Mount Hood


By Haunani Thomas Managing Editor
By Haunani Thomas
Managing Editor


THAT there still existed people who do not know the gist of “Fifty Shades of Grey” until I overheard a couple of guys talking about Christian Grey’s Red Room.

While at the gym a couple of days ago, I heard two very brawny men talking about their feelings after watching the movie. More specifically, Christian’s “kinky play room” and how they “never saw that coming.”

For those who do not know, (I am speaking to the male population) “Fifty Shades of Grey” is based on E.L. James’ New York Times best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is the first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Known for its descriptive and intense sex scenes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has earned a reputation among women.

Released on Feb. 14 for publicity reasons, as anticipated, “Fifty Shades of Grey” debuted at No. 1 in the box office and grossed roughly $94 million worth of ticket sales.

And, much like my Valentine’s Day, there was nothing romantic about “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

In short, English student Anastasia Steele meets a young and very attractive business tycoon that is Christian Grey. Fast-forward through a bunch of awkward encounters and Christian becomes spellbound by Anastasia.

The sexual tension between the two increases to the point where Christian draws out a contract asking for Anastasia’s consent to become his submissive, which is the huge curveball of the story.

However, it becomes apparent the duo wishes for two different things: Anastasia wants Christian to be her boyfriend but Christian wants Anastasia to be his submissive. Anyway, they have lots of crazy, wild intercourse while in this limbo of deciding what to make of their maturing relationship.

The whole thing is confusing yet intriguing to the female populace.

So, being female and all, I was curious to see what all the hype was about. If you know me, you know I make a habit out of reading a book before it becomes a major motion picture. This was no exception.

Upon cracking the spine into my paperback edition while waiting to board my flight at the Portland airport, I received what I felt were judging and disapproving looks from those who saw what I was reading.

Although I feel obliged to admit that reading erotica is somehow superior or more accepting than viewing it, I might as well have been casually flipping through a Playboy magazine. I’d say both meet the same reading level requirement. Unlike other best-selling books, “Fifty Shades of Grey” did not require any analysis or discussion of extended metaphors.

According to Business Insider, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has become the first e-book to sell one million copies on Amazon’s Kindle; most likely because people wanted to avoid the same disdain-filled looks that I received for publicly reading erotica — an amateur mistake on my part.

For those who did not like the book (or the “Twilight” saga for that matter), there is a 100 percent chance that you will not enjoy the movie. The same can be said for any novel-gone-Hollywood.

The movie completely adheres to the plot of the book. But yet, it fascinates me to learn that people expect the movie to somehow make better the storyline, as follows:

Guy meets girl. Guy likes girl. Girl likes guy.

Guy pushes girl away. Guy pulls girl back in.

(Repeat this process two or more times.)

Girl is confused.

Girl doesn’t like this.

But guy is hot.

So, girl keeps going back.

Here, we have what has become the standard millennial relationship consisting of awkward interactions (at first), dining-out expenditures, sexual tension, fighting and disagreements.

Despite the fact that reality television exists, why would anyone want to watch a movie about a normal (or rather dysfunctional) couple? Insert vampires and werewolves and– voila!–“Twilight”! Subtract wildlife, add millionaire status and one BDSM contract and – voila! – “Fifty Shades of Grey”!

Although I will gladly admit that I know nothing about BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism), there is much controversy surrounding the portrayal of the BDSM community at large. “Fifty Shades of Grey” creates speculations that BDSM-ers are clearly offended by.

You didn’t see angry vampires and werewolves complain to the Huffington Post when “Twilight” stereotyped their lifestyles. Not every Native American is part of a wolfpack and vampires don’t actually sleep in coffins. In fact, they don’t sleep at all.

Similar to how Stephenie Meyer was not inspired by vampires and werewolves to write Twilight, James did not write “Fifty Shades of Grey using the BDSM community as her muse. To be clear, James did not dedicate the Fifty Shades trilogy to the BDSM-ers. If that was the case, then, yes, be pissed.

Anyway, Fifty Shades is a highly unrealistic story about a millionaire abused as a child – who doesn’t actually exist, which is why it is fictional. Being a CEO, 27 years old AND attractive is already an impossible feat. If someone is that attractive, they have to be crazy or have had traumatic experiences as a child that highly influences their adulthood.

So, yeah, fictional.

It’s about as practical as Harry Potter: once you remind yourself that Daniel Radcliffe is not the chosen one and can’t actually cast a Patronous Charm, it’s easier to understand that Jamie Dornan is not a dominant and doesn’t actually own that many gray ties.

