You might have read my previous article on Britney Spears’ music video for her hit, “Hold It Against Me”; the heavy bass and dangerous electric flare of that single continues throughout her album “Femme Fatale,” released on March 29.
In her new album, Spears experiments with heavy bass and fun, edited vocals to create a new and never before heard Britney. Just like the innocent and naive Spears disappeared after her controversial single, “I’m A Slave 4 U,” the pop-queen’s bubbly sound she is known for has disappeared with this album.
The techno-based album sounds a bit like her 2008 album, “Blackout,” but better. It seems like “Blackout” was just an experiment and failure that led to the immense success of “Femme Fatale.” With hits like “Till the World Ends” and “Hold It Against Me,” this album is an instant dance club classic.
“Femme Fatale” could easily be Spears’ best album, but also her weirdest. It’s a dance album full of edgy and dubstep-inspired songs that would be perfect to play at Prom, in my opinion.
Spears says she worked on this album with a “hands-on” approach, which explains the difference we see with this album and her first single “Baby, One More Time.” Her music is less poppy and bubblegum and is now sexier and heavily influenced with “Big Fat Bass,” one of her new songs that could easily blow your car speakers if turned up too loud.
Her success in the music business isn’t the only thing to smile about; Spears is also happy with her two adorable boys, Preston and Jayden, and long time boyfriend. Needless to say, she is happy with her life – when it comes to her family as well as music. So rejoice Britney fans; the queen is back and in full swing.
For those of you who haven’t been to the FCCTV studio, it is an area of decent sized rooms that hides under the very school we walk in. To get in, you have to enter a code, knock on the door three times and then perfect the secret handshake.
Kidding, of course; the doors are by the art room back entrance and are almost always open. The tech guy who runs the place, Michael Palmrose, was very helpful and willing to teach us TV amateurs, the staff of Lasso Online, how to perfect the art of the press conference.
It was quite an experience. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the room—besides the overwhelming amount of technology surrounding me—was how cold it is. I soon realized, however; why the air conditioning was on full blast when I started to feel the heat of the stage lights.
Students sit in their seats with pen and notebook in hand. Barely five minutes later, the Superintendents, both Dr. Berlin and Dr. Jones, arrive. Next thing you know, the teleprompters are rolling and the blinding lights are front and center on seniors Eddy Marshall and Hannah Leopold.
A few questions and answers later, the camera man gives the signal and it is all over. Everyone takes a deep breath. Journalists finish their last notes and Superintendents exchange a few light conversations.
What was the most memorable part of this Lasso adventure?
Co-news editor Allie Plata, freshman, says, “asking the questions, on TV!”
Students were most excited about the fact that they would be shown on television. Even if it is not national television, the experience is still something worth telling to grandchildren—well, maybe younger grandchildren, because no grandchildren over the age of 12 will find that very exciting.
This year, Atlantic Records held a competition for schools across America to find the best high school music program in the country. Several Mason students wrote essays describing the school’s success in the music area, including chorus members Samuel Waters and Anne Briggs and symphonic band member Annie Geren.
The winning school will get a personal performance by Jason Mraz; the date of this year’s Spring Show was planned around his appearance. It will be interesting to see how Mraz is able to adapt to such a small stage in the auditorium; students could not be more excited for the performance.
“When I wrote the essay, I did not know if we stood a chance. I was so ecstatic to find out that we won and to see Jason in person. He is really a musical inspiration,” said senior Anne Briggs.
Over 400 schools entered this contest, but ultimately, Mason was deemed as the high school with the most outstanding musical program.
“We really have a great program, especially the band which has had ten straight years of superior ratings,” said senior Annie Geren.
The schools were judged on criteria consisting of success in musical competitions, the essays submitted by the musicians, and proof of the school’s dedication to keeping the music program alive.
Students who are fans of musical artist Jason Mraz may want to buy tickets for one of the Spring Show performances. Happy April Fool’s Day.
George Mason’s Robotics team played a hard fought competition at the DC Convention Center this weekend. They ultimately came in 13th in the preliminary standings out of 62 other teams, and were picked to play in the second seeded alliance for the finals. We were eliminated in the quarter finals by two extremely close matches, losing 73 to 75 in quarter final one, and 66 to 75 in quarter final two with our minibot one foot away from scoring 20 points at the final buzzer.
The team improved dramatically over the two day competition, ultimately winning seven times and losing three. Each match taught the team something new about the robot and how to make it better. This game had a 15 second autonomous period where the robot operated entirely on its own, then 90 seconds of tele-operated play where the robot is driven by two students to score inner tubes on a scoring rack, finished by a 20 second period for deploying a small robot to climb a ten foot pole. Our robot can now score six points autonomously, place an entire logo of tubes in the tele-operated period, and deploy a mini-bot very consistently, something we could not do during most of the matches held Friday. We were the leading scorer in our alliance group every time we played Saturday morning.
