The Good Liar: Senior Scammers

The Good Liar is a satisfying, slow-burning thriller that will make you reevaluate your perception of innocent senior citizens.

The Good Liar stars Sir Ian McKellen in the role of Roy, an experienced scam artist. I will admit that I was pretty excited to watch this movie because I have been a fan of McKellen since watching him in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and most recently in the play King Lear. The pacing of The Good Liar‘s trailer first led me to believe that the movie would be faster pace and would contain more action, which admittedly made me a bit skeptical since the film’s leads, Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are advanced in age. I was glad to find instead that the movie showcased both Mirren and McKellen’s skill in a slower and more confined setting.

Taken from Warner Bros. Pictures’s Youtube

The Good Liar begins with Roy initiating contact with Betty, Mirren’s character, on an online dating site. He lies about a lot of the information on his profile and aims to take advantage of Betty given she is a recent widow.

Taken from Warner Bros. Pictures’s Youtube

The Elderly as Easy Targets

Taking advantage of the elderly is not a new phenomenon and the advent of internet seems to have made the process even easier. The mythical level that the African Prince email scam has reached in pop culture attests the the overall gullibility of people and especially of those less technologically savvy. Given that the elderly often lived their entire adult lives without the internet, they are usually the target of internet scams.

The scamming occurs increasingly often on dating sites given their wide proliferation. These sites rely on the trust of users; users have to believe that who they are talking to is the person pictured in said profile. This lack of physicality makes it easy for people to lie and initiate a scam that preys on the vulnerability of those seeking love.

Inverting Expectations

While the scam Roy initiates with Betty is the main focus that drives the plot of the film, there is an additional scheme that he masterminds. Without revealing any spoilers, this swindle involves many people and interestingly, they are all significantly younger than Roy.

Taken from Warner Bros. Pictures’s Youtube

This importantly inverts the viewers expectation that old people are the victims of fraud and demonstrates that the elderly are capable of being agents of hustles. A New York Times article states that:

the Department of Justice described criminal cases involving nearly $700 million lost in the previous year by about two million people. The ones hit hardest by this kind of fraud are over 70, and they experience an average loss of $41,800, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports.

This inversion of expectations should not be taken lightly. The portrayal of the elderly in roles different from those typically attributed to them allows for more creativity in cinema. Just look at the ending to Hot Fuzz and try tell me it is not hilarious and that you saw it coming, you simply can’t. Who says that old people can only be grandparents or cheap tools to advance plot and evoke sympathy with their approaching death?

I’d like to believe that having the elderly play such atypical roles such as scammers or weapon toting gunslingers can only open the door to the creation of new intellectual property, which is something utterly key in a time when safe bets and sequels appear prominently in any given week’s list of premiers.

Written by: Nils Ljungquist

The Ultimate Break Playlist

With Thanksgiving done and winter break fast approaching, everyone is getting in the holiday spirit, finishing up finals, and gearing up to go back home for the time off.

I decided to make a playlist this month with some music that represents winter to me in various ways. From psychedelic rock to alternative grunge to indie, the winter to me is a more angsty time for music, a time to explore new eerie tunes that go well with the colder weather. It is simultaneously a time to find cozy holiday music, songs, and albums of nostalgia and warmth.

I decided to combine these two winter moods into a collective playlist that can be listened to at any time, one of all different moods. These 20 songs, go over a musical experience of grunge and hardcore but also slower acoustics as well as alternative upbeat songs.

Your Cat” – Slaughter Beach, Dog

Ollie North” – Donovan Wolfington

So Tired” – Crumb

I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes) – The 1975

Home” – Sean Ono Lennon

Revolution” – The Wrecks

Pendulum” – Bay Faction

Rolling Stoned” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Note To Self” – Mild High Club

666” – Sugar Candy Mountain

Squish” – On Drugs

Colours” – Grouplove

Stay Away” – Nirvana

Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most” – Dance Gavin Dance

Lighterless” – Microwave

drip bounce_7_24_18” – Toro y Moi

” – Stephen Fretwell

Rango” – Catfish and the Bottlemen

High Pressure” – Turnstile

Casper” – Sports Team

These songs overall represent my winter mood this year going into December. I’ll definitely have them on repeat for the rest of the year. Whether you are listening to this walking around campus, on your way home, or just in the comfort of friends, I hope to pass the vibes on to whoever listens. Enjoy this playlist and have a happy winter break!

