Authors Posts by Guadalupe Valdivia

Guadalupe Valdivia

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Welcome to The Blueprints 2015 senior edition. Where the quirkiness of what is “Highschool Musical” makes its appearance in the mighty mustangs home.

Start of something new:

Taking a walk down memory lane can be a whirlwind of emotions; remembering freshman year can be quite intriguing. From the interesting smells, assemblies and teachers, take a look back at some of your first moments at DGS. 

Getcha head in the game:

They had to “fake right and break left” to get some of the biggest athletic scholarships from their chosen colleges. They weren’t “afraid to shoot the outside J,” all because they put their head in the game, “You go, Glen Coco.”

Now or never:

Take a look at these senior individuals with a rather interesting college choice–from studying abroad to studying miles away from Illinois. “It all comes down to right now” as these students make a choice to kiss DGS and Illinois goodbye.

I gotta go my own way:

After high school, most teenagers have a sense of “I’m leaving today, ‘cause I’ve gotta do what’s best for me” when it comes to colleges. So follow this state map like you used to track Santa Claus as a child to see where the highest enrollment for colleges are for DGS class of 2015. 

Stick to the status quo or breaking free:

Some teens like “sticking to the stuff they know” while others are like a “wave that an ocean can’t control.” In non “High School Musical” terms, some teens go to college while others choose to travel or do something else; read all about who’s doing what after high school. 

We’re all in this together:

Vitamin C said it best fellow seniors,“As we go on/we remember all the good times we had together/and as our lives change/come whatever we will still be friends forever.” We will go “hand in hand” on this new adventure screaming “geronimo” with our cool blue caps and gowns. But first instead of taking a selfie take a look at these senior highlights… then take a selfie.

 

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The phrase “careful what you wish for” just turned into “careful who you stab in the back.” “Unfriended” gives a unique new look to horror films all around, using social media as a tool of terrifying destruction.

The film is all based around six friends, Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Storm), Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki), Adam (Will Peltz) and Val (Courtney Halverson). All who, according to Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) had something to do with her suicide for posting an inappropriate video on YouTube that caused her to be bullied.

“Unfriended” starts off a little dull and boring, with Blaire searching away on her computer and skyping her boyfriend Mitch, but soon after the gore begins and, dare I say, the laughter. The comedy and unpredictable angle the film is what makes it highly interesting. Laura’s rather twisted spirit does give a few laughs and of course some disturbing yet creative deaths.

Like any other horror film, you can predict who’s going to die, but you can’t predict how angry the film will leave you–which is the best part of the film and a genius act by the director Levan Gabriadze. The anger is produced from both teenage angst and teenage drama.

With both angst and drama, Gabriadze had to add selfishness to the mix, which will have your undivided attention with how perfectly mastered the characteristic added fits the film. The film is definitely special with this mix; it makes you feel better about yourself and think twice about messing with someone who’ll hold a grudge even beyond the grave.

There is something rather distinct about the film, there seems to be no plot holes. The movie holds not a single hole in the story, it stay straightforward and to the point. Laura’s ghost really means business.

Now to the actors, who might I add did an exquisite job acting as egocentric teens.  They played their part and not once did they fail to deliver fear, anger and tears, making both the acting and creative presentation of the film not falter in any sort of way.

Although “Unfriended” did have it’s star worthy moments, it did fail to present an enthralling ending. The last scene betrayed the concept of what was so great during all the imaginative deaths, making you feel cheated of what could have been a better conclusion

This R rated film may not be for all, but it is certainly a refreshing new look at 21st century horror. The film is bearable and it is most definitely a must experience more than a must watch, Laura would approve.           

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     Hardcore rapper Wiz Khalifa and newly found Youtube star Charlie Puth have come together to release a new single on the “Fast and Furious 7” soundtrack as a tribute to Paul Walker. 

 

     “See You Again” starts off with a soft serene piano making you feel comfortable and almost at peace. But, what will give you chills is the chorus sung by Charlie Puth. Puth’s voice seems to echo and vibrate as he hits both high and low notes.

