Gungor release filled with creativity, emotion
Oct04

Gungor release filled with creativity, emotion

Michael Gungor tweets, “Do we move the horn player so that he isn’t so blocked by the concert bass drum? These are OK problems to have.” This is what the leader of the band Gungor has to wrestle with as his band tours across the country promoting a new album Ghost Upon the Earth. Despite the instruments described, the group isn’t a symphony or jazz group. And it isn’t exactly a rock band either. Gungor calls its music “liturgical post-rock,” and the new album strays even further from the realm of traditional contemporary Christian music than the breakout 2010 album  Beautiful Things. It is music designed to reflect the emotional reaction to life, creation, pain and the mysterious connection between God and man. Ghosts Upon the Earth plays more like an experience than a worship album. The tracks are musically and lyrically complicated and diverse. The band surprises listeners with  string, flutes, minor keys and accidentals. These are not songs that will or should be covered by amateur guitarists at camps, or be heard around the country on Sunday morning church services. Gungor, the leader of the group, didn’t start the band to follow in the footsteps of Matt Redman, but to honestly and purposefully express himself and the band. According to the web site, the record is full of meaning, from fast violin arpeggios that represent a primordial universe to the first heart beats of Michael and his wife Lisa’s baby girl,  it’s much different than a lot of music out there. Gungor songs typically convey the feeling of the message through the music itself, not just the lyrics. The song ‘When Death Dies’ seems to transform from an elegy into a bass-and-drum driven dance song, paralleling the resurrection itself as Gungor sings, “When death dies, all things live.” The song “Ezekiel” beautifully sets Ezekiel 16 to music as tender as the grace it describes, and the listener can feel the pain of God through the notes. Ghosts upon the Earth is exactly what should be expected from Gungor. It’s a different form of worship than what is heard in most contemporary churches, but it emphasizes the beauty and art involved in worshiping. It invokes awe in the way a poem or great painting might. It may not be made for participation, but listen to it to hear gifted artists create for their creator. “Music doesn’t have to fit the mold to move people’s hearts, and at the end of the day, that’s really what we’re trying to do,” Gungor said in an interview on his site. “We’re trying to make honest music that opens people’s...

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50/50 movie attempts to mix in comedy with a serious subject
Oct04

50/50 movie attempts to mix in comedy with a serious subject

Cancer is never a funny subject, but in their new movie, somehow Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen make it work. 50/50 tells the story of Adam (Levitt) and his best friend Kyle (Rogen) as they deal with Adam’s recently diagnosed spinal cancer. After finding out that he is sick, Adam looks online to see what his chances are, and the Internet tells him he has 50/50 odds of surviving. On the surface, it sounds like the movie would just be about Adam’s struggle to cope with his possibly fatal illness, and that is certainly a part of it. But the story goes much deeper than Rogen’s crude humor and Levitt’s portrayal of a cancer victim. Early on, Adam realizes that his girlfriend is cheating on him, and Kyle’s quest becomes finding his friend a rebound girl, although secretly he is just intending on taking his friend’s mind off of the situation. This works, but it also shows Adam that many people will just pity him, and he doesn’t want that. Some of the most interesting character development comes from Adam’s meetings with his therapist and obvious love interest Katherine (Anna Kendrick).  A 24-year-old college student going for her doctorate, Katherine is a slightly scatter-brained counselor at Adam’s hospital. The dialogue and emotions flying between these two characters are strong, and manage to be both dramatic and light-hearted when needed. Everyone in the movie has a great depth to them, but these two really move beyond the rest. Instead of being a depressing, two-hour cryfest, 50/50 manages to focus not only on the person suffering from cancer, but also on the people surrounding them. Adam’s father has Alzheimer’s, and his mother is an overbearing control freak.  His best friend Kyle is a free spirit who is only concerned with having fun and being there for his friend. Each of these characters comes alive in the movie, and the acting is superb. The film, more than anything, is a celebration of life. It puts a human face on a touchy subject and forces the audience to look at the ugly reality of cancer. The way it presents itself is unique and it’s hard to limit this movie to one genre. I walked into the theater not sure what to expect. Having Rogen in it meant there was a good chance of some foul humor in the film, and that was there. Levitt meant there was going to be a lot of drama and suspense, and that was there, too. But an excellent balance was found between the two, and I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. Typically there is a lull...

