February 27 marked the death of Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy is best known for playing the iconic character of Spock from the original Star Trek series. He also played Spock in eight Star Trek movies, ranging from 1979 to 2013. Though he was most popular for his role as Spock, his career encompassed much more. He was a voice actor and director for many other movies. He wrote two books, one entitled “I Am Not Spock,” the other “I Am Spock” resulting from struggling for many years with only being known as Spock, but he later saw good in the character and what he brought to it. Nimoy also had an interest in photography and music. Nimoy’s death affected many of his fans in different ways. Katelynn Courteney, a student at GFU, described her reaction to the news. “Friday morning I found it on Facebook and clicked on the link to see if it was real…I freaked out and said to my roommate ‘Megan! Leonard Nimoy is dead!’ It was a shock to everybody, including me,” she said. Daniel Mellers, a student at George Fox University, commented on the fact that Nimoy is constantly associated with only the character of Spock. “I think it’s interesting that after Leonard Nimoy died, even though he was just an actor, albeit for a very popular show, he has become a cultural icon,” Mellers said. “[I] associated with his character and in some way having the characteristics of his character. He is seen as the wise, intelligent man because of the character he played.” Despite Nimoy’s death, he will be remembered: not only by the iconic character he played, but also by the photography, books, and music he produced.
April 27, 2015“Work does cost you something,” says Katherine Donahue, the main protagonist in George Fox University’s spring tragedy by Melanie Marnich, “These Shining Lives.” For Donahue, work eventually cost her life. Directed by Rhett Luedtke, “These Shining Lives” focuses on the lives of four of the so-called “radium girls” who worked for the Radium Dial Company in the 1920s and 30s, painting radioactive glow-in-the-dark paint onto watch faces. Part of the painting process included licking the brushes and over the course of the years these women ingested terminal amounts of toxins. Some of the unique features of this particular production of the show include three roles that are double-cast, a one hundred twenty foot projection screen that encircles the stage, and stadium seating, or “theater in the round.” I was only able to attend one night and saw the cast with Katie Wight, Nicole Greene, and Emily Lund playing the double-cast roles of the three closest co-workers and friends of Donahue played by Olivia Anderson. The projections, designed and projection mapped by Kacy Helwig, offered subtle yet meaningful context to a set mainly devoid of scenery. At critical moments it was also able to emotionally enhance the power of scenes. In particular, an image of glowing watch faces that appears during scene changes grew increasingly more fractured, mirroring Donahue’s life and health. Finally the entire show was presented to seating on all four sides of the stage, adding extra challenges to acting and movement, and yet the story was enriched by the ability to see the faces of audience members. At the outset of the story smiles could be seen all around as we enjoyed the romance of Donahue and her husband and the camaraderie between the four employees. Yet when things took a turn toward the tragic, we could also see the pain and sorrow on one another’s faces. Luedtke’s directing made for an intimate experience both for the cast to audience but also for the audience to audience and each was boosted by the other. The acting itself was brilliant: the early scenes of carefree romance between the Donahues, the growth of friendship between the women, the painful descent into despair, and the decision to fight against all odds stood out as particularly poignant. There is a scene toward the end of the story in which Donahue holds her children and later speaks of “the sound of a mother’s heart breaking.” I watched as the audience’s hearts broke with hers. When Donahue takes the company to court for their actions she says, “This trial has changed things,” referring to the way she is treated by friends and acquaintances. And yet, the historical event really did change things on a larger scale as well. According to the dramaturg, Caroline Smith, “the radium girls . . . opened eyes to unjust corporate practices that valued money over humanity.” I tend to enjoy theater anyway, but some shows need to be watched for more than their entertainment value and this is certainly one of them. Corporate greed and the use of people is not confined to the past. It is a problem today in quieter but equally subversive ways. In Luedtke’s words, “I pray that we are emboldened to live “shining lives” like Catherine [Donahue] and her coworkers.”
