Since 1970 the Portland Trailblazers have been the best show in town. After seven years of being a franchise, in 1977 our All-Star Center Bill Walton led the team to a championship gold against the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers, giving Portland sports national attention for the first time in history. Fast forward to 2015 and an early exit round one in the playoffs versus the Memphis Grizzlies. LaMarcus Aldridge, our most prized player, left the team in free agency and three other starters follow suit, consequently, leaving one loyal Blazer…Damian Lillard. Under the headship of Damian Lillard, the new-look Blazers are looking like a team to be reckoned with in the highly competitive Western Conference. With a completely different starting lineup from last season, the Blazers have started the season 4-9. Some key additions to the team are starting 6’10” small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who boasts great ball handling skills and an above average shooting touch from beyond the arc. At his height, Aminu has already caused some headaches for opposing teams defensively, and at just 25 he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on moving forward. Thanks to the expertise of general manager Neil Olshey, over the past few years the Blazers have done a phenomenal job drafting and developing talent. Guys who were rookies with very limited playing time have been forced to step up and make important contributions to the team. CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard are the two players that stood out thus far, and an honorable mention goes to Allen Crabbe for his scoring prowess off the bench. As Oregonians, and by default Portland Trailblazers fans, we have much to be excited for this coming season. Head Coach Terry Stotts has been at the helm since 2012 and the team has fully bought in to his program. This makes for a promising season that has already shown some sparks. Now be prepared for some fireworks.
December 8, 2015Coming back from the four days of Thanksgiving break, we all have to face the crucial reality which is: there are only a few days left before finals. No matter how many finals we have been through in our school life, when it comes, the intensity comes along with it. So having this in mind, what can cure our stress during finals? Here are some practical tips: 1. First and most important: Treat your body right. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and exercise before and during finals week. Most research says that the typical person needs at least five hours of sleep in order to retain the information they learned during the day and to be alert and functional the following day. We all need time to study, but staying up all night cramming can actually decrease your memory and ability to retain information. Also, treat yourself with your favorite food–don’t worry about your weight; you deserve something that makes you happy. Food will give you the energy and mental strength you need to focus. Exercise has also been shown to decrease stress. Spending maybe ten minutes a day walking around campus can give your brain time to refresh. 2. Study Strategically Create a study schedule and make estimates for the amount of time required study for each test. From there, you can prioritize what needs to be accomplished each day. Avoid studying or working on the same project more than two hours. Get up and walk around every hour for at least 15 minutes, or connect with a friend to refresh yourself. If you are not easily distracted by others, then try to have a study group from your class. Getting together with a group and discussing the course material may help you retain the information. Interaction with friends can relieve stress, but studying is important, too. 3. Visualize it All Going Right Imagine yourself taking the test and feeling confident that you know all the information. Picture getting all of the answers right, and focus on how relaxed you feel. Then picture the “A” on your test paper. When you imagine a happy ending, that’s often what happens, because you make the decisions that lead to it without even realizing. You’ve prepared as much as you can, and now it’s time to ace the test. Good Luck!
November 29, 2015If you mention the name Loren Van Tassel to any of the international students at George Fox University (GFU), you will probably get the same reactions from them: a big smiling face and plenty of compliments. Loren, almost 79-years-old, is one of the oldest professors on campus, and teaches biblical knowledge to the students with no Christian background. Loren was born in his grandparents’ farm house, in a rural part of Oregon; he lived in a forested area where wild animals roamed. Coming from an agricultural background and being fully interested in the subject drove him to want to study agriculture and work for Future Farmers of America. Loren earned his master’s degree in Zoology at Oregan State University. One day, he prayed before he went to the lab section of his Bio-Chemistry class. “God who do you want me to be partners with?” He stood there and waited. “A short girl from Thailand came to me and stood here and so we became friends.” It seems like God already had a plan for Loren. When he was in college his roommates were from Hong Kong, and he went to the Chinese-Christian fellowship. Then he started working with international students, which opened up his vision to the world. He never expected to live in a big city working with people from around the world. When Loren was planning to attend Washington State University for his Ph.D. in Bio-Physics he did not pass, instead he was invited to assist in a course for nursing students. He discovered in that situation that he had a gift for teaching. He thought he was going to teach for the rest of his life, but at the time he gradually realized that God was calling him to Christian ministry, and he found out that he wanted to focus on something more significant than biology, and that is people’s spiritual life and the Bible’s message. “I am a shy, introvert and coming from the rural area, but God was bringing these influences into my life and that gave me confidence. I was always so unsure of myself before. God gave me affirmation through people around me,” said Loren. “It’s ok, I can change.” About that time Loren met his wife Sylvia, a woman who he found common ground with, and a woman who was