Montclair State Student Recreation Center

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

At Montclair State University, the student recreation center is a big selling point to would be applicants. In hopes of becoming a major university in New Jersey, the rec center is a key component.

Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University, has in her tenure made a lot of renovations to the once older looking and simpler campus. Cole has made it known that she intends to make MSU into a prominent university, like a Rutgers. The rec center is one of her many renovations that has caused great success on campus.

“We’re more than just a building here,” said the director of campus recreation Romayne Eaker-Kelly.

The rec center is a state of the art facility that was opened in 2008. The 77,000 square foot building has such amenities as a two-court gym, a six lane heated pool, an indoor track, 10,000 square feet of fitness space, and much more. With very assessable hours of operation, students at Montclair can take up vast amounts of exercise classes, personal training, swimming lessons, intramural and clubs sports, and many other activities.

Campus recreation also offers Red-Hawks job opportunities, along with a healthy lifestyle. With over 300 student employees, the rec center is a place where students can make some money during school, meet people in the workplace, and boost a resume while making connections.

Corey Beczo is a student at Montclair who lives on campus, regularly uses the rec center, but is also a rec center employee. Beczo works in the intramural sports department while being an athlete in both club and intramural sports.

“I definitely like working at the rec center because a college student can always use some extra money,” said Beczo.

You do not have to work at the rec center to really utilize it however, senior Kevin Nulty is a frequent visitor to the rec center for the fitness reasons that can be so vital to students.

“I like to get a good workout a couple days a week, and when you get a good workout, you feel better,” said Nulty.

There are many students like Nulty at MSU. Most students that use the rec center regularly say that it makes their college experience a lot better. Working out, or playing a club or intramural sport can be a great way to de-stress, meet new friends, keep involved with a sport, or just have fun.

“I take a lot of credits and I have really hard classes, so I need to just go lift weights or play basketball sometimes to give myself a break,” said junior Ned George.

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

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Key West, Florida is the southernmost point of the United States.  You can also describe it as a small fishing town with a drinking problem.  I will take you around the island for a long weekend of the best drinking you can have.

            I would say that the best time to spend a long weekend in Key West is in the Springtime.  Spring in Key West is Spring break season, and it creates a very fun experience.  Key West is the birthplace of “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” so do not be afraid to go have a noontime drink, you will be welcomed not judged here.  The best part about Key West bars is that once you go to a bar, it does not mean you cannot go back again.  Your first day in Key West, you want to find the bars you like so that you know what to go back to.  My advice is to have one drink at each bar, if you really like it there stay, but if you want to see the other ones, keep your pace.

            If you are starting in the daytime, I say start at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.  This is the original Margaritaville, so even if you are not a Buffett fan, it is still a sight to see.  When at Margaritaville, start with a loaded Landshark.  This is a Landshark, (Jimmy Buffett’s beer) filled to the top of the bottle with a shot of Margaritaville tequila, and a lime wedge.  Now some people hear tequila and run but this does not have the taste of the tequila, just the effect.  While enjoying your loaded Landshark, you can enjoy the scenery in Margaritaville, equipped with wall art of the founder Jimmy Buffett, live music, and a lot of tropical colors. 

            When in Key West, Captain Tony’s is a must stop.  A dive bar off Duval street, is one of the original bars in the town.  With a constant crowd and great drink specials, you can enjoy some more live music, a dance floor, pool tables and various undergarments hanging from the ceiling. 

            One of the local favorites is the classic Sloppy Joe’s.  Opened in 1933 on the day after prohibition ended and has been a standard ever since.  It is the most visted bar in Key West, and the selling point is that it was Hemingway’s favorite.  Don’t expect anything fancy from this bar though, it is a simple place, but you are there to drink anyway.

            There will be a lot of people at these bars because they are in prime real estate on Duval.  So if you want to get a little bit of elbow room head off Duval one block to The Green Parrot.  The Green Parrot is another simple drinking establishment with one big bar, rather than the common set up of multiple smaller bars.  The Parrot is a hangout spot, for patrons to relax at for that break in the crowds. 

