‘The Blood of Olympus’ book review

By Amanda Reilly

“The Blood of Olympus” by Rick Riordan is the fifth and final installment in the “Heroes of Olympus” series.

WARNING: This book review contains spoilers!

The bad

First, I’m going to talk about the main things I disliked, kind of like giving the bad news before the good.

Let’s start with how rushed the book felt. Every other chapter, it was either the next day or three days later. I did read the book in three days,  so that could have been an issue, but people who read it in a few weeks said it felt rushed, as well.

Next, I want to talk about how out of character the characters seemed. Percy just grabbing Annabeth and making out with her in front of Piper then saying “I love you” … what? They never were a lovey couple. Also, did they seem to get over Tartarus a bit quickly or was that just me? The fact that Leo was mad at Percy for meeting Calypso? What was there to be mad about, besides nothing? Where was the huge sacrifice were were all expecting? I mean, Gaea awakened from Annabeth cutting her leg and Percy getting a nosebleed? Then, to lull her back to sleep, they just hold her down and have Piper tell her to go back to sleep. I’m pretty sure none of us expected that.

Okay, so the gods are going through a personality switch because of Greek and Roman, but then suddenly everything is fine and they fight side by side with their kids.

Lastly, Leo letting everyone thinking he is dead so he could be with Calypso. How did he find her exactly? We may never know.

The good

Now that my rant about the bad things is over, let’s get to the good stuff.

I loved that we got to know Reyna better, that we got to understand some things in her life that created her cold exterior. The relationship she now has with Nico after neither of them got close to others is perfect. Nico was always cold and isolated, then he sees Reyna upset and comforts her.

I loved the battle with Nike, goddess of victory. I mean, Hazel with her powers was epic. Leo getting over his anger and fighting with Percy instead of against him and Frank morphing into animal after animal was a good combination.

Also, Piper and Annabeth going off by themselves was great. We always see this tough side of Annabeth and Piper, but instead we got to see Annabeth break down and let her feelings out and Piper comforting her. Also, Piper taking charge and Annabeth holding back was an interesting switch in roles. Isn’t Athena always suppose to have a plan?

I loved Reyna getting her own battle. We get to see how powerful she truly is. She defeated Orion, with the help of the Athena Parthenos.

Lastly, Nico admitting to Percy that he had a crush on him. Key word being “had,” now with Will Solace in the picture. I found it funny that even though Percy and Annabeth are a couple, Percy was offended when Nico said he isn’t his type, and Annabeth finds the whole thing amusing. Now, Nico just has to tell everyone else.

Overall, I found good and bad things in the book. We all had expectations for this book, which Riordan normally lives up to. Maybe readers just expected too much this time. Honestly, for this being the end, I feel like it was rushed and had barely any detail. I mean, I was expecting to be sad that it ended, but love the way it ended. Instead, I’m disappointed in the way Riordan ended the book. It wasn’t the same as the others. At least we have Annabeth’s cousin in Boston to look forward to next year, as well as the Greek heroes book next summer.

This may be the end of the “Heroes of Olympus” series, but it’s not the end for the characters or for Riordan.

A tribute to Jamie

By Lydia Grant

Hi guys, today I saw something coming back from my orthodontist appointment, a dog.

At first I asked questions. Is it alive? Does it have a collar? Is it mine?  Was it run over? It doesn’t look hurt. Wait, did it move? No, no it didn’t.

My mom parked the car, she was asking all the same questions. She prayed for a heart beat, but it didn’t come. No collar, and the eyes were almost frozen open. It was gone, we got some old blankets and picked it up taking it to a whole across the street by an abandoned house right below the walnut tree, the house didn’t look abandoned and the yard was nice, but it certainly was abandoned. I wasn’t scared of the dog, I stroke its back and told it I loved it. We buried the dog.

It was brown with a white belly, pointy brown ears and cold black eyes. My mom hugged me, knowing how desperately I wanted it to live. It was sad.

Im writing this post dedicated to the dog. We are pretty sure it was homeless but if it was yours check Brady St., across from the house with the white fence; you’ll see it. I’m naming the dog Jamie. The name is unisex, seeing as I was too upset to check the gender. I’m sorry, Jamie. I love you. See you soon.

