Entertainment

And The Band Plays On… (In Defense of Our Marching Warriors)

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Last year my school acquired the services of a local DJ to perform at the all of the home football games; a sacrilegious move in my eyes. No disrespect to all of the spin masters out there, but when it comes to college football, the marching band goes hand in hand with the barbecue grills at the tailgate and the cheerleaders on the sidelines. There’s just something about the triumphant  blares of the brass, the precision of the drum line, the impossible agility of the majorettes (Will she drop it? WILL SHE DROP IT??? She’s totally going to drop it. SHE DIDN’T DROP IT!!!) and the pageantry of the color guard that signifies tradition.

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I had a cup of coffee with my high school band, but in that year and a half, I can attest that being a functional part of a marching band is no simple task. While many people struggle to play an instrument sitting down, these mobile minstrels not only play, but do so while performing elaborate choreography. While the film American Pie portrays band camp as two weeks of adolescent sexual exploration, those who have actually gone through it would probably describe those 14 summer days as being closer to musical boot camp.

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The movie Drumline only scratches the surface of what marching bands mean to historically black colleges and universities. At many HBCUs, the marching band’s halftime routine is more anticipated than the game itself. To see the level of talent, showmanship and excitement these bands bring to the table, do yourself a favor and check out any of the footage from the Honda Battle of the Bands competition that’s on Youtube; it is truly stunning.

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 Also, it would be a crime to pen an article on college marching bands without mentioning the self proclaimed “Best Damn Band in the Land”at Ohio State University.  Through their choreography, this 192 member collective have formed moving cars (complete with a smokey exhaust pipe), bucking bulls, flying spaceships and even a moonwalking Michael Jackson during their halftime exhibitions. Once again, if you truly want to be amazed, look them up on Youtube.

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Last season, our rich friends invited us to their good seats on the 50 yard line, five rows up. Late in the third, the team called a time out and the band rose to their feet. With the sun majestically reflecting off the horn section, the trumpets launched into a familiar cadence. It was the opening bars of Kanye’s “All of the Lights”. The hair on my arms stood straight up; my body covered in goosebumps. I thought to myself, “This is going to be so awesome when the beat drops and the drumline comes in!”Well that beat never dropped as the DJ started up the “Humpty Dance”and played right over the band.

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In the name of two a day practices while wearing full uniforms in 90 degree summer heat, I beg of you, LET THE BAND PLAY!

 

5 Important Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

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There are some things you are definitely going to want to master before you finish college.  Finding a job after college is harder than ever and you want to be as prepared as possible.  You’ll likely start in an entry-level position and this list will prepare you for what lies ahead!

1. Photoshop

 photoshop

The world is becoming increasingly digital.  Any company you end up working for has a website and one or more social media accounts.  Photoshop is a great skill to have in your arsenal because it will likely come in handy for a great number of future projects.  Photoshop can help you create/adjust logos, flyers, newsletters, etc.  This is an excellent skill to have on a resume because potential employers will see it as a great asset!

2. Microsoft Office

microsoft office

This may seem obvious, but knowing all the ins and outs of Microsoft Office is essential.  Don’t just know how to use the basics of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, know how to use every feature of each program.  You’ll likely be using Microsoft Office a lot in whatever job you have and you’re going to want to know everything you can; it’ll make your professional life much easier!

3. How to Use a Copy Machine Extensively

Copy Machine

When you’re first starting out in your professional life, the Copier is going to be a big part of your routine.  The last thing you want is to be the person that breaks the copier or needs help using it; to avoid this, take the time to learn how to use all of the features of one of the copy machines on campus—it may not be the exact machine you will have at your future job but it is a great start.  Also look over the machine to know how to fix it when it jams and how to change the toner!

4. How to Write a Professional Email

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 This is extremely important.  In most jobs, you will be corresponding with many different people and you want to always make a good, professional impression.  Whether it is an email between you and a co-worker, you and your boss, or you and a client/affiliate of the company, you want to make sure you come across as intelligent, organized, and professional.  This is also an important skill when you are emailing with a potential employer about an interview!

5. Social Media

social media

Learn the ins and outs of several social media platforms.  Most companies several social media accounts, so having a lot of knowledge about Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is really important.  Having these skills is also great for your resume.  If you notice that your company has yet to make an account for a social media platform that is or is becoming very popular, suggest that they make one and maybe even offer to create and run it for them.  This shows initiative and can lead to more opportunities and responsibilities!

The 5 Best Books of 2014 (so far)

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The Fault in Our Stars written by John Green

7-22 The Fault in our Stars

Arguably, one of the most buzzworthy books of the first half of 2014. Its popularity skyrocketed almost overnight, gripping its readers and tearing at their heart strings. It was originally intended for young adults, but college students and even older adults have relished in this tragic young love story. Therefore it’s not surprising that the book was both successful in print and at the box-office.

All the Light We Cannot See written by Anthony Doerr

7-22 All the Light We Cannot See

Almost as soon as its release in May, this book has been on many best sellers lists (and rightfully so). It carefully weaves historical fiction to the backdrop of war to create a hard to put down read. For those who cannot get enough of World War II history, this may certainly be the book you’re looking for.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century written by Thomas Piketty

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A bestselling book on economics and development? This certainly does not happen every day. Piketty brings fresh, easily understandable language for those who are unfamiliar with economics and blends it with interesting concepts and charts. This overtly large book (it’s close to 700 pages) have kept readers engaged and thus lifted itself to the top of the nonfiction best sellers list.

