymn arranged by Arnold. The band performed both harmonic and energetic pieces, putting their hearts into each piece. My two favorites were the vigorous “Shenandoah Valley” by John Kinyon and “Salvation” by Robert W. Smith.

 

Despite being a winter concert, none of the songs were the festive holiday tunes I expected. Perhaps the sharpest contrast to my expectations for a jolly holly Christmas concert was the orchestra performance. Strings and percussion played a funeral dirge and melancholy waltzes, creating a poignant and sorrowful atmosphere. My favorite orchestra piece was the eerily beautiful “Requiem in D minor” by W.A. Mozart. Mozart never completed the piece, and when he died the Requiem was played during his funeral. The violins captured the mournful and haunting feel of the piece with silent, doleful playing.

 

The jazzy Pink Panther theme played by the combined band and orchestra was a mood whiplash from the somber pieces of the string ensemble. The chorus also sang songs with power and energy, delivering traditional hymns such as “Dona Nobis Pacem” and “Wade in the Water” as well as “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller. 

 

The winter concert defied and exceeded all of my expectations. Initially I was prepared to listen to one holiday jingle after another, but the eclectic mix of pieces provided a unique listening experience. All of the musicians are incredibly talented, and I look forward to attending another concert performed by them. 

Lincoln, an inspirational movie of a life time to remember

by Justin Fung

Abraham Lincoln, a renowned and recognizable figure to so many people; he represents a rich part of American history.  Most know him for being the 16th president of the United States and his famous Gettysburg Address speech; however for many, I being one of them, have never experienced or observed what it could have been back like when Lincoln was president until now. 

Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln” offers an opportunity to witness just what Lincoln’s era might have been like.  The movie not only takes us back into the past, but also gives the chance to see Abraham Lincoln and his unique personality.  Daniel Day Lewis, who stars as President Lincoln, shows a very calm open-minded, at times very funny character, who, at the same time is determined to get things done.

Initially when I found out about this movie, it caught my interest in the first place; though I was hesitant to see it because of the concerns of “blood and guts” violence.   When one of my classmates told me the movie had little to no violence, I thought about it and finally decided to see it.    

This well directed movie takes place during the height of an already violent and grueling American Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, already in its fourth year. 

The movie, despite taking us back into history of the Civil War, focuses mostly on slavery, more specifically the process of ratifying the 13th amendment, which abolishes slavery.  The movie shows the process and the difficulty of passing it. 

Day-Lewis’s excellent acting shows no worries while trying to ratify the amendment in the most realistic way.  It somewhat reminds me of the days leading up to the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act or what some would call “Obamacare.”  In some way these two were hard to pass, requiring the most feasible ways to get it done, but both Lincoln and our current president showed no panic, despite the stressfulness and struggles of getting it done. 

This movie enables us to have a sense of what it was like to ratify the 13th amendment because, while we know that the 13th amendment is part of our Constitution today, most of us would not think about what it took to make it possible until this film “Lincoln” came out. 

While the film focuses on the aspects of gathering votes to insure that there were enough votes for ratification, the film “Lincoln” also shows the strain and stress with family matters, especially with his wife Mary Todd, played by Sally Field. 

Besides the visual contents of this film, what connected me most to the feelings in the movie was the soundtrack.  The soundtrack varied at times with joy, at times excitement, while other times it was somber and emotional. 

The movie contains a variety of feelings and humor.  With Day-Lewis acting as Lincoln, boy there were many unexpected parts when Lincoln tells his stories.  However, I would say as the movie got toward end and to the conclusion I saw parts that felt somber and eventually sadden, but very touch parts.   

I would say that overall this movie was satisfying.  It gives a good sense of American history and provides a lot of emotions with variety.  I’ve already watched it two times.  I had to admit the second time I watched it, I was in tears at the end given to the fact it was so touching.

The film “Lincoln” was so good; it earned 12 Oscar nominations. These nominations include Best picture, Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones, Best Supporting actress Sally Field, Best Director Steven Spielberg, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Sound Mixing.  

“Far Cry 3” brings new life to the franchise

by Jacob Ortega

The first person shooter genre of video games is quite possibly the most competitive genre in the gaming market today. Far-Cry-3-Box-Art.jpgWith huge blockbuster titles like “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield” in the fray, smaller titles have to really step up their game to even have a chance. Video game developer Ubisoft is a rather large name in the shooter market, and this time they took a chance with a new addition to their “Far Cry” series. In all honesty, I had little hope for “Far Cry 3” after playing the broken, boring, overhyped disappointment that was “Far Cry 2.” While inserting the game into my console I still had the horrors of “Far Cry 2” fresh in my mind, but “Far Cry 3” cleansed my tainted palate. I guess you can that “Far Cry 3” is a far cry from “Far Cry 2.”