March 30, 2015The dish carousel at Bon Appetit (the Bon) spins in a circle, laden with dirty dishes, and behind it, five days a week, Rafael Mancilla works in the dish room. Rafael, better known as Rafa, pulls used trays and dishes covered in food off the racks, scrubs them off and loads them into the dish room’s giant dish-washing machine. He and the other members of the dish room staff work late into the night ensuring that the Bon will be prepared with clean pots and pans for the next day. Cart after cart, all stacked high with dirty pots and pans from the kitchen, are shoved back into the dish room to be cleaned and put away. Rafa, dressed in a black waterproof apron, doesn’t let the mountains of dishes slow him down, but works cheerfully with a big smile on his face. Rafa has worked at George Fox University since November of 2005. “[Most of] the George Fox community probably don’t know who Rafa is, but students should know he is one of the many hard working dish-room staff,” said Brett Harvey, the board manager at Bon Appetit Co.. “I really like working here, especially with the student workers,” said Rafa. He likes to help students feel at ease and is always ready with a joke or to help students learn some basic Spanish. Rafa works very hard, and when asked what he does in his free time, he laughed shyly. “Free time? I have no free time. I work every day, five days here at The Bon and two days a week at the dish room over at Friendsview. I work to make money to help support my family. I work hard for little money.” Rafa rides his bicycle to and from work everyday, rain or shine. He works every day, not only to support his family, but also to save his money for an annual two-week trip down to Mexico so that he can be reunited with his brother and sister. “We always have such a good time!” said Rafa. The workers of the dish room, people like Rafa, are often seen but unnoticed. This does not detract from their importance; they are the backbone, and often what keeps the operation going. “Rafa is one of the hardest working people I know,” said Harvey. “[Not only does he] help to keep our kitchen running smooth and our guests happy with clean plates, silverware and cups, he also brings to our Bon Appetit team strength, consistency and understanding.” When placing trays on the dish carousel, some students yell out thank you to the dish room staff. It might just be Rafa who is on the other side, smiling and yelling back “You’re welcome!”
March 30, 2015One of the happiest places at George Fox University is the information window, behind which sits Barbi Doran. She is the Information Services Coordinator and has been a bright contribution to the GFU family for seven years. Barbi is always ready with a smile to answer the phone and to greet anyone who has a question as if they are the most important person in the world. “One of my favorite aspects of my job is getting to work with people, students, coworkers, and visitors,” said Barbi Doran. “I just love helping people and being a resource for them, and I get to do that all day long.” Before being hired in February of 2008, Barbi worked for the university as a temporary information coordinator who was on call. She worked at that position for about a year, until the person who had held the permanent position moved to the Portland campus. When this happened, she applied for the job and was hired. “It’s OK to have too much fun!” “I love my job so much!” said Barbi. “I throw myself an ‘I love my job anniversary party’, every year on the anniversary of my hire date, and I’ve done that every year since I was hired.” Her parties include lots of chocolate, fruit, cake, cookies, and prize drawings. “I try to have as many prizes as years that I’ve been here,” she said. Barbi also keeps a running list of all of the funny switchboard calls that she receives throughout the year, types them up and then sends them out so that people can read them and get a laugh. “This year I asked students and employees to write down what they like about their job, then I compiled all the answers. When I sent out ‘thanks for coming to my party’ emails, I followed up with the list of what others had said that they liked about their jobs,” said Barbi. “I think it encourages people and when they read over the list they can be like, you know what? I love that about my job too!’ It’s an acknowledgement and an encouragement, and it’s fun!” A typical day for Barbi includes working on several projects at a time. “I try to have things that don’t have a tight deadline, because you never know who’s going to call or who’s going to walk in the door and need help,” she said. She relies on sticky notes to stay organized and never throws one away until she has handled the task. Barbi also utilizes the calendar on her computer that pops up with reminders of when it’s time to complete something, even small things. “I am thrilled when students share their lives with me and I get to pray with them on the phone or in person,” said Barbi. “If I have a student who has a test or an important interview and I’m praying for them, I just put it in my calendar and then it just pops up on my computer, ‘pray for this person.’ It’s a good reminder and is very helpful.” Barbi makes the students of GFU– “her kids,” as she fondly refers to them–a priority not only at work, but outside of it as well. “I’m a big Bruins fan, and I love basketball, so I really love supporting my kids. Oftentimes when we are at the games, especially an away game, someone will ask, ‘Oh, which one is your kid?’ I always answer, ‘They’re all my kids!’” Barbie is also excited about the addition of the Bruins football team. “I have to be careful, [when cheering], because I don’t understand all the calls in football yet, but I’ve found that if I just yell, ‘Go Bruins!’ no matter what’s going on out on the field, it’s a good cheer,” she said. Barbi’s Desk In her free time, Barbi also loves to go shopping, and calls it her down time. Garage saleing is another of her favorite pastimes. “Although in Oregon it’s not a year round pastime,” she laughed. “But for sure in the summer, every Saturday I’m out.” When asked what motivates her, Barbi answered, “My heart is to serve, and I believe that if we love God, then his love flows through us and out to others. Like on my own, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t serve and be and do, but when I open myself up to God’s love and allow myself to be a conduit of his love through me, then that’s how I can do what I can do. ‘Cause it’s never in my strength; I’d run out.” Barbi loves interacting with students, helping students, being a resource for students, and praying for students. “I love it when students come up and share their lives with me,” Barbi smiled. “So stop by, I would love to get to know more students and help them in any way I can, and it doesn’t matter the question or need, I am happy to help. Oh and I always have chocolate at my desk too!” Barbi hard at work!
March 16, 2015This year’s Spring Retreat took place at Trout Creek Bible Camp and featured George Fox University Christian Studies professor, Anderson Campbell, as the weekend’s speaker. Campbell focused on Philippians 3:2-14 with the topic of “Jesus All the Way Through?” Campbell explained his topic choice, saying, “I picked this topic because it is tempting for us as Christians to merely have a veneer of Jesus … but be filled with all sorts of other stuff on the inside. I wanted to explore what … stuff stands in our way, and what things we might be able to do in order to become Jesus all the way through.” Students pursued extrinsically and intrinsically spiritual activities such as Campus Pastor Rusty St. Cyr’s list: “relax[ing] a bit with blue skies, huge trees, great food, rock-walls, zip-lines, hiking trails, with friends (old and new) and in solitude with God.” These activities were all left intentionally optional to allow students to seek “retreat” in whichever way they saw best. According to Campbell that best way occurred at “the bonfire on Saturday night… The light and the heat from the fire was welcome. But more than that, the fire offered us an opportunity to make some offerings to God. Students wrote down things that they wanted to give over to God and then they burned those things as a tangible way of expressing their desire to turn and follow Jesus more fully.” Campbell’s sessions were well-received according to attendants. Student Andrew Upchurch said, “I saw people refreshed by the message that Anderson Campbell shared with us.” St. Cyr said, “Anderson Campbell did a brilliant job of inviting us to explore in-depth one simple but rich passage of scripture the entire weekend. I also personally saw and have heard from students who were quite hungry and excited to listen well, to learn deeply, and to apply truth from God’s Word.” All three men wanted to share their excitement over retreats to come as well as their gratefulness for the 2015 Spring Retreat. “Looking forward to Fall Escape back at the coast next Nov. 13-15th with our partner organization Twin Rocks Friends Camp!,” said St. Cyr. “The goal of the weekend was to create a space for rest, retreat, reflection, community, and worship. From what I could see, I know that this goal was accomplished to a very significant extent,” said Upchurch.
