March Madness is back!

After a long season and back-and-forth conference tournaments, the field of 64 is set for the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Though our hometown Highlanders failed to reach the tournament for this season, the field is as intriguing as ever, with many new faces and without last year’s champs, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The bracket is headlined by the four No.1 seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke, with Kansas as the overall number one at the end of the season. Kansas controls their destiny in the Midwest bracket, with notable teams No.2 seed Ohio St., No.3 seed Georgetown, and No.4 seed Maryland, in considerably the toughest region. Other sleepers in the Midwest include Michigan State, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, who are all expected to compete with the top seeds.

Kentucky, the overall number two team in the nation at the end of the season, will play in the east bracket with the likes of No.2 seed West Virginia. The east is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the No.3 seed is New Mexico, who is not known for its experience in the dance, but have had a great season. Wisconsin sits as the No.4 seed, followed by Temple, Marquette, Clemson, Texas and Wake Forest.

The west bracket will be very interesting as well, with Syracuse at the top, but strong and talented Kansas State sitting as the No.2 seed, who I believe has a chance to push their way to the Final Four. Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt and Butler round out the other notable teams in the west, but expect Xavier, Brigham Young, Gonzaga and Florida State to make things interesting.

The last region, the south, is controlled by the ACC champions, the Duke Blue Devils, which is coincidentally also home to the only two teams to reach the tournament out of Virginia, which was neither the University of Virginia nor Virginia Tech, but instead No.7 seed Richmond and No.11 seed Old Dominion. Villanova retained the No.2 seed, with Baylor, Purdue and Texas A&M rounding out the top five seeds. The Big South champion, the Winthrop Eagles, who ended the Highlanders’ season in the conference semifinals, are in the play-in game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff for the No.16 seed, and a chance to play against Duke in the first round.

From a fan’s standpoint, it’s never good to see teams like North Carolina and Connecticut out of the field, but it just makes the tournament that more exciting since anything can happen. Most people around the world have filled out multiple brackets right now, but for those of you who haven’t, here are some teams to look into, instead of staying generic, with either Kansas or Kentucky ruling the field. As I said before, Kansas State has the power to mix things up, but don’t leave out West Virginia and Ohio State, who have Final Four talent. When trying to pick upsets, I’d look at teams like No. 9 seed, Northern Iowa out of the Midwest, No. 12 seed Cornell out of the east, No. 5 seed Butler and No. 11 seed Minnesota, out of the west and unexpected No. 3 seed Baylor out of the south.

If I had to pick my final four today, I’d have Kansas facing rival Kansas State on one side, and Kentucky facing either Baylor or Villanova on the other. From there, it’s all about whoever is playing the best ball, and those teams will have the best shot to reach the finals. That’s the great thing about college basketball; it’s not about what you did in the beginning of the season, it’s all about how your team is playing when it comes down to crunch time.

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Tigertext

Ever sent a text message you wish you could take back? Well now you can, thanks to Tigertext. Tiger Woods probably wishes he had this smart phone application; it would have certainly lessened some of the evidence that helped secure his scandal in the mind of the public.

While ironically named, Tigertext was not named after Tiger Woods. The developers at least claim they came up with the name prior to the Tiger Woods scandal.

On to the application itself, Tigertext can be purchased in the iTunes application store for free. Using the application is not free; one has to purchase an unlimited texting plan from the developers. They base these plans on monthly or yearly charges. Unlimited texts for a month will cost users $1.99, and unlimited texts for a year are $19.99. You can purchase these plans through the Apple app store. While it costs to send texts using the program, receiving them is free.

Tigertext works differently from how phones normally send texts. Instead of the texts being saved in multiple places, it is all stored on the Tigertext server; where after a certain amount of time the texts are auto-deleted. That isn

Elizabeth’s Kitchen: Pasta galore

This week for Elizabeth’s Kitchen we will be cooking pasta. It’s not hard, but tastes great. This is another one of my all-time favorite Heinz family recipes.

Crab Pasta Salad

A delightfully delicious and easy meal. Great for vegetarians and for those Fridays during Lent where you can’t eat meat!