 

     With such great vocal control, Puth dominates both chorus and the bridge of the song. What seemed strange was the choice to let Khalifa rap in this single. The lyrics themselves hold a lot of meaning, but Khalifa doesn’t compliment this tribute.

 

     Khalifa’s inability to clarify and execute the lyrics seem to make him the odd man out. Khalifa’s contribution to the song just makes it awkward and strange, mostly because he is mainly a mainstream rapper who seems out of his element when singing a song dedicated to a fallen cast member of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

 

     Regardless of Khalifa’s involvement in the song, the lyrics are powerful and you can deem an exception for the young rapper.

 

     What helps the most in carrying out the message of the lyrics is the slow yet upbeat tempo. The beat has a sort of pull on the heart and will keep you hypnotized until the very end of the song. But the amazement doesn’t stop there, half way through the song Puth has a dramatic vocal crescendo which sends a pang of sorrow, sadness, happiness and hope all at once and in that order.

 

    It seems as if “See You Again” wasn’t enough of a tribute for the “Fast and Furious” crew, there had to be a music video. The music video is as equally mind-blowing as the song. They do an awesome job in emphasizing the growth of a family during the music video, seeming as how it’s all scenes of Paul Walker interacting with the rest of the cast in all “Fast and Furious” films.

 

     The video does feature both Khalifa and Puth, but the only difference is that both artists seem to show a lot of sincerity and raw emotion. You don’t feel awkward seeing Puth singing and playing the piano while overlooking Los Angeles, or even when Khalifa is standing in multiple beautiful scenic settings. 

 

   Both song and music video seem to have some emotional pull, and together they are a dynamic duo. The powerful pair definitely do a good job in sending out Paul’s message, “If one day the speed kills me don’t cry because I was smiling.”

 

 

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Principal Schwartz’s message

A severe thunderstorm took it’s toll on Downers Grove South’s power. During third period lightning struck causing a power outage, which led to the use of back up generators.

Sophomore Jared Vosicky explained his initial reaction to the power outage.

“I was like ‘ah, what’s going on?’… My teacher [said] it felt like the school got struck by lightning and then freaked out and thought there was a fire. So, I got up and ran out of my classroom,” Vosicky said.

DGS Dean Angela Earwood explained the unlikeliness that DGS students will have an early dismissal because of the lack of transportation.

The news so far as explained in Principal Schwartz’s message is that the building does have partial power; it has two lines missing with a generator working as a back up. Some staff members  turned off their lights to conserve energy till the end of the school day.

Compiled by Jamilla Jackson, Joe Stellato and Guadalupe Valdivia

 

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The bitter cold thats going around this year hasn’t affected the fundraiser that uses freezing water to its advantage. Special Olympics Illinois holds its annual Polar Plunge  different locations around Illinois.

The Polar Plunge is when participants run into a shallow body of freezing water, and have the option of sitting in it, going knee deep or going completely under. The participants that are willing to take on the plunge must raise a minimum of $75.

The proceeds raised go to Special Olympics Illinois. The donations make it possible for special needs students to go out and play sports that they couldn’t in school. DGS multi-needs teacher Kevin Ahrens talks about the importance of raising money for Special Olympics Illinois.

“Special Olympics Illinois and Special Olympics USA, have swimming and soccer, bocce, winter event, cross country skiing and all these different things… it gives the opportunity to all these students to go and be involved and do different things outside of school, which is a time where you get to interact with your peers and make friends and hang out,” Ahrens said.

The Polar Plunge has been introduced at DGS, but it has not been over advertised.

PE/Health teacher Lyndsie Long talks about why students at DGS should participate in raising money and going on freezing plunge.

“Students should get involved because it is for such a good cause. Just like any fundraiser, it is being done for a good reason. Students should take advantage of helping others through a fundraiser…even if it is not the Polar Plunge,” Long said.

Junior Clarissa Moreno talks about how exciting participating in the plunge would be.

