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    Friday
    Mar242017

    Dunk Tank Interviews

    BY: CASEY MCCARTHY '19

    PTS Falconer Staff

    On Saturday, March 18th, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, Palmer Trinity School hosted their annual International Festival. Upon arrival through the beautiful new entrance on 184th street, the cars were lined up through the parking lot, in anticipation for the exciting day ahead. One of the most popular attractions was the dunk tank, where anyone could have a stab at subjecting their choice of faculty into the icy, dirty water on a nice breezy day in the shade.

    When asked if she volunteered or unwillingly signed up for the dunk tank, Ms. Bodie said, “I think this is an important day for building spirit and coming together as a community and everyone taking part in something and I decided I would volunteer for the dunk tank and hopefully raise some money for the school.” The mission of the event was successful due to the amount of participation, and the spirit was heavily embraced by the teacher. No matter the dunker’s motivation, the teachers showed they were ready to plunge into the dunk tank by always being at the ready for their shift, standing with a water gun in hand accompanied by a wide grin. Ms. Bodie definitely summed up the excitement the teachers had when saying, “It was fun to tantalize the public and see if they could knock me in, and I brought my trusted water gun so I could have a little fun back.”

    Most of the faculty I interviewed said how they had signed up for the students to have a good outlet for their frustrations and anger with them. Clearly this was taken advantage of by the long unrelenting line composed of both students, and parents. Mr. Reynolds was quick to encourage parents to join in on the fun in retribution for the laborious homework assignments. It did not take much influence by him to convince the parents. Mr. Reynolds said, “Here dunk him for all the homework he’s assigned for your kid.” when a mother stepped up to dunk Sr. Carassou.

     

     

    Mr. Du Feu enthusiastically volunteered both last year and this year for the dunk tank, and said he couldn’t wait until the end of the day when he could be dunked. When asked why he was doing the dunk tank, Chef Brian said that he signed up for all the kids that want to get back at him for serving fish instead of chicken nuggets and for all those sad faces when the kids tried to open the ice cream cooler when it was locked. I think another highlight of my interviews, in addition to Chef Brian’s response, had to be Dr. Beske’s choice of staff members that she would want to dunk. She said, “You know I wish I could dunk Mr. Cabrera but he has a broken leg, but he would be in there if he didn’t and then I would definitely dunk him, because he’s my friend. He would enjoy it I think.” Mr. Truby said he would dunk Mrs. Truby and Sr. Carassou said he would dunk Mr. Roberts! The teachers were all definitely excited to join in the fun, but there was also a bit of nervousness going around. As Dr. Beske was a bit nervous since she had never done it before, and Mr. Truby said he was paranoid about getting pneumonia. However Mr. Du Feu definitely embraced the craziness of the dunk tank by wearing his blue suit and special blue hat. All of the staff members off course equipped themselves with water guns, along with their witty comments to entice the crowd.

     

    In addition to the dunk tank, next year I propose that we have a contest either between grades, or sports teams, to see which could get the most dunks. The winner, or winners, I believe, should receive free ice cream from Chef Brian one lunch period, on a non-ice cream day. Speaking of winners, amongst a few others, Daniel Benitez (6th grade) and Albert Knoepffler (8th grade), were both successful in dunking Sr. Carassou. Daniel said that it felt good to dunk Sr. Carassou because he is Daniel’s baseball coach, and Albert said he wanted to dunk Sr. Carassou because he, “thought he might enjoy the water.”

     

    The spirit of all those participating in the entire day epitomizes the general energy of Palmer Trinity as a whole. The way that everyone worked to together as a family, from the volunteers, to the visitors, to the sponsors, to make the event happen is an ideal part of the community that all schools should aspire for. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported our school and to anyone who missed it, mark your calendar for next year!

    Thursday
    Jan262017

    Review: Xbox One S (Gears of War 4 Limited Edition)

    BY: FRANCESCO LOMBRDO '17

    PTS FALCONER EDITOR IN CHIEF

    There’s always been a divide between console gamers. Either you have a PlayStation or an Xbox. Yes, there are Nintendo consoles, but Sony and Microsoft have always been the two biggest competitors. I opted for the PlayStation 4 back in 2013 even when most of my friends had bought Xboxes; I was dedicated to Sony. About four years later I caved in and finally bought an Xbox One.

               

    Design

    I took the box home, which was surprisingly light, and opened it up and was rather confused at first. I had seen other launch day Xbox Ones at my friends’ houses and this looked nothing like it. It was smaller, sleeker, and didn’t include that horrendous power box included with the earlier models. Then I realized I had purchased the Xbox One S, the updated version released in the August of 2016. This console is elegant; sporting a very modern design that fit’s comfortably on a desk or underneath a TV. It’s also quite small, making it easy to transport around. Overall, the Xbox One S is an extremely well built console; its sturdy and portable, two things that I believe are essential.

