pc vs mac            
On the digital front-lines there is a war being waged. On one side sits Mac, smooth with graphics programs and video editing as well as being very intuitive. On the other side, PC with its superior gaming abilities and unparalleled upgradeability glares across the now well-established battle lines. Which should we use? Which is the best? The answer to that is the unsatisfying response of “that depends.” The problem is that both are really good at a hand full of things and not everyone is necessarily looking for all of the things that can make one better than the other. THE BENEFITS: PC:
  • Most people in my generation grew up on PC so we innately know how to get around on one better and understand it more than we do the MAC.
  • The ability to endlessly upgrade a PC keeps it relevant for a longer period of time with less money.
  • Gaming on a PC is and will probably always be much better on a PC.
  • When it comes to editing software and graphic design the MAC wins hands down.
  • User friendly. The MAC with its use of the app approach, among other features, works so well that even Windows tried to copy it in Windows 8.
  • PC is a little bit clunky when it comes to handling things like video editing. They can run many of the Adobe programs, but at last check, some powerful editing software such as Finalcut Pro X are MAC only.
  • Windows 8; ‘nuff said.
  • Nevermind, going to say it again, Windows 8 Windows 8 Windows 8! What were they thinking? You can’t design an entire OS around touchscreen only. No wonder the new MAC lab has fingerprints all over the shiny new screens. Must be all the Windows 8 students trying to scroll the screen or something. Although I do have to add that they did cop to their mistake and did fix much of what was wrong with it.
  • MAC will never be able to compete with PC when it comes to gaming. Games on a mac are clumsy and jerky at best.
  • MACs sometimes have weird filing systems that make things confusing to find.
  • MACs do not have anywhere near the upgradability as PC does meaning that when a MAC gets outdated the only options are to buy an entire new system or just deal with it.
In the end, it probably really doesn’t matter which system you use. It is more of a preference thing more than anything. If you are using your computer for school mostly both systems carry versions of Word and Excel and neither really has a standout feature, unless you are doing video editing or graphic design, that would really sway me one way or the other. The only real caveat would be for gamers. If you are going to blow off homework and mostly game than for sure buy a PC.  

Top 5 Star Wars Games

I am a true Star Wars nerd and it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. There is no arguing that this epic story is permanently ingrained into our pop culture, and yes, even the prequels. Along with high grossing movies, George Lucas was a master at marketing his trademark into many products including toys, clothes, books and video games. Since two of my favorite things in the world (besides Batman) are Star Wars and video games, the combination of the two was inevitable. So here are my top five Star Wars video games. Since not all the games are from the same platform, I did not judge on graphics so I am basing my rankings on replay-ability, storytelling  and enjoyment. Number Five: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996) This was one of the first expanded universe games to come from Lucasarts. The basis of the game is you play as smuggler Dash Rendar who at first takes part in the Battle of Hoth from the Empire Strikes Back, however then goes on his own journey to fight the Empire. Since this game takes place in between Episodes V and VI it was able to take liberties with creating an original story while still staying loyal to the original material. It was a challenging game and included a few puzzles and tough boss battles, but being able to both fight as a third person shooter and in different vehicles in space made it an essential buy for Star Wars fans. Number Four: Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005) Much like Shadows of the Empire, Republic Commando is an expanded universe game that focuses on the clone troopers during the early days of the Clone Wars. It is a first person shooter in which the player controls an elite clone trooper and his squad of commandos. The locations are part of the best part because the first campaign takes place during the Battle of Geonosis (for those who don't know, that happens at the end of Episode II: Attack of the Clones). While again this game is very linear, to me the atmosphere, plot and overall design of the game are what make it one of my top games. Number Three: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008) This is without doubt my favorite game in which the playable character is a Jedi or Sith, whatever Starkiller is. The plot revolves around Darth Vader training an apprentice in secret in order to kill the Emperor and rule the galaxy, or so Vader says. What makes this game great are the usage of Starkiller's force abilities and lightsaber combat. There is nothing more enjoyable than slicing, dicing, and blowing away countless Stormtroopers with no trouble at all. What hurts this game is the lack of replay-ability and the short linear story. However, the 'badass' feeling is what makes it number three. Number Two: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds (2001) Moving to the PC, this underrated game has pretty much faded from the knowledge of a lot of gamers. This real-time strategy game that wasn't received very well by critics due to some continuity errors to Star Wars historical facts (yes, that's a real thing), low resolution graphics, and the 2D perspective. Besides the lack of continuity, I think the gameplay, variety of factions and units, the locations, and the ability to create missions along with the graphics gives this game its own character. I spent possibly hundreds of hours playing the campaign and skirmish missions just because it is fun building an army of Stormtroopers and wiping out every Gungan in sight. Number One: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001) Finally comes the very first Star Wars game I played on the Nintendo GameCube, Rogue Leader. This a flying simulation game in which the player selects one of 11 ships for a mission, then simply complete the objectives. What makes this game great is that not only does it provide original missions that expand the universe, it also allows the player to be a part of the most famous battles in the films. When I played the demo of this game in a store, I flew an X-Wing at the first Death Star battle. It amazed me then and it still does today because I believe it was actually putting the GameCube's engine to full use and provided a wonderful atmosphere to interact with. This is a game I played for hours 13 years ago and I still play often today.

