Spring Music Concert Brings Spring Cheer 

By: Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

On the calm breezy night of Apr. 15, students, faculty and friends arrived at the Davis Learning Center (DLC) for the annual Spring Concert hosted by the Eagle Music Club.

The concert featured nearly all of the groups that are a part of Eagle Music Club, including Wind Ensemble, String Quartet, Women’s Chorale, and A Capella Choir.

The only group not included, the Swingin’ Eagles Jazz Band, had their own concert on Apr. 21.  

The night started off with the Wind Ensemble, who played songs that originated from the British Isles.

The group started off strong with a sky-high piece reminiscent of a plane in flight.

To accompany their tunes, the band had a projector behind them with images that highlighted the songs they were playing.

Once the ensemble had performed their three songs, the String Quartet followed.

A benefit of the Eagle Music Club is that it allows all students of different backgrounds and experience levels to play the instrument of their choosing, and all members played their best and enjoyed the experience on stage.  

Following the quartet was the Women’s Chorale. Since the Women’s Chorale performed at the International Festival back in March, they brought back one of their songs from that performance.

The four women sang a total of two songs and joined the A Capella Choir to finish out the night.

The vocals-only choir sang more songs inspired by the British Isles, then invited drummer Alex Lubiarz and bass player Calvin Shum for their final song.  

In the end, coordinators of the event were proud of its success. Eagle Music Club Vice President Jacob Keeley commented that “The Spring Concert was fantastic. You can really tell just how passionate our musicians are, and how hard they work to make a lasting impression on everyone who attends.”  

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Taking Chances Among the Stars 

By: Russ Chapman
Correspondent 

The Board of Campus Activities’ (BCA) annual casino night was a success once again! Many students were drawn to the activity center the evening of Friday, April 6, to participate in the fun.

The room was decked out with outer-space-themed decorations and costumes, filled with gaming tables and excited students.  

Tables and dealers were set up for a variety of casino games, primarily poker, blackjack, and craps. Each student upon arriving at the event was given “money” to trade in for chips to be used in the games.

One student, Alan Davis, commented on this system saying, “It’s great fun! They take my money like a real casino, but I don’t have to leave broke!”  

The tables were full from the time the doors opened to the closing of the banks at the end of the night as the students enjoyed themselves.

The tables were manned by a mix of professional dealers as well as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) staff volunteers.  

One of these volunteers, who has participated every year in this event, is Dean of Students Dr. Larry Stephen.

Dr. Stephen had this to say after an evening of blackjack dealing, “It’s great fun to be out with students. I enjoy interacting with the students I see around campus all the time and spending a few hours getting to know them. Smiling faces all around and a great turnout!” 

At the end of the evening students were able to trade in their chip winnings from the tables for tickets for prizes.

Dozens of students patiently awaited the calling of the ticket numbers after the event in the hopes of receiving one of the many wonderful prizes offered by BCA.  

Many students left with smiling faces at the end of the night, even those who left empty handed in terms of prizes were able to enjoy the fun of the evening.

Thus, ended the yearly tradition for Prescott campus that many look forward to attending again next spring.  

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Movie Review: “Ready Player One” 

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor 

I usually hold the stance that movie adaptations should be as close to the book as is possible. I’m the kind of person who notices and is peeved by the cuts Peter Jackson made to the “Lord of the Rings” books.

Therefore, it may come as a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed, and would recommend, the “Ready Player One” movie being that it is far removed from the book.  

What makes”Ready Player One” so fun to watch? For me, it was a few things.

First of all, the Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is gorgeous and works extremely well within the setting.

Most of the movie takes place within a virtual reality environment known as the Oasis. The Oasis is given life in movie form that the book could barely hope to match.

Everything in the Oasis is clearly artificial, but is given a sense of realism despite that that is highly familiar to anyone who’s used a VR headset at any point.  

The plot stays true to the spirit of the novel without having to use any of the unfilmable sections. To point out even the biggest differences would take too long and be too spoiler-y, so I’ll highlight two instead.

The entire way to acquire the first key is entirely different from the book, in a good way. I don’t want to watch someone play an arcade game for half an hour after navigating a notoriously difficult D&D module, all the while being narrated at about how tough the whole thing is.

That just wouldn’t make for a good movie, so Spielberg changed it, and for the better.

The other biggest change I’d like to touch on for example is that the movie cuts out half the challenges, which also would have been difficult to properly film and boring to watch, not to mention long-winded.  

