To Click or Not to Click

technology-3068617_640.jpg

The new iPhone X is the latest and greatest in the world of technology. Not only does it have upgraded software (which runs apps smoother, improves battery life and enhances the camera), but the iPhone finally got a makeover. With the largest display screen in Apple history, this iPhone begs to be noticed. I could list all the boring details about its improved processing power, but the public seems to be interested in one thing and one thing alone: the lack of a home button.

It was a decision that deeply divided the iPhone community. Many long-term iPhone users were outraged with the change. Their plea is that they are accustomed to the home button, and because of its high click-count, deserves to remain a key part of the device. In their eyes, it would be inefficient and irresponsible to remove such a crucial aspect. Also vouching for it’s uniqueness, they claim the button is vital to the phone’s aesthetic appeal. In a world full of smart phones, the home button is what differentiates the iPhone, and many consumers feel lost without it.

On the other hand, there is a growing number of iPhone users, and ex-android users, who relish the change. Over the past five years or so, many people feel the iPhone became stagnant. Year after year, Apple releases virtually identical phones, with only minor changes. Now, with the removal of the home button, the iPhone has a new identity. Smart phones are now becoming standardized, as tactile push buttons are a thing of the past. Without the home button getting in the way, Android users are able to test out the new iPhone, without it feeling foreign. Apple is trying to unite all smart phone users, with one less home button at a time.

The real reason why Apple removed the home button is simple, it takes up too much space. In today’s world, people are glued to their phones. On the bus, at work, in class, it doesn’t matter. To accommodate these high “screen-times”, apple revolutionized the phone world, and got rid of their iconic button. By removing the debated button, it cleared up an inch of space at the bottom of the phone. Now the screen covers the entirety of the phone, which will make it much easier to stare out for hours on end.

Which is why the protesters grow fewer in numbers everyday. Once they caught wind of why the home button was being removed, many quickly changed their mind. Change is always difficult and messy, especially when it involves something we’re emotionally connected to. Cell phones and millennials go hand in hand – most had one before they turned 12 – and Apple has been the frontrunner in early childhood branding for some time now. So, Apple had to entice their consumers in order to retain their sales, and they did.

World’s biggest screen for the world’s shortest attention span. That was Apples’ marketing strategy, and did it ever work. People today love their phones, and they love anything big, so why not combine the two? Removing their renown home button was an immense risk, but a calculated one. The executives at Apple know how much time their users spend looking down at their screens, there’s a camera on the front as well as a location service, so they knew exactly how to market new ideas to their consumers.

iphone-2854320_640.png

Without the cumbersome home button hijacking an inch of potential screen space, iPhone users are now able to fully enjoy the world’s best display screen. Which means you can say goodbye to friendly chit-chat, Siri replaced you.


Matt Picture.jpg

Matthew is an Ottawa-based writer with a passion for football that was conceived in 2009, when the New Orleans Saints defied all odds and won their first Super Bowl Championship. He longs to visit Northern Europe to see the aurora borealis. Until then, he reads graphic novels, plays Super Smash Bros., and attempts to stay fit. 

 

 

The Challenge: Dirty XXX - It's a Dirty Game Folks

The best way I can describe watching MTV’s The Challenge is by comparing it to eating a deep-fried Oreo. You know it’s trash, you know it has no real nutritional value, but it just tastes so dang good that you can’t help reaching for another.

 Courtesy of MTV.com

Courtesy of MTV.com

Founded by Bunim/Murray Productions (the same company that brought us Keeping up with the Kardashians and Project Runway) The Challenge premiered on June 1st, 1998, and has been one of MTV’s longest running shows on the air. The cast is made up of contestants originating from other MTV shows, primarily Real World and Are you the One, and “vets” – contestants that have competed on The Challenge so many time it’s practically their full-time job (Johnny "Bananas", the unofficial Challenge king, has competed in fifteen seasons and won six). Challengers compete in various competitions as either teams, pairs, or individuals. The competitions themselves range between grueling feats of strength and endurance, impossible mental and strategical puzzles, and janky carnival games that are impossible to prepare for – no matter how physically fit. The winners of these competitions then vote somebody from the opposing side into a final elimination round where they must battle it out with the loser from the competition. The winner returns to the house, the loser goes home empty-handed. This goes on until there are three teams, pairs, or individuals left to compete in an ultimate Final, each going home with a cash prize. Now, take all of that and add a ridiculous amount of booze, hook-ups, and fights, and you get the basic premise of the Challenge.

Unlike most reality-television, the Challenge’s entire cast is based on faces the viewer knows and recognizes. They encourage their contestants to return again and again with various season themes that lend themselves to creating relationships in the house. For example, previous seasons themes’ have been Battle of the Exes (forces two contestants who’ve hooked up, been on a few dates, or had full and committed relationships with each other on the show to put aside their differences and work as a team), Rivals (same idea as Battle of the Exes, but the pair has gotten into some kind of argument with each other on past seasons), and Bloodlines (previous Challengers compete with a member of their family).

