Tips for Learning a New Language

Written By Miranda Owen

I am a Senior in Political Science at NC State, but to fulfill my major’s requirements I decided to take on a difficult challenge: spending two years studying Japanese language. I took beginner lessons in Spanish during high school, but going in-depth to learn a language and taking college courses is a lot more difficult (but rewarding too). Improving my foreign language skills has been a long journey but I have acquired many different tips for learning a new language. 

Listen to Music

Something that’s really helped me expand my vocabulary and practice pronunciation is listening to and learning songs in my target language. Listening to foreign music can expose you to different cultural elements and help you practice your skills anywhere, at anytime. 

Try Quizlet 

I have loved Quizlet to help out with all of my classes but especially Japanese. I can review everything I’ve learned so far quickly, and it’s just like using flashcards but with less paper waste and no chance of losing your work. 

Start a Journal 

It really helps to write as much as possible in your target language, especially if you’re learning a language that has a unique alphabet and characters such as Japanese or Arabic. I use a bullet journal to help me track my progress learning the language and write a few lines about how my week is going. Writing your own thoughts in your target language can help you practice grammar, writing, and vocabulary. 

Reading Books or Comics 

Likewise, it’s helpful to read books or, if you’re also studying Japanese, manga. I’ve found that books targeted toward a younger audience – like teen novels are easier to read but still entertaining. 

Games and TV 

Taking in any type of media that’s spoken in your target language can help you take in new vocabulary and get exposed to more casual, modern speaking styles. For this purpose I absolutely love learning Japanese by watching Japanese reality TV like Terrace House. I love it because I can learn how people my age talk to each other  (this is really important if there are different dialects or honorifics you need to learn). 

Join Practice Groups 

Whether you’re studying with a class or learning solo, it really helps to talk to people on your skill level and practice together. The students in my class have a Discord to discuss in, and I am also a part of some Facebook groups for practicing the language. It’s great to socialize while practicing your skills and getting some new ones as well. 

Blog Non-Music News

Last-Minute Voting Resources

I hope that if you’re reading this you’ve made it to the polls already, but if not, that’s okay too. There’s still time! With November 3 officially less than two weeks away, it’s absolutely essential that everyone makes a plan to vote if they are able. If you are planning to vote early, keep in mind that October 31 is the last day you can do so in North Carolina. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there, so here are some common questions (and answers!) about voting.

Q: If I want to vote early, where can I do that?

A: You can vote early at any early voting site inside of the county you are registered to vote in. Here is a tool where you can look up your early voting site. Keep in mind that your Election Day polling place is different than an early voting site. You are assigned a place to vote on Election Day, which you can look up using this search tool.

Q: If I’m uncomfortable going to the polls in-person, can I still vote by mail?

A: YES, but not for long. The last day to request your absentee ballot is October 27. You can do this digitally or on paper. Return your request form through the online portal or by sending it to your county Board of Elections office through email, regular mail, fax, or in-person. Once you receive your absentee ballot, fill it out and make sure to have a witness sign it. You have until 5 p.m. on Nov. 3 to return it to your county Board of Elections, either in-person or through the mail. You can also drop it off at any early voting site before early voting ends.

Q: I know who I want the President to be, but where do I find information about the other candidates on the ballot?

A: NC Voter, a nonpartisan voter engagement organization in North Carolina, has some amazing resources to look at for state and local elections. Here is a link to their ballot guides, which are free of political bias.

Q: I’m not registered to vote. Can I still do that?

A: The deadline for registering to vote by mail and online has passed, BUT you can still register on-site at early voting locations. If you’re not registered, make sure you vote early, otherwise, you will not be able to participate in the 2020 election. You must have a photo ID or document that shows your full name and address to vote on-site.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask to the polls?

A: Absolutely. Even if there are long lines outside of your polling place and you have to wait outside, make sure to wear a mask at all times to keep yourself and your community safe!

I hope this was helpful. Good luck, don’t lose hope, and vote vote vote!

