Monthly Archives: April 2014

ROSE KNOWS: Online Shopping

By: Rose McDermott-Pinchme

Online shopping is a major industry in the modern world. It’s so easy to indulge in the luxury of quick and easy shopping.

Amazon and other online companies have fine-tuned the process of ordering and sending out packages to thousands of customers each day. Customers are clearly a fan of the expedient shopping experience as proven by the dozens of positive reviews posted on the website, usually underneath the product.

Women, at least in my experience, like to window-shop in stores but then buy items off of Amazon or other online companies in order to save money.

A con to online shopping is that clothes can’t be tried on. However, in the grand scheme of things, it is a small price to pay. With easy return policies, any size or preference issue can be resolved immediately.

Amazon offers free shipping on more expensive items including microwaves, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances. They also offer Amazon Prime, which makes almost all items available for free shipping for an annual fee of $99.

In addition to quick shopping, the prices are usually less expensive than in the store. Appliances, clothes, DVDs and many other items are cheaper online than they are in most stores. Amazon even offers warrantees on valuable items.

Modern technology is a huge assistance in the world of online shopping and it is a great improvement for your average American family who wants to save time and money.

Last.fm

By: Tyree Cooper

The Last.fm logo. (www.last.fm)

The Last.fm logo. (www.last.fm)

With 54 million artists, 200 million albums and 640 million songs, Last.fm is a free music based website founded in the United Kingdom in 2002 that “scrobbles,” or processes and shares a user’s music compatibility with others around the world.

The website is also an app and enables every track that the user “scrobbles” to be recorded onto their profile, so other listeners know what they’ve been listening to. People can then compare and contrast their music tastes and make recommendations of new music based on their similarities and differences.

Last.fm is also connected with other music sites including YouTube, Spotify and iTunes, if a user changes it to a certain setting; what they listen to on those websites will appear on their Last.fm profile as well.

It’s also convenient for those who are interested in concerts, festivals and/or tour dates. If a user is looking for any concert dates, a list will appear with the bands/artists they’ve been listening to with the concert’s information, as well as links to buy tickets. Included in the list are other bands/artists that have been recommended, based off the user’s listening choices.

If there’s no song in particular a user wants to hear, they can listen to one of the three radio stations that Last.fm offers. There’s a “My Library” radio that plays music based off the user’s preferences. The “My Mix” radio includes music that users know, plus recommendations that they may not know. “My recommended” radio plays music that is most likely new to a user. The “Neighborhood Radio” plays songs from other listener’s history. Users can also listen to their friends’ music libraries as well as their own favorite tracks.

As a song plays, the lyrics are usually shown as well as pictures of the band/artist and biographical information, just to capture the listener’s attention.

While Last.fm can be used for discovering new music based off a person’s interests, it’s also good for talking to people about music as a whole. Last.fm enables people to send “shouts,” or comments on a user’s profile, as well as private messages. Friend requests can be sent and depending on the settings, information will be shared between Last.fm friends so they can always keep each other updated.

With five out of five stars, Last.fm has basically everything a music enthusiast could want.

Update on AHS Pool

The AHS pool under renovation. (Photo/Emily Fernandez)

The AHS pool under renovation. (Photo/Emily Fernandez)

By: Erin Lemieux

The swimming pool repairs at AHS that began in Oct. 2013 are still not finished. The filtration system repairs were expected to be finished months ago, however, more problems were discovered during these repairs.

New England Aquatics were repairing the original issues, then issues with the Main Drain were found that needed to be resolved before the original repair could be done. The main issue has to do with ground water, which means water pumps are required to be constantly running until the repairs are completed.

All of these issues are continuing to add to the already expensive cost. It was determined that due to the expectation of a $40,000 cost that the main drain repair would go out to bid. This means that different vendors will provide estimates that the school committee will need to accept.

According to At-Large School Committee member Mr. Jim Stors, School Business Manager Tom Rose said he expects the work to be complete by mid-May.

Stors said, “I understand the importance of the pool and am supportive of the repair efforts.”

