Month: May 2016

Rodeo teams compete well at Tarleton State

by STEVEN GEHEGAN/Staff Writer

The South Plains College men’s and women’s rodeo teams faired well in its most recent meet.

The SPC rodeo teams traveled to Stephensville to compete in the Tarleton State University rodeo on April 21.

The Lady Texans came into the meet ranked fourth in the nation and received strong performances from Sophomore Kortney McReynolds and freshman Rainy Robinson who lead the SPC women’s rodeo team in their respective events.

McReynolds lassoed a first overall finishs in the women’s goat tying with score of 145 and 14.2 average, after earing a score of 7 in the long run and 7.2 in the finals.

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Photos by MICHAELA CHAMBLEE/PLAINSMAN PRESS
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Photos by MICHAELA CHAMBLEE/PLAINSMAN PRESS
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Photos by MICHAELA CHAMBLEE/PLAINSMAN PRESS

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Robinson galloped to a sixth-place finish in the barrel racing event with a score of 40 points

The Texans came into the competition looking to improve on their number 13 national ranking before the end of the regular season.

Coy Surett posted a top mark for SPC earning 130 points in the steer wrestling competition placing second overall.

Current regional standing have SPC’s Shay Spitz who has earned 805 points in barrel racing, Kortney McReynold with 247.5 points in goat tying and Riley Hayes with 230 points in steer wrestling all eligible to compete in the national competition.

NBA teams should seek player swap following video leak

by JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor

In sports, the bond between teammates is often complicated.

But most players understand the unwritten rules that come from being brothers on the field, or on a court. But what happens when those rules are broken?

The Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA recently ran into this problem when D’angelo Russell, their 2015 second overall draft pick, leaked an incriminating video of teammate Nick Young claiming to have had an affair with a young girl. The video eventually led to Young’s fiancé, and mother of his child, Iggy Azalea, calling off their engagement.

While Russell claims not to have leaked the story, it’s still unknown who allowed the clip to fall into the hands of the media.

After the video was made public, it was reported that Russell’s teammates had begun to shun him and exclude him from team activities.

Unfortunately for Russell, the best course of action for his career at this point is to request a trade from the Lakers.

Russell is a talented young player and will likely have a bright future in the NBA, but it will not be with the Lakers.

The actions that led to the clip being released, whatever they may have been, fall on Russell alone. It is unlikely he will ever be able to repair his relationships in the Lakers locker room.

Luckily for Russell, there is another 2015 draft pick who is currently unhappy with his current situation.

On the other side of the country, Jahil Okafor, the Philadelphia 76ers third overall pick in the 2015 draft, expressed many times before, and since the draft, that he did not want to play in Philadelphia. He was even hoping to be drafted by the Lakers at the number two overall spot.

At this point, the best thing for both players would be to switch teams. Being the number two and three players drafted in 2015 should place their grades relatively close, which should make hammering out a deal easier for everybody.

With the firing of Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott, it is likely that the team will have to start rebuilding once again. With 2017 being the last year of a three-year window for Jim Buss to bring the Lakers back to relevancy, it is likely the team will be taking a new direction in 2018 under the guidance of Jim’s sister, Jeanie Buss.

As a result, trading for the best center and third best player from the 2015 NBA draft could give the Lakers not only a new direction to grow in but would give them a good player to build around going forward.

For the 76ers, it is unlikely they will be able to get Okafor to return after his contract expires, so the best thing for the 76ers would be to trade him now while they can still get something of value for him, rather than paying him to stick around for a few years just to leave the team when it’s all said and done.

While Russell may not share Okafor’s desire not to play for the ever-struggling 76ers, he is not currently in a position to be picky about where he ends up, as no matter where he goes it will be years before he can repair the damage that has been done to his reputation.

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Texans, Lady Texans post qualifying marks for nationals at Oklahoma meet

by JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor

The South Plains College men’s and women’s track teams proved they were a championship-caliber team against elite competition at their most recent meet.

SPC traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to compete in the John Jacobs Invitational on April 22.

Despite being one of the few community colleges competing in the event, SPC showed that they were a force to be reckoned with, posting numerous top-five finishes and national qualifying marks at the meet.

DeVante Lacey and Fabian Edoki each racked up first-place finishes for the Texans in their respective events.

Lacey placed first in the 400 meters with a time of  46.50, while Edoki placed first in the long jump with a leap of 24-11.25.

Adrian Williams placed second in the javelin and set a school record with a throw of 223-9 setting a school record.

Texans Robert Dunning, Okeen Williams and Kelvin Keter also posted top-five finishes at the meet.

Dunning competed in the 110-meter hurdles, placing second overall with a time of 14.01. Williams’ time of 52.02 in the 400-meter hurdles was good enough for second.

The SPC women posted multiple national-qualifying marks with top-10 performances across the board.

Mauricia Prieto, Medinah Spencer, Poro Gahekave, Taylor Hill, Melody Korie, Anyi Garcias-Solis, Felicia Frimpong, and Kinonna Bradshaw all posted national-qualifying marks for the Lady Texans with performances in their respective competitions.

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Adrian Williams practices throwing javelin at SPC track on April 21 in preparations for an upcoming meet. TOVI OYERVIDEZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Prieto finished the day with two national-qualifying marks, placing fifth in the woman’s 200 meters with a time of 24.27 and finishing sixth in the 400 meters with a time of 55.57.

Spencer’s national mark came with her performance in the 400 hurdles, after posting a time of 1:00.58 and placing third overall.

Gahekave earned her mark in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing sixth with a time of 12:05.92. Hill’s mark of 12.07 in the 100 meters was good enough to land her a national-qualifying mark after she finished seventh overall.

Korie soared her way to a national mark with her performance in the long jump. She placed fifth with a distance of 18-8.

Garcias-Solis earned a second national mark in the jumping events for SPC, with a leap of 37-9.5 in the triple jump. Frimpong competed alongside Garcias-Solis in the triple jump, leaping a distance of 37-1.75.

Bradshaw was able to rack up one last mark in the shot put with a throw of 46-6.25, finishing sixth overall.

The track and field teams will continue preparing for the NJCAA Outdoor National Championships, which will be held on their home turf on May 17- May 19.

Trading for top pick in draft could hurt Rams

by STEVEN GEHEGAN/Staff Writer

It seem like history is constantly repeating itself, when one team in the National Football League sells the house for one player, and it never pays off.

The Los Angeles Rams just pulled off one of the biggest moves in NFL draft history, going for the 15 pick to the first overall pick, which was held by the Tennessee Titans.  The Rams only had to give up their first round pick, two second rounds picks, a third round pick and the first and third round pick of the 2017 draft. While the Rams got back the first overall picks, a fourth and sixth rounds draft picks.

While any team would want to get the first pick in the draft giving up 6 drafts picks to only get three back is never a good deal. Most of the NFL productive players are drafted in the first three rounds and the rams gave up six of those pick and only got one back. It won’t work because no matter how good great one player is, he is not better than six good players.

Especially in this year’s draft there is not a player worth giving all of those picks that the Rams gave up. You would expect that the Rams would go after a quarter back if they would want to jump that high, but would it be worth it. When the top choices are Jared Goff from the University of California, Berkeley and Carson Wentz from the North Dakota State University the answer is most likely not. Both Goff and Wentz could turn out to be great NFL quarterbacks, but the math dose not add up in the favor of the Rams. With all of those picks that they gave away they could have added more to their team and found a quarterback in the latter rounds.

But no the new team in Los Angeles wanted to be splashy and are risking a lot for just one player, which might not even be a quarterback. The Rams have yet to come out and say that they want to draft a quarterback, they have hinted that they might choose another player. Which would be a waste of a pick since no one player is greater than what they gave away.

Of all the teams that would do a trade like this would be the Rams. Since they were on the plus side of the trade when Washington moved up to select Robert Griffin, and the Rams received multiple picks for him. Maybe they just forgot about their time in Saint Louis and want what happened to Washington to happen to them.

Selling the team for one player never work out and it seems like the Rams might have to learn that the hard way.

Lack of repairs could hurt regional tennis tournament

by NICK ALVARADO/Editorial Assistant

Tennis is an expensive sport to maintain across the world.

The court is as tough to maintain as the players maintaining their equipment, buying new apparel for tournaments, travel, hotels and much more.

The tennis courts here at South Plains College  are in rough condition, and they are hardly being maintained. The only thing that has been taken into consideration and keeping maintenance workers busy is the trash on the courts and leaves blowing from time to time.

Cracks are showing on the courts, and the middle courts show a slope, signifying how uneven the ground is below.

Numerous courts across the area have been resurfaced, and their appearance is astonishing, attracting numerous fans, teams and players.

Maintaining the tennis courts on campus can help the students who play tennis enjoy playing more and, potentially, spark an interest to start a tennis team, representing SPC in matches competetively.

SPC currently hosts the UIL Region I Tennis Tournament, along with regular-season tournaments to build up to district meets.

Coaches have voiced their displeasure about the court problems, which has forced a switch to courts at Levelland High School and Levelland Junior High School.

On average, the cost of resurfacing a tennis court ranges from $4,000 to $8,000. It is clear that money can be an issue to repair the court.

The players who are involved in the intramural tennis tournaments still play tennis after their high school days. Some love the game and enjoy playing it every day and, potentially, be involved in the fundraiser to help aid resurfacing the tennis courts.

In order to keep tournaments here, the court maintenance should be top priority as these tournaments bring in money, like the UIL Class 2A and 1A Region I basketball tournament that is played at the Texan Dome.