After reading unsavory movie and book reviews, ranging from nitpicky to LOL-worthy, I don’t know how else to say that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is just another craze developed for our entertainment purposes. We pay to be immersed in a world that isn’t ours for a couple of hours out of the day.

So, honestly, what’s the big deal?

I saw more nudity in “Wolf of Wall Street.”

Medieval strategy game “Crusader Kings II” lives on

 Staff Writer

“Oh my god, Dad! You’re sleeping with my
This is the somewhat sanitized version of a
sentence I once said out loud while playing Paradox
Interactive’s 2012 grand strategy game,
“Crusader Kings II,” which marked its third anniversary
this month.
In CKII, the players take control of the head
of a medieval dynasty and do everything they
can to become rich, powerful, and above all,
long-lived. The only “objective” is to make your
dynasty last until 1453, although this is hardly
the appeal of the game: CKII is a sandbox game
at heart, meaning you are dropped into a huge
living world to do anything your heart desires.
There is an incredible amount of detail, not least
from the impressive level of research put into
historical accuracy.
Each character in the game is represented by
a ton of little symbols and numbers representing
their abilities, opinions, and character traits.
You can interact with these characters in many
ways, such as sending assassins to kill them,
sending them gifts, arranging marriages, and
requesting their excommunication. Learning the
significance of all these bits is key to keeping
your family on top, and there are a ton of bits.
Not to mention that in addition to keeping
yourself un-murdered and your heirs in the
hands of teachers who will bestow the best traits
upon them, you must also run a kingdom. You
can mess with everything from tax policy to succession
law to even more nitty-gritty bits; it’s all
up to you. This results in a difficulty curve that
more closely resembles a wall, but the CKII community
is nothing if not obsessive: there are a
great many guides and tip collections to ease the
process. Give some of these a perusal and you’ll
be bumping off meddlesome uncles in no time.
One thing I didn’t expect on first playing the
game is how darkly hilarious it can be. Being assassinated
on the orders of your 8-year-old mentally
disabled nephew; becoming your son’s lover
only to have him murder you for your titles; a
maimed blind man with typhus winning your
grand tournament; all of these are fair game.
There is no shortage of “ha ha, what?” moments
throughout any given play-through. Also incest.
Lots of incest.
CKII has, on average, 2,500 players active at
any given moment. Thanks to nine expansions,
37 minor DLCs, and a thriving modding community
(there is a very popular “Game of Thrones”
overhaul mod), CKII is very much alive with no
end in sight, three years post-release. That’s
more than many games can say after six months.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to unite
all of Western Europe into one giant France, if
you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to sire 30
children by eight mothers, if you’ve ever wondered
what it’s like to marry your syphilitic
daughter to an enemy duke and gain all his titles
and lands when he dies from the syphilis
you “totally didn’t know about,” “Crusader Kings
II” just might be the game for you.



In regards to the newer MGM James
Bond films, many reviewers have complained
that the series has gotten too
serious, too dour.

Even after the release of “Skyfall,”
the most well-received Bond film in
decades, reviewers were calling for the
spy genre to take its foot off the gritty
pedal and remember its roots: its
jetpack, laser-watch, snappy one-liner
roots. For anyone who agrees with
these sentiments, the new film “Kingsman:
The Secret Service” should be at
the very top of your to-watch list.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Layer
Cake,” “Kick-Ass”), “Kingsman” is
an England-set throwback to the spy
genre of the 1960s. Though it takes
place in modern day and employs modern
technology as an important plot element,
the feel of “Kingsman” is rooted
deeply in the nostalgia of the 60s.

The film stars newcomer Taron
Egerton as Eggsy, a troubled young
man and the son of a secret agent who
belongs to a private spy agency separate
from government control or regulation
called the Kingsman.

Eggsy becomes the protégé of another
Kingsman named Harry Hart,
played superbly by Colin Firth (“The
King’s Speech”), and undergoes training
along with a handful of other potential
candidates all vying for the
chance to become an agent themselves.

The cast is rounded out by Mark
Strong (“Kick-Ass”), Michael Caine
(“The Dark Knight”) and Samuel L.
Jackson (too many options).

The latter serves as the film’s main
villain, one Mr. Valentine, an immensely
wealthy and environmentally
concerned individual who hatches a
diabolical plot to incite a “cull” on the
human race to reduce the population
and help save the planet. Like any
good Bond villain, Valentine is distinguished
by a unique physical abnormality,
his being a comical lisp.

Although its comedic elements
make the film oftentimes laugh-outloud
funny and a joy to watch, where
“Kingsman” really shines is in its action
sequences. And seeing as this is
the director of “Kick-Ass” we’re talking
about, that’s no surprise.