ALLERGY CONCERNS: milk products, shellfish

Approx. cost: $15

Serves: 10

Kitchen Supplies you will need:

Large pot
Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Strainer

Food you will need:

1 package spiral pasta
1 block Monteray Jack cheese
1 whole green pepper
1 package of imitation crab meat
1 bag of frozen peas
1 16 oz. bottle of ranch dressing

How to make the dish:

1. Fill pot with water and set on stove, bringing to a boil.

2. While water is heating up, chop the green pepper and the block of cheese into small cubes.

3. Once water boils, prepare pasta as directed.

4. Drain pot, put pasta in a separate bowl and chill for 20 minutes.

5. After 20 minutes remove pasta from refrigerator, add crab meat, peas, green pepper and cheese.

6. Mix in Ranch dressing and enjoy!

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Heroes of Newerth

Heroes of Newerth is your standard real-time strategy game with a slight twist, taking from Warcraft’s most popular game-play mode called “Defense of the Ancients.” This up and coming game looks as though it has a chance to make a large dent in the lagging game market. Currently, the game has been in beta for, a little under a year, with an unknown, but expected release date later this year.

Game Play:

Unlike most RTS out there, Heroes of Newerth does not follow the set-in-stone model of build an army and have the two armies collide somewhere on the map until on side is overwhelmed. Now, what Newerth does instead, creates a siege-like environment where one team or one player is setup in a base that they have to defend by building up its defenses. The other players on the map then have the job of attacking the defending side as they attempt to win the match. Character selection is a sort of new option, most games at best you got to pick your race, and then if you were lucky, maybe your alignment or some similar thing. The number of races would be extremely limited and what you were capable of building was based on this. Instead, you pick from 40 different heroes, each having their own skills and abilities. The heroes are broken down into three times: intelligence, strength, and agility. Heroes of Newerth has stores where one can upgrade their chosen character. Scattered throughout the map are monsters, which players can use to level and upgrade their characters. The armies in Heroes of Newerth are AI-controlled, taking away part of the RTS element many players look forward to. You still command your units, but the players’ view of the battlefield is limited, and your main focus is leveling your hero.

The Good:

Depending on the players, style of play can be quick, short or long and time consuming. The short games are fun and intense, but lack the build-up that long ones have. Either style of play is good, though sometimes you can’t spend four hours leveling characters to create an epic final battle. Playing as a single hero is fun and really does help to draw the player into the game. This is a vast improvement over most RTS, where the players tend to sit back and critically look at the game as they play it, rather than allow themselves to be immersed in the actions of the units on the screen.

The Bad:

Kind of difficult to come up with negative things to say about the game. For most people, going into this game and expecting a classic RTS, they will be disappointed. While this is an RTS, it falls under the sub-genre of “Arena RTS.” The limited battlefield view will upset people who are use to playing Age of Empires and the like.

Final Thoughts:

While still in beta, this game already has a large following of players. It is nearly impossible not to find a game waiting or additional players at any given time. Though it does not fall into the pure RTS category, the game still should do extremely well, maybe even redefining the entire genre.

Whim Rating: 4.5/5

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Size doesn’t matter

I’ve noticed that my generation can be too obsessive about their weight, size and shape. This is something that disturbs me greatly. When you’re in your late teens and early twenties, it’s generally a good idea to let go of those old middle school insecurities and try to be comfortable in your own skin.

In the time I’ve attended school here, I’ve realized that people think nothing of commenting on the way other people look, and they even comment too much on the way their own bodies look. What I’m trying to say is this: please get over yourselves. Of course, everyone should strive to be healthy, but for some of us that means being a little over or under the average weight for height. It’s alright to have a different body type than other people.

I have a personal problem with people judging themselves and others for their weight, because I know what it’s like to be judged. In high school I became fairly underweight because I couldn’t keep my food down no matter how hard I tried. No, I didn’t have an eating disorder. I have acid reflux, which is now totally under control by prescription. Even though I didn’t have an eating disorder, it bothers me to hear people judged so much because I was made fun of mercilessly by my larger friends during the time I was underweight. Their attempts to make themselves feel better by putting me down led to ruined friendships, and that is the sort of petty thing that young adults shouldn’t have to deal with anymore.

Don’t think that this is only aimed at the excessively skinny, it goes for larger people, too. No one should have to feel bad about themselves, and that includes the overweight. I know that in the past our culture has been more accepting towards the girls who resembled Twiggy, but the times have changed. Big people are beautiful too, and they deserve just as much respect as everyone else.

The sad part is that I can’t even aim my disappointment toward men. They can be pretty horrible with their judgments at times, but I hear worse things more frequently coming from young women. What’s worse is that they attack each other when they should be more supportive, because we’re all in the same boat when all is said and done. Even the most stereotypically attractive people have tons of insecurities. One could probably write volumes about how much they criticize themselves.

By the way, this goes for clothing, too. It’s not right to make fun of people if their style isn’t the same as yours. In high school I was one of those creepy kids who came to school wearing all black, glaring at everyone. Now my wardrobe is practically all pink and blue, but I’m still the same person I’ve always been. Clothing may reflect how a person feels on any given day, but it does not make the person who they are. Don’t write someone off just because you think they dress oddly.

