Monday, November 28, 2011

Growing Up All Over Again--The Muppets Review

   I was always more of a Sesame Street kid. I think most of us in who are in high school now were, and that is alright, the Muppets are just a little ahead of our time, that is all. I remember morning television rather well, and most of those memories consist of me squeezing in the first half of Elmo’s World before I was shipped off to a grade school that would not teach me nearly as much in six hours as my red monster friend could in ten minutes. But some mornings, if I was extra-speedy in my routine (a rarity, even now), I could catch the odd Muppets rerun before Big Bird and everyone came on.
   I guess the short of all this is that I knew a little bit about the Muppets going into the movie. I recognized most of the characters and I knew to a fair extent their roles in the program, but that was pretty much it. There was not a whole lot of personal connection (outside of Beaker of course, that little guy is hilarious). The Muppets changed this.
   When I left the theater, I felt like I knew the Muppets. I had connected with them, even if I had not grown up with them, and that is what makes this movie an absolute triumph.
   The Muppets is Jason Segal’s attempt to revive the beloved program and turn it into something that succeeds on both a nostalgic level and a modern-day level. The end result is so funny, so uplifting, and so incredibly relatable that I did not stop smiling the entire movie.
   The plot is simple. Two brothers, one a human named Gary (Segal), and one a puppet named Walter (Peter Linz), work to reunite the old Muppet gang in order to put on one last show and raise enough money to prevent the old-time Muppet Theater from falling into the hands of Tex Richman, who is seeking to demolish the theater and drill for oil instead. If it sounds cliché, that is because it is, and everyone from the audience to the characters onscreen know it (“Tex Richman?” The puns only grew better and better).
   The movie is incredibly self-aware in this way, and the results are some truly hilarious moments that openly mock everything from dance numbers to the film industry’s now-liberal use of the montage. If you are expecting something kiddy, think again, because the humor here is surprisingly intelligent and adult. Little kids will have their laughs, as expected, but the attention given to the older audience makes for one of the funniest movies I have seen this year. Especially in a time of half-hashed sequels (did I hear someone say The Hangover?) and cheap money-makers, The Muppets is incredibly refreshing.
   But at the end of the day, this is a tribute to the puppet-characters that the writers grew up with, so it should not disappoint anyone to see that all of the frontrunners have their big moments. The “real actors” take a back seat to Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, and the rest of the gang. It is easy for the audience to tell that everyone involved in the movie is there for the fuzzy friends, and the result is a love-letter movie that truly feels like a love-letter. The Muppets are the heroes, and they take center-stage like they should. Even the introduction of Walter, our protagonist, as an entirely new Muppet is handled wonderfully, and he fits right in with the rest of the crowd.
   There are cameos abound in this movie, and while some of them seem like they were just tossed in to bolster the credits (Zack Galifinakis, mostly), but these are few and far-between, and they remain my only gripe with the film. Most of the cameos are in fact very well-executed, and the stars are present for the perfect amount of time (and to be honest, Selena Gomez made one of my favorite appearances). Again, everyone involved is clearly there for the Muppets, and when the viewer can see that, it only becomes easier for us to cheer on our old (or new) friends.
   I hate the phrase “heart-warming” when a movie is described. It freaking sounds terrible, and not even a little bit pleasing (imagine your heart roasting over a fire, but you can feel it . . . yeah see, not so great now, is it?). However, when it comes to The Muppets, I can let it slide, because this movie has some truly touching moments that even newcomers will find stirring. If I had not been sitting next to my girlfriend, I might have “had something in my eye”, but luckily I was able to keep things under control (If you find yourself in a similar situation, I recommend focusing really hard on those little lights at the end of the row, it helped for some reason). But my own emotional battle is a testament to what this movie has done, because by the conclusion, the viewer is so ready to back the characters onscreen it is ridiculous. The most exposure I had ever had to the Muppets was early-morning PBS, but this movie had turned me into a fan in just an hour and a half.
   The Muppets set out to revive the series for old fans and present it in a refreshing way to rookies. It did both, and it did both brilliantly. What you have here is a movie that is genuinely funny, genuinely spirited, and genuinely excellent. A 9 out of 10 easily.
   The music played. The lights were lit. I met The Muppets all over again, and I might just be in love.
   Just don't tell Elmo. But I hear he loves his goldfish and crayon now anyway. The creep.

