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Arts and Entertainment 02/2011

What it means

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Birthdays can be said to be the most special days of one’s life. A long time ago, legends spread all over Europe and America about flowers that represent each of the 365 days in a year. These legends hold that if one uses the specific plant to accessorize or dress up on that special day of the year, it would be an effective method to gain happiness. In Christianity, there was a habit of linking saints and specific flowers together, and the churches in commemoration of saints, decorated the altars with full-bloomed flowers. Inside of Catholic monasteries during the Middle Ages, a variety of flowers was also planted in a botanical garden. Overtime, the churches related the saints with all kinds of different flowers for each day; together, they form the flower calender. Similar to birthstones, horoscopes, and zodiac signs, there are flowers representative of each month, along with their individual meanings.

*Note: There are many versions of birthflowers and their meanings. Here I selected the most common and meaningful ones.

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Months

Representative Flower

Meaning and brief description

January

Plum blossom

Clarity of the heart, resoluteness and gracefulness.

Plum blossom is a famous ornamental plant, known especially for its charm. Flowers are white, red and pale red; aromatic and usually bloom in early spring before February. During the late winter and early spring, its fragrance overflows even with a sparse amount of flowers .

February

Violet

Eternal love and beauty, simplicity, virtue, falling in love with you in dreams and being carefully guarded.

Violet’s origin is from southern Europe.They are extremely popular and beloved in Europe and the United States. The fragrance attracted Europeans to make it into perfumes much favored by the ladies. Flowers are lush and in bright colors. They are aromatic and have long flowering periods. They are suitable for ornamental plants. Colors are white, pale yellow, red, magenta, purple and more.

March

Daffodil

Persistence, arrogance, mystery, unrequited love and bravery.

The most common color of daffodil is yellow, but it might come in other colors like pink, orange, white,red, lime green and mixed colors. People born under the blessings of this flower are unpredictable, sometimes bold, sometimes conservative. This flower has a long history of cultivation in Europe. As early as 2000 years ago, the ancient Greeks applied it to create wreaths.

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by Victoria Conn

King of The Beach Review

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courtesy of Wavves' Twitter

 

    Nathan Williams, or Wavves, doesn’t give a damn about being considered authentic. His ego has gotten him into hot water: in Barcelona he showed up on stage high and out of his mind. The booing crowd caused him to have a meltdown wherein he berated the crowd and put no effort into playing whatsoever. Right there on the spot, his touring drummer quit the band.  In his new album, “King of the Beach,” Wavves combines the newer “chillwave” movement with 90’s pop punk and 60’s surf rock to create a genre he affectionately calls “shitgaze.”  


    As a follow up to 2009’s “Wavvves,” the most obvious change in his sound is production. While “King of the Beach” still retains the lo-fi sound found in Wavves’ earlier albums, it’s evident that there’s no longer a barrage of indiscernible noise.  In its place is a flood of catchy pop anthems with a sound inspired by Williams’ home, California. The overall theme of “King of the Beach” is kicking back and having a good time with friends.


    Kicking off with the track the album is named after, “King of the Beach” delivers a crunchy anthem somewhat reminiscent of Green Day’s “Dookie.” The song gives a taste of what’s to come in the album with catchy riffs distorted to hell and back, as well as fun effects like canned hand claps. Under all of the effects, Williams’ vocals range between oohs and ahhs reminiscent of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, to the shouting of mid 90s pop-punk singers like MXPX’s Mike Herrera. However diverse they may be, the biggest problem of the album is Williams’ vocals can be at times very grating. His half yell/ half yelp can sometimes stop the album from its full potential, though this never happens too often.


     Underneath all the fun of “King of the Beach,” Williams’ lyrics show that deep down he’s a pretty depressed guy. With lyrics like “Well, I hate my writing/It's all the same/But it trips like posture/My head just hangs,” Williams shows he’s insecure about how his music holds up. Despite the “woe is me” attitude some of his lyrics hold, he never lets it prevent him from having a good time. Every song’s music has a positive vibe, and not a single song on the album has a grim feeling. The party is truly endless in “King of the Beach.”


    Wavves has created an excellent album for kicking back and having fun to. Despite its nihilistic lyrical content at times, there’s never an unhappy moment on “King of the Beach.” Be it blazing fast, double timed punk songs or relaxed surf rock, the album excels at everything it attempts.
 

4 out of 5 stars

 

by John Hill

For Love and Revenge! Love Inc.

            Love Inc. is 400 paged clichéd love story, written by the authors Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout. It is a captivating story about a Scottish/Pakistani girl who is trying cope with the separation of her parents while pleasing the love of her life, Rico. Little did she know that while this is all happening, her supposed boyfriend “Rico”, has been dating two other girls under the alias “Eric”, and “Rick”. The three girls eventually meet in an unexpected group therapy session, and immediately find out that they’re being triple-timed by the exact same guy. After carrying out their vendetta, the three realize that they have a common talent in payback. Using their special new found skills, they form Love Inc: A secretive business that deals with matchmaking, break-up, and revenge.


