Tag Archives: Reviews

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“Hoping For Sugar” reactions

By: Taylor Rock

I asked a few staff members to read and react to my poetry book Hoping For Sugar. I have been writing my book for about a year through independent study in the Nexus program. It contains poetry regarding relationships with others that I have experienced throughout my life, and the emotions surrounding them. It is meant to be an emotional roller coaster, and to let others know that they are not alone in what they experience. 


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Michelle Fongemie reading I hope you starve from Hoping For Sugar by Taylor Rock. Fongemie says, “Wow! That is a dagger straight to your chest!”

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Fongemie reading Monochromatic from Hoping For Sugar by Taylor Rock.


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Olivia Gatti reading from Hoping For Sugar by Taylor Rock. Gatti has been a major help with editing and inspiration for other books. 

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Gatti and I talked about several ideas for Hoping For Sugar. I enjoy the passion she has for all things literature, and she portrays them well through her body language. 

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As I am sure you can tell, we had a great time reading some of my work together. Gatti will continue to be one of my favorites as I move on to new books and places.


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Rex McCoy has also been a large supporter of my work. He always has something to say about any kind of work that I put before him. 

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McCoy is a bit camera shy; however, he graciously agreed to react to my book for me. We both could not stop laughing, and had a great time reading together. I appreciate McCoy’s cooperation and participation.



Bohemian Rhapsody: Our Critic Casts a Skeptical Eye

Ms. Elena Crites

Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie titled after the iconic rock ballad/opera/hard rock anthem and directed by Bryan Singer, was released on November 2, 2018. The film follows the story of the spectacular Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, and his band, Queen. The film is essentially just a pretty safe biopic – save for Malek’s extraordinary performance and the thrilling soundtrack you’d expect from a movie about Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie titled after the iconic rock ballad/opera/hard rock anthem and directed by Bryan Singer, was released on November 2, 2018. The film follows the story of the spectacular Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, and his band, Queen. The film is essentially just a pretty safe biopic – save for Malek’s extraordinary performance and the thrilling soundtrack you’d expect from a movie about Queen.

 In the film, the story is presented that Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), born Farrokh Bulsara, an immigrant from Tanzania, met a group of band members while they were performing as a band called Smile. After they lost their lead singer, the ambitious Freddie joined the band and they began to produce new music as Queen. The film follows Freddie’s life and various romantic relationships, as well as the changing dynamics within the band.

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Ravell on cereal: Lucky charms, neither charming nor lucky

Mr. Ravell, Food Criti  at Large

Lucky Charms are a classic cereal that are among the most popular. But should they be? To me, Lucky Charms are only half good, at best. Half of the cereal is tasteless and leaves a weird residue in your mouth, the other half is marshmallow that is more styrofoam than anything else. Every bowl of this cereal has left me feeling unsatisfied and sad. Lucky Charms are bad tasting, not very healthy, and, not even very lucky.

In my research, I have found that I am not alone in this feeling. CVU senior, and breakfast cereal enthusiast, Walker Storey, says that the marshmallows are “way too sweet” and that the other pieces are “too hard to wrangle.” Storey also describes them as “the grossest things of all time”. CVU senior Colin Monsey also agrees that the marshmallows are too sweet. On the other hand, CVU senior Natalie Gagnon says she would like the cereal if it was only the marshmallows, and it would be called “Lucky Marshmallows”. While people have different reasons, they agree that Lucky Charms are an overrated cereal.

Image via Deviantart, by RegularBrony54
Image via Deviantart, by RegularBrony54


People who disagree with me may say that the cereal has to balance healthy and unhealthy to be both good, and good for you. While the gross brown things may taste healthy, they aren’t as good for you as you’d think. Every cup of this cereal has 2.6 grams of fiber, which is only 0.1 grams more than Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a much better cereal.

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Slackline Review: The Trick Line Takes out the Slack

Mr.Jarett Legg

Slackline Industries explains “The TRICK LINE offers dynamic movement and bounce for tricklining, the branch of the sport that goes beyond walking by adding jumps, spins and rotations. Featuring trampoline-style webbing with rubber grip and a backup line system, this kit is ideal for intermediate users and beginner tricks”. Slacklines give people a way to stay fit and active even though it is in a nontraditional way.

The Trick Line, under Slackline Industries, is an intermediate slackline that offers a variety of aspects to a new way of fitness. Most people would believe that they could hop on a slackline and just go. They would find out real quick that they are wrong. Slacklining is one of the most difficult things that an athlete can do. Even people that are pretty comfortable on a slackline have difficulties doing tricks. It is one thing to be able to walk across a slackline, and it is another to be able to do a backflip.