willing to go abroad to preach God’s message with him. They left home and went to Hong Kong. For 23 years, the couple dedicated not only their time but also their stamina to churches and schools in Hong Kong. When the churches started getting more and more independent, and they didn’t need foreign missionaries very much, Loren and Sylvia decided it would be better for local people to take over the leadership entirely. Their journey to the other countries did not just end there. A few years later they went to Guangzhou, China to teach English for three years. “It was a highlight in our lives because it was so easy to make relationships,” he said. They started a Bible study at their apartment, and several of the students who joined their Bible study became Christians. When Sylvia started the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and losing her memories, this was the hardest period of time for Loren. Her health was getting worse and worse and Loren had to take her to the health care center. “She was mad at me, but I had no choice. I could not take care of her by myself,” he said while looking at the floor. Even during that time, Loren was keeping his classes and helping his students. About seven years ago, George Fox University started a Bible course for mostly international students who have no Christian background. Because some international students were not doing very well in other Bible classes, they talked to their advisers to see if the school would offer pre-Bible class for them. After having so many years interacting with people from different countries, Loren was the first person that school considered probably would be the best to teach this class. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Loren comes to class early and prepares for his class, writing down the notes with his frail hands on the board and organizing the chairs carefully for students to get better views. He waits for them while whistling his favorite songs. It was hard for him to teach this class at first, but throughout these years he is just only improving his teaching skills and building intimate relationships with his students. Besides teaching international students, Loren has been holding Bible studies for students and visiting scholars for many years in Newberg. He also devotes most of his time to international students when any of them need help. He not only remembers all his students’ names, but also their difficulties. Their joys are his joys, their burdens are his burdens. Building an environment and inviting students to come is something that he loves and enjoys to do. “I am very blessed to have the privilege for this many years with these opportunities to build relationships with international students, the very kind of people I love the most,” Loren said. “This is a gift that God gave me.” He loves this gift so much, but he knew he had to be realistic because he is not the only one who could do this. And he needed to be ready to turn it over to somebody else who is younger and has more energy. When that time comes , he will do this, even though he knows it will be hard. “I came to America for a couple years and I have met a lot of nice people, but he is beyond nice,” one of his student said. “I consider him as part of my family here in America; I know he is getting old and his health is not as good as before. I just want to pray for him to be with us international students forever.”
November 24, 2015In 2001, Marty Baron (played by Liev Schreiber) began to oversee the Boston Globe, still a prosperous newspaper despite the upcoming of the World Wide Web. He proposed to dust off the cobwebs off of a story about a little-heard-of piece about sexual abuse charges in the Catholic Church. Baron sent the Spotlight team – seasoned vet “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) and a go-getter staff of Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) – deeper into an investigation nobody seemed to care about. What Spotlight ended up getting out of it was a rabbit hole of scandals and cover-ups of the Catholic Church’s influence over younger children. To call the Church to the stand would be an uphill battle at best, and would threaten to hurt their readership, which showed that over 50% were Catholic. They pressed on, uncovering the truth and bringing these figures of spiritual trust to justice. That, in its simplest essence, is the story of scandal. The film Spotlight is doggedly researched, completely journalistic in attempt. Directed by Tom McCarthy, the film is never about the operatic goings-on behind this nationwide investigation, but about the heart of journalistic integrity. Thorough and no-nonsense, Spotlight is a fine piece of film. What McCarthy does best in his direction is the way he emphasizes the ensemble performances instead of hovering over one character. This works as a platform for which the true story can meander naturally and allow the characters to react otherwise. The Spotlight team, same as the title, refers to an almost underground sect at the Globe. They seem to be some of the hardest researchers on the team, as there are only a select few. This exemplifies McCarthy’s stress of the ensemble. Michael Keaton, who had a stellar year revamping his career with Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), proves he’s equally effective in a supporting role as the weathered leader of Spotlight. His Robby Robinson is never too cynical or beaten down like his colleagues. He remains a sober center for the film, which he accomplishes with incredible gentility. Mark Ruffalo is also a standout, as the writer without a second life. In one scene, perhaps the film’s most personal, he confesses that he stopped going to church because he wanted a reason to go back. Ruffalo plays this with human vulnerability, never overacting. What makes Spotlight exemplary is how it simply is not extraordinary. Never in the script does McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer cheat and make the story more personal than it needs to be. They know that they want to give information on the people who gave the information about this scandal. A hard-nosed look at the film detects that some of the plot is critical of the Church, and even if it flies to close to that sun, it is a mild detractor from the film. Other than this possible implication, Spotlight is a crackerjack film in journalism and in telling the truth.