Sophomore swimmer Abigail Dunphy said, “During the swim season we had to practice at the YMCA and there wasn’t always a bus available to bring us…And in our pool we have more lanes than the pool at the YMCA. So, by practicing there, more swimmers had to swim in one lane and it made everything crowded.”

Junior swimmer James Fahey said, “I loved our pool and I feel like we could’ve been Hock champions if the pool was available.”

Junior swimmer Mary Griswold said, “The repairs affected the swim team as a whole. We were not able to practice as much as normal and were not able to have our home meets. We had two ‘home meets’ at the Y but it’s not the same as having it at Attleboro’s pool.”

The problem is affecting the high school and recreation departments, the Bluefish Swim Club and Bishop Feehan’s swim team, which rents out the pool.

Accept Awareness

The header of the survey for assembly information. (Photo/Dakota Mammoli)

The header of the survey for assembly information. (Photo/Dakota Mammoli)

By: Dakota Mammoli

Everyone’s heard the story of the little girl who was picked on at the playground. Then there’s that boy who had to hand over his lunch money to the school bully. However, many high school students think that those are just stories or suddenly stopped with the new millennium.

Team Up, BRAVE, Project Unite, and the GSA are holding an assembly to disband that belief.

The truth is, bullying does happen. Senior Charlotte Kerwin, organizer of the assembly, said, “It’s both a precautionary method and an awareness thing. Cyber bullying mainly happens, and we want them [the students] to know how much their words can hurt.”

BRAVE adviser Mrs. Laura Niedbala, said her personal goal for the assembly is to promote the idea that “universal differences are OK.”

Forensic and biology teacher and adviser of GSA Ms. Deanne Wells-Scott, said she wants students, when they leave the assembly, to “realize that what they say and do matters.” She advises the student population to “think before you say.”

The assembly will be presented to the entire school with two sessions, one for the freshmen and sophomores and one for the juniors and seniors. During the assembly a video with personal stories will be shown, speakers giving both support and their own personal stories will be present, and resources for the various clubs will be given out.

“The plan is to raise everyone up, then just shoot them down. But then at the end, say ‘Wait, there’s hope,” said Kerwin.

Niedbala said, “Kids have worked really hard to relate to the student body and promote awareness.” Bullying is occurring, the world isn’t all sunshine and daisies and the assembly is meant to show that while still encouraging students to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

The speakers want to promote how the school can be made more inclusionary. Kerwin said, adding, “Some kids are going to walk away and laugh. That always happens.” She, and everyone else who is part of the assembly, just want the students to be aware of their actions and consequences. The hope is that the majority of students will walk away with that awareness.

This assembly was a product of Kerwin’s hard work to organize the members of Project Unite, Team Up, the GSA, and BRAVE who banded together and produced a whole group effort.

Oxymoron

The cover of Oxymoron. (Photo/iTunes)

The cover of Oxymoron. (Photo/iTunes)

By: Terrance “Get” Gathers

Exploding to the forefront of the music scene with a number one album in the country, 27-year-old Los Angeles rapper Schoolboy Q has brought forth an explosive complication of intricate lyrics and entertaining adlibs over a variety of beats vividly depicting the life of a starving artist trying to provide for his daughter. The first project since his highly successful mix-tape, Habits & Contradictions, Q has another victory on his hands.

Releasing the album under Top Dawg Entertainment, Q also adds another achievement to the labels resumé after the success of label mate Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.D City.” Unlike Lamar, Q comes off darker and perhaps more violent but they share similarities in the self-awareness each displays in his music.

The 14 track album shows diversity as Q is more than able to switch from vivid street tales to self reflection and to unadulterated party anthems with ease, which may be the strongest quality he possesses. Q shows his dimensions as a human.

From when, on the first track, his four year old daughter Joy Hanley announces “my daddy a gangster” to start off the album, listeners are catapulted into a gritty bass pounding track titled “Gangsta.” In this track along with other tracks such as “Break Tha Bank,” “What They Want” and “Oxymoron,” Q boasts about his dangerous upbringing and troubled past.