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Movie shows young poets’ work
Oct04

Movie shows young poets’ work

By Natasha Christian The annual Writers’ Festival hosted movie night for literature fanatics at Shelton Theater. This year’s showing was Louder Than a Bomb, an award-winning documentary directed and produced by Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs. The film made its debut at the Austin Film Festival and won the award for best documentary feature. Set in the Chicago area, more than 60 schools battle in the world’s biggest youth poetry slam. The movie follows four teams as they transform painful life experiences into writing gold.  Director of the Writers’ Festival, English Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Hooten, is excited about the documentary and said it gives viewers an enlightening perspective on poetry slam. She said,  “It is such an inspiring film…some of them (performers) are actually from the inner city and have issues with anger and issues with family lives that they need catharsis. They need ways of understanding what is going on in their lives and ways of dealing with that emotionally.”  She further iterates the cycle between pain being an inspiration for words and words becoming a coping mechanism. “Louder Than a Bomb shows how these students’ home lives have affected their poetry and how their poetry has formed their lives, and that reciprocal process between the two,” she said. “It’s a fantastic film.” The Writers’ Festival is roughly 10 years old. Well known published authors come to UMHB to speak to Crusaders and locals. Hooten is preparing for the gala on Feb. 9-11, 2012. Five writers, Susan Isaacs, Daniel Taylor, Susana Childress, Brett Foster and Albert Haley, will discuss a variety of topics, including spiritual themes and Christian identity. All speakers will host workshops for writing enthusiasts who wish to spruce up their skills. Junior English major Jamie Dye is ready to receive some words of wisdom from credible sources. “I’m hoping to gain some knowledge from people who are actually experienced writers and have been published,” she said.  “Their work has merit, and they’re willing to teach you. I hope they can teach me some tricks or tidbits.” Assistant Director of the Writers’ Festival and senior social work major Amberly Clay thinks the workshops at UMHB offer something other universities cannot. “Not a lot of writers’ festivals have one-on-one like ours does. A lot of writers’ festivals that you go to have 30-40 students in a workshop or even 100 students. Here, it is a very personal workshop,” she said. For those who are not interested in literature, Hooten said there is more to the event than meets the eye. She said, “The Writers’ Festival shows living writers who understand the power of literature to transform...

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Reality of TV vs. real life professions

Everything on television these days is either over scripted or over dramatic. With today’s reality-based shows, it seems that the entertainment world is trying to get a better grip on reality, but what is the “real” reality behind all those over-the-top TV shows? When it comes to professionals such as policemen, nurses, or chefs, these are difficult to accurately personify on camera. The problem is  that they are serious occupations, but does TV take the right steps in portraying them as they really are? Cold Case, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds are only a few current shows featuring on-screen cops. But do these shows come close to the real life of an officer? Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police at UMHB, Gary Sargent, was actually led to his career by a TV show series called Adam 12. As an adult, he has become less involved in shows with police characters. Sargent said, “I have been doing this for 30 years, and there have probably been about two or three days of drama like you see on TV shows all combined together. Most of it is just daily doing the same things over and over again.” He explained that some people have been in law enforcement for many years and have never even had to draw their weapon. “It is kind of like being a fireman. When the bell rings, you have to be able to perform, but the bell does not ring that often. That is what it is no matter where you are at in your law enforcement career.What you see on TV is just not accurate portrayal.” Another profession that is seen frequenting the television screen is nursing. With shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Nurse Jackie, and HawthoRNe, nurses are on every channel. Coordinator of Health Services, RN Debbie Rosenberger, said, “Most of them are not portrayed very well. They show us not adhering to our scope of practice and not being very compassionate and pretty ditzy in a lot of them.” She adds that there are a few shows that portray nurses with morals and character, but not many. “I do take great exception when they portray us as not caring because nurses are held in one of the highest regards for our credibility and our compassion, and I dislike it when the media erodes that.” She said that nurses are supposed to be patient advocates and that she would like to be able to turn on a show where they act as such. Another on-camera profession that has grown in popularity is that of a chef. From shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, and...