Jarrett Takes out the Slack
Jarrett Takes out the Slack

There are many different types slacklines including The Baseline, The Aggro Line, and The Boss Line. All of which offer a variety of  different straps and ratchets that are categorized into many difficulties; for example, the Trick Line is an intermediate line that offers an easier way to learn how to walk across, and the Boss line is considered an expert line that is mostly used for advanced tricks such as a back flip.

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REVIEW: 50 Shades of Grey

Ms. Taylor Filardi

“Fifty Shades of Grey” was a box office hit, but many are left wondering if it was any good.

Numerous movie critics have given their opinions, and the general consensus seems to be that the much awaited film, was less than riveting, or no one wants to admit that they enjoyed it.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” the film is based on the successful novel by E.L. James. It portrays the story of Christian Grey, a attractive, young billionaire (played by Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele, the young college student he “sexually dominates”(played by Dakota Johnson).

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REVIEW: “Self-Made Man”

Ms. Allison Henson

Norah Vincent wrote a book called Self-Made Man to document an experience she created for herself that most people will never experience. Vincent had always described herself as being a bit of a tomboy and so, as the title alludes, she wanted to see how it was to live as a man. She is not transexual, her goal was to simply find out the truth of what it’s like to live as a man- from a woman’s perspective.

Vincent and many other women had often said or heard that men have it better and easier in life. In order to discover for herself if this was true or not, she “became” a man for 18 months. This was in no way a scientific experiment and there are no results with hard evidence about what she discovered. She delved into the world of work, dating, relationships (intimate, friendship, etc.) and finally finding herself as a man. How she came to the decision to do this was in a rather odd way. Vincent was in New York City having what she called a “delayed adolescence” experience. Drinking too much and becoming a bit too involved with the freak shows that New York has to offer. One night she was dared by one of her drag king friends to dress up with her and go out, to find out if she had what it took. Vincent agreed and while they were out and about she had a realization that somewhat infuriated her. Men weren’t looking at her as if they owned her, in fact they were showing her respect by not looking at her at all. Previously walking past groups of men as a women, these men stared her down rudely, purposefully rudely. Seeing the vast difference in respect she got simply walking around dressed as a man sparked her to dive into this project.

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Fashion over Function: Why Bother with Headphones?

Mr. Jack Reynolds

As technology advances, we see every generation of electronics becoming smaller than the last. A cell phone used to be a suitcase-sized burden, but now an iPhone fits in your pocket and has more computing power than the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Early computers used to consume whole rooms, but now are paper thin and lightning fast. This trend seems to span across most technology, especially anything meant for on-the-go use. So why is it, that when it comes to listening to music, people turn to huge, unwieldy headphones?

Personally, I’ve found earbuds to work just as well, and although a cheap set of headphones is probably nicer than a cheap pair of earbuds, the quality really starts to split from the price as cost rises. If ones spends $100 on earbuds, they’ll get a product that is at the upper end of the spectrum, and provides great sound. On the other hand, $100 headphones will be closer to the bottom of the totem pole.

As an avid listener to all types of music, I respect the need for DJs to have massive headphones, or artists who need to use them in the studio, but these are really the only cases where it makes sense to have massive speakers held to either side of your head. For the casual listener, it really doesn’t make sense to schlep around these unwieldy devices day in, day out.

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REVIEW: Imagine Dragon’s “Smoke + Mirrors”

Mr. Charles Yarwood 

It’s difficult to find anyone who dislikes all of Imagine Dragons’ discography. Their sound is a mashup of musical styles that results in upbeat, powerful, and catchy songs that have appeal to people across all age groups and musical tastes. Taking vocal styles from outfits like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers and lyrics that are reminiscent of OneRepublic and The Neighbourhood, and the minimalist backing beats of Coldplay, it’s hard not to find elements of their music to like. They had several EPs in circulation before releasing their first full-length album in 2012, Night Visions. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and struck a chord with many listeners. On February 17, they released their second album, Smoke + Mirrors.

While many of the songs on Night Visions had previously appeared on an EP, all of the tracks on Smoke + Mirrors are new to the world. The most extensive version of the album, the super-deluxe edition, features four new tracks that weren’t included in the standard release, as well as four previously released singles that the group had recorded for movies. The singles from Smoke + Mirrors are (in order of appearance on the album) “Shots,” “Gold,” and “I Bet My Life.” These tracks are frontloaded on the album, with all of them appearing in the first five songs, but they give the album some legs to stand on. “Shots” and “I Bet My Life” are similar to much of their previously recorded music, with emotional appeals written into the lyrics, raw vocals, and poppy rhythm sections. “Gold” takes a different tact than the other two singles. It features a tribal drumming rhythm to begin the song, a sound that isn’t similar to mainstream pop, and lyrics that discuss the struggles of materialism and wealth.

