Stories for November 2008

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Sunday, November 30

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Style Scout: Courtney Ricketts

27-year-old owner of the Magic Carpet Traveler

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Style Scout: Jason Barr

27-year-old student, printmaker, DJ, and dad

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Review: Saints Row 2 (360)

You won't see any gaming industry experts defending this title on national news, as there's nothing to defend. This game is probably the most purely and unapologetically immoral game I've ever played.

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Townie guide to… seasonal athletic disorder

With Sarah Fertig, senior lawrence.com Seasonal Sports Hysteria Correspondent who is currently running on the treadmill while watching ESPN and ESPN2 simultaneously

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Tiger Beat

The Republic Tigers continue their torrid march up the charts

Hate if you wanna, but The Republic Tigers are still the best band in Kansas City. With the excitement of that whole “we have a lot of fountains” thing quickly rubbing off, it’s high time our sister city put that Puddle of Mudd thing to rest. Enter the Tigers: a brilliant and strikingly individualistic band that offers a beacon of hope to all Midwestern music-makers who don’t yarl.

Tuesday, November 25

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Review: Quantum of Solace (360)

With their first attempt at the Bond license, Activision wraps the narrative of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace around the superb Call of Duty 4 engine. It sounded like a perfect match, but the end results are a bit messy.

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Townie guide to... Thanks, but no Thanksgiving

Despot, nudie model, arbiter of awesome, enjoys subterfuge, spray paint, and livin' like a sybarite

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Save & Splurge: Valerie Miller-Coleman

Executive Director of Family Promise, reader

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Style Scout: Kent VanHelsing

687-year-old Vampire Hunter, Motivational Speaker, Philanthropist, and Protector of Fair Maidens

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Style Scout: Elizabeth Lorkowski

24-year-old Education & Outreach Associate and recent ex-Lawrencian

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Have Yourself A Miserly Little Christmas

A Gift Guide for the Financially Ruined

Economists say that to get the market running again we need to spend a lot of money this holiday season. But what money? We’ve all been laid off. Luckily, there’s a gift guide tailored to the financially ruined consumer.

Actual news*

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week.

Monday, November 24

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Review: Call of Duty - World at War (360)

It may be WWII again, and it may be Treyarch instead of Infinity Ward, but World at War does the Call of Duty name justice. It's every bit as good as its modern predecessor.

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Review: Far Cry 2 (360)

Overall, it's an interesting take on the FPS genre that will please patient gamers. I won't say "if you liked the original, you'll like this" as it really has no connection with that game other than the title.

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Inside the Abstractor’s Studio

Artist Jen Unekis maps the landscape of the abstract

Although she was born in the lap of sultry Southern California, Jen Unekis spent her formative years living on a dilapidated farm in Kansas. The decade she and her family spent constantly renovating the rustic heap would inform her art, the environment of churning rebirth and hands-on earthiness reflected in her tactile multi-media works.

Saturday, November 22

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Review: Crash: Mind Over Mutant (360)

The Crash Bandicoot series never quite turned into the phenomenon Sony hoped it would, and the franchise was passed from Naughty Dog to lesser developers. Crash: Mind Over Mutant is what happens when you take a series out of capable hands.

Friday, November 21

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Murderbot was the case that they gave me

Chris Shively returns to Lawrence for a bootylicious Thanksgiving

Like so many teenagers in the early ‘90s, Chris Shively was swept up in the more appealing elements of the booming rave culture – i.e. the music. When that scene came crashing to a halt, Shively held tight to his passion by acting as the electronic music director for KJHK 90.7FM and gobbling up new releases at 180 beats-per-minute. He also began honing his songwriting skills, modeling his Murderbot alias after the classic mid-‘90s jungle records that he loved so dearly.

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Mirror's Edge (PS3)

EA continues their extremely surprising trend of introducing new IPs with Mirror's Edge, a parkour-inspired action game. It features a great first-person perspective that really puts you in the action, but some of the gameplay decisions bring down what could have been a great, innovative experience.

Wednesday, November 19

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'Attack' mode

The Noise FM releases debut album; joggers and weightlifters rejoice

It's difficult to imagine a local release in recent years that comes out of the gate stronger than The Noise FM's "Dream of the Attack." Beginning with the taut, magnetic riffs of "Simple Simon" and continuing through the gaping-mouth hooks of "Circles," the album strikes a perfect balance between musicianship and songcraft-two things that don't always come as a package.

Tuesday, November 18

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Review: Buzz Quiz TV (PS3)

Considering there's already a huge amount of available questions (not to mention the downloadable packs), the online options add an almost limitless amount of replay value. It's a great title to have laying around when you've got company over, and well worth the purchase.

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Review: Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (360)

While nothing is completely broken about Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (although the camera comes close), there's nothing particularly great about it. It offers little new in a genre that requires innovation in order to get noticed.

Monday, November 17

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

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The LAN of Oz

Rock Chalk LAN brings computers and carnage to the KU campus

A primer: LAN stands for "Local Area Network." BYOC means "Bring Your Own Computer." DotA is "Defense of the Ancients." And BBAMFIC:well, you probably don't want to know what BBAMFIC stands for.

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Save & Splurge: Sparkle

Third Planeteer, online gamer, witch crafter, pagan, and film buff.

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Townie guide to... transplantation

Former Lawrence barista and KJHKer, current marketing associate in Chicago, enjoys free-styling, losing things, watching The Sopranos.