– DJ Butter


Blog Miscellaneous

Top 5 Halloween TV Episodes

If you can’t tell already, I’m trying to squeeze in as many spooky blog posts as I can before the 31st. To try to get in the Halloween spirit, I’ve been watching A LOT of the films that I mentioned in my previous post, but sometimes I’m too tired to sit through an entire movie. So, if you need a little pick-me-up, here are some of the best Halloween episodes from my favorite TV shows:

  • King of the Hill: Season 2, Episode 4 “Hilloween”

Bobby loses his Halloween spirit when an overexcited religious zealot moves into Arlen and convinces the town that Halloween is a satanic holiday. Hank, Bobby’s dad, tries to get him back in the mood for trick-or-treating.

Favorite Quote: “You’ll go to hell!” “You’ll get candy!”

  • Bob’s Burgers: Season 5, Episode 2 “Tina and the Real Ghost”

An exterminator/spiritual medium comes to Bob’s Burger’s to get rid of their bug problem, but the Belchers find out that they have a ghost living in their basement who was a 13-year-old boy named “Jeff.” After trapping him in a shoebox, Tina develops a crush.

Favorite Quote: “Where’s Tina, crying into her butt?” “No, my butt is dry…and strong.”

  • New Girl: Season 2, Episode 6 “Halloween”

Jess takes a gig at a haunted house and confesses feeling for a handsome doctor who just isn’t into her. A lovestruck Schmidt accidentally matches with Cece while her own boyfriend dresses as a Ninja Turtle.

Favorite Quote: “What am I looking at here? Robbie, man to man, you didn’t want to wear something a little more form-flattering, maybe like a pile of towels? Or the number 8?”

  • Spongebob: Season 1, Episode 13 “Scaredy Pants”

Couldn’t leave this classic out. Spongebob wants to be a real ghost for Halloween but his square shape makes him look more like a mattress. Patrick gives him a makeover so he’ll look more realistic under the white sheet.

Favorite Quote: “Pink hat? Oh, that’s not a hat. That’s my brain.”

  • Nathan For You: Season 1, Episode 5 “Mechanic/Realtor”

This isn’t exactly a Halloween episode, but it’s absolutely worth a watch. Nathan Fielder helps a struggling real estate agent by rebranding her as “The Ghost Realtor,” who promises to only sells houses that are demon-free.

Favorite Quote:

“I could tell Sue was thrilled with her new image, but to fully rebrand as the ghost realtor, she’d need to work with a professional psychic medium who could verify whether her homes were truly ghost-free.

So I found a local psychic online.”

Happy watching!

– DJ Butter


Film Review: The Lobster (2015)

The Lobster is a film featuring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly. It is a film that is hard to explain, and even harder pigeonhole into one genre: it contains elements of drama, thriller, and romance, but the genre it most closely resembles is dark comedy.

The film takes place in a near-future dystopian setting in which everyone is required to be in a committed relationship. Singles are sent to a hotel where they have 45 days to find a mate, or they will be transformed into the animal of their choice. The film centers around David, a man who is all alone after a failed marriage, as he tries to navigate awkward courting rituals at the hotel before he is turned into a lobster.

The Lobster is full of twists, turns, and convoluted plot points that some viewers may not like. There are also elements of the absurd in the film that I think are intentionally confusing, such as non-sequiturs, nonsensical dialogue, and long shots that seem to overstay their welcome. There are only 3 characters with names in the film; the rest are identified by their traits or roles. The ending of the film raises many more questions than it answers, which is simultaneously tasteful and frustrating. Depending on your perspective, the film has a lot to say or absolutely nothing at all.

In spite of its downfalls, The Lobster is one of the most entertaining films I have seen this year—I don’t usually watch films more than once, and I have seen this one three times. There were plenty of scenes that made me laugh, some that made me uneasy, and some that were genuinely touching. The ambiguity of the film leaves plenty of room for thematic analysis. Perhaps the film is criticizing our society’s obsession with monogamous relationships and our willingness to sacrifice individuality to conform to be better partners, or perhaps it means nothing at all – either way, it’s worth watching.

