Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Final Blog Post

Vox Pop Link:

  • What was the assignment?
    We were assigned to create a feature article on a topic involving "Valentines Day." I chose to focus on bad gift ideas and good gift ideas to help persuade people on what to not do on valentines day, and what to do instead.
  • Why did you choose this piece over the others we have done?
    I chose this piece because I really liked my end result. I thought I added a decent amount of humor that was relevant to the topic and I liked the way it flowed.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the piece?
    Strength was the structure of the feature focusing on the different topics while giving an introductions and conclusion. I liked how this flowed. Some weakness I felt was the length. I think I may have written a little too much because I remember I was supposed to keep it relatively short. 

    Without further ado, here is my Valentines Day Feature:

Love is in the air which only means one thing; it’s Valentines Day. A day where people spread love and kindness to their loved ones. This day could be full of stress and anxiety because if you have a significant other, you may not know what to do. If you’re single, try again next year. Couples around the world are scrambling to their local Rite Aid to buy on sale box of chocolates the night before. Some couples are all set, as they just bought a $15,000 diamond ring because their girlfriend is just so damn special. So what makes a good gift for Valentines Day? It really depends on the relationship you have with your significant other. If you’re married, you may do something sweet like a home cooked meal, and delicious desserts. If you’re in high school with a girlfriend, maybe you should just get some chocolates and a nice card, but if you’re in middle school just give her your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles card.

Good gifts. What is a good gift? Is it a diamond ring? Technically yes, but some of you are on a shoestring budget so you won’t be able to afford that. Doing something simple isn’t lame or generic. It shows off the fact that you care and it’s the thought that counts. You can never go wrong with a heart shaped box of chocolates for guys or girls. I interviewed teenager Jonathan Mervine who’s been in a relationship with the same girl for over three years. “It really depends on what the girl likes obviously. You don’t need to go all out like it’s a birthday, or anniversary. Save your money and do something special for those days and not Valentines Day. Love isn’t an object, it’s the thought that counts. You don’t even need to get a girl anything, just give her your appreciation and show that you care about her. Trust me, that is the best gift idea for Valentines Day.” Jonathan made some great points about love not being an object. You don’t need to spend money to make people happy.

Bad gifts. What makes a bad gift? Some people would say this could be considered a good gift, but it truly isn’t. Anything with a price tag over $50 is a bad idea for a gift. I asked Brooke Heathco about bad gifts, and she said “What makes a bad gift is simple. Nothing at all. If you just write off this day as a normal day, that’s a bad idea. At least show some thought even if it’s a cheesy singing card. People don’t need to buy expensive jewelry as a Valentines Day present because it’s not as important as other dates, but to just not do anything at all, now that’s a bad idea.” Brooke made some interesting points. If you just ignore your significant other to stay at home and play Grand Theft Auto V, that’s a bad gift idea.

There you have it folks, these are helpful tips when it comes to Valentines Day. You don’t need to get a gift at all, as long as you show kindness and nice gestures you’ll be golden. If the other person doesn’t like the idea of getting absolutely nothing but appreciation, then you may not be in the right relationship. Enjoy your Valentines Day and let the love sweep you off your feet and skip with glee. Stay Safe.

    • What was the assignment?
      To write an editorial that we had a strong opinion on. I chose to compare and contrast a topic I knew I could write for hours on, movies.
    • Why did you choose this piece over the others we have done?
      Because I finally got the freedom to write about a topic I've wanted to write about for a long time. The past 3 years of high school I was forced to write essays I couldn't care less about and it was just a structure to follow and I couldn't interject myself into them. This class has allowed me to do that, especially 2nd semester and I felt as though this piece really got me to that point.
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the piece?
      I thought I did a good job comparing and contrasting the difference between mainstream films and independent. I thought I gave good insights to someone who may not know the difference. Weakness includes a very poor conclusion in my opinion. I went on for what seemed like a long time and then just ended it. But anyways...

      Without further ado, here is my Editorial "Mainstream Vs. Independent."