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The Latest But Not the Greatest: Apple’s Airball

Mr. Jack Reynolds 

Many people are ecstatic about the release of the new Apple Macbook, but the majority of techies and the internet as a whole are ridiculing the new laptop, and Apple for it’s new design. In my opinion, the laptop is a sellout. It’s a machine for the masses, that abandons many of Apple’s old selling points, and has left behind the vision that made the company so successful in the first place. The new Macbook is a product of the new Apple: a company that will sell anything to a fan-base that will buy anything with their logo.

© Business Insider

As Apple’s second most expensive laptop, behind the Macbook Air, one might expect a list of new features and impressive tech specs, that push the laptop into the spotlight. However, this isn’t really the case. Starting at $1299, the laptop is $400 more than the base Air. Yes, it’s more compact and yes, it’s lighter, but those are all things we expect from the Air, not it’s big brother the Macbook. The Air also boasts more processing power, starting at 1.6GHz over the Macbook’s 1.1Ghz. For those who aren’t familiar with technical jargon, the bottom line is that the Air can handle more data, faster. So what will people use this new computer for? Take video chatting off the list because the non-HD 480p front-facing camera means you’ll not only have a better experience on your Air, but even on your iPod or iPhone. All three sport 720p HD front facing cameras, that have been common technology since the ancient iPhone 5, which came out back in 2012.

So why would Apple, a company famous for innovation and design make a laptop like this? Simple: it’s available in gold. This is a product specifically aimed at those who always want to have the latest Apple tech, because those actually need a functioning computer have so many better options, for less money. Hopefully the extra $400 dollars is enough to deter you, but don’t worry if it’s not, Apple has another trick up its sleeve. Remember when the iPhone 5 came out with the new lighting charge cord and everyone was upset because none of their accessories would work? Well if you’re having Deja Vu, you’re not alone, because Apple has conveniently changed the charging port on the new Macbook, and completely gotten rid of the conventional USB port. This means that besides the headphone jack on the opposite side, there is only one port on the laptop, a the new USB-C. This one port handles charging, data transfer (in place of a USB), and video output.

If you do buy the laptop, be prepared to buy some adapters with it, because you can’t plug in your phone anymore, or use any of the old Apple notebook chargers. So if you’d like to charge your phone, thats a $29 USB-to-USB-C adapter. Want to plug in your SD card from your camera? That port is gone too so you’ll have to use a USB adapter and the USB-C adapter on top of that. Looking to charge your phone and your laptop so you’re ready for tomorrow? Don’t worry, Apple’s got you covered. Since there’s only one port, it’ll be an additional $80 for an adapter that’s got room for both.

So where’s the innovation? Sadly, it might have left the company with the late Steve Jobs, because everything the tech giant has released lately is meant to pave the way toward bigger paychecks, not the future.


REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending

Ms. Nina Mollohttp://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9zeaiGDvSMo/VNLBz__mPiI/AAAAAAABfvM/HOHstHEiiso/s1600/Jupiter-Ascending.jpg

Jupiter Ascending is a quality American-Australian Sci-fi film that entered the box office in America on February 6th 2015. The film stars Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, two very well known actors. The plot of the movie is centered on Jupiter Jones (Kunis), a young cleaning woman who works for her family’s cleaning service, and Caine Wise (Tatum), a warrior from another planet that informs Jones that her destiny extends beyond Earth.

As the movie progresses, we see Jupiter and Caine begin to fall in love. As Caine helps Jupiter escape from intergalactic aliens trying to kidnap her, their connection grows strong. However, this love is put on hold when Jupiter is informed that she is supposedly the reincarnation of the dead matriarch of the universe (who happens to be the mother of three siblings who are fighting over her property- one of those “properties” being Earth). The three siblings try to persuade Jupiter to join their side of the sibling quarrel and it’s here where Jupiter falls prey to many forms of manipulation. Overall, the plot was thick and the character development was strong.

One short scene in the movie, lasting only 8 minutes long, was outstanding in my opinion. The scene consisted of evil aliens trying to kidnap Jupiter while Caine tries to save her by flying all over downtown Chicago. To create this scene, the producers wanted the sky to look just right. To do this meant having to shoot every day for only 10-15 minutes when the sun was it the right place in the sky. To get this eight minute clip, it took approximately six months. This example shows the dedication and hard work put into this movie. In my eyes, all this hard work paid off. Jupiter Ascending is a film that will truly take you out of this world.