The two leads, played by Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke, work incredibly well together, whether acting in the flesh or as their virtual avatars. There’s a natural chemistry between the two that’s obvious on screen and a joy to watch.

The supporting cast includes the wonderful Ben Mendelsohn and Simon Pegg, and the hilarious T.J. Miller. All of the supporting cast do their job well and fit into the world in a way that makes sense.

Ben Mendelsohn perhaps unsurprisingly plays the primary antagonist, and it feels like there’s a touch of Orson Krennic from “Rogue One” in his performance, in a good way. 

“Ready Player One” was a book that shouldn’t have been filmable. It was a convoluted, fun, mess of self-indulgent nerdism with little true character development and worse interpersonal abilities.

The movie does away with the worst of these flaws by actually making the main character likeable, sociable, and capable without coming off as a pretentious know-it-all who is only out for himself.

That is where”Ready Player One” shines best as a movie. It’s a fun ride from start to finish with satisfying arcs and development, without the deluge of ‘80s pop culture most people won’t get. 

Diversions Reviews

Video Game Review: “Factorio” 

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor 

“Factorio” is a game seemingly custom-made for people who like efficiency.

Or rather, people who like to design efficiency. Or people who like to plan things out. Or people who like chaotic messes. Or people who just wish to visit gross environmental harm where they won’t get fined into nonexistence by the EPA.

The point is, “Factorio” has a broad appeal, something well reflected by its 98% positive rating on Steam. It is available through Steam or [www.factorio.com] for $30. 

At its core, the goal of “Factorio” is simple. Start with your wits, a drill, an oven, and build a factory to enable you to launch a rocket into space.

If this sounds like an impossible task, just know that it is only very difficult. Scattered around the map are resource deposits to make this all possible, and researchable technologies progressively make things easier.

That has to be contextualized by saying that while the technologies allow more, new, or more efficient methods of production, fitting them into an existing factory can be maddeningly difficult.

Oh, and then there’s the hostile aliens that will try to raze your fledgling factory when the pollution gets too high.  

A big aspect of “Factorio”’s appeal is that there is no set way to “win.”

Every time you start a new game, the map will be different than the last time, meaning that the setup you used in the past likely won’t be directly applicable to the new world.

Once you have won by launching a rocket, there’s nothing that tries to stop you from launching more rockets.

With sufficient work, its possible to build a factory that launches rockets with alarming regularity.

Plus, “Factorio” supports both local and internet multi-player, which significantly increases an already high playability value.

Working with a friend to build a factory, then optimizing it when it isn’t efficient enough, then tacking on oil and chemical processing facilities, then doubling its throughput of iron, then adding on a new power system, then optimizing some more can be an amazingly endless process.

The first night I played “Factorio”, I played it for roughly eight hours without noticing the passage of time. That being said, I have since found, personally, that I don’t truly enjoy playing “Factorio” alone, but your mileage may vary.  

Graphically, “Factorio” is no stunner, but its art style works incredibly well with what’s being presented, as well as allowing for absolutely massive numbers of sprites and other items on-screen without putting a heavy load on any modern computer. Even older or less powerful laptops and desktops should be able to run “Factorio” with ease.  

“Factorio” appeals to the wannabe-systems-engineer in me. It distills terribly complicated processes like ore mining, oil refining, and rocket assembly into placeable pieces.

All I have to do is ensure they are supplied with the resources they need to function, given limited space and availability.

That’s just logistics, and anyone can learn logistics. For anyone who enjoys efficiency, resource management, micro-management, or buildings things just the way you want them, “Factorio” is sure to delight for many hours upon hours. 

Diversions Reviews

Book Review: “Diary of an Oxygen Thief” 

By: Vee Glessner
Copy Editor 

“Diary of an Oxygen Thief” is a short, anonymously-written novel under the guise of an autobiography. It’s available online, so a quick search can yield the PDF version that originally made waves online and got the work published in print. 

The main selling point of “Diary of an Oxygen Thief” is its inside perspective on an unreliable narrator’s mind and thought process.

The author begins by retelling the ways he’s hurt women in the past, a sequence of elaborately-planned schemes that, for all intents and purposes, describe him as a sadist.

He would go to any length to cause a woman to fall in love with him, then break her heart brutally, and usually in public. Rinse and repeat for years. 

This cycle, fueled by raging alcoholism and insecurity, was quelled when he quit drinking. The narrator gets a secure job, starts making a very comfortable salary, and swears off women.