Gone Girl written by Gillian Flynn

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This mysterious thriller is sure to leave you at the edge of your seat with the many plot twists and suspenseful circumstances that can only be found in a book by Gillian Flynn. This book has been receiving lots of buzz lately. It has a movie in the works and has been on bestsellers lists since its release.

The Goldfinch written by Donna Tartt

7-22 The_goldfinch_by_donna_tart

An extremely smart novel whose popularity has been unmatched in recent years. Donna Tartt successfully brings the reader into the time and place, allows them to feel emotions portrayed and brings all her characters to life. It’s no wonder that the Goldfinch has been given praise for all over the world.

4 Must Watch Shows This Summer

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Summer TV shows are back in full force and the choices are endless. We are currently in a television Golden Age, where the number of quality TV programs is at an all time high. What shows will you watch this summer? Here’s a short list to help you get started!

1. Orange is the New Black
7-8 OITNB PosterThe second season of OITNB was released in full on Netflix on June 6th, so you may already be caught up on this one, but for those of you who aren’t: there’s no better time than now! The show was a breakout hit after its first season was released in July 2013 and fans of the show eagerly waited for Season 2. The show, set in a minimum-security women’s prison in New York State, has received critical acclaim as well as positive viewer reception. Plus, there’s lots of awards’ season talk around the show and its cast as we get closer to the Emmy’s this August, so put this one at the top of your list.

2. True Blood
7-8 true blood posterThis HBO hit returned for its 7th and final season on June 22nd. If you haven’t watched the show before and you have an HBO Go account, all of the episodes are available online for you to watch at your leisure. For the final season, they amped up the drama and the stakes (pun intended) are higher than ever. Who will make it out alive? Tune in to find out.

3. Pretty Little Liars
7-8 pretty little liars posterThis ABC Family breakout hit debuted in June 2008 and has gained a loyal following ever since. The drama centers on a group of four friends who start receiving anonymous, threatening messages a year after their friend Alison goes missing. The show came back for its 5th season on June 10th and with Alison back in town, craziness ensues. If you’re not already watching this show, it’s time to start!

4. The Leftovers
7-8 the leftovers poster

Another HBO creation, this brand new show just premiered on June 29th. The show, from the co-creator of Lost, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta. The show is set in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York three years after a “Rapture” that caused 2% of the world’s population to disappear without a trace. The show has received positive reviews and stars Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston. And yes, it is the same Christopher Eccleston who played the Ninth Doctor on Doctor Who!

 

Summer 2014 Blockbuster Sequels

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PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!

With stars like Channing Tatum, Jessica Alba and Mark Wahlberg heating up the big screen this summer, it is shaping up to be the summer of movie sequels. Whether you are into comedies, thrillers or animated movies, we’ve got all the details (without spoilers!) on this summer’s biggest sequels. Don’t forget to catch up on your favorite movie franchises before going to see the newest installments, especially for titles like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which haven’t seen a new release in the franchise since 2011.

So kick back with a bucket of popcorn and your favorite candy and enjoy the show!

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22 Jump Street
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: 21 Jump Street
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rating: R

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back at it again when they go undercover as undergrads at a local college to investigate a new drug that has taken over the campus. With no new leads, the two end up on a spring break trip to Mexico and shenanigans ensue.

how to train your dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Rating: PG

The friendship of Hiccup and Toothless continues as they discover a secret ice cave full of wild dragons. The two find themselves in a battle in which the outcome will determine the future of both men and dragons alike.

transformers age of extinctionTransformers: Age of Extinction
Release Date: June 27th
Sequel to: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Director Michael Bay continues the franchise with its fourth installment. Set four years after the epic Chicago battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a mechanic stumbles upon an old Autobot and his findings cause quite a stir with the government who want nothing more than to wipe out all the Transformers for good. Autobot favorites Optimus Prime and Bumblebee return along with a number of new characters, including Grimlock, a mechanical T-Rex.

dawn of planet of the apesDawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 11th
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rating: Not Yet Rated

The continuation of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes picks up a decade later with Caesar calling the shots as the leader of a large population of genetically-evolved apes. The apes struggle against the humans who have survived for the right to become Earth’s most dominant species.

planesPlanes: Fire & Rescue
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: Planes
Genre: Animation, Family
Rating: PG

In the second installment of Disney’s Planes, air racer Dusty learns that he may never race again so he switches careers and becomes an aerial firefighter. Dusty teams up with a fire and rescue helicopter and his team to battle a massive wildfire.

the purgeThe Purge: Anarchy
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: The Purge
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating: R

Due to escalating crime rates and overcrowded prisons, this sequel is set in a world where for one night a year all criminal activity, including murder, is legal. Most citizens barricade themselves inside their homes before nightfall to avoid the dangers of the night, however one couple finds themselves caught out after dark after their car breaks down on the highway.

the expendables 3The Expendables 3
Release Date: August 15th
Sequel to: The Expendables 2
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: Not Yet Rated

With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger (just to name a few!) starring in this film, it is sure to be an action-packed thrill ride. Mel Gibson plays Stonebanks, an arms dealer who has set out to end The Expendables once and for all.

sin citySin City: A Dame To Kill For
Release Date: August 22nd
Sequel to: Sin City
Genre: Action, Crime
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Frank Miller’s famous graphic novel Sin City heads back to the big screen for the third movie in this crime thriller starring Jessica Alba and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!