Hi-Line staff revisits 2013 favorites


MacKenzie Dallenbach: “Try” by Pink. The lyrics just get stuck in your head along with the melody and beat. Plus I have always been a big fan of Pink.

Ellen Wallingford: “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I have always loved Sara Bareilles, and her new album, The Blessed Unrest, is amazing as always. Brave is especially catchy, and I really like the positive message of the song. I wish more songs today carried positive themes, because Sara Bareilles does it beautifully.

Kaleb Bengston: “Awake” by Urban Rebel. It was a song I ran across whilst looking for songs by (Hed) PE. This song does feature (Hed) PE and the meaning of the song speaks loudly to me.

Mallory Vallentine: “Lose Yourself to Dance” by Daft Punk. Daft Punk has been one of my favorite artists ever since I was in the late part of elementary school. I was insanely excited when they released their new album Random Access Memories. It has the classic style of Daft Punk mixed with new sounds, and “Lose Yourself to Dance” is definitely my favorite song because it’s catchy and has kind of an old school feel.

Sara Ashar: “All That Matters” by Justin Bieber. Bieber has recently released a few singles and each of them include some R&B and less bubblegum pop. It’s a good transition from his past hits like “Baby.” It shows that he can mature as an artist and take on different styles of music.

Zuhayr Alam:  I liked a variety of music this year, and it is hard to choose just one favorite.

Austin Anderson: With the all the great music that came out this year I’m going to have to pick Justin Timberlake as my music entertainer of the year. After dominating the industry in his youth and taking a break from music to pursue an acting career, he came back and dropped two full length albums and once again put himself in the hearts of people everywhere. He is the man.

Kaitlyn Brocka: “This Will Be the Day” by Jeff Williams (Feat. Casey Williams). This is a song from an anime called RWBY, which you can find on youtube if you want to watch. It talks about how even if you’re just a kid you can be a hero and that your day will come to be that hero.

Olivia Heath: “Part II” by Paramore. This is a song off of their new self titled album “Paramore,” and is a sequel to a former song called “Let the Flames Begin” on the album “Riot.” The new album, while sounding a little bit different from the others, still holds true to Paramore’s pop-punk roots. “Part II” is my favorite because it incorporates a lot of atmospheric guitar and drum solos and includes some lyrics from it’s prequel, “Let the Flames Begin.” I always think it’s cool when bands can creatively tie songs together.

Martha Hall: “Who” by David Byrne and St. Vincent. My two favorite artists collaborating? I am so in. David Byrne is most famous for founding the Talking Heads. I’m convinced that everything he does is genius. It’s brassy and loaded with funk. Annie Clark, most known as her stage name St. Vincent, is a huge inspiration to me. I hope to play electric guitar someday with half the finger agility that she has.



Ellen Wallingford: Catching Fire. Usually film adaptations are never as good as the book, but this movie far exceeded my expectations. The cinematography was beautiful, the plot was never dull, and the acting was brilliant on the part of all the actors. I cannot wait for the third and fourth installments.

Zuhayr Alam: Ender’s Game. I had not read the book, but I thought the trailers looked good, and I was not disappointed. It was a very good and gripping movie, and I was thoroughly entertained. I am reading the books now, and hopefully they make the rest of the movies in the series as well.

Mallory Vallentine: Iron Man 3. I’m a huge fan of any of the Marvel movies, but the Iron Man movies are definitely some of my favorites. Iron Man 3 had a great plot with lots of humor to balance out the seriousness of the movie, and it was great to see the character development that was incorporated in the movie. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. is insanely awesome in any role, especially as Tony Stark.

Martha Hall: Girl Most Likely. To be honest, I didn’t watch that many new movies this year, but I did enjoy this one. It’s about a high-society woman whose life is turned upside down and must live with her mother in New Jersey. Kristen Wiig is fantastic at playing funny, depressing characters.

Kaitlyn Brocka: The Conjuring. It is a very creepy movie, and there’s a possessed doll in it, so if you don’t like getting scared or creeped out, you probably shouldn’t watch it. Also, it’s based off a real story, and they even have the real doll, so that makes it even creepier.

Kaleb Bengston: Carrie. Being a huge fan of that book, I had little hope for that movie to be something. I was pleasantly surprised. It held true to the book and added a little more to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

MacKenzie Dallenbach: World War Z! I don’t watch zombie movies often, but this one never had a dull moment and was fast paced start to finish. It kept my attention throughout the entire movie.

Olivia Heath: Warm Bodies. This movie is set in the zombie apocalypse. I really like the fact that the movie was narrated and centered around an actual zombie instead of the typical survivor story.

Abby Young: The Heat. This movie is very funny and keeps you laughing the whole time.



Ellen Wallingford: This year novel-based video blogs have been on the rise. It started with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD), a modern version of Pride and Prejudice told in the form of 100 short videos of Lizzie talking to the camera. Lizzie is so relatable to modern young people, and the story focuses more on Lizzie’s relationship with her sisters Jane and Lydia than on her relationship with Darcy (although Darcy is wonderfully played as well).

The next one to come out was The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, created by a group of young Canadians, and it tells the story of Jane in a similar way to that of LBD. However, it has a really artsy feel, both with the use of the camera and the contemplative writing. You cannot help but fall in love with Jane or Rochester.