Other songs on the album such as “Studio,” “Collard Greens” and “Hell of a Night” have much different tones and subject matter. Where “Studio” has a mellow vibe being more of a love song, “Hell of a Night” and “Collard Greens” have more of a fast paced party vibe, meant for an end of the world party with dramatic high energy.

Q will hopefully follow up this project after finishing up his nationwide “Oxymoron” tour with a large fan base that can’t wait for what’s next. This album deserves four out of five stars for its diverse topics and emotion but its lacking in some substance. Where Schoolboy Q mentions certain things such as his grandmother and uncle fighting in a house because his uncle is a drunk, he leaves out other details of his life drawing the reader to a blank.

Can Britney Do It Again?

The album cover for Britney Jean. (Photo/iTunes)

The album cover for Britney Jean. (Photo/iTunes)

By: Giovanni Carcamo

What can fans make of Britney Spears now? The 32 year old pop goddess has come out with another studio album, Britney Jean, which landed at the top of the top 10 in the 100 chart. Reviewers gave Spears credit for her new musical direction and applauded her for being the Britney Spears the world remembers from the early 2000s.

Listening to the album, I can’t help but feel disappointed by the new Britney sound. Instead of leading the pop nation, Spears is still predictable and choosing the direction of her music just to stay on the charts.

The album has a lot of dubstep, which is a style of music where the bass is strong, and is mostly electronic or techno with a lot of auto tuning. Spears should do what she wants to do, unfortunately it sounds like she is told which lyrics to sing and what beat to play for each song.

Instead I want all the shades of Britney; I want the mentally insane Britney, the bi-polar Britney, the confident Britney, the partying Britney, and the mother Britney. She is a human being with a personality, but fans can’t tell that from this album.

The album is typical pop and club banger music. People can’t keep dancing forever; it’s tiring. Britney, in the early 2000s, was the biggest teen and pop star in the world; nobody could touch her because everybody was singing her catchy pop tunes.

Her future then showed her be a “born to be” legend. She had the complete set of great live performances, high album sales, and diehard fans. What made it fall apart? Possibly her transition from innocent teen to provocative adult, or the troubled relationships she kept falling into.

Instead of overcoming those falls she became stuck and lost focus. She could have received Madonna’s crown; now she’s just another pop star.

Britney Jean made it to the top of the charts, first, because it’s mainstream (her genre of music is now popular), and second, she has name recognition.

If each song on the album is examined the CD shouldn’t have been successful. There is no deep meaning.

Britney Jean was released last Dec. Songs on the album include “Alien,” “Perfume,” “Tik tik Boom,” and “Don’t Cry.”

“Alien” has a good beat with a light dubstep sound, a good chorus and clear vocals. The song’s metaphor is a nice connection to her fans’ personal problems, and has the potential to be another single. It is the perfect song to dance to alone.

“Perfume” is the second single off the album; it is a great pop song with a fast tempo and piano background. Spear’s voice is clear throughout the song. It has great energy and a good connection to fans, especially young ladies, because the topic of the song is about ex-girlfriends. The chorus is very catchy with.

“Tik tik Boom” has easy lyrics and is a dance dubstep song featuring rapper T.I. Toward the end of the song there are nice vocal backgrounds from Spears. It also has the potential to be a hit or single.

“Don’t Cry” definitely reconnects fans to Spear’s early work with a likeable whistling background. It’s a nice pop song and has a twist of the old Spears mixed with today’s Spears.

Bridgewater High School sophomore Derek Duchemin had no idea that Spears came out with a new album, but envisions Spears success as, “an early 2000s pop singer who had multiple albums and received multiple awards to now having had her ups and downs, but still making a comeback in the music industry. She continues to constantly come out with new songs and I hope she has a good second run.”

“She definitely had talent back years ago and I do think she still has a lot of talent today and hope she has more to come,” said Duchemin. He hopes Spears will come back on top. “If she tries hard enough she will be as big or even bigger of a star, like she was before everything.”