“I think it’s a great way to raise money, and I think it’s a fun experience for you and your friends,” Moreno said.

Special Olympics Illinois gives people a choice to plunge or not to plunge. Students at DGS can still participate in helping Special Olympics by simply raising money for the cause by asking around, fundraising, being a monthly donor or by helping students who want to plunge but can’t raise the money; for more information you can go on www.soill.org.

On the Special Olympics website there are stories on some of the youth that are participating in the games, which are made possible because of the donations. The Polar Plunge is an interesting way to support the Special Olympics, it would be “Freezin’ for a reason.”

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Olivia WildePredictability mode activated–”The Lazarus Effect” takes the cake. Yet the film did have interesting characters/cast and plot, which made the basic storyline bearable and quite a unique watch.

 The story begins with a group of scientists who are trying to play God, which all started with the accidental discovery of the Lazarus serum. This serum is supposed to bring the dead back to life, sort of like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.

 Just in like any other horror/thriller film, something has to go wrong. They are playing God, are they not?

 The movie had an interesting mix of religion and science, making people question whether or not Zoe (Olivia Wilde) was possessed or was just using more than 10 percent of her brain. It just so happened that the clash was between Dr. Zoe and her fiancé Dr. Frank (Mark Duplass). These two together seemed to have more of a casual look and feel than a heartwarming relationship.

 The first resurrection was a random success when they brought back Rocky the dog (played by Cato). This is where it gets predictable and you start to call out what’s going to happen next, but the film still leaves you a little interested. Who doesn’t want to pay attention to a dog being brought back to life?

 That sneaky director, David Gelb, certainly knew what he was doing throughout the film. Gelb wasn’t exactly mixing it up, he was just playing on people’s emotions by in a way wanting them to predict the movie. That’s one of the reasons why the viewers eyes will stay glued to the screen.

 The plot seems a little like “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson mixed with “Frankenstein,” but the story stays true to its nature and brings in the eerie feeling of there being a dark supernatural force at play. It all falls on what the viewer believes most, the scientific evidence or the Lazarus syndrome (A Bible story on resurrection).

 Besides the clash of religion and science, the movie itself holds that creepy reality feel to it *cough cough* “Paranormal Activity.” With its weird camera angles and the classic flickering lights and sound effects, the movie was more of a thriller as opposed to a horror movie.

 But what made the movie interesting was the lack of character intimacy. It had a strange vibe of “I know you, but I’m going to treat you like a stranger” which surprisingly made the movie captivating. You can feel the character attraction and relatability, but not the actual familiarity between all the actors, which were Donald Glover, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Mark Duplass, and Olivia Wilde. 

 The film leaves you feeling strangely more on Dr. Zoe’s side, which is doing all the killing. She is also the only one who had more character development than the rest, but oddly enough it all works out.

 Even if this PG-13 film wasn’t over the top awesome, it wasn’t flat out horrible. It had just the right amount of interesting sci-fi mixed with horror to make it a mediocre watch.    

 

 

  

 

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astronautThe 1990’s was a golden age for cinematography. A string of great and powerful movies such as Schindler’s list, Saving Private Ryan and Shawshank Redemption seemed to be premiering left and right. Recently, the film industry has fallen victim to cheap scares, cheesy jokes and unnecessary action.

In the last decade, it seems as if we lost all of that passion and glory that Hollywood once held. However, with his newest hit, Interstellar, Christopher Nolan once again proves that this golden age isn’t dead quite yet. In Interstellar Earth is dying and Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is forced to leave his family in order to lead one final mission attempt to find a new home planet for humanity.

Going in, I was looking forward to seeing a thrilling tale of space exploration, as was most of the film’s audience, but I was blinded sided by the deep scenes of ardent emotion provided by the secondary tale of father-daughter relationships that Nolan slips seamlessly into the main plot. Nolan gets his audience to develop genuine compassion for his fictional characters whose stories lead me to genuinely question my emotional values in life. After my first viewing of the film, I was surprised when the audience wasn’t greeted with warm tea and blankets upon exiting the theatre.

