Daily Archives: February 25, 2011

Students develop game application out of capstone project

Two Linfield seniors created a game application for Google’s Android smart phone. The game is the first in a series that their new company plans to produce.

Robert Ferrese and Clayton Martin designed “Pirates vs. Ninjas,” which came out in a free beta version on Feb. 16 .

“Pirates vs. Ninjas” is produced by Martin and Ferrese’s company, Black Sparks Studio.

The free, full version of the game — which includes more options than the beta version — became available for download on Feb. 23. The 99-cent version with expanded levels will hit the market on March 2.

Martin said “Pirates vs. Ninjas” is a tower defense game, which is a style of game that requires players to defend their own bases while attacking the opposing team’s fortresses.

Players choose to play as pirates or ninjas before selecting a difficulty level, Martin said.

The complete version will feature 50 levels in its initial stages, but Martin said that he and Ferrese plan to expand the game to 100 levels.

Martin said they began creating “Pirates vs. Ninjas” as Ferrese’s senior capstone project for his computer science major.

Martin said that Ferrese was in charge of writing the code for the application, while Martin was involved in business and marketing aspects of the process, such as finding an artist and testers, managing the design and publicizing the game.

He said that 10 students tested the application before its release. One tester was senior Samuel Shryock.

Shryock said he helped adjust various aspects of the application, such as changing the damage level of certain powers and testing for difficulty.

Martin said the game has been downloaded 3,000 times since the game’s launch date.

“It’s been successful so far,” Martin said. “The amount of money we’ve invested in the project is so small that even if we only make a thousand sales, we’d still be making a profit.”

Ferrese and Martin plan to continue producing applications through the company after graduation this spring, Martin said.

Shryock said he will work with Black Sparks Studio next year doing more coding and game production work.

“We don’t know how much it’s going to take off, but it has potential to go places and I kind of want to be there when it does,” he said.

Shryock said that he doesn’t anticipate it being a full-time job at first but that everyone is interested in seeing how far the company will progress.

“It’s been a fun experience,” Martin said. “It’s almost like having the American dream without the same amount of work. You get to be a programmer on par with someone working at Apple except without the years of experience.”

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<em>Joanna Peterson, Culture editor</em>

Senior vocalist entertains with operatic performance

Davaz

When audience members filed in to watch senior Melissa Davaz’s student recital on Feb. 20, many found they got much more than they had bargained for.

Davaz sang various operatic pieces, such as “Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling” by Mozart, “Waldesgespräch” by Schumann, “Ganymed” by Schubert, and “Fleur desséchée” by Viardot.

Deborah Huddleston, adjuct professor of music and the pianist at the recital, spoke highly of her experience working with Davaz.

“She’s very organized, she knows what she wants, and she adapts well,” Huddleston said. “It’s wonderful to play with someone who can nuance the songs like she does. It’s like working with a professional.”

Davaz has been singing for about eight years. She said she is inspired by artists from the Romantic period, such as Schubert and Brahms,  although she admitted she is also partial to more contemporary artists such as the Allman Brothers and Billie Holiday.

In addition to her operatic performances, Davaz also plays the keyboard and sings with the folk-rock band Jack Ruby Presents.

Davaz studied vocally under Professor of Music Gwen Leonard and spent a semester abroad studying music in Vienna, Austria.

Davaz graduated in December 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and a minor in Music.

“For me, Linfield has created a diversity of experiences,” she said. “It has helped me become a more professional performer.”

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<em>Ellen Brahae, for the review</em>

Artist creates twist on community

Masterplexed,” an exhibit by Damien Gilley, features a maze-like exploration of master-planned communities. Katie Paysinger, Senior Photographer

Masterplexed,” an exhibit by Damien Gilley, features a maze-like exploration of master-planned communities. Katie Paysinger, Senior Photographer

Artist Damien Gilley spoke in an artist talk on Feb. 19., answering questions from the audience and describing his artwork, which is on exhibit in the Linfield Gallery.