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The nets at SPC tennis courts are taped and have a hard time staying together. NICK ALVARADO/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Regional and other tournaments that are played here are important financially. The tennis courts should be kept up in order to keep hosting big events and tournaments. Just like basketball, a regional tournament for tennis has a home, and it’s at SPC.

Without the repairs, the location where the regional tournament is held could be moved somewhere else. Many regional tournaments in high school sports are held at college facilities. Regional tournaments are a big deal, as high school athletes could be featured on the biggest stage in high school athletics at the state competition.

Without regional tournaments, no money will be brought in. In order to keep the regional tennis tournament at SPC, the tennis courts should be resurfaced or repaired to keep bringing in the money and to show the people who come watch the events that SPC is a place where the sporting venues are always taken care of.

McGregor should fight in UFC 200 even after removal

by DOMINICK PUENTE/Staff Writer

With UFC 200 fast approaching in the beginning of July, Connor McGregor has been pulled from the anticipated main event, a rematch against “Bad Boy” Nate Diaz.

Diaz recently took down his rival, McGregor, in UFC 196 in the second round by submission, stunning the world and showing people that McGregor is human and he can fall.

After the fight, McGregor gave credit to Diaz for the excellent comeback victory. However, after the loss to Diaz, many fans anticipated McGregor’s next match in the octagon.

After hearing his positive comments after the fight, I believed McGregor would stage an exceptionable comeback for his UFC 200 fight. When UFC President Dana White announced McGregor’s next opponent would be a rematch against Diaz, I came to a conclusion this would be the boost for McGregor’s pride and a fight within him would be restored.

Even though McGregor claimed he would be back in the octagon better than he was in his last fight, he was not going to be able to do that with the type of mind set he has gone into during the past few weeks.

As he began training, many of his workout videos showed much improvement. But as the press conferences and interviews have come and gone, McGregor failed to be involved with any press conferences and interviews for UFC 200 and his fight against Diaz. As a result, White pulled McGregor from the main event fight in late April.

As everything unfolded, McGregor took to social media and released a vague tweet saying, “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

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McGregor has shown to be hard-headed at times with White and the UFC, but it has shown me that the fighting Irishman would not hesitate to leave a second time if he returns from his early retirement.

With the rumors of his retirement, that would mean he would lose his Featherweight UFC title belt due to his absence in the organization. White made comments that he does not believe McGregor will retire. However, he is true to his word about removing McGregor from the fight card all together.

Along with his comments, White also believes that McGregor will fight within this year. I agree with White from this standpoint on the whole situation, but money will be a factor because of McGregor’s past fight history. Even though McGregor has shown a lot of love for the sport, he has also displayed his desire for the big-time paycheck.

Meanwhile, White also disagreed with the rumors that money was a factor in the whole unraveling of the Diaz vs McGregor fight. But I assume deep down in the logic of McGregor, money and the request for more respect could have played a roll.

Being the highest paid fighter in the entire organization, McGregor has also made millions betting on his own fights, causing him to become wealthier than anyone could ever imagine in their own lives. He has brought a massive amount of revenue to the entire organization, along with a lot of recognition for the UFC.

As questions were being asked about McGregor and what plans were for the future, he broke media silence and explained that he is not retired from fighting.  His reasoning for missing all the interviews was that he just wants to be focused on the fight and not worry about promoting UFC 200. I agree with his reasoning as to why he does not want to worry about extra things besides the actual fight.

McGregor has been known as the up-and-coming fighter who has had a distinct say in what he wishes to do before a fight, along with how he is paid. He also is the one fighter to bring the most revenue whenever he sets foot in the octagon.

In his defense, McGregor has achieved great things in his tenure at the UFC. He has accumulated enough money to live the rest of his life in a beach house with his wife and not worry about anything.

McGregor claimed in multiple interviews that the UFC is a business, and he shown that it is. He has left the octagon with multiple business deals under his belt.  McGregor has brought the UFC and White nothing but positive and substantial outcomes every time he fights.

Meanwhile, the UFC and White explained that McGregor will most likely not fight Diaz in the historic event.

The fighting Irishmen is a natural-born fighter. Fighting is in his blood and always will be. I believe that McGregor should be able to fight in UFC 200, due to the fact there is no one better to fight Diaz in the main event.

No one can match the skill of McGregor besides the reigning champ, Diaz. Even though it would show that the UFC can have a weak grip over the fighters, an exception should be made for McGregor, because of everything he can bring to the table.

I believe that McGregor will continue to fight within the UFC for many years and bring great fortune to himself and the organization. But for this one instance, the UFC should allow the fighting Irishmen to enter the octagon for the historic UFC event.

On the other hand, McGregor should face some sort of a punishment after the fight is over due to the chaos he created with his actions. No athlete should bring that type of media attention to any organization.

McGregor might have an upper hand on the UFC because of his revenue brought to the organization. But he is not the president and should know that things are expected of him when he enters the UFC and he is going to fight.

McGregor may be allowed a certain amount of leeway in certain matters of the UFC and should be able to fight in UFC 200. But maintaining the integrity of the organization and what it stands for should also be upheld, along with making the big-time money.

‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ continues film franchise with action, comedy

by SARA MARSHALL/Photo Editor

The fat and lovable Kung Fu fighting panda, is at it again in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

The “Kung Fu Panda” film franchise took off after the first movie in 2008, and it has expanded rapidly with a sequel, TV spin-offs, action figures and so much more in a short time.

The first movie portrayed a fun concept based around Po, a clumsy panda with huge dreams. The action, comedy and serious moments all mingled well to pull in audiences of all ages to theaters. This humor has carried throughout each of the movie installments, ensuring audiences continue to come back.

The third installment, “Kung Fu Panda 3,” brings Po’s long-lost panda father into the storyline, after hinting at him after the second movie.  After his father reappears in Po’s life, the reunited duo travels to the secret panda village in the mountains to meet Po’s long-lost family of equally clumsy and hilarious pandas. While a new super villain sweeps across China defeating all the Kung Fu masters, Po realizes he must train the other pandas to fight along side him.

With an A-list studded cast, it’s no wonder this film franchise has done so well throughout the years. Jack Black (“School of Rock”) plays the iconic panda, Po, alongside Dustin Hoffman (“Kramer vs. Kramer”) as master Shi Fu, Angelina Jolie (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) as Tigress, David Cross (“Alvin and the Chipmunks”) as Crane, Jackie Chan (“The Forbidden Kingdom”) as Monkey, Lucy Liu (“Elementary”) as Viper, and Seth Rogen (“Neighbors”) as Mantis. Randall Duk Kim (“John Wick”) also came back to voice the much loved character of the late Master Oogway.

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The plot contains unexpected twists and turns, the occasional crude joke that older audiences truly appreciate and talking animals that younger audiences love in animated films. Though this movie is geared much more toward a younger audience, it truly portrays a truly thought-out design which presented all ages a fun and entertaining animated film.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” also has allowed younger movie goers to become exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking. This film portrays the teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, showing audiences the value of acceptance and tolerance.

I thoroughly enjoyed the effort and attention to detail in this movie. The fact that “Kung Fu Panda 3” merges two totally different animation styles into one film blows my mind. With an enormous cast, new characters, fluid animation and new, interesting ways of thinking, “Kung Fu Panda 3” gives audiences the movie they had hoped for.

It has been rumored that this was last installment of the beloved panda series, but the CEO of DreamWorks confirmed last month that this is indeed not the last movie in the franchise. At least three more “Kung Fu Panda” films are planned.

The action, comedy and occasional dirty joke made this movie extremely enjoyable and truly funny. I’m definitely going to marathon the entire series the next chance I get. I would give “Kung Fu Panda 3” 5 out of 5 stars.

Batman & Robin comic delivers eternal narrative

by RILEY GOLDEN/Editorial Assistant

The Dynamic Duo had their first encounter with the Scarecrow several years ago and beneath that case was a much larger mystery that only Batman knew about until now.

In the comic “Batman & Robin Eternal, Vol. 1,” Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake, all past partners of the Dark Knight, begin to be targeted by an assassin known as the Orphan.

Dick Grayson was the first Robin, formerly Nightwing, and is now an international superspy, Agent 37.

Jason Todd was the second Robin. Killed by the Joker, Todd has since been resurrected and now fights crime as the pistol-wielding Red Hood.

Tim Drake was the third Robin. Drake actually met Grayson at the circus and subsequently saw Grayson’s parents die, to later see Grayson being consoled by Batman. Drake followed the stories about Batman and Robin for years and later donned the Robin suit to save Batman and Nightwing from Two-Face at only age 13. Drake now goes by the moniker Red Robin and has a full array of tech gadgets that he’s invented or built himself.

The Robins are also joined by Cassandra Cain and Harper Row. Cain is Orphan’s daughter that he molded into a human weapon by forcing her to watch him assassinate people and keeping her locked away from the rest of the world. Harper Row is a vigilante that goes by the name of Bluebird. She was never a partner of Batman’s but she tries very hard to be that.

With Orphan on their tails, the former Boy Wonders must join forces to untangle a mystery that goes back to the early days of Batman’s and Robin’s careers.

Several years ago, Batman encountered Mother while investigating a case related to Scarecrow. Mother is a human trafficker that has a child’s parents killed and then takes them to raise them however she sees fit. She believes the children have to experience trauma to be able to be molded into what she wants, which is why the parents are murdered. Although, towards the end of the comic it is revealed that Mother is experimenting with a new way to make these children vulnerable that does not require any type of trauma but only Scarecrow’s fear toxin.

The comic switches back and forth between Batman and Robin’s first encounter with Scarecrow, and the present where Bruce Wayne is retired and all of his former superhero allies are working on a case so dark and deep that only him and Cain knew about it until recently.