McConaughey’s performance in this film was more than just alright alright alright; it was a performance that seemed to put his work in Dallas Buyer’s Club to shame. The veteran actor’s performance easily gained the homage of the audience and added true emotional weight to the film’s more emotionally gripping scenes. McConaughey is joined by other Hollywood superstars such as Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Casey Affleck, whose performances seemed to compliment their roles flawlessly.

 Nolan’s never-ending attempt to add new ideas and depth to his plot unfortunately led the story to encounter some scientific anomalies that, while not considered wrong, were generally regarded as a bit of a stretch by scientists and movie-goers alike. This was where the role of fiction played into this sci-fi film; after-all, there’s a reason why scientific papers aren’t made into movies. While these moments didn’t spoil too much of the movie going experience that was Interstellar, it did leave me scratching my head in a little bit of confusion.

Although the science of the film was a bit of a stretch, it did provide us an unforgettable visual experience. This is not a movie that people should wait to see at home. Even though I-MAX tickets are probably now worth their weight in gold, the visual goodies that dominate the film make Interstellar one of the few films that I can justify spending the extra money to see.

The things we can accomplish with CGI in today’s day and age never fail to leave me in awe, but Interstellar takes things to a whole new level. Multiple times throughout the film, I truly felt dwarfed by wonderfully artistic scenes that flashed across the massive movie screen time and time again.

Furthermore, no film would be complete without its soundtrack. Hans Zimmer proves to us why he should be considered among the elite composers by providing Interstellar with what are easily some of the most imaginative and inventive scores of his lengthy career. Every intense and colossal scene that Nolan throws at the audience is accompanied harmoniously by an equally intense score that makes this film seem even more colossal than it already is.

 Interstellar gives us relief from the seemingly never endless wave of Hollywood remakes and series piggy-backers whose razor thin plots never seem to hold any emotional weight with the audience–*cough cough Avengers cough cough. I just hope that the movie going audience hasn’t yet been completely fooled by the modern day hits and can still recognize the greatness of a film such as Interstellar.

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burger jointBurgers are a timeless meal that nearly all Americans love. According to CNN, they’re the second most popular food in the U.S. and there are countless burger joints in our area. It’s always difficult to decide which one to go to. The newest addition to the plethora of burger places is That Burger Joint, which opened at the beginning of November at 860 E Boughton Road in Bolingbrook, IL.  Connected with the new Oberweis and dairy store, this restaurant offers just four foods and their simplicity is what makes them so good.

When I first arrived at That Burger Joint I was impressed by the rustic vibe it gave off. The lighting was dim, which made it feel like this was place that I had come to a hundred times before, as though I personally knew the employees working behind the counter.

It was clean and well-kept; the station for the ketchup, napkins and other necessities were impressionable and well organized. The service was prompt and friendly. The menu, which contains your basic burger place foods such as fries, drinks, burgers and chicken sandwiches, was easy to decipher.

That Burger Joint offers a choice between single and double burgers, a chicken sandwich and a hot dog. Burgers can be made on a plain pretzel bun, and any option can be topped with a variety of free toppings which include lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms and bacon. It costs about $12 for a meal which is a decent price for a quick lunch.

 I ordered a single cheeseburger on a regular bun with lettuce, and I got my food after a short wait. My fries seemed to be slightly overcooked, but they were crispy and delicious. The burger was about as good as one from Culver’s. It was cooked just right and it wasn’t sloppy, which made it easy to eat. It filled me up, and I walked out of That Burger Joint happy.

Overall, That Burger Joint was a quick, satisfying meal that was fairly average. It was cheaper than portillos or Five Guys, and it was just as good both of those fast food chain’s burgers. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and quick burger that’s a lot nicer than a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s, check out That Burger Joint.

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BigHeroSixAfter a film like Frozen built up a mountain of fans, financial revenue and song covers, it seemed like Disney would have to pull something completely out of the dark to please audiences of all ages and still maintain a profit. The result was Big Hero 6.