His piece, titled “Masterplexed,” is a maze-like design that challenges perceived and actual space. It features temporary walls set up at 45-degree angles that confuse the eye’s perception of the installation. The continuity of the walls and lines are interrupted by the artist’s manipulation.

“The main point was to create space visually instead of physically,” Gilly said.

Gilley uses the installation of makeshift walls using gray panels to develop and elaborate on the room’s already existing walls. The lines on the panels are contrasted with additional orange lines. Everything in the exhibit is set to a grid with simple angles.

He said he wanted to reinforce the grid and then break it at the same time.

“The orange lines have no grid relationship; they are less measured and less predictable,” Gilley said.

Cris Moss, gallery director and instructional associate of art and visual culture, shared his perceptions of the exhibit.

Gilley’s work “questions how we view our personal space and perception. His art is busy yet clean. It uses simple lines and colors that allow the viewer to extend viewing past the walls,” Moss said.

The simplicity of the display is one of Gilley’s artistic traits. At first glance, the piece looks complex and busy but is simple at it’s core.

“The goal is to create a perplexing space with a minimal amount of visual stimuli, allowing the viewer to explore and experience subtle perceptual phenomena. The space is optically playing with color, spacial depth and flatness,” Gilley said.

The exhibit translates as something different to everyone who sees it.

“The exhibit is sort of a maze,” freshman Harry Bayley said.“It reminded me of a fun house. I like that it suggests depth without using shading. It looks like you could almost walk into the wall.”

Gilley reflected on his work.

“I like making visually challenging spaces, specifically referencing contemporary architectural developments,” he said. ‘Masterplexed’ is a pun on ‘master-planned communities’ and developments with a confusing twist.”

Gilley’s artwork has been showcased in many venues including the Las Vegas Museum of Art, the Arthouse in Austin, Texas, and even the East West Project in Berlin. He has received many grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and was awarded an artist fellowship by the Oregon Arts Commission in 2010.

He is an adjunct professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Art Institute in Portland.

The exhibit will run through March 12. Gilley’s flat artwork is also featured inside of the James F. Miller Fine Arts Gallery.
For more information, contact Moss at cmoss@linfield.edu.


Kelsey Sutton, Staff Reporter

Layers of culture, layers of learning

studyabroad

While we began Spring Semester discussing new professors and new classmates, 63 students are experiencing a transition from a foreign culture back to America’s culture. They studied abroad in Fall Semester, and it opened their eyes to new perspectives.

For some of them, studying abroad is even more than that.

“When I was in France, I represented both America and Vietnam,” junior Mai Doan, a four-year international student from Vietnam, said.

To complete a French minor, she studied at the American University Center of Provence in Aix, France, last fall.

Junior Cassie Kwon, a Korean-American born in Seattle, Wash., who studied abroad at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, Japan, is another student who had a unique multicultural background before studying abroad.

“People in Japan greeted other girls that I was abroad with in English but greeted me in Japanese,” Kwon said. “I might integrate that culture more, but I definitely felt the wall between us.”

Junior Michele Wong studied abroad last fall at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She said she didn’t feel like she was living in a foreign country but rather a big U.S. city, such as San Francisco. She visited Hong Kong for two weeks when she was in high school, and her father is originally from Hong Kong.

Learning their languages

Not all the study abroad programs at Linfield have language course requirements, but learning the language of the country you’re visiting seems to be the best way to learn everything else.

Doan said she was already interested in the French language when she entered Linfield and that France has always been a place she has wanted to visit.

Kwon said she didn’t expect to learn and speak Japanese fluently, but Japanese has become her third language besides speaking Korean at home and English at school.

“It’s such a privilege to learn a language and know other languages; it’s so important to keep on top of that,” Kwon added. “A lot of people assume that because I speak Korean, Japanese comes naturally for me. But I only found these similarities as I was learning Japanese not [because] I already knew the similarities.”