            For a little bit of a nicer look, Smoking Tuna is the place to go.  Nothing too fancy, but not a dive, and a great place for some food.  However, if you want some really great food with your drinks head to Schooner Warf, at the end of Duval.  A place with constant live music and a great menu and bar, it is one of the best places on the island. 

            It is an understatement to call Key West a place with an alternate lifestyle.  So if you are into some more unique experiences, you will find plenty of places.  Duval street is lousy with diversity so just look up and you will find something.  There are multiple gentleman’s bars, so if that is your thing you have that to go to.  If you like something even more unique, there are a few bars that will offer a drag show.  The most visited is probably Aqua Nightclub, or Bourbon St. Pub which is a men only bar, stated to be Key West’s best gay bar.  There is also a place called Garden of Eden, which is a rooftop clothing optional bar.  This means that some visitors go up to the roof and remove some clothing, so buyer beware.  There are a lot of above middle aged men who like to, let us say, drink freely.

            Other notable bars in Key West are Hog’s Breath Saloon, Irish Kevin’s (for the big time drinkers), Flying Monkey, and The Bull & Whistle.  All these are similar type bars but a lot of fun nonetheless.

            Key West is a town for your pleasure, but be careful, because it is very easy to both over spend, and over drink.  Spread your bar trips out the days you are there, because remember, there will still be alcohol tomorrow.  Enjoying Key West responsibly can be the best experience of your life, but you are more then likely to go a little crazy.

Man of Steel

Posted in Uncategorized on December 2, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

            It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…hit.  Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is a super rendition of the story of Clark Kent, better known as Superman.

            When I first saw the preview for Man of Steel, I was sitting in a movie theater waiting to watch Dark Knight Rises, the final of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.  My theory that any superhero movie Nolan touches turns to gold was made more true after watching Man of Steel.  Nolan, who was the story writer for Man of Steel, wrote a great story for a superhero that can do anything.

            The skepticism of a Superman movie is how can you keep the audience interested in the story when they know he can do it all.  Superman is the most powerful superhero of them all.  He can fly, has heat vision, and he repels bullets.  If you know he cannot die, why watch?  Nolan and screenplay writer David S. Goyer created a story that shows you a quieter, more mysterious Clark Kent, who comes with many questions and a lot of flashbacks.   The use of flashbacks in the story allows you to know the past of young Clark Kent without being introduced him until he is about 30 years old.   When some flashbacks can be confusing, in Man of Steel, they are placed well and come with the perfect amount of detail. 

            When reviewing a superhero movie, one must address special effects.  The effects in Man of Steel are second to none.  Mind blowing action scenes and ground shaking explosions leave the audience that wants to be thrilled more than happy.  The difficulty of clearly following a man flying “Faster than a speeding bullet,” was made to seem like the simplest of tasks. 

            In recent superhero films we have seen super actors taking big roles.  In Man of Steel, we see more of a super supporting cast then lead.  Henry Cavill plays Clark Kent, Cavill is a bit of an unknown, being a young actor and Man of Steel being his first major motion picture.  We see the household names in the supporting cast like Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) playing the two fathers in Clark Kent’s life, (Costner from Earth, Crowe from his home planet Krypton), with Diane Lane (Perfect Storm) as Clark’s Earth mother Martha Kent.  Amy Adams (The Fighter) plays Lois Lane, the leading lady and Clark Kent’s love.  Actors like Christopher Meloni (Law and Order), and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) play smaller supporting roles.  The movie was casted well for the story, obviously the man who played Clark Kent/Superman had to be fit to the image of the hero, but also the right personality that Nolan and Goyer wrote.  Cavill plays the silent, mysterious will be hero very well, allowing you the viewer to buy into what the writers were going for.