Written by: Jesse Miller
Photo by: Jesse Miller

Stirring the Pot: Stayin’ Studious Without Losing a Screw

Trying to survive in college is stressful in and of itself; add exams, lack of sleep, and anxiety to the mix and you’re in for a rough time. Here are some helpful tips to stay sane yet studious.

Typically, I like to do investigative pieces — this is a bit of a deviation from my normal style but I found it quite fitting as we’re finishing off midterms and on the cusp of finals season. Yep, the exams and deadlines are here and we’re all in a frenzy of stress, anxiety, and a lack of sleep (which we all know we desperately need). The eyebags are forming, and so is the long, expensive list of Venti Starbucks Nitro Cold Brews, Monsters, and Guayaki Yerba Mates. But to be honest, I just hope you’re all doing okay. Or at least surviving. Anyways, I just thought I’d share some ways to not go completely batshit crazy from all the damn stress you’re probably facing right now. (And trust me, I’m  quite knowledgeable on the subject, as I’m a literal human ball of worry.)

ORGANIZE!

I know this isn’t a fresh, new idea, but it’s honestly the best way to assure you don’t feel as if you’re literally drowning in an ocean of papers, projects, and deadlines. And it’s a lot simpler than it seems — you don’t need to buy an expensive planner or be a bullet journaling master to tackle time management. Simply get a piece of paper (or use your phone notes app if you prefer) and just write out everything that’s stressing you out — all the things you have to do, and when they need to be done by. Literally just spill your brains out onto the page.

By releasing everything from your head to a documented place allows your mind to be relieved from all the pressure of remembering these tasks. Then plug them into your calendar! Plan out the week day-by-day and suddenly your tasks will seem much less daunting: as long as they’re spread out into time chunks — cramming is not the move! 

PRIORITIZE YOURSELF!

Assure you’re keeping your best interests in mind when making decisions. If you know you have a fat paper to write in TWO days that you have yet to start, then it’s probably in your best interest to take up your friend’s last-minute, yet extremely enticing offer to go to that party. Let yourself have enough time to complete your task without the pressure of the deadline waving over your head — pulling an all-nighter while chugging two sour apple reigns from the 7-eleven across the street is not the best situation to be in (coming from personal experience!). Not only can this lead to a mental breakdown (guilty), but it means you’re not doing your best work. But I know you’re still going to procrastinate, so to assure your all-night cram/work session won’t completely destroy your health, make sure you’re taking short breaks in which you leave your workspace and take a stretch or stroll. If you’re going to consume high quantities of caffeine, make sure to balance your water intake with the caffeine (not only will hydrating keep your mind sharp, but it will make the caffeine much more effective and long-lasting). Also, assure you’re eating healthy snacks — some of these could include nuts, berries, granola bars, or yogurt. NO TAKIS. PLEASE.

SLEEP!

Sleep is a precious gift. I know us college kids cherish (and I mean CHERISH) our sleep despite sacrificing it constantly. I know all the doctors tell us we need roughly 8 hours of sleep but honestly, I know I’m not getting it and it’s completely MY FAULT. Sleep is extremely crucial if we want our mental health to be in tip-top shape — one way to combat the lack of sleep I know we all have is by taking power naps. No, not four-hour naps that send us into another dimension of time, I’m talking about 15-20 minute naps in between classes. This short bit of sleep can give you the power to push through the day and be productive when you’re feeling like you can’t keep goin’ anymore. But make sure to be self-disciplined: don’t keep hitting snooze, but give yourself an incentive to get up, such as a good ol’ cuppa joe.

BALANCE YOUR TIME!

