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Thursday, October 2, 2014

The New Napoleon's Nook

I know it's been awhile, but the new Napoleon's Nook is finally up and running!

Here is the link:
http://napoleonsnook.wordpress.com/

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I have blogged, but I just wanted to announce that Napoleon's Nook will be moving! I have decided to move over to Word Press and continue on with the blog there. When the new blog is ready to go, I will post a link here for you all. Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Near Death Experience that is Flying

Alright guys. I wrote this blog after stepping off my plane in Charlotte, North Carolina. So I was in a little bit of a funk. I went to bed at 6pm and woke up at 1am. Then I rode in a car for an hour and a half to get to the Ottawa International Airport three hours in advance as required. Now I know... I didn't drive so I can't complain, but still... it was 2 am and I was awake for the day so...
Photo: Josh Cameron

There I sat in the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport at a small table outside Chili's restaurant with four hours to kill. The waitress was sweet enough to let me hold down a table right next to an outlet so I could write this for you

Before I get into the flying, I have to say that I probably had one of the best burgers of my life there. Whether it was that magic touch of southern hospitality or the fact that I was just so tired, I would probably have thought a Big Mac to be the best... I don't know.

So let's talk about flying. I mean... this has become one of our most common modes of transportation. Until the Wright Brothers came along, it was thought to be an impossible/magical feat. Now we treat it as just a normal part of our daily lives. If you really think about it... this is a big deal! We are 37,000+ feet in the air traveling at speeds in the 500 mph ball park! Trust me... all of this stuff runs through your mind when you are high above the clouds, staring out your window. 

If you are like me, you are moderately comfortable with flying. There are those of us who hate it, those who love it, and the 'tweeners like myself. I think it is great and very interesting and all, but I would be lying if I said I didn't ever get nervous. Especially after their just being a crash in San Francisco and you are wondering if your pilot is in training or not.

Photo: Josh Cameron
Let's come up with some examples of why you might get a little anxious. For instance, when the seat belt light comes on and the captain doesn't tell you why. That happened on this flight. No turbulence or anything. We were just in the air soaring smooth and the lights came on. Here I'm thinking, is the engine failing? Did the pilot fall asleep? I feel so uninformed... Or maybe when you go through that ten second pocket of turbulence you see your life flash before your eyes. You grip the arm rests, run the crash scene through your mind and make sure you know how to work the flotation device and oxygen masks.

I always just imagine myself in an old war movie or a super hero flick, thinking of how incredibly bad ass I will become when we start going down. Somehow I will turn my bag into a parachute and make an incredibly daring leap, land in a lake or some trees and be completely unscathed. 

But then reality sets in. The turbulence is over in mere seconds and you feel like an idiot. Your palms are sweaty and heart is racing double time all for nothing. You ask yourself "why?" and the person next to you has certainly made a judgement call on your character. 

Besides those little pockets of near death, I think flying is pretty majestic. Soaring above or under the clouds, seeing the land below... it's so beautiful. This is why I am a window seat kinda guy. You get high above the clouds and they seem to be endless.  

The worst part for me isn't the turbulence though. It is that split second right before the plane tires touch the ground on the landing. The moment when you think... Oh wow that was a really smooth la.... "BOOM!" You hit the ground running! Let's rephrase that. You hit the ground sprinting! And you are Usain Bolt! You cruise down the runway as the plane seems to teeter totter left and right and then you finally come to a quick halt. Then you start breathing and life resumes. 

When you step off the plane, who knows what comes next? You may walk right into the arms of a loving friend or family member. Or maybe you will be sitting in an airport with a seven hour layover... blogging away...  We all have a different destination. 

Now, my next flight was much better. It was on a bigger plane for starters! I am a very short person and I had to crouch in the first plane... do you see a problem here? I'm thankful I got a blanket, because the air conditioning was on high enough to freeze you solid! They served a pretty good dinner considering it was airplane food, but they played one of the saddest movies I have ever seen...