Senior Mike Pratt is attracted to Spear’s music because he sees it as intriguing. When she first started, he said, “Early 2000s Britney was Britney at the top of her game. That was right after the success of “…Baby One More Time” and when she was right at the cusp of something huge. She really did issue in the whole teen-pop thing, and like her or not, you can’t deny early 2000’s Britney was a force to be reckoned with.”

Pratt continued, “I have to admit that a lot of the entity and empire she has built is based on a manufactured culture. She relies heavily on sex-appeal and has been known to lip-sync but she does have some good songs.”

Pratt said, “Anyone who is able to sell millions of albums and sell out concerts has to have some talent. Relying on auto-tune has destroyed her voice a bit but there are clips of her from the late 90s and early 2000s with her actually singing and she has a nice alto voice. I wish she would cut out all the unnecessary parts of her shows and just sing; that’s what it should be about.”

Spears is on the charts today, “because her past success has made her what it is but that’s true of everyone. She needs to use that as a launching pad and she really shouldn’t rest on her laurels. That being said, charts go by what’s out now, not from the past so it should be impartial. The real question is will she match her older success, which is what she should strive to do,” continued Pratt.

“I haven’t heard anything from her since her breakdown,” said junior Joshua Whitney. Not the biggest fan of Spears, he sees her more as a sex symbol. In the early 2000s “she pushed the boundaries and paved the way for a more taboo pop star introducing sex appeal to the mainstream audience,” he said, adding, “She has lost her throne to new pop stars but will always be remembered as a legend of pop music.”

“If she believes she should, then she should, but I don’t expect it to have a lot of success,” said Whitney, about Spears trying to make new music. “She probably has to fit mainstream as any pop star does if she tried to make a comeback,” he added.

Senior Karissa Hand believes that fans buy Spears’s albums because, “they liked her when they were young and want to support her in her comeback. She has the name recognition.”

Senior Year

A banner that reads "2014," part of the class's bulliten board outside of the LMC. (Photo/Kayla Houle)

A banner that reads “2014,” part of the class’s bulliten board outside of the LMC. (Photo/Kayla Houle)

By: Kayla Houle

Senior year can put most students through one of the most unfocused and stressful times of their lives. Going through the process of applying to college, money situations for many, and just the idea that it is the last year before students are able to experience the real world, can have major effects.

Trying to keep the students focused is something both students and teachers work on together.

Senior Shannel Heng said, “I try to stay focused by thinking of my future; I know that the grades I receive throughout this year could make or break some important options I have in my future.” She added, “My teachers, I find, are caring more about my grades. They try to give us more work to keep us focused.”

Senior Rachel Stevens agreed with Heng, saying, “My teachers definitely care about my grades more because everyone has stopped trying. They give us more work even though no one does the work they give. All that does is lower our grades.”

If senior students are able to keep their grades above a 90, they are exempt from taking the final in that class. A lot of students and teachers agree that this helps keep them trying, but some do not.

“The standards for being exempt from the final are too high; I believe that an 85 should be the cut off. It’s not fair for the people who work hard to get As, but can’t reach that level,” said Stevens.

Seniors Henry Santarpio and Joseph Russas agreed that being exempt from the final helps “hugely.” Russas said, “Being exempt from the final is the only thing keeping me going for the rest of senior year.”

Senior Meghan Handy said,” Yes, being able to be exempt from the final has definitely helped to keep me trying. That’s my only motive for doing well in school throughout this year.”

Senior Jared Lee, however, disagreed with Handy. For himself, he said, the possibility of exemption does not help him to achieve any higher expectations.

“If I was going to get an A I would get an A anyway, regardless of being exempt from the final,” said Lee.

AHS history teacher Ms. Colleen Neslen said, “I try to give the students choices in their topic projects so they will stay focused.” She added, “Social life is the biggest distraction for most senior students and being exempt from the final does not help the students who don’t try in the first place.”

Spanish teacher Mr. David Seavey agrees with Neslen. He said, “No,” he does not think that being exempt helps. To try to keep seniors focused, Seavey added, “I try to remind seniors that colleges do look at their grades in the second trimester.”