November 13, 2015I was walking on the street in complete silence that night. I heard some voices ahead of me. There were a few young men hanging out on the street; they were smoking, laughing, and talking to each other. As I was walked closer to them, they said something that I didn’t understand, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something decent. And they laughed again. I felt scared. I look at them and walked faster and faster; all the horrible scenes that I had seen from movies and the news came through my mind. “Please, God, send me home safely,” I prayed all the way home. Living off campus is one of the biggest changes I made this year. I was so grateful I could find a place to live and it costs less money than living on campus. However, I gradually realized the fact that the distance from campus to my place is a bit far, especially when the dark approaches sooner every day. I try to go home early, but some days are occupied with late classes or work, and so I have to walk in the dark. I need to change this situation, but what can I do? I don’t have a car; I can’t find another place for now; the only thing that I can do is pray. God listened to me; he sent me a bodyguard. I was doing homework at the den when I heard someone talking behind me. I noticed him because he sort of reminded me of myself. I was curious about him. “I am from Myanmar,” he said, giving me a big smile. Then our following conversations took place. His name is Thang, he immigrated to America five years ago, and is a freshman here at George Fox. We became friends that day. “Is there anything that I can pray for you?” he said before I left. I told him my worries about the safety problems. He looked at me seriously, “Would it be helpful if I walk with you?” All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to say. I just met him that day, and he even offered to help me. “This is what Jesus would do, and I am doing exactly what he did for his friends,” he says. He always reminds me when I feel bad for letting him walk with me. I believe that God sent him to protect me. And I am so grateful that I can be friends with someone like him, who has the strong personality to be so caring and kind to everyone.
November 13, 2015Sometimes, when a board game lasts a long time, it only does so through inertia. For example, I firmly believe that people only play Monopoly and Life because those games are all they know. Other games last because they are just so darn good. Chess and Go have existed for centuries because they are delicately balanced puzzles that require little learning to play and yet deep skill to master. Still another game endures not because it rests upon the laurels of past success, or because it is elegantly designed, but because it is absolutely bonkers: Cosmic Encounter. The first edition of Cosmic Encounter came out 38 years ago in 1977. In board game years, that’s practically ancient history. Still, no need to break out the prune juice yet: Cosmic Encounter has not only aged gracefully, it’s still one of the best tabletop games out there. Cosmic Encounter operates on a philosophy of variety. Each player takes control of a galactic civilization struggling against its space neighbors, and in doing so they play as one of 50 alien species, each with its own unique abilities (and a variety of expansions have added over a hundred more). These abilities range from the mundanely useful (you fight a bit better than everyone else) to the hilarious (you act like a butler and draw other players’ cards and move their pieces for them, but they have to tip you in cards) to the bizarre (you win when all of your ships die). This immense number of unique aliens, which often interact with each other in strange and unexpected ways, keeps the game constantly fresh. The goal in Cosmic Encounter is to be the first to establish five colonies on your opponents’ planets. This is done primarily through battles. The winner of a particular battle is determined by whoever has the highest score for that battle, composed of the number of ships each player sent from their fleet to fight and the score of a single “encounter card” played out of the hand. It is in these battles that much of the alien variety comes in. Some alien abilities, such as one in which instead of adding together ship count and encounter card they are multiplied, are so powerful that they alter the entire game. In the above case, three ships and an encounter card worth 12 (which would normally yield a score of 15) gives a value of 36 – a tremendously high number in this game. Other abilities allow players to manipulate the system – for example, one alien race has the ability to reverse the win conditions of a battle, so that the lowest score wins. Why is this so strong? This player doesn’t have to announce whether or not there will be a reversal until after an opponent has chosen which card to play. These powerful alien abilities are not balanced, nor are they meant to be. Some aliens are simply stronger than others. However, this is where the second defining element of Cosmic Encounter comes in: diplomacy. While some alien abilities are very powerful, that very power paints a target on that player’s back, encouraging the other players to team up and prevent themselves from being steamrolled. In Cosmic Encounter, there are several ways to work together, and they all involve horrible, horrible mind games. Before each battle is fought, both sides may invite other players to join them, and any player may then choose to join any one player who has invited them. If victorious, that player gains a share of the spoils– but if defeated, that player, and all the players on the losing side, lose all of their ships involved. Knowing who and when to back in a fight is a tricky issue, especially when the mechanic is further convoluted by yet more alien powers. Additionally, players can, instead of fighting, negotiate. In order to do this, both players must play, instead of a red combat encounter card, a green negotiate card. When negotiating, players can then trade anything from cards to information to colonies – leading to hilarious double-wins being fairly common, where two players standing at four colonies agree to trade the final one to each other. Negotiations are fraught with risk, however, since if you play one but your opponent plays a regular combat card, you automatically lose the battle. How much do you really trust your friend? Cosmic Encounter is a silly romp of a game in which you and your friends get to play as goofy looking aliens with a huge variety of interesting and often entertaining powers. Through its twin defining features of tremendous variety and palm-sweating intrigue, Cosmic Encounter has managed to be a tabletop classic for almost four decades.
