Star Wars Trailer Review

Mariana Gutierrez-Serna, Staff Writer
“It is inevitable. It is your destiny…”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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When director George Lucas created the original Star Wars in 1977, he caught everyone’s attention; no one could look away from the sci-fi world he had created. The adventures of  Luke, Princess Leia and Han Solo as they fought the Empire, its world-destroying battle-station and its leader Darth Vader kept viewers asking for more. This epic journey to discover the truth about yourself and defend what is right took audiences out of their seats and into a fantastic new reality.

Star Wars is here to stay; in 2012, the director announced the continuation of the Star Wars saga. The trailer for the seventh movie was released on October 19, 2015 and the movie is expected this December 18.

The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the last Star Wars film, The Return of the Jedi, in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) battled Jabba the Hut and Darth Vader to save his friends in the Rebel Alliance and triumph over the Galactic Empire. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), now known as General Organa, reaffirmed their love and teamed up with Chewbacca to defeat the evil emperor. After Darth Vader fell, there was peace at last (or so they thought). This next movie consists of three new leads: Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Poe (Oscar Isaac), who work together to defeat a new evil with the help of past protagonists Luke, Princess Leia and Han Solo.

This trailer will give any Star Wars fanatic goose bumps of anticipation. Hopefully the movie will be as memorable as its predecessors. 

Book it: Cinder

Cassandra Pryer, Staff Writer

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This is a thrilling retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, mixed with a little science fiction. Only in this version, Cinderella is sixteen-year-old Cinder, a well-known mechanic and a cyborg. It takes place in the very distant future, where World War 4 is an event of the past. Androids are a common sight among the humans that fill the busy streets of New Beijing, and a deadly plague is overwhelming the population. Sadly for Cinder, cyborgs are second class citizens. From space, the Lunar people watch closely, waiting to make a move.

After she meets the very handsome Prince Kai, Cinder’s life takes some unexpected turns. Her mysterious past and a well-kept secret makes her question how much she really knows. And she soon finds herself in the middle of an impending war and a forbidden romance.

Cinder is the first in a four-book series by Marissa Meyer. The final one, Winter, has just recently come out. The Lunar Chronicles consist of 4 books, but a prequel entitled Fairest tells the backstory of an important character. Each book introduces and centers around a new character and is based on a different fairy tale, and each individual story is cleverly intertwined to create one grand plotline.

It’s some of your favourite fairy tales re-imagined in an extremely clever way, full of comedy, a little bit of romance and a lot of suspense. This series is a must-read.

TMM Interview #3

Rajah Maggay, Staff Writer

Rajah Maggay: What is your name, what grade are you in and how old are you?

Alan Han: My name is Alan Han. I am 14 years old and I am in grade 10.

RM: Why did you want to be a part of the musical?

AH: I wanted to be part of the musical because I enjoy drama, and I had participated in my junior high musical last year. It was a lot of fun, so I thought I would do it again.

RM: What is your role?

AH: I play the role of Ching Ho, who is a Chinese person working for Mrs. Meers to get enough money to bring over his mother from Hong Kong. I also am one of the speed tappists in the Speed Test, meaning I do tap choreography during the song.

RM: How did you react when you got your role?

AH: I didn’t really have a reaction since I didn’t care what role I got; I just wanted to be in the musical.

RM: What are you favourite musical numbers or scenes to rehearse?

AH: My favourite musical number is “The Speed Test” since I have to tap dance, which is totally new and different for me.

RM: What has been your favourite cast moment so far?

AH: Just getting to meet the entire cast and trying to know them better has been awesome.

RM: What kind of person is going to enjoy this show?

AH: Everyone will enjoy it because it is going to be AMAZING!

RM: What are some challenges that you’ve faced so far with the musical?

AH: Speaking in Cantonese and Mandarin. In Mandarin there are four different accents you put on words to make them different, and in Cantonese I think there are six, and I find it hard to get the right one all the time.

RM: What is your favourite line in the entire production?

AH: “It’s ssssssssssssssssssssssssssss…soy sauce.”

RM: Who is the most like their character and who is the least like their character?

AH:  Will is probably the most like his character and maybe Navneet is the least like his character.

RM: What are rehearsals like for you?

AH: We usually rehearse for only two hours at a time since Will has to leave. It’s not bad going through all the scenes; it shows me what lines I need to memorize. I will usually stay for the rest of the rehearsal though.

