Exploring the club sports scene at Utah Tech

Club sports have been around for a while, but what makes them unique? Consider joining a club sport because there are multiple to chose from that go along with the “active learning. active life.” lifestyle.

OPINION | Eating out is the best option for college students

Would you rather get take-out tonight or cook a meal at home with the groceries you bought?

As a college student, this is one of my hardest decisions.

There are pros and cons to eating at home vs. getting take-out. A college student’s busy schedule may influence their decision of what to eat.

Sometimes eating out can be cheaper than getting groceries. I have learned while being at college that eating out is easiest for me. If I buy groceries, I sometimes waste the food I buy or tend to not eat the food I spend money on. Eating out is a more efficient way to eat in college.

If you are eating out instead of cooking, getting a kid’s meal is a way to limit your spending. I have learned that by doing this, I save a lot more money. Inflation is real, and one regular meal can cost $10-$12 or more. Most kids’ meals are about $4-$6, about half the price of a regular meal. I observed the change in what I spend on a kid’s meal vs. a regular meal, and it makes a big difference in your end-of-month spending.

Eating in brings many disadvantages to college students. You may save money and eat healthier when eating in; however, you have to have the time to cook and prepare what you make beforehand. I have a busy schedule and can’t use all the groceries I buy to prepare a home cooked meal. Many times the fresh produce I buy goes bad before I can use it. This then leads to me eating out anyway and wasting money on groceries.

One of my roommates will eat out for most meals, and my other one will make all her meals. I asked my roommate who eats out how much money she spends eating out and it came out to $70-95 a week. I then asked my roommate who eats in, and she spends about $50-100 a week. I see that many times my roommate wastes the groceries she buys because she eventually eats out and doesn’t use the food she bought.

I agree with my roommate that eats out because she doesn’t waste groceries. Still being careful how much you spend when eating out is a must, but it can save you money in the end.

I have decided to eat out 2-3 times a week while getting some groceries. Using the starving student card is how I save money on the food I buy when I eat out. The starving student card has freebies and BOGO deals for restaurants around town. I save most my money by using my discounts at restaurants such as Teriyaki Madness, Chick-fil-A and Jamba Juice.

‘It’s a wonderful life’ withstands test of time

“It’s A Wonderful Life” turned 70 in 2016, rereleased on DVD and Blu Ray for its 70th anniversary, and is regularly aired during the holidays.

The film has become a traditional Christmas movie much like “A Christmas Carol” has, and though that may be true, I have often wondered what has made “It’s A Wonderful Life” stand the test of time. 

It was originally released in 1946 and to my knowledge, has never been remade or updated, though it has been remastered for high definition, and there is a colorized version. 

The film is old — an example of filmmaking techniques that have long since been modified, or improved, especially in terms of cinematography and pacing. The camera doesn’t move. There is no zooming in on an actor, nor is there any panning. Most of the shots in the film are static shots with the camera in a fixed position.

In one scene where George Bailey — the main character of the film — is about to sit at the table for dinner, the lamp hanging from the ceiling is blocking his face as he begins to say something, which he finishes as he sits down.

If the film were redone today, this scene would be shot with multiple cameras set up at different positions along a 180-degree semi-circle, so that all angles of the scene could be captured, avoiding the problem of an actor’s face being blocked by a piece of the set.

Unlike today’s fast-paced editing and camera work, the pacing of the film is slow and each scene is played out in front of the camera with barely any transition to other shots, except in scenes where a close-up adds to the drama of the scene, or a change in scenery. However, both of these issues are attributed to the limits of single camera shooting, which was a practice dating back to the 1890’s when motion pictures were first invented and lasting until 1951 when an episode of “I Love Lucy” became the first multi-camera film.

While I watched the movie on my TV, I thought those things added to the nostalgia of watching a film that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents would have grown up with or seen in the movie theater. Clearly, my perception of the film being outdated was changing, and I began to get a sense of why this movie is loved by multiple generations of people.

I felt as though I were peering into a time capsule, experiencing through my vision, what life must have been like during the early part of the 20th century — from the non-rotary phones to cars that are now 100 years old. There is even a scene which takes place in 1914, and a horse carriage is seen transporting the miserly bank owner Mr. Potter to his office at the bank in the town of Bedford Falls.

Seeing life as it was in decades past is only a fraction of the films relevance. It is the story that brings all these elements together, creating the vast appeal that “It’s A Wonderful Life” has and changing my perception of the film.

The tale tells of George Bailey, the chief secretary of Bailey Brother’s Building and Loan, who spent his life thinking of others rather than himself, despite his desire since youth to leave Bedford Falls and see the world. We see him in a position we all find ourselves in at one point or another: broken down, disillusioned, at the end of our rope, and not knowing where to go next. 

