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Teens in Print Answers the New York Times' Holiday Social Q's
We asked our teen reporters to take on real life, holiday-themed questions from the New York Times' Social Q's column.


From: Retro-Gifting

Last year at Christmas, I somehow managed to regift an ugly set of crystal wineglasses back to my sister-in-law, who had given them to my husband and me for our anniversary. Things have been a little chilly ever since. This year, I’d like to give her something really great to make up for it. Should I acknowledge the regifted glasses, or just pretend it never happened? And is there a way of letting her know that I actually bought a present for her this time? -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous, 
I think you should own up to your actions. While yes, there is still a possibility that your sister-in-law may not know that you regifted her gift, it is still the right thing to do. You messed up. Just face it and own up to it. Giving an even better gift may help the situation a little, but if there is no apology, your efforts were for nothing. Just say “sorry” and be genuine about it. I’m sure your sister-in-law will appreciate a “sorry” more than anything. Once more, don’t stress about it. Have a merry Christmas and squash everything with your sister-in-law. 
Sincerely,
David Santana

Dear Anonymous,

Honestly, first: terrible move. Second, maybe ask someone close to her and see what she likes, get her that, and then send an apology note along with it. It’ll prove that you know what your mistake was and that you felt bad for it. Plus, getting something that she really likes will put her in a better mood and she’ll easily forgive you. 

-Ameerah Dada

Hi Anonymous,
That sounds like a tough situation you’re in. Here’s my advice: talk to her and get to know her interests. What things does she value most in life? Family? A pet? Her partner? Then try to find a gift that corresponds to these things, for example, a painting with quotes about family. Another way to get someone a great gift is to show that person how much they mean to you. If she is into jewelry, try finding a necklace that was specifically designed for sisters. If I were in your shoes, I would tell her the truth about last year’s gift and come clean. Not only does this clear your conscience, but it builds a new layer of growth between your relationship with your sister-in-law. Remember to show how sincere you are when acknowledging the bad gift. This will make it easier for her to forgive you. That’s all for now. Happy holidays!
Yours truly,
Tiffany Cespedes
 

From: If You Can’t Stop Name-Dropping, You’re Not Coming Skiing This Year

My friend from work and I managed to stay close even after we changed jobs. We mostly see each other on the weekends, but he really bugs my other friends. I want to invite him on our holiday ski trip; they don’t because he often makes up stories about celebrities. Not only will he have an Ariana Grande sighting (totally believable), but he takes it to another level: He and Ariana have an amazing conversation that he relays in painful detail. (Less believable.) I forgive him these lies because he’s kind and loyal. But my friends don’t. Should I say something to him? And what about the ski trip? -M.P.


Dear M.P.,

Trying to manage a friend group of diverse people can be a difficult thing to do! I’d recommend mentioning your other friends’ reactions to your work friend. It seems like too little a thing to cancel trip invitations over — communication tends to be the best option. Most likely, your work friend wants to impress your other friends — tell him that he is interesting enough without celebrity encounters. Make sure to tell him that it doesn’t matter to you, but that if he wants to connect with your friends, he might consider telling more relatable stories. And enjoy that ski trip!

Best of luck,
Masha Layfer

Dear M.P.,

In my opinion, M.P., you should talk to your friends and tell them that it’s just a joke and to not take it too seriously. You should also ask them how they feel about the stories and talk to your friend from work to be more realistic and probably ask him the purpose of his stories. You guys should leave everything behind and enjoy the ski trip as friends. But the decision is yours on whether you choose to manage the situation. Good luck!!               
-Miguel Estrada


From: Grammy's Candids

My husband’s grandmother enjoys taking pictures during holiday get-togethers. But she’s paparazzo-like in her zeal for an unflattering photograph. She giggles when she gets a shot of my double chin or my sister-in-law with a mouthful of pumpkin pie. Afterward, she sends albums of the offending photographs to everyone. How can I tell her to cool it with the camera? -Christy Reynolds, Dayton, Ohio

Dear Christy Reynolds,
 
The way that you can tell your grandmother to take it easy with the photo taking is by having a civil conversation with her. Discuss that taking embarrassing photos of people—family, mind you—without their consent isn’t cool, and that she should think about not the intent, but the impact that it will have on these individuals. If your grandmother doesn’t like the advice that I recommended, then she can just kick rocks and retire the photography gig, listen to some Christmas jams and drink some coco or eggnog and just chill and be old
-Dre Salomon



