From Our Schools: The Log

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, October 10, 2017

‘IT’ is back Back!

By Jonathan Amrein

When you think of a clown, what do you envision? A happy-go-lucky trickster? A semi-creepy old man with a red nose?  

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Well, for those who saw the original IT, derived from the novel by Stephen King the horror-master himself, that vision is very different.  Theater-goers from 1986 saw a menacing, alien creature with horrifying spider-esque features preying on a quiet Maine town.

Now, let’s fast-forward to 2017. A little-known director by the name of Andres Muschietti sets out to remake the epic movie. Theaters are sold out. Anticipation is rising, and the movie is said to be the best horror movie of the year.  However, in my eyes, IT was disappointing.  Part of this may be due to my increased anticipation of the movie which was sold out several times over before I was finally able to get in to see it. Then, when I finally got in, I was shocked to find that the look of Pennywise the Clown had been completely changed.  This does not fit at all with the earlier firm’s version in which Pennywise looked like an ordinary clown—an important concept since this normality was a deception.  In the 2017 version, Pennywise’s appearance is scary which limits the element of surprise.

Nevertheless, the producers did do a better job of casting the child actors than the first film did.  The children they cast actually looked like they had come from that time period which is extremely tough to pull off considering the differences of fashion from that era compared to this one.  I also liked the idea to go back and completely create a film adaptation of the first part of the novel.

All in all, I give this movie an 8.3 out of 10—mainly for cheaply redesigning Pennywise.

The Origins of Halloween

By Carter R. Peyton

For many of us October is a time of seasons changing, putting up summer clothes, and getting out our fall and winter clothes, and of course Halloween. But Halloween wasn’t always like it is now; you’ll soon learn that Halloween has a much darker, sinister history.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, usually celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death which some still believe today. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and transparent. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.  

But for others it was a time of the dead coming back to take back what was once theirs–their living family. It has been recorded on several occasions that the dead family members would walk the earth and burn alive their living family members so that they may be reunited in the far beyond. So in an attempt to stop this, people would dress up as common “Creatures Of The Dark” and burn large piles of recent people who had died to ward off any dead since the dead don’t like the smell of burning corpses. So now that you know of Halloween’s sinister past, will you still celebrate or will you stay  in your house ready to fight off your dead ancestors?

Designing Pumpkins

By Thomas M. Crump

Every year, right about this time in October, people are starting to harvest their pumpkins in their pumpkin patch. What do you think when you hear ‘pumpkin’ ? A large, orange, and lumpy fruit? I think not. Every year, people all across the United States, design pumpkins for Halloween and enjoy showing off their own skill in designing them, a tradition that was brought from Ireland to America. However, did you know that the first Jack-O-Lantern was not a pumpkin?   Pumpkins don’t grow in Ireland so ancient Celtic cultures carved turnips on Hallow’s Eve (another name for Halloween) in order to ward off evil spirits that may roam around the countryside.  

If you’re up for some real fun, then you or your friends should host a pumpkin carving contest in your area to see who has the most skill.  Just, don’t get the idea that a pumpkin can be a helmet; trust me, it’s not a good idea or you’ll get stuck like I did.   

If you don’t like to carve pumpkins, then you’re missing out on a tradition that has been around for hundreds of years. Sure, the inside of a pumpkin can be kind of gross, I agree, but the seeds are a must have. If you’ve got the right stuff, then you can bake yourself some pumpkin seeds, which taste bland, but are good for you.  After hundreds of years, people have come up with absolutely amazing ways to carve a pumpkin that have put smiles on many faces around their area.

One last thing, if you DO go Trick-Or-Treating, make sure to be safe — especially if you see a clown. Carry something for protection, and make sure you don’t get any suspicious pieces of candy that may have something you DON’T want in your system.

Have fun as you prepare for a Happy Halloween!


The Origin of Mario

By Matthew D. Smith

Mario is one of gaming’s greatest icons starting with a game called Mario Bros. It’s no wonder that the game became popular with its unique gameplay and entertainment. But let’s rewind and talk about how Mario came to be.

Nintendo was a struggling card and toy company trying to expand into arcade games; however, Nintendo’s attempts at doing this weren’t going so well. They needed something new.  It was at then that they appointed artist Shigero Miyamoto, asking him to design a new game.  Miyamoto wasn’t a programmer, so he started creating a story before he worked on the gameplay. He first created Donkey Kong where Mario first appeared as “Jump Man.”

A few years later, he created a two-player arcade game called Mario Bros. which brought us the first official appearance of Mario and his brother, Luigi.  Before the world knew it, 1985 arrived with the release of Super Mario Bros. For many, Super Mario was their introduction to gaming or console gaming.  The music, atmosphere and power-ups are still Mario to this very day — the very definition of Mario.