RM: If you have a five minute break during rehearsal what will you most likely be doing?

AH: I’ll usually be going though the dance step again or re-reading my lines.

RM: Who is the funniest person in the cast?

AH: I’d say that Miss Dorothy is the funniest character, but Jocelyn is the funniest cast member.

Black Friday

Ace Sindico, Staff Writer

For many consumers and retail employees alike in the USA, Black Friday (the fourth Friday of November) is seen as a great opportunity to spend some hard-earned cash on Christmas presents for your loved ones; sales and discounts are ample. For others, it’s seen as a grand showcase of the evils of consumerism. But what causes all this hysteria and anticipation?

What started off as an optimistic development has turned into a savage and chaotic annual occurrence. If you were to search up “black Friday” on YouTube, you would find many of the top results bear words in their titles such as ‘chaos’, ‘disaster’ and’ brawl’. Other than the occasional haul video and the random video out of context, they consist of people fighting over products, rioting and causing havoc. In 2009, a Clarksville Toys ‘R’ Us employee died as she was trampled by 2000 raging customers, preoccupied with making the most of outrageous sales.

How did this all start and why is it called Black Friday?

There are many myths that surround its name. But it is commonly agreed that it was to first indicate to business owners the shift from red to black. Red commonly signifies losses in sales, while black means gain and profit.

Many incidents throughout history have helped establish Black Friday as the phenomenon it is today.  As World War II ended in the 1940s, many young people were coming back from the war and looking to rebuild society by creating large families. This resulted in the Baby Boomers, a generation of people looking to instill values of happiness through prosperity. (This generation is often criticized for their excessive consumerism.) By the 1960s, the majority of the Baby Boomers were young people with abundant Christmas spirit and an excessive need to spend. At the time, many department stores took the opportunity to capitalize on this. They sponsored parades, which still occur to this day, that largely campaign Christmas advertising. These occur the day after Thanksgiving, encouraging consumers to start Christmas shopping in their stores.

During the late 1960s, a great boom in the economy occurred, with the late John F. Kennedy vowing in his presidential campaign to “get America moving again”. Although he was assassinated in 1963, in 1966 his tax credit was able to reduce unemployment by 3.7%. By the end of the decade, the average family income had risen from $8,540 in 1963 to $10,770 in 1969.

You may ask how significant Black Friday is in present day America. According to statisticbrain.com, it was calculated that in the USA alone 133,700,000 people shop in stores or online on Black Friday.  $659,500,000 was spent within 24 hours in 2014, with the average person spending $380.95. With the internet becoming ever more convenient, it seems that this trend of splurging on luxuries and extravagant goods on Black Friday will only rise in popularity.

Money and materialism is such a significant part of modern Western society. But does having more than you need really provide us with happiness? According to yahoo.com, many of the places rated as the happiest on earth are in Europe, even with the recent economic downfall that the continent has experienced.

So is Black Friday and the concept of giving at Christmas really necessary? Or is it true that to be truly happy, we must first appreciate what we have?

In conclusion, to each their own. But in my mind, Christmas is about appreciating what you have, and cherishing the people you love. Put on some joyful festive music, and give abundant love and support to the people who need it this holiday season. No fancy car or brand-new phone can beat the gift of genuine affection and appreciation.

 

TMM Interview #2

Rajah Maggay, Staff Writer

Rajah Maggay: What is your name, age and grade?

Navneet Chand: So my name is Navneet Chand, I am in grade eleven and I’m fifteen years old. 

RM: Why did you want to be involved with the school musical?

NC: I think that this all started in junior high.  I did do some stuff in elementary and I was in a few school productions, but in junior high my school didn’t have a very strong drama program. I was involved in the musical one year, but I was in the band. As soon as I got to high school last year, I heard about The Pajama Game. I was interested, but I didn’t know if I really wanted to do it. But I did and it’s worked out great; I really liked it.

RM: Yeah it really was great; you got nominated last year!

NC: I was also enrolled in three-credit drama last year, and that really helped me want to do the musical again this year.

RM: Awesome! Now, what’s your role in the musical this year? 

NC: My character is Trevor Graydon.  He is Millie’s boss who she plans to marry, and Graydon lives this high life since he owns this big company.

RM: How did you react when you got your role?