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With Wayne retired, Gotham is patrolled by a robotic, GCPD-sanctioned Batman. Wayne’s former partners could really use the real Batman right now, but they share too much compassion for their mentor to bring his new carefree lifestyle to a halt, and he has trained them all very well. As long as they do not underestimate Mother, they can handle her…

This is by far one of my favorite Batman stories. It’s so well written and so well drawn. The banter between the former Boy Wonders is laced with comedy and so much of the brother dynamic. It’s great to see how each Robin’s skillsets interact and play off of the other, as well as their attitudes.

“Batman & Robin Eternal, Vol. 1” also had great action sequences and beautiful transitions between issues. This amazing comic has earned it’s spot as probably my favorite graphic novel to date and I cannot wait for the continuation of the story. I give “Batman & Robin Eternal, Vol. 1,” 5 out of 5 stars.

Youtuber incorporates passion for video games, emotion in ‘Game Face’

by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

It takes talent, time, and success to create an album.

One YouTuber named Tyler Sederwall has incorporated video games to express his musician abilities.

I’ve been a big fan of Sederwall since high school. He’s a YouTuber who makes a profit from playing through video games. Ever since I’ve followed him on YouTube, he would always express how he loves music and how it helped him through his life.

Sederwall released his second album, “Game Face,” on March 11. He incorporated video games into his songs. It wasn’t a surprise to me. But I know for other people, the genre might be a little bit strange because our generation isn’t familiar with it.

The first song on the album is “Taking Charge,” which is the intro to the album. The intro has a pop feel to it that helps you feel motivated when listening to it. If you listen to the lyrics, Sederwall tells his fans that we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone when we need to.

“Gamer Revolution” is another song that has a pop-style and includes little segments of rap. In this song, Sederwall talks about his hobby, which is video games. In part of the song, he says, “taking a hobby, making it more. Making connections and opening doors, sharing my life, making it yours. Versus some games, settling scores.” These lyrics are explaining his life as a YouTuber and sharing with his fans what he does as a profession.

The next song, “Do It Our Way,” isn’t a video game-related song. But this song has a catchy beat and lyrics that I think anyone would enjoy. Sederwall did explain that this song had a Kesha style to it, and I agree.

“Chasing Happiness” is probably the only song on the album that has emotional ties that anyone can relate to. The lyrics to the song describe that everyone in the world is chasing happiness they can’t seem to find. It’s a song that everyone should listen to because it has great meaning. I think everyone is chasing something that makes them happy, or they think it does. So, it’s definitely a song worth listening to.

The next track is “Pokégod.” If anyone watched the Pokémon series, it gives a 2016 style to “I Want to be the Very Best” Pokémon theme song. It does have a pop style to it, and that’s what Sederwall wanted. He told his fans that even though he isn’t the best at Pokémon, he wanted to create a song that suggested that he was the greatest Pokémon master.

“Get Bananas” is one of my favorites on the album. The song is based on the character Donkey Kong. Sederwall took inspiration from the original Donkey Kong rap, but added dubstep and rap lyrics to the song to make it enjoyable to his listeners.

The next song is “Old School,” which is a slow-paced song, but it does include some rap as well. The lyrics “old-school games are my tradition, running them all in mint condition” explains that Sederwall likes playing old-school video games, which are in good condition. Sederwall also made a tribute to Satoru Iwata, a game programmer and a businessman who served as the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo, who passed away on July 11, 2015. In the song, the lyrics are “R.I.P to one of the greatest that will ever exist, developed a lot, there is a long list, Satoru Iwata you are going to be missed.”

“This is War” was the second single that Sederwall released off the album. The theme of this song is Super Smash Bros. for the WiiU console. The song really describes the Super Smash Bros. characters fighting each other, and Sederwall does use their fighting voices in the song, while he raps about the characters fighting each other.

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Definitely my favorite song on the album is “Release the Beast.” It doesn’t have a lot of meaning to the song. The lyrics are “I will release this beast that is stuck within me. Eat the flesh of our enemies…I’m the beast, so (explicit) primal, whatever I say is final. I’m feeling so ambitious, good thing I’m so (explicit) vicious.” The song mainly explains that you’re vicious, and you can take on anyone.

The beat is what makes it great for me. The beat of the song makes you feel like a beast, which is what Sederwall wanted his fans to feel. He also had no repeating elements on the song, which is impressive.

“Still See the Sunshine” is based on the storyline about the video game Super Mario Sunshine. Sederwall does include rap lyrics, but you can tell this song has a rock vibe to it. Sederwall included screamo vocals. Even though that’s not his forte, it definitely suited the song well.

The next song is “One I Love,” and I mainly love this song because it’s a love song that still involves video games. The only video game element is Sederwall calling the girl he loves his princess. The lyrics “everybody loves somebody, and princess you are the one, the one I want,” is very sweet and true. I think that every guy has that particular “princess” in his life who they want or love.

 

“Smash It Up” was the first single that Sederwall released on the album, and it doesn’t have a lot of meaning. The lyrics and beats are good. But since I’ve listened to it over and over again, it’s one of those songs for me that I don’t enjoy often anymore. It’s still a great song, though.

“I’m Ratchet” is probably my favorite I like to sing, because the lyrics, “I’m ratchet, I’m ratchet, I’m ratchet, yeah, you know who I am, I’m ratchet” is something you don’t hear every day. The word ‘ratchet’ in our society describes someone who’s out of hand. But in this case, Sederwall wanted to make a pun.

He wrote this song based on the video game “Ratchet and Clank.” In the lyrics, he does talk about the video game characters.

“The last song on the album is “Game Face (Outro),” which wraps up the album with Sederwall thanking everyone who helped him finish the album.

Sederwall deserves so much respect for the hard work he put into this album. It gets boring hearing the same songs on the radio about the same stuff. But when have you ever heard someone write music based on video games? It’s a great idea, and I loved every song on this album.

I’m going to rate this album high not because I’m a big fan of Sederwall, but because of the creativity and the passion he used for the album. If anyone would like to listen to the album, it’s available to download on Spotify and Soundcloud. If you would like to buy the album, it’s also available on iTunes.

I give “Game Face” 5 out of 5 stars.

Fort Worth Zoo features exotic animals, multiple exciting exhibits

by ALEX PEREZ/Staff Writer

The Fort Worth Zoo is home to hundreds of animals from all around the world.

They have multiple exciting exhibits for all ages, from huge African elephants to a human sized birdcage to the penguins of Antarctica.

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The first exhibit as you walk into the canopy-covered utopia is the bubblegum pink flamingo. Tourists flock to the exhibit to take photos of the beautifully-colored birds. Next up is the Museum of Living Art. This exhibit is full of reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Every inch of the building is covered in some sort of exhibit that displayed the various animals that are found all over the world. The Museum of Living Art is an interesting exhibit because it is home to endangered species as well as some weird looking ones. Children gaze upon the oblivious animals such as the king lizard and excitement fills their eyes. The Museum of Living Art really comes to life when visitors are able to pet an actual snake. People line up for a feel of the surprisingly soft snakeskin.

Next up is a stop inside a huge birdcage that really took flight. In Parrot Paradise, people of all ages are able to walk into a large birdcage with hundreds of bird flying around and eating off of the seed sticks. As you walk in, the sight of birds flying all around overwhelms people at first. But soon after it becomes very enjoyable. The only thing that you have to worry about is to watch your head when passing birds fly over… they just ate. (If you know what I mean.)

 

Another exhibit featuring amazing animals is the World of Primates. These guys really know how to attract a crowd, as this was the busiest exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo, right up there with the lions, of course. With a huge outdoor and indoor exhibit, the primates swing from vines as well as enjoy some lunch as they roam their territories. Sightings of orangutans, baboons, gorillas and other primate species make the World of Primates a fun place to be.

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Christian Ruiz pets a snake at the Fort Worth Zoo on March 26. ALEX PEREZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

My favorite exhibit on the journey through the world of animals is the African elephant exhibit, complete with a whole family of elephants. They all come running into the play area, and head straight for the pond, where they splash around as well as bathe themselves. The elephants were the main attraction for me, and they did not disappoint.

All along the nature trail, people can see a wide variety of animals from all over the world in the exciting exhibits the Fort Worth Zoo has to offer. With exhibits such as the Penguins, Raptor Canyon, African Savannah, and Texas Wild!, along with interactive games to play, the Fort Worth Zoo will always be a great choice for a weekend activity.

Photojournalism student leaves college with memorable experience, friends

by JENNY GARZA//Entertainment Editor

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It was all because of one simple decision.

In the spring semester of last year, I decided to leave the Plainsman Press staff and take a break that whole semester without being on staff. It was  really weird not being on staff and having things to do such as articles and interviewing, and I especially missed being around my friends.

When I decided to come back and work to get my old job back, I was the most excited person because I got to be around the people I enjoyed being around again and work with them again. I also became my advisor’s student assistant.

This happened to be the biggest change for me, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. But we will talk more about this man later.

When I first started at South Plains College, I was shy and very lost. When I first walked in to get my schedule made, I was excited. But I have to say that I didn’t really want to come back. I didn’t think school fit me so well. Well, this advisor I spoke of already was also the first person I came into contact with when coming to SPC. He made arrangements for me to get in the classes I wanted, but he also put me in a class of his, Publications 1.

I knew that it was basically about writing, interviewing, and taking photos, basically what I had done in high school for the Yearbook staff.

On my first day, I walked into CM 130 and I see a girl walking around with no shoes, a girl who seemed very scary and a girl sitting at the table toward the back. She seemed shy, so I made my way to her and plopped myself down. When class began, they started brainstorming stories, and though I was hesitant, I signed up for my first story, which involved the Hopi Tribe.

