Skip to main content

Arts and Entertainment

"Fangirl" is the book of the people

by Charlotte Woo

FangirlsaveTD.jpg

Your things are packed, and it’s time to leave. You’re finally going to college. Are you ready?

    For twin sisters Cather and Wren, a readiness and excitement for college is not shared. Wren is ready to be her own person. She’s ready to not be defined by who she and her identical twin sister are together. Cather is the opposite. She’s scared. She’s never been away from her sister, and she’s not ready to face a new school and new people.

    Set in Ohio, the young adult fiction novel “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell focuses on one twin’s experience with her first year in college. Cath is an anxious fangirl. She is an extremely popular fan fiction writer for the Simon Snow fandom, a fictional character that is their equivalent to our Harry Potter, but she fears social interaction. Her sister refuses to room with her despite their going to the same university.

    Cath is forced to room with a tough girl named Reagan, whose ex-boyfriend Levi is always hanging around. Reagan, an upperclassman on a scholarship, takes pity on her antisocial roommate and befriends Cath, and by association, so does Levi.

    The world of this book feels very realistic, and locations are described with great detail. I can picture Cath and Reagan’s doom room. I can picture the residence hall’s courtyard and the farming school’s main building.

    Cath’s characterization is relatively well-developed, and her social anxiety is handled well. Rowell doesn’t romanticize or exploit Cath’s anxiety. However, Cath isn’t shown growing out of her fear of social interaction, as the extent of her socialising is with Wren, Reagan and Levi.
I understand why Rowell chooses to characterize Cath this way though. Anxiety is not something that is to be taken lightly, nor is it something that goes away overnight. I’m sure if we were able to follow Cath for longer, we would see her begin to lose her anxious ways. In the last five or so chapters, Cath shows signs that she isn’t quite as reserved and scared as she was at the beginning of the book.

    Levi quickly became my favorite character. He’s romantic and sweet and almost too perfect. His sense of humor made me cackle loudly with laughter.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Rowell’s writing style. It’s thoughtful while being easy to read. Her writing style has a certain charm and wit to it that drew me in. I couldn’t put “Fangirl” down. I kept telling myself, “One more chapter, then do your homework,” but I just kept reading and reading because it was engaging. The endings of chapters made me need to know what was going to happen next.

    Though I liked this story, I was disappointed with the ending; it was anticlimactic. I felt like the main story’s climax was in the middle of the book rather than being at the end. While another minor storyline had it’s climax toward the end, I felt like it wasn’t necessary. The character that was introduced a third of the way into the book for this minor storyline was underdeveloped. The relationship with this character had so much potential to make Cath shine as I think she was meant to.

    Rowell’s other titles include “Attachments,” an adult fiction novel, “Eleanor and Park,” a widely acclaimed young adult novel, and “Landline,” an upcoming adult fiction novel.  Though I haven’t read these, I plan to.

Based on the synopses I’ve read, all of Rowell’s books have very different stories, and I appreciate that she’s not trying to tell stories that have been overdone as often happens in today’s literary world, where the same stories are being told over and over again with minor changes to how they go.

    “Fangirl” will appeal to readers who like romance and comedy. It’s a relatively easy read, but it makes you think. Rowell’s latest novel is a relevant book to our generation that should not be overlooked. The characters are witty, and the main storyline isn’t predictable.

    For more information about “Fangirl” and its author Rainbow Rowell, visit www.rainbowrowell.com

Le Mode de Lincoln Log Presents: A Spring Collection

by Serina Fang

fashion art.jpg

Springtime is sweeping in on the petals of plum blossoms and drizzly gray days, so now it is an appropriate time to update your wardrobe and shove the ski parkas into the back of the abyssal pit that is your closet. However, preparing for the spring look puts you at risk of falling into traps of the Tacky, the Tasteless and the Unbelievably Pricey for Crappy Cheap Quality. The Lincoln Log is prominent in the world of haute couture, so fear not! The best tips for looking your finest are found here.

