Shelton wins in honor of brother

The 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards took the stage Thurs. Nov 1 as it brought about laughter and music from all of the greats including a special tribute to Willie Nelson. The CMA awards were hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. This dynamic duo, who are becoming quite comedic, have hosted the CMA’s five times before. For the 2012 CMAs, Underwood and Paisley started out by singing their own song to the tune of “Moves like Jagger.” The biggest surprise was when Paisley started doing Gangnam Style with Underwood joining in. The audience seemed surprised and amused when they performed the popular dance.. The show was taken away by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert as they swept the CMAs taking home four awards total. Shelton won two awards: one for male vocalist of the year and entertainer of the year. For his and Lambert’s new song, “Over You,” they both won song of the year. What made that moment so memorable was when Shelton told the story behind the song, which is performed by Lambert on her album “Four The Record.” It was written by the couple as a tribute to Shelton’s brother Richie, who died in a car accident. When he accepted the award, Shelton remembered his father who passed away early this year. “My dad always told me son, you should write a song about your brother,” Shelton said. “Tonight, even after he’s gone, he’s still right.” Lambert began to sob on stage as Shelton told the audience that he’d always wanted to write the song. He just needed someone to write it with, and the right person to sing it. He found that in her. Lambert also took home an award for female vocalist of the year. Other nominees included, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Martina McBride. Little Big Town won two awards. One for best vocal group of the year and the other, single of the year for the song, “Pontoon.” Other artists to receive awards were Thompson Square, who won vocal duo of the year. Hunter Hayes’, new artist of the year, Eric Church won album of the year for his album, Chief. What made the evening even more special was the tribute paid to Willie Nelson by stars such as Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and others singing his songs. The Country Music Association named its lifetime achievement award after Nelson, who was its first recipient. As always, the awards were an all-around enjoyable evening filled with music and laughter. TV audiences are anticipating next year’s...

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Black Ops promises dark future

November has come again gamers, and with it as promised, Activision’s newest first-person shooter. Call of Duty: Black Ops II has hit the shelves and is the game to have going into the holiday break. The Treyarch creation has three facets that really make this game worth the wait. The Campaign mode, set mostly in 2025 played as David Mason, son of Black Ops hero Alex Mason. In the technology-heavy future the U.S. military is prepared to handle just about anything, except its own droid army. Terrorist mastermind and game antagonist, Raul Menendez, takes the military infrastructure for a little joy ride. The only thing that can stop him are the hands that built the military, American soldiers. The online component to this game is completely different than its predecessor. For the first time in a Call of Duty game there is multi-team games with more than just two teams and that means many more enemies. Also, the new create-a-class system will change the way online battles are played. Treyarch has implemented a “pick ten” system, wherein you have ten credits to budget their class however you would like. This maximizes customization for any weapon class, reaching beyond just the weapons; if that means gamers have no primary weapon and six perks then so be it. Rewarding players for consecutive kills without deaths, otherwise known as “kill streaks” will be done away with to make way for “score streaks.” Individuals will now be rewarded on scores that encourage team play, awarding more points team-oriented play rather than for kills. Futuristic score streaks include swarms of kamikaze drones as well as autonomous ground drones that are equipped with heavy artillery to enter enemy territory in the gamer’s place. Tranzit opens the map to have various locations instead of bunkering down in one location and progress made in the mode gives the players clues to why they’re there and where to go next. Survival is the mode that Zombies was based on, endless waves of zombies attack until the point of defeat. Grief is a new mode that puts a competitive edge on the ordinarily co-op game. Two teams battle to a last-man-standing scenario, only the main enemy is the undead. Lastly, the custom games allow players to skip the tedious first rounds of zombies, enable a headshots only feature or turn off magic items. Also, to kick start the adrenaline of players, Avenged Sevenfold provides entertainment through the zombie apocalypse. All in all, the new release shows a lot of promise and seems to be overshadowing the release of gaming rival Halo 4. Happy gaming and remember “the future is...