This lifestyle lasts for five years until he meets an aspiring photographer in New York who quickly steals his heart.

Although he has no intent to hurt her, his paranoia and ongoing struggle with addiction cloud his retelling of the story, and our narrator is eventually brutally dumped, in public, as part of an elaborate scheme that he’s convinced was a publicity stunt for his girlfriend. A taste of his own medicine, so to speak. 

The book spares no effort in convincing the reader that the author is at least a little bit crazy, but leaves open-ended the extent to which he can or can’t be trusted.

There are details that don’t line up, numbers and facts repeated incorrectly, and various spelling and grammatical errors throughout the story, all contributing to the sense that the author is what the literary world would refer to as an “unreliable narrator.”  

In addition, the novel makes an effort to explain the behavior of the unlikely protagonist without relying on the stereotypes of childhood or sexual abuse, although a nod is made to their significance. Rather, the narrator explains the rushes and emotions he feels without falsely ascribing them to any trauma, accepting his feelings as they are.

Although his coping mechanisms including drinking and emotional abuse are unhealthy, he can be viewed as an honest picture of allowing and experiencing one’s emotions. 

The fiction is gripping, dark, painful, and raw. The mentally ill state of the author adds to the interest and mystery of the whole story. Although “Diary of an Oxygen Thief” raises more questions than it answers, it’s a worthwhile exploration into the life of a damaged, confused narrator trying to find closure and peace by retelling his story. The entire work is only 105 pages, which can be accomplished in a night or two, and its ready availability online makes it perfect for a spontaneous night of downtime. 

 

Diversions

Pacific Rim Uprising: The Movie Version of “ehh” 

By John Mills
Diversions Editor

I unabashedly love the first Pacific Rim. I’ve re-watched it more times than is healthy, but aside from the basic elements of robots smashing monsters in the face, there were many things that made it work better than it should have. Being headed by the fantastic Guillermo del Toro helped, but it also enlisted fantastic actors like Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi. It was well paced, with slower moments between the truly epic fights. Pacific Rim Uprising by comparison generally hits the same beats, but it feels more like they were contractually obligated to, rather than because there was serious creative direction to do so. (Skip to the last paragraph if you wish to avoid spoilers; you’ve been warned.) 

Let’s start with the good about Uprising, because there are some positive things to be said here. John Boyega is great. He does disaffected and uninterested well, especially compared to the almost-cares-too-much nature of Finn in the latest Star Wars movies. Boyega is fun to see on screen, and totally nails his nails. His developing friendship with fellow Ranger Nate Lambert, played by Scott Eastwood, is likewise fun and believable. They start off butting heads, but become fast friends over the course of the movie. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) is par for the course, which means that it’s bright, colorful, and detailed. One thing that Uprising carried over from its predecessor is wide angle shots during the Jaeger’s fight scenes. A few times the Jaegers and Kaiju didn’t really feel like they had any serious weight, getting tossed around like badminton birdies, but this was the notably exception rather than the rule.  

A lot of the problems with Pacific Rim Uprising stem from Legendary Pictures’ acquisition by the Chinese Wanda Group. While the first movie was set mostly in Hong Kong (it never felt like that was an audience-focused choice, more like they picked a place and went with it). Importantly, it didn’t feel like pandering to Chinese audiences to boost ticket sales. Uprising has a much heavier Chinese influence, largely in the form of actress Jing Tian, playing businesswoman Liwen Shao. At multiple points, she orders Charlie Day, returning from the previous film, to speak English because his Mandarin is so bad, while only speaking in Mandarin herself. She then emerges in the final minutes of the film as the savior of the protaganists. Also, the joy that is Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori is horribly wasted at the end of the first act. 

Another thing that the original film did well was make all of the Jaeger crews distinct through the use of unique costuming. Everyone in a Jaeger in Uprising that is not Boyega or Eastwood wears nearly identical uniforms that make it incredibly difficult to tell who is who, what giant robot they’re in, and if they’re the ones getting the snot kicked out of them at the moment or not.  

The biggest problem with Uprising is this: it feels generic, resulting in a film that edges on boring. Pacific Rim stood out as something different. It was colorful, the action was all in wide, long cuts, and there was a focus on characters. This is not the case with Uprising, and it suffers for it. If you enjoyed the first film, I wouldn’t bother catching Pacific Rim Uprising. 