“Of Mice and Men” Review

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that.”  Hope is a powerful thing. It drives us, empowers us and reminds us that, when life gets hard, things will always get better. Though not the only theme in John Steinbeck’s classic work of fiction, hope is what drives the two protagonists, George and Lennie, to dream of a better life during America’s Great Depression. George and Lennie are two migrant workers who recently acquired a job at a ranch in California. Both men are hard workers who dream of owning their own land together, and George tells Lennie that, if they can scrounge together enough money working, that their dream could soon become a reality. The problem is Lennie. You see, Lennie has a mild mental disability that impairs his memory and his ability to think rationally. He is large man who is incredibly devoted to George, but just can’t seem to always make the right decision. Furthermore, he is obsessed with things that are soft to his touch. Early on, he picks up a dead mouse just so that he can stroke it in his pocket as he and George make their way to their new job on the ranch. Meanwhile, George constantly complains that he would be so much better off on his own, yet it’s very clear that both men do care for each other. The reason it’s so clear isn’t just because of Steinbeck’s script, either. George and Lennie were brought to life by Steve Catron and Riley Bayer. They played off of each other extraordinarily well, and were able to interact with the rest of the cast in very real and believable ways. That being said, every character onstage gave a great performance; there weren’t any members of the cast that failed to honor their distinctive roles. This is made even more impressive when you take into account how long each scene is. Through every conversation, every encounter and every emotional moment, I felt totally engrossed in what was happening onstage. For the duration of the production, I was on a ranch in California, watching these men fight for their seemingly unreachable dream. And the set design truly brought the ranch to life. Hay covered the floor while rickety, wooden bunk beds reminded you of the harsh conditions that these men were exposed to nearly every day. Meanwhile, actors would oftentimes have conversations behind a particular scene as they played horseshoes or moved various props around the stage, cementing the feel of a busy ranch full of activity. Then there were the sound effects coupled with some excellent lighting choices. Horses whinnying, river water flowing and crickets chirping in the night as the lights continuously dimmed to indicate the setting sun were excellent additions to the overall atmosphere. This was incredibly important, because there were a few key moments in the play that simply would not have worked if not for the incredible sound design. There were times when a particular actor would pause and think, as if a thought just needed to occupy their mind for a few seconds. If done incorrectly, these moments can leave the audience in an awkward spot as they simply wait for the actor to finish their thought. However, having the ambience noise in the background allows the audience to really be engrossed by the atmosphere created by moments like these. It’s no longer about waiting for the actor to finish a thought; it’s about seeing what they see and hearing what they hear. When given this extra sense, the audience can really get into the mind of the character onstage. And thanks to the excellent sound effects and music choices, that’s exactly what happened. Missouri Western’s production of “Of Mice and Men” was absolutely fantastic. Though the dialogue could be a bit hard to hear every once in a while, it did little to diminish the overall impact of such a wonderful performance. Kudos to everyone involved both onstage and behind the scenes. Missouri Western is no doubt starting off the new season with an incredibly powerful and unforgettable production.

Top 5 fast-food joints for college kids

  Although many will probably disagree with some of my choices here, after going on five years of commuting to Western, this is my top five fast-food places I always find myself at.
  1. Taco John’s
With its close proximity to campus combined with the golden deliciousness that are Potato Olés and the epic nacho cheese that accompanies them, Taco John’s comes in at a solid five on the list. The service is standard and the prices are low with a good variety of normal Tex-Mex found in most fast food taco joints. Especially good, and until a couple years ago unique to Taco John’s, are the meat and potato burritos. Now that they added a breakfast option, Taco John’s has become an even more attractive food spot.
  1. Long John Silver’s
Fancy some fish-'n’-chips? Long John Silver’s is a must! Flaky fish and other critters of the sea all battered up and deep-fried to yummy perfection. While it is a bit of a hike down the belt, the perfection that are the cheese sticks and those little balls of heaven called hush puppies all washed down with ice-cold A&W root beer make the trek well worth it. On top of all those reasons to hoof it over, the price is perfect for a student on a budget.
  1. Chipotle Mexican Grill
We all know those giant pillows of meat, rice and beans are where our appetites, no matter how big, lay their heads to rest. While haunted by a common misconception that they are actually owned by McDonald's, Chipotle is actually a brand all their own. McDonald's was a major investor in the company all the way up to 2006, but they are now completely divested from the company. While a little bit pricier than the first two contenders, the amount of food to money ratio is still acceptable.
  1. PepperJax Grill
Need a break from a burger? This is definitely the place to be. PepperJax has the normal fair of burritos, rice bowls and nachos - but we all know that’s not the reason they are number two in the countdown. It’s the legendary oh-so-gooey Philly cheesesteak. Grilled to order every time, this heaven on bread should be a freaking wonder of the world. Thin sliced meat smothered in cheese on a hoagie, what could go wrong?
  1. Hardee’s
With their made-from-scratch biscuits in the morning to a towering abomination of meat known as the Monster Burger, Hardee’s is king of this countdown. The price is once again just barely above average but the quality of the food is unmet amongst other fast-food joints. Using only premium Angus beef, the burgers are the reason to head all the way to the North end of the Belt, and the reason why this joint gets my number one pick.

