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The Sound of Plaid

Posted by: Mark Putney | March 24, 2014 | No Comment |


As the date draws near, news about this year’s musical, The Sound of Plaid, is floating around. Whether it’s because your friends can’t hang out with you because they’ve got a 12 hour practice to attend to, or you’ve been hearing the choir kids singing in practice for this production, you’ve heard about it. However, this year’s musical is less well known than Rent, Grease, or Into the Woods. Unfortunately, this is not a stage production of Portlandia and does not channel modern hipsters in a land where the 90s never died. Fortunately, it does have a unique and interesting storyline which is just as likely to suck you into coming to the show next weekend.

This year’s musical is a high school interpretation of the 1990 Broadway play, Forever Plaid. The play focuses on typical cliques and stereotypes of the 60s, channeling “The Plaids,” a group of kids who, while anticipating the production of their first album, and whilst on their way to go see the Beatle’s Debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, collide with a bus full of catholic schoolgirls. The play opens with their return from the afterlife for one last shot at music.

The choir students performing in the musical this year seem to have conflicting thoughts about the play. “It’s fun,” said Damon Del Toro, “But I wish we would have chosen something different.” Del Toro has a few solos throughout the play, but when asked about the main cast members, this year’s play seemed to be more laid back than previous years where the cast list was a much greater ordeal. I asked Jonas Noomah, a junior also in the production, about who would be the shining stars of this year’s musical. “Like, half the choir,” he replied with a shrug.

The most concerning part of this production for the kids is that they’re underprepared. “I feel like it’s inevitable for us to feel more unprepared than we actually are, and we will pull it off fine,” said Noomah. Upon hearing other opinions, Axel Gillam who will be doing stage work and make brief appearances throughout the play stated that “I definitely feel more skeptical about the performance this year than I have in previous years. Sure, we always feel underprepared. But this year it might actually be something to worry about.”  Sydney Paulino, a senior, joked, “You should come to the last show. Chances are we’ll have it memorized by then.” However, with a week more of extensive rehearsals, the students should have nothing to worry about when it comes to the final product.

Despite the students’ feelings about preparation, opening night draws nearer. The Sound of Plaid is only a week away. This exciting, new, and unknown play is only showing three times- once on Friday night and twice on Saturday- so get your tickets while they last!


under: News

Employers are Hesitant to Hire College Graduates

Posted by: Mark Putney | February 11, 2014 | No Comment |


It’s no secret that most people are broke coming out of college, and eager to join the work force. In America, though, the jobs to be had are slim to none. A survey conducted in April of 2013 found that over 41% of college graduates have not been able to obtain jobs in their chosen field, and are either underemployed or unemployed. This goes under the classic generalization of “a bartender with a bachelor’s degree”.

The number one problem facing the current generation of college graduates is an insufficiency of workplace experience.

A survey funded by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) found that just under half the 1,006 employers of various workplaces felt as if the flood of recent college graduates did not possess adequate skills in their fields. Furthermore, the surveyed peoples thought that students should be receiving specific business training instead of the broad-based education learned under now.

Consulting firm Accenture, whilst conducting research on college graduates, found that over 63% would have to return for further training to work in their desired field, despite their degrees. This, coinciding with ACICS’s survey, shows that if education were more specified to the students’ and employers’ needs there would not be such a gap of unemployment post-college. If, starting in high school, there were more classes that presented practical, real world skills, perhaps the gap would be smaller. Particularly skills pertaining to occupational ethic seem to be the number one desire of businesses. Characteristics that employers look for when hiring include working well in teams, thinking through complex problems clearly, organizational and strategic abilities, and a strong work ethic (Penn State Career Services).

College graduates entering the job market now have been cast off by the very establishments they trained for. With proprietors so skeptical of the college grads’ capabilities in their chosen professions, less and less are being hired. If putting students through a work ethic or practical skills class would benefit the economy, then why aren’t there more schools offering the programs?

under: Opinion

The Most Amazing Apps of the Millennium

Posted by: Mark Putney | February 5, 2014 | No Comment |

Following this sentence are three apps that Mariner Compass reporter, Nahoa Jette, believes are awesome.