^For life^

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Bloody Good Time: Things to do While Your Girlfriend is at Breaking Dawn

   There is a dangerous plague on the nation’s girlfriends. There is no point in beating around the bush, it is called Twilight, and if you know someone who is infected, well pray the Lord helps you. It sucks. With a weekend behind us, it might already be too late for some, but with the long Thanksgiving break looming, there is still a chance for some to be saved.
   Some guys will be dragged to the movie, and for the sake of this article we are considering them fallen heroes (a petition is already active for a memorial). The alternative however, is being stood up by your girl while she runs off to a private fantasy full of bed-crushing vampires and abs that you really, really wish were fake. This is life, and life is not fair. But if you want to turn your lonely night into something that might not be so bad after all, maybe these suggestions will help. And because there are certainly girls out there who are being stood up by their friends, we at According to Dazz have a list for you gals as well (after we overcome the shock of the phenomenon that you dislike Twilight and remain single).

Things for guys to do when their girlfriends go to Breaking Dawn:

1.       Throw a book-burning party.
Perfection. Not only do you and a bunch of your bro-skis have the chance to let out a bunch of pent-up emotion through fire (win), but you also have a more-than-ideal way to stay warm as these winter months arrive. Sweet, sweet perfection.

2.      Play Skyrim.
Do not act like you did not see this coming. She could go to fifteen-freaking-million Twilight movies and you would be satisfied for the duration of all of them. Money in the bank. Call the rest of your abandoned nerd friends and voice chat together while you are at it. You managed to score a girlfriend, now go score some Shouts (if you understood that, you are a champ). She has her fantasy, and you have yours. What a wonderful world.

3.      Watch movies featuring ugly people.
You will feel better about yourself. The movie might suck, but your self-esteem is more important.

4.      Blow something up.
Legally, of course. I would still call you a badass, do not worry.

5.      Crash the movie with your friends, and have a contest to see who can get kicked out the fastest.
If Notre Dame asks, I did not write this article. Someone is posing as me; I am not condoning this activity.

6.      Make fun of the guys who had to go.
Hey, at least you beat somebody. You were too nice to voice your objections to that girl you are dating, so counteract this by asking your buddy if his girlfriend is squealing louder for Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner.

Things for girls to do when their friends go to Breaking Dawn:

1.       Cry about it.
Maybe you really did want to go. Our condolences. But not really.

2.      Revel in your own spectacular self.
If you do not fall into the category above, then you are one-of-a-kind. If you have someone to love, be absolutely content that you are the greatest thing that ever happened to them. If you do not, than all you have to do is advertise what you did not do this weekend, and wait by the phone.

3.      Have a Thanksgiving leftover Iron Chef.
How much elaboration do you need? So much win in that.

4.      Throw a Harry Potter party.
Everyone will come. I know that I am there already. The ultimate act of defiance, and guess who wins? That is right. You do. Could a guy do this activity as well? Sure he could, but all of you ladies out there need the chance for some glory of your own, and through a totally kick-ass wizarding party, you will earn that glory. Who needs vampire-loving friends when you have Harry Potter and a bunch of other people who just became even better friends? It might just change your life.

   The girls (and the guys they drag with them) who go see Breaking Dawn in these next couple weeks can go have their fun, but we should just let them know that the rest of us will be having even more fun doing things that are actually cool (zing). But hey, if looking at sprayed-on abs is your thing, more power to you. Just try not to drool on yourself, because I am sure you have already soaked enough of your clothing considering this is the fourth movie (double zing). By the way, you can consider us out the next time you go see a movie that features a llama playing a werewolf and a vampire that looks like he walked out of an oil painting (is that three zings?).
   Wish you were Bella and could become a vampire (see, did not even care enough to put in a spoiler alert)? All I have to say to you is this: with these suggestions, it sucks to suck.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NDP vs. Ironwood Football Dev Diary--Thoughts from the Dog Pound

