Entertainment

5 Movies Coming Out This Semester!

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Gone Girl (October 2)

Gone Girl is based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn who also wrote the adapted screenplay. The psychological thriller follows the life of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his missing wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike). Why did Amy Dunne go missing? Did Nick kill her? You’ll have to see the movie (or read the book) to find out! The film, directed by David Fincher, also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, and Sela Ward.


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The Judge (October 10)

Directed by David Dobkin, The Judge has been described as a comedy-drama. The film tells the story of a lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) returning home for his mother’s funeral after years of living away from his family. He comes to find out that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), who is a judge in his hometown, is a suspected murderer. Downey Jr.’s character must then represent his father in court when he is put on trial. The film also stars Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, and Billy Bob Thornton.


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Fury (October 17)

Fury is a war drama set in Nazi Germany during the last month of World War II. The film chronicles Wardaddy, a U.S. Army sergeant, and his five-man crew as they go on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines in a M4A3E8 Sherman tank named Fury. The film stars Brad Pitt as Wardaddy, as well as Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Issacs, and Scott Eastwood.


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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November 21)

One of the most anticipated films of the year, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is based on the first half of Suzanne Collins’ novel Mockingjay from the smash hit series The Hunger Games. Francis Lawrence returns as director after a successful directing job on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, and Jeffrey Wright all return to reprise their roles. The film also stars Julianne Moore and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.


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The Interview (December 25)

This comedy centers on TV tabloid host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen). After scoring an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who is a fan of Skylark’s show, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Rogen and longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg direct the film, so it is sure to be hilarious! The duo also co-wrote the screenplay with Dan Sterling. The film also stars Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park as Kim Jung-un, Timothy Simons, Charles Rahi Chun, and Rob Lowe (as himself).

How Technology is Changing Entertainment

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When we were kids, watching television programs and movies was less user friendly than it is today. There were too many steps involved. You had to physically go to Blockbuster, or your nearest rental store, to rent a new movie only to find it unavailable because too many people had already taken it out. If you wanted to view a movie on Pay-Per-View, you had to wait for the movie time to be available in order to call and order it. This seems absurd nowadays due to how easy it has become to watch whatever you want, when you want.

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As technology progresses, the internet becomes more than just a place to do research. It becomes a domain for apps, games, movies, books and so much more. We have just merely scratched the surface on the potential of the digital world. The revolutionary movie streaming programs, such as Netflix and Hulu, offer instant gratification for whatever mood you’re in.

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What can attest for the future of digital programming? With the way technology is evolving these days, it would seem that everything will go digital; making DVDs, video game discs, and even paper books obsolete. There’s no way of telling what’s going to happen to these companies that supply us with our entertainment needs today; either they’re doomed or they’re going to embrace the digital age and evolve with it. Only time will tell.

The Wonderfully Creative Abilities of a 3D Printer

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3D printers are not a new concept but they are considered uncommon compared to the everyday printer. Some of us may have never even heard of them. The name, 3D printer, is pretty much self-explanatory. It has the ability to create solid 3D objects by methods of continuously adding layers until the desired shape or object is achieved. How can we make this high tech printer useful for everyday college kids? Let’s take a look.

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Musical Instruments- Guitars, flutes and other instruments can now be made of plastic and surprisingly, I heard they are functional! Music class will never be the same. Now take that plastic guitar and rock out in-between classes.

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Art- Sculptures and other forms of art can be replicated or designed from scratch. Bring your newest creations to your next art class or build upon them by adding paint or other creative touches.

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Science- A truly unique use for a 3D printer would be in any of your science classes. Replica skulls and other bones for research can be made.

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Fashion Design- Even though the objects made are from plastic, that hasn’t stopped anyone from creating new wearable fashions. Shoes, furniture and decorative items have been created using this method.