But director Matthew Vaughn outdoes
himself here. The fight scenes
in “Kingsman” are incredible. Some
of the best action I’ve seen in a very
long time. The church fight (yes, I said
church fight) is the bloodiest, boldest,
and funniest scene since the shootout
in the third act of “Django Unchained.”
It’s an ambitious and effective mix
of intense choreography, CGI, Steadicam,
and constant gunfire. Your jaw
will be on the floor.

What also makes “Kingsman” great
is its loyal attachment to the source
material which inspired it. From bullet-
proof suits and lethal umbrellas to
lighter grenades and poisonous pens,
Kingsman agents are supplied with
enough handy (if ludicrous) gadgets to
impress even Desmond Llewellyn’s Q
in the Bond films. But it is also “Kingsman’s”
self-awareness that sets it

At one point Colin Firth’s character
remarks that today’s spy films are no
fun, and later, Samuel L. Jackson’s
Valentine comments that it’s the part
of the film where he’s supposed to unveil
his grand plan and kill a character
in some elaborate manner. “But,”
Valentine says, “this ain’t that kind of

And he’s right. It’s not that kind of
movie at all. Truth be told, I’m hardpressed
to describe just what kind of
movie “Kingsman” is. Other than a really
good one, that is.

KWOU radio station to host winter dance

KWOU Dance Poster

 Entertainment Editor

KWOU, Western’s premier online radio station, will be hosting the Winter Kickback Dance next month in preparation for the highly anticipated release of their new app, which will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

“It is an exciting time for KWOU right now,” said Station Manager Iain Dexter, “and we expect both the dance and the app to be a success.”

Taking place in the Pacific Room in the Werner University Center on Saturday, March 7, the Winter Kickback will feature multi-colored lights, glow sticks, and electronic dance music.

Four KWOU DJs will be presiding over the dance, which is scheduled from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Alex Rockow, aka DJ Rockslide, will be headlining, with Mike Dang (DJ Dang), Garrett Hardie (ItsThaGman), and Tobi Monden (Tobi-Wan Kenobi) serving as DJs.

Rockow pitched the idea of the dance, which will be done in the style of a rave, to Dexter last fall, but planning didn’t officially begin until January.

“I go up to raves in Portland at least once or twice a month,” said Rockow. “Everybody is loving and inviting, and I wanted to bring a little bit of that [to Western].”

“[The dance] is designed to be upbeat and energetic, where people can come out and burn off some energy and stress before the upcoming Dead Week and Finals,” added Dexter.

The hope is that the dance will bring more attention to KWOU, and therefore, more DJs and listeners.

Dexter also added that “we are hoping to make enough money to help pay for [the station] app. The app has already been made and is in the process of being submitted to Apple.”

Beginning Feb. 23, KWOU will be selling tickets for the dance on the second floor of the WUC every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $4 if ordered beforehand and $5 at the door. Tickets for Non-Western students are $8.

Classic cocktails give character to new pub


Josh Cronin, owner and bartender of The Three Legged Dog, said he’s got the secret to making the perfect drink.
The new pub, located at 250 S. Main St. in Independence, opened shortly after the New Year, offering classic pre-prohibition style cocktails, complimented by a tasty array of unique dishes you won’t find on menus around town.

Named after their dog James P. Sullivan, or Sully for short, Josh and his wife Natascha, alongside business partner and chef John Rodriguez, felt the three-legged springer spaniel represented them.

“We wanted something that symbolized the three of us,” Josh said. “Three partners, three legs.”

Natascha who holds degrees in anthropology and museum studies, and Josh who has one in archeology, spent a little over a year in Ireland “pretending to be Indiana Jones,” before moving to Oregon, Natascha said.

“We came here because of Rogue Hop Farms,” said Josh. “We fell in love with the community. We’ve been welcomed by everyone.”

The Cronins hired Rodriquez on at Rogue, and from there the three envisioned opening their own pub. After a year spent discussing and planning, in five weeks they turned a former antique shop into an old style classic pub.

Originally, the space was a Farmers State Bank in 1925 before it went out of business during the great depression. After that, it was Calbreath’s Grocery Store before being converted into a jewelry store.

The space stays true to its historical past.

Original stained glass skylights are on display above the bar and customers may even find themselves sitting on a bench seat from the old Cooper building.

Tables near the front windows were made from Pioneer Lanes bowling alley before it closed.

Although Josh said they’re not quite done decorating, they plan on sticking with “that open feel,” he said. “We want people to feel comfortable.”