March 11, 2015“I was baking something and it caught on fire,” Lexie Began explained. She is in her junior year and a Cinema Media Communications (CMCO) major at George Fox University, but Film is not her only passion. “I love food,” she said. “I’m not very good at baking.” While broiling the salmon on a rather sensitive oven, she went to check on the pot and her food was alight. Lexie is one of those people who can cook without following the book. “I don’t like having to use a recipe if I don’t have to,” she said. “Like, you know if I get all the ingredients I can just fix them the way that I want. I love that kind of freedom.” Lexie explained that the flaming salmon was not a common occurrence. “I’ve never set anything on fire; this is a first for me,” she said. The freedom that Lexie has in the kitchen is the same freedom that allows for anything to happen in her career as well. As well as cooking, Lexie has a passion for animation. “I’m kind of like a jack of all trades when it comes to animation, but I really lean towards the digital and 3D animation more.” Which is fitting, considering that is her concentration as a CMCO student. Lexie got involved in film and animation at an early age. “Our fifth grade class had this project where we all made stop motion movies,” she said. “So they taught us how to do it and they all looked terrible, but you know, we each did them in our own classes and we had a little film festival in the end and it was really fun.” “I liked it so much, I helped other people with their projects, just helping with filming and editing and stuff,” she said. She continued with it and realized that her passion could become a reality and a career. “I kept on doing it through middle school, and then people were telling me ‘this is something you can actually do as a career.’” Animation has not always been her dream though, “I had originally wanted to be a vet, um, dissecting frogs kind of turns you off to that when you realize, I don’t really want to cut into animals,” she said. And now she has been led here to GFU. Lexie acknowledges that life can take you in many different directions and that she is willing to work hard no matter where she ends up. “I found out that GFU has a small animation program but that they wanted to make it grow, and I mean I could probably go somewhere else and learn how to do animation much better,” Lexie said, “but I really wanted to help out and just expand our animation program and give recognition to our animation program. “We had to do an animation for our midterm and most people were like, it’s so hard, people hate it. Most film majors really dislike animation,” she admits, but she is not deterred by it. “It’s really hard but it’s really satisfying. I made this thing move from here to here and it looks really cool.” “You get to kind of figure things out and mess up and find fantastic things out by yourself. It’s really fun.” She learns something every day, whether it is about animation or the temperament of the stove. When talking with Lexie her passions are easily visible. Her maturity comes out in the fact that she knows that life comes with messes, challenges, and flaming fish and no recipe, but great things come creating something good and worth indulging in. “I just want to do animation,” she said. “I don’t have any place where I’d love to work… I don’t care if I am working on films or working on games, I just want to do animation.” Lexie does not seem to be too preoccupied in what happens as long as it involves what she loves. She is willing to see where life takes her, which hopefully will involve safe cooking and making animation for those around her to enjoy.
March 10, 2015Nathanael “Nate” Ayers played John Brooke in George Fox University’s play Little Women this semester. It was his first show in two years. Last semester he worked as a lighting technician and sound technician on the set of Twelfth Night, the winter play at GFU. Prior to his theatre career at GFU, Nate was involved in his in high school theatre. “I was one of two guys to try out,” said Nate. He had never acted before and suddenly he was playing the lead. The next year he was the lead in his school’s production of Into the Woods. From there, Nate took classes that helped him discover what he wanted to do. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it,” he said. He was told to follow what he was good at, and acting and singing “are two things that I loved and was not terrible at.” Nate speaks passionately about theatre. “That whole process of creating and then keeping my eyes open made me fall in love with the art. It’s an easy art to fall in love with.” He feels that theatre as an art has a lot to say, especially about people and their relationships. He mentioned that one of his favorite things about acting is when an event occurs onstage and the audience’s mouths drop with the suspension of disbelief. He feels important when the audience can be so involved with the story that they have a natural place there and find truth in the story. “Artists have the power to bring attention to things.” Nate said. Such things can often cause people to think about their own lives in a different way because of what is shown in the story onstage. He especially appreciates the theatre program at GFU. He feels as if the program here “focuses on not only creating shows but ministering.” He finds importance in art that makes the viewer think, not just enjoy, but also examine themselves and their own lives. Nate does not take the power of theatre lightly. He wants “to make the art of the musical something that is more relevant to the world.” He has been influenced by musicals such as “Once” and “Sunday in the Park with George,” which are not as mainstream. But Nate feels it is not the mainstream musicals that have the most meaning; they are more for the show and lights. With the powerful effect theatre has, Nate feels like it can be used to show more important things than just singing cats or a theatre ghost. He wants to see change in the world of theatre in this way. If given the opportunity he would direct or write musicals. He admits the difficulty of this; “with theatre you cannot just show, you have to tell. A good writer does not waste words. “I plan to keep auditioning for everything that Fox does,” Nate said. After getting his undergraduate degree he plans on going to graduate school and getting his Master of Fine Arts. In the meantime, he spends the majority of his days in Ross and Bauman, as he takes singing and acting classes, and his evenings in the theatre as he works with the theatre department. Even when he does not get a part in a play, he is still willing to work on the production. It is what he is passionate about and with those who feel the same.