What this has been leading up to is this: our generation needs to learn how to accept ourselves, and each other. Life is no longer a popularity contest. People want to be around you for your personality more than anything, so don’t try to be something you’re not, and don’t expect other people to do that, either.

Cover and story photo by Kasey Sutphin

The Hangover, most epic adventure ever

The Hangover” is a great comedy that was released last year. It features a man named Doug, played by Justin Bartha; and his three friends, Stu, played by Ed Helms; Phil, played by Bradley Cooper; and Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis. Each character is unique so that they fit the story. “The Hangover “is a great comedy from start to finish, and definitely a movie you’ll want to watch more than once. It’s full of outrageous jokes and exciting adventures.

The story begins with Doug about to marry his lovely fianc

Watch the brake

Cars are an amazing way to get to and fro in this modern age. It’s so nice to be able to drive to Northern Virginia from Radford in less than four hours instead of in the olden days it would take 100 years ago. With all of the marvels of modernization, there do come risks however. One particular automotive company is learning that the hard way.

Starting in 2002, Toyota Motors Inc. began receiving complaints about problems with their vehicles.Those small errors led to one of the biggest automotive recalls in history.

The recalls have been such an issue that the International President, Alki Toyoda, himself, appeared before the US Congress Feb. 24 to address our nation concerning the faults of the company that he inherited from his grandfather. The name “Toyoda” when translated into English is written “Toyota”. The main and most frequently reported problem was sticky floor mats. These mats caused the accelerator to stick to the mat preventing the car from slowing down, leading to many accidents.

Toyota Motors prides themselves for decades with their infamous “Flawless Toyota Way”. If you recently bought a 2010 Prius, Camry or Lexus you should Toyota consult consumer sites to check out Toyota recalls to insure your safety. According to President Toyoda, Toyota Motors knows they made mistakes and will be making sure that there will be changes made. In an interview with Business Weekly, President Toyoda said that Toyota Motors will have, “a redoubled focus on putting our customers first.”

Hopefully Toyota will have all recalls taken care of and everyone on the road will be safe.

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Weekends aren’t all fun

As far as I’m concerned, weekends can be just as bad as the weekdays. At least during the week you have classes, work and meetings to attend. I generally go out of town in some way or another on the weekend, so I spend every waking moment of the week doing homework, which only works so well seeing as, without fail, I manage to have homework for the weekend.

Where I’m going with this is that college doesn’t seem to be cut out for people who want to be able to have the weekend to themselves. Maybe I’m the only one who has this problem, but I found it terribly inconvenient this weekend when I couldn’t start part of my homework until Friday afternoon and I found that it was due Sunday at midnight. On top of that, I was going to a friend’s birthday party at JMU. Come hell or high water, I was going to be there. So I did what I hate doing more than anything: started my homework at my boyfriend’s apartment and finished it on Sunday evening when I came back to Radford.

Many people put off their homework until Sunday night, but to me, Sunday is still a part of the weekend, and I’d rather be able to come back and relax. I really feel like the weekend is too short because of that. I still have to go to classes on Friday, but it’s basically replaced Saturday, and Saturday is my new Sunday. Unless both of my teachers get horribly ill, Sunday will always be an extension of Monday.

On top of the weekend seeming so off-kilter, when I go to a party of friends, I usually expect it to be fun, until something bad happens. I should have probably been more careful, because it was going to be a highlighter party. This means everyone wears a white shirt, which gets written all over by everyone else with highlighters. It’s pretty fun because it’s done under black lights that make everything glow. However, I managed to be the one person with a white cotton shirt too thin to actually glow. Instead, my white and pink striped bra was glowing through my shirt. This made me the phantom bra walking around the apartment.

The problems didn’t stop there. The majority of my friends are guys, so obviously giving them highlighters and the ability to draw all over your clothing is not a good idea. My own boyfriend decided it was a fun idea to outline my bra lines in yellow highlighter. Way to make my glaring mistake even more obvious. An assortment of other nasty things were written on other people. I’m not complaining though; some of it was pretty funny. Just beware of letting those of the male persuasion have too much fun with highlighters, or anything they can write with for that matter.

Even so, I believe weekends should be treated as the break they were meant to be. In order to do so, people need to know how to work hard and play hard. It’s just too bad that you end up with five straight days of working hard.

Cover and story photo by Kasey Sutphin

Battlefield Bad Company 2 the demo

Demos are not normally given a full review of their own. That being said, the demo for Battlefield Bad Company 2 demanded to be reviewed if a game can demand such things. The demo offers a fast and dirty sneak-peek of what is to come in this best-selling series that follows those known as Bad Company.