 Courtesy of MTVpress.com

Courtesy of MTVpress.com

The Challenge's thirtieth and most recent season premiered on July 18, 2017, with the subtitle XXX: Dirty Thirty. The premise revolves around putting the dirtiest players from past seasons in situations where they'll continually have to backstab each other, in order to create the dirtiest game yet. And believe me, nobody on cast or production would let you forget it. If I drank every time somebody said “It’s a dirty game” or “It’s the dirty thirty” or “You gotta play dirty to win”, I’d be on the floor passed out before they even made it halfway through the episode. In terms of actual dirty moves… I wouldn’t say the gameplay was significantly different than any other season. After all, nothing could top the finale of Rivals lll, where the aforementioned Johnny Bananas won a final with Sarah Rice by climbing a mountain together (and in many cases with her leading him), only to decide to take all of her money for himself, leaving her with the exact same amount of cash as the last place teams.

However, this season did have some particularly nasty behaviour, it just wasn’t game related. After a night of drinking (how most of these stories begin), the contestants participated in a fun rap-battle, playfully dissing one another. Or it was fun, until Jordan Wiseley, an incredibly talented competitor who’s won multiple seasons and was born with only one hand, chimed in, saying another contestant had “down syndrome face”. To the other contestants' credit, they made sure to let him know exactly how inappropriate the behaviour was. He apologized, and everyone forgot about it. Especially when a few episodes later, Camila Nakagawa, another Challenge heavy-hitter, took the behaviour that gets her frequently recast on the show too far. Nicknamed “The Camilinator”, Camila is known for her violent, incoherent outbursts, exacerbated by her drinking. One night, a clearly intoxicated Camila burst in on Leroy Garrett and accused the man of conspiring against her. Her accusations got louder and more aggressive until she began screaming racial slurs at the other contestant, demeaning him for the colour of his skin. For his part, Leroy handled the situation with grace. Camila was finally escorted out, only to return the following day, offering a hollow apology.

MTV has since tried to condemn this behaviour, but the fact is these contestants are continually cast and encouraged to behave badly. After seventeen episodes and two reunion specials (an extra four shows in total, this was the season that wouldn’t end), the viewers finally found out who the winners were. Jordan and Camila. They each won $450,000, the biggest prize in Challenge history.


headshot.jpg

A conventional girl on an unconventional blog, Sophie’s been curious about alternate lifestyles since she first stumbled across an episode of Oprah exploring polygamy. A second year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College, Sophie loves reading, writing, and learning about different people and cultures.

Comment

Sophie Gervais

A conventional girl on an unconventional blog, Sophie’s been curious about alternate lifestyles since she first stumbled across an episode of Oprah exploring polygamy. A second-year Professional Writing student at Algonquin College, Sophie loves reading, writing, and learning about different people and cultures.

The War on Odin

Heathem.jpg

Heathen revolves around the Viking (though none of the Norse people in the book are actually Vikings, we will get to that) warrior Aydis. Outcast from her village for kissing another girl, Aydis decides to free the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild in a desperate gambit to Kill Odin, the God-king. I will be honest, when I saw Natasha Alterici’s Heathen sitting on the shelf at my local comic book shop, I was more than a bit skeptical. As an enthusiast of Norse mythology, a feminist and a person passionate about the representation of LGBTQ characters the book almost seemed tailor-made for me. Just the concept alone was too good to be true, but my skepticism ran deeper than that. It’s no secret that all three of these things have had a rather disappointing representation in media, let alone comics, so for there to be a great comic book that combines these elements in a very satisfying manner, makes me incredibly excited. Aside from a few moments of stilted dialogue/storytelling, Heathen is a comic book series that is a well researched, beautifully drawn, soulful comic book that deserves to be in everyone’s library.

I think it goes without saying that the art for this book is truly beautiful. Dark, yet expressive, pulpy, yet never exploitative. Alterici originally pitched the comic through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to gain the funds to work on the project full time. As a result, the first few chapters suffer from a lack of quality, that would be expected of a small, self published comic book. Though, because of being able to assumedly work on this book full time really allowed Alterici to hone her art into something really special. Watching indie storytellers and artists grow is possibly my favorite thing to see in the comic book community. With Alterici developing her writing as well as her artistic storytelling, it is safe to say, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the comic book industry within the next few years.

On the surface, this premise lends itself to a whole plethora of violent pulpy fun. This pulpy vibe is reinforced by Alterici’s beautifully bleak imagery and character designs that echo iterations of past pulp heroes such as Conan, Red Sonja, and Deja Thoris. Though, I am glad to say that Heathen is much more than just a fun, violent quest for revenge. Rather, it uses many of the assumptions one may bring to a similar story to subvert, dissect and deconstruct the power-fantasy infused pulp heroes, Norse Mythology and the alpha male-dominated society of the dark ages. Without a fight scene in sight, Alterici instead finds her stakes within the beautifully fleshed out relationships that are under the constant threat of being destroyed by the all-powerful God-King Odin. This also allows her characters to engage with frightening and fantastical elements of Norse mythology.