Photo: Josh Cameron
Unfortunately, no matter the circumstances, I can't sleep on planes. I was supposed to sleep so I wasn't as jetlagged, but I couldn't do it... So after landing in Madrid and spending the day traveling to Mallorca, I had been up for almost a day. But it was all worth it because after two long months, I  finally saw my beautiful girlfriend and met her family! You can certainly expect a blog about my trip very soon. 

So now I wanna hear from you guys!! Any horrible flight experiences? Any really good flights? What do you think about the whole process? What was waiting for you beyond your gate?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Using Native Americans as a Symbol: Disrespect or Honor?

This topic hits home for me. I grew up 15 miles from the Mohawk Indian reservation in Massena, New York. A small little North Country town. And as far as I know, we have always been the Red Raiders. Our symbol... well... it used to be cool. It used to be a red Indian Chief, with a big head dress. Instead of trying to describe it, let me show you...


Massena Central School's old Raider Head logo

It was our history. Most sports teams in Massena have dominated at some points. Whether it be the football team of the 70's or the hockey team who won states in 2008. This symbol has represented our school through it all. It was highly respected and recognized for decades. During my time in Massena Central School, the administration changed our logo due to complaints from a select group of Native Americans from the Mohawk Reservation. And let me tell you... the new logo is far from spectacular, but I'll let you be the judge of that...

Massena Central School's new logo, the big M

Being so close to the Reservation, Massena Central School has a large group of Mohawk students. During my time there, I befriended many of them. Out of all the Mohawks I talked to, not a single one of them had a problem with the Raider Head. They thought it was awesome.

This is my point, not just regarding the Massena logo change, but any logo change that has taken place at a school or on a sports team. I don't understand why the Native Americans find these logos to be so offensive. We are honoring them. It isn't like we are trying to make fun of them or mock them by using them as a sports logo... We used a Native American symbol to represent what we stand for. Perseverance, will, motivation, intelligence, good conduct, skill... the list goes on and on. We used that Native American Chief head to represent all of those qualities and we respected it. This is why I don't understand why it is such an issue.

What sparked me to write this post was the most recent (ever-present) call for the Washington Redskins to change their name and symbol. Now, as a Cowboys fan, I hold a deep respect for the Redskins. Changing their symbol is changing history. I get that this is different, because they are referring to a race by a color stereotype, but still. The Redskins are the Redskins. When you think of the Redskins, you think of dominance, respect, and integrity. Nothing else. I don't see what is wrong with that. I am glad that Roger Goodell has stepped up to the plate to defend the name. It is about time someone did.

Enough from me. I want to get your input. Should these names and logos be changed? Is it disrespectful to use the Native Americans as symbols? How far can this go? If you are a Native American reading this, do you agree or disagree? It seems that as time goes on, our society gets more carried away with what is/isn't socially acceptable... What do you think?


See what Roger Goodell had to say about the Redskin's name here!


 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Intern Experience

If you have ever had an internship, you may have mixed reviews on your experience. Some of you may have been paid and received a valuable work experience. Others of you may have been unpaid and grabbed the boss’s coffee every morning. Well, recently, a New York federal court has ruled that a group of interns should have been paid for the work they did on the movie Black Swan. The Department of Labor has introduced guidelines as to when interns cannot be paid. But this new court ruling takes it even further. Internships must now have some sort of educational component beyond school credit or work experience.
Get more information on the court ruling here!

This summer I am interning here at North Country Public Radio. So far, my experience has been spectacular. I have been doing anything and everything from morning post-production of web content to actually reporting and getting stories online. On top of getting this great work experience, I am getting paid and receive free housing on campus! I consider myself pretty lucky, but there are a lot of other interns out there who do not have it this good. In fact, some interns have it pretty bad.