Game Play

The previous game ends with your team managing to capture their objective, though as players quickly discover what the retrieve was, just a dummy run. The crate is empty, and the mission rendered pointless. Bad Company is once more out on the field of battle as they move to intercept the shipment once more. The game features what is being called “destruction 2.0.” This is an upgraded version of the game’s original destruction system. Destruction 2.0 is a clear step up from the original destruction system, allowing you to not only blow up walls and doors and pretty much everything, but also allows you to bring down entire buildings. Along with this new system, they also added a bunch of new vehicles to the game. Such vehicles are an unmanned aerial vehicle, an improved light tank, quad-bike and personal watercraft. Each of these vehicles allows people to play the 10 hour single-player campaign differently. Battlefield Bad Company 2 is one of the only Battlefield games to have blood without use of a third party patch. New items were added to the game. These new items also add a new element to this game, especially for the support classes. Medics can now revive downed soldiers on the spot with a defibrillator that can also be turned into an instant kill on enemy soldiers. The time in which medics can revive a downed ally is very limited, since it has to be done before they re-spawn. The assault class is now able to drop ammo for teammates to pick up.

The Good

Multiplayer game-play is fast and intense. There is little room for error, which forces new players to get used to the system, and fast, since there is no hiding to wait for the game to slow down. Everything is destructible: trees, buildings, and most importantly, people. While what little of the soundtrack has been released in the demo does not sound nearly as good as the original game, it does show some potential. Though one does miss the catchy beat of the original that always welcomed players on the loading screen. Sniper class feels like it has been much improved from the first game, while movement is still slow when crouched the developers decided to speed it up enough so the sniper could be a bit more mobile when getting into position. UAV is both a fun, and annoying new addition, allowing you to fly silently over the heads of enemies and rain down shots, or fire hell-fire missiles at them.

The Bad

The UAV is too powerful. Unless you get off a lucky shot or two, the UAV will dog you the entire game, silently getting kills from just about any where it seems. Since this is a demo, there is no telling how much the final game will improve this unfair advantage. The controls at times can seem a bit sticky; your character moves a bit when it isn’t suppose to. Hopefully, this is just a bug that is affecting the demo, and not the greater game at large. Beyond those two minor issues, it is hard to find anything in the demo to complain about.

Final Thoughts

Though the demo was purely multiplayer if it is any indicator how the single-player portions of the games are to unfold, then the second installment of Battlefield Bad Company looks to be an intense, though short, play-through. A lot has been made over the announced short single player campaign, though without the full game in hand, it is hard to make any decisions on such a short campaign at the moment.

Whim Rating 4/5

Cover and story photo from Creative Commons

Ghostly experiences

Every place you go, you may hear stories of ghostly experiences. Our very own Radford University West has a haunted history of its own. Before it became part of Radford University, the land was owned by St. Alban’s Psychiatric Hospital (SAPH).

Before SAPH was a sanatorium it was a school for boys. St. Alban’s School is the oldest chains of academies for men to date, starting in 948 in London, England. The Radford campus opened in September of 1892 with a grand total of 70 boys attending. St. Alban’s was widely known for their athletic teams competing against schools such as UVA and Virginia Tech. The school had to close in 1911 after the Headmaster’s death.

In January of 1916 St. Alban’s Psychiatric Hospital opened its doors with the admittance of four patients. Over time the location became home to over 65,000 patients the building facilitated a psychiatric hospital, morgue, and nursing home. In 1960, SAPH became available for outpatient services and was the only non-profit, full service, and private psychiatric hospital in the nation. The building underwent a huge renovation in 1980 and was eventually moved in 1990, as the property as RU bought to create the adjunct campus, RU West.

So now for the juicy stuff; what actually happened that we have decided to call it haunted? Seven different descriptions were given by people who worked at the institution, as well as descriptions from researchers from the Virginia Paranormal Society. One former employee of the hospital said that during the time that she worked there she would hear footsteps in locked parts of the building where she was the only one with access. Chairs rocking by themselves were a common sight through the building. There were multiple claims that ghosts were talking to individuals. Frequently visible ghost that were present and suddenly disappeared. Also that a ghost in the same room where female patients committed suicide reached out and touched them, though when they turned around, no one was there sometimes.

Not only does RU West have a deep, somewhat dark history; but many of Radford’s residence halls claimed sightings on and off campus.

Things can get pretty creepy be sure to check in next week’s issue for a look at buildings on campus that are haunted by past RU students.

Cover photo from Creative Commons

Story photo by Kasey Sutphin