Senioritis Stories, Vol. 11: My Newest Vice is Tap Tap Fish

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

The past few weeks have been a bit rough, to say the least. Between a grad school rejection, senior year stress, and this interminable winter rain, I’ve been wearing thin. My anxiety has skyrocketed, my assignments are late, and graduation is approaching at warp speed. With all of these stressors, I’ve been desperate for a mental escape—something that both soothes and distracts, something that can carry me through to spring break as I slog through the next few weeks of my busy Furman life.

Enter Tap Tap Fish, a game that I played religiously while I was abroad during sophomore year and promptly forgot about upon arriving back in the States. For those of you who have blessedly never downloaded this app: it is entirely purposeless. You barely even have to look at the screen while you play it. The single objective of the game is to tap your phone’s screen to generate “vitality,” which you can then use to grow corals and create new fish. You can also change the color of the water and the reef to make your aquarium as visually appealing as possible. (Not that anyone asked, but after much tapping, I’ve managed to make my whole reef— and all of my fish—pink.)

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Behind the Scenes of ‘Mamma Mia’

Written by Mckenzie Gibel, Staff Writer

This year, I had the privilege of being cast in the ensemble of the Pauper Player’s latest hit musical production: Mamma Mia. There were many challenges, but in the end, it all came together and we put on a great show!

“For almost the whole rehearsal process we didn’t have many props, or a set, or even a big enough space to rehearse the big dance numbers. The most magical part of the show was the first time we did a full dress rehearsal in McAlister with all of our costumes, props, and sets. All of a sudden, the show became a show,” Ella Morton (Lisa) said.

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Seniorities Stories, Vol 10: Did You Hear About The Snow Day?

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

Hello, readers, and welcome to the second week of February! If you’re anything like me, you were equal parts delighted and confused about the surprise snow last Saturday (and also a bit disdainful toward the onslaught of wintry Instagram posts.) Like plenty of Furman students, I grew up in the Southeast—Decatur, GA, to be exact—so any sort of wintry precipitation was always a precious novelty. When I looked out my window that morning and saw that the snow was sticking, I felt that familiar childlike thrill. Snow? From the sky? How unusual! How surreal!

I’ve had a snow day during each year that I’ve spent at Furman. Some have been more memorable than others—for example, the snow day that occurred during finals season in December 2018, the entirety of which I spent in bed due to a wicked hangover-slash-food-poisoning combo. (This I do not recommend.) My favorite snow day was probably the one that occurred during spring semester of my sophomore year. I recall trudging around Lakeside with two of my friends, throwing snowballs in each other’s faces and drawing pictures in the snow with our fingertips. Something about that day felt like a piece of childhood.

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Laura Dern Is A Gay Icon: And That’s on Periodt

Written by William Ridley, Diversions Editor

While debating whether it would be impactful for me to write a review of the 92nd Academy Awards or if absolutely no one would care, I decided to narrow down my focus and celebrate first-time Oscar winner: Laura Dern. We all know her as Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park, Miss Riley in October Sky, Frannie Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars, or Bobbi Lambrecht in Wild. Now, after 40 years of acting, she is making a comeback in more recent films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the purple-haired Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Marriage Story as Nora Fanshaw, and Little Women as Marmee March. But regardless of where you know her from and how long you have been a fan, Dern has undoubtedly established herself as a versatile and exceptional actress. Her role in Marriage Story snagged her a third Oscar nomination and the first win of her career for Best Supporting Actress. Previously, Dern had been nominated for Best Actress in Rambling Rose and Best Supporting Actress in Wild. This win was the perfect gift for Dern, whose birthday fell on the Monday following this year’s Academy Awards.

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‘Just Mercy’ Review: It Is Never Too Late for Justice

Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist

A couple weeks ago I saw the film “Just Mercy” with a discussion afterwards sponsored by the Cothran Center. I had not read the book but heard that it was a heartbreakingly raw story that depicted race, the justice system, and the power of community in an honest light. It quickly became clear that this narrative would invite some tears to the showing when Rolyn Rollins, the Cothran Center Program Coordinator, began to hand out a box of tissues for us to pass around the entire theater. Taking the initiative, I pulled out a minimum of 6 tissues in the case that I did cry or that anyone else needed extra tissues as a means of saving any dry sleeves out there – the tear wiping method I typically employ. 