We watch as he makes the decision to end his life, yet at that precise moment before he jumps to his demise, he instinctively forgets himself when another man falls in the river below. As a reward, George is given the gift of seeing how different the world would be without him in it.

Therein lies the treasure that makes this film so beloved and humbled by this would-be critic. The message that, like George, we all lose sight of the meaning in our lives, and if for a moment, we could see and know the good we do and the difference our existence makes as George does in the film, we would not want to leave it.

We would instead cherish every moment, every breath, every person we love and who loves us. Not just during Christmas, but every day we have in this wonderful life. 

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ vastly detailed

   “The devil is in the details” comes to mind when considering the film “Murder on the Orient Express” because details are important in a mystery. It was the attention to detail in the film that made it so enjoyable for me.

   I felt I had traveled back in time to the Orient during the 1920’s, not long after the end of World War I and during Prohibition. Everything in the environment, from the dialogue, costumes, the props and even the music being played on a record player in one scene, immersed the audience in that world. Those details were key in bringing Agatha Christie’s classic novel to life.

   The characters solidified reality in the way they were presented on screen. Hercule Poirot, as portrayed by Kenneth Branagh, was so believable, I forgot the actor is British and not Belgian like his character. Each actor and actress embodied their characters with such ease and grace, it was impossible not to see them as the individuals they were in the film. I didn’t recognize Daisy Ridley, who played Miss Mary Debenham, until I saw her name in the credits.

   The film felt old too, as if it had been filmed in the golden age of cinema — although it had the high resolution of modern movies. The effect was a result of the motion picture being shot on 65 millimeter film, a medium seldom, if at all used in the industry today. The lighting appeared soft and warm, and the wide shots of mountains and snow as the train traveled toward its destination were immaculately detailed, giving one the impression of being a bird flying high over the Balkans.

   All these elements — cinematography, acting, directing and the sets came together seamlessly to such a degree the story seemed to happen on its own. It was like being a passenger on the train, witnessing the events as they unfolded.

   Here was a renowned detective seeking only to rest, to escape from his worldly ordeal of solving numerous crimes no one else seemed able to solve. Poirot was in fact on vacation in Stanboul when it was cut short upon receipt of a telegram requesting his presence in London. Accepting his fate, he boards the Orient Express thinking it will be a relaxing three-day trip, only to be thrown back into the role, from which he wished to abscond when a passenger is murdered.

   As Poirot races to uncover the identity of the killer, the details become inescapably detrimental to the narrative. We are irrevocably taken on a journey of self-discovery and the human condition as Poirot navigates through a maze of twists and turns that have him questioning his own insight. By the end of the film he is a changed man, no longer focusing on the facts alone, but on the matters of the heart to which he said, “The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” 

   Everything in the film was so detailed, there was not a moment where I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. For me, the murder had happened and the mystery was real. I am inspired by this film to read the book “Murder on the Orient Express,” which was loved by the generations before me. Agatha Christie would be proud to see her vision and words become reality.

‘Wizard of Oz’ characters make show worthwhile

The Tin Man in Dixie State University’s “Wizard of Oz” Play adds another dimension to his character by embodying what it looks and sounds like to be made of tin.

Community member Jacob Parkinson, who stars as the Tin Man, brings a refreshing take to this character by incorporating robotic dance moves and altering his body language completely. Rather than walk like the rest of the characters on stage, he trudges behind as if his legs and arms were truly made of tin. No matter what physical activity he endured, Parkinson’s mechanical-like mannerisms stayed true to the Tin Man’s nature for the duration of the show. 

Aside from constantly relying on the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion to oil his joints, the characters shared a special chemistry together on stage. While the play used the “Wizard of Oz” film script, there were minute changes in the original dialogue that added to their witty banter as a trio. 

In one instance, the Scarecrow is ripped apart by the flying monkeys and when the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion find him in pieces, their first response is, “It is time to pull yourself together Scarecrow!”

Now if you find yourself cringing at punny jokes, this may not be the play for you because this comedic approach is sprinkled throughout the play and most notably during the tree’s presence on stage. 

The moment Dorothy tries pulling an apple off a branch, the trees break the silence in the air. When the Scarecrow fires back and disrespects the trees, they pummel Dorothy and him with as many apples as possible yelling, “How about them apples?”

When the trees eventually make their way off stage in stilts, one of the actors added, “Now make like a tree and leaf.”

While the dialogue brought a more humorous touch to the show, the steampunk inspired costume and set design invoked a scarier feel to the story. St. George resident Joyce Champion said developing a more serious storyline using the steampunk elements was refreshing yet terrifying. 

“The steampunk added a spooky mood to the overall play,” Champion said.