February 26, 2015Matt and Vivienne Inlow are a married couple that attend George Fox University. They are both music majors in their senior year. Before attending GFU, they attended community college and participated in their church’s youth and music ministries. Because of this, they had several years together as a couple before attending GFU. Matt and Vivienne at 15-2003 Matt and Vivienne at graduation-2006 Matt and Vivienne in Rome-2007 Matt and Vivienne began dating when they were 15 and were engaged when they were 19. I asked them if they thought if people should be a certain age before getting married, or if they believed qualifying for marriage was more concerned with the maturity of the relationship. Vivienne said that she definitely thinks the maturity of the relationship is a larger factor. However, age can be a factor, because a person changes so much from 19 to 30, so you have to be willing to grow as a couple through that. College is a time of change in and of itself. I asked Matt and Vivienne if being married while attending college could be stressful. Matt and Vivienne said that, because they had been married for several years before starting college, it was a little different. Matt said, “[the] first year of marriage, you’re getting to know each other and learning how to live with each other.” Vivienne mentioned that if a couple got married while in college it could be more challenging because of that fact. She said that it would not be bad, but probably challenging. “If you’re really confident with that person,” she said, “…and know it’s the right thing to do, I think it’d be a really cool story and a really cool experience.” Marriage and college could be hard to balance; a common motif for college students is staying up late and getting little sleep. Matt and Vivienne said it is still a part of life as a married couple, if not more. Matt mentioned that when you live off campus you have to cook, clean, and pay bills much more than those who live on campus. Also, when you are married, you have another person’s schedule to worry about—“You have somebody to take care of and be mindful of.” They used the following example: If they were alone, they might do homework while eating dinner, but because they are eating together they decide to watch Netflix or something similar instead. They both realize that marriage adds extra time in your schedule, but also adds extra experiences with a best friend. You have someone to do homework with, a shoulder to cry on, and a friend to walk with you through the stress of the college experience.
February 7, 2015Originally published in the print on Deb. 8, 2014. I meet Kenneth Hoover as he reaches the top of the stairs going to the first floor of the library. With a smile on his face, he asks, already knowing the answer, “We are going back down to the ARC for the interview, right?” I cannot help but chuckle and reply, “Yep.” Hoover often wears a baseball cap. The hat today is black, with the words “God’s Army” stitched on the front right side. As we sit down at one of the round tables inside the Academic Resource Center, Hoover, an Army vet and a junior majoring in Social Work, begins to tell me how he heard about George Fox University. “Before I got out of the military in 2011, I met a chaplain that worked with people with substance abuse issues,” Hoover said. “I told him that something has been tugging at me to work with people since I come from a family who experienced alcohol issues.” Hoover continues to reveal to me how the chaplain encouraged him to look at GFU, which had a reputation of supporting students. Their beliefs also matched his, and they had a program that would aid him in his call to serve those battling with addiction. Hoover started his journey to GFU by attending Olympic Community College in Washington, where he met certain prerequisites before transferring here. Hoover’s first week on campus, as a Bruin, was a good experience—mainly due to a meeting with Dr. Cliff Rosenbohm, who discussed what the big picture looked like with regard to the social work program. I ask Hoover what his first impression was as a nontraditional student. “I left a school where there were a lot of people starting back over again. When I walked on campus here, I did not see a lot of people like me,” Hoover said. “I did not see a lot of people looking like me, with gray hair and almost fifty years old. But I was pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere, the holding open of doors, the smiles, the hellos, and the maturity level of some of the students, especially in my classes.” As he continues to share his story with me, his servant’s heart guides each response and lightens up the room. As a nontraditional student, Hoover would like to see “some kind of gathering in which maybe we could start a support group for each other, whether it would be outside of campus or something where we can relax together and talk together.” Currently, GFU does not have anything specifically geared towards nontraditional students. David Weber, a graphic art design major and nontraditional student, is already seated in the Bruin Den waiting for