LADIES: Pastel color choices are always a spring favorite, and this year is no different. Pick your perfect shade and wear it on just about any silhouette you find flattering. The tea-length skirt is proving to be the go-to skirt for spring. Between a midi and a maxi, it harkens back to older days with a ladylike hem, but it looks modern and breezy when paired with any sleeveless or short-sleeved top. The shift blouse is also proving popular with its comfort and versatility by being a dressier version of a T-shirt. It has elbow-length sleeves and a boxy silhouette and comes in various bold or soft prints and colors. Finally, contrast-collar button downs with their variety of colors and textures prove excellent for adding a dab of brightness to an otherwise practical but bland outfit.
    Of course, all of these designs can be obtained without requiring you to sell off a kidney to get the money to buy them. San Francisco is host to a multitude of local businesses and thrift stores that offer the perfect spring looks at an affordable price. Online shopping is also an option for stylish and reasonably priced clothes.

REFRAIN: From paying too much just to get clothing. Some stores would price their wares at an insanely high price for horrible quality. An offender of this would be the ever popular Urban Outfitters, where they sell paper-thin tops and pants with colors that run in the wash at prices as high as $100. Any true urbanite of style would know that if there existed something better than looking good, it’s looking good with money still in your wallet.
    In addition to avoid being fooled by suspiciously expensive retailers, please abstain from wearing sordid plebeian fashions such as tight leggings with no shorts or skirt, flip-flop sandals even in rain and all things gratuitously and ostentatiously gem-encrusted or studded. Also, perfume is best in small spritzes, not a whole bottle. Diffusion is real, and not everybody in the whole hallway appreciates inhaling thick Vanilla Cake Musk with every breath.

GENTLEMEN: Springtime is redolent with flowers and a host of similar allergens, so it’s no surprise that floral prints are perfect this season. Double-vested blazers adds class to any getup, and when coupled with a bowtie the ensemble instantly looks 50% dapper. The blazers come in a variety of colors and prints, so picking your favorite shade and design will not be difficult. Finally, neon sneakers are among the most popular of spring trends. Little else looks better than highlighter shoes gleaming through the wet gray of April rain.
    Again, these designs can be bought from local businesses and thrift stores all over the city. Scouring the Internet will also net you deals you might not find in real life.

REFRAIN: From being hornswoggled by overly expensive retailers with cheap wares. Also keep away from disgustingly coarse and horrid fashions such as wearing Internet memes on a baggy sweatshirt. Nothing is more base and vomit-inducing than seeing a rage comic or the omnipresent troll face on a gray hoodie.

I'd rather be a ghost than play "Ghosts"

by Jasprit Samra

call-of-duty-ghosts-key-art-1.jpg

 

         Every year a new installment in the “Call of Duty” franchise releases. This year a new “Call of Duty” series arrived. People expected  “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4,” which is supposed to continue the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” series but instead they got “Ghosts,” which to me is the worst “Call of Duty” game.                                                                                                              

         “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is a very popular game developed Infinity Ward, published by Activison. It is a first-person shooter game. The game comes with Campaign (story), Multiplayer, and Extinction mode.

         The Campaign is about six hours long. The story is about two brothers, Logan (who the player controls) and his brother. The two brothers join a special group called the Ghosts, which are secret soldiers who work in the shadows, and someone is trying to kill them off. The United States is no longer a superpower, with its economy and government in ashes. The remainder of the nation’s Special Operations forces, the Ghosts, fights a newly emerged technologically-superior global power, the Federation, which is comprised of South American countries formed together not for freedom or liberty but simply to survive. I liked the Campaign only because the setting was in a post-apocalyptic United States. The post-apocalyptic setting is interesting to me because I liked the amount of detail Infinity Ward put in. I didn't like the campaign because it felt too similar to “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” where the U.S. was attacked by Russia instead of the Federation.

         The extinction mode is about staying alive from aliens. Extinction mode has four players in a game. The players have to kill and stay alive from the aliens. The objective is to see how many rounds they can survive. The aliens will get harder to kill each round. The players have to upgrade their weapons or get new ones so you can move on. I don’t like extinction mode because it is just a copy of Treyarch’s zombie mode (COD: Black Ops 1 and 2/ COD: World at War), which is way better. I preferred the zombies because the zombies look much more scary unlike the aliens, which look like giant bugs. The zombies are more gory than the aliens. The zombie maps are better because they look like hell on earth.