Flappy Bird (Games) [Free]NJ 2

Some call it “the most annoying game you will ever play,” while others say it was created by Satan. Nevertheless, the mobile phone game, Flappy Bird, has begun its turn under the app spotlight. Contrary to popular belief, Flappy Bird was created not by the Antichrist, but by a man named Dong Nguyen. In addition, this isn’t a new game – fresh on the market – no, Flappy Bird has been there lurking at the bottom of the Top Free list, waiting for just the right moment to pounce on its unsuspecting victim. It’s not fully known how Flappy Birds flew to its impressive popularity – whether computer bots faked the game’s attention, or a fifth grader shared it on their facebook – one thing is certain, though, and that this is one of the more maddening fads the modern world has seen.

Today there is a battle. A battle between two green pipes, and a handicapped clam-like bird. I sense I will soon lose this battle, but for those still out there continuing to fight for what is right, I offer this: my high score is 197.

Mathlab Calculator (Productivity) [Free] *Idk if this app is on the iPod and iPhone:NJ1

For those aspiring math majors – or those hoping to just pass algebra – Mathlab Apps LLC has created a masterpiece of programming code in the form of this jaw-dropping calculator. It’s 2014, so there’s no need to buy an expensive TI-something. All one has to do is download an app from their prefered mobile device and away they go down a happy road of equations. Mathlab Calculator adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides. But that’s not all! It also can derive functions, using a beautifully crafted user interface to make Calculus students tear up with joy. So math nerds unite to solve the fiercest equations with Mathlab Calculator.

Google Voice (Communication) [Free]: NJ 3

Google is already a huge factor in pretty much everyone’s lives, so why not make a texting app. With Google Voice, one get’s their own phone number with which they can make calls and texts for FREE. Free texting? Enough said. Download Google Voice today.

This is the concluding sentence of this review, so everyone reading this should download these apps and bask in the glory of technology.

under: Arts & Entertainment

Breaking the Shell

Posted by: Mark Putney | February 5, 2014 | No Comment |


Friday, Jan. 31, the Mariner Theatre hosted a full audience for the opening night of the 14th annual Jazzline performance. The show, directed and choreographed by Jocelyn Shiro, included 46 dancers ranging from kindergarteners to adults in their 40s and 50s. The theme this year was on rebirth, renewal, and “breaking the shell,” hence there being a giant egg on stage for the second act. Homer High students Ben Westphal, Kaec Brinster, Dannie Mei Finch, Katherine Dolma, Elsa Simmons, Jake Worsfold, Eryn Gillam and Max Mangue danced in the performance.

Many dancers in this year’s show have only had experience in ballet, while others have never danced at all. Jake Worsfold and Max Mangue were among these new to dance, but both mastered their dances in time for the show. “I’m really going to miss Jazzline,” said Jake, a senior, after the weekend was through. “I think this is something I might want to continue later,” said Max. Hopefully those leaving Jazzline will continue to focus their creative energy into dance programs elsewhere.

Having family members in Jazzline, one is able to witness the dancers’ enthusiasm about Jazzline first hand. “Did you see them after they were done? They were just so happy!” exclaimed a proud father of his kids who were in the show.

If  you were inspired by Jazzline and wish to immerse yourself more in performance art but you’re struggling with finding an outlet that supports a variety of youth art, step into a Colors of Homer F.O.L. in the art room- the next event is late February.

under: News

Eye Spy

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | 2 Comments |


Look up. Notice anything? Like the brand new security camera documenting everything in its sight. In the recent weeks, crews have installed a brand new, state-of-the-art, security system that will serve and protect Homer High School from the filth of injustice.

HHS vice-principal, Ms. Mall, explained the addition of these cameras saying it was “for the safety of the building…we had an older system.”

An older system indeed. Many of the cameras stopped functioning long ago. In addition, the school board has their own agenda in terms of having a universal policy, thus just about every high and middle school in the district also received this new upgrade, according to Mr. Waclawski.

Cue the brand new system so advanced, it’s used in international airports. As of this article, there have been 58 new cameras, which all use video surveillance, installed in the building. They have been installed in new areas like the mat and weight rooms, along with being mounted on the exterior of the building to dissuade, “vandalism,” according to Mr. W. It looks like cutting down trees will no longer be a problem.

The new system recently made its first bust involving a spilled salad at lunch. So the next time a stupid idea is conjured up – remember – there are eyes everywhere.

under: News

Homer Spit Flashback

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | No Comment |


Photo by Jeanne Deloach

Glistening sunshine reflecting off the water, eagles soaring high in the blue sky and beautiful sea life, – just the normal scene at the fabulous spit  tourists and Homer citizens alike look forward to seeing.. But it was not always like this. The town used to exist only on the area of the spit. It began to expand and thrive until the 1964 earthquake hit and caused mass destruction across the state.

