Former Navy SEAL speaks of memories
Apr12

Former Navy SEAL speaks of memories

Written by Thanh Duong Marcus Luttrell served as a Navy SEAL for 14 years. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005 along with three other men in his unit. Their inspirational journey became the foundation for his best-selling book Lone Survivor. Luttrell told of his trek through Afghanistan at the McLane Lecture March 31. He began to tell the gruesome story of the fight to freedom and the attempt to save the lives of his platoon members. Although years have gone by since his active duty in the military, the visions of what happened in the six days he was lost are still vivid in his mind. He describes the heavy firearms and the rounds of RPG’s blowing them off the mountainsides. He remembers the triangle formation of the men as they discreetly waited for their opportunity to fight back. Senior international business and marketing major Kevin Ramirez, who attended the lecture said, “I’ve never heard any story like this before. It’s mind blowing and seems unreal.” Luttrell told what he had witnessed of his best friend’s terrifying death. “Mikey was out on a big perch and had a satellite phone. I forgot he had it. He took two rounds sideways on each side of the belly. It really threw me into a tantrum because he was my best friend. You know, I loved him.” Luttrell said. “I tried to scream to him ‘Come down here, come to me, I’ll carry you down the mountain.Get to me.’ He didn’t see me; he went left and disappeared behind a rock embankment.” Luttrell can still recall the dialogue between him and his friend. “I could hear his gun go off, and I could hear him start to take heavy fire. I could hear him screaming for help. He started screaming my name ‘Marcus I need help, man. I need help,’ and the way he was screaming my name was so terrifying that I actually put my gun down and covered my ears because I couldn’t handle the way he was screaming my name,” Luttrell said. “I don’t know if that makes me a coward or not, but I did that. And they killed him. I never saw him again.” There was no embellishment in the descriptions of how every member of his unit lost their lives. Junior social work major Cara Scott said, “It amazed me how he went into detail to tell about all of their wounds. It made me cringe at times, and it made me feel like I was really there watching it all happen in front of me.” As the uneasy feelings began to surface and tears...

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Royal wedding at end of April
Apr12

Royal wedding at end of April

Westminster Abbey will be holding yet another royal wedding on April 29. This time it will be for the second in line for the English throne, Prince William to Catherine Middleton. With more than 1,900 invitations sent out across the world, there is no doubt that this will be a wedding to remember. The couple has been dating since late 2003 with just one break up. They became engaged in Kenya in October  2010. Middleton’s engagement ring is that of William’s late mother, Princess Diana of Wales. The ring is a beautiful sapphire with 14 diamonds surrounding it. At the time of the engagement to Diana and Prince Charles, it was worth £30,000, which converted into American dollars would roughly be $49,000. The wedding will be at 11 a.m. in England and 5 a.m. in America. The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will wed the two. There has been no word of what Kate’s dress will look like, but Prince William will be dressed in his military regalia. According to some sources, this is going to be the most expensive wedding ever, costing the British taxpayers $20 million. The British Armed Forces will play many roles in the wedding ceremony as well, from Queen Elizabeth’s royal guards to the armed forces bands and musicians to a royal fly-over at Buckingham Palace. After the ceremony, the couple will be whisked away in a 1902 State Landau to Buckingham Palace for the reception. The procession route will take the couple past many famous London landmarks, eventually arriving at the British palace. Once at Buckingham Palace, Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II will host the reception for the...

