Replacing your windshield wiper blades

     The windshield wiper blades on your car have a limited life span due to the breakdown of the rubber compound they are made of. Over time, the elements and the friction on the window wear the blade down. Here in South Georgia, with fluctuating weather, we never know what the next minute will bring. It is good to check windshield wipers and replace them before they create a problem.

     Rather than waiting for the next time, you can’t see to drive, inspect both blades by pulling them off the windshield. Look for blade brittleness or hardness. If the blade is soft and pliable, it should be fine for now. They should be checked every 2 to 4 months depending on how often they are used. Many newer crossovers and SUV’s have rear wiper blades that should be checked as well.

     Blades should be replaced, at a minimum, once a year, but it is recommended to replace them twice a year. Once in the spring—due to the cold temperatures of the winter­—and in the fall—due to potential dry rot from the summer.

     If your blades are in need of replacement, there are two main attachment methods car manufacturers use. One uses a hook that the blade slides on. To remove this type of wiper blade, pull the wiper off the windshield and turn the blade over so the blade is facing upward. Push away from the closed portion of the hook. The blade should disconnect from the wiper arm. Then, maneuver it off the arm. To replace the blade, turn the pivot point of the blade upward and maneuver it onto the wiper arm. With the wiper on the arm, push upward aligning the pivot point and the hook. The blade should snap into place.

     The second main method uses a pin and a retaining tab. Like with the hook attachment method, begin by lifting the blade off the windshield. The retaining tab must be pushed to the side for blade removal. It is located between the two metal rails on the wiper blade. Pull or push­—depending on car model— it out and away from the wiper arm. The blade can then be easily lifted off the pin. To install a new blade, lift the retaining tab out from the wipers metal rail. Then, slide the wiper onto the arm. Next, push the retaining tab in-between the wipers metal rail. This should lock the blade to the arm.

     After installing new blades, always make sure each blade is secured to the wiper arm. Simply pull on the blade with light force in the direction it would be removed. If it doesn’t give or come off, it should be fine. Another method of testing is to turn on the windshield wiper blades and allow them to make two or three complete rotations.


Sleep is for the “Week”

     If you are the average college student, you probably love sleep as much as the next person. Unfortunately, if you are the average college student, sleep can be hard to come by. We tend to keep ourselves busy with school, work and the everyday stressors college students encounter.

     I myself am a night owl, meaning that I prefer to stay up late rather than getting up early. This lifestyle has become a norm for many college students, but is it the healthiest, most efficient way of living?

     We are so busy in our everyday lives that we tend to forget that sleep is as essential as food and water. Most of the time, we either get too little or too much sleep. Either factor can be detrimental to our health. Studies have shown that the recommended amount of sleep for adults is about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. As your fellow college student, I can attest that this is difficult to come by.

     Without sleep, our brain and bodies cannot function as effectively compared to a good night’s rest. Lack of sleep can result in an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and even a heart attack. It can affect the way we think and perceive things and can even result in hallucinations. As college students, we need to have a clear head and be able to concentrate and focus.

     Finding a sleep schedule that works for you can be complicated. To make sure that you are on the right track with a healthy sleep schedule, you can set a designated time to go to bed and wake up. If you follow this routine, your body will adapt to this set schedule and will be beneficial to your health in the long run.

     If you drink caffeine, be sure to avoid drinking it around bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and can hinder your sleep schedule. If you find yourself struggling to sleep, get up and move around. It is better to keep yourself busy than to try to lay in bed and fight the urge to stay awake.

     We need to remember that sleep is an essential part of life and overall health. Find a sleep schedule that works for you and stick with it.


Ari comes back with her newest album

     Six months after dropping her Grammy-winning album “Sweetener,” Ariana Grande is back with her fifth album titled “thank u, next.” It’s also her first album since breaking off her engagement with comedian Pete Davidson, and the passing of her ex-boyfriend: the late Mac Miller. So, coming off a very successful 2018 with “Sweetener,” how did “thank u, next” turn out?

