Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox – KOD: kids on drugs, king overdose, kill our demons? (4/30/18)

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Good morning everyone! My name is Matt, your host for today’s Monday Morning Mailbox. Today’s question was asked by Brady M.

Brady M: I just listened to J Cole’s new album, KOD. I have my own interpretations on it; what are your first impressions?

Thank you for your inquiry. This album really hit me with its message, and I have a few things to say about the album.


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Battle of the Bands 2018

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On March 16, UIC Radio held the Battle of the Bands, which is a competition against local bands for a spot to play in next year’s Spark in the Park. The event was held in the East Terrace from 6 p.m. -9 p.m.

Man. Spark In The Park has had some fire lineups in years previous. We had Nick Jonas and DRAM this year. 2015 had Twenty One Pilots, 2014 had J Cole, and 2013 had both Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. These are just a few of the notorious artists and bands that have performed here in UIC’s backyard.

Imagine opening for one of these artists as a performer or band in your own right. Sounds amazing, right? Well, local band New House was the winner for this year’s Battle of the Bands.

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Matt’s Monday Morning Mailbox – PUBG vs. Fortnite (3/19/18)

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This is a series that I would like to start here at UIC Radio. Every Monday, I want to answer questions regarding the military, video games, track and field, or really anything presented to me. Anyone can submit a topic to me via email (mcuart2@uic.edu), and I will humbly answer these questions with the best response I can muster. I hope this gives you the level of power an espresso shot would give you to start your Monday morning, and I hope you all enjoy!

Good morning everyone! My name is Matt, your host for today’s Monday Morning Mailbox. Today’s question was asked by Ryan H:

Ryan H: I play both PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s and Fortnite’s Battle Royale Mode. Which one do you think is better?

Thank you for your inquiry. I think that this is a question many fans argue about. Let’s compare and contrast the two.

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Fortnite Battle Royale (With Cheese)

In my opinion, Fortnite Battle Royale contributes a lot of its success to the fact that it is free. Fortnite’s Battle Royale has received a lot of positive reception since its release in September 2017 (The full game was released in July 2017). The game mode is highlighted due to its easy accessibility to the general public and is a game that is easy to learn and play. The skill ceiling is somewhat low too, so it is not hard to master. Fortnite, like other battle royale games, is played with singles (lone wolf), doubles, or squads (four players) to try to be the last surviving member(s) alive.

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Retrospective Video Game Review for the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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In blurbs in some of my articles, I’ve stated that my favorite item in my possession is my copy of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This is not a joke. I legitimately carry the game everywhere I go, so just in case the need arises, I can play Oblivion. This video game means so much to me, and I carry quite the sentimentality with the game series. (Did I mention I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls?)

However, it has been a long time since I’ve played Vanilla Oblivion. I still play the game today, but in modded form with updated graphics, coding, and gameplay changes. I wanted to review the game in a retrospective lens and see how it has held up 12 years after its original release. With that in mind, I popped in my copy of Oblivion and started a fresh new character.

GRAPHICS:

When Oblivion first released, the graphics were lauded for being cutting edge, even photo realistic. This was a huge deal, especially with an open-world game, which usually lacks in the graphics department. Oblivion was released in 2006, so the next generation of game consoles at the time (Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii) were just released. These graphics on Oblivion pushed the limits of these systems already, and fans and critics alike were blown away with the graphics of the landscape, NPCs and items.

My first impression of the graphics were much better than I thought. I expected to pan the awfulness of the graphics; instead, I was blown away with how well the graphics have held up in the twelve years it has existed. Oblivion’s overall graphics have a stylized approach that has stood the test of time. It is more akin to a storybook about a medieval landscape more so than a realistic world, and I think that is why the graphics looks so tight after all these years.

There is one aspect of the graphics that has aged poorly: the NPCs. Many fans of the game will make fun of the NPCs of Oblivion. The human races look like potatoes, the elves look like sweet potatoes, and the beast races (specifically the orcs) look like Shrek. This is all well and true, and I completely agree with my fellow fans. Despite all of this, the NPCs are very charming and are at least good to laugh at how bad they were designed. They honestly look ridiculous and there are many memes on how bad they look. Then again, it just adds to the overall humor to the game’s community. Continue reading “Retrospective Video Game Review for the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion”

2018’s “Little Dark Age” (Also MGMT concert in Chicago!)

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I’d like to begin this article by saying welcome back to another glorious semester here at University of Illinois at Chicago; as usual, I ushered in the new year by being incredibly lazy, and I’m sure you had the same response.

Whatever. Let’s talk about MGMT who is releasing their 4th studio album on February 9, 2018. 

This marks MGMT’s fourth studio album, and a lot of the aesthetic of the album pertains to the Gothic medieval era, similar to the album’s namesake. The themes are very apathetic, evil, and has the typical trippy vibe of MGMT. “When You Die” is my favorite single on the album, and it is a very warm and tangy song for how dark its lyrics truly are. Just watch the music video and you’ll understand what I mean:

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A laundry list of what to do during your winter break

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(Above: not shredding the gnar.)

 

So, the 2017 fall semester is coming to an end. Many of us call Chicago home, while a good group of UIC students think that they are from Chicago but are really from the suburbs (such as myself).

After spending about four months at UIC, it is definitely nice to take a break and come home for the holidays to spend time with family and friends. Winter break officially begins on December 16th, 2017 and ends on January 16th, 2018. You might have some apprehension regarding not knowing what to do during break.

As do I.

Because humans really like to read lists, I have compiled a few things that will hold you over until the spring semester.

1. Get a job, you lazy bum. I recommend the seasonal positions for Mobile Sales Consultants at Best Buy, Cart Attendants at Target, or even working for the Pavilion at UIC. Maybe even sign up to be a lifeguard at your local outdoor waterpark.

