Unexpected Gift

The Portland Trail Blazers fans knew the 2013-14 season would look better than previous years, but no one saw an 11 game winning streak coming.

Though it is early in the season, the Blazers have shown countless improvement on defense and team chemistry.

Some analysts have connected the streak to the soft schedule early in the season, but the Blazers have shown continuous resilience after finishing a 4-0-road trip. They returned home to beat the Chicago Bulls, 98-95, and the Golden State Warriors, 113-101, back-to-back.

The eleven straight wins has sparked a lot of approval for the Blazers over social media, yet Head Coach Terry Stotts said he doesn’t even mention the streak to the team because he doesn’t believe they have accomplished anything.

I agree with Terry – it’s still early in the season and a long schedule waits, but credit can still be given to their effort.

Recently awarded Western Conference Player of the week, LaMarcus Aldridge, is leading the team in scoring with 22.1 points per game. He played an outstanding game on Nov. 23 against the Golden State Warriors as he led the team to victory. Aldridge finished the game with 30 points and 21 rebounds.

Wesley Matthews is averaging 16.7 points per game and has been lighting up from the three-point line. Though he was ejected late in the third quarter during the Warriors game, Matthew shot five of six from the three, and finished with 23 points.

The Blazers are currently first in the Western Conference, while the San Antonio Spurs trail closely behind.

During the 2007-08 season the Blazers had a 13-game run, led by former guard Brand Roy.

The Blazers were within reach after a win over the New York Knicks, 102-91, on Nov. 25, but hope was lost when the Blazers were defeated again by the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 27.

After a holiday break, the Blazers bounced back to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-108. The Blazers built 17-point lead in the first quarter and a 20-point lead in the third, but the Lakers returned to close the gap each time.  Aldridge and Lillard led the team in scoring, and helped the team escape a loss.

On Monday the Blazers sent a message to fans after they dethroned the number one team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers. Though Pacer Paul George led his team with 43 points, the Blazers proved to be taken serious with a 106-102 win.

The 15-3 record has given the new team confidence, but for how long fans will see this is unknown. For now, let’s enjoy the wonderful gift.

 

Fermi Paradox: One of a Kind?

We have almost all seen the great science fiction epics: “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “Aliens,” etc., and a common theme they all have is the interaction of intelligent life with one another and the conflicts that arise when groups cannot get along. When you look at the night sky, do any of you wonder if there is anyone else out there? As the physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, if there is such a great likelihood of intelligent life existing, “where are they?”

Our existing methods of stellar transportation have changed only minimally from the original fireworks that humanity invented thousands of years ago. If the speed of light can never be effectively overcome, then are we trapped on this lonely planet forever? Science fiction has an unending supply of faster than light transportation, from hyper drives, to jump drives, to warp drives, but they are just that: fictional. Any real world theoretical counterpart is simply beyond the scope of human science and engineering at the moment.

And yet, when you look at just our own galaxy, a swarm of stars so vast it would take light a hundred millennia to cross its vast distance, it quickly comes to light that, assuming the universe is an ancient one, another civilization traveling just below light speed could have at the very least explored the entire galaxy in a relatively short time frame. After all, what is one hundred thousand years when compared to a geological timescale? Indeed, when further compared to a cosmological timescale, it is downright brief.

So how can we answer Fermi’s question? Is it that all other life simply cannot overcome the speed of light, and has remained similarly trapped on their home worlds like us? Is it that they are afraid of hostile outsiders and do not want to risk revealing their presence? Perhaps, when we look at the universe on a cosmological time scale, we have not been around long enough for extraterrestrial life to become interested in us. Or, it could be that we are either incredibly rare, or we really are unique, and life exists only on this planet.

Whatever the answer may be, it is for certain that we are stuck with each other for a long time. Everyone who has lived and died did so on this planet, a planet that will remain our only home for the foreseeable future. We should make sure the Earth lasts us at least until then, because as far as we know, we truly are alone in the universe.

Recipe: Baked Potato

Even though in my college maturity I’ve developed a taste for Thai food and Panda Express, a part of my American soul still craves meat and potatoes. And with the exception of French fries (which, strangely, are the epitome of Americana), the baked potato is my favorite form.

Preheat the oven to around 400 F.

Start with a large potato:

Potato1

Scrub it clean and poke it with a fork or knife to help it release steam in the oven. Then put it directly on the oven rack and let it cook for at least 40 minutes. Stab it with a knife at 40 minutes and then in 10 minute increments after that if it’s not done. The cooked potato should be soft enough to be poked through to the center. Next, assembled your preferred toppings. These are my favorites:

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If you want to caramelize your onion, first peel it and roughly chop it:

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Toss a handful of chopped onion into a saute pan with a tablespoon or two of butter:

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Then let it cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are transparent and caramelized in the butter:

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Remove your cooked potato, slice it open, and pile it high with all of your ingredients:

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And enjoy! This makes a one-person serving, but, depending on how much sour cream you put on it, it can serve as two meals.