Photo: Sean MacEntee


“I had one from 2002-2003. The first time I went to school at SUNY Canton, I got an internship through the IT program. It was not paid, but it took money off of my tuition. I was hoping to at least touch a computer, but the "manager" made me answer phones and go wash his car... And I was technically drastically underpaid, but I wasn't "employed" - so it was “ok”,” writes Danielle Cunningham of Massena.
This is a prime example of a paid internship with no educational benefit.

She was working through the IT program and didn’t even touch a computer… Anyone else see a problem here?

“I graduated May 2012 with a degree in Graphic and Multimedia Design from SUNY Canton. My senior year, an internship or extensive senior project was required. I landed an internship with Lake Placid school district that spanned from January to May. They wanted me to completely redesign their webpage. I met with the superintendent a couple times in March and submitted 5 template designs. By the middle of April, I hadn't gotten a decision. I tried to get in contact with my internship supervisor and found out that he was let go by the district. By now it was the middle of April and all I had to show were 5 website templates. My internship wasn’t much more than a bust. Here I sit more than a year later without even getting a call back for an interview on all of the applications I have sent out, both within my major field and outside of it,” says Bridget Webber.

Thanks to a lack of communication and complete disregard for this intern, she is still searching for a job today. The time she spent at her internship was a waste. She could have had a job making money or at an internship where they had their priorities straight. Unfortunately, the poor management and leadership of others have left this intern jobless.

Students count on their internships getting them somewhere. The point of an internship is to help prepare you for a certain career field or at least give you some professional work experience before you start job hunting.
Though these internships were a bust, there are positive internships out there like mine. Some are paid, some allow you to obtain course credit, and some just provide educational value. It would be nice to have all three in one, but as long as you are getting something out of it, it’s certainly worth your time.

“I'm getting minimal course credit (I think SLU should give more than .25) but I don't think I deserve a salary. The experience I'm getting for my age and education level is incredible, so I see that as an investment in my future,” says St. Lawrence University student Paige Randal.

“I have a paid internship with my church (unaffiliated with my college) and even though I'd like to get credit for it, the educational benefits, experience and lessons I'm learning have made it worth while,” says Cazenovia College student Leigha Burkhalter.

“I have found it [interning] to be an interesting experience and one that has a decent amount of educational components attached. Although the work is basic and at times boring, the staff meetings and other talks/events I am able to attend allow me to broaden my understanding of the NGO world/non-profit sector as well as the issues that come along with global giving. As far as being unpaid and how it affects me, if I'm honest, it doesn't. I am lucky enough to have the financial resources where interning for no pay does not have to factor into my decision-making. The only thing that I consider is if it is a good/interesting opportunity for me in my field and in my twenty-one year old vision of my career path. I'm not getting paid, but it isn't an issue and I’m enjoying what I'm doing,” says St. Lawrence University student Maxwell Miller, who is interning at The Synergos Institute in NYC.

These three interns fit each situation. Paige is receiving credit, Leigha is getting paid, and Maxwell is receiving tremendous educational/work experience. And even though the two girls are getting credit/payment, they are grateful for the educational components and site those as being what makes their internships worthwhile.
The big question is, what kind of impact will the new court ruling have on the life of all interns? Will it change the landscape?

Photo: SalFalko

“I think the court ruling is a very important for interns because finding an internship in the first place is difficult and when you are paying for college 8 months of the year and a summer internship is unpaid, there is little time to make money. Also, interns shouldn’t be the ones doing the unwanted work of full time employees, they should be learning what it takes to be a part of the “real world” so they are prepared for life after college. Having a paid internship can also increase the interns devotion to work harder because they’re earning money and the internship gives he/she the sense of understanding what it is like to work 8-5 Monday-Friday and receive a paycheck for the hard work,” says Matthew Santello of Saint Anselm College.