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Next Up for The Playhouse: “The Bear” and “Afterplay”

Written by Morgan Goldsberry, Contributor

Loss? Lies? Love?! Furman’s beloved theatre department is at it again with their production of “The Bear” and “Afterplay” by Brian Friel. Friel is well known for his re-imagining of Antov Checkhov’s wonderful, classic plays. Set in 19th century pre-revolution Russia, “The Bear” follows Elena Popova, a mourning widow, her wacky servant, Luka, and surly landowner Gregory Smirnov, portrayed by Clare Beth McConnell, Aaron Price, and Jackson Pratt. The humorous story unfolds when Smirnov barges into Elena’s house, attempting to collect the debt  owed by her late husband, inflicting immediate pushback from the widow. Smirnov refuses to leave until his debut is paid, causing the two to butt heads, delving into a ridiculous battle of wits and name-calling. Will these two ever reach peace? Find out in this unexpected and witty comedy!

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Senioritis Stories, Vol. 9: I’m In Love, With Pho

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

My gluten allergy is, candidly, my least favorite thing about myself. Can you imagine a less-sexy phrase than “I am gluten intolerant”? (No. You can’t.)

This allergy is a fairly new discovery of mine. After living in denial about some of my, ahem, symptoms—I’ll spare you the details—I decided to try cutting out gluten this past fall. To my combination delight and chagrin, I noticed instant improvements. Bread isn’t lethal for me—I won’t die if I eat it—but I will pay for it dearly for at least 24 hours, so I’ve reluctantly been learning to avoid it.

The saddest part of this new dietary restriction has been the search for good gluten-free substitutes. I’m an avid pasta-eater-or I was until I came to terms with my allergy, which has revealed that gluten-free food is usually, well, tragically inferior to its gluten-rich counterparts. Because of this, I’ve been forgoing most of my favorite meals. There is simply no way that gluten-free mac and cheese will taste as good as the real deal. It just isn’t possible. By the time spring semester rolled around, I had more or less accepted the fact that I was to be without decent comfort food. As Kurt Vonnegut says, so it goes.

Enter my love affair with Greenville’s surprisingly decent pho scene, an obsession that I’ve been feeding (no pun intended) for the past month. For those who don’t know, pho is a Vietnamese soup that consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. It also happens to be gluten-free. I’ve tried four different pho spots so far, but my current favorite is Mekong—not just for its food, but because of its cozy atmosphere, low prices, and out-of-the-way location. That a dish this delicious doesn’t destroy my gastrointestinal tract is nothing short of miraculous. Indeed, it has become my principal comfort meal as I stress about my upcoming graduation and pending departure from Furman. Sinking into the sensory bliss of rice noodle and warm, spiced broth has been a complete cure-all for any ailment, mental or physical.

So, take a cue from me—treat yourself to some pho when you next get a chance. You might need it more than you think.

Frozen II: Thawing Frozen Hearts in a Theater Near You Movie Review

Written by McKenzie Gibel, Staff Writer

It is autumn in Arendelle, but the aesthetic isn’t the only thing changing – Olaf’s exploring maturity, Kristoff has a plan, and Elsa’s hearing voices. The much-anticipated sequel to the ever-popular Frozen slammed into theaters on November 22, 2019, to much acclaim. In its box office debut, Frozen II earned itself a record-breaking $358.2 million worldwide. Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and writers Lee and Allison Schroeder pulled out all the stops. Frozen II lives up to the hype, it will have you laughing one second and sobbing the next. It was a surprisingly deep story with themes like environmentalism, self-actualization, accepting the past, and confronting the future. 

At the end of the first movie, Elsa was accepted by her people and although she was still a little unsure of herself, she, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven lived happily ever after. In Frozen II, Elsa has an itch that must be scratched – she still feels like an outsider and now a persistent voice is urging her to run away and find her place in the world. At first, she resists, but after a passionate ballad (that will be in your head for weeks) called “Into the Unknown,” she decides to take a risk and accidentally sets angry spirits loose on her kingdom. To save Arendelle, she, Anna, and the gang must follow this mysterious voice into the Enchanted Forest, find the truth, and appease the spirits. 

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Post-Study Abroad Vibes

Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist

Hello, Furman! It’s me again – yet another Furman student who has joined the “Study Abroad like changed me” club. Amidst my travels through England and Scotland, I didn’t quite grasp how much I’d been learning about myself and the world and its multitudes. After a full week of Furman classes, the lessons and experiences from being abroad have had a chance to sink in and reveal themselves to me in the smallest yet most significant ways.

Lesson #1 – It’s okay to slow down and live in the moment.

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