      Maybe when my parents let me go to the football game last Thursday and somehow did not mention the late start in their reasoning, I should have been tipped off. But minutes later, Nolan Bidese and I were driving down to Tucson, and all I was ready to think about was the chicken-bacon-ranch sandwich sitting all toasty-warm in the bag next to me. Five pages of notes at the game and I could call it a night well-spent. I did zero homework. They set up that late start for a reason, after all.
   Of course, when I woke up early the next morning to let my dogs outside, I run into my mother in the kitchen. Before I even open my mouth, she tells me that she will not be driving me to school late (my sister Alexis and I share a car, and she did not go to the game). My mother did not have work that day. She would have been home. Ouch.
   So this dev-diary is the only thing that I really accomplished Thursday night. Four and a half hours in the car not included, it covers the majority of the football game minute-by-minute. Thanks goes out to Nolan, who stood ready with his phone whenever I needed to know what time it was. If you see him, shake his hand. Tell him he is a hero. I do not care if you mean it or not, it will brighten his day.

7:18—We finally arrive. The visitor’s section is full; looks like it will be pretty tough to balance being a fan with being a writer. I blame the three people who told me to do one of these things; I guess that is what peer pressure will give you.

7:21—Nolan and I are crowded to the top of the Dog Pound, and sweet Jesus we are next to the drum line. All six of them are wearing black. It was a white out. I just do not understand.

                Nolan comments on the Saints’ snazzy purple pants. He decides he will be the fashion police here tonight. I approve.

7:22—The pom team looks like they are staying warm down on the track dancing it up. Those moves look even better when you are freezing your butt off. They should teach them to the rest of us so we can all stay warm too.

7:24—It is the end of the first quarter, and the Ironwood band is hoppin’ across the field. They must be really secure with themselves, because the rest of their crowd is sitting. Losers.