Now let’s fast forward a little bit and take a look at the evolution of Mario over the years.  Mario has over a hundred game titles and it would be too much too talk about them all, so here are just a few major titles that made the Mario that we know  today.

Super Mario 64 is one of the  great Mario titles where Mario has to jump into paintings, walls, puddles and more, in order to be transported to unique worlds that each have multiple ways of completing and collecting power stars. Bowser scatters power stars all over these worlds and Mario needs to get every power star back to restore power to the Mushroom Kingdom and save Peach.

Super Mario Sunshine is a tropical-themed island adventure where you use Mario’s water flood to clean up ink and, like Super Mario 64, go into different worlds to gain and restore the Shines. Super Mario Galaxy is the first game where Mario is in space. As you go throughout the galaxy you discover unique planets with a huge variation of shapes. This Mario game also has a sequel — and everyone liked them so much they wanted a third addition to this series of games.

Nintendo was trying to come up with a new easier way to make Mario levels, and in doing this they decided to create Super Mario Maker, a game where you can create your own Mario levels however you want, as long as the levels are completable. There are four different game styles you can choose from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. You can use these to give and take a few abilities to or from Mario and you also have the choice of the setting — Overworld, Underground, Castle, Airship, and more — a must-have game for true Mario fans. 

Now, we’ve finally caught up to today with the new release this month, Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey.

Super Mario Odyssey is an open-world Mario game featuring never-before-seen areas to explore. Mario meets a living hat that goes into his own hat,  and with him Mario can become anything he throws his hat onto. This allows the player to become an enemy and use that enemy’s abilities to help on the adventure. There are also a variety of outfits to unlock and wear — including a Doctor Mario outfit, a Super Mario Maker outfit and many more.

Shigero Miyamoto said that if he had to choose one Mario game to play, he would choose Odyssey which might be something to think about if you’re just getting into the game.

The History of Memes

By Timothy M. Matherly & Dylan Cunningham

If you are a millennial, you more than likely are in the loop of memes. If you aren’t aware of memes, or aren’t in the normal loop on social media, memes are usually funny images with captions located at the top and bottom. Memes can also be songs or just random noises that people find funny, such as a goat’s scream.

Memes have become a part of our modernized daily lives. We scroll past them all day on our Facebook feed, we retweet these images on Twitter, and pin them on Instagram. There are even internet communities dedicated to the sharing of memes. You can easily find these on websites such as Reddit and Facebook. 

A very popular meme, or “meme of the month” as some social media sites have come to know it, was more recently seen as Snapchat’s July hotdog filter. Another, more notorious website that hosts memes was called 4chan. 4chan has been an epicenter of meme creation, previously having a “Caturday Saturday” where the popular image board would be filled with images of cats, usually accompanied by a funny captions. 4chan, being deemed as the original, actually has previous roots in the internet that most users do not know. Ayashii World was started in 1995 as a Japanese image-board posting system. Not long before Ayashii World’s fall in 2003, a Japanese teenager founded a site aptly named world2ch (Or World 2-Channel) on May 30, 1999, which became a popular a multi-language forum in the coming few years, thus expanding Ayashii World’s previous Japanese-only board to the western hemisphere. By 2006, world2ch had become of low interest, therefore fixes would be botched and the site would be closed, and interest put into the development and maintaining of 4chan which has been gaining interest since 2003. The culmination of these forerunning forums and image boards influenced the creation of 4chan, thus imminently setting the stage for the world of memes.
The meme explosion started around the December of 2011, following a month after the release of Skyrim: Elder Scrolls. First leaking into the gaming community, the ‘Took an arrow to the knee’ meme skyrocketed in popularity with image authors creating memes relating to the common person by metaphor, on topics such as marriage or losing money by accident.

Others, like older more wholesome memes such as Rick Astley’s “Never gonna give you up,”  Tay Zonday’s internet sensation of 2007, “Chocolate Rain,” Keyboard Cat and Numa Numa guy, all have their place cemented in the history of the internet.

Other volatile, infamous and more controversial memes like ‘Pepe the Frog’ or ‘Rage Guy’ have been maliciously bent and depicted as racist or a symbol of white supremacy, just under the word of a single forum on 4chan, even though their original intention is the polar opposite. Most believe memes are fluid and can be used to convey a multitude of opinions, while the populous of society seem to think Pepe and other controversial memes appear disgruntled or appalling by broad populous opinion. ‘Pepe the Frog’ was built on the definition of a meme by variation, meaning that this meme was meant to be varied and shared, not twisted into a racist symbol. ‘Pepes’ can be inspiring, enraging, or best of all—humorous, the whole spectrum of emotion.

In conclusion, memes are jokes that can, and should, be enjoyed by all demographics, no matter how young or old its audience may be. Memes are jokes and should simply be treated as such. If a meme offends you or you dislike it, remember that on the internet it is easy to separate yourself from things you don’t like.