“From what I’ve experienced the likelihood of you doing some stupid superfluous work definitely goes down [If you have a paid internship]. Many companies aren’t willing to pay an intern if they aren’t going to be doing anything valuable for the company. I think that the amount of meaningful internships or the chance of getting a more meaningful internship will occur if it is going to be paid [Due to the court ruling]. But, the overall amount being offered will probably go down. I think it’s probably going to cut a lot of slack out of the whole equation for potential interns, but at the same time there will be those few [internships] that are unpaid that are very meaningful experiences, but won’t be able to continue,” says Dartmouth University student Frohman Anderson.”

Every intern out there shares a different experience, whether they are good or bad. What do you think about the court ruling? Should this be seen as a victory for interns or a defeat for smaller internship programs? How will companies react to this?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Upcoming/Future Movies: My Top 15

Now, I apologize if this is a little bias toward superhero or action packed films. My inner superhero geek completely comes out when it comes to cinema and I'm a sucker for a really good or even really campy action flick... A man with simple tastes. Big explosions (no matter how realistic) excite me. So here is a list of the movies I am most excited for, slated for releases anywhere from now all the way into 2014 (In no particular order)

  • Ender's Game

    • Official Ender's Game Poster
    • Finally, a visual for the famed novel by Orson Scott Card. This one has me excited because this book was one of the most prominent I remember from High School. It's always exciting when a novel you have read becomes a film. It lets you compare your visualization and understanding of a text with someone else. It will be really nice to see director Gavin Hood's take on the classic.

 



  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    • Official Hobbit: 
      The Desolation of Smaug Poster
    • Another classic novel made film, part II of the Hobbit trilogy is set to debut this winter. The latest trailer looks to promise a larger amount of action than seen in the first film. Though the first film had its fair share, it was more of an adventure film than anything. We also catch a glimpse of Orlando Bloom's Legolas! Now, I never read the books, but from what I have gathered, he was never mentioned in the novel. Any hardcore LOTR's follower who can help me out with this one? Beyond that, it looks promising and should be a powerful sequel to the first film.  
Catch the Official Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Here!



  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
    • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, has remained a classic since it's debut in 2004. Who can forget the jazz flute!? It's perfect compilation of cast and hilarious back and forth banter that was the dialogue made for a great laugh out loud comedy. Well, now America's favorite news team is back! It will be interesting to see the plot development of this film. Hopefully it doesn't dissapoint. 


Official Anchorman: The Legend Continues Poster

 

  • Godzilla 
    • Don't even get me started on this one. This is a film I've been waiting for since 1998, ever since Roland Emmerich's Americanized take on the famous monster. (Because we are going to pretend Toho's Godzilla: 2000 does not exist). Now, I have to say, when I was younger I liked watching the 1998 movie. I mean... it was a huge dinosaur running around Manhattan destroying anything in its path, but I think Emmerich tried to personify the monster a little to much. He gave it feelings and emotions. At the end of the movie you almost want to cry when they kill Godzilla. Even when the old Godzilla was in battle with a more sinister monster, he was still not a hero and the only time people felt bad for him was if another monster capable of destroying Tokyo was whooping Godzilla's butt.
      Official Godzilla Poster
      Godzilla is supposed to be a ruthless creature set to wreak havoc. Also, I'm pretty sure Godzilla has always been a boy... In this movie, "it" has the ability to lay eggs... and we never really find out the gender (assuming it is a female). Another questionable move by Emmerich. So, that brings us to Gareth Edward's take, set to hit theaters in 2014. (And no, this will not continue where the 1998 movie left off... I know we all wanted the egg to hatch and for there to be a sequel about the same monster in the same city... Personally, I think Matthew Broderick took the egg and kept the baby Godzilla as a pet, but hey... who knows?) With today's special effects and a good plot, there is no reason this movie shouldn't be spectacular. I really hope he can give this franchise some new life, allowing it to grow and leave room for possible sequels. There is no trailer yet, but here is a link to a pretty decent fan page that carries constant updates on the films production. 