7:25—As Jordan Gehrke hits Mo White for a first down, Nolan and I notice that Coach Hollowell is rocking the tucked-in sweatshirt look down on the sidelines. His pants look a size too tight, and Nolan says he looks like a ballerina. Make that a classy ballerina.
7:26—Father Phil is also down on the field in an LSU jacket. So close.
7:27—The first down markers for Ironwood look like giant pieces of pizza stuck up on posts. Those budget cuts will sure getcha.
7:29—Luke Taffuri converts a key fourth down on a run up the left side. I swear that guy is the prototype for the ideal human being. He can sing too. I am now that much more insecure about myself.
7:30—Joey Prather tries to read my notes over my shoulder. Something tells me he will not be the last one to try some sneaky business.
7:32—Sampson, our beloved canine friend, tries a little booty shake to rile up the crowd. No thank you. There are better ways to accomplish that task, bud.
                I need some gum really badly. I have a weird fear of the possibility of bad breath. I suppose there are worse things to be afraid of. Like Connor Gallagher. More on that later.
7:35—The Ironwood crowd has lightsabers. I will admit I am jealous. There has to be someone at NDP who has a Mace Windu lightsaber and can rock the purple (I know the colors, that’s right).
7:38—Trevor Jones comes through in the clutch with a piece of gum. Fresh pack too. What a guy.
7:39—Cheer and pom do a joint cheer. It is nice to see them working together. I wonder if our spiritline has one of those cliché high school feuds between the cheerleaders and the pommies. Admit it, you kind of want to see a catfight on the sideline. Maybe more than kind of.
7:40—Spencer Lewis asks me if I have seen the Ironwood lightsabers. He is only five minutes late on that.
7:43—I discover that I swear a lot more when I am in the Dog Pound. There is quite a bit of material that did not make the cut for this article. Maybe in college I will release uncensored versions.
                The drum line tries to pull some fancy stuff and do the Mario Bros. theme song. They thought they had a really good idea with that.
7:44—Gehrke converts two straight first downs with his legs. I would say he is like a Tim Tebow but he can actually throw and he does not annoy the living hell out of everybody. So really he is nothing like Tim Tebow.
7:45—The Ironwood announcer runs an ad for the school’s driving class. So . . . are Tusconers just that bad at driving?
7:48—Grant Martinez makes a great catch in the right flat. I love that guy, and so does the Dog Pound. A chant ensues.
                The spiritline tries a cheer that tells the crowd to “get a little bit rowdy”. I think my sister’s softball team did the same thing back when we were in grade school. Nice to see how cheering has evolved over the years.
7:50—Nolan and I are looking forward to the halftime show. We see that the Ironwood band is going to perform, and they are complete with flag-twirlers. This sparks a debate: is flag-twirling athletic? Is it a sport? You decide. Seriously, comment on it, this has been bothering me.
7:52—Andrew Thomas makes a Larry Fitzgerald-esque catch along the right sideline. I want that on top plays.
7:54—Gehrke to Martinez over the middle for a Notre Dame touchdown! Kevin Sullivan puts it through, and we are tied! I wrote the touchdown in my notes as all caps, but I thought that would be just a little too enthusiastic here.
7:56—Sampson joins in on pom’s little leg-kick thing they do after each touchdown. A for effort.
7:57—Halftime. When the Dog Pound takes a seat, the girl behind me asks, “Is someone hurt?” Facepalm.
7:59—The Ironwood band takes the field for the halftime show, and they are freaking huge. They could literally make a football team out of that squad. That spurs me to think of a beautiful situation in which we do a band vs. band annual football game in which our drumline is pitted against the bands of other schools. It could be a 7-on-7 tournament, and the drumline could use Deacon Carbone to fill in that extra spot. I would go and watch. I would pay money. You would too, I know it.
8:00—The Ironwood drumline does a little bit of what looks like interpretive dance to start the performance. Are our guys taking notes?
8:01—Nolan runs off to go find his track coach, so I take a spot at the top of the bleachers to get a better view of the show. The flag-twirlers are in full swing. I wonder if they pick the flag people based solely on aesthetics. Probably. They seem like pom-wannabes.
                Do conductors really do anything? The Ironwood guy was sure going like crazy. It seems like just a bunch of fluff to me. But hey, he was sure trying hard.
8:03—Nolan rejoins me for some flag-twirling analysis, declaring it a “lost art”. I agree, and we declare the Ironwood band a proud tribute to the 1960s.
8:07—I return to the center of the Dog Pound. Jack Ittel is in front of me rocking the hooded sweatshirt. He only put his hood halfway up, probably to protect that award-winning hair.
8:11—The halftime show ends and I do not even notice. Jordan Costello, who has recently joined us, gives it a sub-par C+. Nolan gives it an F—for flag-twirlers.
8:13—I am stuck behind some kid who managed to find some pom-poms. He is waving them profusely. If this persists for the entire half . . .
                The teams retake the field to warm up. Ironwood does some frog-hops. What is this, Pop Warner?
8:15—The Ironwood mascot makes his appearance. He looks like Donald Duck with a mullet.
                As I am scribbling that last bit down, the Dog Pound suddenly decides to pull out the “I Believe” cheer. I miss it. This is the sacrifice I make, folks.
8:16—Jordan Costello, after seeing that Saguaro running back DJ Foster racked up 508 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in the school’s first playoff game, says that he expects 800 yards and 15 touchdowns this week. I checked the stats; he went for 155 yards and two scores. What a scrub.
8:18—K-Sull opens the half with a monstrous touchback. What a champ.
8:20—Will Scola, the X Factor, is in the game. We are excited.
8:21—After an Ironwood touchdown, their quality announcer declares that “Slytherin” will attempt the extra point. I swear. I wonder what position Gryffindor plays.
                Microsoft Word does not spell-check Gryffindor. This pleases me.
                Tim Hawes puts his mouthpiece behind his ear when not in use. Convenient.
8:27—Remember that pom-pom kid from before? Well he moved a little farther to the right so it all worked out, but that still did not prevent me from seeing his gum fall out of his mouth and him returning it to that location. I spat my gum out soon afterward.
                Mo White makes a bobbling catch and subsequently gives me a heart attack. He seems to do this at least once a game.
                As a side note, Mo White has apparently coined the term “Rimming” (fact check) in reference to playing the video game Skyrim. I approve of this.
8:30—There is an Ironwood injury on the field, and when the guy, number 66, gets up the whole crowd can see that his foot is literally sideways. Not going to lie, it was pretty cool.
8:32—CJ Harvey (the people’s punter, as always) comes on to kick it away. We want a fake.