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Annual Campus Spring Egg Hunt 

By Reece Cabanas
Chief Distribution Officer 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Prescott Campus held a free event for its students in the form of a spring egg hunt. Hosted by the Student Government Association, the March 30th event was filled with fun, prizes, and free food catered by campus dining contractor Sodexo. 

At approximately 4:00 p.m. participants lined up behind a designated barrier in front of the Jack R. Hunt Student Union. Behind them were tables filled with various prizes available for those who found eggs stuffed with colored tokens. 

The prize table followed a color scheme. Red and yellow tokens were associated with gift cards or movie tickets, orange was for small prizes, blue for medium prizes like sports balls, purple for large prizes such as appliances and electronics, and green for grand prizes including a kayak and life vest. 

Several students were eager to begin the hunt. “I’m pretty excited! I’ve waited all week for this,” says Conrad Denemark. Luke Hein adds, “I’ve never been more excited in my life!” Some such as Tristan Minkoff were ready to snag large prizes. “Getting ready to walk away with another TV,” he proclaims, referring to his big win last year. 

There was a huge turnout of at least one hundred to quite possibly over two hundred students. “I’m ready to get trampled! Lol…” says Monica Choiniere, referring to the massive group around her. 

At approximately 4:15 p.m. an announcement was made signaling the start of the egg hunt. Participants searched high and low, making sure not to leave any stone unturned. Periodic updates were given by the announcer, usually in the form of hints. 

Many students were on the prowl for the prized silver and gold eggs, which had cash rewards associated. Others had fun just being in the company of friends. “This is ‘egg-celent,’” remarks Shelby Lardner. “Such excite! Wow.” Andrew Gifford states, “Many eggs.” 

The gold egg was the last to be found, eventually being located between the Student Union parking lots and the Student Union. The winner was Luke Hein who stated, “Oh cool, I found the (golden) egg.” For finding the egg, he is to receive $400. 

While many participants turned up empty handed, several were lucky to win prizes. When asked how it felt to have not won a prize, Francis Abundo replied, “Well… after my three years of being here, I’m kind of used to it by now… haha.” 

Others, such as Tristan Minkoff, were lucky to find eggs filled with tokens for the larger prizes. “They didn’t have a TV this year, but I got some earbuds instead,” He exclaims. 

Tayler Niziolek was lucky enough to cash in his green prize token in time to get the kayak and life vest bundle, perhaps the largest prize on display. When asked how it felt to have won the kayak, he jokingly stated, “I only go by captain now.” 

After the prizes were claimed and hunting died down, participants relaxed on the benches located in the Student Union Courtyard. The free food, refreshments, and music all made for a laid-back atmosphere. Overall, the event was a refreshing start to the Easter holiday weekend and a great stress reliever from the mid-term season. 

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Food Review: Pan-Seared Garlic Rosemary Steak 

By Reece Cabanas
Chief Distribution Officer 

Here’s a simple recipe for those who fancy a nice slab of protein in their diet. This pan seared steak takes only a few ingredients and little preparation time. To kick it up a notch, we’ll dive in deeper by adding some toppings and sides. 

A quick tip before starting: make sure you have proper ventilation by turning on a stove fan or opening some windows around the kitchen. Searing a steak at the temperatures required will produce a lot of smoke and may set off the fire alarm, something I know from multiple experiences at my apartment. 

For the main dish you will need a cut of beef steak (I usually go with a New York strip), salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, a few garlic cloves, and rosemary. If you want sides I suggest steamed vegetables of your choosing, a baked potato, or wild rice pilaf. In addition, I prefer to top my steak with a medley of onion and Baby Bella or white mushrooms. 

Pre-heat your pan to a medium-high heat. Pat dry your steak, especially if you rinse it beforehand, then add just enough oil to the pan to cover the bottom. Open some garlic cloves by crushing them either with the palm of your hand or pushing down on them with a knife. 

With the pan up to temperature, carefully lay the steak in the oil. Season with salt and pepper and add a few cloves of crushed garlic. Finally, add a stick of rosemary in the oil and let everything sear for about five minutes before checking, occasionally swirling the oil in the pan to evenly distribute flavors. 

As you let the first side cook, start your sides and/or toppings. For toppings, mince onions or chop into strings. Cut mushrooms in half and sauté with a little olive oil and seasoning. 