     

    Software and UI

    The Xbox One runs on windows 10 as a base and anyone who has used the operating system will be familiar with its tile based home screen; presenting apps and games to you as little squares laid all over the screen. The games do not run on windows 10, but instead run on another operating system using the x86 architecture used on the original Xbox. This allows resources to be allocated to a specific function of the console, creating better performance. I’m not a big fan of the UI, I have windows 10 installed on my PC and I never use the home menu on it. Sometimes when moving through apps or especially when typing with the digital keyboard there is noticeable lag, leading to many mistypes or launching the wrong application on accident. The tiles often create a clutter, which can be very unappealing and frankly, ugly. The option to create your own backgrounds and change colors is a great feature, something desperately missing from the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One S can also play games at 4K (Ultra HD) resolution on TVs that support it. This is a great feature, unfortunately the Xbox One S upscales from a 1080p (HD) resolution to a 4K resolution. What this means is that the image is stretched to fit 4K. This still looks better than native 1080p, but it can cause issues with frame rates. It does have HDR, which extends the range of both contrast and color, creating a very nice looking image despite it still running at a native 1080p resolution.

      

    Internals

    Out of the box the console comes with 500gb of storage, 138gb are used by the operating system itself. If this memory seems a bit small there are 1TB models and consumers have the ability to plug in external hard drives to expand their memory. Inside there is an AMD “Jaguar” APU, the same processing unit within the PS4. This APU has eight cores with a clock speed of 1.76 GHz, way below processors found inside high-end computers like an Intel i7, which clocks at 4.0GHz. All this tech talk might sound boring but it all boils down to this, while the Xbox might seem a lot weaker than a custom gaming PC, the Xbox is designed to do one thing: play games. It’s games run fine and look great. If you’re looking for a way to experience current gen games by just putting in a disc and playing (after downloading updates of course) then the Xbox is a good option.

     

    Conclusion

    The Xbox One S is a great console: it’s sturdy, sleek, and powerful. This home system is great for anyone looking for a way to enjoy a different form of entertainment. The UI is a bit clunky and cluttered, but it’s selection of exclusive games, 4K, and HDR create a great experience. 

     

     

    Friday
    Nov112016

    Monster Hunter Generations (3DS)

    BY: FRANCESCO LOMBARDO '17

    PTS Falconer Editor in Chief

     

    The music changes and your heart begins to race, you’ve finally reached the boss fight, the frantic and exciting battle that marks the end of many levels and areas in video games. Whether it’s Mario, Zelda, Kirby, or Dark Souls (a game famous for its bosses), boss fights have always been a staple part of gaming. Though lately I have seen a large decline in them. It’s very rare nowadays for games to have boss fights, arguably the best part of video games. I believe it’s due to the fact that video games are becoming a more mainstream form of entertainment, therefore they are striving to be more accessible to a casual crowd. Even the games that I mentioned before have been lacking in their boss fights lately. The most recent Mario games have bosses that are arguably too easy for even the young audience its marketed towards and the most recent Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, had some of the most disappointing and underwhelming bosses in a Zelda game to date, in my opinion. Only Dark Souls has kept the formula of difficult bosses alive, or so it may seem. There is another series of game that is practically one boss fight after the next, Monster Hunter.

                 

    Monster Hunter is one of my favorite game series. With carefully crafted controls and an incredible amount of monsters, Monster Hunter Generations is one of the best monster hunter games to date. The new hub world allows for you to visit three villages from previous monster hunter games as well as allowing you to take on specific quest lines for each one. The addition of all these new quest lines makes Generations feel like an actual RPG instead of the single player story experience it was in the last iterations of the game. While there really is no story, the dialogue is well written and makes you feel like you are making a difference whenever you finish up quests for certain characters. This is one of the many things I enjoy about it, you actually feel like you matter and are not just a player character.

     

    The most important part of any Monster Hunter game is the combat and zones in which you fight the monsters. I’m glad to say that combat has never been better. The new inclusion of hunting styles and hunter arts create a very customizable experience. Now we can choose from guild (just like previous games), striker (allows you to charge up hunter arts quicker), aerial (lets you easily jump around and mount monsters), and adept (a style that lets you perform deadly counters). Each style can be combined with special hunting arts that are charged as you attack the monster. These add great variety to the combat and make it extremely fun to try out other weapons that you may have not wanted to play. My favorite style is aerial as it makes the game feel much quicker and makes mounting monsters extremely easy. Overall, the combat is easy to learn, but hard to master.