As semesters have gone by, I have seen friends go on to do things they enjoy, and I have also made some new  friends and got closer to some of my old ones.

I tend to try to make friends and care for the newbies who come into the paper.

One of the first people I did this for is a red-haired girl I call Ariel. Her real name is Nicole, and she is one of the girls I can talk to and laugh about stupid things with, as well as give her a hard time sometimes. She is hilarious, and some of the things she says make me take a second look to make sure she said what she said. I am going to miss this girl when she moves, but I know she will be happy and succeed in all she does.

Next is Miss Ches, my honorary Mexican. This girl I have grown closer to this year while working together, and this girl may think I actually don’t listen to her rant, but I do and she is usually one of the first people I tell my good news to and rant to. She is hilarious and says the most random things and can just make about anyone’s day better with the things she says.

Tovi, my mamas, is a very talented photographer, and I am so proud of her and anything she does. She is sweet and caring for those when they are sick, and she has the greatest smile and laugh. She also is so darn funny with everything she thinks of.

Along the way, I have also met the “Squad,” which includes Brandi, Dariella, Matt, Mallory, and Jonathan. These five individuals are so different, yet they are all good friends. Not very many people find that. Brandi is so funny and says the craziest things to me, and Dar is so adorable and sweet. If anybody messes with her, they are going to have to deal with me. As for Matt and Mallory, I have never seen two people more in sinc. They get each other and are the cutest friends. They remind me a lot of how I was growing up with my best friend. Lastly is mister Jonny. When he first came, I got accused of having a crush on him by Charles. I thought that was hilarious. He is very funny, and can’t hear right for whatever I say. But I am going to miss all these kids, and I hope that they continue enjoying CM 130 as well as give Charlie sass.

Next there is UA. At first when I met this boy, I was intimidated by him. But I soon found out he was just a nice teddy bear. This boy may joke around a lot and say things that you just have to stare at him for, but he is an all-around good person and I am so proud of him in all he has done for himself.

Two of the last people I am going to mention have grown closer to me this semester and I will gladly call my best friends.

I met Sara during the fall semester, and at first I was kind of scared to talk to her because she did seem like she was very confident and would tell you off if she needed to, and I happen to be a very loud and outspoken person now. So I felt like we would clash. This semester, when I came back to class, I found out so much about her, like how she tries to take care of people, and all her little words she uses, such as “sweetie”, and “Oh honey.” There is so much more, and I hope that we continue to be close friends after I leave.

Then there is Nick. When I first met this boy, he was very quiet and kept to himself. Boy did this change. He began talking to me about music, sports, and just about anything that popped into his head. This boy has given me a few surprises in the kind of person he is that I was never expecting, such as how caring he is and how much information he has in his head. Once you do crack him out of his shell, he does not stop talking, which, to me, is great, because I can have a conversation about just anything with him.

Lastly is Charlie. This man has given me so many different opportunities and  pushed me to do things outside of my comfort zone. I may be sassy with him, but it’s only to shock him and make him smile. Being his assistant this semester has shown me a different side of Charlie, because I always thought this man just wanted to make my life miserable. But I see now that this was just him pushing me to do right and to finish the things I started. I am going to miss you, Charles, and knowing all the little things and quirks that  you actually mean.

I hope that all the future students who walk down these halls and sits in these chairs enjoy the time they have here. Because, like the old saying says, time goes by fast when you’re having fun.

Photojournalist recalls time spent on campus newspaper

by CHESANIE BRANTLEY//Editor-in-Chief

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A small, scared freshman college student walks into a classroom. There are people laying on the table and the floor, and a man behind the podium is joking around with students.

My first experience in the newsroom was during Senior Sneak Peek. I sat in a chair, and there were four people at the front of the room and Charlie Ehrenfeld at a podium to the side. They were all at the front talking about how the newsroom will change your life, and I honestly just blew it off. I already knew I was going to come to South Plains College for a Photojournalism degree. I was really just there because I got out of school for a day and I could hang out with my boyfriend Adam.

Little did I know how much this room would actually change my life. It is not something that can be put into words, and if you have never experienced it, you could never understand. My very first story was a feature on a 16-year-old guy who was attending SPC, and that is where it all started.

This is the hard part.

This is the part where I talk about the people who CM 130 brought together, and how I made my best friends here.

Dariella Hernandez and I have a special connection through our favorite sitcoms, “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.” I would trust any of her recommendations because she obviously has good taste in not only TV shows, but also fashion. I love Brandi Ortiz’ spirit. She is so spunky and does this awesome little run that literally no one else could do like her.

Matt Molinar is simply fabulous, and he knows it, plus we are basically the same person, because we both can drive a standard (*insert iPhone emoji girl with hand out.*) Mallory Carver is seriously the cutest person I have ever met, and she shares a deep love for elephants like I do. So, that means she is also my favorite person in the world.

Riley Golden is hilarious. I don’t know how else to describe him. He can always be counted on to make someone smile. We bonded over our love for “Star Wars,” and he always shares the latest news on the series with me. Sara Marshall is the photo editor, and her layout for our Spotlight pages are spot on (*insert Nicole’s “Haha, get it?”*). She is going to do great at whatever she sets her mind to.

Jonathan Brookshire is the Social Media Coordinator for the Plainsman Press. He also works at Kohl’s and will tell you when there are sales all the time. That is seriously the coolest thing ever when you are a broke college student in need of new clothes. Jonathan, I will not mention what you did your very first Paper Night, but I do not think I have ever laughed that hard. You have such a cool vibe, and I am really going to miss you making me laugh all the time.

Skylar Hernandez (or Shamoomoo as Billy Alonzo liked to call her) is my person. We became really close in the Fall semester of 2015, when we started working together. She is my newsroom wife and the person I know I could come to with anything and she would be there for me. She is strong willed and not afraid to speak her mind. Skylar is an astounding photographer, and she is going to do amazing things with her career.

Nick Roy Alvarado is like everyone’s weatherman/sports updater. I think it is really cool that you have your own online publication, and it is obvious you work hard to keep it up and going. I hope I leave you with the knowledge of what a double negative is, and you never make that mistake again.

Jayme Lozano is an amazing writer, and she knows it. Her confidence is contagious. Just being around her will make anyone feel like they can do anything. Jayme, you taught me everything I know about being Editor-in-Chief, but being your friend is way better than just your student.

Devin Reyna also is an awesome photographer. She has an eye for sports and action shots. Devin, you are the creator of the Savage Squad, and it was one of the funniest things that happened at TIPA 2016. Brittany Brown is the one person anyone can count on to tell it how it is. She will rip into anyone who talks about Beyonce in a negative way, so do not even try it.

Jenny Garza, gravity is not your friend. But it has taught you how to laugh at yourself and let the little things roll off. That is one of your best features. You are also an awesome photographer. You were my first newsroom friend, and I am so grateful for that first time you asked me to go on the Sonic run with you. Jenny, you have been there for me through this extremely tough semester, and I am so glad you listened to my complaining (even when you probably just tuned me out). Your friendship means a lot to me, and I hope you never forget that.

Nicole Trugillo and I have become very close since we became co Editor-in-Chiefs. She aspires to do great things, and she will. Her strong will is going to take her places, and her move to California is only the beginning. She is an amazing writer in any subject, and will always get the job done. Nicole, I am so happy for you and Ralph Lopez, and I know you both have an amazing journey ahead of you. You have been a great friend to me, and I am so glad I get to spend my last semester with you by my side. I am going to miss ganging up on UA with you on Paper Nights, laughing until I can barely breathe, and being a part of the Savage Squad with you.

JoshUA Ramirez, you can turn an awkward situation around on a dime, which is great, because I am terrible at that. UA, you are one of the best sports writers I’ve seen, and you already know you are going to go on to do great things. We started on the Plainsman Press staff together, and the only time we spoke that whole first semester was when you called me the wrong name. I guess I can forgive you for all of those times now, though. But, now you are one of my closest friends. You are a bit of an animal at times, though, and no, right outside the Communication Building’s door is not the wilderness, and it will never be (GOT THEM). I am really going to miss you being tense and having Savage Tuesday with the Savage Squad #exclusive-T.

Billy Alonzo is the leader of the TV kids, but that is OK. He is half of the Gentlemen Travelers, and never fails to make everyone in the newsroom smile when he walks in. He always has an answer for any question you ask him, and he is always available to give any kind of advice that you need. Billy, you are more than just one of the professors at SPC. You are my friend, and I am going to miss you.

Charlie Ehrenfeld is the advisor for the Plainsman Press and the other half of the Gentlemen Travelers. Charlie, I know I give you sass every single day you talk to me, but if I did not, you would think I was upset with you. You are the person who lets everyone know what the newsroom can do for him or her, but no one ever believes it until he or she experiences it. Even though we fight almost every day about something, I am going to miss it. You taught me more than just about journalism. You taught me how to be more dependable, how to get the job done in a short amount of time, and how to speak my mind on any subject. I learned who I really was in that newsroom, and that is all thanks to you and the environment you provided.

That first day I walked in the newsroom, I was terrified. I was there with all of these talented people, and they just threw us in the mix and I learned by doing. I was very quiet and shy when I started here, and anyone can tell you that. Now, I am not afraid to tell anyone what I am thinking, and I do not get near as nervous about talking in front of people like I used to. But, this room honestly did not do anything except be a room. The people in that room are who really had an impact on my life. Whether or not they realized it, they all helped me to be comfortable with who I am, helped me to learn to speak my mind, and just be me no matter who was around.  I hope that I impacted all of your lives a fraction as much as you all have impacted mine.