If going with vegetables, steam in a steamer or boil in salted water. For a baked potato or wild rice pilaf, there are several ways to spice it up. The internet will be your best friend for adding variety to these sides 

Once the first side of your steak looks brown and crisp, turn over and season again with salt and pepper. Add a knob of butter on top and let melt. Turn over each clove of garlic and the stick of rosemary and let all sear for another five or so minutes. 

Once you are satisfied with the crispness of your steak, remove from pan and let rest for at least six minutes. The steak will continue to cook on the inside and the juices will get locked in. Lastly, garnish with toppings and add cooked sides to your plate. 

Enjoy this pan-seared garlic rosemary steak with a nice pairing of red wine, or your favorite soft drink. Nonetheless this recipe is perfect for that fancy date night at home, or lonely Sunday night in front of the TV. 

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Recipe Review: Cajun Lime Shrimp 

By: Reece Cabanas
Correspondent/Chief Distribution Officer 

For those who appreciate shrimp, or seafood in general, and a spicy kick in the taste buds, this recipe is just for you!

Consider making my Cajun lime shrimp recipe, a surefire hit at BBQs if cooked with care. Trust me, I’ve had nothing but praise with these babies. 

This recipe is as simple as it sounds: all you need is some shrimp (jumbo prawns work best), BBQ skewers, Cajun seasoning, jumbo limes, and a stick of butter.

Pro tip: some grocery stores, such as the Fry’s Food and Drug near campus, sell pre-skewered shrimp in the seafood department. 

Another tip is to cook on a gas grill for a more consistent and even heat source.

Charcoal grills can work just as well, given you pay close attention to the temperature to avoid overcooking.

Shrimp can take on a rubbery consistency if left on the heat too long. 

Turn on the grill before doing anything else as it may take a while to get everything up to temperature.

For prep work, devein (remove the shell from) the shrimp and rinse in cold water. Skewer five or so prawns onto each skewer, or as many as you can fit if you don’t plan on sharing.  

Cut each lime into halves so you have enough for each skewer. Melt butter in a separate bowl when about ready to grill and add a few tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning. 

Now, throw the shrimp onto the hot grill. With a basting brush, apply the butter mix over the prawns. After about three minutes, flip the skewers and baste the other side.

This should keep the shrimp moist as they cook. 

The final step is to squeeze half of a lime over each skewer of prawns. Remove from the grill, and let rest for a minute before serving hot. 

A few additional tips to add: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple minutes before adding the shrimp.

This will help them to avoid burning when applied over open flame. You can also add vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and/or pineapple to brighten up your plate. 

There you have it. A great recipe for that dream BBQ with friends or family that will have them thinking you’re a master chef! 

 

Diversions

Drink Review: Adult Hot Chocolate 

By: Brandon Dudley 
Online Editor  

Ingredients:  

  • Hot Chocolate Mix 
  • Heated Milk or Water 
  • Whipped Cream  
  • Your choice of alcohol: Baileys, Kahlua, or Frangelico   

Winter might be on the cusp of turning into spring, but a warm beverage can always be a welcome treat to sate one’s thirst, especially when it involves hot chocolate.

For those who can legally purchase and drink alcohol, adding a little kick into the drink can make it even sweeter.

With the ingredients above, you have the makings of an Adult Hot Chocolate.  

Hot chocolate is easy enough to make with a simple mix found at the grocery store.

I would suggest mixing the powder into warmed milk instead of water as it adds a frothier, creamier taste to the beverage.  

Once the hot chocolate portion of the drink is ready, the real fun comes next.

For this I would suggest either Baileys, Kahlua, or Frangelico to be added to the drink; it only takes about a shot or two poured in to get the desired taste to enhance the chocolate further.

If I am feeling like a little extra for my drink, I would mix and match any of these three into a combination of two.

Personally, a dash of Baileys and Frangelico in my hot chocolate makes all the difference for a fantastic drink.  

Taste test how much you pour into the hot chocolate by starting off with smaller amounts, as there is no going back when mixing a drink.

Once the desired balance is achieved, the icing on the cake, so to speak, is adding whipped cream.

Whether this be a small dollop or filling the rest of the mug to the brim, this makes for the complete hot chocolate experience.  

This mixture of hot chocolate and alcohol is simple to prepare yet very satisfying to enjoy and pairs well with a good book or a nice evening sunset.

It can help soothe the spirit on a chilly night in a tasty way that does not overpower the taste buds with the alcoholic flavor, rather enhancing the chocolate goodness with hazelnut or cream.  

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