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Birth of The Beats is Born, 64 years later

Thanks to Lawrence's James Grauerholz, the crime novel that launched the careers of Burroughs and Kerouac finally sees print

In August of 1944, a 19-year-old Columbia student named Lucien Carr killed 33-year-old David Kammerer, the man who had mentored him since he was a young, fatherless boy and had come to fawn over him to the point of obsession. Carr stabbed him with a Boy Scout knife during a fight and threw his body in the Hudson River. The first people he ran to were his friends Bill Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

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Whoop Dee Doo!

Nutty faux TV show merges diverse communities in the name of fun and dance

Flip on the TV anymore and much that is flashed back is grim: war and death, crashing economies and lost jobs, drowning polar bears-it's enough to bring anyone down. What if the sights that greeted you were instead things like a fun-loving giant box of French fries trying to cheer up a sullen werewolf? Or some dancing grannies and a gospel choir that's lovin' life so much it hurts? That's the stuff of Whoop Dee Doo, Kansas City's imaginary-but real!-television show.

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Style Scout: Matt Ratt

21-year-old Aquarian pipe slinger from Middle Earth

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Style Scout: Jaime Netzer

23-year-old Gemini writer from Lawrence

Friday, November 14

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Fable II (360)

Fable II is a huge improvement over the original in every conceivable way. The first game could have never lived up to the hype Molyneaux surrounded it with, so it's good that the press around this sequel was respectively understated.

Review: Guitar Hero World Tour (360)

After the massive success of the Rock Band series, it was only natural for Guitar Hero (the originator of the "plastic guitar game" craze) to throw its hat in the "full band" ring. Unfortunately, it can't quite pull it off with the same level of polish that Harmonix's baby possesses.

Thursday, November 13

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Singstar vol. 2 (PS3)

The game itself is not bad for what it is, but the fact that it's a full disc purchase rather than the more convenient and efficient DLC makes it harder to recommend.

Monday, November 10

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Actual News*

*based on actual news

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Spy Candy

Local guys design 007 title sequence, save the world

Naked women and lazers... "that's how we pitch every title design that our studio's ever done." -Timmy Fisher, MK12's Title Design Director for the new Bond film "Quantum of Solace."

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Torch Song

The legacy of Jana Mackey burns bright in the 1,100 Torches Campaign

A mother in Oregon is compelled for the first time to donate her services to homeless outreach. Halfway across the country in Nebraska, a woman with no particular background in community organizing spearheads a statewide clothing drive for a shelter in Kansas. In New Mexico, yet another woman is driven from complacency and begins volunteering at a rape crisis center. The only tie connecting these seemingly disparate people is they are first time activists-and they were all inspired to this newfound activism by Jana Mackey.

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Save & Splurge: Audrey Bellinder

I don't have a bank and I don't have any government IDs or anything like that. I just keep it in a box I made. I don't really trust banks...

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The Lord Speaketh

Hammerlord lays down the metal/not-metal gauntlet

Tt takes about two hellraising seconds to figure out that Hammerlord is most definitely metal. Earth-scorching guitar leads, double-bass-drum blasts, guttural vocals, lyrics about spilt blood and the "Throne of Azathoth" metal like the wolf. It's even got a drum solo on it how metal is that?!!! Plenty of bands would give their first Anthrax tape to be this metal, but few succeed so quickly and convincingly.

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Townie guide to... townie pride

With Annie Harrigan-Visual Arts Education student, KJHK DJ, Big Sister, collects star bits, stops, smells roses, high fives and smiles, smacks down at trivia when she has $5 to spare

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Style Scout: Yuri Zupancic

Artist, curator for DotDotDot Art Space, roller blader, and musician

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Style Scout: Katy Seibel

Copywriter and editor for Payless ShoeSource and writer of the fashion blog, Kansas Couture

Sunday, November 9

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Review: Lego Batman (360)

While the Lego Star Wars games had a good variety of characters, lightsabers, blasters, and Force powers, the Indy movies didn't have nearly as many memorable faces or weapons, and the game lacked because of it. Luckily, Batman is another series that is rich with abilities and characters, and it translates to the Lego framework very well.

Monday, November 3

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Synchronicity

A consideration of the internet and the evolution of consciousness

Thanks to the internet, all of the drama, emotionalism, and occasional comedy of the 2008 U.S. elections have resonated far more widely-both here and around the globe-than ever before. Much has been written about this, the first truly wired U.S. election. That's not exactly our concern here, though. Our concern is relatively elusive-it is to make of the broadening, more unified awareness ushered in by the internet:

Actual News*

*based on actual news

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World of Warlock

The magic, trash and trannies of artist Aaron Storck

Between his penchant for wearing rotting produce and his predilection for displaying spread eagle she-males, one might expect to find Aaron Storck rooting through a dumpster or yelling at cats in a back alley. While Storck does indeed revel in filth and fantasy, it's not because he's off his meds-it's in service of his art. The Bronx born Storck came to KU to study art and has split his time between New York and Lawrence, developing this unique vision of magical debauchery.

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Back in the Day

Billy Spears Band-legendary local act of the '70s-reunites for one more show

There was a time when Billy Spears was king. A food service worker at the Kansas Union with curly hair and, judging by the old pictures, an inscrutable and wild look to his eyes and all about him-when Billy Spears was playing his fiddle, people would not miss it. "He was a legend around town," says Chuck Mead of BR549.

Style Scout: Jenny Kratz

Style Scout: Jason Marqusee

Sunday, November 2

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Review: Little Big Planet (PS3)

Every single person that owns this game will have their own moments, own creative input, and own connection to the characters and stages. It's a milestone in gaming, and it will be offering new experiences for years to come.