Based on the Marvel Comic series, the film takes a modernized look at child science prodigy Hiro Hamada, who is more interested in training robots to fight than he is in going to college. Hiro’s brother Tadashi decides that Hiro needs some persuasion and brings him to meet Baymax, a life size inflatable robot programmed to deliver internal and external health care. When a masked creature begins terrorizing his hometown, Hiro realizes he could upgrade Baymax and his friends to fight off crime and do right by his brother.

What makes Big Hero 6 so outstanding as a children’s movie is its ability to display a heavy amount of emotion in a way that it is perceptible to both younger and older audiences alike. It demonstrates the ability to emotionally connect with children on the same level as adults. Early on in the film, tragedy strikes Hiro’s family and an entire funeral and mourning scene is played out to a longer and arguably stronger extent than say, Bambi or even Frozen.

The film also conveys the importance of family and attachment to things without getting too complicated, making it easy for children to comprehend and harder for adults not to tear up.

However, Big Hero 6 doesn’t let the heavy heart cast a dark cloud over the film. Humor is hiding around every corner in the form of Baymax, who is adorably helpful but virtually clueless when it comes to being out in the real world. Hiro’s team of science-obsessed friends act like real people.

They make mistakes, don’t understand everything right away (even though they are labelled as geniuses) and have their own quirks that make them not only hilarious but evidently more relatable.

What was also refreshing was having no elaborate musical number. Instead, Fall Out Boy debuts their dynamic ballad ‘Immortals’ as the cover of the film and composer Henry Jackson works wonders with an orchestra that compiles electronic tunes on strings. Having no random song bursts about finding your true love was a breath of fresh air from Disney.

I won’t lie: I was not excited to see this film at first. Unlike past films, Disney didn’t dive into a massive marketing campaign so Big Hero 6 was completely unknown to me. I let my brother drag me into it because he had been dying to see it after seeing Baymax, who appears as a marshmallow-type-balloon-bot and was pretty adorable.

The film left me nearly in tears, both from laughs and being rocked to the core by the emotional context. Big Hero 6 lifts your sense of humor, imagination and your heart off the ground and into the world of robotics for an adventure you won’t want to miss. 

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call of duty computer pic Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is fast-paced, thrilling and jaw dropping–it definitely delivers. The games’ single-player story mode takes place in the year 2054, the main character Mitchell is a U.S Marine who enlists with his best friend Will Irons. Their first mission is in Seoul, South Korea, and just like in any other call of duty game it has a tutorial feel to it.

But for once it is all worth it, the graphics are amazing, making it seem like it’s more of a movie than a game. The explosions and gunfire are beautifully mastered to have a spine tingling realistic sound, you feel like you’re really there. Unfortunately, the mission goes awry causing Mitchell to be discharged due to an injury.

This is where we meet Jonathan Irons, owner of Atlas, an international warfare company, which is bigger and more effective than the U.S government itself. Although the story is predictable the game makes up for it with the weapons. A lot of the weapons are similar to past COD games but the only difference is that they have attachments that allow you to see the enemy and gun them down easily.

Of course you also have your tactical and lethal grenades, but the difference in these explosive beauties is that when you throw a tactical grenade it reveals the location of your enemies allowing you to shoot them through some walls and objects. Your smart grenade is your lethal grenade, which hones in on your enemy and blows them up, accompanied by your regular grenade and an EMP grenade that takes down drones.

 But the most exciting advantage by far in advanced warfare has to be the exo-suit. The exo-suit allows the player to boost jump, run faster and more. What’s not exciting about this is that for every mission in story mode you don’t get to experience everything the exo-suit has to offer you only get three exo-suit abilities.

But have no fear online gaming gives you the mind-boggling option to use the exo-suit’s full capacity. Yes, this does make playing online a little difficult, but it is highly enjoyable and rewarding.

Call of duty: Advanced warfare has proven its worth, and I feel no remorse in paying $60 for it. Grab your gear and get ready for a mind blowing futuristic experience.