                The foot guy from literally two minutes ago? He comes in for Ironwood on offense. I feel like a wimp.
8:37—The Ironwood lightsabers come on again. Are lightsabers “ablaze” or is there another word?
                According to our announcer friend, Josh “Rock-ner” makes the tackle. Unbelievable.
8:41—I see that my good friend Avery Korth’s hair is still perfect on the NDP sideline. This means he has not been in. I am disappointed. I later learned he went in on special teams. Props for the hair, then.
                My notes are beginning to wear a little thin. We need some spice.
8:42—Speaking of spice (Rhett Johnston), I notice that Bree Schiffer is back from her concussion . . . I literally do not know how to close this statement.
8:45—Nolan returns with the report that the parent section is particularly tense this evening, so we decide to spend 15 minutes in the heart of the lion’s den. We run over there, and I sit down next to a small boy who immediately shuffles away from me. Ouch.
8:46—The little kid next to me farted. Fourteen whole minutes left.
8:48—A Notre Dame player is hit heading out of bounds, and the parents practically tear the referee’s head off in their lust for a penalty. I tell Nolan I’m afraid.
8:49—Is there anything more bothersome to a football fan than the species that is the football mom? Like a freaking fly is buzzing in your ear over and over. And over.
                Nick Cole is currently putting the team on his back. He has two straight first downs. One father behind me yells (literally) at the players on the sidelines to “get loud”. Does he realize how little he is helping?
8:50—Jen Kish unknowingly lightens the mood by trying and failing to inspire some cheerleading into a little kid that is hanging out with her. Poor guy just was not up for a little ra-ra-ra-sis-boom-bah. Kish had some moves though. I wonder if she was aware people were watching her.
8:51—Josh Eggler shakes my hand on his way by, and I think I pee a little.
                Nick Cole does not help matters when he goes up the middle for another NDP touchdown! It was in my notebook as all caps again.
8:52—K-Sull has not even kicked the extra point yet when another father behind me is yelling at the defense to “do something!” and “take the ball and ram it down their throats!” I should have brought a weapon in case I need to fight my way out. One of those lightsabers would have been ideal.
                Nolan declares the best tradition of NDP football mothers is the legitimate singing of the NDP fight song. I guess you really can’t go back.
8:53—Sampson does the push-ups this time with the cheerleaders. Good dog.
8:55—It is the start of the fourth quarter. Nolan and I rise with the rest of the crowd, but we are sitting within seconds because we unknowingly obscure the view of one Tess McPherson. This does not ease my fears.
8:58—I think if the parents knew I was down here quoting them, they would not say half of the things they are saying. Their cheers are growing more and more desperate. One dad is literally going down the sidelines and calling out player after player by number. “Come on 72! Come on 21! Come on 15! Come on 28!” I want to leave.
9:00—Another Ironwood players suffers an injury. Their appetite for blood satisfied, the parents only cheer louder. Nolan and I bail like two bats out of hell.
9:01—Nolan and I return to the safety of the Dog Pound only to hear from Darian Deimeke that we had missed both a fight and a dance-off between the two mascots. This upsets me. I would have bet on Sampson with all those push-ups.
9:02—Wouldn’t you know it, another freaking injury timeout for an Ironwood player. They must not have realized this was a football game and not a slumber party pillow fight.
9:05—I find that in this new seating arrangement I am sitting in front of Austin Blanchard and Rachel Largay. I think my heart just melted a little.
9:11—Connor Gallagher is officially the funniest player to watch on the sidelines. He paces a lot. His jersey somehow managed to turn almost black on the front. I like that, it means we’re seeing some effort. This should all be taken as a compliment, by the way; that kid could eat me if he really wanted.
9:16—Allie York asks me if she should go with Dairy Queen or kettle corn. I tell her a better question would be if she should show up for newspaper or ditch again. Zing.
9:18—The announcer describes how the Ironwood running back “slithered” through the line. What does that even mean?
9:19—In the final minute of the game, the Ironwood crowd stands up for the first time. Nice to see some spirit over there, jerkwads.
   When the game ended, I stood in the stands with Nolan and seriously considered not running this article. But at the end of every game, the lights turn off, the bleachers empty, and life goes on. You may think that our Cinderella-story is over, but in reality, we are far from the ending of this one.
   This season, our team out-performed any expectations that anyone had for us. Coming into a realigned division with teams the likes of Chaparral and Hamilton, poor little Notre Dame was brushed aside. The playoffs were a long shot, and a winning record would mean beating bigger, stronger, more experienced teams that were all used to running with the big dogs. Since we were yet to contend alongside the likes of these “big dogs”, we were an afterthought.
   After a rough 1-3 start, an upset over Desert Mountain triggered a change in our program. In the wake of a tragedy that surpassed anything the football field could bring, our Saints won four of their next five and recovered to finish 6-4 and slide past Horizon into the playoffs. We believed when no one else would, and now our little community has grown into something that demands attention.
   An upset over #3 Salpointe Catholic in the first round of the playoffs only sealed the envelope. We had already gone farther than anyone thought we would, and now we had gone even further. This team was not a fluke. This team is one that belongs exactly where it is, because this team can contend with the best.
   The loss last Thursday was an emotional one, for sure. But here is what makes it different than any of the others: no one is regretful with how this season ended. Disappointment is natural, but that just means that our determination and drive toward our cause was passionate and powerful. At the end of the day, no one was let down. No one had any regrets. No one is looking back.
   From coaches to friends to family, at home or in the stands, no one is anything but proud.
   Inspiration can come from anywhere, and for a small crowd in the visitor’s bleachers on a cool Thursday evening, inspiration came from a group of young men who overcame more adversity than should come on a high school football field. But the best part was, they were not the only ones. We overcame it together, as a Notre Dame community. Looking ahead, all we can do is continue growing stronger.
   I could be really cheesy right here and use that whole cliché about true winners being more than just winners on the field, but honestly I do not think that really applies here. We have had success before, so I do not think it is fair to say that this is the season that we became winners.
   I think that Notre Dame has always been made up of winners. This season, we just finally had something to win for.