Dear Pledge – Candidate – New Guy

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I hope this letter finds you well. At this point, your rush week should be a distant memory. Hopefully you signed a bid at your dream house and are starting to get settled in. By the way, did you have a good time at Pref Night? How nifty was it to have a party thrown in your honor even if one of the older brothers had to find a date for you at the last second. Don’t worry though; by spring formal you should be more acquainted with the fairer sex on campus and thus, capable of securing your own date.

At any rate, as you read this letter through blurry eyes, I just wanted to talk to you for a spell about the upcoming weeks. You see young sire, you are entering into the exciting time called the pledge period. Now I understand if that term sounds foreign to you as I am aware that many forward thinking fraternities now refer to this period as “candidacy”. However, make no mistake; despite the terminology, its all the same concept. Your goal is to prove to the elder members that you are worthy to become a full brother and carry on the tradition of the chapter through initiation.

So  lets get the ugliness out of the way early. You have probably heard a good deal about the dreaded “H word”. There is a reason that many houses have gotten away from using the term “pledge”all together; because it is usually associated with the practice of hazing. And while hazing today is far less severe than it was in say your father’s day, there are still a few knucklehead chapters who insist on sustaining these barbaric rituals. You may be asking yourself, “Why do guys subject themselves to this type of embarrassment and ridicule?”In many cases, people let their desire to initiate blind them from commonsense. Don’t let this be you my friend! If asked to do anything you’re not comfortable with or that may cause you harm, walk! No organization is worth losing a limb or worse, your life. Well, maybe the Illuminati, but the hooded figure in the corner just said that the Illuminati doesn’t even exist, so…..

How about we switch gears and talk about what you SHOULD be doing during this period. For me, my pledge period was similar to the College 101 class the university forced me to take. It was a crash introduction course to the chapter and the fraternity as a whole. It is your pledge/candidate/new member educator’s job to teach you the crucial points of the fraternity. These lessons include, but are not limited, to the fraternity motto, history, key members, Greek alphabet, songs, chants and symbols. Your learning initiatives also need to extend to learning about your future brothers as well. Take the time to learn their names, majors, dreams, aspirations and favorite fraternity moments as you’re bound to hear a bounty of epic tellings. Here’s a tip; just as you do in your normal courses, be sure to take notes as there will be quizzes and probably a final right before initiation.

I think I’ll end this particular letter here as I don’t want to ruin this fun time for you. I’ll leave you with the words that were told to be by my pledge master, Mad Dog, all those years ago:

“The main thing to remember here, is that its all about fun. You could be the best pledge in the world by knowing your history, knowing all the brothers and winning the pledge class president position. You could date a girl in each sorority. Hell, you can even literally bleed the colors of the fraternity. But  if you didn’t have fun…was any of it worth it?”

Sincerely,

YOUR esteemed alumnus, JW.

 P.S. Don’t get caught not wearing your pledge pin!

Domination of the Nomination

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We have seen the word “nominate” a lot recently on social media. Between dumping ice on our heads to harmlessly posting three things you are positive about today, Facebook and other social media sites have become tools to do good.

            I don’t know about anyone else, but I was personally terrified of getting the notification that would inform me that I had been nominated to pour freezing water on myself. I don’t know if I should say this online (for fear someone out there might actually nominate me) but thankfully, I was never nominated. But, should I be thankful I wasn’t nominated?

            We have all been warned about the dangers that social media holds. People use social media to bully others in ways that didn’t exist, let alone happen, in our parents’ generation. “Be careful what you say online.” “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.”  “Treat others online the way you want to be treated online.” Social media seems like a scary place with all these warnings.

            But recently, these social media initiatives have taken advantage of the global platform of sites like Facebook and Twitter to try and make the world a better place. We are now doing things like raising awareness for diseases that require research, and greatly improving the proceeds that go to this research. We are creating initiatives that require people to be thankful for what they have and put them in a better mood for the day. We are nominating people to go out and do some random act of kindness they wouldn’t otherwise do. And then, we publicize this to the world, showing the good we, as a global community, can do.

