By Keita Ohara
Hey guys I was bored so I wrote the intro to a zombie story that I think I’ll set in Binghamton. It’s pretty bad. Enjoy.
Back before the world turned to shit, people used to love to point out how impossible a zombie apocalypse really was. They’d always go on and on about how the reason we never see the beginning of the zombie apocalypse is because it simply would be put to a stop before things got out of hand. What our ethnocentric, first-world selves failed to realize was that it would never start in a country where we could just watch movies and discuss random crap like the realism of a hypothetical Rapture. It started in places where people didn’t know what brand names were and the most valuable commodity was water. If we ever bothered thinking about it for one second it would’ve made sense. These places are breeding grounds for disease with almost no relationship with first world countries and have never been taught “the rules” of zombies. To make matters worse, it As these countries begin to realize what’s going on, the more radical ones, perhaps Somalia, Afghanistan, or Iran thought that they had just been handed the greatest weapon of all time, something that could change society. Naturally, instead of attempting to contain the disease, these geniuses decided to devote all their resources into inserting operatives into key locations who would inject themselves with the virus in areas that would maximize the damage. Others went to hospitals to inoculate patients, ensuring that all possible relief areas would be overrun. While this was happening all over the world, the twisted fucks that started all of this failed to keep their own countries safe and were never able to implement the stages of their attack.
By the way, the reason I’m being this vague is because the events I just described purely conjecture. It turns out investigative journalism tends to take quite a hit when the age of information comes to an end. All we know for sure is that when the world fell into ruin, it happened everywhere all at once and that specific research facilities and relief centers were targeted. Six months ago, I never would’ve believed that Binghamton would be one of the east coast’s last sanctuaries for humanity. However, looking back, I couldn’t have picked a better place to be when shit hit the fan. Low profile enough not to attract attention from the initial attack, located in a fairly mountainous and hard to reach region, enough food to feed tens of thousands of ravenous college students and a focus on sustainable energy, Binghamton really was the complete zombie survival package.
I’d like to think that 100 years from now some kids will be going to school to study humanity’s darkest period and how it recovered from the brink of extinction, but right now the only class I’m taking here is Zombie 101.
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Keita Ohara 3/1/11
At some point this year the ultra violent Japanese film Battle Royale will finally see a US release eleven years after the original movie. In a post Columbine world, kid on kid violence has become a very touchy topic. The movie focuses on a group of kidnapped Japanese high school students brought to an island to kill each other as part of the government’s brutal Battle Royale Act. If the media ranted over Skins’ US remake, imagine their reaction when Battle Royale comes out here.
An incredible film, famed director Quentin Tarantino’s favorite in fact, nonetheless, many wonder how American audiences will handle a movie this graphic involving fifteen year olds committing murder. That being said, the film received an R15 rating in Japan, meaning that no one under the age of 15 can watch the film. If fifteen year olds in another country can watch it, why shouldn’t we? After seeing the movie, I can see why some people were concerned, but honestly, far more violent and disturbing movies have come out here without any problems.
New Line Cinema even wanted to do a remake in 2006; unfortunately the Virginia Tech massacre occurred in 2007, causing New Line to cancel the movie. While I’m glad that American producers didn’t have a chance to mutilate and cash in on the movie, it’s disappointing that US audiences have been deprived of such an incredible film.
Though one might argue that US audiences could watch the movie online, they’d not only have to know where to look, but also what to look for. Without mainstream exposure, this hidden gem would stay undiscovered.
Not for the faint of heart, this is still a must see for fans of action and horror flicks alike.
With mere days left before my departure, I suppose some sort of retrospective of my high school life, particularly my time in Journalism, is expected. However, a high school senior’s waxing poetic isn’t exactly the most intriguing thing in the world to read, so I’ll try my best not to sound like a Hallmark card.
Also: allow me to preface this by saying that were this not a school publication, this would probably be a much more humorous and expletive-laden article (which would’ve come into fruition were this article published solely on my tumblr).
When I entered this school in September, 2008: Toonami was still on the air, the iPod Classic was still relevant (sorry to any iPod Classic owners, but really, it’s probably about time for an upgrade), Windows Vista was still in use, the Zune was still being made, the adventures of Harry Potter had not yet been wrapped up. And I was even shorter than I am now. That’s just a taste of how the world has changed during my time at BHS. These are obvious differences that anyone can spot with the naked eye or find with a search engine. The subtler ones, the ones that have occurred within us, are far more significant.