Thanks guys.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Voice of the Saints--How the NDP faculty can come to the Dog Pound's rescue

   The byline of this article might say Tyler Daswick, but I am just an ambassador. It is important that you understand this: this article is representative of everyone at Notre Dame. This is not an According to Dazz, this is the Voice of the Saints.
   The administration has graciously said time and again that if the students want to see something done differently at NDP (Within reason, of course. Sorry, but something tells me that the uniform is here to stay), they should come talk to them about it and make themselves heard. Well, here we are.
   Parents are great and all, but sometimes you wish they could just call the spaceship back and return to whatever planet they came from where they learned how to be so . . . so darn parent-y (yeah, we are making up words now, we are so professional). The issue that arises from this phenomenon is simple: the varsity football playoff game is on Thursday evening instead of Friday evening, and this means that a lot of folks are understandably putting the hammer down and declining any prospects of students going to the game on a school night. Having the game down in Tucson does little to help matters.
  The location of the game all but guarantees a late return home for anyone who attends, and obviously we are not going to change our parents’ views on this situation or change the time/place of the game. The last thing for us to do is to turn to NDP for help. We students want to go to the game, we want to support our team, and we want to support Coach Bemis, and in order to do this in a way that will be satisfactory to all parties involved, we need Notre Dame to consider having some flexibility with the Friday schedule.
   Here are the possibilities, some are extreme and some are not, but all we ask is that you hear us out and at the very least consider these possibilities.

