Category Archives: Columns

Clay’s Chaos Column

Clay Kimball

Electric Elf

They say the best things in life are free, especially when it comes to the computer. If you can’t afford proprietary software like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word, and you don’t feel safe pirating, there’s always something called freeware and opensource.

Freeware is any software that developers allow to be downloaded without charge. Opensource is freeware that developers allow for editing and modifying by downloaders.

Sites such as download. cnet.com and filehippo.com are great for browsing for freeware.
Sites such as download. cnet.com and filehippo.com are great for browsing for freeware.

The best part about freeware and opensource, besides the price, is the file compatibility. While most proprietary software only saves and loads in standard file type and their file type, opensource software will load nearly any related file type, proprietary or not.

For me, there is a list of freeware I install on any computer I use, just out of necessity.

The most useful freeware I have ever come across is OpenOffice. OpenOffice is basically Microsoft Office only free and older looking. It is great for students who need to view and edit doc files but can’t afford a newer version of Office.

For images, I need Paint.NET, a freeware image editing software similar to GIMP or Photoshop, and Infranview, a multipurpose image viewing software great for gif files.

Next, for audio/video, there is a program called VLC media player that can play almost any AV file produced, from avi to mkv. Also, for audio there is a professional grade software called Audacity that can add effects to any audio track and directly edit the wave functions.

Finally, for the programmer few, there’s always Notepad++ for HTML and CodeBlocks for C++, but the average reader won’t understand what those two are.

If you have any questions for me, send them to [eriesquare gazettewm @ gmail.com]. I may feature the answer to your question online, or in a future issue.

Sports in the movies

Christian McGeachy

Dreidel Elf

Everyone loves a good movie, and it seems like every guy loves a good sporting event to watch.

Over many years, the cinema world has come up with some of the best movies that sport fans have come to love.

In the basketball world, the movie that comes first in a lot of peoples’ minds would be the 1986 film “Hoosiers.” This movie is about the true story of a coach with a checkered past who leads the 1954 Milan Basketball team to a state title. This film had a great cast with Gene Hackman and Dennis Hooper, and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

In the boxing world, many people think of “Rocky” and the whole series after that. The first of the series received three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1977.

But, most people forget about another movie called “Raging Bull.” Starring Rober De Niro and Joe Pesci, this movie tells the story about Jake LaMotta, a prizefighter from the Bronx, and shows the many issues he has outside of the boxing ring. “Raging Bull” is considered one of the best sports movies ever made and received two Academy Awards in 1980.

“If you build, they will come.” This quote comes from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams.” This film stars Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones in one of the most recognizable baseball movies of all time. “Field of Dreams” tells the story of an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball field to reconnect with his deceased father through baseball. By building the field, baseball players throughout history come back from the dead to play one last game. This movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Many other movies have been made as well, featuring many different sports throughout the years for the sport fans in all of us. Other movies include: “Slapshot,” “Miracle,” “Major League,” “Bull Durham,” “Rudy,” “Remember the Titans,” “Bad News Bears,” “A League of Their Own,” “Caddyshack” and so many more.

So the sport fan in you and watch a good sports movie today.

College travels: Kettering

On the road again.

Once again I’ve traveled to a four year university to inspect the campus. This time, it’s Kettering.

My first thought, “Wow that is a lot of concrete.”

Kettering’s campus, relative to others I’ve visited, reflects the school of thought in an engineering college, making everything as efficient as possible.

All of the five buildings on campus are within a few minute walk of each other, some even connected by underground halls. The architecture is simplistic and reasonable.

Though the outside is aesthetically bland, the inside is heaven to an engineer. I visited three of the five buildings with my tour guide and each amazed me with how many labs and workshops fit in them.

Whether it was the hydrogen fuel cell labs in the basement of the C.S. Mott building, or the multiple robotics workshops in the Academic building, there was not a boring moment for a nerd like me.

The C.S. Mott building on the Kettering Campus Photo Credit: Clay Kimball
The C.S. Mott building on the Kettering Campus Photo Credit: Clay Kimball

Besides the engineer geek out, I really enjoyed the familiarity of the professors and staff.