2. Go snowboarding and SHRED THE GNAR!!!

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Sea Stories V – High School Sweethearts and Best Friends

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I made it to my bed (or rack, as it was now called) the night of the Moment of Truth. My division was sleep-deprived for 49 long hours. I’m pretty sure I saw the utensils at the galley swing-dancing in front of me; that’s how tired and cracked I was. In the 49 hours I had been at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command, my division got off those coach buses in the middle of the night, we spent hours getting our gear issued, getting our hair buzzed off, and going through hours of paperwork. On top of that, we ate 5 times at the galley, we spent time cleaning the head, (bathroom) we spent time stenciling our gear, and we received initial medical checkups. It was due time for sleep. The recruit division commanders were giving us 8 full hours of sleep, and our new temporary home was at the USS Red Rover. (It’s not actually a ship. It’s just a building named after one). Lying face up in my rack, I thought about my last day, right before the Navy.

 

I wanted to cry for her to see, but I didn’t as well. It was strange.

 

It was only that evening we were watching Silver Linings Playbook. We cuddled and hugged each other until it was time to leave. We didn’t watch Ant Man with her parents that night, either.

It was only that afternoon we were sitting on the balcony of her house, reading some book about palm reading. I didn’t agree with her choices of what I was in a hand. It was only that morning we went out for breakfast, and we had one of our last meals together. At least the last one I spent taking her out. We switched cars to her driving after breakfast. I felt pretty happy in her arms.

“I love you.” She said back to me, parking the car in my driveway. “I shouldn’t say that, but I don’t know any other love like you. I wish we had more time, too.”

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Sea Stories IV – Quitting Already?

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(This is the first grilling you’ll receive; on top of the weight of your disappointed parents, you have been sleep deprived for the past 36 hours.)

Getting denied head privileges by the Filipino Chief was my first taste of what was to come in the next few months. I was expecting some Full Metal Jacket type things, and I was getting a similar result.

The next couple of hours involved the new recruits going through gear issue. Everything that every recruit brings is put in a 1×2 box: this includes your phone, your wallet, any civilian clothes, and just anything that a recruit brings. Everything that made you who you are, as an individual, is taken and shipped back home. After exchanging personal items, I went with the rest of the recruits to get issued our basic uniforms and toiletry items.

There are 3 times in boot camp where you are issued gear. The first one includes very basic things:

x2 set of PT gear (work out clothes)

x7 white socks

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Nail Clippers

Sneakers (nicknamed “go fasters”)

Gillette Fusion Proglide 5

(Some other sh*t, there’s a lot of stuff)

We get gear issued to us, and while we wait for the rest of the recruits, we pack boxes full of the gear that was just issued to us to prep for the recruits behind us. We do this for almost an hour.

After that, we move to the barber, where we get our hair removed. Completely gone. To be honest, it was quite nice. As much as I love having a flow, having my head free of hair was quite liberating, to be honest. I did enjoy having my head look like a cue ball.

After all of this, we get brought into this big room where these Chiefs, Petty Officers, and Officers are waiting for all the recruits to show up. There’s about 150 recruits in this room by the time everyone arrives from gear issue. This event is known as the moment of truth.

The moment of truth weeds out any recruits who joined under false conditions; this could include lying about medical issues, conflicts with the law, or just lying about prior history in general. This setup gets intense. The moment of truth is meant to scare the living sh*t out of everyone. It definitely scared me.

“Who here is a scumbag?” The Chief at the front of the room said. “Who here is trying to join the US Navy as a criminal? We can look up any part of your medical record with the push of a button, and see your lies right away. Who here is a lying bastard that thinks they can enter this oath of service?”

The moment of truth. The staff will not stop interrogating the 150 recruits until a certain amount of people drop out. They will question everyone, and with the sleep deprivation in full effect, some of these guys already wanted out.

-Matt Cuartero

Throwing Dynamite Is Not A Good Idea

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One of the priests at my church had the craziest hunting story. Hunting in and of itself is already wild enough:

 

I had just bought a new 2016 Jeep Wrangler. My friend Dave, my dog and I were out hunting in Northwestern Wisconsin, around the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse area. We were pretty far into the woodlands as well. Deer season comes around at the end of the month of November, so by this time, the ground was covered with snow, and the air was frigid.

Nearby our hunting grounds was a large frozen lake. We toted our shotguns still loaded, actions open, however. Driving my new Jeep out onto the ice, the three of us wanted to take a break from sitting in the deer blind (camouflaged tent in which you wait for deer to come around) and spend some time ice fishing. Normally, you would use an auger or an drill bit to drill through the ice. After creating a conservative hole, you can then begin to fish. However, Dave had another idea to create a spot where we could ice fish.

 

Dynamite.

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Sea Stories III: Angry Filipinos

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(By the way, I’m going to begin to use stock photos from now on. What, you think you can take photos in basic training? By the way, these girls look about excited as I was. Even I’m impressed with their enthusiasm.)

The Petty Officer rounds us up, not unlike cattle. Wide-eyed, matching the looks of the individuals around me, we all sternly follow this strangely dressed man down by the departure gates of O’Hare airport. I almost forgot my bag in the USO office; it’s a bit redundant to say, but that would have sucked big time.

It was strange. O’Hare was an airport that I was so comfortable with. From the departure gates, I could see all of the terminals and check-in booths and rent-a-car stations that I remembered from when I was younger and I would be going on family vacations to wherever around the country or world. I felt pretty old now, and I just turned 18.

We were instructed to sit down on the floor of the terminal and to “shut the f*ck up”. I say that in quotes as I do not use sentence enhancers lightly. The guys in charge of us really did have mouths like sailors, and that scared a few of us. I thought it was hilarious.

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