            Last but not least, in every comic book movie you have to address the accuracy to the comic book itself.  Man of Steel does a good job in keeping to the book without creating too many discrepancies.  Man of Steel introduces the viewers to the origin of Clark Kent with the story that non comic book reader may not know.  The movie opens on Krypton, which may be confusing to outsiders of the Superman story, but it is explained very clearly in the following scenes.  Being the first movie of a to become series, the comic book accuracy is important, because it will keep the series in line.  Sure the hardcore comic book fan could point out some things but to the unfamiliar eye you would never see it or maybe even understand. 

            All in all I loved Man of Steel.  I recommend it to any fan of superheroes, comic books, or good movies.  I with many others cannot wait for the second installment of the series. 

Five Steps To Tailgating

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

            Going to a sporting event or a concert is a very popular activity.  However, the actual game or concert is not the entire event. 

            What do you do before your event?  The pre-event, or tailgating, is an event itself, one that can enhance your entire experience.  You want to tailgate correctly, and with these steps, you’ll have the time of your life. 

1)   Commit:

  • First you must determine your commitment to tailgating.  You must first decide whether you are going to tailgate simply, or be the talk of the parking lot.  You cannot just drive to your event and end up being the party parking spot.  You must plan accordingly.

2)   Ready Your Transportation:

  • Whether you are going big or small at an event you must have the proper car to tailgate with.  You are not going to use a two-door sports car to throw a serious tailgate.  If you are going for an all out party when it comes to cars, the bigger the better.  SUV’s, trucks and minivans are your standard big tailgate automobile.  If you are a real big tailgater, you may be using a RV, but that is rare.  When going for a simple tailgate, your car will do.  No matter what size tailgate however, always have a designated driver if there is alcohol involved. 

3)   Time It Up:   

  • In your preparations, determine on how long you plan on tailgating for, but be prepared, it is a huge factor.  If you are like some people, you may be tailgating a Jimmy Buffet concert for seven hours before the concert even starts, leaving you tired and almost unable to walk in.  Or, you may start a little too early, causing you to drink a little too much, and pass out in your seat before halftime because it is 100 degrees one day in October.  A good tailgate time for the simple event goers is about two hours.  Start from two hours and work your way up. 

4)   Mind Your Stomach:

  • Food and drinks are the most important factors in your tailgate.  Nobody wants to spend $18 on a beer and hotdog in the stadium, so smart tailgaters fill up in the parking lot and save their wallets the pain.  If you are going small, subs are your best bet.  Personally, I go with subs and fried chicken from Shop-Rite, and it is always good.  For simple drinks, beer, water and soda.  Do not go with hard alcohol at a simple tailgate, you did not commit to that type of party.  When going big, quantity rules.  Many different kinds of foods for many people.  Bring a charcoal grill, cook some burgers and hotdogs.  If you are at an early game and start your tailgate early, make breakfast sandwiches.  When your tailgate is big, then you can open up your own bar.  Drink choices fit to the people that are going.  Utilize big coolers and have plenty of ice.

5)   Use Stuff

  • When going for the end all be all of tailgates, use a whole lot of accessories.  You want to make sure you have music first off, because no party is silent.  Then, you want to make sure you have games.  Bring lawn games like bean bags, ladder golf, footballs, baseballs, ect.  If you are all of age, turn it into a frat party, bring a table and play drinking games.  You are going to be drinking anyway, so make it fun.  Decorating the car will draw a lot of attention to your tailgate.  If you are a fan of an away team at a game be careful, you will get cursed at.  Once you have the attention, invite people to your car, offer them a beer and a burger and enjoy the company, the more people, the more fun.

With these five steps, you can make any event better with a tailgate.  Weather you are with two people or twenty people, you can make parking the car a lot more fun. 

Enjoy responsibly.

 

The Antihero Show

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

An antihero is defined as “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.”  Antiheros have been shown on television and movies in numerous examples.  The boss of the television antiheros has been Tony Soprano, but there may be a new man taking his spot.

The late Walter White, also known as Heisenberg, was the crystal meth kingpin of the South West.  White was the fictional character on the now completed show Breaking Bad.  White was a genius high school chemistry teacher, and a simple family man who was diagnosed with cancer in the show’s pilot episode.  At the series start Walter was married to his then pregnant wife Skyler.  The two also had a 16-year-old son named Walter Jr. who has cerebral palsy.  Not having much money to leave his family with if he was to die, Walter decided to start cooking crystal meth after learning of the business during a ride along with his D.E.A. agent brother in law Hank.  