Most colleges will boast that their low student to faculty ratio makes them close to their students, but at Kettering I truly felt it. I was able to hold personal conversations thirty minutes long with almost every professor I found during the tour. One even invited my friend and I back to do a personal workshop in her lab.

Overall, I found Kettering to be perfect for those who will take engineering over architecture any day. What they lack in aesthetics, they more than make up for it in the quality of their engineering program.

With their multiple “Dog Days” programs, free tours, I highly suggest looking into Kettering for any math or science based degree pathways.

Clay Kimball

Webmaster


Meat madness

I never thought that being a vegetarian and starting a new waitressing job could be so demoralizing.

“So, is the Black and Bleu burger any good?” inquires the salivating, carnivorous customer. Well, I could lie, but I feel honesty will better construct our dining relationship, so I confess my juicy secret.  “I’ve never had it.  I’m a vegetarian.”

And so, the criticism, disbelief, and flabbergasted stares commence.

I think people often believe that vegetarians refrain from eating meat because of a keen respect for animals. Of course, factory agriculture, which churns out 99% of all meat in the U.S., is rapacious and absurdly inhumane, but there are countless other reasons to become vegetarian.

To start, factory farming is environmental idiocy at its finest. 72% of the grain produced in the U.S. is used to sustain livestock. Shockingly, 15 pounds of feed is needed to produce just one pound of meat. If we allotted that same grain to people, we could feed the entire planet.

Each year, the exhaust emitted from farming equipment necessary in producing the livestock’s feed, and the cloud of toxic chemicals from pesticides, make the meat industry a cancerous disease to Mother Earth.

And on a plot of land large enough to yield 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, or 30,000 pounds of carrots, a pitiful 250 pounds of meat is manufactured.

I say manufactured. Agriculture is an industry, and an industry’s objective is money. Not sustainability.  Not supplementing a healthy American diet.

As such, the meat industry is notorious for exploiting its workers, squashing unions, and refusing compensation to workers who suffer injury or chronic illnesses, both of which are by-products to the most dangerous factory job in America.

Nor will they compensate your medical bills.

However, non-meat eaters are less prone to cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and have stronger immune systems. With a nutritious diet, you could combat the $60-120 billion spent annually to treat food related disease and illness in America.

All considered it seems illogical to perpetuate this system of ignorance, that is, until you realize that pharmaceutical companies rake in billions from the shriveling health resulting from the Standard American Diet, and also through the antibiotics necessary to keep livestock “healthy.” An astounding 70% of antibiotics in the U.S. are ingested by your Black and Bleu burger, sir.

So, excuse me for being informed.

Alyssha Ginzel

Guest Columnist


Expanding horizons

To a lot of dedicated SC4 sports fans, it’s hard to go to every sporting event that one desires. Jobs to work, children to take care or just overwhelmed with classes and homework. Especially when the Skippers are on the road, many students and fans could be wondering, “Who won the game? What’s the team’s record? And who’s leading the team in assists, turnovers or points?”

Let me provide all the sports fans of St. Clair County Community College with a couple suggestions to succeed in keeping up with the sports.

In my discoveries on the internet, I stumbled upon a very useful web site. At www.njcaa .org, anyone can follow all sports at the junior college level.

NJCAA is the abbreviation for the National Junior College Athletic Association. At their website, anyone can access bundles of information on many sports at the junior college level.

Sports for St. Clair County Community College are available, among hundreds of other junior colleges in the United States.

At the NJCAA website, you can search by region, sport, division and also access the player stats on the sports teams. So if you missed any of the volleyball season at SC4 and wanted to know what happened this year, by using the NJCAA website, a sports fan can figure out the volleyball teams overall standings, stats and more.

Another way to find out where the next game is, or the scores from previous games can also be found on SC4’s website. Simply by going to the homepage, selecting “Current Student” and going to Student Connection newsletter, you can see the scores of the games and who the Skippers versed. Just go to www.sc4 .edu.

Last, but not least, anyone can access the Erie Square Gazette on the internet by going to www. esgonline. org and going to the sports tab, to read all the articles and columns you have missed or liked from previous issues.