Why Thanksgiving is the Best Thing Ever

So it’s getting close now. In fact it’s so close, I can taste it. The turkey, the gravy, the mashed potatoes, the rolls…

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite thankful that it’s nearly Thanksgiving. While the food alone sets the day apart from other Thursdays of the year, there’s also something as awesome as food: football!

As always, I plan to leisurely roll out of bed to the smell of my parents’ cooking and stroll downstairs to the television where I’ll watch some football. This year the first game will be the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. It should actually be pretty good since both sides are battling for NFC North supremacy. Following that contest is the Oakland Raiders at the Dallas Cowboys and then the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens. Ah, quite the life.

But I haven’t got to the best part yet.

All the food and football wouldn’t be special if there wasn’t family. So even if there was great things to eat and watch, I would be thankful for them. Family helps you when you’re feeling down or in tough situations. Family is there for you when no one else is.

Your family can be friends too! Some of us won’t be with our actual family this year, but we still get to spend time with our friends. Family are those who love us and listen to our problems.

No matter who they are, those who love us are there to be cherished and not taken for granted. All in all, I’m definitely looking forward to some food, football and family!

PS – Thanksgiving also means we can finally start listening to Christmas music!

Ten Life Truths “Thor: The Dark World” Reminds us of

I recently went and saw “Thor: The Dark World” with my family.  Now, I am not movie critic.  Movies are, for the most part, just a method of entertainment and if a movie does that then I am pretty happy.  Being a sucker for Marvel movies in general, “The Dark World” did a great job of this.

However, it is safe to say that this sequel is a pretty good movie.  Good movies always reflect truth in some way and “The Dark World” is no exception.  The film reminds us that:

1. Moms are the best.

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Moms always try to see the best in their kids even when they go astray.  A good mom does what she can to protect her family.  They are even so awesome that they look after your friends like they are one of their own.  Just maybe not with a sword in usual circumstances

2. Brothers will sometimes bicker and fight with each other

 Tom Hiddleston Chris Hemsworth

3. And they know just what to say to get at each other

4.But, despite their differences they can often come together to accomplish something good.

5. “The Dark World” also reminds us how scary a villain can be

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Yes, a megalomaniac bent on ruling the world is scary, but when he or she tampers with powers that cannot be contained, he or she will at least attempt to help stop complete destruction of the coveted domain.  On the other hand, a villain with the power to destroy everything who wants to destroy everything is truly terrifying.  There is no shared empathy and no stopping point for that guy. Plus, Malekith is the stuff of nightmares.

6. We are also given a bit of social commentary.  With technology to a point where we have both a method for recording events and then sharing them in a single device, it is super easy to just pull out the hand dandy cellphone and snap a few picks.  But you really need to pick your moments (0:09 in the clip)

7. Sometimes, introducing your girlfriend to your friends and family is awkward.

8. Actually, some romances are just awkward in general

kiss

If you have seen the film, you know what I mean.

9. We have all been on that awkward date with a distracted person.

10. And this guy is wonderful.

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The poor guy.

Sorry for the spoilers. Go see “Thor: The Dark World” because it is worth it.

ASC: Cassie Pauley

 

Cassie Pauley is a social media aficionado.

As the Associated Student Community’s Director of Public Relations and Social Media Marketing, she has used her skills this year to improve on-campus communication from ASC to the student body.

Pauley knew she wanted to pursue a degree in marketing after completing an internship in high school, and decided to run for ASC Communications Director last year as a first-year student.

Although she did not win the election, Pauley was encouraged to apply for the Public Relations position. It was then that she was told about the possibility of working with social media.

“When they threw in social media marketing, I was really excited because that is something that I, personally, really want to go in to,” said Pauley.

The title of Pauley’s position was changed this year to allow her to oversee communication to students via posters, bulletin boards, LCD screens, the Stall Street Journal, and social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat).

She recognizes that students are shifting to use electronic communication more than the traditional methods of paper and posters.

“As college students, we’re not really looking at posters, honestly,” said Pauley. “We’re on our phones all the time.”

Pauley was the assistant manager of the Bruin Grounds (ASC’s student-run coffee shop) last year. She enjoys seeing a different side to ASC this year, both because of her position and the people she works with.

“This is a whole different part of ASC . . . but I really love everyone’s hearts,” said Pauley. “No one on ASC is working to make money.”