When watching Breaking Bad, you find yourself rooting for Walter because you understand why he has turned to cooking meth.  You want to see him make money for his family because in the beginning he was not interested in making money for himself.  As the show progressed, Walter White turned into Heisenberg, his cook alias.  Heisenberg was no Walter White.  Heisenberg would kill and steal his way to becoming the biggest meth cook there was.  His meth was near 100% pure, a near impossible feat for the drug world.  The more time that went by, the more money Walt made and the worse his Heisenberg got.  He became brutal, a shell of his former self, pure evil, but you still rooted for him.  Most viewers would fight for Walt on message boards or internet blogs even though he got so bad that he once poisoned a child to get to a man he needed to kill.  

Bring in Tony Soprano, the mafia boss with bad anxiety issues.  A man who made you fight yourself deciding on if he was good or bad.  Tony was a killer, an extortionist, a racist, and an adulterer, but he still showed good qualities.  He was a loyal friend, always put family first, and he struggled with his morality.  Tony was not pure evil as we found out that Walt was.  

Unfortunately, there is no way Tony Soprano would be able to fight Walter White to see who is the top television antihero, so we have to look at their respective series.  Breaking Bad recently ended this year where Sopranos ended in 2007.  The still talked about series finale of Sopranos with it’s infamous cut to black edged out Breaking Bad in viewers 11.9 million to 10.3 million.  In multiple articles, Sopranos is the winning series.  Maybe it is because Sopranos came first and was so popular that it is the standard. 

Reviewers picked that Tony Soprano is the better antihero on the better series.  I disagree because although I am a huge fan of Tony, he was a man who did not change because he could not change.  Walt changed, and when you watched him you felt like you changed also.  I want to root for my antihero even though I know I should give up on him.  I never felt like that with Tony, because he stayed consistent. 

Maybe it is all about perspective, or maybe I am too much of a fan of Walter White to admit he lost to Tony.  Maybe I have just seen too many mob movies so I compare Tony to Don Vito, Michael Corleone, Henry Hill, and Tony Montana before I compare him to Walt.  What is certain though is that this is an argument that can now be had by fans until the next great antihero comes along.  But who will dethrone Tony Soprano?

 

Could You Raise You?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

            A person’s childhood is really important.  A childhood sets up your entire life, and it also teaches you lessons.  However, can a childhood scare you about your future?  Me personally, I am scared to see what my kid is going to be like.  If I ever have a son, I feel like he is going to just like me when I was a kid.  That is something that worries me.

            “You were definitely a wild child,” my mother always tells me.

            My mom has a vast amount of stories about a young Salvatore who was constantly bouncing off the walls.  My mom tells me that when I was young I was not really ever told no, which is the cause of me becoming wild.  My mom tells me that I was rarely told no because I was seen as the healing process for my family.  Three months before I was born, my cousin Tommy passed away.  Tommy was a sick child, and had heart problems his entire life, he was 11 years old when he passed.  Tommy was my aunt Nancy’s first child, she is my mom’s older sister.  My mom always babysat Tommy when my aunt was working, he was like her first kid too.  After Tommy passed came me, so everyone was very lenient with me for a while.

            I was always known to run around the house as a kid.  I would climb things or just take off to places, I always had to move.  I asked my mom for some specific examples of me causing trouble and she told me the earliest she could remember was when I was about one year old, my aunt Carol was at my house talking with my mom, but at some point I wanted my sippy cup.  I did not ask I just climbed up my kitchen counter to go into the cabinet.  My mom said that I always did that, when my other cousins were perfectly behaved kids who sat still. 

            One time my family and I were at the beach in Brick Town, where we always went.  I was probably just turning three years old, I was playing with my cousins and I just walked away.  I was quick back then, so they had no clue where I went to.  The next thing I remember is a lifeguard holding me up Lion King style and my mom crying running down the beach screaming. 