November 13, 2015Imagine someone with enough energy to light every building. Did Samantha Biever come to your mind? Because she steals that title. From Redmond, Ore., Biever is a first generation college student in her family. Naturally inclined to push herself, Biever majors in Organizational Communication and minors in Marketing, with extra responsibilities such as working for residence life, dancing for the Christmas concert team, and working as an employee for the Idea Center. She also plans on joining the Communication Honor Society, called Lambda Pi Eta. “I want to become a public relations specialist,” said Biever. “Basically representing a company to the public and being the person that creates the relationship between a company and the people it associates with. That’s my career goal.” Behind the goals and sheer ambition of Biever is someone who wants to ensure other women are encouraged and confident in their individuality. “I love it when a girl knows how loved and valued she is,” said Biever. “I want to continue in that and really be everyone’s friend, especially people who don’t really have friends. I want to be there for them.” This drive then led to the hard to forget stellar performance by The Matchmakers during this year’s Lip Sync Battle at George Fox University (GFU), choreographed by none other than Biever. As a dancer for eight years before coming to GFU, Biever also played seven years of volleyball and five years of basketball, making her the perfect fit for an ambitious task. The idea of approaching life with such love and determination is hard for anyone without someone to inspire them. “My mom is really good at loving all of my family members,” said Biever. “Even the ones who aren’t saved. I love the way she relates to people, even when she doesn’t necessarily agree with their life style.” Energy, kindness, and commitment are some of the many words that make up Biever’s world, and turn it into a spotlight for others to be moved by.
November 11, 2015The chills of winter approaching and fall ending mark the sprouting of the film awards season. Destination? The Oscars, the Academy Awards, the cream of the Hollywood crop of art. By the new year, filmgoers and Academy voters will be faced with an opportunity to support a minority voice: women in cinema. Many do not attempt to give the time of day to this, as there is a Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress category. It wasn’t until 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director prize for The Hurt Locker; a monumental day in movie history. But something deeper arises this year. A generous handful of films not only support but completely champion the women’s role in film, society, their voice. Should the Academy play their cards right, this next year could mark a major movement to promote women into actual power in cinema. 2015 began strong, with the surprising critical and box office success of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. The film features a female co-lead in Charlize Theron, and the plot revolves around the protection and value of women in a desolate society. Inside Out follows a slew of emotions, two of which are portrayed polar-oppositely by women. Even the child which the emotions represent is a coming-of-age girl. Now as the season progresses we are gifted to expect so many strong roles for female actors. Many of these are expected to garner awards attention, and with hopes held high they will deserve them. As a prime example, Suffragette will mark the historical perspective of women fighting for their social rights. Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meryl Streep will head a supposedly wonderful female ensemble. Quality-wise, Carol is said to feature two strong, Oscar-worthy performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The director Todd Haynes has directed great female performances to nominations, namely Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven and Blanchett in I’m Not There. Joy should also be a crowd-pleaser for men and women alike. Jennifer Lawrence will lead a strong ensemble cast as a determined woman of her own business and affairs. It help that director David O. Russell’s last two nominated films scored nomination for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress. While these are some of the strongest and safest examples, so many more deserve mention. The young actress Saorise Ronan is said to be relevatory in Brooklyn, Blanchett may compete with herself for her fiery work in Truth, and Brie Larson is a strong Best Actress candidate for leading the heavy domestic drama Room. This is a big opportunity for the Academy. Perhaps it seems slick and two-faced to prod Oscar voters to support this women’s movement for the movies. It is up to us, as audiences, to support these pictures just as much, for if not the issues will not receive proper attention.