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Fun things to do in weird city
Apr12

Fun things to do in weird city

Keep Austin Weird. A phrase smacked on the front of tie-dyed T-shirts, plastered on store fronts and stamped on any touristy item, but have you ever spent a day to find out what makes Austin so weird? Is it the gourmet food trailers lined up on South Congress Avenue, the unique coffee shops tucked away throughout the city or the laid-back attitude of the people? The state capitol, the Texas Longhorns and South by Southwest all receive a fair amount of attention throughout the year, but what about all the local musicians, art galleries, museums, recreation and food? Austin has numerous websites devoted to attracting people to the city and, once they are there, supplying them with a detailed list of activities. A few favorite activities are watching millions of bats fly into the night from under the bridge on Congress Avenue, checking out a show on 6th Street or taking a stroll down the Drag. Although it is fun to do the “touristy” thing, it is also fun to find unique stores, delicious dives and see the city the way the locals do. For around $10 an hour, you can rent the latest in outdoor recreation, a stand-up paddle board and propel your way around Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin or Lake Travis. Kayaks and canoes can be rented as well for around the same price from Rowing Dock or Texas Rowing Center. If the arts appeal to you, Austin offers several theaters, comedy clubs and playhouses that often have student discounts. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema combines box-office hits with a full menu. If live shows are more your type, Esther’s Follies is a great place that features both comedy and magic shows for a decent price.  Austin is also home to several local theater companies that put on a variety of productions from dramas to operas and everything in between. Austin would not be weird if it did not serve as a culinary melting pot for cultures from around the world. Sushi restaurants fly fresh fish in from Japan daily and Indian food that takes your taste buds far away, barbecue that you can smell for miles around and most importantly there is local cuisine that is taken to a whole new level. Oasis, the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas, offers diners an incredible view of the sun setting over Lake Travis.  It has an energetic vibe, reasonably priced Tex-Mex food,  live music and stores. Stubb’s is another Austin icon known for its honky-tonk atmosphere, concerts and mouth-watering barbecue. Most people can’t pass through Austin without stopping at a local favorite, the historic Magnolia Cafe, which offers delicious...

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Source Code: an enigmatic mind trip

“It’s quantum mechanics, parabolic calculus. It’s…it’s very complicated,” says one character from the movie. Fancy mathematical words aside, director Duncan Jones and writer Ben Ripley’s enigmatic thriller meets sciencefiction mystery, Source Code, is nothing less than complicated. The audience is literally thrown into the story, chaos and confusion intact, surrounding military helicopter pilot Colter Stevens, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Stevens essentially wakes up in someone else’s body, history teacher Sean Fentress, on a commuter train bound for downtown Chicago. Sitting across from him is the enchanting Christina Warren, played by Michelle Monaghan. Stevens, along with audience, is given no explanation to his situation or how he came to be literally in Fentress’s life. Before he can explore much more into his predicament, a bomb explodes on the train, and the life of Stevens in Fentress ends. But Stevens wakes up again, this time in some capsule of sorts, being hailed on a computer monitor by “Beleaguered Castle.”  It is there that, through the help of Colleen Goodwin, played by Vera Farmiga, Stevens overcomes his confusion and realizes his goal – through some trick of fringe mathematics and physics, called the “source code,” Stevens is able to enter the life of Fentress for the last eight minutes of his life. In that allotted time, Stevens must find the bomb that destroyed the train and discover the identity of the bomber. The inventor and developer of the source code, Dr. Rutledge, played by Jeffrey Wright, explains  the mechanics of source code as “complicated” – namely, Stevens creates an alternate reality whenever he enters the life of Fentress via the source code. Basically, nothing Stevens does on the train will affect his own reality, where the train has already been destroyed and everyone on it killed. Though Colter enters the life of Fentress multiple times, each and every time is different, firmly keeping the audience enthralled, and preventing the plot from becoming repetitive and the audience from discovering any plot holes. Viewers are privy to the same information that Colter has been given, and join him in deciphering the mystery surrounding his own situation: Goodwin tells Colter that he has been with Beleaguered Castle for two months, but Colter has no recollection of that time. In masterful style, director and writer duo Jones and Ripley bring the story to a gut-wrenching climax with the lives of Colter and everyone else on the train hanging in the balance. All in all, Source Code deserves at least one viewing, if not many more...