For all of those little things, I will be forever grateful for those people who happened to come into CM 130.

Journalism course helps student find passion, career path

by JOSHUA RAMIREZ//Sports Editor

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Someone once told me that the Plainsman Press could change my life if I just let it.

I blew them off.

Who would believe that something so small could really change a life?

My first impression of the newsroom was more or less wondering what I had gotten into. I took a seat at a computer thinking nothing of it. Before too long, I was told I would have to move because that seat belonged to someone.

Wait.

Are they serious, I thought?

They were. So feeling like the real-life Forrest Gump, I got up and moved.

I sat in the second row on the outside of the aisle, behind a few girls in the front row and in front of few others in the third.

The girls in front seemed normal enough, but those behind me seemed to have some problems.

Some redhead, a little brown girl, and a mean one who called herself Bbrown from the Beyhive had me wondering if I should just stand in the back.

I got my first assignment for the paper, just a little sports opinion on the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal.

After that, I was hooked.

Writing for the Plainsman Press became something that I really wanted to do. I finally felt like I was doing something that I enjoyed and could eventually do for the rest of my life as a career.

The assignments kept coming, and I continued to get more comfortable. I learned the names of the Trouble Three in the row behind me were Nicole, Brittany (AKA Bbrown), and Devin. I still had no idea about the two in front of me, but I learned the third girl on the front row was Cindy Sykes, who had been kind enough to give me rides back to Lubbock on Paper Nights.

As much as she annoyed everyone else, I didn’t find her to be so bad, considering my whole first semester of being an editor would have never happened if I didn’t get rides from her. So thanks, Cindy.

Assignments came and went, and six issues were over before I knew it. The winter was one of anticipation as I waited to get back to writing.

On the first day of my second semester I came to the newsroom feeling at home and ready to work. I was happy to see that everyone else was back too.

It wasn’t long before we were back in the swing of things, pumping out award winning stories for the greatest college newspaper in the world.

Then came the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference, a weekend of schananigans with a group of “printies” no hotel could handle.

We took TIPA, along with the city of San Antonio, by storm, and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun trips I’ve ever taken for school or otherwise.

The trip brought us all closer to each other and changed our friendships forever.

It wasn’t until the last Paper Night of my second semester that I had my first sad experience with the Plainsman Press. That was the Paper Night when we said goodbye to our editor-in-chief, Jayme Lozano, and one of my best friends on the paper, that mean girl in row three, Bbrown.

So I stood back as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” blared on the computer and watched everyone cry, hug, and laugh about how we would all see each other tomorrow as we turned the page on another semester none of us would forget.

Bbrown was one of my best friends on staff, and one of the most talented sports writers I’ve had the privilege of meeting. I learned a lot from her and will always think of her as a friend. I know she is going to do big things, and I hope she can fulfill her goal of one day working along side her idol, Beyonce, the way she always said she would.

Jayme was a great editor-in-chief, and I wish her nothing but the best in her career as a journalist. I hope that she continues to write the things that truly interest her.

Following Bbrown leaving, I became the sports editor for the paper, something I had been looking forward to since my first semester on staff. I spent the semester writing as much as possible. I even wrote the best story of my career as a printie, a sports feature story about transgender Olympic athlete Chris Mosier.

It was by far my most high-profile story, and one that won me a second place award at TIPA.

Lots of new faces arrived my third semester. Some didn’t last, but of the ones who did, I can honestly say I’m glad I got to meet you and spend two semesters on staff with you.

I’ll definitely be keeping in touch with Riley and Matt, who have become two of my closer friends on staff. I’m sure the two of them, along with the third musketeer, Mallory, will have a blast on staff for two more semesters.

Then there is the squad of Jonathan, Brandi, and Dar. I look forward to seeing what Jonathan is definitely a character and constantly pushes the boundaries on social media but he’s a talented writer and editor and I think he will do good things for the news paper in the future.

As for Dar and Brandi, I’ve truly enjoyed meeting the two of them, and would say they are two of the most unique people I’ve had the opportunity of meeting.

Nick has been a great sports writer since I met him. His passion is easy to see, and I know that he will do well as the sports editor next semester. I wish him tons of luck on The Roy Report.

Sara has been the photoeditor for the past two semesters, and has done very well. I wish her luck and hope that she enjoys the rest of her time on staff.

My third semester on staff ended with another casualty for the Plainsman Press, as a little potato we called Skylar was saying goodbye.

Skylar was definitely one of the staple characters of the Plainsman Press when I got here, and she still is even in her absence. I won’t forget all the funny things I got to experience because of her.

Tovi is on of the goofiest most caring individuals I have ever met, she is always kind and her photography skills are amazing. I will always remember having botany and golf together, along with all our time on the Plainsman Press.

So now, it the end of my fourth semester on staff, it’s time to write my last story for my last issue as part of this anomaly we call a school newspaper.

My fourth semester has been the most fun by far. Being able to experience my final six issues, and the last TIPA competition with the current staff, were the highlights of my academic career up till now.

But all good things must come to an end, and my time here at SPC is no different. But if I must go, I will take as many with me as I can.

So on my way out, I’ll be followed by, Jenny, Devin, that redhead, Nicole, and one of those quiet girls in the front row, Chesanie Brantley.

Jenny is definitely one of the most out-of-the-box characters I’ve come across. She is always making friends and helping someone in their time of need, who are usually rookies on the staff. A lot of things can get her off balance, literally and metaphorically, but she never stays down and she always does her best.

Devin is one of the best sports photographers I’ve ever met. I have had the luxury of putting her pictures on my pages for two years, and they were always on point. But I’d expect nothing less from a member of the #savagesquad.

Nicole has been around since the beginning of time. She was here before me and has stayed up until my very last semester. As much as we get on each other’s nerves, I’m sure I can count on her if I need to. She is getting married soon and will be starting a new chapter in her life, one that I hope is very long and happy, and written in a way that only Nicole could write.

Chesanie changed from one of the quiet girls in the front row to the best editor-in-chief I’ve had on the Plainsman Press.

At first glance, she was a quiet, sweet, and intelligent girl. But once you get past that, she is probably one of the most inappropriate people I have every met. The things she says should never be repeated. But she is also one of the best friends I’ve had in a long time. We came on to staff together, and now we’re leaving together. That is something significant to me, if only me.

But these friends who leave with me would have never been, if it weren’t for the friend who’s staying behind.

Charlie Ehrenfeld is the advisor who presides over the paper, but he has been so much more than that for me.

I met Charlie at a time when I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, I didn’t like college and had actually already dropped out once.

Charlie took the aimless kid I was, pointed me in a direction, and said, “walk.” Then he stuck around for the trip to give me the tools I needed to eventually walk that path alone.  Charlie has done something for me that very few people ever have. He literally changed the course of my life, and I’m so grateful for it.

Charlie was the one who said the Plainsman Press could change my life. He was right. It did.

When I first got here, CM130 was just a room with picture frames on the walls, and it still is. The only thing that has actually changed is me, and I know I’ll never be the same.

Because no other news room will have a coffee pot overflowing with post-its, or a football trophy for writing headlines. I know the days of family dinners have ended, and they won’t be coming back. But for two years of my life, these things were traditions held by a group of people I took pride in being a part of. They are just a few of the small things I will remember when I look back on my time with the Plainsman Press.

Passion for writing leads student to pursue new career path

by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

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I never really thought how much a single room could change my life.

I never really thought how many people could change my life.

I’ve made amazing friends along the way, and I’ve also lost some. I’ve made some great choices along the way, and I’ve also made a few bad ones.

But all the choices have led me here. Those choices have led me to become a print journalism major instead of a veterinarian technician major (which I do plan to pursue one day).

I didn’t have an advisor when I first came to South Plains College because I thought I didn’t need one. I planned my first semester on my own, and I read in the SPC catalog that they had a newspaper class. I thought I would give it a try.

The first day I walked into “the room that will change your life” was terrifying. There were a lot of people I didn’t recognize, and I was very overwhelmed. That’s when I sat down next to someone who I would become very close to, Skylar, who I will talk more about later. I raised my hand to volunteer for my first story, and I don’t even know why I did it. I think it was because I wanted to try something new, and I wanted to be brave.

I even went on to sign up to be an editorial assistant. I thought everyone was kidding when they said they stayed until 3 a.m. to finish the paper. I was very tired the next day. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed putting together the stories and learning every day from people who I become very close to. Even though I didn’t talk until my last semester, I loved what I did, and I loved the people I spent time with.

This is part of the farewell that is very difficult to write. I never imagined writing my farewell would be difficult. But I guess someone would have to experience the atmosphere of the newsroom and everyone in it to know what I’m feeling.

Let’s start with the new friends I have encountered in the last year. “The Squad,” as they call themselves, includes Brandi, Dariella, Jonathan, Matt, Mallory, and Riley (and Pamela). They are so different from each other, but in a good way. This group reminds me of when I was in a squad (I still am, but it’s shrunk down through the semesters). Brandi is always the outspoken one. She is random, and I love that about her. She can literally talk about anything, and it will make you laugh harder than ever.

Dar is so sweet and nice. I owe it to her for a new Starbucks drink I get every time I go. Her fashion sense is always on point, and she is very easy to talk to. She is always polite, and she’s always down to help with a photo illustration.

Jonathan and I have bonded from the time he told me he loved Nicki Minaj. I never thought someone would love her as much as I do. But, I was wrong. He even listened to “Shanghai” (a song performed by Nicki Minaj), and he even quotes it on Paper Nights. He’s hilarious from time to time, even if he doesn’t realize it. I’m going to miss those moments with him.