     The album begins strongly with the promotional single “imagine.” Here, Ariana sings about a love that is “now and forever unattainable.” The trap-influenced production in the background blends in nicely as Ariana pleads with her partner to imagine a perfect world. Believed to be about Mac Miller, Ariana tests her vocal range hitting unfathomable notes towards the end of the track.

     While “Sweetener” offered more experimental production from Pharrell Williams, “thank u, next” finds its inspiration from bass-heavy beats and trap production. Production primarily comes from the Swedish hitmakers Max Martin and ILYA, responsible for hits from Taylor Swift and The Weeknd. Not everything on the album is influenced heavily by hip hop though, with cuts like “ghostin” and “needy” offering somber, stripped-back moments for Grande to reflect.

     With no guest features on the album, Grande does all the work with her voice. While it was evident she had a powerful voice, to begin with, cuts like “bad idea” prove the fact once more with a soaring hook. I’ve already mentioned the ending notes in “imagine,” which have drawn a comparison to Mariah Carey. Not all her vocal work tests her range though. On “needy,” she provides vocals that sound almost like she’s tearing up while singing. Proving that even though she has a fantastic range, her softer vocals are just as beautiful.

     The majority of the album’s strongest moments are honest or extremely catchy. On one of the more honest moments, “fake smile,” we learn that Grande is tired of faking being okay. Here she sings, “I can’t fake another smile. I can’t fake like I’m alright. And I won’t say I’m feeling fine. After what I’ve been through, I can’t lie.”  Giving us an idea that maybe after “Sweetener” things really were not that sweet after all.

     Cuts like “bad idea” and “bloodline” even though they are not necessarily the deepest are most certainly catchy. The running guitar throughout “bad idea” makes it sound like the perfect song for driving at the beach. Making it even more deserving of being released as a single for Spring Break or summer. Four months after its release, I still find the title track in my head constantly.

     For all the great songs on this album, the best track on the record is one of the ballads. This would be “ghostin,” and Ariana herself described the track as, “Feeling bad for the person you’re in love with because you love someone else. Also, because you feel bad because he can tell he can’t compare… and how I should be ghosting him.” If what the song is about wasn’t heartbreaking enough, it’s even sadder when the listener realizes she is singing about Mac Miller and Pete Davidson. The raw honesty and emotion here make this one of Grande’s best songs to date.

      Even as strong as “thank u, next” starts, it falters at the very end. Hit singles, “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” and “7 rings,” offer two of the weakest moments on the album. While the songs themselves may be catchy, they greatly lack the quality of some of Ariana’s earlier hits. On “girlfriend,” Grande is wishing for someone that catches her eye to break up with his girlfriend so she can have him. This showcases Ariana Grande in not a very good light at all, regardless of any theories surrounding the song. The latter is not much better by any means. On “7 rings,” Ariana brag raps/sings about the success of her career. Controversy aside of the accusations of her stealing other artists flow, the song itself is not that great. Sure, her bragging is earned. However, the production sounds recycled, and Ariana’s rapping is not particularly good.

     Overall, the album is quite enjoyable. Great production and excellent vocals from Ariana make this album an enjoyable listen throughout its short 41-minute runtime. Garnering two number-one singles already from it, Grande has further established herself one of the most successful pop-stars of the decade. Where Ariana Grande goes next in her career, who knows, but one can only suspect that she will not be going away anytime soon.


Tech Talk: Catching the Catfish

     Finding your true love, your next partner, a new friend or connection might not be something that you would relate to tech; however, our online social lives grow each year. With the increased use of the online network, there has been a rise of catfish scammers and other online dangers. Not the bottom feeder fish in a pond, but the people who create fake profiles online and interact with others with this fake identity.

     It used to be a big issue contained in the rise of online chat rooms and then dating apps, like Tinder. However, now it isn’t limited to just online dating apps. People with fake identities or lives online have spread into other networks like Facebook, Instagram, and any other online platform.