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hashi photo [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the past decade and a half, moviegoers have been exposed to six different Spider-Man movies featuring three different actors, six underdeveloped villains, four Uncle Ben death sequences, and two separate film studios. Suffice to say, everyone knows the Spider-Man story about as well as we know that with great power comes great responsibility—but in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s “Into The Spider-Verse,” we see the Spider-Man mythos from an entirely new perspective.
After being bitten by a certain radioactive spider, Brooklyn native Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is thrown head first into conflict with earth shattering consequences.  Alongside an older Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), the punk rock as all heck Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), a talking pig (John Mulaney), a child piloting a spider themed Megazord (Kimiko Glenn), and what I can only describe as Spider-Nicholas Cage (shockingly, Nicholas Cage), Miles must stop The Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from tearing the multiverse as we know it apart.  Piece of cake for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Men. And women. And pig. 
First off, the visuals in this movie are stunning.  Rarely am I so blown away by the sheer beauty of an animated film, but “Into the Spider-Verse” pulls straight from the comics it’s inspired by to make an animation style that is both comforting in its accurate familiarity, but surreal in its thrilling use of color. This sets it miles apart from any previous Spider-flick. 
Considering the movie is produced by the amazing team of Lord and Miller, “Spider-Verse” is without a doubt not only one of the funniest, but one of the most lovingly made movies of the year, paying tribute to every aspect of the Spider-Man mythos while also refreshing the universe we have seen time and time again. Without a doubt, “Into The Spider-Verse” is worth your time, and is hands-down the best animated movie you will see all year. With two sequels already in the works, we should all look forward to seeing what comes next from the Spider-Verse.

INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. Voiced by Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, and John Mulaney. At Boston Common, Fenway, and others. 117 minutes. PG.
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War. War never changes, but the “Fallout” series does. “Fallout 76” marks a major shift for the 21-year-old series, making the jump from a single player role playing game to a online multiplayer experience.  While a definite shock for long time fans of the dark, though occasionally wacky, series, my time in the open beta has put many of my fears to rest.
“Fallout 76” takes place in the remains of a post-apocalyptic version of West Virginia. You wake up inside of Vault 76, one of many fallout shelters scattered around the United States. It’s reclamation day, the day when the citizens of the vault are meant to return to the bombed-out remains of their former homes after 20 years underground, to rebuild society.  After customizing your character, you are sent out into the Appalachian wasteland to follow in the footsteps of the Vault’s Overseer and uncover the dark secrets of Appalachia. 
Just because Fallout 76 is the first multiplayer entry in the series doesn’t mean you'll have to share your loot.  The game is perfectly playable solo. During my time in the “Break-It Early Test Application” (gotta love Bethesda’s acronyms), I primarily roamed the wilderness with nothing but my wits, a party hat, and a very pointy shovel, and I had a blast. The handful of times I did find myself in the presence of other players were always an interesting experience to say the least, most ending with finding myself on the wrong end of another player's Super-Sledge. 
If PVP is not your thing, then you’ll be glad to know that “Fallout 76” has a pacifism feature. If another player attacks you without you fighting back, a bounty will be placed on their head which is up for grabs by anyone on the server.  Hunting down the less friendly players provides a unique challenge that can result in a lot of loot if you succeed—but will cause a loss of all your scrap, and a chunk of change if you fail.
However, “Fallout 76” is definitely an online experience. You will have the most fun if you and a group of buddies take on the trials of Appalachia as a team. After wandering solo for a few hours, I picked up a radio signal telling me to head to a nearby city where three other players and I were tasked with defending a soup factory from ghouls, giant rats, and communist robots.  After a fierce battle, where my dear old shovel was destroyed lobbing off the head of the final ghoul, the whole party was awarded with food, medicine and new crafting schematics. Events like these pop up all over the map and give out some of the best loot when completed. While these events are not impossible solo, they are a lot easier and way more fun with friends watching your back, so you best make some buddies if you plan on gunning for some of the more challenging missions.   
In the admittedly short time I had with “Fallout 76,” the game managed to exceed my expectations. The gameplay was solid, the environments were interesting, and it definitely had the atmosphere of a “Fallout” game. However, going into this new title, you should not expect this to be “Fallout 5.” “Fallout 76” doesn’t follow the traditional story-based format the franchise has been known for, which will definitely be off-putting to some.  This is not a game where you play the chosen one destined to bring peace to the wastes and rebuild society. This is not a game where your choices will leave echos through the greater narrative of the series. This is, however, a game where you will be able to experience the world of “Fallout” like never before and have a blast tearing through the wastes with your friends. If you’re willing to look past this major shift in the series, you will have an amazing time in “Fallout 76.” 


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You’ve heard the music, you’ve seen the name—you’ve possibly even held a “Wayne’s World” style sing along from the backseat of your best buddy’s car.  
To call British rock band Queen influential would be like calling fire hot, so obvious that saying it out loud would just get you weird looks from your now-worried friends. “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018) follows the story of the band’s front man Farrokh Bulsara, more commonly known by his stage name, Freddie Mercury, from his joining of Queen in 1969 to the band’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985. 