HeathenVolI.jpg

Modes of storytelling, and characterization of certain Gods have been lifted from various aspects of Norse mythology. Fortunately, Alterici was creative enough to put an incredibly unique spin on the familiar characters.  The wolves Skull and Hati are a highlight, both riding a fine line between darkly intriguing and incredibly adorable, which I did not think was possible. Unfortunately, while there was clearly research made deep into Norse mythology, it was disappointing that history seemed to be taken from very Anglo-Saxon sources. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it does feel inconsistent to try to tell the story of Norse culture only to refer to that culture as ‘Viking’ which was actually the name for raiders and sometimes pirates, not unlike those who attacked Britain in the 800s. It was essentially the British 800s equivalent of the n-word for the Norse people and considering the progressive, modern feminist angle this book takes, it feels like a bit of an oversite. Similarly, I felt that at times the modern politics of the book were not always handled with as much grace as I would have liked, but considering the massive undertaking this has been for Natasha Alterici to self-publish this book, it is a rather small gripe.

Overall, I believe that we are in an incredibly interesting social climate within the comic book industry. With LGBTQ and female voices finally being given the platforms that have been robbed of them for so many years, we are finally seeing the community defining their voice within the medium. With Heathen, Natasha Alterici has established herself as a voice not only to watch out for but to listen to if you have the chance. Please support this unique and talented artist get the love she deserves, Heathen is a great comic book, pick it up and get ready to love the crap out of it.


22016642_1859128914115808_1609273559_n.jpg

Gabriel Planas is a writer from Ottawa, Ontario Canada who is passionate about video games, movies, punk rock and fantasy fiction. With over 20 years of experience playing video games, he is dedicated to spreading the word on the fledgling medium’s endless narrative potential.

Comment

Gabriel Planas

Gabriel Planas is a writer from Ottawa, Ontario Canada who is passionate about video games, movies, punk rock and fantasy fiction. With over 20 years of experience playing video games, he is dedicated to spreading the word on the fledgling medium’s endless narrative potential.

I the Mighty "Where The Mind Wants To Go/ Where You Let It Go" Review

 Photo Property of I the Mighty

Photo Property of I the Mighty

I the Mighty Where The Mind Wants To Go/ Where You Let It Go

images.jpg

In October of this year, I the Mighty put out their fourth studio album: Where the mind wants to go/ Where you let it go. Let me just say this, wow. This album is beautiful. This album is a departure from their past, heavier work but with its unique sounds and clean vocals it is still easily recognizable as an I the Mighty album. The heavy tracks of their album Satori have been almost entirely left out once again, and have been replaced with slower, melodic sounds more closely resembling their last album, Connector. I the Mighty is a heavyweight when it comes to putting out an album and it's easy to see why. This album incorporates a variety of genres like indie and R&B alongside post-hardcore and alternative to create a uniqueness that pulls you in and leaves a lasting memory, this album will leave you bopping and singing along to every word.

Every song is telling a story, but they are also working together to tell an overarching narrative of love, loss, and finding yourself in the mess of it all. Most of the songs come across as breakup songs, but without the sappy and whiny noise that you might find on a pop album. The lyricism and vocals blend effortlessly with the guitar and drums to create memorable choruses and melodies, while the use of synth helps to achieve an ethereal sound. All of the musical elements come together and balance so perfectly on this album. The attention to detail that the band shows is incredible and clearly pays off, delivering a solid, well composed, beautiful album that can, and should, be listened to on repeat.

The album art also helps create a feeling of being on a lonely journey of self-discovery. The cover features the silhouette of a man walking in a vast emptiness, with a backdrop of an open starry sky. The art adds to the story that the album is trying to tell the listener, but is still simple enough not to be distracting or out of place.

I love this album. I only had to listen to it once to fall in love with the music. After listening to Connector, I was expecting them to keep the trend ballad type songs but was pleasantly surprised at the ethereal and melodic atmosphere that they decided to create with this record. The lyrics are meaningful and relatable, the beats are catchy and upbeat, it's different and yet still the same fearless styling that we have come to expect from I the Mighty.

Partially melodic post-hardcore, partially well composed indie rock with mature and relatable content, I the Mighty have managed to put together a strong album that will surely become a lasting staple in the music collections of new and old fans alike. In sharp contrast to Satori, and a shining example of what continued musical growth looks like, Where the mind wants to go/ Where you let it go is definitely an album that is going to stand the test of time and be a testament to what I the Mighty are capable of.

I_the_Mighty_Satori_Album_Cover.jpg

IMG_20170727_145143359.jpg

Arielle is a 22 year old Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfs through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment and Brand New, to name a few.

Comment

Arielle Blaedow

Arielle is a 22 Professional Writing student who loves the arts. Her music taste is eclectic, but she spends most of her time frequenting local punk and metal shows. She often surfers through Youtube and Bandcamp hoping to stumble on a new addictive sound. Her favourite bands include; Breaking Benjamin, Dance Gavin Dance, In This Moment, and Brand New, to name a few.