Official Pacific Rim Poster
  • Pacific Rim
    • Coming off of Godzilla, here is another monster movie I am pretty excited about. Is it kind of a Godzilla/monsters destroying the world knock off? Yes. I think the title could more or less be called, Power Rangers v. Godzilla. My hope is that there is a good plot and that this isn't just a sequence of Mortal Combat battles. Beyond all that... There are huge robots designed by "us" pummeling monsters trying to destroy our planet... what's not to love about this?

 


Official Thor:
The Dark World Poster
  • Thor: The Dark World
    • How can you not be a Thor fan? I mean, he is the god of thunder for crying out loud (no disrespect to Gene Simmons). The teaser for this film did not provide us with very much... beyond Thor's poor judgement... As in, you probably shouldn't bring your Earth lover to your home planet in the wake of a giant alien attack... but we all make mistakes. I'm sure there will be more details when a new trailer surfaces. From what I have read, Natalie Portman apparently becomes a target. We catch a glimpse of the new baddy, who is most likely responsible for all this chaos, Malekith the accursed.Malekith is a master of sorcery and the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, one of the nine worlds of Asgard. Hopefully this one will stay away from planet Earth (unlikely though, because what would a movie be if the Earth wasn't in peril?!*mild sarcasm*) The surprise at the end of this trailer is the best part... If you haven't seen it yet, I won't spoil it for you, but you can watch it right now to find out!

 


  • Despicable Me 2
    • Official Despicable Me 2
      Poster
    • Honestly, Despicable Me has to be one of my favorite animated films there is. It has the perfect blend of heart felt moments and pure comedy. It is such an interesting twist to take a villain and make him a hero. And the minions... don't even get me started. In my opinion, besides Steve Carell's awesome performance as the voice of Gru, they make the movie. Very excited to see what they do with the sequel and for some more classic moments.




  • The Wolverine
  • Official The Wolverine
    Poster
    • Oh no they didn't! Yep... they did... they took away the Wolverine's (a ripped to pieces Hugh Jackman) immortality. This should really make things interesting... In the past, Logan has always relied on this to get him out of tough situations. But now, he is fighting not only to save the day, but for his life. This film will take place after X-Men: The Last Stand and will also be introducing a formidable adversary in the Silver Samurai. Though the Silver Samurai is CG in this film, I don't think it will take away from it. It would be pretty challenging to have an actor walk around in a big, clunky, samurai suit (although they could take some tips from Robert Downey  Jr. and probably do alright). It looks like there will be many acrobatic, nail biting action sequences in this one, so be sure to claw your way into theaters (insert laughter and/or sigh due to word play) to see this one on July 26th, 2013!

 


  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    • Official Captain America:
      The Winter Soldier Poster
    • So, you think Captain America is the only man who can crash, blow up, freeze and then be brought back to life?? False! Remember Bucky Barnes, caps pal who died near the beginning of the first movie? Well, according to the comics, he froze too, except he wasn't found by the right people. He was found by the Russians, of course, with a complete loss of identity. So, they reprogrammed him to be an elite cyborg assassin. This seems to be where this movie is headed towards. Later on in the comics, Bucky becomes cap's sidekick and even takes on the Captain America role himself. It will be interesting to see the direction they take this film and how many more Captain America's they have in the works. No trailer has been released yet for this film, so... I have another IMDb page for you.

 


  • 300: Rise of An Empire
  • Official 300:
    Rise of an Empire Poster
    • So, I guess I am a little disappointed, but also thrilled with this one... I assume most of us have seen the first film and the unfortunate perish of Leonidas and the brave 300... So my question is... why another movie with the same title? I just think this series should have been left alone after the first movie. It had a good solid ending. They were all killed except one, Dilios returns to tell the story of the brave 300, and it ends with them going into battle. It was somewhat similar to the end of the movie Braveheart. William Wallace dies, everyone hears the story, and then the Scots fight and win their freedom. But I don't see Braveheart 2 coming out. Oh wait, that's because William Wallace is dead. Well... Leonidas and the brave 300 are dead so...  I disagree with it being made, but it will not stop me from seeing it. Movies taking place in ancient times are always interesting. Throw in a war and I'm sold. I'm sure this will be another great from Zack Snyder, with incredible special effects, great action/battle sequences, and plenty of gore. I would not recommend it for the faint of heart.