            So, as thankful as I am to not have been doused in ice water, I am excited that our global platforms, that can sometimes cause a lot of harm, can also do a lot of good.

Social Media Done Right

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When you’re feeling #bored, many of us gravitate towards social networks to fill time. With the aid of numerous iDevices, your social networks are never far away. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are fun and easy ways to stay updated on what’s going on with your family and friends (especially once everyone has returned to their respective campuses!), share important events, and even advertise. However, with great technology comes great responsibility and it’s easy to step over the line when it comes to social media. When in doubt, follow a few ground rules to make sure you’re not over-sharing.

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1. Never share personal information

This one is a bit of a no brainer, but it needs to be said. Every now and then an overzealous recent grad will receive their first real paycheck and post a picture of it to their Facebook page. Hashtag face-slap. Anything that has your account number and routing number (aka checks) on it can be used to hack into your bank account. Other tidbits of information that should never be shared are pictures of your driver’s license, credit cards, home address, phone number; anything that can be used against you.

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2. The internet is forever

Once you post something, just remember that you can never “un-post” it. Sure, you can delete a tweet or an image on Instagram or even that Facebook status where you described your boss solely with expletives. But in this age of information, it’s all too easy to screenshot or save any post. So even if you think it’s deleted from cyberspace, anyone could still have proof it existed.

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3. Grandma-proof your posts

As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandmother seeing what you are posting, you might want to think twice before hitting that “post” button. This certainly narrows the field of acceptable posts quite a bit, but just remember that future employers, your professors, college admissions offices, and quite possibly your grandmother will see what you say on social media. Don’t give Nana a heart attack. Don’t be that grandchild.

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4. If you can’t say anything nice…

Just don’t say anything at all. What are we: five year olds or college students? Judging by some of the things we say on social media, it’s hard to tell. We are all old enough to be able to mediate ourselves and learn to respect the opinions and viewpoints of others of others, and with the exception of hate speech, there is nothing wrong with voicing our opinions as well.

 What do you think? Are we sharing too much on our social networking sites? Share you thoughts in the comments below!

5 Shows to Watch This Fall

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Now that September is upon us, lots of shows will be returning with new seasons. New episodes of your favorite shows are a great treat to look forward to throughout a stressful semester!  Don’t know where to start?  Here’s a short list of some great shows coming back for all new seasons to help you get started!

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1. Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation will be returning for its 7th and final season.  The Emmy and Golden Globe nominated NBC comedy stars Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Rhetta, Nick Offerman, Jim O’Heir, Rashida Jones, and Rob Lowe.  The show centers on the Parks and Recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana and is in documentary style.  Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who also created the US version of The Office, created the show.

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2. Modern Family

Modern Family returns for its 6th season on September 24th at 9pm on ABC.  The acclaimed comedy series has won several Emmys and Golden Globes for its first five seasons and is consistently well received by critics and audiences alike.  The show stars Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriquez, and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.

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3. American Horror Story: Freak Show

The 4th season of the FX hit returns October 8th at 10pm with a whole new set of characters.  Each season of the show has its own story, completely separate from each other, so each season functions as a miniseries.  Much of the cast, however, typically stays the same.  This season stars Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, John Carroll Lynch, and Patti LaBelle.

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4. The Vampire Diaries

This CW show is back for its 6th season on October 2nd.  The finale of season 5 was very emotional and fans of the show are eager to see what comes next.  The show stars Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Steven R. McQueen, Matt Davis, Michael Trevino, and Zach Roerig.  What happened to Damon and Bonnie at end of season 5?  Tune in to find out!

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5.  The Big Bang Theory

This CBS show is the #1 comedy on television and it returns for its 8th season on September 22nd.  Led by Jim Parsons, who has won 4 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper, the show is well received by fans and TV critics alike.  The show also stars Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik.

 What shows will you be watching this Fall?  Let us know in the comments!