Pauley certainly contributes from her heart to serve. Not only does she put in 25 hours per week on communication prep and working on the Stall Street Journal, but she is also a work-study student and an athlete on the women’s lacrosse team.

“On top of everything, this year has been really crazy. But it’s a good crazy,” said Pauley. “I really love working on ASC.”

Hero by Marcus Mateo

On Oct. 25, during the George Fox Coronation & Variety show, freshman Marcus Mateo performed a spoken word about Jesus being the “hero” that led him out of the darkness in his life.

“When I wrote this I think I was a junior in high school and it was  just a really horrible horrible day and how the poem starts reflects that,” said Mateo. “But while I was writing, I was reminded of God’s goodness and that’s when I had the poem switch.”

Mateo was first introduced to spoken word as a freshman in high school, and his passion for the art quickly grew.

“I started writing poetry and spoken word pieces toward the end of sophomore year [and] into my junior year,” he said. “Then I got serious about it when my school formed a spoken-word/slam-poetry club my junior year and I became very involved with that.”

The young performer is from Waipahu, Hawaii, and is a part of the George Fox cross country team. He hopes to participate in track. He is currently studying to be a mechanical engineer.

Mateo is honest about how he balances his love of writing and performing his works with the responsibilities of school.

“It is VERY hard,” he said. “For example, there have been moments in the past month where I have wanted to write so much! But because of school work and time, I didn’t, and in all honesty it sucks. It was easier in high school to juggle everything, but college is a totally different ball game.”

He expressed a desire to perform and write more but knows that school (while intriguing) often hinders his ability to.

“Since I have come to college I’ve written seriously two times and performed two times,” he said. “Back in Hawaii I would write constantly and perform almost once a month.”

While his passion may be set on hold in pursuit of a career, there is no question of his talent and drive in spoken word, as could be seen in his performance at the variety show.

Hero

My eyes were closed to the reality that surrounded me. I always heard that the boogie man hid under my bead, but this time he was in my head and We were reenacting a scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He played the dementor’s, slowing sucking out my soul and after awhile it took its toll and I really felt like I was dying. Highly doubting that Jesus saves, but as I was losing hope in the power of his name, just like the movie the patronus came, pushed the darkness aside, leaving me staring into a blinding light and I *snap* snapped back to life. I scurried to the bathroom to wash the fear from my face, the water move through every grove of my face and dripped off my chin. And as I gazed into my reflections eyes I realized that Jesus saves, and saving is what hero’s do so therefore Jesus must me a hero He is the Justice League rapped into one He is superman using his x-ray vision to look past our faulty fake facade and into our hearts He is the incredibly fast Flash running faster than lighting to be by our side when we need him He is the Martian Manhunter using his physic ability to read our minds, he knows our every thought He is Batman the Dark knight, watching over us in the darkest of nights He is Aquaman with the ability to withstand the pressure in the depths of our sea of sin He is Wonder Woman, yes Wonder Woman masterfully wielding the lasso of truth waiting to snatch us when we’re falling so we realize he is the absolute truth. Last but certainly not least one of my favorite characters of the original justice league He is a Green Lantern because he doesn’t just protect the earth her watches the whole universe. SHOOT! He is even Naruto using his shadow clone jutsu to create us because we are all made in His image He is from deadman wonderland with the ability to manipulate his blood to create a net to catch our sins and take them to the grave with him He is Lion-O from the Thundercats calling on his people like thunder,thunder,thunder thunder cats… HOOO He is Ash on a mission to catch us all He is George Washington leading his people to victory He is Abraham Lincoln proclaiming that the slaves of sin are set free He is Darth Vader, and for the record I know Darth Vader was bad but he ends good so yeah, Darth Vader waiting for the right moment to say “insert name here” I am your father He is Albus Dumbledore wielding his wooden wand called the cross asking us to be a part of the Order of the Phoenix and take up ours Although unlike these heroes He was never flawed and had no weaknesses at all No pseudonym or mask to hide the real Him Jesus is a hero Which makes us all damsels in distress No man women boy or girl better than the rest All equal in death, all equally able to get saved I accepted the fact i cant save myself from my sins and decided to let the real hero do the saving Jesus is my hero Who is yours?

Is the Economy Becoming a Bubble?

Getty Images

Getty Images

According to data from Standard & Poor’s we may be in a new boom economy set to burst. In the last 25 years there have been two major bubbles: the internet bubble of 2000, which saw a S&P 500 boom 417% between 1990 and 2000; and the famous 2008 housing bubble where the S&P 500 grew 101% from 2002 to 2007.

The data from 2009 to now shows the S&P 500 up 166%. Based on simple pattern analysis this growth would be indicative of a market bubble. The market, however, is a complex and usually irrational animal. Currently it appears to be bull, but some think it is actually a bear in disguise.