One of the most important tips I can give you is to just be self-aware of your productivity. If you know you’re overworking yourself, make sure to give yourself time to relax, let loose, and have fun! Reward yourself for your hard work when you know you deserve it. Make plans with friends or just let yourself sit back and veg on the couch! But this goes both ways: if you know you’ve been slacking a bit and you’re stressed from your lack of productivity in the face of a million daunting tasks, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Beating yourself up and calling yourself a failure isn’t going to do you any good. Remind yourself that you are capable of doing great things, pull your bootstraps on, and get your shit done! Take it little by little, assuring you’re not trying to get too much done in a short period of time. Honestly, the hardest part of doing anything is just starting. Type out that title page, start that outline, pull out that textbook, and break out those highlighters. Tell yourself that the task is NOT bigger than you and that you can take it.

Make sure to stay focused though — as I said before: if you know you haven’t been too productive lately, make sure to be intentional about how you’re spending your time. Don’t lay in bed for six hours if you know you have things to do, even if they’re stressing you out. In the end, your lack of productivity will make yourself feel MORE stressed in the end, and can affect the way you view yourself, which has a direct correlation to the quality of your mental health!

LOVE YOURSELF!

I hope some of these tips help you out. But honestly, give yourself a damn break. You’ve got this! You’re doing great. I know all these things are easier said than done, but just make sure you’re taking it all little by little. It’s not the end of the world if you mess up. We all do it – none of us are perfect students – or perfect people at that. Just try your best, plan as much as you can, and make sure you’re doing everything that’s in your best interest. You’ve made it this far, and honestly, that’s a huge achievement in itself! And as I’m sure you don’t hear this enough, I’m proud of you.

Written by: Olivia Flores
Featured Image: Prescence.io

Electronic House Music: A Concept

In this week’s blog, I am going to focus on my favorite sub-genre of Electronic Dance Music: House Music.

Most of you know of house music from parties, clubs, or festivals. It has a catchy beat that you can’t help bobbing your head or moving your arms to. Others know how to shuffle to this music (I am still learning but I am impressed with everyone who can break out in shuffle).

House music originated in Chicago at a club called The Warehouse in 1977. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop together. Many of these music experiments took place there, and House became the first descendant of disco.

House music is funny to me because there’s usually a couple of words in the song followed by a beat to dance to. It is repetitive, but that’s what makes it fun. It is usually in a range of 115-130 bpm (beats per minute). I know whenever I hear house music in public places, I can’t help but dance to it.

My featured image for this post shows my favorite house DJ, Tchami, during his back to back set with ZHU. This happened this summer at Hard Summer Music Festival. I was in the crowd for this set and it was a huge moment. ZHU and Tchami had never shared the stage before so everyone got to hear their iconic sounds combined.

Tchami usually shares the stage with Malaa, who I saw at EDC Las Vegas last year. I first saw Tchami in 2017 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas — I fell in love with house music and I hope to see him five thousand more times.

In this post, I’m going to highlight some of the different types of house music. I will name some artists associated with the each type and some song suggestions to listen to.

Some different types that I am familiar with are Deep House, Bass House, Big Room House, Tech House and Future House.

For some popular house music titles, most of you probably know of these artists and their songs:

Deep House

This type of house music tends to have a lower bpm (around 120 bpm) and has greater influences from soul, jazz, and funk. I intertwine Deep House with Progressive House because they are both very similar. They are closely related to Trance music, as it has long accelerating peaks and troughs that progress throughout the track.

Bass House

Bass house has more baseline while also containing house music elements. It goes much “harder” because of the bass, and is usually around 145-150 bpm.

Big Room House

This is the more mainstream House music. It has lengthy build-ups and releases.

Tech House

This form of house music combines techno styles with house. It has more techno sounding beats with the rhythm of house music. I don’t listen to much tech house but here are some examples I came up with.

Future House

Future house emerged in the United Kingdom around 2010. It fuses deep house, garage house and other elements of electronic music into it. Garage house is known to have pitch-shifted and time-shifted vocals.

These are just a small amount of the many types of House music. This shows how vast the electronic music genre is. I’m still constantly learning about each one and I love to hear the differences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Written by: Alexandra Gex