Ryjil Christianson, an educator at the Pratt Museum referred to the spit as Homer’s, “main economic engine.”

Before Homer became a city, its main use was for coal mining until Homer Pennock tried to promote gold mining. Although people still mined coal more, mining’s popularity had risen to the point where a railroad was built from Bishops Beach out to the spit. The area of Homer wished to establish a post office, and in order to accomplish that, the area needed to become a city and have a name. Many miners gathered and decided to name the city after Mr. Homer Pennock. The residents of Homer continued building by constructing a harbor on the spit which they did previous to the official establishment as a city. Salty Dawg Saloon is believed to be the oldest building, and the first in the town. Other significant buildings included general stores, two restaurants, South Peninsula Hospital, Lands End, and the Homer Electric Association (HEA) according to the city of Homer website.

The green forest timbers, native flowers, and wide spit wouldn’t last much longer. The 1964 earthquake, also known as the Good Friday earthquake, caused catastrophe across Homer with a magnitude of 9.2 according to The Alaska Earthquake Information Center. Most buildings started falling apart and many were completely demolished. In 240 seconds  the spit was in ruins.

“It was in danger of becoming an island.” Christianson said.

Tectonic subsidence impacted the new size of the spit with a seven foot drop in useable land due to the sinking of the earth’s crust. Five feet are a result of sand compacting while the other two feet are due to the tectonic subsidence effects. The city began a massive clean-up and reconstruction effort.

Rebuilding took work, and money the state helped supply since Homer had established itself as a city before the earthquake. The harbor was rebuilt with some of the money according to the City of Homer website. Salty Dawg moved after the quake to its current location. To save the spit from the danger of possibly becoming an island, not only were the roads rebuilt, but also they were raised up above sea level. Furthermore, the large boulders that can be spotted on a walk or drive around the spit were brought in by work crews, Christianson explained. The spit has come a long way and is going strong.

Today the spit busts with traffic of tourists from cruise ships, bus tours and even campers. It has expanded greatly, with charters, restaurants, beaches, wildlife and more.

under: Features

Stress in the Philippines

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | No Comment |


In the Philippines after the terrible typhoon disaster, there has been lots of rebellion within the islands, because of the corruption that has been going on for years. Also, there is a lot of raiding in the areas affected by the storm. There was a hungry crowd that tried to hijack an aid convoy at a collapsed bridge, so they had to pull out. There is also a lot of sorrow for those who lost their lives in the typhoon destruction!

Nearly “620,000 people were displaced and 9.5 million affected across 9 regions”.

The death estimate was about 10,000 in Tacloban alone. There was a mass grave of about 300 to 500 bodies in one area of the city. About 300 people died in the neighboring Samar province.

The typhoon’s winds were about 195 miles an hour and gusts up to 235 mph! The survivors said that people who were in the streets were swept away by the stormy waves. Right now they are cleaning up the debris and still evacuating.

One woman who is eight months pregnant[ who did not want her name published] described in tears about her 11 family members, “They just vanished in the storm and my two daughters as well”. The president of the U.S. has responded, but because of the weather the U.S. navy has been delayed.

The president of the Philippines should have sent word to the U.S. military, which could have helped to bring martial law and peace back to the country, so the citizens could be helped. The president of the Philippines is Benigno S. Aquino III, and his armed forces are trying to bring back law and order to the islands that were affected and also the ones that were not affected in the ongoing war of corruption. His other islands are getting more police there so order is brought back. So the people are fearing a break-down in law and order over a course of time!

The US has received the call [SOS]! There are sending promised military assistance to the Philippines!

under: News

Black Friday

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | No Comment |


It’s that Christmas shopping time again—windows are overfilled with bright toys and clothes, gaudy Santa impersonators, and heavily ornamented trees. And Thanksgiving is next week, but the excitement for all that tasty, homemade food pales in comparison to the thrill of Black Friday. Stores open early and flood with millions of people all throughout the United States, everyone grabbing and fighting over that cashmere sweater that’s 75% off, or that new Barbie going for five bucks a pop, or those Uggs selling like candy at $40 a pair. But ever think of where the hustle and bustle of all these fantastic sales came from?