     

    The sheer number of monsters and armor sets in this game is more than any other Monster Hunter game to date. I’ve fought many monsters from previous games and visited many of the same areas from past years. The many thousands of ways that you can customize armor make it extremely complex. You can opt to make complete armor sets and gain certain skills from that, or you can mix and match armor pieces and decorations to your desire allowing you to craft your hunter to suit your play style. I enjoy keeping my armor all the same, so I choose complete sets that have the skills that I require to help me gain an advantage against monsters. For example, I have an amulet that gives me a plus ten to mounting granting me a skill that allows me to easily get onto monsters. I also have a greater evasion and deal more critical damage because of my armor. The fact that the game doesn’t penalize you for not having all the same armor pieces is what sets it apart from other RPGs.

     

    Monster Hunter Generations is a culmination of everything done right in a video game: an insane amount of content, free DLC, great graphics, deep and complex combat, and a wealth of customization options. Every monster feels completely unique and not one will be the same as the last. It’s a masterpiece and easily one of the best games on the 3DS.

     

    Verdict: Must Play

    Tuesday
    Oct112016

    Pokémon: Go

    By: FRANCESCO LOMBARDO '17

    PTS Falconer Editor-in-Chief

    Most people born post 1995 had a Pokémon phase. It was inevitable, they were everywhere: TV, Gameboys, and trading cards. There was even a Pikachu (Pokémon’s mascot) float added to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2001. Ever since its debut in 1998, it’s captured the hearts of countless children and adults alike.

      

    Recently Niantic, Inc. released a new Pokémon game for smart phones, Pokémon: Go. The concept is simple; it uses a GPS tracking system to show you where you are on a map of the real world. As you walk around your city, neighborhood, or local park, wild Pokémon will appear and it’s your goal to catch them. After collecting some Pokémon and leveling them up you’ll eventually reach level 5. Once you hit that milestone you are then introduced to the concepts of Gyms. In traditional Pokémon games a Gym is a building led by a Gym leader. Each one specifies in a certain type of Pokémon type, and it’s the player’s job to defeat all 8 Gyms and collect their badges. The same concept was implemented into Pokémon: Go. Scattered around the real world are Gyms that any one can capture such as Deering Estate. After a Gym is captured you can place a Pokémon of choice to defend it for you, earning you coins the longer it stays there.

    Real world players are also divided into three teams, Mystic (Blue), Valor (Red), and Instinct (Yellow). This gives players a sense of teamwork as they try to capture Gyms in the name of their teams.

    Virtual Game PlayPokédex List Of All Captured Pokémons Throughtout The Game.

     This phenomenon has affected people all over the world and especially here at Palmer Trinity School. Sara Apracil (6th) said that her favorite Pokémon is Jolteon, “It’s my favorite Pokémon because I love the Eeveelutions.” She also said her favorite feature was the ability to switch between the Augmented Reality feature and a regular background for easier Pokéball throwing. She would really like the ability to track what Pokémon are near her. Christopher Dorsy (12th) stated, “I like how the game forces you to be active.” Praising the need to actually go outside to search for the Pokémon. His favorite Pokémon is Dratini and he joined Team Mystic because “blue is the most appealing color and my friends were team mystic.”

     

    Pokémon: Go was a social phenomenon that touched and connected people from all over. With over 100 million downloads we can safely say it was a success for Nintendo and Niantic Inc.

    Monday
    Sep192016

    BLOODLINE: A Review

    By: AIDAN GALLARDO '19

    PTS Falconer Staff

     *May include SPOILERS* 

    Netflix has come up big with making a relatively new show that we can all relate to called “Bloodline”. What I really liked about it is that it takes place in the Keys and when I watched the show, I can spot all the locations that they were filming at. I actually drove by them while they were filming but at the time, I didn’t know it was for Netflix until someone told us. But anyway, “Bloodline” is one of my favorite shows of all time. Once you watch a couple of episodes, you instantly get hooked and you just can’t stop watching. It is a fascinating story of a wealthy family in the Florida Keys that have many dark secrets. The siblings are inheritors of an attractive inn that has been in their family for more than 50 years. It is their childhood home with many amazing memories, but the deep dark past holds many untold tales. All combined makes the future very uncertain.

    It is an outstanding show with amazing actors and a terrific storyline. I recommend this for children over 14 years old. It contains a few inappropriate scenes and it has explicit language. Overall, this is a show you should watch as soon as possible because I promise you, it is going to be a great show.

     

    *The promotional poster for Bloodline on Netflix