Monday, June 6, 2011

Unnatural History

(R, PSN)
*It's funny, because a few weeks after I wrote this, the show went off the air. Oh well.

I haven’t watched Cartoon Network (CN) since I was about ten years old. It was always full of mindless cartoons and ultimately, I was ready to move on. So when I heard about the new TV show, Unnatural History, I wasn’t too sure, but I thought I would give it a try.
Not only did I like the live-action show (no, it’s not a cartoon), I fell in love.
Unnatural History is the story of Henry Griffin, played by actor Kevin G. Shmidt, a teenager who has traveled the world with his anthropologist parents, learning and studying the ways of different cultures.
But now Henry has been sent to live with his uncle and cousin in Washington D.C to attend a high school in the National Museum Complex (NMC) in the hopes that he would stay out of the trouble he always seems to be getting into.
Henry’s cousin Jasper Bartlett (played by Jordan Gavaris), is the tech-savvy part of the group who often serves as bait in many of the adventures that Henry and his friends encounter.
Finally, his fellow student Maggie Winnock (played by Italia Ricci), smart and obsessive, completes the group. Her photographic memory helps the group solve mysteries and ultimately, add unknown facts to history, often proving theories and myths to be truthful.
Unnatural History is the perfect mix of National Treasure, Night at the Museum, and even a little of The Da Vinci Code. This show has a great mix of adventure and mystery while incorporating accurate historical facts.
And if you really wanted to, the basic story line of a group of friends solving mysteries can be compared to our childhood favorite Scooby-Doo.
The makers of Unnatural History have managed to educate viewers without the boring regurgitation of dry facts that teenagers would not care about otherwise, such as George Washington’s overdue library book and the use of the enigma machine in World War II.
The personalities of the characters blend perfectly together and the setting of D.C. and the NMC provide the perfect backdrop to the danger and mystery that surrounds the historical objects and artifacts. A sense of danger and the unknown is present in every episode, and I find myself wanting to know the truth as much as Henry, Jasper, and Maggie.
Viewers and critics have fallen in love with the plotline, the quirky personalities of the characters, and the adventurous, awe-inspiring history that inevitably works its way into more than just last Tuesday’s episode.
The show may be subject to CN’s background of mindless cartoons – many of you may have given up on the channel, pushing Unnatural History into the shadows. But those of you who are like I used to be, cynical of Cartoon Network’s content, you should give this show a chance. I guarantee you will walk away satisfied, and you may even find that you now a little bit about the next subject in your US History class.
Unnatural History usually airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm on Cartoon Network. But if you miss Tuesday’s episode because you’re caught up in homework, CN replays the latest episode Sunday nights at 9:00 pm.