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Jay-Z joins 2K Sports to make newest videogame, NBA2K13

2K Sports does it again with its release of its newest video game: NBA2K13. The game gives basketball fans the most realistic NBA game play ever. Executive producer/hip-hop phenom Jay-Z helped bring the game’s presentation and entertainment elements to a whole new level. BleacherReport.com awards the game, “the sports game of the year” due to its new features. The control stick is brand new and will allow the gamers to control everything they can do with a basketball with one part of the controller. This feature took multiple buttons and controls on previous versions of basketball video games. From jump shots to feeding the post down low, the gamer will have the option to freestyle moves by using the control stick. 2K Beats is back with a new set of music hits and instrumentals. The soundtrack blends U2, Coldplay, Kanye West, and Jay-Z to make the ultimate music playlist. 2K Shoes has returned with the original My Shoes option, but allows the gamer now to have access to the 2K Shoe Creator. The players will be able to wear fan favorite shoes ranging from Jordans to Lebrons, but also have the option to create custom shoes they can call their own. NIKEiD has teamed up with 2K Shoes and allow the gamer to bring their real life shoe creations into the game. The Quick Game mode will now have a new selection of teams to choose from. The debated rivalry of the ’ 92 U.S.A. Dream Team vs. ’12 Team USA will allow gamers to play which team they think is the best. Some legendary basketball teams like the ’92 Chicago Bulls, ’93 Houston Rockets, and ’01 Philadelphia 76ers, as well as many other teams will have the option of taking the court as well. The Signature Skills game play has had a complete makeover. Star players and teammates will have the unique ability to alter the course of a game. Kobe Bryant has been labeled a “Shot Creator,” while Kevin Durant has the title of “The Closer.” Star players will have the ability to take over a game by how the gamer plays, making the game mode more realistic. Players have also had a makeover from real life tattoos to hair-cut styles. From Lebron’s newest tattoo, to who’s wearing the newest shoes, NBA2K13 has taken the realistic aspect of the game’s physical and cosmetic traits to another level. Sport broadcasters Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Clark Kellog have allowed the gamer the most realistic sports commentary. Commentators will have no simple one-liners, as they will give in-depth game statistics and transform the gamer into forgetting that he or...

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Critics, moviegoers say Paranormal Activity 4 may lack originality in plot

A bright light reveals a room full of witches that proceed to kill all surviving family members of sisters Katie and Kristi Featherston. This is where Paranomal Activity 3 left off, and the fourth installment should have begun. Instead, Paranormal Activity 4 captures the story of a teenage girl’s family and more than one odd houseguest that leaves audiences with white knuckles and multiple nightmare-evoking images. In the latest scary sequel, iPhones and webcams tell the story of the family’s neighbor, Robbie. After his mother suffers a mysterious illness, he stays with the family for several days. Upon his arrival, strange things begin happening in the house. The protagonist and her boyfriend decide to film all of Robbie’s strange behaviors, not to mention the fact that he wears long socks with Velcro sandals. That should have been a clue from the beginning that something was just not right. Upon playing back footage of the house at night, the Nevada family begins to realize something unseen is haunting the home and possibly the youngest member of the bunch, Wyatt. Keeping with Paranormal style, things begin to go bump in the night. A tricycle moves on its own, a knife lodges itself in the ceiling and more than one door creaks open. But what about Katie, Kristi and who the entity is after: Hunter? The previously possessed character of Katie has driven the plot of all of the previous films, and she makes more than one surprise visit in the newest ghostly thriller. Even with the disquieting movements and creepy noises, the audience finds no real attachment to the characters. Though the previous overlapping plot is revisited, the new family is random and not thought-out. Viewers are drawn in only by the cuteness of the two boys, Robbie and Wyatt. That in itself is not enough to save the monotonous story line because, frankly, the kids become creepy. Further subtracting from the luster of the movie, the film lacks significant supernatural elements and resorts to cliché scream-inducing devices. The house cat becomes quite startling in the dark, as does the protagonist’s oblivious boyfriend. With a title like Paranormal Activity, viewers expect more. When it comes down to it, the movie contains more fake scares than real ones, much like its predecessors. Though its flaws are many, PA4’s fatal mistake rests in the unoriginal plot that perfectly mirrors that of the third movie. Because the only redeeming moments occur in the last 15 minutes of screen time, the audience has to sit through a tedious hour before the action occurs. Repetitive? Yes. Original? Not quite. Despite its flaws, audiences will probably leave...