Black Friday has dozens of definitions, including “no one in industrial work showing up the day after Thanksgiving,” and how it was the day when the Native Americans realized that they’d caught a myriad of European diseases, which many eventually died from [FinalCall.com]. The most likely definition is that it is a term used in the retail world for the time of year they turn over profits, switching from red ink to black, or losses to profits.. It used to  be when sales dropped to all-time lows each year, but in the 1960s marketing geniuses used this bleak time of year for retailers to sell products even better—by decreasing the prices on everything ridiculous amounts. Since then, Black Friday has been the number one day of the year for Christmas shopping, becoming a national obsession of greed in the hearts of both retailers and the average shopper, who has suddenly turned hostile at the thought of getting $20 off that new PS4.

About three to ten deaths occur annually, from well before the doors open. At some stores up to 2,000 people arrive early, pushing in the doors by force and stampeding through the isles, occasionally trampling a few unfortunate victims. There are even sites dedicated to counting the death toll or ranking the deaths for which is most brutal [Ranker.com], and that doesn’t even count the 555 car crashes that have cost lives on Black Friday, according to an estimate by the National Highway Safety Council.

Thankfully, the internet poses as a safer way to get those fabulous discounts with equal frustration and less risk of injury. With Black Friday closing in and deals being released, are you ready to gear up and fight for the highest bid on eBay, and are your fingers fast enough to grab those leather boots first on Amazon?  Christmas time is here, with prices to match.

under: Features

Cutting the Wire

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | No Comment |


Late this November, a power outage affected the entire lower Kenai Peninsula.There’s nothing like a power outage to remind us just how dependent modern society is on electricity. As I walked through the dark halls, I asked myself, ”What would our society look like without electricity? Would it exist at all?”

Technology has brought us so far. From lightbulbs, to microprocessors, electricity has become an invaluable tool. Electricity has become inescapably tangled with modern life. How many rooms do we walk through in a day that don’t have wires or outlets. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the U.S. consumed close to 3,856 billion kilowatthours in 2011. Light, heat, communication, entertainment, food processing, storage of information, electricity is used for all of this and more.

But what happens when we cut the wire?

Perhaps modern society has become overly dependant on electricity. Without electricity, a hospital becomes little better than rooms full of sick people. Rooms become cold and dark. Homes and cities would cease to function.

Apocalyptic dystopia has become a Hollywood cliche; an absurd fear that filmmakers have capitalized on to make big bucks. But is that fear valid? On the one hand, we can say that electricity is a hundred-year-old technology that has improved our lives by leaps and bounds. On the other hand, we can say that we has become so dependent on electricity that without it, modern society would wither and die. Either way, people should look into the issue and decide what should be done about it.

under: News

3D Fax Machines to Replicate Life on Mars

Posted by: Mark Putney | December 10, 2013 | No Comment |

3D Photo by Sierra Deloach


In 2013 when we have such developed technology, it seems unlikely that anything new will come along to really blow the minds of the people. IPhones, tablets, Google glass even- have already incorporated themselves into the everyday lives of people. So, what about 3D printers and fax machines?

Scientist J. Craig Venter is looking into the invention of a machine to do the seemingly unthinkable- copying life on Mars. In an article by the New York Times, Venter explains that the genetic code that governs life can be stored in a computer and transmitted just like any other information. Such a system would transmit the information electronically, and the genome would by synthesized at the distant location by being inserted into what can be described as a “blank cell”.

Such a machine won’t be available for some time, and would only be available for scientific purposes as the costs would be enormous. However, in the far future, this tool may become available for the average consumer. The article explains that this kind of machine could be useful for medical purposes of the common man. For example, insulin for a diabetic could be just a click and download away.

What would a fax machine like this look like? “We’ll have a small box like a printer attached to your computer,” says Venter. Antibiotics would be able to be sent as emails, proteins could be constructed and sent in the flashiest of flashes- this is truly a monumental step in science technology.

When asked about a fax machine like this, Logan Reveil and Sam Draves had a few comments. “I like the idea,” said Logan, “I don’t know how practical it would be though.” Sam was ultimately against the idea of commercial use for the machine, but stated that “it may be useful medically for people who need quick access to medicines.” While the commercial use of this device could help people with medical conditions have quick access to medicines, it is unlikely pharmacies will stop doing their jobs a hundred years from now.

A similar machine, the 3D printer is already available for $1200+ from Staples. This can’t replicate life, but it can copy 3D objects such as tools for personal use and will in a way do for physical objects what MP3 files did for music. Instead of buying the physical object from the store or waiting for it to come in the mail after ordering it online, one can simply “print it out” of their 3D printer.

So while such an enormous step for technology as the life-replicating fax machine may be decades or centuries into the future, there are already gastronomical advances happening in this day and age. Sooner rather than later everything will be left up to technology, for better or for worse.

under: News

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