      Mainstream Vs. Independent
      Some people may not even know what this title means or what I’m about to write, but this is about the two different categories of film. Mainstream films and independent films. Mainstream films are the type of movies you typically go see. Those big blockbuster action films with Michael Bay’s name stamped all over the posters and trailers. Movies such as Transformers with non stop explosions with absolute no plots and overpaid actors. Independent films are what a select few see. They don’t get wide releases, which mean they are harder to track down a theater that has it. Mainly small, art house theaters carry such films so you can’t blame the audiences with sticking to the explosions. What I’m here to write about is the difference between them.
      Independent films are made with a little budget. Maybe five millions tops. Now this includes food, salaries, equipment, location permits, and post production work. Everything adds up quickly with filmmaking so they have to be conservative. What’s great about smaller films, is they have passion involved. The director and screenwriters usually have full control over their final product, whereas mainstream films the studios get a say in the final product taking away the true vision and passion the director once had. For example, one of the best movies that came out last year was The Spectacular Now. A story about young love with an aspiring message of living in the now. Not the present or future, the now. This film has such a strong message and incredible heart throughout. According to IMDB (Internet Movie Data base) the budget of this movie was $2 million, which in the industry they call a “snickers bar and a shoelace” budget. It proves that you don’t need a bug budget to make a great film.
      Now mainstream films can be great as well. Recent films in my opinion include “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” Movies that had a big budget, but was in the correct hands and came out to be very good. Going back to last year again, one of the worst movies was “The Lone Ranger.” Which had a budget of $250 million. Now I can’t imagine how much money $250 million is, but I know it’s a lot. But knowing that this money went to make this awful film. If you watch the film, you can’t help but wonder, “was $200 million just the paycheck for Johnny Depp?” It doesn’t make any sense once you seen the final product.
      I’m not saying that all mainstream films are terrible. Like I’ve stated, I’ve enjoyed many that have come out. It’s the fact that they cost so much, but with little payoff then what you’d get with a smaller made film. When a film has such a big budget, it’s mainly a paycheck for the actors and studios rather than invest it to make a film great. Independent movies have smaller budgets that are put towards the film itself to make it high quality and great. It’s not the money that makes a movie incredible, it’s the vision the filmmakers have.


      Using blogger was a very fun way to go about writing assignments. Having people comment and share so quickly was a lot of fun to do. Having the iPads for the device kind of ruined some of the experience as it would randomly not let you type more and just log out. Also typing on the iPads was just the worst, especially for very long assignments. Overall, I really liked using blogger to post all of our work, and I hope it stays active because I can see myself going back here in a few years and reading some of our posts.

      Here it is. The grand finale. We have completed Journalism 1 & 2 and now our final assignment was to create a movie review of our senior year. I loved this assignment because I personally do video movie reviews, so it was fun to pretend like my life was a film and I had to review it. So here it goes. Senior Year, Movie Review.

      “Drake Unchained” Movie Review
      Rated: PG-13

      It’s senior year. The last year of High School for 18 year old Spencer Drake, our protagonist. The last 3 years flew by for him and this was his time to shine. The plot follows Spencer going into his senior year following his activities in classrooms, sports, and social events leading up to his graduation. We see the ups and downs of senior year for Spencer, and all the obstacles life throws at him. “Drake Unchained” is directed by Christopher Nolan from the “Dark Knight” trilogy and written by Aaron Sorkin from “Social Network.” The film stars Spencer Drake, Jonathan Mervine, Joe Nixon, Brooke Heathco, and Ben MacMillan. Going into this film I had high hopes. A camera crew was going to follow a senior named Spencer Drake and chronicle his life during the biggest year of his life, senior year. I figured it was going to be like “Project X” or “American Pie” but wow was I wrong.  I was very disappointed. Spencer’s life is very boring. He goes to school everyday, but hardly stays in school. The kid has so many study halls he ends up just going home and snuggling with his dogs halfway through the day. Spencer’s senior life was no “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” filled with upbeat dance and song performances and cliche moments. Then again, this movie was no “Carrie”, never bullied and didn’t go crazy in the end. Some of the highlights in the film included some great skiing scenes while attending his state meet for alpine skiing. Very action packed and fun to watch. I also really enjoyed the scenes involving Journalism class. Seemed like a very engaging and entertaining class. The film really dragged during the fall season unfortunately. He wasn’t involved with sports, and just went to the gym most days which was repetitive and annoying to watch. Director Christopher Nolan uses rich cinematography and makes Maine looks like it’s own character. The fall leaves, winter snow, and spring green grass pop on screen and really draws in the audience. Spencer’s supporting friends really gave this movie some great comedic moments. Constantly ripping on each other while still maintaining good friends. Although I found Spencer’s life to be boring, director Christopher Nolan makes this film go by incredibly fast. The guy never did anything real exciting so it must have been easy to do so, but it worked well because I was out of the theater quickly. Overall, “Drake Unchained” was a disappointment as a film. It may have been awesome for the character Spencer pretty much taking an off year and doing well in his classes, but it didn’t need to be adapted into a movie. The film has solid directing, writing, and cinematography but it doesn’t justify the excitement on screen.