Culture barriers

While learning the language is the first step to communicating well with locals, culture shock as another challenge that presents itself as students come down from their excitement of being tourists.

Wong said she was excited about everything during her first visit to Hong Kong in her senior year of high school, but studying abroad last fall let her tourist mood shift to that of a resident.

Kwon agreed. She said she took pictures of everything including each meal she had and shopping goods during the first month in Japan.

“I thought [going abroad in France] would be simple and easy as I already had study abroad experience at Linfield. But it’s not true,” Doan said. She has been to the U.S. since senior year of high school.

On the other hand, study abroad experiences let these girls understand the cultures they already hold onto.

Kwon said she realized her attachment to Korea didn’t mean that she is Korean.

“Even though I was in Korea, I was an overseas Korean,” she added.

For Doan, a third culture helps her open her mind, she said.

“[Before I studied abroad in France], I always kept my Vietnamese value and doubted U.S. value. I didn’t accept being an American but preferred Vietnamese food and boys,” she said. “French people helped me to push myself into French culture.”

Learning from cultural differences

Definitions of culture shock differ for everyone, but these three girls said they learned from the cultural differences they noticed.

Kwon said she was impressed by how locals taught her rules patiently. And she was able to learn more about the Japanese culture through her mistakes by getting in “trouble” and breaking the table manner rules.

Influenced by Korean custom, she said she thought she was an expert at using chopsticks. But when she and other Linfield students had a barbecue in Japan, she and another girl grabbed a piece of chicken with chopsticks at the same time and everyone froze. Later, a native Japanese explained that it’s unacceptable for two pairs of chopsticks to hold one piece of food.

Kwon also provided two other tips she learned in Japan: Don’t stick chopsticks in the rice bowl, and don’t ask to change orders in the restaurant because it means you are destroying the chef’s creation.

When she lived with a host family in France, Doan said she felt like she was a princess the first day she woke up. Her host mother cooked breakfast and took care of the laundry for her.

“These are things that even my mother won’t do for me. Being independent in America is what I learned [as an international student at Linfield], and I learned being interdependent from French culture,” Doan said.

Although Wong said she did know what she should have expected before going abroad, she was moved by how local students are tied to family, as she has many family members on her father’s side in Hong Kong.

Distinct changes

Besides the culture shock, Kwon said she noticed distinct changes in herself after she came back.

She said before going abroad, she knew she should practice her Korean and Japanese with some Korean and Japanese exchange students at Linfield, but she didn’t care at the time. She thought they came here to learn English, so she only spoke English with them.

“After going abroad, and I came back, I spoke Korean to Korean exchange students this year, and they spoke English to me — practice for both of us,” Kwon said.

Doan said she changed when her host family helped her embrace the French culture, which helped her loosen her grip on her American and Vietnamese identities.

Opening her mind to fully understand French culture, Doan plans to go to France for a master’s degree after she graduates from Linfield.

Wong also said she plans to go back to Hong Kong in the future because of the friends she made and family members.


by Jaffy Xiao/Features editor
Jaffy Xiao can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

Stay off the grass: Save yourself from seasonal allergies

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The cold weather may bring false signals of an ongoing winter season, but spring is just around the corner and begins on March 20. One would think with the blooming flowers and trees pollinating during this time of year, the worst of seasonal allergies is yet to come. However, many Linfield students have experienced year-round symptoms that may be a result of allergens specific to the Willamette Valley and increasing effects of global warming.

Senior Sarah Spranger, TLR business manager of Mercer Island, Wash., has suffered year-round allergies that become notably worse when she returns to campus.

“When I go home for the weekend, my symptoms seem to disappear,” Spranger said. “I really think that my allergies get worse when I’m in McMinnville.”

Nurse manager Tina Foss of the Asthma Allergy Centre in McMinnville said that allergies aren’t more common in the Willamette Valley but simply unique to the area. Students coming from other states are exposed to these new allergens and then react.