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Art exhibit inspires students
Oct30

Art exhibit inspires students

Aesthetic Construction, the artwork collection provided by Jeanne and Larry C. Moseley was opened Oct. 25 in the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts. Larry Moseley is a principle architect with GSC Architects. Moseley and his wife started collecting art in 1969. The exhibition came into being when Moseley and his wife discussed their interest in the arts with Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes and professor and chair of the department of arts Hershall Seals during the construction of the new art building, which Moseley helped to design. Barnes thinks the exhibit can inspire people to start a collection of their own without having to go over their budget. “I hope students get the idea that you can have a passion for something like the arts. You can start even as a student and begin collecting art because you can buy things at prices that are fairly reasonable. I also hope that they get the idea that you can be passionate about any of the arts as well. You can be passionate about culture and the arts and follow that dream,” he said. Along with the affordability, Seals enjoys the emotions conveyed in the pieces of artwork shown. “What I like about the collection is the variety. They have a lot of abstract work, but then they also have a lot of realistic work. There are some landscapes that are absolutely beautiful. They give a sense of life; they’re intimate and quiet. Then, they have other works that are big, bold and highly colorful,” he said. Because of the gallery’s convenient location, students can use this opportunity to incorporate what they see in the art exhibition into their own work. Seals said, “Students that are in painting classes, especially since there’s a lot of painting in this collection, will be able to find something that they can relate to. There’s something for everyone in this exhibit, and it’s fun to have it right next to the art studios where teachers and students can just come in here and look at a few things and get inspired.” Art majors won’t be the only ones benefiting from the event. Students experiencing art gallery work for the first time will be able to develop a better understanding for the arts. “Just the community at large, no matter what their age, will find wonderful narratives in this collection of art,” Seals said. “It’s a chance to use your imagination and interpret the works, and just kind of live with the visual arts for a short time and let your mind go to those places that are not...

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Crusaders band together, release new project

It is impossible to decide on a band’s genre when the members’ inspirations range from Devil Wears Prada to Copeland; from Circa Survive to Blink. Local band Embrace the Distance has blended these sounds into its own unique mix, which will be displayed in its first full album titled Distractions. “We’re completely different musicians. We all have completely different inspirations,” sophomore information systems major and bass player Reagan Beard said. “When we first got together, we actually kind of clashed a lot, but we ended up making it work and figuring out how those different sounds would go together.” The group spent three weeks recording in Katy, Texas, the hometown of sophomore Christian studies major and guitarist Tyler Hulbert. In the studio, they perfected 11 original songs for the album, which will be released Nov. 16. “Over last Christmas break, I recorded one song that I wrote just for the heck of it, and that really brought to light the passion I had for writing,” Hulbert said. “It was really cool to an extent on my own, but there is so much of a difference in writing music and recording with other people.” Hulbert, Beard and sophomore marketing major and guitarist Ryan White started Embrace the Distance in March. This year they are roommates; living together has helped bring them closer as friends and musicians. “The special thing is we can walk into the living room with a guitar or a vocal idea and just start writing right there,” White said. “Living with these guys, you get to know things about them. Whether it’s verbal or not verbal, you figure out how they work.” Soon after the band formed, the original trio added sophomore history major Matt Boden at drums. Three weeks later they performed five original songs at their first show in Round Rock, Texas. “I’m primarily a guitar player,” Boden said. “All they had heard was guitar but they asked me to be the drummer in their band. We jammed some ,and the chemistry worked really well.” Striking a balance between schoolwork and extracurricular activities is a challenge to any student. Embrace the Distance members have struggled to find time for their music this year. “We could have been playing a ton of more shows this semester but me being a cheerleader, I have to cheer at football games, and the majority of our games are away this year,” White said. “Next semester we’re looking forward to playing more shows and doing a lot more stuff with the band.” Although they cannot place their musical sound in a certain genre, they think they have found a unique...

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