Monthly Archives: February 2016

Tech Review: The iPad Pro (Heath Padgett)

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This December I purchased Apple’s brand new iPad Pro. The iPad Pro was the perfect addition to my Apple suite as it seamlessly communicates with both my iPhone and MacBook Pro. However, a serious question remains: is the iPad Pro a viable replacement for your computer?

The iPad Pro is very similar to the iPad Air except for two main differences: the screen is much larger, and it is compatible with the Apple Pencil. The screen on the iPad Pro spans 12.9 inches, which makes it nearly the size of my MacBook Pro’s 13 inch screen. This allows many of the applications to run more like a computer. For example, Safari can run full size webpages that look just like those in a Mac. There is no more need for the annoying mobile websites that limit the functionality of smaller devices. Also, the larger screen allows for a full size digital keyboard (or Apple’s Smart Keyboard attachment). I have enjoyed the digital keyboard and am able to type effectively on it even though it does not have the physical feel of an actual keyboard. If typing is important for you in purchasing such a device, I would recommend either an attachable keyboard or just going with a MacBook.

The biggest difference between the iPad Pro and a MacBook is the touch screen. The iPad Pro is complemented with the Apple Pencil which allows great creativity. The Apple Pencil is unlike most styli because it works together with the iPad to accurately sense force and tilt. This allows you to draw much more precisely and use many new techniques such as shading and proper calligraphy.

The bottom line is this: if you want a very portable, lightweight device that inspires creativity and allows for general use of typical applications, then the iPad Pro is a wonderful option. Although sometimes a real computer is necessary for more professional applications, I have consistently found myself using my iPad Pro more than my MacBook Pro. Weigh how you want to use your device, and your decision should be obvious.

Movie Review: The Martian (Pierce Moffett)

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The movie The Martian is a thrilling tale of one man’s survival on Mars. In this futuristic movie, mankind has already sent multiple teams of astronauts onto the surface of Mars. But when a powerful storm approaches, a group of astronauts are forced to quickly abandon the planet and accidently leave astronaut Mark Watney behind. Watney, played by actor Matt Damon, is the left to survive on the planet by himself. Will he make it back alive? You’ll have to watch to find out.

The Martian proved to be hit as soon as it came out in theaters, earning a total of about $55 million on opening weekend. And rightly so. The cast performed spectacularly, creating a very suspenseful and entertaining movie. Matt Damon performed exceptionally well, providing audiences with a relatable and surprisingly funny character.

Even though the movie is mainly focused on Matt Damon’s character, this film proves to still be entertaining. But one should note that this movie is rated PG-13. There is one short scene in the movie that can be difficult to watch for people who are not fond of blood, and there is also some adult content, including profanity. However, whether you are a science nerd or a movie connoisseur, this is a great movie, appropriate for anybody over thirteen.

A Poem by Katie Krulak

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Night.

A time for dark, dastardly deeds.

Light and warmth fades to cold shadows

While the wind picks up,

Running its icy fingers along your windows,

Setting them to rattling, clattering,

Before tearing the leaves from the trees

And driving them into the sky.

In this world human sound is forbidden,

A violation of the solemn peace.

The moon’s light washes everything

Silver and blue,

Struck by a deathly pallor.

Night.

When the mundane becomes extraordinary.

The mind distorts the world,

Projecting illusions onto the backdrop of darkness.

Dogs become wolves; each breath of air a ghost.

Shadows creep like living entities

Shrouding phantoms and ghouls from view.

Floorboards squeak and creak as whispered

Voices, half imagined, beckon you to wakefulness

Calling you to share in the mystery,

To lurk in the darkness, and howl at the moon;

To revel in the song that a church bell tolls,

To fade into oblivion.

Night.

 

Woodlawn: Redemptive History (Camilla Lemons)

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The movie Woodlawn, directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, portrays a true story of segregation, perseverance, and faith. When the movie begins, Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, had recently integrated in accord with federal mandate. The tension between the 500 new black students and the white students was high.

Tony Nathan was one of those new students, and he wanted to play football. While nurturing his football talent, Nathan deals with racial prejudice both on and off the field. However, after a team chaplain speaks to the football team, most of the players commit their lives to Christ. They begin to glorify Him through their faith and character, and the racial tensions on the team begin to subside. The movie highlights Nathan’s football journey at Woodlawn High School and the conflict he faces in regard to his race and decisions about his later life.

Woodlawn has qualities that make it stand out from the typical football movie. Its emphasis on the power of faith to transform communities in spite of racial prejudice gives the viewer a gripping emotional experience. I would recommend this movie to teenagers in Birmingham because it paints a picture of what high school looked like a mere fifty years ago. Against the backdrop of some of the darkest times in the city’s history, Woodlawn portrays a redemptive story of faith.

Note: Viewers should be advised that some minor and implied violence caused the movie to be rated PG.

Trumbauer: More Than a Strange Name (Abigail Mathis)

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Trumbauer (short for the Walter Trumbauer Secondary Theater Festival) is a theatre competition that many high school students across the state of Alabama attend. There are six regional districts, and students go to their own district and compete against each other in order to make it to state-level competition.

There are many categories one can compete in such as musical performance or dramatic monologue, but there are also competitions for costume design and playwriting. Students must select their own pieces from a musical, either Broadway or independent, and these selections must be under five minutes. At the time of performance, the student should, but is not required to, give a brief summary of the selected piece and provide his or her name, school, and director.

The student then performs the piece for two judges. They are judged on many different categories, such as tone, technique, characterization, and many others. Typically, the top eight in a category are sent to compete at the state-level competition at Troy University. Many Westminster students have been selected for state-level competition. The Trumbauer Festival provides the Westminster arts program a great opportunity for growth, while showcasing the talent and hard work of the Westminster theater community.

Grey’s Anatomy: Heart Wrenching, Inspiring, and Totally Addictive (DeAnna Lockett)

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I’m sure most of you have heard of the ABC hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, which is written and produced by Shonda Rhimes. But just in case, here’s a summary: Grey’s Anatomy is a highly emotional, intellectually stimulating drama that follows the life of Dr. Meredith Grey, M. D. Grey fights to earn her rightful spot at Seattle Grace Hospital and, at the same time, to earn her spot in the heart of Dr. Derrick Shepherd, better known as “McDreamy.”

At first glance, people might think of Grey’s Anatomy as a “mom show,” which is exactly what I thought when I first heard about it. However, after just one episode, I was completely and utterly obsessed. And I still am today. I don’t even mind re-watching all eleven seasons over again. There’s something to be said about the emotional roller coaster that people get on as soon as they begin to watch this show. They become attached to the characters and the dynamic relationship that they share with each other. They will quickly come to learn not to get attached to these characters because often they die or move away.

It is surprising that the writers and producers have not lost viewers over these deaths. Instead, they have enjoyed a growing audience. Their writing has people wishing for someone like Meredith Grey or Christina Yang to have their back through thick and thin or a “McDreamy” to rescue them from sinking into the dark, deep abyss of loneliness and despair. People have even decided to go to medical school and become surgeons after watching this television show. No matter who you are, Grey’s Anatomy will leave you reaching for the stars of the greatest possibilities.