All posts by Gabriel Henstrand

MSJ at the Movies: Are free streaming services worth it?

We are at a point in time where we can virtually watch any movie or show we want with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. While these services charge a monthly subscription fee, there are several streaming services that are free to use—with ads, of course.

However, these free services do not necessarily hold up as worthy alternatives as they all share a similar issue: their libraries are filled with content nobody would ever want to watch. Check out my thoughts in this latest installment of MSJ at the Movies.

Gabe Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

MSJ at the Movies: Die Hard is a Christmas movie

Both director John McTiernan and writer Steven E. de Souza both confirmed that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie several days before Christmas. But what makes it a Christmas movie? In this video I discuss several reasons why.

If you have not seen Die Hard, I highly recommend it. It is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Gabe Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

MSJ at the Movies: Death Note (2006) vs Death Note (2017)…What went wrong?

The Death Note anime series is one of most beloved and critically acclaimed animated shows of all time. So when Netflix decided to make a live-action movie adaptation of the franchise in 2017, what went wrong?

A lot.

Death Note (2006) is a beautifully animated series that tells a compelling, unique story that anybody can enjoy. The same, however, cannot be said about the adaptation.

From a messy, condensed plot to poorly-written characters, Death Note (2017) completely fails to capture the essence of its original counterpart and is both a let-down of fans of the franchise and an underwhelming experience for new viewers.

The film manages to be a rehash of the original story while also making unnecessary changes that just do not make sense.

Both Death Note the anime and Death Note the movie are available to stream on Netflix.

Gabe Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Mr. Sam Bianco takes on a new role at The Mount

Always considering himself a teacher first, this year, Mr. Sam Bianco added a new feather to his cap when he began the administrative role as Director of Student Life. I wanted to learn more about what this new role entailed, and give Mr. Bianco a chance to explain why he made the switch from Director of Students to this freshly carved-out job.

“Simply put, I really deal with anything that relates to Mount Saint Joe students that is not discipline or academics,” said Mr. Bianco. Specifically, the role involves student clubs and activities, as well as Spirit Week and school dances. He works with and supports the teachers and the students running the various clubs on campus. Mr. Bianco also talked about his plans to establish a Student Leadership Initiative. “I basically support students in any way I can.”

When the new role was announced back in April, I had assumed it was because of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I learned that was not the case. “The position was actually in the works well before the pandemic. It’s actually a position that has been talked about for years and years, because the goal there in part was bringing on another administrator.” One purpose for having the new administrator is to have the person handling the student opportunities on the administrative team.

“My number one goal is that every student finds something outside of academics that brings meaning and fulfillment to them here at this school.”

Mr. Sam Bianco, Director of Student Life

I also reached out to Mr. George Andrews, President of Mount Saint Joseph High School, for his take on the development of the Director of Student Life role. “I think it came about organically,” he stated. “It seemed to rise from many people suggesting it at the same time. From faculty and students, to the principal’s cabinet and the administration. The Mount had the same administrative structure for more than two decades and even the board of directors asked about a new structure to better meet the needs of students in extracurricular activities.”

I asked Mr. Bianco about his transition from Director of Students to Director of Student Life. He told me that he thinks his gifts and talents are better suited for the new role, for he is typically a more upbeat person. As a student, it is clear to me that Mr. Bianco is well suited for this job.

Both Mr. Bianco and Mr. Andrews emphasized the importance of having a good experience on campus. They encourage us not to be the “8:00-2:30 student,” to get involved, and to participate in extracurriculars. The new Director of Student Life role was formed as a means to support students, as well as the clubs and activities, and to ensure that each student has a memorable experience at Mount Saint Joseph.

“My number one goal is that every student finds something outside of academics that brings meaning and fulfillment to them here at this school,” said Mr. Bianco. “This is more than just a place where you take classes, and as cliché as that sounds, there’s so much truth to that.”