 


Spider-Man
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
    • Though everyone thought it was a little soon for a Spider-Man reboot, I think that Marc Webb (insert pun about his last name being Webb here) did well with it. In my opinion, Andrew Garfield kills Toby Maguire's Peter Parker. I mean, Garfield just has the look and that puny high school kid appeal. I think the Lizard man looked a little funky with the flat face, but hey... what do I know? There is still a lot of mystery surrounding this film. We know that the new villain will be Electro (the blue man group version) played by Jamie Foxx, with an appearance of the Rhino (played by Paul Giamatti?) as well. Norman Osborne will also be in the mix. Mary Jane Watson has apparently been canned from the script, but not from the series. Yes, they already have plans to make a third installment (and a fourth). I have also heard rumors of the Vulture possibly making an appearance. This all sounds fantastic, but I just hope Webb doesn't do to this what Joel Schumacher did to "Batman and Robin". Too many villains, with too many things going on, and goofy casting. I love Arnold Schwarzenegger and his movies, but when the only thing you take out of a Batman movie is the catch phrase "TIME TO FREEEZZEE!! (with heavy Austrian accent), we have a problem. No trailer has been released, so I'll provide the IMDB page.
 



Official Guardians of the Galaxy
 Poster
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Honestly, I am not familiar with these characters or this comic. I continue to follow updates on the film. Beyond a cast list and a minimal plot description, they continue to keep any details sealed tight. However, it is a Marvel film, separate from the characters we are all familiar with right now. It will give us a look at what else is going on beyond planet earth and is set to continue Marvel's genius vine of tying together their films. From what I understand, this will be a large contributor to the set up of the second Avenger's movie. 




Official Hunger Games:
Catching Fire Poster
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
    • Now, I never read the books, but I was forced to go watch the first movie. Honestly, I loved it. It was a thrilling and suspenseful film with just the right amount of action. It was very easy to connect with the characters and just knowing they were all going to die expect for one kept you on the edge of your seat. If you read the book, you already knew what would happen, but I had no idea. You love to hate the villains and fall in love with the heroes. I am excited to see how the story continues to unfold. For those of you who read the books, it is always exciting to see what a director does on screen with a famous novel. The first time I saw the trailer for Catching Fire, I got goosebumps (mostly from Donald Sutherland's evil President Snow). Take a look!

 


Official Insidious:
Chapter 2 Poster
  • Insidious: Chapter 2
    • The follow up to one of the best horror flicks probably from the last decade. Insidious is one of those horror films that actually has a pretty decent plot and is actually scary. For one, the famously eerie string chord of the movie is enough to make your heart race. Though the demon from the first movie looked like Darth Maul's evil twin sister, it served as a very creepy, dark antagonist. The second movie seems to promise more haunts to the same family, who is trying to recoup after their last encounter. This time it appears it will be the father who suffers most of the spirits wrath. And of course, this one hit's theaters on Friday, September 13th! ("Insert Dramatic Reverb Here")





Official The Lone Ranger
Poster
  • Lone Ranger
    • "There come a time when good man must where mask," says Johnny Depp's Tonto, in the trailer for one of the most anticipated action films of the summer. Usually anything Johnny Depp touches becomes gold, even though sometimes it can get a little weird. In this one, he seems to be playing his Indian, non-alcoholic, version of Jack Sparrow, a character who means serious business, but is always there to provide some comedic relief when necessary. The special effects in the trailer look great and it seems to have outlined a pretty solid plot. As a lover of good western style movies, I can't wait for this one to hit theaters. 




Well... this is what I am looking forward to in the near future, but I want to know what you think!

What movies are you looking forward to the most? You can comment on this post or shoot me an email at