“We intentionally don’t have televisions,” Natascha said. This allows customers to start up conversations with people they know or don’t know, she said. “It’s a small town, and we want people to either hang out with their neighbor or get to know their neighbor.”

And with constant comical banter between chef and bartender, TVs are not needed.

The menu however is no laughing matter.

Brussels sprouts sautéed with housemade candied bacon, roasted garlic, shallots, and fresh basil will have any vegetable
hater begging for the recipe. And it’s not everyday you can order a duck confit and bacon sandwich on a warm ciabatta with creamy red cabbage slaw. Sweet tooths are quick to try the grilled fruit with honey-lemon-thyme vinegar dessert served with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for $6.

Overall, prices are affordable and portion sizes are generous.

“Creativity with the menu in what separates us,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who has been cooking for 18 years, previously ran J Rods Burgers & Wings in Keizer before helping open the Word of Mouth Bistro in Salem.

The Three Legged Dog has given him the opportunity to use locally sourced ingredients in the kitchen.

A giant blackboard hanging in the pub lists the ingredients and where they come from. Customers biting into the kale and
pear salad might be happy to know the added hazelnuts come from Monmouth or that the chicken in the potpie soup is from

Spirits are sourced from Bend, Portland, Crater Lake and more.

So far, “almost down the board, everything is served regularly,” he said.

However, the fun, approachable menu still encourages diners to go outside their comfort zone.

A peppered pork belly plate can be ordered for $9 or a Clover Club cocktail made with egg white.

“With so many ingredients at our fingertips, why go elsewhere when we have so much available in the Willamette Valley,”
Natascha said.

“This place is filling a space that it didn’t have originally,” Josh said, something Independence was ready for, he added.

“I don’t think anyone around is trying to do it at the level we are,” Rodriguez said.

“When we put out a plate of food, I think the expectations are pretty huge. And that’s where I want them to be.”

Rodriguez’s goal is to take care of customers and send them on their way, satisfied.

“We want it to be one of the best meals they’ve had in a long time,” he said. “That’s what we’re going for.”

What will be most interesting, according to Natascha, is “to see that as the seasons change, how the menu will change.”

She anticipates customers will get a bit riled up when their favorite menu items disappear as certain ingredients go out of season.

Rodriguez looks at this as an “opportunity to put a new favorite on the menu.”

“We’re all ridiculously excited for spring and summer,” Josh said. “That’s when the whole local food just explodes.”

Local fruits and mint will be used to create fusions and mixed drinks, he said.

“It will be really nice to go to the market at 8 a.m. and cook with ingredients handpicked the day of,” said Rodriquez.

Freshness envelops every aspect of food and drink in The Three Legged Dog.

“Josh has a very distinct vision for those to squeeze all citrus fresh,” Natascha said.

“I’ve had people just blown away by the whiskey sour,” Josh said. But The French 75, a gin and sparkling wine cocktail, is a close second, he said.

And for those seeking a splash of the fresh citrus, The Hakam Hiccup contains orange liqueur and a hint of house-made
orange bitters.

Perhaps the best part of being served at The Three Legged Dog is watching your food and drink handcrafted in front of you.

“We’re the owners and we’re the employees,” Josh said. “When customers come in, they’ll be cooked for by the owners, and
they’ll be served beer by the owners.” Chatting with people for a living is the best part, said Josh.

For Rodriquez, it’s the “instant gratification to drop something off in front of someone and get a reaction.”

“Nobody cares about our business more than we do,” Josh said, “and nobody cares about our customers more than we do.”

Having seen the vision of The Three Legged Dog become a reality, Natascha said they are grateful to have their own
place now.

“Nobody goes to college wishing to be a bartender,” she said. “But we wanted to be business owners and impact our community. Americans are dreamers.”

And that dream, inspired by one three legged canine aims to put care and thought into every plate, glass and conversation.
But there’s another small thing that makes a huge difference.

“People become complacent with what they’re used to,” Josh said, referencing cheap and easy, pre-mixed liquor.

So what’s the secret to the perfect drink? “Squeezing fresh lemons,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea:” 17 Years Later

 Staff Writer

Everyone has a piece of art that speaks to them like no other, and for many people, that work is their favorite music album. There are few more potent ways to learn about who someone is at heart than to listen to their favorite album. Just by knowing that a piece of music speaks to them on some deeper level allows you to connect to them through the music.

This week marks 17 years since the release of my favorite album, Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” released Feb. 10, 1998. It is everything I love about music, and one of only two albums to ever make me tear up (the other being Cage the Elephant’s “Melophobia”). It is heartbreaking, scary, beautiful, and strange.