November 11, 2015George Fox University (GFU) provided a one-day self-defense class on Nov. 7 for any female students who want to take control of their own safety. The class is designed for students with a wide range of experience and capability. The Newberg, Ore., police officer who teaches has been practicing martial arts for 15 years and has earned a third degree black belt. The class focuses on basic physical self-defense techniques which can be modified for people of all ability levels. As well as the hands-on instruction, participants are taught how to stay aware of their environment. This is the first year the class has been full, and Student Life will possibly offer the course each semester if interest holds. Whatever the reason for the uptick in sign-ups, Associate Dean of Students Dave Johnstone hopes female students can increase their abilities to keep themselves safer. “There’s something about a five foot tall woman being able to throw a 250-pound man over her shoulder that’s pretty amazing and brings a lot of confidence to her,” said Johnstone. “She has the confidence to say, ‘You’re invading my space, and I’m not going to let you bully me.’” Since not everyone can take this particular class, there are many ways a student (male or female) can be proactive about their safety. For instance, try to travel with friends or in groups, especially when it’s dark. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, try to get to a safe zone like the student union building which every student has card access to 24 hours a day. You can call campus security, even just to keep them on the Director of Security Ed Gierok advises communication between peers to try and resolve conflicts, but he is well aware not all situations can be solved in such a manner. If a physical altercation ensues, “Be aggressive, make noise, and try to get away if you can. Just keep telling yourself, ‘I can survive this,’” said Gierok. “I don’t ever want female students to feel stuck, and this class will provide some skills to help diminish those possibilities,” said Johnstone.
November 11, 2015The Study Abroad program offered by George Fox University (GFU) will reach its application deadline on Jan. 15. By that time, prospective students will need to have filled out an application online, which includes a two-page essay and faculty references, to be considered eligible for a semester-long trip. This fall, 23 GFU students are participating in the Study Abroad program. Their destinations span from the westward England, Spain, France, Italy, and Lithuania; to southern Americas of Costa Rica and Peru; to serving in the African nations of Rwanda and Uganda. Paul Chamberlain, the director of the Center for Study Abroad, champions the programs for its opportunity to help students grow culturally and independently. He once taught overseas in Africa and relays his experience to students in order for them to overcome unexpected challenges and become more confident, rounded individuals. Assistant Director of the Center for Study Abroad Lynn Scott adds that studying abroad is a positive outlet for students hoping to grow spiritually. Whether in a developed or developing nation, participants are prone to experiencing their faith in places outside of the United States. Study Abroad differs from the popular Juniors Abroad program because of its length and depth of immersion. If Juniors Abroad is like an introductory class on a culture, Chamberlain believes that Study Abroad is an intermediate class or above. The culture, including the language, are experienced in full. “Studying Abroad challenges the way you think, teaches you things you never knew you needed to learn, and changes you whether you like it or not,” said Paige Patterson, a junior currently in Lithuania. “In LCC, I’ve met people from all over Eastern Europe, and now when I hear the names of these countries I see the faces of my friends. I 100% recommend it and hope that people consider this amazing program.” For any students interested in studying abroad, Chamberlain encourages them to check not only the GFU website, but to locate the blogs of current travelers. This, he said, is the best way to gain the most accurate image of these trips.
November 5, 2015Ah, the election. I still cannot believe I have to talk about this so-called race over twelve months before it takes place. But, nevertheless it will be the news’ bread-and-butter, and therefore mine. So here are the people I am betting on putting their best foot forward in the third Republican debate. So, strap in kids, because I’m going to say a bunch of snide things about people more successful than me! Jeb Bush He’s the former governor of Florida and his candidacy makes the Adams presidential legacy look like a grassroots movement. Bush has faced dipping polling numbers with conservatives joining the mass followings of Carson and Trump, but hopes to be seen as the man with the plan to fix Washington. “Guess what I am! No, no, you have to guess.” Ben Carson Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who somehow stumbled his way into the presidential race. Although I understand he can’t actually set up a lobotomy stand in the middle of the Oval Office. He has no idea what’s going on. Chris Christie Christie is the current New Jersey governor, and generally known for cracking down on teacher unions and criticizing Black Lives Matter. I’d put in a joke about Jersey bringing universal annoyance to anyone listening, but even I wouldn’t go that far. Here to fix our country’s broken bridges. Ted Cruz Cruz may be considered one of the more serious candidates for the nomination due to significant success in early polls and organizational muscle, but his very conservative backing may alienate some voters. Debate and chill, anyone? Carly Fiorina A woman in a major Republican debate is like finding a four-leaf clover underneath a rainbow. If only she actually cared about women’s healthcare. Fiorina and I had the same reaction to Cruz’s proposal. All right, now that we have our panel of finalists, it’s time for the show to begin. Wait, you have to have a cable connection to watch the live stream? Son of a-