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Pinterest blasts onto virtual screen

As if Facebook and Twitter are not time consuming enough, Silicon Valley has given us yet another tool for procrastination – Pinterest. It is a virtual board that allows members to pin things they are interested in and share them with the rest of the community. A pin is simply a picture of anything that shows up under a certain category. Once users see something that interests them, they can either repin it onto one of their boards or like it. Time magazine recognized Pinterest on its list of the 50 Best Websites of 2011 for its innovative technology.  It offers users a Pin It button that lets them grab pictures of their favorite things as they browse the Web. Senior elementary education major Taylor Tyre uses Pinterest to gather ideas for crafts and random things. “I love it because you can find and save your ideas all in one place,” she said. “Everyone’s creativity shines through one website.” Topics that members can browse are food and drink, travel, design, photography, fashion, wedding, do-it-yourself crafts, technology and many more. Senior elementary education major Miranda Moon was first attracted to Pinterest because of a pin about decorating classrooms. “It’s a money saver with all the DIY (do-it-yourself) stuff, and it also has really innovative, out-of-the-box ideas,” she said. “I just want to keep looking for more.” To become a member on Pinterest is fairly easy. Just find a friend who is a member and have that person invite you. Sign up with an email address, and your life will never be the same again. Junior accounting major Audrey Ohendalski has used Pinterest for decorating her bedroom and also to gather ideas for gifts to give her family and friends. “Pinterest is addicting because as you scroll down the page, you find more and more new ideas that you like or want to repin …. It is also addicting because it is so convenient,” she said. “You can easily see an item you love and post it in your personal online memory board.” Although it may seem that Pinterest is a female-dominated website, six out of the seven employees at the company are males, including the two co-founders. Guys, if planning your dream wedding or browsing photos of fashion does not sound appealing, how about starting a conversation with a girl like this, “So, yesterday on Pinterest….” No doubt  she’ll fall head over heels for you.  “I think Pinterest is definitely more of a girl-friendly website, but people can use it if they want to be more crafty or are looking for some original and thoughtful pieces ….,” Ohendalski said. One...

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New social network gives Facebook, Twitter a run for their money with expanded features

By Terryn Kelly There is a new social media networking site on the rise—Google+. Will this network prove to be a competition for the ever so  popular Facebook which made MySpace a distant memory? The new user interface is growing in numbers every day. People are quickly becoming addicted to the new swite as though there is still something left to be desired. Google+ has shortcomings just like other social networks but with time it may give Facebook a run for its money if they can meet all the requested needs from users. Members weigh in with thoughts about the website. Senior international business major Tobin Davies has been a member since July. He found out about Google+ from the different news sites he follows on Twitter and by word of mouth. “Presently, Facebook and Twitter definitely have first mover’s advantage, and Google+ has some ground to make up before it can really contend,” Davies said. Senior Christian studies major Percy Hudson has been a  member for four months. “I would definitely recommend this network to others. I would not say it is better than Facebook, but it is better than most networking sites.” The most common problem that many  users are running into is that they have fewer friends to chat with on this network because not many people know about it. The website differs from many because a user cannot simply create an account. One must first receive an invite from an active member. “I would recommend people to join Google+, but it is still limited by the lack of users. I think that Google+ has the potential to be great because it will offer more features in the long run,” Davies said. Senior nursing major Andrew Kester has been a member for three months. At the moment he does not think Google+ is better than Facebook because people have not yet made the transition. “Not as many people are on it, so it is not easy to communicate,” he said. Google+ has released an app for iPhones. The new site has many new features and even offers new users a demo tour of how everything works. To organize friends,  there are circles that allow the user to group people in a category. For example, one may have a circle for work associates so everything shared would be work related whereas another circle could be for family, and personal things could be shared. Hangouts allow the user to video chat with up to 10 friends at the same time, and Huddle is used for group chatting. There is also the common photo feature that allows the user...

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