            I needed multiple people watching me because as soon as someone looked away, it seemed like I got myself into trouble.  Another time my cousins were watching me was when I was about six or seven.  We were swimming in my pool and I decided to do something my cousin Anthony would always do.  He always used to swim behind the stairs of the above ground pool, and I thought it was cool so I tried it.  When I did it though, my bathing suit got caught on the stairs and I was trapped behind them underwater.  Anthony jumped in and saved me, and he still likes to remind me 16 years later. 

            I feel that I always knew what I was doing, sometimes I did certain things on purpose because I thought something was funny or fun to do.  I would hate going food shopping with my mom, I always was so bored, so I decided to try and make it fun for me.  By that I mean I started throwing stuff out of the cart to make my mom pick it up, and I would just start yelling because it embarrassed her and I thought that was funny. 

            It is all these things and more that make me worried about what my kid will be like.  Will my son follow my foot steps and decide to run around shirtless everywhere like I used to?  Maybe he will be the behaved version of myself that I have turned into however.  You can always wonder what characteristics of yourself will be passed down, but you never know until it happens.  That is just an interesting part of life.  Although it worries me to wonder what my kid will be like if I ever have one, it is also exciting.  I do not know if I could handle another version of me, the world might not be able to even, but it sure will be fun to find out. 

 

You Like What You Like

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 by Sal Morrongiello

Picture a person who is really into video games.  Most people would be picturing a teenage or young adult male, he most likely has acne, glasses, un-kept hair, and wearing jeans with some goofy graphic t-shirt.  You are picturing this person wrong for this case.  Today our subject is a twenty-two year old college student named Alexis Antico.

“I’m like a really big nerd,” Antico said while laughing and blushing.

Alexis is a student here at Montclair State University, she hopes to graduate in December and she is an English major with a Journalism minor.  Alexis tells me that she is a big video game player, but she has always hated to admit it.

What Alexis said started her interest in video games was that her brother Joe was a big video game kid, but he never let her play.  Alexis would watch her brother play a game called Shenmue for the Sega Dreamcast, then one day he lost interest, but Alexis was already too interested in the story.  She wanted to see it end so she picked up the controller and did it herself.  After beating the game, she realized that video games were not too hard and she could in fact do it, also it was kind of sticking it to Joe that she could beat a game. 

“I would have denied it in high school,” she said.

When asked about the games she likes, she said her favorite games were Japanese RPG’s (gamers term for role playing games), which is an in depth story game that usually hooks it’s player.  She now owns a number of systems, a Play Station 3, an Xbox 360, a Play Station Vita, and she uses her PC for gaming.

However, liking video games has not always been a good thing for Alexis. 

“Back in high school, if you said you liked video games it was like you were acting out.  Like oh she just wants attention,” she said.

Alexis went to high school in Bellville, New Jersey and she and her friends described themselves as the leftovers of the high school.  She told me that her and her friends did not fit into any of the cliques in high school, so they were their own little clique.  Alexis told me that she was made fun of a lot in middle school, and that affected her in high school. 

“I got really self-conscious about what I liked,” she said.

She told me that she would not advertise what she liked because she did not want the stereotype of someone who was into video games reflected on her.  She told me that the early years of high school were worse than the later years, but it was still difficult.

However, now in college Alexis is more comfortable about her public self.  Now she will wear a video game shirt, not often but she will wear one, and she even goes to Comic-Con.  Comic-Con is the comic book conventions held in various locations.  There is a Comic-Con in New York City, and Alexis goes.  She even dresses up in costume. 

She even has built a relationship through a video game.  She started playing a game with this guy who she met at Montclair.  It was Portal 2, which is a companion puzzle game that actually helped them progress to boyfriend and girlfriend. 

Alexis Antico has come a long way since middle school.  From hiding her real likes and dislikes, she no longer cares.  If you want to judge her for what she likes she will have some choice expletives for you now, but she will not have to hide them.  What you like does not have to define you, and Alexis knows that.          

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