An apple a day: The healthy side of fast food

When I was in elementary school, I ate school lunch every day. Mondays were pizza days, and the rest of the week cycled through chalupas, breadsticks, egg rolls, mac & cheese, and even “Thanksgiving dinner.” School lunch was definitely not my favorite, but nevertheless I ate it every day for five years.
Back in elementary school, we didn’t have the luxury of being able to leave campus and go to the surrounding restaurants for lunch. We were lucky if we got to eat lunch in the classroom instead of the cafeteria. Now in high school, many may leave campus and go to places such as Chipotle, Subway, and even Noodles and Company.
But with the luxury of fast food, it’s easy to get carried away with the options – if you eat Burger King every day for one week you could gain at least five pounds. We don’t want to live in our own version of “Super Size Me.” It’s okay to treat yourself to something that’s not quite that healthy, but you should go for healthier options throughout the week if you are planning to eat out more than once.
Here are some of the healthier options at favorite fast food restaurants, according to the authors of the “Eat this, not That” (ETNT) books.
Fight it: Generally, the barbacoa and crispy steak meat are the unhealthiest, especially when paired with a tortilla that is 290 calories alone. If you cannot resist these savory meats, it is best to get them as a bowl with all of your favorite fixings, such as rice and salsa.
Bite it: The chicken is the healthiest of the Chipotle meat. The chicken burrito bowl received an A+ from the ETNT authors. All of the fixings such as cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc, with the exception of the tortillas, are all generally healthy as well, and make burrito bowls even tastier.
Burger King:
Fight it: Burger King’s signature Whoppers and their Steakhouse XT collection are all soaked in unhealthy oils and grease, and the mounds of mayo that they put on each sandwich do not help matters. The Double Whopper sandwich with cheese and mayo packs 1010 calories alone; with large French fries at 580 calories, and a large Coke at 390 calories, it is definitely a heart attack waiting to happen, no matter how old you are.
Bite it: The regular hamburger and the Whopper Jr. without mayo are your best bets when it comes to hamburgers at Burger King. If you’re looking for chicken, Burger King’s chicken tenders and chicken fries are good choices, and if you’re really feeling healthy, the fresh apple fries and low-cal caramel sauce are a good choice for a side. Any of these paired with water or a zero-calorie drink will make for a healthy and satisfying lunch out.
Noodles & Company:
Fight it: Noodles and Company is generally a healthy choice for lunch. Most of the pasta dishes have a calorie count less than 1000 calories. However, calorie-packed dishes such as the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with 900 calories, and spicy tomato dishes such as the Penne Rosa with 810 calories still add up in the end.
Bite it: The best choices that the Noodles & Company website ( offers are the Bangkok Curry noodles and the Pad Thai. As far as trios go, pairing any of these healthy choices with a tossed green salad are both tasty and satisfying.
Anthony’s Pizza:
Fight it: The popular NY pizza place mimic offers huge slices of pizza larger than your plate and dripping with grease – yet we can’t stop eating it. According to, their doughy crust, with 220 calories alone, is just the first on a list of calorie-induced dishes, including one serving of Chicken Parmesan (1100 cal.) and, as far as appetizers, the Meatball Sliders (1400 cal.).
Bite it: One slice of cheese pizza at Anthony’s is a whopping 425 calories. So if you are craving the NY-style pizza order one with lots of veggies, these will not add any unwanted calories or grease. The salads are also among the healthiest, but go light on the dressing – a salad isn’t healthy if you add globs of creamy dressing.
For evaluations of more restaurants and fast food joints, or nutritional information, visit or any of the restaurants’ websites for details.

EHS helps victims of domestic violence

(N, PSN)
Being slapped in the face so hard it leaves a hand print, being punched so hard you have a black eye for a week, or being shoved to the ground so hard your head bleeds; this relationship abuse is happening in every age group, every race, every gender, every religion, everywhere, and the cycle is never ending. How could someone who loves you so much physically, emotionally or even sexually hurt you?
This is the reality for millions of adults and teenagers across the nation – they are trapped in a living, breathing nightmare, and there is almost no way out.
October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Eaglecrest provides policies to help victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by the abuser to gain or maintain control over the victim,” states the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence website ( CCADV is committed to strengthening the help available to victims and promoting change within the community.
Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Kerri Zylstra, in an interview via email, said there are many different forms of abuse: “Emotional abuse is name calling, bullying or embarrassing you on purpose and keeping you away from family and friends. Physical abuse is when a partner is pinched, hit, shoved or kicked. Sexual abuse is forcing a partner to engage in [a sexual] act when the other partner does not or cannot consent.”
“One in four adolescents is abused in some way or form each year,” Zylstra said. “A teen that sees these warning signs [needs] to get out of the relationship as soon as possible. The behaviors may not seem like a big deal, but as time goes on they only intensify and get worse.”
On average three women are killed by a current or former partner, and one in six women are victims of sexual assault. But domestic violence isn’t just a woman’s trouble; men are victims of relationship abuse as well. This means that on average, at least one of your close friends, man or woman has been or will go through some sort of abuse.
“[If one of my friends was involved in an abusive relationship], I would tell an adult here at school or a counselor so they could get help,” said junior Samantha Cripe. Many students agree that if they knew of someone who was a victim of abuse, they would tell an adult at school. And they are right; school officials know the best way to help teenagers with relationship problems and safety concerns.
If you think you may be a victim of domestic violence, then you need to know that there is help available for you. School counselors are always available to talk if you feel that you are in danger and will help you deal with getting out of that relationship; you can also see the School Resource Officer (SRO), Amanda Cruz, or any other police in the community.
However, each case is situation specific. When a student is being abused, there are certain steps that the school must take in order to ensure safety within the school.
“First, we talk to the parents of the victim and the parents of the perptrater. Then we tell the SRO about the situation. We then have to educate both parties about what is right and what is wrong,” said School Psychologist Eric Zimmerman.
“The ultimate goal is to keep people safe, and we need to do whatever it takes to make sure that students are safe,” Zimmerman said.
If you would like to raise awareness in your community, visit the Love is Respect website at for event ideas that you can organize and run through school, such as starting a Dating Abuse Awareness club or using the internet to spread the word and inspire change.