To decide if we are in a bubble, first we have to understand what a bubble is and the nature of bull markets. Based on a long-term chart of the S&P 500, we are currently close to the mean price by 2.5 basis points, compared to 2000 where the S&P was over the mean by 20 basis points!

This bull market, compared with similar markets as far back as 1932, is lasting longer than most and is on average with the growth percentage. This seems more stable than previous bubbles. For instance, the bubble that caused the famous great depression lasted about 60 months and had growth of nearly 350%. This current bull market has lasted about the same length but only grown by 166%.

What does this all mean? It is hard to tell, but most likely we are not experiencing a bubble. Like most things, though, it is up to interpretation. The more conservative investors are carefully watching for signs of a “burst” in the market while the more aggressive investors are buying up Twitter and Amazon like crazy. My advice is to form your own opinion, watch the market carefully regardless of your investing strategy, and try to gain from the bull market. Still, be ready for a worst case scenario if the market should turn upside down.

Thank Goodness for Thanksgiving Break

With Thanksgiving break a little over a week away, everyone on campus is getting antsy for the small vacation.  It’s been over a month since our last break, which was the mid-semester break. That month has felt like an eternity and everyone has shifted into auto-pilot and is trying to make it to break to finally have some leisure time.

Students are not the only ones ready for the upcoming break.  Staff and faculty members are ready as well.  I’ve had conversations with various professors who are ready to get a moment to relax.

But you can’t blame any of us; as I said, it’s been over a month since we’ve had a break.  We are all so well deserving of it, and it cannot get here fast enough.

I bet the top two things on everyone’s agenda are hibernating and reuniting with family.  These are the two things that we lack with classes and work, so break time is the time to take full advantage of both.

The only downside is that we only get two days, not including the weekend.  Other schools get the whole week off.  Imagine the possibility of all the relaxation that could be done if we got the whole week off.

If we got the whole week off then no one would return after the break.  That’s all a part of George Fox’s plan to ensure students and faculty return for the last month of school.

The break is so close, but still a great distance away.  Keep the faith because we can make it.

We’ve made it this far since Oct. 11, so nothing can stop us now.  Thanksgiving break is a time to be thankful, so be thankful for the break from classes, reuniting with family, and the potential to get all the sleep.

ARC myths busted

Written by guest contributor Jordan Nelson
Today on Mythbusters, George Fox Edition, we’ll be observing the George Fox English geek in its natural habitat: the Academic Resource Center. We are hoping to gain insight into the infamous myths surrounding the ARC by observing the habits and rituals of what scientists call the ARCist Consultist.

Many legends hold that the ARC is a dark and dreary place, hidden deep in the bowels of the GFU Library, right next to the college mortuary and the old textbook annex. The Consultants who roam these halls are thought to be pasty-skinned introverts with nothing better to do than write Harry Potter fan fiction and browse the internet for Lord of the Rings screensavers. Others have heard of conspiracies designed to crush the spirit of any student to improperly employ an ampersand . . .

Fortunately, research suggests that although some ARC Consultants do appear rather pasty (courtesy of the beautiful Oregon weather), the other rumors are quite false.

Regular college students by day but billionaire-crime-fighting-philanthropists by night, these dedicated men and women were specially selected to assist George Fox’s fine professors in teaching America’s most valuable skill: the proper use of APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian formats.

Okay, so maybe that’s not the most important skill, but it’s definitely in the top five. Regardless, that’s why the Consultants are there. They are well-learned students with a desire to serve their fellow classmates. They want to help with anything from brainstorming for an essay to academic coaching.

If you need help understanding a writing assignment, they’re your go-to men (and women). If you want to know how to manage your time so you’re not stuck trying to learn 99% of the course material on Dead Day, they’ve got your back. If you’re feeling a little iffy on how to cite a quotation in your paper, feel free to stop by. They want to be your mainstay, your bastion, your lighthouse among the treacherous waters of Bill Jolliff’s Lit 180 class. They’ve been there. They, too, have experienced that agony and have not only survived, but flourished in its wake.

Oh, but wait! There’s more!

These Consultants are no longer content to stand idly by while perfectly talented students are left floundering in self-doubt. There are no bad writers, no “stupid” students. No matter one’s skill level, Consultants encourage everyone to stop by for a consultation when a writing assignment is due. Heck, the Consultants even make appointments with one another, because they recognize that even the best writer can use a fresh set of eyes and a different point of view every once in a while.

The ARC, just like the Library, Print Services, or the Justice League, is just another resource to be utilized, a tool to be employed . . . a place to bum free food. That’s right. The ARC has snacks. We’re talking M&M’s, trail mix, and hot chocolate, people! How is that not awesome?