Rather than seeing a stereotypical witch with green skin and a pointy black hat, she appears as if she’s engulfed in fiery red and black flames. The same can also be said for the munchkins in the show. While we all know them as these dainty beings who dance around with flowers and lollipops, they are a lot edgier in this play. The lollipop guild is replaced by a hip-hop crew, who show off their rap and dance skills for a more modern feel. St. George resident Barbara Nilson said because the show’s budget, if the director tried to just replicate the movie it would have created a cheaper, cheesier feel to the show overall. 

“[The director and the cast] said right at the beginning they weren’t trying to do the movie, and they accomplished something else which was a surprise,” Nilson said.

Other audience members during last night’s preview of the play also praised the show’s diverse approach to the iconic “Wizard of Oz.” Reah Gary, a senior from Millcreek High School, said she loved seeing the steampunk elements, and the approach didn’t detract from the show. 

For those interested in checking out the “Wizard of Oz” play, DSU’s theater department is hosting the show Nov. 14-18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Art Center Main Stage. To buy tickets, visit www.dsutix.com or contact the box office at 435-652-7800.

‘Suburbicon’ connects audiences with real world parallels

Films with comedy, action, mystery, love and a connection to real life are the best kind of movies because they draw us into that world.

   When I saw the trailer for “Suburbicon,” I wanted to see it because I could tell that it was story filled with all these elements. What I wasn’t expecting was a film of such brilliance and richness, that I will be hard pressed to not spoil it for the would-be viewer.

   What I found so brilliant about the film was two stories were happening simultaneously. The first plot is an African American family has moved in to the predominantly white town of Suburbicon, and the residents are especially perturbed by this. They are bothered so much, that as the film progresses, the small group of townsfolk who have parked themselves in front of the family’s new home grows into to a mob.

   The second story is about the Lodges, who live in the house directly behind the new family. The Lodges are robbed and during the robbery, a member of the family is killed. The mystery of why the robbers committed murder and who put them up to it becomes the focus of the film.

   What I found to be so brilliant, was how the filmmakers used the escalating discontent of the people of Suburbicon — upset that a black family had moved in, as a way of accenting the growing tension in the Lodge household. During this we discover Gardner Lodge, a father, husband and business man of good character, is hiding a very dark secret. As the tensions mount over civil rights and the mob grows more violent, the same is happening within the walls of the Lodge home on a darker and more personal level.

   As I see it, ‘Suburbicon’ serves as an example of how an entire community can be so blinded by the social culture they have created and are so unwilling to accept those they perceive as not fitting into the box they have created. Because of this they do not see the depravity and evil being committed under their very noses.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ immerses you in another world

   35 years after the cult classic “Blade Runner,”  the long-awaited sequel, “Blade Runner 2049” is now in theaters.

   There is nothing like the feeling of being completely immersed in a film. It is like being awake while transported to another world, or dreaming while fully aware you aren’t asleep. I felt this the first time I saw “Blade Runner.”

   Within the first few frames of “Blade Runner 2049,” I once again found myself awash with sounds and sights that were new, yet familiar to me as I was taken into another lucid dream — a dream filled with otherworldly music and technology far more advanced than anything that might exist 32 years in our own future. Truly, the world of “Blade Runner” is not the one we know, but an alternate reality — a vision of what could be.

   I was so absorbed in “Blade Runner 2049” because it is a look into another place, as if we stepped through the looking glass and are experiencing the story of “K” as he works to uncover the mystery of his own life and ultimately answers the questions left lingering in our minds at the end of “Blade Runner.” 

   In that motion picture, set in the year 2019, Deckard is a police officer — a Blade Runner — who is hunting replicants, or androids who are nearing the end of their life spans and have become a danger to themselves and others. He meets Rachel who he discovers is a replicant and falls in love with her. Because Deckard is human, he becomes a fugitive and must escape with his lover. Their fate was left unanswered at the end of movie. 

   The new film takes place 30 years after Deckard and Rachel disappear and tells the tale of “K,” a replicant who is a Blade Runner hunting replicants with open ended life spans and retiring them. While on a job, he discovers the remains of a replicant that, against all odds, has given birth which is an impossibility, a miracle in the eyes of the replicants and a threat to the humans.

   Just the idea of a synthetic human being able to give birth makes my skin tingle. Oh, the implications. Yet, it is that very thing that captures the essence of the themes central to “Blade Runner 2049” and its predecessor, of existence, of “being human” and what humanity really is.

   This tale of a futuristic Earth where androids and flying cars are a reality is an exercise in existentialism—the search for an answer to the questions we have of why we live and whether our reality is in fact real—by placing flesh and blood humans in the position of creator and manufactured humans in a position of servitude.

   I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is every bit as incredible as the first film. The music is reminiscent of “Vangelis’” original score for the 1982 “Blade Runner.” The cinematography and plot were exquisite to say the least. “Blade Runner 2049” is filmmaking at its finest. A film one should not wait three plus decades to see.


’13 Reasons Why’ creators fail to open up conversations about suicide the right way

My brother took his own life on June 27, 2005, at only the age of 16.