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Annual Cru Film Project debut soon
Apr12

Annual Cru Film Project debut soon

Eight years ago, two professors made a vision into a reality. Department of performance studies in the Communication and Media Studies, Dr. Diane Howard said she and Director of computer graphics design in the BCIS Department, Ms. Donna Teel began the Cru Film Projects to “give our UMHB students hands-on experience in the process of producing films from script to screen,” Howard said. Not only do the two professors want communication, film and graphic design students to succeed now, but after graduation. “We work at simulating a real-world film production process, so that our students are prepared to work on film sets and on film productions in real-world work,” she said. On April 18 this spring’s film, Choice Decision, written by sophomore computer graphic design major Sadie Meador, can be seen in Brindley Auditorium at 4 p.m. Other showings are April 19 at 11 a.m. and April 20 at 5 p.m. Pre-production begins each fall , and continues into the early months of spring. By this time, “film faculty have identified film students who would serve well in key leadership positions …. student director, first assistant to the director, student editor and assistant to the editor,” Howard said. Senior communication major Trey Hazelton worked on set as the gaffer. “It’s the lighting person during the filming,” he said. “For post-production, I’m the assistant editor, which is my main role.” Hazelton has never been part of a film production but he has learned more from working hands on. “I have to always be paying attention and ask questions, but at the same time it’s fun,” he said. The student director is chosen by Howard and Teel. This year, senior communication major and film minor Ashley Ramirez takes the leadership role. Her job has not been a simple task. “The biggest obstacle was learning my role as director. After doing other film projects, I was used to taking charge of the many details that go into these productions, costumes, schedules and props,” she said. Being the director of Choice Decision, she has to concentrate on the story and actors. Ramirez was one of the directors for Stunt Night. With this event, the cast had more freedom to create their own characters. “They told me what they want to do and I said ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ They told me what they needed, and I took care of it for them …. I kept things organized and easy,” she said. Casting calls were posted, a free workshop was provided and auditions were held on campus. After finalizing the cast, Ramirez and her crew began working fervently. Not only students are involved, but professional...

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Seniors take last shot at Stunt Night
Mar29

Seniors take last shot at Stunt Night

They have lived in living room closets and game rooms for years. When college students were children, they were played and loved dearly, and visions of playing either board games, or being addicted to a Nintendo, Play Station or any kind of video game are forever embedded in memories. It’s that time of year again, the time when classes compete against each other in the ultimate campus competition — Stunt Night. Games have been chosen as the theme. The individual classes are performing their representation of different forms of gaming. Senior class is portraying the classic video games they grew up with, like Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog. Creativity has been limitless for this group. Senior nursing major Andrew Kester has played a part in the annual Stunt Night event his whole college career. “The first two years, our class was rough, but last year was golden …. This year we are just building off last, and it’s only going to be better,” he said. Kester said their show is “incredibly witty and really funny,” which is what Stunt Night is all about. While the cast continues to practice for the big show Friday, April 1, many other students are working hard to make sure every detail is perfect for the performance. Senior elementary education major Rebecca Widmer is one of those. “I love Stunt Night and have really loved being a part of it every year that I have been at UMHB,” she said. Being a resident assistant has held her back from being part of the cast. For the past two Stunt Nights, she was not able to fully commit to attending every practice, so she works behind the scenes. “The seniors are amazing and so easy to work with, so it really makes my job fun and easy,” she said. Widmer and senior marketing major Julia Bishop are working together. The two have been brainstorming different ideas of what they’ll use for costumes and props. Most of which have been handmade during any free time they have. “Julia, some of the other seniors and I have thought of some really creative things to incorporate in the skit …. I think it will truly be a performance loved by all,” Widmer said. She is eager to hear laughter from the audience. “All of the classes have been working super hard to make their skits perfect,” she said. Senior psychology major Adam Fischer enjoys the practices because “all the fun you get to have with friends is just translated into a production.” Fischer gets to work with his close circle of friends, and is ready...

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