FAD ALERT: Silly Bandz

A fish, a palm tree, a baseball, a microphone and even Spiderman decorate the wrists of various students all across the nation. They are all the colors of the rainbow and the website features the phrase: “Collect ‘em, Trade ‘em, Wear ‘em.” They are silly Bandz, the newest and most popular fashion accessory today.
Silly Bandz can entertain during long waits or seemingly never-ending lectures. They can describe your personality: sophomore Leila Malsam owns a soccer ball shaped Silly Band to show her passion for the sport. Or they can just serve as a bracelet, a colorful addition to any outfit.
Senior Karie Powell Breaks down the obsession over the simple bands to try and explain it to me: “First you think they’re dumb, and then someone gives you one and since you didn’t have to pay for it you’ll wear it. Then you start to like it because it looks trendy and you can take it off and play with the shapes whenever you want [or] when you’re bored. They aren’t necessary but they are fun,” she said.
Okay, so they are momentary cures for boredom, but are Silly Bandz just another fad, like Pokémon or Spandex?
“They could be just another fad,” said junior Kaela Martins. “That’s the way it is with teenagers, something’s in one minute and it’s out the next.”

An apple a day: Insight into insomnia

*This year I started writing a health column. :)*

Many nights I lie awake in my bed, staring up at my popcorn ceiling, just waiting to fall asleep. Sometimes I am thinking about everything that I have to do tomorrow or of absolutely nothing at all. I lie awake into the silent hours of the night sometimes until 2:00 in the morning. That means that, having to wake up at 5:00 am, I have only gotten three hours of sleep and I still need to endure eight hours of school.
Let’s just say, insomnia is not very fun. Coming out of lazy summer days full of sleep until noon and nap-time at 1:00, students are still trying to get into the habit of waking up at the crack of dawn and going through an eight-hour school day without falling asleep during a lecture.
But whether it is from stress or just not being able to fall asleep, the hours that go into lying awake are crucial to a student. According to, between 10 and 20% of Americans suffer from insomnia, and about 56% of Americans have had symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week or more. Research has shown that teenagers may make up a large part of that percentage, with all of our homework, activities, and especially essays for colleges and scholarships – who has time to sleep? According to WebMD (, teenagers need to get at least 8 ½ hours of sleep; here are some common tips from WebMD that could help those of us get to sleep faster so we can stop staring at the popcorn ceiling.
Clear your mind before bed: Stress about the test in physics or that ACT you’ll have to take on Saturday, can affect your sleep habits. Take some time before bed to unwind. Read a book, listen to some music or even watch TV; the time can be as short as ten minutes but can help you fall asleep and sleep more deeply.
Log off of Facebook: Distractions such as TV or your cell phone by the side of your bed can provide distractions that keep you awake for hours on end. Turning off your cell phone, logging off of the computer and turning off the Late Show will create a quiet and soothing atmosphere that will help you fall asleep faster.
Make Spot sleep in his own bed: Pets can be another distraction that keeps you awake at night. Even after you’ve fallen asleep, Fluffy’s movements or Fido’s begging to be let out can keep you awake for hours and cause you to have problems falling asleep again.
Create your ideal environment: Whether you use earplugs, a fan or a special pillow, creating the ideal sleeping conditions for you personally will be more comfortable for you and you will fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply.
Napping can affect more than your grades: When you nap during the day (sleeping in class counts), you use up some of the sleepiness that would make you sleep more deeply at night. If you do feel the need to nap, keep it to 15-20 minutes maximum when you get home from school (this can actually rejuvenate you and could help you stay awake to do homework or study).
Order a Tall coffee instead of a Venti: Caffeine can stay in your body longer than you want it to – the effects can go as long as eight hours before wearing out – and can keep going into the night when you should be sleeping. A small cup of coffee before first period is okay, but if you cut out caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime, you will fall asleep easier.
Go on a run and eat your veggies: Regular exercise can wear you down, which will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply throughout the night. If you exercise in the morning the cardio can energize you for the rest of the day as well. Try not to go to bed hungry and avoid large meals before bed; being hungry or too full can keep you awake throughout the night. If you eat just before bed, try dairy products, fruit or nuts – these all promote sleep within the body.