As for Matt and Mallory, this duo is never going to be apart. They are always attached at the hip, and they are hilarious together. Matt is crazy, and he’s random at times too, which makes his sense of humor great in every way. Mallory is too adorable! I literally think she is the cutest person I’ve ever met. I will cherish the moment when she saved Joshua from me by grabbing me and setting me on her lap and patting me on the back (whatever happens at TIPA, stays at TIPA).

Riles is the go-to person when it comes to video games. He’s also the go-to person for making jokes (some racial). He can be sarcastic at times. But that’s what makes him such a great person. He has great comebacks, and I respect him for that.

Sara has been a great photo editor, and I appreciate the work she has done on her Spotlights. I know that it hasn’t been easy for her sometimes. But I know in the future she will be great in whatever she does.

Nick Roy is like ESPN, but as a human. It’s crazy how much he knows about sports and athletes. He has also started his own online newspaper, and that’s awesome considering he is/was a history major. He also laughs at everyone’s jokes, even mine, which I like him a little bit more for that. Also, fun fact about him is that he can name almost every country’s flag!

Now here’s the hard part of my farewell, the part that I’ve been dreading for years.

I knew Devin before I came to the newsroom. We played each other in basketball when we were in high school, and I’ve seen her in Amherst before. I never spoke to her until our first newspaper class. She is a beast at taking photos, and she is a very talented photographer. Her little family is adorable, and I know that whatever the future holds for her and her family, it’s going to be great. You’re small, but you’re also fierce, and I’m going to miss you making fun of you-know-who’s wallet.

Oh, Jenny. You and gravity have been going at it since the day I met you. You are a very sweet person, and you were one of my very first friends. You were the one who was obsessed with animation, and you always told me I looked like Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” I can speak to you about anything because you’re very easy to talk to. I know you’re a klutz, and I know I shouldn’t laugh when you fall down. But, you have a great personality when it comes to that. You’re a great person, and you have never said anything bad about anyone. You’ve never picked sides, and I appreciate you for all the times you’ve listened to me rant and be mad at people I dislike. I wish nothing but the best for you, and be careful!

My very first friend, Skylar, is off with her new life. Skylar, I remember signing up for my first story and you took photos for it. We were a team when we started our first semester. Your accent is to die for, and you have a big heart that everyone should be jealous of. I’m always going to remember the night that Chesanie and I almost flew out the window in your truck, and when you hung out with us at TIPA. I’m going to miss you. You’re a very talented photographer, and you are going to do great things in life.

Brittany Brown, or BBrown, which she prefers, is probably the most outspoken friend I’ve ever had. Nobody dare talk about Beyoncé, or she will come after you faster than you can finish the sentence that came out of your mouth. Under all of that, I can see she has a great heart too, and she’s funny. She’s my token black friend, and I’ve made sure she’s my only black friend I have. She’s a great sports writer, and she was a great sports editor. She’s very outspoken, and I know she will say what’s on her mind. I wish you the best, BBrown, and I know you have a bright future.

JoshUA used to be a TV kid. But he came to his senses when he realized that the newsroom is like family. He has grown to be a great friend and an amazing writer. He has also been a great friend of mine, which I never saw coming. I’m going to miss our banter on Paper Nights, and joshing around with you (you see what I did there?) I’m going to miss teasing him about how the Cowboys stink and him putting me in the jar. UA, you have been a great sports writer, and you’ve been a great team leader. I know that your writing is going to take you far in life, and I know you will succeed at anything you do.

Who would have known that I would become so close to Chesanie Brantley. You have lived almost 10 minutes from me almost our whole lives, and your grandparents lived down the street from me too! I remember you used to be so quiet, and you broke out of your shell. You remind me of myself when I first joined the staff, and I wouldn’t want to experience my last semester with anyone else. You are a very talented photographer and writer, and you don’t listen to anyone who tells you different! You have been such a great friend, and I hope that we can continue our friendship in the future. You’ve been a great co Editor-in-Chief, and I’m glad you asked me to join you on this incredible journey. Just know, Ches, that you will go far in your career, and you’ve been a great part of my life. Thank you for everything you have done, and thank you for the memories.

Jayme, you are one of the most influential people I have ever met. I’m so blessed she came into my life. I’m extremely blessed I had a chance to know her as my Editor-in-Chief and one of my best friends. She is my role model from the day I took on my first story in the newsroom. She has believed in me since I joined staff, and I don’t understand how she could see all the potential I have. She has helped me when I’m down, and I hope I’ve done the same for her. I do mean it when I say that I want to be like Jayme when I grow up, because she’s the best person. When I think of a journalist, I think of Jayme. She is definitely a big part of my life now. She’s the only person who knows how bad I wanted to win an award, how bad I wanted to be Editor-in-Chief, and a great writer. She’s seen me cry, and I’ve seen her cry, which makes our friendship more special. Jayme, I really hope I made you proud.

There is one person I haven’t spoken, about and this is absolutely the hardest to write about. I never believed him when he said, “This room will change your life…if you let it.” I never took him seriously. I never found a place where I belonged before, and I always thought what could make the newsroom any different. The difference is I treat the people who I’ve met like family. He has always pushed me to be a great writer. He pushed me because I believe that he believed I could do great things with my life. From the new leads, rewrites, countless blue notes, and shaking of the head, I realized that he did all that stuff for me. He shot my headlines down for me, he corrected all my mistakes for me, he gave me sass for having late stories. All the things this man has done were and have been for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and I mean that.

I know I’ve given you sass. I know I made you upset, and I know that sometimes I wanted to just give up. But, I didn’t. I didn’t because all the things I did were for you too. That’s what children do. I don’t care if I only win one award. I don’t care if I win all of them. The only thing I care about is what I’ve learned from you and what memories I’m going to look back on. My name is on that wall because of you. I wrote that story because you believed I could. I never thought you could do so much for me, but you have.

I’m going to miss you, Charles. I’m going to miss arguing with you. I’m going to miss you being upset with me and vice versa. I’m going to miss you giving me sass when reading my stories, when in reality I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m going to miss your voice impressions of me (which are very good by the way. I’ve been around too long.) I’m going to miss putting you in the jar. It’s the little things, Charles…it’s the little things.

Charlie, I just want to let you know that I’m very grateful and blessed to have you teach me all the things I need to know to become a great journalist and a great person. I never wanted something so bad. I have never been dedicated to a job as much as what I feel for journalism right now. You haven’t just been my professor. You’ve been so much more than that. You taught me things that I’m not going to learn anywhere else. You have given me such a great opportunity to be a great writer. I know this is a bittersweet moment for both of us, because we both know I need to move to the next chapter in my life. I hope that whatever I do, whatever I write, whatever I take photos of, just know that I’m doing it to make you proud, and I hope you are and will always be proud of me.

It’s not the newsroom that changed my life. That’s where you’re wrong. It’s you, Charles, and all the people in it.

‘The Boss’ entertains with comedic plot

by JENNY GARZA/Entertainment Editor 

She’s a boss!

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) was the boss, and a very rich boss at that. All she ever thought was that she would never have a family, and it would be her against the world.

Michelle first appears on the big screen as a young orphan who kept being returned to the orphanage after several families adopted her. As the years pass, she doesn’t care for being adopted anymore and decides she does not need anyone to be successful.

Her life is everything she ever wants it to be. She is successful and has anything she has ever wanted, except being close to people. She can be very rude at times as well as backstabs people.

After a big party she throws about how she got so rich, Michelle is on a rooftop waiting for her helicopter with her assistant Claire (Kristen Bell). An old friend, Renault, (Peter Dinklage), contacts her and has a beef with her about how she stole stock right out from under him. He also knows some secrets that she doesn’t want out.

To get back at her, Ranault calls the authorities and tells them that she is committing insider trading, which is against the law.

Michelle is doing an interview with a TV reporter, Gayle King, and she is trying to lie about her past. But Gayle and her team have found out the truth about her being an orphan. Michelle is angry and storms off the stage with her mic still attached to her.

When she walks outside, she is bombarded by police telling her her rights and cameras are flashing everywhere. She is then put into a SUV after they struggled with her for a little bit, and they just toss her into the back.

She is sentenced to five months in jail, which, for her, is a high-end correction facility that even has a tennis court.

The Boss

Claire visits her there, but only to quit her job because Michelle has no money to pay  her and she needs to take care of her daughter and herself. Five months pass, and Michelle is released from her prison and thrust into the world again all alone.

She has no one to fall back on, because everyone she had in her life that she backstabbed turned their back on her. She turns to the person she thinks she can count on, or at least who happens to have all her stuff, Claire.

She comes to Claire’s house and meets Miss Rachel (Ella Anderson), Claire’s daughter, who has some major spunk and will not let Michelle in because she is a convict and a stranger.

Claire arrives home and doesn’t seem too happy to see her old boss sitting on her doorstep.

Claire decides to put Michelle up for a few days, but a few days turn into weeks. Claire is fed up and tells Michelle she needs to start pulling her weight. Then Michelle gets an idea that she will not let go to waste.

I absolutely loved this movie. Yeah, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea. But this film was funny and stupid at times. McCarthy did an excellent job with the story, as well as with her comedic parts.

Bell and the other actors who starred in this film played right along with McCarthy and fed off of her humor.

Somethings did happen to be cliché in the film, and other viewers may jump ahead of the film and ruin it for you. But what comedy isn’t that way in this day and age? This allowed for the film to be kind of funny and stupid. I advise everyone to see this movie and get ready for some laughs.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.