And I believe it to be perfect.

The album can best be summed up as “absolutely fearless.” Jeff Mangum, the reclusive genius behind the band, clearly just did not give a damn if anyone liked the record, electing to be completely honest and let the work speak for itself.

All the songs carry an urgency of spirit, a sense that he had to get these words and melodies out of his body right now lest he collapse in on himself. His voice cracks and wails, his lyrics are nigh impenetrable on the first listen, and the songs are musically simple with no frills and a lot of lowfi energy. The drums blast, the bass is fuzzed within an inch of its life, and the guitar tracks clip all over the place.

One gets the sense that when songs like the raucous “Holland, 1945,” the band purposefully pushed their equipment right up to the breaking point.

The songs themselves are simple and unpretentious, using simple chords and melodies with unbridled passion and energy. All the musicians on the record are self-taught, including some who learned instruments specifically for recording this record, and this dedication is apparent all through the album.

Upon deeper listening, one finds the method to all the madness: the record is a concept album about plant-like people, a two-headed fetus in a jar, Mangum’s own life, and Anne Frank.

It expresses the rage, hope, loneliness, despair, sexuality, sensitivity, fear,
and love of these strange characters as their worlds change and go up in flames around them.

The whole album lays out an atmosphere of darkness, but within that darkness there is hope for these doomed misfits that they might find love and comfort in their unique existence.

There is apprehension about the future, but because of this uncertainty, we must now “lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see,” as Mangum sings on the title track.

“Aeroplane” speaks to me like no other record ever made. It would be impossible for me to articulate exactly why that is, so I’ll settle for this: please seek this record out. Even 17 years after its release, I could not possibly give “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” a high enough recommendation.

Game night: table-top games with huge replay value

 Entertainment Editor

My friends and I have taken up to playing games.

Right now, you might be imagining kickball or “Grand Theft Auto”; however — while those are both awesome — the games we’ve been playing aren’t at home outside or on the TV, but instead on the tabletop (or the carpet).

Game night has become a weekly tradition at my house, and in case you’re considering making it a tradition at yours, here’s a quick rundown of some of the best board and card games my roommates, friends, and I keep returning to every weekend. All of these games are best played with 2-6 players.

“Once Upon a Time”

My only disclaimer for this card game is this: it’s not for everyone. Or maybe a better way to put it is that not everyone is for this game. The entire focus of “Once Upon a Time” is on storytelling.

Players have a hand of cards with fairy tale elements such as “Princess,” “Dragon” and “Dungeon.” These are called Story Cards. The game begins as one player, the Storyteller, who begins telling a story, utilizing their cards to
further the plot, guiding it to their specific Ending Card.

The other players can use Interrupt Cards to become the new Storyteller. The first player to play all their Story Cards and reach their ending wins. It may sound complicated, but you get the hang of it quickly. The more creative and inventive the players are, the better. The stories created during this game can be hilarious and exciting, and you’ll find yourself wanting to write some of them down.

“Clue Mysteries” *

If I have any complaints about the game “Clue,” it’s that games don’t last nearly
long enough. If you agree with that sentiment, and also worry that “Clue” isn’t complicated or convoluted enough, then “Clue Mysteries” is the board game for you.

Taking the mystery-solving theme of “Clue” and expanding it from a single crime in a single house to 50 individual crimes in a whole town full
of suspects, “Clue Mysteries” has a terrific amount of replay value. The gathering of clues involves getting statements from characters (many of them new, although the usual suspects are still present), cracking codes, and traveling all across town to catch a criminal.

While the classic murder weapons are unfortunately absent, the game makes up for it with cool detective tools such as a magnifying glass, mirror, and key.

“Fluxx” *

Another card game and one of the wildest, most wonderfully unpredictable games
I’ve ever played. In “Fluxx,” the rules are determined by the cards in your hand, and they’re always changing.

Complete aspects of the game can be changed with a single card, such as how many cards can be drawn, how many or what cards can be played, and what it takes to win. Games can last five minutes or they can last an hour.

There are dozens of versions, ranging from “Cartoon Network Fluxx” to “Cthulhu
Fluxx” and “Monty Python Fluxx.” Every play-through is different, making “Fluxx” endlessly enjoyable.

Board and card games are fun; that’s kind of the whole point. And while some are
more fun than others (I’m not a huge fan of “Settlers of Catan,” but it’s a popular one you should also check out), try to be open to whatever games come your way. You’ll find the ones that stick.

Tabletop games may not be as popular as sports or video games, but they can be just as much — if not more — fun.

*Shout out to Sarah Cotter for recommending these games.