The third video blog is another Austen story, created by the same people as LBD. Emma Approved is based off of Jane Austen’s Emma and has a much different feel than the other two. It is set in a business management corporation, where Emma is a stylish life coach and matchmaker who always thinks she’s right. This one is more professional, but the acting is still really good, and there are a lot of funny bits. Even though The LBD is finished, I keep up with The Autobiography of Jane Eyre and Emma Approved every week.  The cool things about these stories is that they are more than videos; each story has a website, and the characters even have Tumblrs and Twitters.

Kaleb Bengston: InfoWars hits top for me. Both the website and Alex Jones’ podcasts and Nightly News have been a constant presence in my daily life. InfoWars is an alternative news website dealing with so called “conspiracy theories” and news that you don’t hear on CNN or MSNBC. Alex Jones, the front man for Infowars.com, is a boisterous, sometimes outright confrontational character that keeps the audience both informed and entertained throughout the show. Though be warned: this website is not for everyone.

Mallory Vallentine: This year I discovered Rooster Teeth on Youtube. They are a company located in Austin, Texas, that creates entertaining videos about computer and video games. I specifically like watching the channel that branches off of Rooster Teeth called Lets Play, where they post “Let’s Play” videos, my favorites being their Minecraft videos. The group of guys in the “Let’s Play Minecraft” videos create challenges and games to play within the world of Minecraft. Every guy in the videos is absolutely hilarious, and there isn’t a single video of theirs that doesn’t make me laugh.

Olivia Heath: Hyperbole and a Half is combination of a blog and a web comic written by Allie Brosh. Most of the posts feature stories from her life including her childhood, her dogs and the struggles she faces as an adult. These blog posts are accompanied by comics drawn in Paintbrush. Recently this year, Brosh released her first book based on her blog, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened, which is on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Allie writes with an amazing sense of humor and a lot of her posts are really relatable. Her blog never fails to make me laugh.

Austin Anderson: I think my favorite Internet podcasts this year are definitely Austin Anderson’s Sports Talk. The dude is a genius and always comes up with pinpoint predictions while keeping you completely entertained the entire time. I would definitely check him out on YouTube!

Zuhayr Alam: No doubt it’s Austin Anderson’s Sports Talk. Along with that, it was fun seeing the Internet fads coming and going such as the Harlem Shake, Psy and The Fox.

Kaitlyn Brocka: The Slow Mo Guys are two British guys that do very cool things in slow mo. For example, they shoot guns in a swimming pool, blew up a car, and blew up paint in slow mo. One of the guys in these videos is Gavin from the Rooster Teeth company that Mallory talked about, and so they are both very interesting to watch. I also believe that Rooster Teeth will be buying the Slow Mo Guys’ name so that they can link businesses since they have the same kind of viewers anyway.

MacKenzie Dallenbach: How Animals Eat Their Food by MisterEpicMann has to be my favorite YouTube video that came of in 2013. It’s about this one man acting out to his friend how certain types of animals eat their food, like a cow, lizard, Tyrannosaurus Rex and a kangaroo to just name a few. The video is about a minute and a half in length and has over 90 million views!

Martha Hall: I loved watching TED Talks this year. There are so many fascinating ones. To be honest, if school was eight hours of watching TED Talks, I would learn a lot more. One of my favorites was “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brené Brown. It was powerful and said a lot on humanity.



It’s hard to read new books right when they come out, so most of these are not new, but they are what we have been reading the past year.

Ellen Wallingford: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and his latest book did not disappoint. Known for his strange yet beautiful fantasy, Gaiman has also written stories such as Coraline, Stardust and American Gods. While Gaiman’s works range from children’s fantasy to adult literature, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is like a fairytale for adults. It’s a bit dark, but the story is sure to wrap you up and keep you entranced until long after it is over.

Kaleb Bengston: It would have to be “Odd Apocalypse” by Dean Koontz. Granted, the book came out late last year, but that’s the newest book I’ve read. Koontz has always been a favorite of mine, next to Layman and Keene. 10/10 would recommend.

Abby Young: The Pretty Little Liars books are my favorite. These are my favorite because they are always wanting to make you keep reading and turning the page. JK. I don’t read books.

Sara Ashar: The Fault In Our Stars is one of my favorite books. I read it over summer, and I personally think its one of John Green’s best works. Another good book by him is Looking For Alaska. Both are unique books with heartfelt plots.

Zuhayr Alam:  I am currently reading Ender’s Game on my phone after seeing the movies, and the books are just as good if not better. It is definitely one of my favorite book series that I have read so far.

MacKenzie Dallenbach: So far my favorite book of 2013 is the first book in The Mortal Instruments series: City of Bones. The book, and series, have been around for quite some years, but the City of Bones film came out later this year. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I want to at least finish the first book in the series before watching the film.

Mallory Vallentine: I haven’t gotten to read any new books this year because I’ve been too busy, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth sometime soon. The series has raised a lot of hype, and this year Roth released a new book in the series, Allegiant. The books all sound incredibly interesting with a well-developed plot, so I’m very excited to read them when I get the chance.

Olivia Heath: My all time favorite book is called “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It’s not from this year, but the movie adaptation just recently came out in November. This book is set in Germany during the escalation of World War II. What I find really interesting about this book is that it is narrated by Death. All I can say is that this book is beautifully written and I hope that whoever enjoyed the movie will have a chance to read this book.

Martha Hall: This definitely isn’t a new book, but I love “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. It revolves around themes of vanity, which is interesting in this day and age.





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