me. Like Hoover, he also has an affinity for baseball caps. Weber served in the army for 16 years and was deployed in the first Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. He hardly ever slouches and is very keen on keeping eye contact. When I ask him how he heard about GFU, he sits a little straighter and tells me his wife is an alumnus. He recalls his first week of school as “scary!” Thankfully, Weber was placed in contact with people such as Dr. Rick Muthiah who are at GFU to help students. He does not know other nontraditional students on campus very well. I ask him if he thinks nontraditional students are accepted on campus and he quickly answers, “No.” Weber shifts in the chair before continuing. “Sometimes it is the instructor. [For the younger students] it is the fact that I am as old as their parents. It gets weird for them to talk to me, so they don’t. Sometimes an instructor can treat me like a twenty-year-old.” As I probe further, I inquire if he can think of a way GFU might address the disconnect he sees with nontraditional students. Without missing a beat, Weber answers, “I think the instructors need to be aware [and] pay attention to the fact that [nontraditional students] have life experience…and adjust accordingly.” Dawn Killion, a junior in the nursing program and also an army veteran, believes that nontraditional students should not have to take LACI because most of them have “life experience,” just as Weber said. Killion sits down on the other side of a table and smiles; she almost said “no” to this interview. She first knew of GFU because she lives 20 minutes away. Killion recalls her first week as “completely overwhelming!” She continues, “First of all coming back to school, being 40, and then being around students who were 18 or 20—it was intimidating in a weird way.” Killion had several teachers who prayed in class, which affirmed for her that she was where God wanted her to be. There are several nontraditional students in the nursing program, but Killion is not connected with all of them. She is nervous about the upcoming Juniors Abroad trip to Ecuador this May because she knows no one in the class, not to mention anyone her age. Killion does not let age hold her back from creating relationships on campus. However, she does not think she would participate in a gathering of nontraditional students because any free time she has is dedicated to spending with her husband, son, and daughter. When I ask her if professors treat her differently because she is an older student, Killion replies, “Some of them are kind of weird, most of them have been good at talking to me on my level and just really treating me my age.” Killion pauses for a moment. “But I have other teachers who don’t quite know what to do with me, and that is frustrating. But overall, things have been pretty good.” Hoover, Weber, and Killion’s views on being a nontraditional student reveal that there is a major gap with similar students on campus. Most nontraditional students live off-campus—some with families. Balancing home and schoolwork does not always allow for an ‘80s Dance (of which all interviewees can say they attended in the actual ‘80s) or Glow-in-the-Dark Slip and Slide. Nontraditional students usually do not read The Crescent or attend ASC functions. However, they do feel nontraditional students have no collective voice.
December 11, 2014Taylor Swift is “shaking off” her country image and making her way to the pop scene with her new album, “1989.” The album was released in October through Big Machine Records. The new album has thirteen tracks, uses heavy drum beats as well as synthesizers, and has more of a processed feel to it than Swift’s previous albums. The songs lyrics still have Swift’s trademark subject of complicated relationships, a trait that she has come under fire for in the past. This review will focus on Swift’s two singles that came from the album, “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off.” Taylor Swift has had her good and bad moments with media, especially when it comes to her numerous relationships with high profile men. She addresses this in her song “Blank Space.” The first time I heard this song on the radio, I had no idea that it was by Taylor Swift. “Blank Space” has a different feel to it than songs from her earlier albums. I really like the song’s beat and melody. Listening to the song, I felt myself having my own personal dance party. My feet began tapping and pretty soon I was head bobbing. This is a song that I wouldn’t mind hearing multiple times on the radio; it has enough of a variety in the lyrics to not get too repetitive. When listening to the song, I was at first confused about what a “Starbucks lover” was. Only later did I find out that the lyrics were “Got a long list of ex-lovers.” This was not only slightly embarrassing, but also provided me with quite the puzzle. What exactly would a Starbucks lover be? A person you met at Starbucks and fell in love with? A Starbucks worker? A lover who is obsessed with Starbucks? I will never know. After watching the music video for “Blank Space,” I’m convinced that this song is a giant