1.       The Extreme Option—Cancel Classes on Friday
Hold on there before you have a heart attack, we would have classes another day instead. To be specific, April 9th could be a fine possibility if Principal Gonsalves would be willing to give up his “Principal’s Holiday” to give students Veteran’s Day off. Besides, most public schools have Friday off anyway (classic case of, “come on, all the cool kids are doing it!”). I am not sure what activities one David Gonsalves devotes to his special holiday, but with any luck he can find time to do those things on Veteran’s Day. It is an extreme option for sure, but given the proper attention, this could be a legitimate solution so long as the schedule holds up.

P.S. Is it weird if I picture Mr. Gonsalves riding around on a jet-ski in the middle of a lake on Principal’s Holiday? We should hold a contest to see who can invent the most probable/outlandish activity our fearless leader might partake in on his post-Easter Monday. Maybe a prize for the winner . . .

2.      The Middle of the Road—A Late Start on Friday
This one is not so bad, right? All it would take is to simply draw up a new schedule to push the hours back a little. There are two things you could do with this. The first option would be to simply push school back as a whole. So for example, start at 9:00 and have dismissal at 3:50. The problem that might arise there is the conflicts that would emerge with sports teams and practice schedules, so that would need to be addressed. However, another option would be to hold a “reverse minimum day.” Instead of cutting off the 80 minutes from the end of the day, why not shave them off the front? School would begin at 9:00 and would end at the regular 2:30. No hassle. No mess. Easy. If you have some concerns about losing those 80 minutes of quality class-time, perhaps there is another minimum day that could be inflated to a full schedule.
   This option looks to be the most exciting, by far. Parents would rest easy knowing that their child would still be able to perform at their very best the next day, students would appreciate the hassle-free morning, and all teachers would be missing are eight short minutes from each period. Did I just hear a vault door opening? Because this sounds like money in the bank. More cheesy lines to follow . . .

3.      The Passive Approach—Excused Tardies on Friday
This solution is to address those parents that are more concerned about the prospect of having their sluggish son or daughter facing some disciplinary consequences for playing up the whole slow-and-steady act in the morning. Here is how this can be avoided: at the game on Thursday, have some sort of “bouncer” present to check off students’ names as they enter the game (Sister Yolanda seems like a worthy candidate, for whatever reason) Thursday, and then these students will all have the option to have an excused tardy the following day. Now relax, no one wants to see kids rolling in during E period and flashing some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card like they are some VIP. What we can do instead is have the policy that if you attend the game, you will have an excused tardy on Friday up until C period (about 9:00). After that time, you are late and that is that, but if you attend the game you will be excused if you arrive “on time”. Thanks to our bouncer, the system cannot be exploited, and no one will take advantage of a supposed free tardy. The C period deadline works well because students will only be missing a maximum of two classes, and are also guaranteed to see the Veteran’s Day speaker. Parents and students are happy because no one is in trouble, and administration will be happy with the fool-proof system. A win-win if I ever saw one.

   Anyone who was at the game last Friday will tell you that the Dog Pound made a difference, just as they have been doing all year. But right now, that intense spirit is at risk of seeing some huge losses due to a simple scheduling conflict. We, the students of Notre Dame, are telling the administration that we want to be there. We went to go down to Tucson and support our Saints. We are doing it for the team, we are doing it for Coach Bemis, and we are doing it to keep a sense of spirit alive, one that has not been matched by any previous year at NDP. The Dog Pound is stronger than ever, and if we can come to a compromise with this football game, you can be certain that the showing will be felt by our fans, the players, and the opposing crowd as well.
   Our school feels like its writing the script right now to a Hollywood movie, and this would just be another scene to scribble in—how the Dog Pound, once struggling to gain support, is now fighting for the chance to go to a football game. The team needs us, our coach needs us, and Notre Dame needs us.
   It is time for the hunt to begin again; all we need now is for someone to sound the horn.