I’m not the person I was four years ago. I’m not even the person I thought I’d be at the end of high school. Almost none of us are. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. People change. Their ambitions, their ideals, their friends, all gradually evolve and develop over time. It’s just a part of growing up. College will undoubtedly change us even further, largely for the better. So, for those who feel that graduation is a gut-wrenching, tear-jerking experience, take solace in the fact that you are going on to bigger and better things and can pick the best aspects of your high school life to carry over into the next phase.
Discerning readers may have noticed that I’ve been trying to put off writing about myself or any of my own high school experiences. To be honest, I was hoping that I’d be able to squeeze enough content out of other topics in order to simply omit my personal experiences entirely. Unfortunately, it seems that the well has run a bit dry and I must now begrudgingly delve into the significance of my time at BHS.
My high school experience was actually fairly typical. I played a couple sports, had a group of friends with me throughout high school—some of whom I had a falling out with and others whom I became friends with later on. Typical high school stuff. I earned fairly middling grades due to an apathy that has grown at an incredible rate since I became an upperclassman. Despite this utter lack of effort, I’ve somehow been accepted to college and will attend Binghamton University when fall rolls around (take notes, underclassmen).
While I am looking forward to what’s ahead, I also must admit flying the nest will be a tad bittersweet. Even though I certainly won’t miss the excessive limitations and regulations of BHS—an issue that would make a great op-ed article for any future journalism students reading this—I can’t say that I welcome the rift that will inevitably grow amongst the senior class as we all move on with our lives.
Here are my final words of wisdom to those returning to BHS next year: time will march on regardless of how you feel about your high school experience. If you’ve been enjoying your time here, savor it, because graduation is much closer than you think; if you haven’t, just realize that this part of your life will soon pass and all you can really do is make the best of this.
With that, I bid you all farewell and wish you the best of luck in filling the immense, me-shaped hole that will be left in this school come next September.
By Keita Ohara
At first, students around BHS seemed to think that the SMART Boards might well just amount to an unnecessary expense. However, as teachers begin to incorporate them into their lessons, it has now become clear that they will earn their keep.
Right now, teachers are still getting used to the SMART Boards, and many are not quite sure how to use it properly. I know that I’m not the only student who was skeptical when the school unveiled their big purchase. Many students wondered if there was a better way to allocate the school’s budget.
There are still many who are unconvinced about what these large investments will really add. The boards tend to have been placed in an obtrusive position, often in the center of the existing whiteboards, so as to render most traditional teaching space unusable. There also remains the problem of teacher education.
BHS junior James Krupa said, “Not all teachers know how to use them.”
Perhaps this is a valid point. While some teachers may get plenty of use out of them, a few teachers might not incorporate the boards into their curriculum at all.
However, the SMART Boards are slowly justifying their purchase by making things easier for teachers and students alike.
BHS junior Mike Dunphy said, “The SMART Boards are pretty cool. Many of my teachers use them every day.”
After seeing what the smartboard is really capable of, most students seem to agree. Teachers are beginning to tailor their lesson plans around the smartboard and its features. The SMART Boards represent a rare marriage of flash and practical usefulness.
BHS physics teacher Mr. Hayes is using the SMART Board “to draw vectors as well as save [his] notes for future use.”
The verdict is still out on how much use the SMART Boards will really get all over the school, but perhaps more teachers will take after Mr. Hayes and use the smartboards to save time in their lesson plans and use its technological sheen to please and interest students in new ways.
By Keita Ohara
One could argue that Stumbleupon.com is the most addictive thing that isn’t banned in the state of New York. For those unfamiliar with StumbleUpon, it’s sort of like that one friend who’s really good at finding funny things on the internet, except it makes that friend look like a complete idiot in comparison.
The idea is simple: help discover things on the Internet that users would like, based on the interests they provide the site. It executes this concept incredibly well. Photo buffs will love the photography advice as well as the incredible photos; movie fans will appreciate the previews of upcoming movies and other movie recommendations. Everyone can find at least a few topics they like.