The narrative of the game follows one Jason Brody, your typical American male who is enjoying a tropical vacation with a group of friends, including his younger and older brother. They decide to go skydiving and, unsurprisingly, get split up on an island crawling with pirates united under the pirate lord Vaas. Mr. Vaas decides to hold the vacationers for ransom, and, when the ransom money has been extorted, he plans to sell them into slavery. Jason, deciding that slavery is bad, breaks free from captivity, but his older brother is killed during the daring escape. A tribal inhabitant of the island, whose tribe has been harassed by the pirates for some time, rescues Jason and brings him to the tribe’s leader. Jason is initiated as a warrior of the tribe and is given many a mission to help retake the island from the pirate invaders.

If you said that “Far Cry 3” primarily focuses on survival you’d be correct. Trader Joe’s is not present on a tropical island littered with wild animals and bad guys alike, so players have to use the local wildlife and plant life to craft their own consumables and gear. You can purchase healing items and weaponry, but the best upgrades (like being able to carry more ammo or weaponry) can only be gained through hunting and foraging for specific materials. And since no mortal can carry three tons of crap through the jungle, the game has a very strict limit on inventory space. If you want to thrive on the island, you’re going to have to hunt and gather throughout the entire game. The good news is that the world is huge, so there’s quite a bit to collect.

Similar to just about every major release of autumn, “Far Cry 3” gives you the option to play stealthily or guns-a-blazing through the game, but it encourages stealth as the optimal approach to a combat situation. Conveniently, the pirates are all brain damaged and myopic, allowing you to hide in a relatively open area by simply crouching. “Far Cry 3” also provides players with a wide variety of tools to deal with your enemies and take advantage of their incredibly poor perception. From setting traps to distracting enemies with a well-thrown rock, one simple move can deal with any and all unaware pirates in your vicinity, but one slip up can lead to the alarm being triggered.

Once the bell is rung, expect waves of enemies to bombard you. If you do manage to complete certain tasks without being spotted, the game rewards you with enormous bonuses, but that’s easier typed than done. In my time playing “Dishonored” (another stealth-based game) I completed the whole game without once killing anyone, but in “Far Cry 3” I’ve only managed to clear an enemy outpost undetected on a few occasions.

It especially sucks when you die during a mission, because the game often doesn’t like to respawn you where you want to respawn. Often times I’ve found myself planning out an entire mission around approaching the objective using a specific route. If I died, the game would restart me before my death in a completely different area that I had no plan of using. If you’re scaling a cliff to get to your opponents and bite the dust for any reason, the game’s respawn system might place you in a flat area instead.

While non-essential characters sound boring, the main cast is voiced quite well. This goes double for Vaas, who just made my list of greatest antagonists in video games. His character reminds me somewhat of the Joker from “Batman;” it’s easy to call him insane, but when it comes down to his actions he knows exactly what he’s doing. When he speaks it often gives me goose bumps, both because of Michael Mando’s superb voice acting and the brilliant dialogue written for him. In fact most of the dialogue in general is very well written.

After you’ve played all the way through the story to the bitter end, the game provides quite a few multiplayer options that are so generic that I probably don’t even have to delve very deeply into them. If you’ve ever played “Call of Duty” or any game using the same model, you could easily describe the game modes without even playing them. There is a cooperative play mode that feels quite like an arcade game, but I feel that the co-op mode could have been more tied to the main story, and by not doing so I feel that Ubisoft has missed out on a great opportunity.

In summary, “Far Cry 3” is solid, but it has some flaws. It isn’t “’Skyrim’ with guns” as many have joked, the difference being that “Skyrim” is a better game. While it does look great visually, gameplay always takes precedence. The multiplayer mode is very generic, but is balanced out by a solid single-player experience. I got quite a bit out of the game, but I felt like a better multiplayer experience would have hooked me.

4 out of 5; by now the game’s price has dropped, so I’d recommend trying it out.

Be snuggly, warm and fashionable this winter!

by Emmanuelle Paez

Every fashionista wants to change their style for the new season, so I am here to save every fashionista’s life. Here is the winter season fashion trend.

Guess who’s back? It’s stripes and checkers. We haven’t seen them for two years or since Miley Cyrus ‘s drug video incident.  Stripes were originally famous from Louis Vuitton. Louis Vuitton is from Paris; they’re famous for their luxury bags, clothing and dresses.

Winter is one of the fashionista’s favorite seasons because they get to wear snuggly items like sweaters or pea coats. Burberry came out with cadet style jackets and pea coats that have checkered print. 

 

If you’re tight on a budget, there’s always ROSS. ROSS has so many pea coats like ones from Burberry or Chanel, which cost twenty dollars or less. ROSS is famous for people who want to be fashionable and also be in budget.

 

Stripes! What should we do with stripes? Stripes can be worn as a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans or a jacket. Maybe your neighbor can match in stripes with you. Stripes are going to be in season until this summer. Be creative, be yourself, and be fashionable! 

 

So, ladies, here are your winter season tips.

  • Lip balm is your best friend for this winter because you want to impress everyone with soft lips.
  • Wear boots to keep your lovely feet warm. I recommend that you wear the fake fur edition.
  •  If it’s not your morning, or you don't feel like dressing up, then wear leggings! 
  • Don’t blend into the crowd; stand out of the crowd.
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