Annual Jazz Fest attracts crowds with familiar bands

by SERGIO MADRID/Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS — Rich with music and culture, the city of New Orleans has always been very active in the shaping of diversity.

The Big Easy celebrates its culture during the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The festival takes place within the Fair Grounds Race Course. Though it did not host the first Jazz Fest in 1970, it has been home to Louisiana horse racing since 1852. Jazz Fest started alongside the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates the festival.

It’s no secret most people are attracted to the music that accompanies Jazz Fest, but I would warn you not to overlook the culture and heritage that surrounds New Orleans. At Folk-life Village, tradesmen forge iron works, craft handmade ornaments, and float-makers create unique carnival designs. Also, the Native American Villages displays tribal crafts, foods, and dancing, while a marching band makes its way through the crowds dressed in black-and-purple Native American clothing.

Featuring around 200 big-name and local artists during the course of two weekends, you will find more than just jazz to satisfy the ear. Headliners Pearl Jam (April 22), J. Cole, and Red Hot Chili Peppers (April 23) cause massive waves of people as thousands fight their way to the best view of the stage. In a place where flags from all over are raised high, no two people are the same among the 150,000 in attendance.

Eddie Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam) explains the environment as being “the most colorful place in the world at the moment.”

With two and a half hours to amaze, Pearl Jam does just that, wasting no time on anything except the music. Vedder played all the favorites except for “Just Breathe,” the only red-mark on the entire show. But I’m sure everyone was just as happy to hear “Nothingman.” During their set, Mike McCready pulled off an unbelievable solo, first falling to his knees and adjusting his pedals, then walking off the stage and into the crowd with the guitar held up behind his neck, still soloing while being gulped up by the first row. He then jumped back on stage and finished the solo from his knees by wailing on his pedals. The entire place was in awe, and the cheers masked the music for just a moment.

The festival comes to an end around 8 p.m. You can then either catch some grub and call it a night, or you can follow the crowd down to the historical Bourbon Street. Considering New Orleans is one of the few places where you won’t be arrested for drinking in public, most people choose the latter. Bourbon Street is home to the famous alcoholic drink known as the Hand-grenade and Lafitte’s, which is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.

JazzFest1

While on Bourbon Street, more authentic jazz musicians are strutting their stuff on almost every corner. For the first time in my life, I heard the beautiful sounds of a kora (a West African string instrument resembling a harp). The genius behind the sounds of the Kora was Jonah Tobias, who was accompanied by the rest of his band, “Buku Broux.” Tobias has been on the New Orleans music circuit for quite some time and claims to have been introduced to the kora while in Portland, Oregon. By the time they finished playing, that little corner of Bourbon Street was filled to the brim.

The next day was a different story completely as the Red Hot Chili Peppers somehow drew an even bigger crowd than Pearl Jam did just a day earlier. Thousands of people were stacked in front of the stage hours before the show, maneuvering for the best view of Red Hot. Everyone was anticipating an energy-filled show that has long been Red Hot’s niche for the past 30 years.

Once on stage, the Peppers got things started off right with “Can’t Stop.” It kept going from there, as they played all their favorites and more, including “Californication” and “Suck My Kiss.”  The guys did not disappoint, leading into “Give It Away.” The crowd went crazy, and no one was sitting still. The set ended with the same energy that they started it with. Anthony Kiedis invited local musicians to help send them off.

With the end of the Chili Peppers’ set, whoever wasn’t there already headed over to listen to J. Cole on the other side of the Festival, or back to Bourbon Street for another night in the Big Easy, where everyone is a Gypsy.

Photojournalist turned mom remembers time on staff

by DEVIN REYNA/Staff Writer

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I really don’t know how to begin. It’s always difficult to say goodbye to friends, family, and professors. It’s even more difficult to say goodbye to the place that changed me.

My first day at South Plains College was a little crazy, from running from building to building to get to my classes on time, until I came across one room, classroom 130 in the Communications Building.

As I walked by and looked in, I was a bit confused if it was a class. I even had to double check my schedule and the classroom number again.

As I looked up, this barefoot girl walked up to me and asked, “Are you looking for Publications?” I said, “Yes,” with a confused look on my face as she told me her name was Sierra Taylor.

I walked in and sat at the back table, waiting for the class to begin, and as I sat there, I saw people with their feet on the desk,  people walking around with no shoes, and I noticed many awards on the wall.

Our Advisor/Professor, Charlie Ehrenfeld, walked in and called our names and told us to introduce ourselves. One question he asked was “Why are you here?” I then replied with, “ I love photography, and also my uncle told me that you were a great advisor and I should join this class.”

After everyone was done introducing themselves Charlie stood up and said, “This room will change you, if you let it,” I looked around and thought to myself, “Yeah right!”

But six semesters later, I was completely wrong, because this was the place where I had met amazing people I call Family.

Becoming part of the Plainsman Press campus newspaper was the best decision I made. It made me an award-winning writer and photographer for my Odean Skeene article. The funny thing is, I am not a writer, I am only a photographer, and I was scared to write. But Charlie believed in me, so I went for it.

I won many awards. I took many awesome pictures of the Texans basketball team that I received awards for. I also took trips to Tyler for TCCJA competition and won a live photography competition award. I also got to go on two amazing TIPA trips, but I’ll get to that later.

But the people in that newsroom will remain my family forever.

My photo editor, Sierra Taylor, taught me so much and took me in like her kid. She helped me grow as a photographer, and she became one of my close friends. She is an amazing photographer and is very successful. She is beautiful inside and out. I look up to her and admire her so much.

When she left, it was hard to fill the shoes of an amazing photo editor. But I was honored she asked me. I always knew with her if I needed anything I could just shoot her a text and she would help me.

Jayme Lozano, my first editor-in-chief, is funny and very outspoken. She is an amazing writer and interviewed some of the coolest people. She absolutely loves Blue October, and they were in almost every paper while she was on staff.

Don’t forget, you always have to have that one clumsy person in the group. Oh, Jenny! Jenny has one of the biggest hearts and is so sweet. She has become one of my best friends. We had many classes together and always helped each other.

Derek is like a brother to me, and I knew I could always talk to him about anything. He helped me when I was completely lost. He is a great guy and is very sweet.

Now it’s time to talk about my Savage Squad, which consists of Chesanie, Nicole, and Joshua(UA). These guys are something else; I am so blessed to have these guys in my life, and I know I can count on them.

Chesanie Brantley, you have done so great this semester with the staff and kept them in line. You are so beautiful inside and out, and I’m really going to miss hanging out with you. But you have big plans ahead of you, and you are going to be real successful in life with Corn Adam. Also, thanks to you and Skylar for throwing me a newsroom baby shower. I am forever thankful for y’all.

Nicole Trugillo, first off, I can’t believe you are getting married. I am extremely happy for you and Ralph. You are extremely strong and brave to be far from the one you love. But your future is going to be filled with happiness and adventures. You have done an amazing job with the staff and the famous Nicole line, “Hey guys, it’s a Paper Night!” You will forever be the girl with red hair.

And UA, you’re the hype of the squad, just kidding. You are a great writer, and you have done an awesome job for the paper. There is never a boring moment with you in the newsroom; you are always making everyone laugh with your randomness. You are going to be very successful in life.

These three have helped me create so many memories this semester (especially at TIPA) and have been there when I needed them. I love y’all guys, and if you ever need anything or a good laugh, I’m just a phone call away.

Brittany Brown, aka Aunt Beyoncé, aka the Queen Bee, I have missed you so much this semester. This girl is super sassy, but she always stays classy! She is my go-to girl. You have become one of my best friends and someone I can talk to about anything. Thanks for being someone I can count on, and for being there when I need you.

To all my new bee’s, Brandi, Dariella, Alex, Mallory, Matty, Jonathan, and Riley, thanks for all the memories we have created at TIPA. Thanks for all the laughs, smiles, and crazy ideas. Im so glad I got to meet all of you. I love y’all all ,and remember to be nice to Charlie and every once in a while, give him a hard time.

Skylar Hernandez is the other half of me, my minion, my sister, my partner in crime, daughter, and forever the best roommate. I don’t know how I would’ve got through some of the times here at SPC without her. Bring on all the pamphlets for all the days, because the tears are about to come.

I cared for her so much, even though we would fight like no other. She always made me smile and laugh. We even cried together a couple of times. But my favorite memories I cherish with her is our 2 a.m. trips to Lubbock, our craziest adventures when we would just want to get away.

My best memories are with her. I can honestly say she knows me a little more than I know myself, a little creepy if you ask me, but I love her. I will forever have her back and be there when she needs me, even if that means I need to drive to where ever she is.

She is always there when I need her and has never given up on me. She believed in me, even when I couldn’t believe in myself.

She has a beautiful journey ahead of her, and I know she is going to be very successful in life. Always believe in yourself, and never be scared to try something out of your comfort zone. You, my friend, are amazing, and I want to thank you for letting me use your car every night. I can thank you for what I have now (She knows what I mean).

To my family in Anton, thank you! I love each and every one of you. Without all of you I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you for pushing me into going to college and pushing me to achieve my goals. Thank you for supporting me in anything I do. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend SPC. A big, big thanks goes to Lucas Flores, my uncle, for telling me about Charlie and how basically awesome he is, because I have had some of the greatest memories in college with him as my advisor.

To my parents, brothers, and now baby sister, I love all of you. I know I can always count on you all for anything and everything. You have pushed me and helped me so much. When I thought I couldn’t do something or thought I would never get to where I wanted to be, you always were there to keep me strong and keep me going.

And to my brothers and sisters, definitely go to college. I promise you will love it. I didn’t want to go when I was in high school. I was scared. But some of my favorite memories were made at SPC with some of greatest people I have met. I love y’all, and will forever be your #1 Big sister.