Without StumbleUpon, I never would’ve discovered some of the best content on the Internet. Epic Mealtime, How it Should’ve Ended, and so many other things on the Internet could’ve remained undiscovered were it not for StumbleUpon. There’s nothing particularly complicated about the site – after all, the only things that really matter on it are the thumbs up, thumbs down, and stumble button – but this elegance and simplicity give the site its charm. After using the site for less than a year, I’ve already liked over 1500 things.
“StumbleUpon is a great site,” said BHS senior Matthew Lippertshauser. “It’s addicting, because it only gives you things to look at that it knows you would like. I live on it.”
With hundreds of categories and a Twitter-esque feature that allows users to follow their friends, it could consume an entire summer in the blink of an eye. StumbleUpon allows any user to become “that guy” (or girl) who finds things first, then sends these things to all their friends, receiving the credit that actually should go to StumbleUpon.
By: Keita Ohara
The SATs – and all the hoopla surrounding them – create a stressful time for most students, many of whom think that their entire future rides on this one test. This reporter did some research, and according to various prep sites, including Peterson’s, Barron’s, and Cliff’s, here are a few things that every paranoid-hypochondriac should remember about the SATs:
• You can take it more than once.
Students seem to forget that the SAT isn’t just a one-time thing. Most students take SATs three to four times during their high school career, so one bad score isn’t the end of the world. In fact, the first SAT is often used to evaluate what a student needs to improve, uncovering their strengths and weaknesses.
• There’s another option:
Students who don’t want to take the SAT can always opt to take the ACT. The ACT is designed for students who “aren’t good test takers,” focusing on math and science while the SAT focuses on English and math.
• Most schools ignore the writing section:
Most schools largely overlook the writing system. Even schools like Cornell only use the writing section to determine class placement for certain courses. That being said, the writing section is still rather important to certain majors, such as English.
• The highest level Math on the SAT is Algebra 2:
This is significant because it means that most juniors SHOULD have already learned everything in the math sections. That being said, students should expect a few surprises, especially during the 1st test.
• Tons of practice questions are available:
There are dozens of prep-books filled with practice questions and test-taking tips. This reporter largely ignored the test-taking tips in the book because everyone has their own test-taking style. Regardless, the questions provide tons of invaluable practice.
• There are multiple courses available to help students prepare:
Bethpage offers SAT prep as an elective during the school day, and there’s also an adult-education night class available as well, along with a summertime SAT program. Several organizations, like Kaplan, also offer comprehensive SAT courses that many students seem to believe get the best results.
BHS senior Amy Gaines calls the prep courses at BHS “very enlightening. I had never seen the SAT before, and the course helped prepare me for the worst.”
• The test is 3 hours 45 minutes long:
Students need to pace themselves while taking the SAT. Bringing snacks, a drink, and hard candy is also advised. This also makes a good night’s sleep all the more important, as students have a habit of nodding off during long, boring stretches of time such as this test creates.
By Keita Ohara
With Arrested Development’s sudden revival comes the reminder of less fortunate shows that people were perhaps too dumb to love. Two and a Half Men’s immense popularity is just one of the many monuments to America’s televised stupidity. Here are some of the greatest shows ever murdered by viewer stupidity:
1. Freaks and Geeks: Oh how I miss this show. Because of the lack of love given to this great show, starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel, and produced by Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks is perhaps the greatest testament to America’s general stupidity. This sure-fire homerun managed to get nixed after only five episodes. Set in a high school from the 1980s, the show managed to be both realistic and endearing while maintaining Apatow’s signature raunch and awkward humor. It even featured Thomas F. Wilson (“Biff” from Back to the Future) as a clichéd 80s gym teacher. I’ll never understand the typical American viewer, but I blame them for this huge loss.
2. Jericho: A massive mystery with intriguing characters and real character drama, Jericho had all the makings of the next big serial drama. Everything except the viewership of course. Set in a Podunk Midwestern town, the show opens with the revelation that 23 major cities in the US have been nuked. With something that intriguing and a serious Twin Peaks vibe, its failure absolutely baffles me. Even after massive fan outcry led to a second season, it managed to come back to an even smaller audience, leaving its few diehard fans with an even bigger cliffhanger.