Nostalgia Aside: Crash Bandicoot

Understand this: I don't play a lot of video games. If it wasn't the newest version of Pokemon, it probably wasn't in my realm of interest during my childhood. But, there is one series of video games that I have played top to bottom, start to finish: Crash Bandicoot. I could probably talk for hours about my love for this series. The original game is titled Crash Bandicoot. This game takes place on three islands off the coast of Australia. The player controls the title character Crash Bandicoot, a mutant bandicoot genetically altered by the evil Doctor Neo Cortex and his henchman Doctor Nitrus Bio. Crash must make it through several levels, one at a time, as he tries to defeat his creator and rescue his girlfriend, Tawna, another mutant bandicoot made by Cortex. Crash's attacks are pretty basic to start off with, jump and spin. As he goes through each level, he will collect Wumpa Fruit (extra lives) and Aku Aku masks. The whole goal is for Crash to get through each level and foil any of Cortex's plans to take over the world and, ultimately, save Tawna. He starts out washing ashore on N. Sanity Island. As a vow to rescue Tawna and defeat Cortex, Crash begins by making his way into the nearby jungle. He tries to scale the giant wooden fortress, but it is guarded by a native tribe. Once he has scaled the fortress wall and surpassed the tribe, Crash accidentally wakes up the tribe's leader, Papu Papu, when he enters through his hut. This is the first boss that Crash must face. After escaping Papu Papu, Crash rides on the back of a wild hog to get past all of the villagers chasing him. Plus, he has to re-scale the fortress wall. Good thing he's a mutant with superhuman strength, because that sounds exhausting. Safe on the other side of the fortress wall, Crash makes his way to the next of the islands, Wumpa Island. But, it only gets harder for Crash, because Cortex is now aware of his mission to rescue Tawna. So, Cortex has planted another mutant experiment, Ripper Roo, right at the start of a creek. So, the second Crash is safely across the river, he is in a battle with Ripper Roo. Thanks to lots of TNT explosions and great dodging skills, Crash is able to knock Ripper Roo out and continue onto the second island. Wumpa Island features a jungle, a lizard-infested city, bridges high in the mountains and ruins of an ancient temple. As Crash makes his way through the city and temples, Cortex has planted another mutant, Koala King, in a volcanic cave mine at the end of the island. Luckily for Crash, Koala King might be big and strong, but he's dumber than a rock. Which is exactly why it only takes a few simple rocks to take him down so Crash can cross over to the third and final island of the game. Cortex Island is the host to the Cortex Power station and Cortex Castle (man, this guy is OBSESSED with his name). Crash enters the third island through the power plant aka Cortex Power station. The power plant might be home to most of the experiments, but it's dumping waste into the sea, destroying plants and causing pollution. Crash finds his way through a wall of machinery, factory hallways, a generator room and the toxic waste dumping operations area. Once he hits the core of the factory, Crash battles the CEO of Cortex Power, Pinstripe Potoroo. Even though Pinstripe has a fully-loaded Tommy Gun, Crash pushes him out a window. And his rampant shooting causes the stray bullets to destroy the core of the Power Station, which falls to ruins as soon as Crash defeats Pinstripe. Crash is, yet again, forced to scale the wall of a tower. Once inside the tower, Crash is confronted by Nitrus Bio inside the laboratory. Another boss that can't grasp the fact that the dangerous things they are inaccurately throwing is causing damage to the surrounding area. Nitrus sets the lab on fire because of the chemicals he threw about in his attempt to stop Crash. Crash then manages to escape the burning building and gets onto Cortex's airship, where he finds Cortex and Tawna. All it takes is the deflection of Cortex's own weapon, a plasma gun, to take him down and rescue Tawna. At least, that's what you think. Because Naughty Dog came out with several installments of Crash Bandicoot, so Cortex is not actually done for. This game doesn't take a whole lot of strategy, but that's nice. The entire series never gets boring, despite how many times you play it. For someone that never plays video games, this is an easy one to just work your way through when you're bored or procrastinating.