     Most of the time, these people use stolen pictures they found online or from other people and information that makes them more appealing, hoping to try and deceive whoever they’re trying to talk to.

     It used to be just people who used it as a way to escape from their own loneliness or inability for them to form a relationship with someone. A considerable amount of important information about us is now stored online: pictures, banking, where we are and much more. Groups of people have started to take advantage of social platforms to try and scam users.

     You can avoid falling for a catfish by taking precautionary measures to confirm their profile is truly theirs. The easiest thing to do is google search a photo they’ve sent. Google has the capability to find the origin of a picture if it’s been used online.

     Download the picture and paste it or upload it to Google, it can show you if that picture is being used by someone else or if it’s a stock photo.

     You can always ask difficult questions that can’t just be searched online, like details of the area you’re in since most of the time catfish aren’t from around your area.

     It’s also important to pay attention to details. If they’re a scammer, most of the time, they’re pushy and try to be manipulative or try to move the relationship quickly by putting pressure on you. It is important to note, if they have bad grammar, or they type like one of Shakespeare’s plays, then you most likely have a foreign scammer.

     You can always ask them to take a picture of them doing something specific like balancing a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich on their nose as proof they are who they say they are, because no one just makes a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich on the regular.

     Keeping in mind your online safety is important and being aware of things like scammers or catfish can only help in reducing the risk of falling for something like that. In an era where part of our lives are tied online, learning about online dangers as they evolve and change can only be beneficial.


Worth the Watch? “Ally McBeal”

     This 1990s TV show is one of a kind when it comes to entertainment. The creator David E. Kelly, had influential ideas and quirks that made this show into the masterpiece it is. The ‘90s had a large set of funny sitcoms and booming shows that made this decade one to remember.

     With the Golden Girls recent ending in 1992, different directors and writers had to think of some form of entertainment that would put a spin on reality. A big success was when Seinfeld debuted in 1989 and stream into the next decade.

     So, of course, Kelly took the challenge to make an interesting, funny, dubious sitcom, “Ally McBeal.” This show has its various amounts of silliness and unusual events in this series. It is also based on a law firm that has a highly sexual environment. One of the main characters that the audience soon falls in love with is Calista Flockhart, a hilarious, strong-minded person that shows her humor throughout the show.

     Another popular cast member that gives the show an extra boost is Greg Germann. His character, Richard Fish, sexualizes everything in a comical way that brings life to the office. This show balances dating life, lawyer drama and professional lives into a quirky comedy that touches on real-life situations, but with highly bizarre cases that the show presents in each episode.

     Even though the cases are farfetched, it makes this show a lot funnier to see what verdicts the juries and the judges reach. This show features highly popular, classic songs featured throughout the series.

     The creator of the show wanted to add thoughts and ideas in the series that were unlike any other sitcom. For example, John Cage, who is a main character, uses a specific artist throughout the series that gets him through his relationships, his trials and overall life.

     The theme song is sung by a once well-known performer, Vonda Shepard,  “Searchin’ My Soul,” who also performers on every episode at the bar downstairs from the lawyers’ office, every one of the main settings in almost every show.

     The main character in the show, Ally, is the key character that brings them all together. Her weird personality mixed with emotions and sometimes hallucinations, make her character a very unique one. She has lost and gained a lot of aspects throughout the series that make this show exciting to watch. In one of her lines she says, “Love is like an obstacle course, some people let the obstacles land, and there are those who don’t.” The main quirk of hers is that most of the time, her hallucinations are based on famous singers and famous hits like, “Hooked On A Feelin,”   and artists like Al Green. Also, one actor gave the show an extra light in the show; Robert Downey Jr.

     The creator wanted to have an extra boost to gain more popularity with this actor. This show has principles and underlying messages that bring light to situations that society faced back then and are still facing now,  all the while, bringing humor to it. This show is currently available to stream on Hulu. I highly recommend watching it, if you’re in for a good laugh.