NC: I was very excited. Compared to last year, when I had three different roles, having one big role this year is different. But I think I have a lot to gain from this experience, and a lot to give. 

RM: What’s your favourite scene or musical number to rehearse?

NC: I think for my role it would be the number ‘Speed Test’. There’s a bunch of antics going on, and vocally it’s very precise. 

RM: What’s your favourite line in the whole show? Without giving anything away, of course.

NC: I have two favourites. First, Mrs. Meers’ signature line: “Sad to be all alone in the world.” And also Miss Flannery’s line: “Is that rouge?”

RM: Who in the show is the most like their character and who is the least like their character?

NC: I think Eunice is a lot like her character, Miss Flannery. She has a lot of attitude and sass, and her character definitely brings out that side of her. The person least like their character is probably Glynnis. 

RM: What’s been the challenging thing for you so far?

NC: Probably vocals. I think Glynnis and I have some of the most vocally demanding songs. Then there’s the tap solos, and I think my character has to learn some ballroom dancing. 

RM: Who would you say is the funniest person in the cast?

NC: Oh god, I don’t know. Everybody is really funny; we all just come together with all our different types of humour and it’s always a fun time.

RM: What’s something that will surprise people about this show?

NC: Well, the show takes place in the 1920s, and the views expressed seem very traditional, especially regarding women. But there is definitely something more than stereotypical portrayals in it. Even though some women in the show are depicted as princess-type figures, they come out in the end as heroic.

It’s in You to Give (No, really!)

Jastinne Diaz, Staff Writer
Featuring Mrs. Andison and Abigail Cruz

‘Tis the season! Christmas is upon us—and what better way to give back than to give some blood to those in need? This year, Archbishop MacDonald is taking part in the Blood Bus initiative led by the lovely Mrs. Andison, a biology and chemistry teacher at MAC. You’ve heard about the blood busses on the announcements, you’ve heard about it on MAC News—but what is it really?

We asked Abigail Cruz, a grade 12 student who participated in the blood bus, and Mrs. Andison herself to find out.

Jastinne Diaz: What are the blood buses?

Mrs. Andison: Canadian Blood Services has a program for high school—a high school challenge of sorts—to encourage more students that are of age (17 years or older) to start donating blood, because there’s always a shortage of blood. They contact the schools regularly to see if anyone wants to participate in the program. My previous school [St. Joe’s] was very successful last year—we actually won the challenge!

JD: Really?!

MRS. A: We won it in Edmonton, and I think we may have come in second provincially and fifth nationally as far as [blood] donations.

JD: That’s fantastic!

MRS. A: The goal is essentially to get more kids aware of why donation is so important and to try and get more people donating blood on a regular basis. Sometimes kids are very successful, but sometimes they get denied for various reasons: it could be due to travel, like holidays—going to Mexico, going back home to the Philippines or Thailand or something like that—or sometimes it’s due to sheer size. There are also issues with anemia and low red blood cell count. With all these things occurring in society overall, there’s fewer and fewer people donating. The more new donors we can get, the more encouraging it is.

JD: Why would going on holidays to a region like Mexico lead the blood clinic to refuse somebody’s donation?

MRS. A: There are many regions around the world that are off the donation list, with parts of China, Mexico and Africa included, along with some of the tropical islands. It has to do with the high rates of malaria and hepatitis B present in these regions.

JD: How long is the waiting period after visiting one of these places?

MRS. A: Typically it’s a year.

JD: Which means you cannot donate until that year is over?

MRS. A: Unfortunately, yes. Personally, I wish they would cut it down to eight months.

JD: Do you think they [Canadian Blood Services] think those individuals who traveled to the blacklisted regions become carriers of malaria or something?

MRS. A: That’s what the scare is. Canadian Blood Services want to make sure that the people receiving the blood are as safe as possible, as there is a possibility that individuals who have been in a blacklisted region could be harbouring parasites or viruses in their blood.

JD: Why did you decide to participate in the blood bus?

Abigail Cruz:  My sister donated blood recently and I was like “You know what? I could do that too.”

MRS. A: I started when I was in university as they’d always have clinics set up in the University’s CAB [University of Alberta’s Central Academic Building] area three or four times a year. Traditionally, my group of friends and I would donate and then we’d go to the bar after—but that’s another story.