The story of the band that brought us “Killer Queen,” “We Are the Champions,” and the film’s namesake song, however, is much less well-known than these hits, and perhaps for good reason—it’s riddled with lies, drugs, and hair cuts that haven’t aged all that well.  Although the film is overall an emotional, head-banging, rock-n-roller coaster, there are several sequences that are no bed of roses and no pleasure cruise.
 The first hour of “Bohemian Rhapsody” suffers from being unnecessarily cheesy and awkwardly self-referential. An early scene, for example, shows Mercury fawning over clothes on a rack just to be told that they’re women's pants (Get it? Because he wore women's pants? So clever!). 
Additionally, the timeline of the movie is puzzling at the outset, jumping from scene to scene in a way that’s a bit confusing if you’re not paying attention. Granted, this is to show the audience the important bits without dwelling too much on any particular scene longer than necessary, but the fractured style makes the first third of the film feel like a very, very long trailer for a much better movie. I was hardly expecting the whole movie to be a thrill ride from start to finish, but the beginning drags on far longer than it needs to.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” puts its best foot forward, well, about an hour in. This is where the movie’s heart really shines and becomes worthy of the Queen name.  The movie finds its focus in the drama that was Mercury’s life. From his tense relationship with his fellow bandmates to the toxic relationship he finds himself in, we see the more sympathetic and human side of a figure the whole world viewed as just a rockstar. The final scene is where the it makes up for most of its shortcomings—to avoid spoilers, all you need to know is that any doubts you have about the movie will be put to rest.
Despite great performances by the whole cast, Rami Malek steals the show as Mercury, just like an actor playing Mr. Bad Guy himself. Malek shows us more than just Mercury the rock star. He masterfully depicts Mercury’s charismatic stage persona while also revealing him as a deeply flawed individual, which makes for a compelling and relatable narrative.  Furthermore, Malek’s vocals blend seamlessly with recordings of Mercury’s singing, further emphasizing his award-worthy performance.  You may not remember every detail of the movie’s plot within a week, but Malek’s  performance is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. 
Regardless of its flaws, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is never boring and definitely does its subject justice. Whether you’re a Queen diehard or just enjoyed “We Will Rock You” at a Patriots game one time, this is a film worth seeing.  

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Directed by Bryan Singer. Starring Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, and  Allen Leech. At Boston Common, Fenway, and others. 2 hrs 15 min. PG-13. 



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 On Wednesday, October 17, Congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley hosted a media roundtable in the More Than Words bookstore open exclusively to student journalists, to emphasize the importance of youth voices in her campaign and policy proposals. The roundtable was followed by an event open to youth from across the city. Campaign staff and volunteers hosted five discussion groups as Pressley circled around and listened in on the conversations. The groups discussed sexual assault, school safety and discipline, student debt, affordable housing and DACA and other immigration issues. 
Pressley’s recent historic victory over incumbent congressman Mike Capuano has set her up to become the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts. 
The Massachusetts 7th Congressional District—the district Pressley is poised to represent—is one of the most diverse, most unequal, and most millennial in the country. This was thought to be a disadvantage for Pressley, as most groups she was likely to motivate were “unreliable voters.” 

Yet, “every group that’s considered to not be a likely primary voter voted in this election,” Pressley said on Wednesday. “We have to give people a reason to vote. That’s not here—” Pressley moved her hand from her head to her heart—“That’s here. That’s not cerebral. That’s here.”
The diversity of the Massachusetts 7th District drives Pressley’s campaign. One of her slogans is “Those who are closest to the pain should be closest to the power.” This is echoed in her campaign ad that went viral in August—in it, the viewer follows Pressley as she rides the Boston Route 1 bus through familiar Boston locales and points out that along the route, life expectancy can differ by as much as 30 years and median household income by as much as $50,000. Pressley understand that in a district like hers, people experience very different pain, and allowing individuals to express that pain is central to her platform. She promises to be “intentional about creating space for those other voices.” 
Before the roundtable was over, Pressley assured students that this wouldn’t be a one-time event, but rather, part of a process. She shared her plans to create a student advisory board and to meet quarterly with every school in the 7th District, as well as continuing to host events for student journalists.
Throughout the event, Pressley echoed her campaign slogan, “change can’t wait,” as she emphasized the need for the country to continue to move forward; for politicians to continue fighting for the people and for the people to stay engaged. “We can’t accept things as an inevitability,” she said. 
“Victory is not magic—it’s work...Hope is not magic. It’s work.”

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