Have you seen The Lobster? If so, what did you think?

– DJ Mango


Restful Tunes Playlist

Written By Miranda

The perfect playlist for an autumn or winter day for relaxing. Think dark academia, the Twilight series, or a Michael Gondry film. Plenty of light instrumentals to melancholic tracks for you to enjoy. Listen here.

  1. Vote by The Submarines
  2. Box of Rain by Grateful Dead
  3. Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes
  4. Possibility by Lykke Li
  5. You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are by Keaton Henson
  6. To Be Alone With You by Sufjan Stevens
  7. Don’t Swim by Keaton Henson
  8. Soon We’ll Be Found by Sia
  9. Master of None by Beach House
  10. 505 by Arctic Monkeys
  11. China Doll by Grateful Dead
  12. The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel
  13. Needle In The Hay by Elliott Smith
  14. Chicago (acoustic version) by Sufjan Stevens
  15. Rosyln by Midnite String Quartet
  16. Holocene by Bon Iver
  17. John My Beloved by Sufjan Stevens
  18. The Owl And The Tanager by Sufjan Stevens
  19. River by Joni Mitchell
  20. Springfield by Sufjan Stevens
  21. Asleep by The Smiths
  22. Blue Bucket of Gold by Sufjan Stevens
  23. Little Green by Joni Mitchell
  24. Cementality by King Krule
  25. Space Song by Beach House
Music Education

Women in Jazz

Ya like jazz? Yes? Well who comes to mind when you think about the smooth tones that characterized the 40s and 50s? Is it Louis Armstrong? Or maybe Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima. While all of these men were incredible singers, more often than not they outshined a whole group of female jazz artists that were just as good, if not better.

One of my favorite artists, Billie Holiday, dominated the charts back in the day. She rose to fame in a time following the Great Depression, with a new flavor of music that became known as “swing.” With songs like I’ll Be Seeing You and Easy Living she quickly made a name for herself. Her music also incorporated a strong element of the civil rights movement, with Strange Fruit serving as an emotional depiction of the effects of racism.

Another notable singer from the time was Ella Fitzgerald, who popularized scat singing through songs such as Dream a Little Dream of Me and A-Tisket, A-Tasket. Perhaps one of the biggest women in music at the time, she was also popular on the big screen, with a role in Pete Kelley’s Blues and making guest appearances on TV shows such as The Frank Sinatra and The Ed Sullivan Show.

One last artist I’d like to point out is Dinah Shore. Her melodic voice fits perfectly with the instrumental background and perfectly characterizes the aged feeling that comes from listening to this genre of music.

Each song by these artists tells a story. Some tell stories of injustice, some of hardships, and some of love. But these stories are what helped women gain a foothold in the music industry and will forever be timeless on any jazz playlist. 

Hope you guys enjoy the music, 

-DJ chippypants


Friday Favorites (10/16)

Written By Miranda

Friday Favorites is a biweekly playlist series created by Miranda featuring her favorite songs from the past two weeks with a focus on new releases and  lesser-known music. You can check out this week’s new tracks as well as all songs from previous weeks on WKNC’s Spotify here. This week’s Favorites include some of the best indie breakup songs. 

  1. Bad Day by Darwin Deez 
  2. Compromise by Phony Ppl 
  3. Mardy Bum by Arctic Monkeys
  4. Putting The Dog To Sleep by The Antlers 
  5. Not In Love (ft. Robert Smith)  by Crystal Castles 
  6. No Destruction by Foxygen 
  7. Flowers In December by Mazzy Star
Band/Artist Profile

Slept On: RMR

Not much is known about the figure known as RMR – pronounced “rumor” – who never makes a public appearance without his embroidered ski mask. One thing is certain, however: the man can sing. His breakout single “Rascal”, with its impassioned vocal performance and “F— 12” refrain, combines hardcore hip-hop aesthetics with country balladry thanks to its interpolation of “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. Like Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”, the juxtaposition of these two styles makes “Rascal” – along with its music video – primed for viral success.