A Proud Noob: Hating on Call of Duty

   Pre-calc on the morning of November 7th was pretty normal for all of three minutes, until Jacob Wagner looked over at me from across the room and said, “Hey Daswick, you going to the midnight premiere?” I stopped in my tracks. What kind of midnight premiere would Jacob Wagner—wait—no . . . it couldn’t be, not so soon . . . NO!
   Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was out tomorrow. Sweet freaking Jesus.
   I came this close to not writing this article. I figured it would be too negative and I would look like too big of a jerk at the end of it all, but the latest rise of irritation inside of me (see, I sound like a jerk already, and it only gets worse, see what it’s done to me?) was too much. I had to let it out. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the headquarters of CoD haters. Haters are gonna hate, and we are gonna hate hard.
   To give the franchise a little credit, Call of Duty 4 was sick. The game came out before I had an Xbox, but I heard so many good things about it that as soon as I had finally saved up and bought the console, I borrowed CoD 4 from a friend and played through it. It was awesome. Slick gameplay and addictive multiplayer made for something that I was actually a little sorry I missed out on, but it never really turned into something that I began to schedule my life around. It was fun, but it died out for me.
   Now, I want it gone. Multiplayer is the main reason why. I can name a lot of CoD players that are perfectly normal, but I can name plenty of examples of people who take the game way too seriously. Shooting someone with a virtual bullet fired from a virtual gun held by a virtual character running around a virtual world is not impressive people. Good kill man, now quit screaming obscenities in my ear about how many women you score. Do you yell at your fake girlfriend too?
   Recently, CoD almost killed somebody for real. Forty-six year-old Mark Bradford was losing rather badly in a match to a 13 year-old boy. The young teenager was taunting his older opponent, so Bradford decided that the only logical solution was to hunt the boy down and strangle him. He walked right though the front door and had his arms around the kid’s neck when Mom broke up the scuffle. This is Call of Duty, folks. Is it extreme? Sure, but is it also a case that, because of the profanity and bickering found online, was inevitable.
   The Call of Duty experience online is one of self-glorification, vile language, and cheap tactics. Running around by yourself is fine for a shooting game, but it is when this one-man-show attitude extends to team matches that I start to grow frustrated with CoolGuy64 and Broseidon32 (the names only become more obnoxious from there) on the other side of the country. Teams are for guys without the standard male anatomy, apparently, because every time I hunker down with my assault rifle to give some support to a sniper while he looks across the map, I receive a friendly reminder of what exactly my mother looks like and how I will never succeed in life because I stole a kill away from a teammate. Sorry dude.
   To me, team sports beat the individual stuff any day. Success is more fun when it is shared, but obviously not in Call of Duty. Teammate earn a care package? Obviously your first impulse is to run to the drop zone and steal it away from him so you can reap the goodies. Teammate hop into your favorite vantage point before you could? Knife him repeatedly in the back until he moves (and if you are playing on hardcore, great, because you can actually kill him and take the spot, sweet!). Remember when you played PE basketball in grade school and there was always that jerky kid who was the “ballhog”? Well, in CoD, there are millions of ballhogs. Have fun.
   Here is my message to all of those people out there who think a good Friday night is pulling off a 15-kill streak and yelling at Mom to bring more Doritos: you are impressing nobody. When I bought that Xbox last year, I was naturally excited, and told a girl who I was into at the time about my purchase. Her first question: “so what do you play like cod?” You can bet your cushion-crushing butt that I did everything in my power to disassociate myself with the franchise as fast as I possibly could. I went over to her house eventually, and lo and behold her little brother absolutely butchered any sort of mood I was trying to set by hollering through his television at some guy in Canada who had just thrown a virtual knife in his virtual back. We heard him from across the house. She voiced aloud her annoyance, and I silently thanked the Xbox gods for steering me away from such things. People (especially girls, which hopefully means something) generally do not think it is that cool when you pull off that no-scope headshot. You pushed a few buttons man, good job.
   Call me a noob, but like those awful playground days in grade school saw the ballhogs have all the fun, a small section of Call of Duty players ruined the whole thing for me. Keep your noob-tubes, your overpowered 50-cals, and your gravity-free bullets, because I want no part in any of it.

   Now go play outside.

I like to picture myself as Jim (John Krasinski) in this scenario.