3. Pushing Daisies: Few shows ever had the charm that Pushing Daisies had. In only two seasons the show about a pie maker that revived the dead managed to win seven Emmys. With its fairy tale-esque whimsy and endearing cast of characters, Pushing Daisies is easily the most unique detective show. Never before has there been a weekly mystery show combined with a serialized love story and a group of larger than life characters, and perhaps there never will be again, thanks to its incredibly low ratings. Once again, US viewers wouldn’t know quality television if it killed them. Am I making my opinion too obvious? Watch these shows on the Internet and find out why.
By: Keita Ohara and Christine Ryan
Cablevision has an exciting new product that will revolutionize the way young people watch television. This product, called iO Live, is expected to transform television—previously perceived as a sedentary experience—into a social one by emulating the interaction and fun of a viewing party without any of the hassle.
Users don headsets and communicate with their friends by simply talking to them as though they were in the room. iO Live users utilize an onscreen application to see if friends are available to join viewing parties, which can include up to ten people. Think Xbox Live party chat for your television.
On February 28th, 2012, Eagle’s Cry reporters had the opportunity to interview two Cablevison representatives about the upcoming beta for the product. Both were very excited about iO Live and believed that they were bringing something very unique to the market.
They called the product “a new social television experience based on voice chat.” These reps will be visiting BHS in the second week of March to sign kids up for the trial.
Unlike services like HBO Go and Netflix, which attempt to provide content on mobile devices, iO Live supplements the home viewing experience and is more comparable to things like Skype and Oovoo. Those who have used Xbox Live’s party chat while on Netflix understand how much social interaction can improve the viewing experience, especially with sports, and Cablevision hopes to enhance television-watching in a convenient, novel, and engaging way.
This revolutionary technological development will be available to all paying Cablevision customers when the product officially comes on the market. Cablevision will select 200 households to enter into preliminary test runs. If you did not sign up for the trial this past week, details on how to apply for entry are available on Cablevision’s website for those interested.
The representatives at Cablevision seemed excited about a “voice-based virtual viewing party” that sets iO live apart from existing social media tools, which seek to connect people thorough reading and writing text. Both representatives were very informed about the product and agreed that “iO Live creates an opportunity for viewers to interact in a way that is compelling and hasn’t been feasible before now.”
By Keita Ohara
It’s been a few months now, and it has become even clearer during that time: Steve Jobs changed the world. There’s no debating that. For better or worse, Jobs knew what people wanted before they did, and he gave it to them on an almost annual basis. He impacted all our lives. After all, the iPhone/iPod has become the quintessential life-changing item in the standard American teen’s life.
I know it’s a while since he died, but his absence left a void that grows daily. As a proud iPhone owner, Jobs impacts my life almost every moment. He brought a unique style and personality to an industry devoid of humanity, exposing an entirely new audience to hugely-advanced technology.
He was more than just a tech messiah, though; turns out he was also involved in something much nearer and dearer to our hearts.
When he wasn’t busy introducing iTunes to the world and changing the music industry forever, Jobs’ managed to save a financially struggling Pixar Studios and even became a majority shareholder of Disney. In fact, without Jobs, the company would’ve gone under long before Toy Story even went into production. Imagine a world where Buzz’s and Woody’s adventures never happened, a world where a group of misfit ants never overcame the odds, a world where Nemo was never found. The very thought of it makes my blood run cold.
Three months and change after Jobs’ death, the ripples are still being felt throughout the tech landscape. Jobs would’ve most likely been spearheading the crusade against SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. The industry as a whole was dealt a crushing blow, losing their strongest spokesperson—who could’ve provided a unique perspective because of his film-industry experience. Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook did his best to enthusiastically announce the iPhone 4S; however it simply wasn’t the same. Cook simply doesn’t get the masses riled up for products the way Jobs does. He simply lacks the childlike excitement and ability to weave a story into his products the Jobs did. It looks like Apple will have to hope that their products can sell themselves for a while.
Next time you listen to your iPod, thank Steve Jobs. Thank Steve Jobs next time you watch a Pixar movie. If you happen to get a “Words With Friends” notification during that movie and everyone gives you a dirty look for being an inconsiderate jerk, thank Steve Jobs.
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