To Trey and Zaylee, here come more tears. Thank you for being my motivation to finish school and keep me going. I love y’all so so much. I have been blessed with my own beautiful family. Thank you Trey for helping me, even if it means staying up till 3 a.m. finishing homework or studying. This adventure has been amazing and having y’all by my side is the greatest thing God has given me.

Zaylee, my beautiful daughter, you are the best thing, besides your daddy, that happened to me. I hope one day you too will be like mommy and go to college so you too can meet some amazing people, like Charlie Ehrenfeld.

Speaking of Charlie here we go, bring on the tears already for all the days. First of all, he will probably be proud of how much I have written, because I hate writing! He has helped me grow as a photographer and always believed in me. You are the best advisor anyone could ask for! He is truly the best, and I will miss him extremely.

It’s not going to be the same without hearing someone say “Creep Jar!” or Charlie complaining at 4 a.m. about widows, white space, and every once in a while a headline he doesn’t like but approved off early in the day. But I guess we can thank him for complaining, because he helped us achieve success and receive awards. He is someone I know I can always count on, and someone who will push me to go further.

Charlie, one day we will find out what that dang fox says, and all about the ancient mystery.

This isn’t a goodbye; it is a see you later. Thank you all for giving me some of the best memories SPC. Thank you for introducing me to all these amazing people, and sorry if I didn’t mention you. I love everyone I got to meet on the paper.

Well, Plainsman Press, here are some wise words from your one and only TD, “Stay small, cute, and fierce!”

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Taylor brings good vibes to Lubbock with concert

by ALEX PEREZ/Staff Writer

Fans were transported to the good ‘ole days with the help of James Taylor.

The crowd roared as the lights went down and Taylor walked onto the illuminated stage at United Supermarkets Arena on April 13th. An electric feeling went throughout the building as he began to play the first song. Lighters were replaced with iPhone’s during the throwback to the ‘70s and the crowd swayed with the music. The first song was an acoustic, light-hearted melody that kicked off the night with a good feeling.

Members of the audience reminisced about the first time they saw Taylor. Some went into detail, including a very excited couple who talked about the beginning of their relationship and going to a James Taylor concert years ago. Another group talked about their crazy teenage stories Taylor reminded them of. The sweet stories really created a nostalgic feel to the night from the beginning. Others just danced their way to their seats, living in the good times.

The first set was a mix of the old and new, including an amazing stage setting, complete with a great light show that illuminated the audience. During the first half of the concert, the audience went on a journey with Taylor as he played his classics and stole the hearts of many once again.

The first-set list included some of the beloved songs such as “Fire and Rain” and “Montana.” The crowd went crazy for their favorites all night long, but the crowd was touched when Taylor played a cover of “Every Day,” a song originally performed by Lubbock’s hometown hero, Buddy Holly.

Taylor’s fans cheered incessantly after and during the beginning of every song, showing their excitement. But once he started playing, the crowd hushed, except for a melodic clap-along during each song in order to really appreciate the music.

James Taylor Concert
Classic Rock singer James Taylor brings back memories at the United Supermarkets Arena on April 13. BRANDI ORTIZ/PLAINSMAN PRESS

Right before a short intermission, the outstanding band members were introduced, including a saxophone player who was in the original band for a popular late night talk show, as well as renowned guitarists and soulful backup singers.

After intermission, the crowd roared once again as Taylor came back out for the second half of the show. The good vibes did not cease. Taylor and his band came back at full speed and kept the good times going. He began the second set with “Only a Dream in Rio,” which lead the crowd to sway all the way to “Rio” with Taylor’s great performance.

He ended the show with a cover of the song “How Sweet It Is” by Marvin Gaye. The crowd was astounded by the amazing performance he gave while reliving the good times.

The show brought a happy feeling into United Supermarkets Arena and left the audience with good vibes as they left. All in all, James Taylor came to rock it, and that he did!

Green excites crowd at Lubbock street dance

by MARCELLA IVINS/Staff Writer

Barriers surround the Depot bars.

Staffs are protecting the entrances and exits, as many people are anxious to reach the front of the long line that is stretching past the Cactus Theatre in Lubbock.

American Aquarium is preparing to perform.  These Texas Country fans are ready for live Texas Country music.

There was a storm on the way, and everyone was aware.

The West Texas wind reminded the fans where they were.  It was predicted that the storm was going to hit Lubbock.  Fortunately, there was only a slight cold wind, and a cloudy sky.  Either way, the event was going to happen, and the gates were opening at 7 p.m., rain or shine.

William Clark Green

The evening of April 15 started off with a few bands that were picked by headliner William Clark Green. Red Shahan, Flatland Cavalry, and American Aquarium were the bands chosen. They kept the crowd entertained and dancing as fans sang along to Flatland Cavalry’s latest song, “February Snow,” and one of their popular songs, “No Shade of Green.”

American Aquarium, a band from Raleigh, North Carolina, performed as Green stood on the side, listening and enjoying the music, while proudly wearing a Texas Tech football Jersey.  After they sang their last song, the crowd yelled for an encore, which did not happen.  It was time for Green, the reason the event was created and the performer everyone was waiting for.

The lights turned off on the stage, and the band began to set up their equipment while American Aquarium packed up.  When the set up was ready, David Wilde of the Red Dirt Rebel introduced Green to begin the show.

During Green’s performance, he talked about the city of Lubbock and his time here.  He gave a shout out to Texas Tech and threw his “Guns UP!”  Green also mentioned memories he made at The Blue Light when he was younger.  He reminisced about Lubbock and the great times that he had here. Green’s career started at The Blue Light. That explained why The Blue Light was the perfect place to have the street dance.

The street dance was successful.  Those who stayed until the last song exited the premises slowly after the event came to an end.  The stage was taken down, all the booths were gone, and the street was clear.   The Depot District was back to its original setting.  Bars were closing, and it was time to call it a night.  Memories were made, along with new friends.

 

Stefani releases album filled with nostalgic vibes

by MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor

With the help of her bad girl, flirtatious sound, Gwen Stefani recently released one of her best albums yet.

Stefani has uncovered herself from the ruins of 2000’s pop and has returned to the charts with “This is What the Truth Feels Like.”

Ten years after the release of “Sweet Escape,” it seems that Stefani had fallen off the radar. But after her casting on “The Voice,” a reality competition show for singers, Stefani has produced enough music for all of the ‘90’s babies who have been missing her unique style to last them until her next phase.

In 2014, Stefani released the single “Spark the Fire,” and I honestly thought she was getting ready to drop an album. After a year and a half of waiting, she finally releases “Used to Love You” and announced her album.

Being a die-hard fan of Stefani’s “Love Angel Music Baby,” hearing the first track on the album, “Misery,” brought me back to my elementary school days when I would sing “The Real Thing” at the top of my lungs. I absolutely love this song. It definitely brings me back to her previous two albums. Although this song makes me extremely happy, it definitely isn’t my favorite from the album.

The next track on the album is “You’re My Favorite.” The intro to this song sounds too much like something Madonna put out a couple of years ago. But as soon as the chorus comes around, it’s definitely the old Gwen I’m used to hearing.

The next song on the album, “Where Would I Be?,” is definitely something we haven’t heard from Stefani before. It still has the same vocal styling as any old Stefani song, but it has a different beat. It’s almost reggae. But as the song progresses, you hear that good old ‘90’s schoolgirl-who-wants-to-beat-you-up voice. I definitely love this song, and I’m putting it on my Summer playlist this year.

“Asking for It” is the worst song on this album, hands-down. Fetty-Wap is the first thing you hear on the track. I still like the song, but I just cannot listen to the mess that is Fetty-Wap’s non-articulate singing.

“Make Me Like You” is a track on the album that I find is better to listen to live. After I saw the live performance on YouTube, this song has been stuck in my head. With Stefani and country artist, Blake Shelton’s recent relationship announcement still shocking the pop culture world, you can tell exactly what this song is about, and I absolutely love it. This song gives all hopeless romantics something to enjoy when fantasizing about the perfect relationship.

Two of the more intimate songs are “Truth” and “Used to Love You.” They both seem to be about Stefani’s ex-husband, Gavin Rossdale. They are breakup songs, and honestly, who doesn’t like to listen to a good breakup song? As depressing as the two songs can seem, based on lyrics, they are still pretty amazing songs to have at a party. I definitely wouldn’t mind doing the cabbage patch to this song.

Two of the songs on the album are rather risqué. “Send Me A Picture,” based on lyrics and my immature mind, has to be about sending bad pictures to each other. “Naughty” also can’t be about anything my sweet, Christian mother has taught me about. These are two songs on the album that I will skip if they start playing on my way to work.

“Me Without You” has to be my one of my favorite songs from this album. It’s also the track that I feel is not talked about enough. It seems like a basic love song, but it contains such relatable and beautiful lyrics Stefani sings about how everything about her life has suddenly gotten better after she divorced Rossdale. I think that is amazing, and I can truly appreciate the meaning behind the music.

The last track on the album, and also my favorite song from this year, so far, is “Rare.” Every time I hear the song, I have to start dancing. It’s such a beautiful song from the back track to the vocals. “I’m loving every second of it, don’t you know,” is something I am willing to get tattooed on my back. This song has such an emotional meaning behind it. Anytime Stefani writes a love song, it is always spot on, because she’s had so much experience with love.

Overall, this album is absolutely amazing. It brings me back to the beautiful place that was my childhood. Stefani chose the perfect time to release an album. I have to give “This is What the Truth Feels Like” five out of five stars.