Spending Time With Your Posse

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Staying on top of your studies is important. Making sure you spend time with your friends is just as important. Maintaining a social life, taking breaks from your school work- these things will keep you from going insane and getting burnt out too quickly.

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There are always things to do with your crew on and around campus. Activities such as bowling, ice-skating or a trip to the zoo are always fun. You could also find an interesting museum nearby or festival happening in the vicinity.

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Find a movie theater nearby campus and see the next big blockbuster with a bunch of friends (Mockingjay: Part 1 comes out in November, people!). See if there are any concerts coming up in the nearby area. Maybe your favorite sport’s team is playing nearby.

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You could also gather a group to go shopping. It can be for school supplies, for furniture you may need, for clothing you may have forgotten or just for the heck of it.

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Last resort? You could invite your friends to come watch a movie in your dorm room or find a lobby and watch the season premiere of that show you can’t believe ended in that INSANE cliffhanger last spring!!

 Spending time with your friends in college is important for your sanity. You should make time to hang out and do things other than sit on a quiet floor of the library all semester!

5 Free Apps to Have on Your Phone

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1. Calm by Calm.com

This app is great to help you de-stress!  Through guided meditation and loads of calming music, this app helps you relieve stress, fall asleep, and relax.  This is a great way to deal with the stress you’ll be under at school.  Whether you’re anxious about a test, midterms, finals week, or overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities, this app can really help you feel calm, focused, and ready to take on the world!

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2. Venmo

 Do you ever find it hard to split the bill when you go out to eat with friends or when you buy groceries with your roommates?  Venmo lets you link up your bank account to the app so you can send money directly to someone else without having to worry about taking out cash or splitting up an odd number.  Don’t worry, it’s completely safe and no one can gain access to your account, but you.  You can even set a passcode for the app itself so only you can get onto it!

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3. Your Bank’s Mobile App (This could be PNC, Bank of America, Chase, etc.)

 This will make your life so much easier!  Many of these apps allow you to deposit checks from wherever you are by taking photos of the front and back of the check.  You can also set up transfers, track your activity, and check your balance.  These apps are so convenient and make it so easy to manage your budget.  It really comes in handy when you’re out and about and need to check your balance!

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4. Airline Apps (United, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.)

 If you fly home for breaks or are going on a big spring break trip, these apps are great!  You can book a flight, check the status of a flight, check-in, and get your boarding pass right on your phone with them.  You never have to worry about forgetting or losing your boarding pass because it’s right on your phone!  You just scan the bar code on your mobile boarding pass at security and at the gate and you’re good to go.  These apps also send you notifications of any delays or gate changes.  You can even change your seats and make upgrades through the app.  And if you make an account, you can get rewards for your miles!

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5. Google Maps

 If you don’t already have Google Maps on your phone, you should download it ASAP!  It has turn-by-turn GPS directions, gives you the option to choose between public transportation, driving, walking, and biking directions, check traffic, and drop pins to help you find your way back if you’re walking, hiking, or lost!  This app is a lifesaver!

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Avoid Your Comfort Zone!

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College is a time for exploration and enlightenment. High school was fun, but
there will be many more opportunities to explore things that you may not have ever
considered before.
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Take an interesting elective class: Use electives as a way to explore subjects that you
may not have been exposed to within your major. Try a science class if you’re a
humanities major. If your major is in the liberal arts, try out a math class. Who
knows? You might even find a field you like even better than your current major!

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Explore a new extra curricular activity: If you are normally drawn to the arts, try a
new sport! Intramurals are a great way to try out a sport without the stress or
commitment of playing on a college team. Similarly, if you’re usually athletic, try out
something artsy! If you’re not quite ready to hit the stage, many school productions
always need help backstage with painting sets, props, etc.

Getting out of your comfort zone will allow you to make new friends, meet different
kinds of people with different viewpoints, find new things to do, and go places
you’ve never been!

How do you stay out of your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments below!