troll on Swift’s part. The most telling line of the song is the one that I misheard: “Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” Not only is Swift addressing her past, she is also telling people to think about how she got the reputation in the first place. How many ex-boyfriends paint former girlfriends in the best light, and vice versa? In the music video she starts off in a relationship with a handsome man. Things seem to be going great; they ride bikes in the house, go horseback riding, walk their three doberman pinschers in formal evening attire (cause who doesn’t do that) and even carve their names in a tree. Things take a turn for the worse when Handsome McCharming Pants is caught in what we can assume is cheating behavior. This is never clearly shown. Swift seems to go off the deep end. Things like attacking his car with a golf club, taking an ax to their tree, and dropping his phone in a fountain are only the beginning of her behavior towards him. In the end a new guy, Handsome McCharming Pants II, shows up to start this cycle all over again. This music video clearly shows what most people would think of as an insanely jealous woman. That is the beauty of it: by pointing out this crazy extreme insanity, Swift shows that she is not actually the man-eating psycho some make her out to be. Really she has had several bad relationships with men who broke her heart. The only insane thing that she has done is write breakup songs referring to these ex’s. There is also an element of beware of breaking her heart in the future, because there is a blank space in her next hit single just waiting for her to write your name in if you mess up. The other single in the album is “Shake it off.” “Shake It Off” has been playing on the radio since October. Though I love the message of this song, to not let the haters get to you, I am starting to get a little tired of hearing it over and over again. The fact that the song has very repetitive phrases doesn’t help this either. Another point of repetition is the ex-boyfriend theme. In one of the last verses Swift can’t help but again make mention of her former men: “My ex-man brought his new girlfriend, she’s like ‘Oh, my god!’ but I’m just gonna shake.” This song has a good message: players are going to play you, haters are going to hate on you, heart breakers will try and break you, and fakers are going to fake it, but you have to just “shake it off.” Due to the hate that Swift has been receiving in the media lately, this song seems to be the perfect response. No matter what people say or do, you can’t let it get to you. Instead dance to your own beat and know that everything will be okay. In her music video she plays several different dance roles, all in adorable awkward Taylor Swift fashion. She dances ballet, hip hop, jazz and is even a cheerleader. I personally thought that the Lady Gaga-ish dance/costume was particularly delightful. A point of controversy over the video was the fact that Taylor Swift tried her own version of twerking. The fact that Swift tried to dress like a black woman and uncomfortably twerk was not something that everyone one agreed with. Some said that this was racist, and that she was poking fun at the African American culture. I honestly don’t think that Swift’s intention was to be racist, but I find the image of her trying to twerk awkward. (And not in a good way!) Overall I really liked Swift’s new songs. As for her dancing, I don’t think that she should quit her day job, but that kind of proves her point: haters are just gonna have to hate. Just for fun here is a version of the song that has been cleverly synced with an old Aerobics Championship.
December 11, 2014Looking forward to all of those Christmas and New Year’s parties… what to wear, what to wear. As the holidays approach in this crazy and busy season, let what you wear be the least of your worries. It is possible to look fantastic, make your friends envious, and still keep your budget intact. There are of course great black and white possibilities, as well as the classic red. Sequence and flash are always in, especially when it comes to the shoe. Your outfit can be more muted as you dress it up with a powerful pair of shoes, or chunky necklaces and earrings. And remember that great clutch purses are always in and fun to carry. And if its comfort you’re looking for, making a statement piece with colored jeans and a blouse is always good too. It’s also good to play with your hairstyle. Try pulling your hair back in a tight and slick bun or making it wavy and letting it fall down off your shoulders. There are also eye-catching hair accessories with feathers and rhinestone pieces that will add to your look. This Week’s Top Tip: The holidays can be a stressful time. It’s okay to dress down, but treat yourself to at least one time where you get to dress it up. Grab some once-loved or seldom-used clothes and shoes from your closet. You can also play it up with your make-up being on the lighter and simpler side, paired with a drastic eye shadow or lipstick. Don’t forget that second hand is always recommended and be bold enough to live outside your box.