      Grade: C

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Partly Cloudy Movie Review

Funny, heartfelt, and charming. Those are just a few words to describe "Partly Cloudy." Director Peter Sohn brings animation to life following birds that deliver babies. Wether it's puppies, kittens, or just real human babies made from the clouds. One cloud in particular has trouble fitting in. All he can make with his magical powers are hurtful dangerous creatures that his bird transporter has trouble delivering because he gets so abused. What's so great about Pixar is they really know how to tug on your heart strings. With feature length films such as Wall-E, Toy Story trilogy, and Up (in which Partly Cloudy played before.) With shorts, it's no exception. There's a strong message in the short film that describes friendship in which I found inspiring. These short animated films are meant for kids and they send the right message to them even if they don't realize it. The animation in this short is breathtaking, and the music is superb. It really added to the emotional depth and I couldn't help but smiling. What's so great about Pixar, is that they don't need to have dialog in the short stories. In this movie all the characters did was grunt and make sound effects but it worked extremely well. In fact, I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as much if it had dialog. Overall, if you're in the mood to feel uplifted and happy, checkout "Partly Cloudy." Just sit back, relax, and let that smile wash over your face.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Movie Reviews

  • If you are thinking about seeing a particular movie, would you consult a movie review for a recommendation? Why or why not?
    I'm personally a movie guy. I've always been fascinated by films and that's the reason I'm going to college so I could someday work in the industry. I always check Rotten Tomatoes and movie reviews before I check out a movie. Unless it's a movie I don't want to know anything about I'll go in completely blind of reviews and trailers just to get emersed into the film. But generally I check reviews, but I still see them anyways.
  • What types of useful information can a movie review offer you? List as many as you can.
    How engagging the film is, if the acting is good, if the production value is good, or maybe if a movie truly misses and is a dud. Movie reviews can offer lots of value because people are trying to help you save $10 at a theater. You don't want to waste your money on a bad movie, right?
  • How often do you think young people consult movie reviews before watching a movie?
    Surprisingly, a lot. I see tons of people go on Rotten Tomatoes in school to check the score of an upcoming release. I saw lots of people looking forward to "Divergent" and within the first few weeks it had a 17% out of 100% which is bad! and it turned a lot of people off from seeing it I'm sure.
  • What aspects about movie reviews make them a positive or negative influence on your decision to watch the movie?
Movie reviews tell you if a film is good or bad in their opinion. Movie reviews should talk about the positives in a film such as acting, character development, and cinematography. It should also dive into the negatives like cheesy dialog, messy screenplay, or sloppy direction. If what the movie reviewer is saying in their review and if it fits what your looking for, then check it out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

College Thing

— If you’re a student who is finished with the college process, what advice would you give high school juniors?
Not to do everything last minute. Narrow down the schools you like and apply as soon as you can. Colleges get thousands of applicants and if you're one of the first ones you'll hear back quickly and have a better chance to get in. Definitely take college tours during vacation and summer because you want to make sure you've been there and like the campus because that's where you'll be living for the next four years of your life. Also I know it can be tough for some people, but try to have a general idea of what you want to do so you can pick the right school that offers what you want to learn and make sure it's affordable. 
— What is your idea of what the perfect college for you might be? Why?
Normal size campus nothing too big or too small. I don't want to go to a huge school with a ton of students in your lecture classes. I like smaller sized classes where you can get to know the professor and the students around you. I want to study video production in college so I've picked a great place that offers that as your major and gives you the tools that real Hollywood films use to make the movies.
— In the end, how much do you think it matters where you go to college? Why?
It doesn't really matter where I go to college to be honest. The job that I want to have doesn't even require you to study video production. I could go to school for English and still be able to get a job as a camera operator. But it helps out to have the four years studying film to get the jobs because if the application comes down to 2 people, they'll see one person that majored in video production, and the other majoring in English. They'll most likely pick the video production man. As long as a college interests you and offers courses you want to take then it doesn't matter where you go, as long as you are willing to spend the next four years of your life there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More SAT stuff