            This book is an extremely blasé, and certain lines were overused, though, overall was not a total nightmare to read. As you strive past the first ten chapters, the book starts to uncover the growth of the characters, and they start revealing unique and enjoyable quirks that wasn’t revealed earlier. As the reader reads on, their inner personalities starts to reveal so much more that it is made easier to distinguish each character from another. After all it is not every day that a reader encounters a character with a Sponge-Bob tattoo. Though writing style is dreadful, nerve wrecking, and lack luster, along with the overall plot. The idea of a girl wanting revenge on a boy who cheats on her is easy to relate to the movie “John Tucker Must Die“. The idea of a group of girls forming a matchmaking industry has also been used in a rather recent film. The author has a talent in developing characters for this story, but the storyline itself has been overused to the point of being dull. The idea of a emotional teenager suffering from a divorce can be found everywhere these days: in movies, television, and even other books. This story is a great past-time for passionate romantics out there who are looking for something to pass the time. This could be a great story hardcore Twilight fans, considering the fact that this main characters parents are also divorced, and this main character is also suffering through life problems. The only thing this doesn’t include is vampires and werewolves. This book is recommended for all those who are looking for something to buy time, before the next big obsession appears.

 

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

by Helen Moy

Crazy for You Review

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Best Coast w/ Snacks, courtesy of @bestycoasty

 

   “Chillwave” is a genre of music characterized by the use of heavy effects processing, and low fidelity vocals somewhat reminiscent of '80s shoegaze, a sub-genre of alternative rock. The music itself is usually made by one person using limited hardware in order to create an end product that doesn’t sound overly produced. Best Coast’s “Crazy For You” shows what the genre has to offer, while simultaneously showing the flaws of said genre as well.


    The fuzzy-buzzy sound of “Crazy for You” kicks off with the track “Boyfriend,” in which Bethany Cosentino, the band’s mastermind, croons with jealousy about wanting a boy she can’t have. Aside from the surf rock guitars, the most obvious thing about the album is Cosentino’s voice. The cool care-free attitude behind her words come across throughout the entire album. It’s obvious that there isn’t much complexity behind her lyrics though, with lines like, “I wish my cat could talk,” showing Cosentino isn’t concerned about hiding her spaced out thoughts behind colorful language (What cat owner doesn’t wish their cat could talk?). Instead she opts for the straightforward approach by thoroughly talking about every little thought that crosses her head in situations like a boyfriend taking away her sanity in “Our Deal” or wishing her date was another guy in “The End.”


   Unlike her chillwave counterparts, Best Coast doesn’t rely on any synthesizer throughout “Crazy for You.”  Instead, the album harkens back to its genre’s roots, using tambourines and bells to make up for the lack of synths. This gives the album a very meaningful and authentic feel to it, unlike other groups who just bleep and bloop their way to be chill. Best Coast doesn’t need robots to be “chill as hell;” she does everything naturally with electric guitars and effect pedals. She also has a cat on the album cover named Snacks The Cat, which is pretty chill (the cat has his own twitter, @snacksthecat.)


    The biggest problem the album faces is monotony. Every song on the album blends in with another, creating a blur. Despite being chill, the album lacks variety. It’s one giant, fuzzy blob that needs work identifying itself from one song to the next. Every song’s pace is relatively the same, leaving the listener confused as to which song is which.


    Aside from the monotony, “Crazy for You” is a very enjoyable album. It excels at being enjoyable and welcoming to any listener no matter what their taste may be. Best Coast’s surf rock jams bring summer to every season. Unlike other bands in the genre, Best Coast doesn’t need synth trickery aside from some reverb and fuzz pedals. It excels at being chill, even at the cost of distinguishing songs.

 

5 out of 5 stars.

 

by John Hill

Cataclysmic

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          World of Warcraft is an online game created by the company Blizzard Entertainment and requires a monthly payment to play. The game World of Warcraft was first released on November 23rd, 2004. Recently, on December 7th, 2010, Blizzard released a new expansion to the game, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Players create characters, which either belong to the Horde faction or the Alliance faction. Both factions are at war with each other so players can attack members of the opposing faction. Once created, the character can either kill monsters or complete quests to level up until they reach the level cap of 85.


                This expansion increased the intensity of the game. The previous expansion, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was too easy. Dungeons, which are zones where players group up to kill elite monsters for better equipment, were completed with ease because players were only required to attack monsters, doing nothing else whatsoever. However, in Cataclysm, the level of difficulty for the new dungeons has increased. Monsters in the new dungeons do increased damage, forcing players to advance slowly through the dungeon. Players also have to pay attention to their surroundings against elite monsters that drop superior equipment because there is a lot of action going on when fighting them. For example, on a certain fight, a monster drops mines on the ground, forcing players to avoid them or take massive damage. These fights differ from other monsters in the dungeon because they have more health points and a variety of attacks.


                Many features were added to the game. Players are now able to learn a new skill, archaeology, letting them travel around the world in the game discovering artifacts. Although it is very time consuming, it is very rewarding! The Goblin and Worgen are the two new characters released in Cataclysm. The Goblin belongs to the Horde faction, and the Worgen belongs to the Alliance faction. Once created, the new characters do a series of   quests unique to their race. These quests are far more entertaining to complete than for the other races because these quests require players to do other actions, like driving a car, instead of just slaying monsters or obtaining items. Five new questing zones were released for levels 80-85. The new zones have chain quests, requiring players to complete a certain quest before receiving a new quest, making questing easier.


                The only downside in the expansion so far is Tol Barad. Tol Barad is a new Player versus Player zone, where an equal number of members of opposing factions fight for control of an island. One side defends, and one side attacks to gain control of the island. The defending side wins once 15 minutes have gone by and the attacking side has failed to gain control of all three areas, and the attacking side wins once the defending side loses complete control of the three areas. This zone was horribly done because the defending side always has the upper hand. The defending side can simply group up and take control of another area. The attacking side is really the defending side.


                I think World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is great. The changes to the game are outstanding because Wrath of the Lich King was too easy. I really like the intensity of the new dungeons and skill required from each player just to complete them.

 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

by Edward Chung