Naturopathic physician Bruce Dickson of the Key to Health Clinic in McMinnville elaborate on the emerging spring allergens.

“Right now the birches and hazelnuts are blooming,” Dickson said. “The big thing for people around here is the grass; we have several kinds — Johnson, Sudan, Timothy and blue grasses — on golf courses.”

The website www.Oregonallergyassociates.com specifically lists pollen seasons specific to the Willamette Valley and the allergens produced. It also explains why certain allergens are more common than others.

“The Willamette Valley has a high grass pollen due to nearly 500,000 acres of land used for commercial production of grass seed,” the website states.

Other sources reveal that global warming is responsible for the increasing length of pollen seasons. According to a Feb. 22 Huffington Post blog post “Allergy Season Longer from Global Warming in North America,” pollen doesn’t become an irritant until it crosses a certain threshold for many allergy sufferers.

“The longer season and more powerful plants may be the threshold needed to trigger allergies,” the post states.

The blog post also noted that 50 million Americans have allergies, which can worsen into asthma.

Spranger said her asthma has been effected by allergies.

“Sometimes the allergies make my asthma bad enough that I can’t go to class, and it makes homework miserable,” she said.

Foss said everyone is affected differently depending on their allergy.

“The most common effects are runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and drainage, which make everyday tasks difficult to complete,” Foss said.

Foss said blood and skin tests are used to detect allergen sensitivities in patients and determine the appropriate treatment for seasonal and year-round allergies. Common solutions include antihistamines and immunotherapy or allergy shots used to increase tolerance against the detected allergens. Foss also suggested to wash sheets in hot water as this may help reduce the effects of pollen from trees, grass and mold.

For allergy sufferers seeking a more natural remedy, Dickson suggested advanced allergy therapeutics, which is provided at his practice. The approach combines 21st century technology with 3,000-year-old acupuncture principles to help reset the immune system.

“Allergies are an abnormal response by the body to something that is actually normal in the environment,” Dickson said. “They are usually developed in times of stress or after infections, and the body reacts. With naturopathic medicine, we’re not trying to suppress symptoms but rather strengthen the immune system and eliminate the cause of the reaction.”

For more information about advanced allergy therapeutics, Dickson suggested visiting allergytx.com, especially for those seeking treatment without the use of shots, needles or supplements.

To reduce the discomfort of her allergies, Spranger uses an antihistamine and nasal spray and rinses her sinuses frequently.

“I also had to have sinus surgery because I was having so many sinus infections [from allergies],” Spranger said, “I can sympathize with people who are suffering from them.”

Many students misconstrue seasonal allergies for the common cold. Here are tips for distinguishing between the two:

Pollen seasons in the
Willamette Valley:
December: Cedar; Pine
January: Hazelnut; Juniper; Cypress; Spruce
February: Alder; Birch; Elm
March/April: Oak; Sycamore; Cottonwood; Maple; Ash; Walnut

Allergies vs. colds:

• Allergies — genetic hypersensitivity causes a reaction when exposed
• Symptoms — last for weeks or months, sometimes year-round
• Nasal discharge — thin, watery
• Allergies do NOT cause fevers.

• Cold — viral infection
• Symptoms — last for two weeks
• Nasal discharge — mucous color starts clear, then becomes cloudy and discolored
• Cold may cause fever, head and muscle aches

(Information from oregonallergyassociates.com)

EpiPen

For some, allergies are a serious matter. People may need to keep certain treatments, such as antihistamine, an inhaler or even epinephrine, on hand. Epinephrine often comes in the form of an EpiPen (Epinephrine Auto-Injector), which is used to combat anaphylactic shock , which can occur during anaphylaxis. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen.

Instructions for using a traditional EpiPen:

1. Pull off the safety release.

2. Swing and firmly push the orange tip against outer thigh so it clicks on and hold thigh approximately 10 seconds to deliver drug.

3. Seek emergency medical attention.


by Felicia Weller/Copy editor
Felicia Weller can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.