I’ve never publicly spoken about my brother’s suicide, but a recently released Netflix show is bringing back some memories I hoped I would never have to live through again.

No matter how tragic and painful my brother’s death was, surprisingly, I found myself eager to watch this show: “13 Reasons Why.” The show follows the main character, Clay Jensen, as he listens to 7 tapes (with 13 sides) left behind by Hannah Baker, who explains 13 reasons why she killed herself.

The popular Netflix show has superb acting and filming, but it completely misses the mark on suicide.

My brother Terry was a gentle, kind and rebellious soul. When watching the show, I received the feeling Hannah’s character was too. Hannah’s tapes, along with flashbacks in the show, describe how fellow classmates and more destroyed her life.

I won’t deny it; some pretty horrible things happen to Hannah in the show, including being raped by a fellow classmate and bullied by others.

My brother didn’t leave a note, or in this case tapes. This show has made me wonder what it would have been like if he did leave tapes. What would he say to me? What would he say to my family members or his friends?

I will never know the exact reason why my brother killed himself, but I do know he wouldn’t leave behind a tape telling me whether or not I did anything wrong to him that caused him to take his life. That’s just who my brother was.

Instead of focusing on mental health issues suicidal people tend to face, the creators of the show turned suicide into a teen soap opera with a revenge plot involving whoever did anything wrong to Hannah.

Life sucks and people are vicious, but these elements are not always what leads someone to end their own life. I can’t speak for every suicide because one is different from the next, but smiling or being nice to someone isn’t going to stop someone from taking their own life.

There’s a certain scene in the last episode showing Hannah digging blades into her arms and bleeding to death in a bathtub. The creators of the show don’t just show little parts that may be considered viewer-friendly; they show the whole act from killing herself to her parents finding her with bloody water dripping down the side of the bathtub.

Luck doesn’t seem like the right word to use, but I was lucky to not find my brother. On the other hand, my mom will be scarred for life. If she was in the room with me watching this scene from “13 Reasons Why,” I would be the parent shielding her eyes so she didn’t have to re-live a painful memory.

Nic Sheff, the writer of the show “13 Reasons Why,” defended his reason for showing the suicide act and said “it’s the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like… suicide is not a relief at all — it’s a screaming, agonizing, horror.”

While he may have showed was suicide really looks like, the rest of the show left me feeling like suicide, something that’s permanent, was portrayed as something more temporary. Suicide should not be glamorized.

The creators have failed to open up conversations about suicide the right way.

If you want to help someone struggling with thoughts of taking their own life, get off the couch and consider learning more about mental health issues and how to recognize the signs.  

‘W’ on transcript won’t affect students’ GPA

There is a common misconception regarding a withdrawal on transcripts and the power this mark holds over students.

“A ‘W’ will appear on your transcript, and it simply means you have withdrawn after the refund deadline,” registration coordinator Robyn White said. “It has zero impact on a student’s grade-point average.”

After the deadline to drop a class for full refund has passed, a student will receive a “W” on individual classes up until the individual-withdrawal deadline which is Friday. Those who do not drop an individual class before the deadline can withdraw all of their classes before April 7.

“We would recommend to students who feel like they’re falling behind, and won’t be able to get the grade that they want, that they would take that ‘W,’” White said.

Denise Ruise, a freshman elementary education major from Riverside, was one of the handful of students who was aware of what a withdrawal can and cannot do to a student’s GPA.

“[A ‘W’] just shows that you dropped something,” Ruiz said. “It’s not the best thing to have, but it’s better than having an F.”

White said that it would be better for students who have the opportunity to drop a class they can not pass rather than receive an F in the course, which has a negative impact on an individual’s grade-point average.

For most students, a single “W” amongst a sea of A’s, B’s and C’s is almost harmless. Students who decide to apply for graduate schools should not be affected by a few withdrawals on their transcripts, but excessive withdrawal can become a pattern and inhibit an individual’s ability to be admitted into a graduate program.

“The people that we have heard [a withdrawal] having a big impact [on] are people going into nursing school, medical school or law school,” White said. “In some cases, we have heard of the ‘W’s being recalculated as an F.”

Withdrawing from a course becomes tricky when a student is using financial aid or a scholarship to pay for those courses.

“It still does impact your total attempted credits,” said Deborah Decker, assistant director of advisement. “So if you’re getting financial aid, it’s very important to talk to [the] financial aid [office] before you drop a class.”

Students on financial aid are required to take a minimum of 12 credits per semester with half of those credits working toward their degree. If a student withdraws from a course, the “W” on their transcript does not equate to successful completion of the course and can drop them below the minimum requirements.

“If you’re considering dropping a class at this point in the semester, where you would get a ‘W,’ that you talk with [the] financial aid [office] first,” Decker said.