Music Video for “Rascal” by RMR

Given his enigmatic persona and viral appeal, it would be easy to write off RMR as a gimmick. When I play “Rascal” for my friends, none of them take it seriously – but while there is a certain novelty in auto-crooning about drug dealing over a country instrumental, it’s clear the rapper has his sights set higher than one-hit wonder status. In June of 2020, he followed up the success of his viral hit with Drug Dealing is a Lost Art, an EP that saw features from Westside Gunn, Future, Lil Baby, and Young Thug. Tracks like “Welfare” and “Dealer” showcase RMR’s ability to glide over melodic trap instrumentals and prove that “Rascal” was no fluke.

So who is the man behind the mask? According to RMR, that isn’t important – the music is all that matters. As he told Entertainment Weekly: “At the end of the day, every artist is wearing a mask. Even a lot of individuals in their normal day are wearing a mask. I’m just a mirror for them.”

– DJ Mango

Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 10/21

1KYLESee You When I Am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!Self-Released
2PRINCESS NOKIAEverything Is Beautiful/Everything SucksSelf-Released
3KARI FAUXLowkey SuperstarChange Minds
4AMINELimboUniversal Republic
5CITY GIRLSCity On LockQuality Control
6RICO NASTY“Own It” [Single]Sugar Trap / Atlantic
7DANIELA ANDRADE“Puddles” [Single]Crooked Lid
8DUCKWRTH“Crush” [Single]Republic
9REJJIE SNOW“Cookie Chips” [Single]Honeymoon/+1/300 Ent./EMPIRE
Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 10/21

1SIR CHLOEParty Favors [Advance Tracks]Terrible
2MAMALARKYMamalarky [Advance Tracks]Fire Talk
3YVES JARVISSundry Rock Song StockAnti-
4TUNE-YARDS“nowhere, man.” [Single]4AD/Beggars Group
5OSEESProtean ThreatCastle Face
6MINT FIELDSentimiento MundialFelte
7TAPEWORMSFuntastic [Advance Tracks]Howlin’ Banana
8IDLESUltra MonoPartisan
9SLOW PULPMoveysWinspear
11ARCHAEAS, THEThe ArchaeasGoner
12BUMPERPop Songs 2020 [EP]Self-Released
13SHY BOYSTalk LoudPolyvinyl
15KNXWLEDGE10,000 ProofStones Throw 
16SHIVUM SHARMA“Diamond” [Single]Self-Released
17DON TOLIVERAfter PartyWMG Atlantic
18OHAJIJEast Manhattan ProjectMore Valid Decisions/Hustleward
19XAVIER WULF“Kid Cudi (Remix)” [Single]The Hollow Squad
21FRANK OCEAN“DHL” [Single]Def Jam
22REASON“Show Stop” [Single]Top Dawg
23AJANI JONESBlack Power RangerAjani Jones
24LO VILLAGE“Jefe’s House” [Single]Rebel 
25KISSISSIPPI“Around Your Room” [Single]Triple Crown
26ANGELA MUNOZIntrospectionLinear Labs
28RICO NASTYAnger ManagementAtlantic
30FEMDOT“94 Camry Music” [Single]Self-Released


1PAPI SHIITAKEQuarantine Dream [EP]Trash Casual
3KISSISSIPPI“Around Your Room” [Single]Triple Crown
4TOMBERLINProjections [EP]Saddle Creek
5OKEY DOKEYOnce Upon One TimePark The Van
6JW FRANCISWe Share a Similar Joy [Advance Tracks]Sunday Best
7JULIA JACKLIN“to Perth, before the border closes” b/w “CRY” [Single]Sub Pop
8DREW CITRONFree NowPark The Van
9BRUTAL POODLE“Night Creeps” b/w “Wash” [Single]Kingfisher Bluez
10OCEANATORThings I Never SaidPlastic Miracles