The students worked extremely hard to improve between matches, frequently testing our capabilities on a practice field and making modifications in our pit area. We have now played the game as successfully as we hoped, and are eager to show our stuff at the Virginia Regional in Richmond next week (April 7, 8 and 9). If this team plays like it did on the last day of this competition, we should find ourselves in the playoffs once again against a very impressive array of mostly Virginia teams. Of the 62 teams scheduled, only nine will be from out of state.
The attention to detail, the problem solving, and the resourcefulness of this team is the real accomplishment this last weekend. Things went wrong that we did not anticipate, equipment failed, rulings went against us, but at no time did this team fail to figure out what to do next and to go back and play better the next match. It is amazing how little it takes for something to go wrong in a test like this competition. Our team did not quit, they came off the field fierce to make improvements and go back and play some more. By the end of the day, we felt like we could play against the best teams on the field. I wish you all could have witnessed the dramatic progress this team made over the three days in DC.
We look forward to starting the fourth quarter with a more triumphal match in Richmond. Nothing could exceed the intensity of what this young team did this last weekend, or better represent how they overcame setbacks, solved complex technical dilemmas with the materials on hand, and improved in speed and accuracy on the playing field. They have every reason to be congratulated and celebrated.
The FIRST Team 1418 is made up by team members Matt Butkiewicz, Andrew Emmons, Kal Stankov, Vlad Utchin, Chris Wakeley, Andrew Finein, Adam Martin, Boon Sakprayoonpong, Teran Peterson, Daniel Suh, Daniel Nette, Shayne Ensign, Beamlak Hallemariam, Jade Womak, and Marc Forbes.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, mind racing at a million miles per second; George Mason seniors know this feeling all too well. Logging onto email accounts and checking the mailbox frantically everyday are common signs of college acceptance anxiety, present especially in these next few months.
However, students who applied early decision or early action found out mid-December, meaning senioritis kicked in before many seniors even began stressing over college acceptances. And if you are lucky enough to be a star athlete, your college decision could have been made as early as the end of junior year. From personal experience, I can attest that yes, the waiting time is just as horrible as everyone makes it sound. The month before that acceptance or rejection letter was to arrive, paranoia kicked in and I began coming up with other options for next year if I got that envelope with “rejected, you suck” in big red letters. Maybe I could work at McDonalds? Or take a year off, just to chill at home? I had days where I would feel very relaxed and certain that I would make it into my top choice; of course I wouldn’t let anyone know about these thoughts because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Mostly, though, I suffered through the bad days of “What if I don’t get in??? My life will be over!!”
Just like anticipating the college decisions is as horrible as everyone says it is, senioritis is just as great, or even better, than what all seniors make it out to be. The day before a big test, most juniors and underclassmen would be cramming and freaking out; but as a senior, you have the perk of not caring and leaving grades up to a little thing called fate. Senior year also gives students open campus passes and a free pass out of any class via the form for 18 year old students to sign themselves out. Teachers are also more lenient, factoring in students’ stress over completing numerous college apps and essays; this is where whining about not having enough time to complete an assignment works like magic.
For those students still waiting to hear back from colleges, the wait is almost over, so keep faking those distraught puppy-dog faces in front of teachers while you can get away with it. As college acceptances arrive in the mailbox, post your senior picture along with your college logo on the college map outside of the library. There really is no better feeling than knowing that you are on your way to a new step in life to get experience in the real world, leaving the high school drama and immaturity behind.
-Giulia Hjort, senior
The cast of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School’s “High School Musical, Junior” definitely had their heads in the game during their final performance last Saturday night.
If you don’t already know the plot of the Disney hit “High School Musical,” here’s a recap: basketball star Troy Bolton meets new kid and champion braniac Gabriella Montez over winter break when the two share a duet in a karaoke contest. Their friendship is forbidden and they are forced to “stick to the status quo” by drama club president Sharpay Evans and her brother Ryan. In the end, though, they realize that they are “all in this together” and become friends. Basically, it’s a modern version of “Grease.”
George Castillo and Lydia Gomper sang their hearts out as Troy and Gabriella, while Brian Nelson and Annie Washa shined as the despicable Sharpay and Ryan. With a cast consisting of kids ages 11 to 13, there was no shortage of smiles and energy onstage. The play stuck to the original movie for the most part, with just a few changes here and there and a few new songs, like “Counting on You.”
The talented cast didn’t let a few technical difficulties ruin their night; they continued on through microphone failures and early music cues. Though the show only lasted an hour, the cast was greeting with a standing ovation at the end of the show, while Castillo and the rest of the cast presented MEH theatre teacher and play director Barbara Piscopo with a bouquet of flowers to express their thanks. George Mason High School students Andrew Finein and Shannon Upton also lent a hand with the performance, with Upton as choreographer and Finein as technical director.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of the seventh grade performers in a Mason musical next year.