EHS steps up the technology; teachers get new computers and monitors

The new projectors mounted to the ceilings and the laptops sitting next to the now obsolete Mac monitors are the first in a long line of Guaranteed and Viable Technology (GVT) advancements to come.
As the current Mac servers die out, they will be replaced with new PC servers. This will, in turn, reduce the cost of technology over time and save the school money for other departments that need it, according to Barry Sterling, Institutional Technology coordinator.
“The district is taking on the responsibility of refurbishing all of the schools [with newer technology] for future students,” Sterling said.
One of the technological advances that the school has made is to provide all of the teachers with new M & A Companion Touch 10. This computer is a fully equipped laptop, with new software, which doubles as a “tablet.” The computer display spins and folds back on itself, allowing teachers to pick up the computer as if they were carrying a book and write on it, or move from slide to slide on presentations. It has a six-cell battery, which allows up to seven hours of life, and 2G of memory with a 160G hard drive for storage.
All teachers received their laptops on Friday, Sept. 24. Teachers who are new to Eaglecrest, however, received their laptops before school started and say that they have been very useful so far. “The Netbook has been incredibly useful,” English teacher, Paul Kemp said via email interview. “It’s extremely lightweight and portable, so it can be carried from a classroom to a PLT meeting to any other location. It also incorporates a document camera, which allows me to project student work onto the screen – that’s a great feature.”
One of the goals for these laptops is to provide a universal tool for the teachers, which will help teachers bridge the gap between work and home.
Teachers are still exploring uses for these new tablets, but are still incorporating them into their classrooms.
“I use it every day for multiple purposes in my classrooms. It has so many capabilities though and I have not taken advantage of several of them thus far,” English teacher Sarah Hancock said.
Media productions specialist Helen McCreesh feels that the new technology is long overdue. “We live in an electronic age and we have to meet those needs,” she said.
Some students question the district’s decision to improve teachers’ tools. “To be honest, I think this is a choice that isn’t particularly smart, or in the best interest of the entire school. With budget cuts and all, shouldn’t the money we have be used for something that would benefit us as a whole?” sophomore Jamie Griffin said.
The district plans to make the teacher’s Mac computers available to students, which in turn provides more computers available for students to work on during the day.
Senior Laura Brewer, however, feels that this is a positive advancement in the schools. “I think that it’s a good thing that teachers are getting new laptops because it will allow them to work on some things from school without having to switch computers or transfer information. Also, because they are all new, the teachers will have the latest of everything which will make it easier for students that have the latest version of something to turn things in electronically without the hassle of compatibility.”
The next step with the new technology is wireless connection with the newly mounted projectors that were put in every room over the summer.
Before with the Macs, teachers needed an adapter is no longer needed, which also contributes to the portability of the tablets.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Year, New Paper

So, this is senior year and my second year on the Eagle Quill staff.
Just a little update: This year I am Co-Editor of the Opinions Section with one of my good friends Tiffany Brookover. The paper has gotten off to a rocky start, but I'm confident we will pick up, the second issue went somewhat better than the first.
I will put the stories from the first and second issue up probably this Sunday (Happy Halloween everyone!)
I am still writing things other than the stuff for the paper and if they have some credit (or if I just really like what I wrote ;), I will put it up.

Thanks and keep reading!