            The multiplayer mode is what most people who buy this game play. Most people just skip the Campaign and head straight into multiplayer, which is what makes “Call of Duty” different than other first person shooters. In “Ghosts” you can customize a lot more than previous games. You can make your own character and customize it to your preference. “Ghosts” has a bunch of new guns from snipers to assault rifles. I would have liked to have more because people get bored using the same weapons. It would be better to have more than enough.                                                           

The maps are bigger than previous game, which is dreadful because “Call of Duty” is supposed to be a fast-paced game, but the large maps make this a slow game.   “Ghosts” has up to 16 players on next generation/PC (PS4 and Xbox One) and current generation (PS3, Xbox 360) has only 12 in “Ghosts” compared to “Battlefield 4”‘s 64 players.                                                  

         To make the game even slower, the campers are in every game. Campers are people who just sit in a corner and wait for people to come by. “Ghosts” multiplayer looks like the same game as “Modern Warfare 3” but with different maps/weapons. This makes the multiplayer very stressful. I hate it because of how I have to play hide-and-seek trying to find people in corners.

This game feels the same as the other “Call of Duty” games. The big difference about this game on next generation is the graphics because the next generation consoles can support full HD. The graphics are way better than any other “Call of Duty” game I have ever played. The graphics on current generation are pretty bad and look very blurry.                                            

Overall I would give this game a 4/10 stars.

Basic Vacation takes their first step out of the house

by Henry Monteiro

BasicVacationEPart-445.jpg

Ever since fun. and Gotye of “Somebody That I Used to Know” fame managed to conquer the Billboard charts for a combined 14 weeks back in 2012, indie pop acts have gotten more attention than they would have back even a few years ago, when the only indie songs charting were once-a-year flukes like "Pumped Up Kicks" or "Animal." Since "We Are Young" by fun, however, songs under the indie pop label are popping up more and more regularly, with Imagine Dragons already having three hits under their belt, and artists like Bastille and Capital Cities also squeezing in between Katy Perry and Pitbull for radio play.

So naturally, you’re going to find at least some hype for any new band with a sound based in equal parts on rock and pop, since record labels will be grasping for any artist to turn into the next big thing. And now, this potential "next big thing" is going to be Basic Vacation, a three-piece from New England that released their debut EP back in October. And luckily, based on the five songs off their debut, their presence would not be an unwelcome one.

One important point to why this EP is so promising is the fact that Basic Vacation seem to have found the careful balance between "emotional" and "fun". Most indie pop songs on the radio seem to land to heavy on the serious side, like "It's Time," while most pop music is just enjoyable without any real thought behind it. Luckily, all the songs off of this EP hit right in between, where songs like "Some Nights" by fun. lie, where the instrumentation and vocals have an emotional intensity to them, while still being enjoyable enough to dance to. The album does have a decent amount of emotion throughout, but it's not heavy enough to stop the audience from enjoying themselves.

The EP also shows off the band's talent in making immediately enjoyable songs, plain and simple. All songs on the EP are incredibly well-put together, with no moment on the release clashing against the other. The songs all feel thought-out and carefully assembled, making for a surprisingly cohesive debut EP. For 15 minutes, the listener is left with a collection of remarkably enjoyable songs that don't wear out their welcome.

However, a problem with this EP does arise, and that's the fact that the songs do kind of all sound mildly similar. Slight differences between each song do appear. "Jamie" sounds like it's ripped straight from an 80s throwback record, rather than the modern sounding, stadium filling songs of the rest of the EP. But when push comes to shove, the songs do run together a bit. I also kind of wish I could hear more, since it's hard to base a full opinion on a band who’s only released five songs. Who knows, maybe they do only have one sound to them, or maybe it's just that these were the first five written, and thus will all inevitably share a similar sound.

Still, beyond that, this is a very strong debut by an up-and-coming band. It's a shame that we don't get to see them expand more, but that's what happens when all the public has at first is an EP. Basic Vacation's full-length debut will come out sometime this year, so be on the watch for it. Until then, just enjoy the five songs on here.

Score: 3.5/5