Most memorable homework

By Brittany Tender

One of the most memorable homework assignments I’ve ever had was to make a comic book to summarize William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” rather than to just take notes. Although this year we weren’t required to make a comic while reading “Hamlet,” I’ve always found it a very inspiring work, and I decided as a personal project to create my own rendition.

(Note: Descriptions follow each image)

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A cover page for Act I, a simple illustration of Prince Hamlet. Markers and gel pen.

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The first page of my “Hamlet” retelling. Read from right to left. Markers and gel pen. 

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An early illustration of Prince Hamlet. Ink and gel pen.

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A rough design for Rosencrantz/Guildenstern. Digital media.

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My original design for Macbeth, done as part of my English final last year. Digital media.

The impact of Internet and technology

By Amanda Reilly

Internet and technology are said to have ruined our country and younger generations in multiple ways. It is also said that if it wasn’t for internet and technology, our country and youth wouldn’t be close to having the amazing things we do now.

Some people believe younger generations are pathetic because all they do is use social media to talk to each other and never verbally communicate.

Others believe that youth helped upgrade communication – and because of technology, talking face-to-face will soon be a thing of the past. I will admit I am all for technology, but sometimes it can be annoying when the only way you can contact someone is through a phone or social media. My generation has experienced more improvements in technology than ever before.

Some things that make us look kind of pathetic are the fact that there are people that wait in line weeks in tents at stores for the latest product. Don’t those people have jobs? Or families? Any life at all? I guess not.

Maybe they do and just put it on pause so they can be the first to get the latest Apple, Android or Amazon product, unlike the rest of us who wait until a product is in stores or just order it online. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s the best. An example being the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

They allegedly bend in your pocket and have a ton of bugs. This is why you wait to see if it’s really worth all that time waiting in line.

Our generation and others have become wrapped up in social media and technology. But if it wasn’t for technology, we wouldn’t be as far in the world as we are today.

United Way cardboard boat race

By Nicole Bakaitis

What is it?

The United Way holds a cardboard boat race on the Deegan and Hinkle lakes in Harrison County, Bridgeport, W.Va. This year’s race was held Oct. 12. The purpose of the race is to raise money for the United Way and have a good time. It is $20 for individuals and $30 for teams who wish to participate. The hosts also provided food and beverages for $1 each. Contestants race across one of the two lakes in a personally designed cardboard boat and, in the end, receive trophies as a reward.

About the boat

The boat can be made of only cardboard, duct tape and one layer of polyurethane. Each contestant has to have an original name for their boat and most boats had something unique about them. Designs could be anything from a pirate ship to a shark to just a plain old boat. Creativity was encouraged when it came to designing, as long as it didn’t help with the flotation of the boat.

Trophies

There were trophies given out to first, second and third places, all going by time. Trophies were also rewarded for “The Wonder that went Down Under” (most original sinking), People’s Choice and best design. In total, there were 6 trophies rewarded in both the adult and juniors categories.

My Adventure

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This year was my first time participating in the cardboard boat race for the United Way. My friend Noelle McKinney and I both decided it would be a fun thing to do. Plus, it was for a good cause. Noelle decided on Karasuno for our boat name, and our boat design was fairly simple compared to some of our opponents. My dad built it for us because we couldn’t possible build a decent boat that would float ourselves. We painted it blue and green after taking a long time collecting paint samples. Sadly, we didn’t win, but our boat did stay afloat the entire time – we just had an unorganized paddling strategy. Though we didn’t win, we both had a great time, and $1,500 was raised for the United Way.

You are beautiful.

By Lydia Grant

Hi everyone!

Today, I’ll be discussing a touchy subject for most girls: weight. I felt like this is something that needs to be addressed for once and for all.

Your size doesn’t matter! There are too many beautiful girls worried about if they’re a size two or 12. I mean, homecoming will be the death of me. I am, and have always been, a skinny girl. I’m almost 14 years old and can still shop in the children’s section.

I know, “Quit complaining about your high metabolism,” or “Ew, you are gross skinny.” The truth is, I have a serious stomach disorder I was born with. I can’t eat pizza, most sweets, or anything with high citrus. I would love to not sit at a birthday party starving while everyone eats. Then I see girls with lovely curves and great personalities worried about their size! I’ve jokingly said to many girls, “Hey, you want to switch bodies?!” Usually I get an enthusiastic, “YES!” in response. I’m here to say be happy that you can be big and beautiful! Be happy that you are you!

Society is in our heads.