  • — Do you think SAT scores could be a good indicator of future career success? Why or why not?
No i think that's horrible. Transcript and resume should be what you submit, not an SAT score. Like what we've been saying.. The SAT is one test you take on a certain morning. That can effect a lot of people. Some people can't focus in the morning, some people could feel sick that day, some people may not to tests well at all. It's a horrible idea to have future employees submit SAT scores since colleges have started to settle down on them. 

  •  If you were on a hiring committee at a workplace, would you consider SAT scores as part of an applicant’s materials?

Absolutely not. This is exactly what I talked about in the paragraph above, but I would not consider it. I would want to see how the employee did in school, college, and resume of previous work or community service work. That shows what kind of worker they are, not some dumb test. Socially dumb people could score really high on the SAT because they're good at tests, but in the work force they could be terrible and just chase butterflies all day.

  • — What if a job applicant did not take the SAT? Do you think some employers would penalize that person? How should this situation best be handled, in your opinion?
They should know that this person didn't do well on the SAT but it doesn't mean they're stupid. They could actually be very smart employees. If I had a smaller company and for some reason we allowed employees to submit SAT scores and if somebody didn't want too, I would be totally okay with it. I would prefer to meet the person for an interview anyway because a test doesn't tell if somebody isn't a hard worker. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Climate Change

In environmental science we've done a lot of assignments based on climate change. We did a weather unit recently and learned about all the different weather patterns. Other than that we haven't really learned about climate changes freshman year we should have but didn't. I'm very much used to the climate in Maine. Summers are extremely nice and hot and winters are brutally cold and miserable.

Schools should teach more on climate change and to study the patterns. Obviously everyone keep on talking about how the world is going to end and our earth will be polluted, so something we can chose to do is recycle more. Bottles, paper, plastic, anything that's recyclable. Maybe instead  of in school suspension when they just sit in a room all day playing iPad games they can pick up trash?

It's quite concerning to really think about it. In the article it mentions that spring comes early and ice starts melting. It's very odd because this year in January the temperatures reached 50 degrees. That's not right.. Especially for Maine. We didn't get snow until February for the past few years so something is off with the seasons. There' isn't really much we can do on the matter other than do huge best we can with cleaning up.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ferternities Are Wack

— Do you want to join a fraternity or sorority? Why or why not?
I don't personally see myself joining a fertinity. I have a inside joke with one of my friends that all fertinity members are still in the closet with too much testosterone. Obviously it's not the case though.  I've heard lots of stories about pledging and hazing. My sisters boyfriend has told me about a time he had to kidnap someone. It doesn't sound fun at all, but once your in, I can see how it would be pretty fun. You make great connections and lifetime friends in fertinitys so it can be a good thing, we just hear about all the bad stuff. If all fertinitys were like the ones in Monsters University I would go. 

— What do you think fraternities could do to police themselves? Is what Sigma Alpha Epsilon doing enough?
They could easily settle down with the hazing and pledging. Look back in history.. 12 people have died because of the fertinity. That's not a small number, that's huge. 12 lives gone because they are so stupid. Cut down the hazing even if they get somebody like Pimmy, it's not okay. Sigmas Alpha Epsilon I think is heading in the right direction cutting out pledging and hazing. 

— What do you think would be lost if there were no fraternities on college campuses? What might be gained? Would banning fraternities substantially lessen problems like sexual violence and alcohol-fueled injuries and deaths on college campuses or not?
From what I've seen from ferternities is in movies. From what I've heard from ferternities was second hand experience. I don't know what would actually happen if they got rid do ferternities, but my guess is that there would be a lot less parties, and hopefully more lives saved.