(Collective chuckle)

JD: Your blood alcohol level must have been really high! Continue reading

Dog of the Month: Aero

Amanda Brooks, Staff Writer

imageHi, my name is Aero! I am an excitable, athletic, energy-packed girl who is always up for playtime. I love chasing my favourite ball and running around in the backyard! I don’t mean to brag, but I am pretty smart. I think I could pass the diplomas no problem! I can sit, shake a paw, and lay down on command. Alberta Education can’t phase me! I also have great manners in the house for a pup as big as myself. However, I can get very vocal when I’m trying to demonstrate my talents. I have a paw-sitive spirit that’s ready for anything. In the past, I had a rough experience with some porcupines, but I scared them off! Together with my human, I am ready to take on any challenge!

The Science of Autumn

Paola Andrade, Staff Writer

Why do leaves change colour in the fall?

125588-Autumn-Leaves-On-StepsHumans pose themselves many seemingly unimportant questions. We instigate countless investigations with no other goal than to satisfy the ceaseless curiosity with which humans have been blessed. Thanks to this, we know that there is a reason why the beautiful earthy colours of the leaves are repainted with a reddish palette every fall. Many factors influence this gentle change between seasons, such as the leaves’ pigments, the weather and the humidity.

In autumn, the days shorten and the nights lengthen. The lack of sunlight greatly affects the production of three pigments in the leaves: chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins. As we know, the chemical in charge of photosynthesis (a process in which a plant turns sunlight into sugars) is chlorophyll. When the amount of light is reduced, so is the amount of chlorophyll being produced. In the spring and summer, it is abundant. But the lively green of the chlorophyll fades with fall. Carotenoids also participate in photosynthesis, and once the chlorophyll starts to break down, we are left with the visible yellow carotenoids. Finally, anthocyanins —which reflect red— appear when the production of carotenoids lessens, resulting in stunning scarlet tonalities.

Concerning the “brightness” of leaves, humidity takes the lead. If there’s a lack of it, leaves will turn brown and fall quickly. But cool temperatures overnight lead to a longer period of coloured leaves. If presented with warm and somewhat sunny days, the weather promotes the appearance of purple and red pigments. Under these conditions, the most marvellous colours will show. If winter decides to make his arrival earlier than usual with a frost, the colours will be finished, destroyed by the cold. On the other side, if there is a drought in the spring or summer, the process may speed up to the point where it would not allow the leaves to change colour. Instead, they would fall directly to the ground before changing colours. Rain and heavy wind may also have the same effect.

Operation Christmas Child

Robyn Taylor, Staff Writer

So what is this Operation Christmas Child the IM club keeps talking about?

Operation Christmas Child is an initiative run by Samaritan’s Purse, a multi-denominational charity organization that focuses on improving quality of life and providing aid to people living in developing countries. In order to do so, they have established multiple programs in an effort to combat the problems faced by the developing world.

Operation Christmas Child is likely one of Samaritan’s Purse most well-known initiatives, and for good reason. To date, over 103 million children all over the world have been impacted by this program.

The goal of Operation Christmas Child is to provide children in developing countries with their own personal gift this Christmas, regardless of their gender, race or religion. These gifts are packed by people from all over the world with the help of a simple item: a shoebox.

Although the gifts may seem small, many of these shoeboxes provide hope for a child. They give them a subtle reminder that there are people around the world that care for them, and that they are not alone.

From this simple idea, millions of shoeboxes packed with items from school supplies to toys have been sent to more than 150 countries and territories to children in need. Continue reading

Book It: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Mariana Gutierrez-Serna, Staff Writer
  “A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.”

This book by Ransom Riggs catches your attention from the very first page. When a terrible family tragedy takes place, Jacob is determined to find out more about his grandfather’s past. He travels with his father to an island off the Welsh coast, where his grandfather spent most of his childhood. On the island, Jacob discovers the crumbling ruins of an orphanage: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he explores it, he realizes that the children who lived there might have been more than just peculiar. Jacob starts putting the pieces together, gradually uncovering what really happened on that island. Somehow, it seems as if the children are still alive in an alternate reality.

This beautifully written book is a mystery, both scary and strange. Great visuals, vintage photographs and descriptive language take you back to the 1940s. If you like creepy adventure plots, this book will definitely interest you. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and asking for more. If you like it, there’s also a movie version on the way, coming out in spring 2016 under the direction of Tim Burton.