Now, I’ve covered that heavier girls get insecure but so do many skinny girls. Take recent hits “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor and “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. Both encourage women to be heavier because it makes you more attractive. Now, both songs also shame women who are skinnier, saying we aren’t welcome (more Nicki Minaj than Meghan Trainor).

I think it’s hard for any girl seemingly “too skinny” nowadays. I’m healthy. So, why should I be shamed when I, as a young girl, am still becoming comfortable with who I am? I don’t need others criticism when I already have my own.

Can we take a throwback to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Christina tells us all we are all beautiful. Come on guys, can’t we have more magazines, TV commercials, etc. that tell us that no matter how different we are, we are beautiful! If girls and women could stop denying their insecurities and come together to change standards, everyone could feel beautiful.

In conclusion, take a moment to tell yourself you are pretty, and anyone who can’t see that is blinded by your beauty or is too dumb to see it yet. Boys, friends, relatives, it doesn’t matter if the important people in your life can’t see it. It just matters that you see it. The important people will accept you for who you are.

So, if that store doesn’t have your dress size, so what! Go somewhere else that does, dust it off because all insecurity is, is dirt.

Theater, behind the scenes

By Jenna Campbell

I was a freshman in high school when I first got involved in theater. I auditioned for a part but, ultimately, wound up as stage manager. This was my first experience with the backstage aspect of theater. I enjoyed it, but always knew that I wanted to act. So, less than a year later, I auditioned for and earned a role onstage. It took one part in one play, I was hooked. For the next two years, theater became a passion and love of mine. I began dedicating large portions of my time and life to the stage, but I never forgot about my backstage roots.

When it was time for my school’s annual play my junior year, I decided I not only wanted to act, but also learn something new. I asked my director if he would mentor me and allow me to be the student assistant director so I could understand the thoughts and creative process that go into making a show come alive, and he agreed. I saw things from an entirely new perspective. I was inspired to learn about every job I could so I would be well-rounded and have an understanding of what it took for a production to be put on.

Though I managed a stage in the past, I still wasn’t that educated with the inner workings of the backstage, so I decided to take a stagecraft class, or “techie training,” over the summer. I learned about lights, sound, rigs, props, the building and painting of sets, how to properly stage manage and be a run crew member and, most importantly, just how much work goes into the show. I was in awe because the little stage managing I did was nothing compared to what I learned in the class. It opened my eyes and gave me a new appreciation for the theater, which is what I desired from the start.

With my new (but by no means professional) knowledge, I became a one-woman light and sound crew for Off the Wall Theater’s “The Harvey Wallbangers.” Being above the audience in the dark lighting booth just to time out and pick the precise cue that coincided with the events happening on stage was an unforgettable experience that I would do again in a heartbeat.

I know some actors who have never been on the backstage side of things and not only question why people do crew, but they also see them as less important and blame them for problems out of everyone’s control. I can fairly say the previous statement because I’ve now been on the director, crew and performance side of the spectrum, and actors don’t always realize just how important every single person involved in the show is. Whether you have a small part, big part, paint set, take care of props, choreograph dance moves, play in the pit, open the curtain, what have you, you are necessary in the creation of the show and are no less important than anyone else, and I can’t express that enough.

In fact, if there was one thing I’m glad I learned, it is to look at things from all perspectives – walk a day in another person’s shoes and do their job for once. People running props get the same thrill as a performer walking out on stage for the first time. Messing up a light cue is just as nerve-racking as forgetting a line. A stage manager has to memorize just as many things as the lead role. A director is responsible for knowing the show in, and out and so is a stage manager and their crew – just like the performers.

Now, I’m going to wrap this up, but before I do, I have a few more words of advice. Whether it’s as a passion or a hobby, I always recommend participating in theater no matter what task you want to do. If the stage isn’t your thing, try something else. The possibilities in theater are endless. Don’t be too quick to get locked into one specific thing, push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new (like I did). If you are brave and audition for a part, don’t be discouraged if you get a “small part,” come up with a back story if you don’t have one, and put everything you have into it, they’re the most difficult to play. Lastly, if you’re on the fence about participating in a play or musical, do it! The experience will change your life. If you’re already an active member of performances, spread out and learn what you can about the different areas of theater. It will make you better at the things you already know. Having a well-rounded experience will open doors and, once again, change your life; I know it changed mine.