So, anyone at anytime can access that stats they need to keep informed on the SC4 athletics even when life catches up with you.

Christian McGeachy

Sports Editor


Back to life

These past two years TV has drove me away. Now I watch very little TV at all, and when I do it’s kind of an event for me. The two shows I watch now are “Doctor Who” and the “Walking Dead,” this is an article about the latter.

The show is based off a comic book and it follows Rick Grimes, a local sheriff that is put into a coma after a gun fight. He awakens to a world now in chaos after a nonspecific time.

Grimes seeks to find his family in this new, terrifying world. And what stands between Grimes and his family? A ton of zombies.

It’s not a spoiler that Grimes finds his family and best friend/ partner, with a small group of survivors.

The group isn’t the best core sample of humanity to start, but seeing these people respond to events and develop is what makes the show great.

What’s that? Not convinced by the above plot synopsis? Did I mention this show is from Frank Darabont, director of “The Shawshank Redemption,” and Gaile Anne, producer of “The Terminator” and “Aliens.” Come on! What more do you want?

I feel I must repeat that this is, at its heart (or brain) a zombie flick, so there is gore, but I still think even the squeamish should give it a try. My mom hates horror flicks and the gore that comes with zombies, but I get a call every Sunday asking if I coming to Sundays at 9 to watch…on amc.

I think this has appeal outside of its normal audience because this is a deeply character driven show. You feel for the characters as they come to grips with the new horrifying world.

Zack Penzien

Production Editor


Clay’s Chaos Column 60-5

Scans show your computer has 420 viruses, 123 malware programs, and over 9000 pornographic images on your computer. Now if you’re an average computer user, you might notice that this message is mostly false. You do have at least one malware program.

Malware, adware and Trojans aren’t uncommon diseases in the computer world. But when we get them, nobody wants to take theirs in to a professional to get it fixed. Some of us have those “computer smart” friends, but this is the sixth time this month you’ve broken your computer.

Well reading this will help you help yourself.

The number one way of dealing with viruses is prevention. A strong, updated, and running anti-virus program combined with a firewall is all you need to prevent nearly every virus out there.

If you’re tight on change and you don’t want to buy a virus program, I suggest Microsoft Security Essentials. MSE is free, updated frequently, and easy to use. All Windows OS’s have Windows Firewall already built in.

Now let’s say you’re past that point and your desktop is covered in pop-ups already.

Step one would be to shut down your computer and restart it in safe mode with networking just in case. Safe mode can be accessed by tapping the F8 key while the computer starts up.

Next, make sure you have a working anti-virus software installed, then run its viral scan. This should dig up the majority of the viruses you have.

To bring it home, download and install a malware cleaning program, such as Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, and run their scans. This will dig up even the deepest problem files. Quarantine all the bad files and you’re done.

A final hint of advice, don’t run any unknown “.exe” files suddenly downloaded to your computer. And uncheck any toolbar downloads in installer software; they’re a “computer smart” friend’s biggest annoyance.

If you have any questions for me, send them to (eriesquare gazettewm @gmail.com). I may feature the answer to your question online or in a future issue.

Clay Kimball

Webmaster


The “Magic” is in the cards

In last week’s column, I talked about the card game sweeping the college center at St. Clair County Community College, which was Euchre. So, since Halloween is around, there is another card game being played that is appropriate for this time the year. The card game of “Magic.”

According to www.wizards.com, “In the Magic game, you play the role of a planeswalker, who fights other planeswalkers for glory, knowledge, and conquest. Your deck of cards represents all the weapons in your arsenal. It contains the speels you know and the creatures you can summon to for you.”

Around the college center, many students that choose to relax during their classes like to play this creative and tactical game of “Magic.”

Magic cards Photo Credit: Christian McGeachy
“Magic: The Gathering” has been around since 1993 and is still be playing everywhere including St.Clair County Community College. Photo Credit: Christian McGeachy

Jeremy Case, a student at St. Clair County Community College, when not playing Euchre likes to get his deck out and play “Magic.”

Case, who likes to play this card game at the college center, said, “ There’s a lot of variety, a lot of people with different decks so it’s not going to be the same game over and over again. There is a nice variety of players here and its gets pretty fun.”

The game of “Magic: The Gathering” is a very complex game, but like Euchre, once you start playing it, the game itself is like second hand nature.

The card game consists of different colors of spells a card can use, different environments to play on and different characters to attack with and try to defeat you opponent.

Case explained a couple of the many ways of taking down your opponent, “The most conventional way is depleting your opponents life points down to zero before they get you down to zero. Other ways are to hold out so that your opponent runs out of cards as well.”

“Magic:The Gathering” has been around since 1993 and over six million people play in over seventy countries worldwide.

So, this card game phenomenon has been spreading like “World of Warcraft” has done to computer games.

So, stop by the college center and see what it’s all about. The “Magic” could be in your deck.

Christian McGeachy

Sports Editor


Post apocalyptic fun

You have probably heard of “Dungeons and Dragons” before today, but do you know it’s not all swords and sorcery in the D&D world? There are many worlds and realms you can set the story in, and I recently picked up Gamma World, the science fiction version of D&D with some cool game play tweaks.

Like in any D&D game, the hardest part is getting started. The book does a good job of holding your hand through it, but if you want to start quick there is a Gamma World character builder sheet on the wizards of the cost website.

Making your character is partly random. Your dice rolls determine your stats, but in Gamma World your characters are made by picking a race and mixing it with another at random.

In the game I am running, we have a gravity controlling cat, a doppelganger psychic and a pyrokinetic yeti.

The best part of the new combat system is that there is an alpha mutation and the omega tech card. They are special weapons and mutations that you get at the start of combat.

If you are a familiar D&D player, or a newbie, it is a cool game to play with friends. Especially if you like to tell weird stories.

Zack Penzien

Production Editor


Trick or treat! Schedule II amphetamines!

Beware little witches, superheroes, and vampires! Beware, not of the candy that could rot your smiles, but of appearing too hyper.

I can already hear the maniacal laughs resonating from the dark shadows; laughing of pharmaceutical companies spying on potential ADHD patients who skip merrily from door to door, amassing copious amount of hyperactive treats.

The present obsession with a “disorder” of hyperactivity simply stuns me, as it should you. When the psychiatric community looks to prescribe a child who has trouble focusing in an atmosphere of mundane repetition (school) with a disease whose characteristics are inherent to the nature of children, causality should be investigated.

And as the adult “market” for anti-depressant drugs became saturated years ago, it’s no wonder that research funding targeted a new, fresh market: children. And so was the dawn of lobbying such Schedule II, addictive drugs as Ritalin and Adderall.

These prescription medications, which not only have negative health effects such as weight loss, stunted growth, cardiac arrhythmia, psychosis, paranoia, irritability, and hallucinations, but which can also be easily misused or inhaled, only ensure through their accessibility an in-school trafficking of a psychostimulant drug that has the same pharmacological effects as cocaine.

If only there were an alternative to this madness.  Like, oh…behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, or even music therapy!

Music therapy may sound like some idea which sparked around a campfire of singing hippies, but it, and particularly rhythm therapy, has made its way into the respected medical community.

In a study done by Harold Russell, a clinical psychologist and adjunct research professor, 40 schoolboys were attached to an electroencephalograph, a device that measures the electrical impulses of the brain. After measuring the frequencies at normal concentration, Russell used light and sound stimuli to cause brainwaves to resonate in time with a faster pulse, or rhythm.

The result? Not only did the subjects exhibit increased concentration, but also showed lasting gains in concentration, increased performance on IQ tests, reduction in behavioral problems, and improvements in reading, spelling, and auditory memory functioning.

Shockingly, light and sound neurotherapy can also be utilized in people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addictive disorders.

Why more money isn’t being poured into lobbying alternative, contemporary therapies which could alleviate a major drug problem within America is quite disturbing. All that is necessary is consciousness and vehement support.

That and refusing to let pharmaceutical companies choke you with their tricks, and treats.

Alyssha Ginzel

Guest Columnist