Mr. Bianco said that after we students graduate we will not necessarily remember that one thing we learned in class, but rather the experiences we had, and that his job is to help us find those experiences. “I’m not the guy that provides those experiences per se, but I’m the guy that’s gonna help you find them. And that’s why I’m passionate about the job, because it is personal for me.”

While Mr. Bianco will always see himself as a teacher first, he is elated to pursue this new role. As the Director of Student Life he has made it his goal to make sure that every student finds something meaningful to them on campus. St. Joe will definitely be a better place for all students if they are able to find that meaningful activity that might stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Gabe Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Understanding the negative effects of social media

How much time do you spend on social media?

Social media has changed the way that we interact with one another, and while it has had its positive impacts on the world, it also has adverse effects on our well-being.

Although it is okay to use and post on the various social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, it is important to take note that there are many ways that social media can be detrimental to both our mental and physical health.

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First, it can serve as a huge distraction. Everyone already knows this, and almost everyone has fallen victim at least once to the time sink of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, gaining little to no substance in the end. The key is moderation. This is something everyone has experienced doing, but it is important to actually put it into practice. It is way too easy to fall into the rhythm of scrolling for 20 minutes.

You may know this implicitly, but might not completely recognize right away, is that people commonly use social media to seek validation. They may post things as a way to express themselves, but ultimately, the goal of an Instagram post is to get a high number of likes and comments.

Something I noticed a while back is that often when someone posts something on Instagram, they will explicitly tell people to like and comment on that post. They shout themselves out on their Snapchat stories, and sometimes even ask other people to do the same. The phrase “like my recent” has become a common sight on Snapchat and Instagram stories. This is a testament to their need to receive likes, and positive reinforcement, on their posts.

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Seeing the number of likes go up is satisfying, and it can also be addictive. The need for validation becomes persistent and leads to comparing yourself to other people and their posts. You see that they have more followers than you do, and their posts get more likes and comments, and from there, the comparisons get worse and more frequent.

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Realize that what you see on social media is fake. No one’s life is as exciting as they are portrayed to be. People can easily doctor a photo to enhance their appearance. Knowing this is extremely important, because people can develop insecurities from comparing themselves to others on social media, and envying qualities that are seen as conventionally attractive, but are unattainable. This can lead to being self-conscious about your “faults” and even feeling depressed.

It is perfectly fine to be active on social media, because it is a fun way to stay connected with people and explore new ideas. However, if you notice that you are spending too much time scrolling through Instagram, or if you find yourself feeling insecure after seeing other people’s posts, then it is time for a break.

Gabe Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Why doesn’t everyone wear a mask?

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These past six months I have spent a lot of time observing the different ways people have responded to COVID-19, and I noticed that there are two kinds of people: those who care about the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, and those who simply do not.

Among those who don’t care are people who refuse to wear face masks.  Not only do they neglect to, but some reject the notion entirely.

But why? Wearing a mask seems like such an insignificant thing to have to get used to, right?

Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t see it that way.  These “anti-maskers” have a variety of reasons for not wearing a mask.  The arguments I have gleaned most often are all easily refutable.

  1. “I don’t care if I get it, my own health is up to me.”

While it’s true your health is ultimately up to you, COVID-19 is spreads easily.  If you contract it and continue to go out, you are putting others at risk, not just yourself.

  1. “Wearing a mask won’t even protect me.”

Again, only a small portion of this is true.  Face masks will not prevent the spread by 100%, and may not even protect you completely, but it will protect others from you.  Furthermore, if the people around you are also wearing masks, they are protecting you from themselves. Neat, now you’re all protected.

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  1. “Having to wear a mask impedes my First Amendment rights.”

No it doesn’t.  A mask mandate does not impede your freedom of speech, religion, press, or assembly.  Nothing about a mask mandate is inherently unconstitutional.

  1. “I can’t breathe with the mask on.”

In most cases, and situations, yes you can.  The masks are designed to allow breathing while preventing droplets from spreading.  They do not restrict oxygen. It may be uncomfortable, but it won’t suffocate you.

  1. “The coronavirus isn’t even bad. The media is blowing it out of proportion.”

This argument is dangerous.  While “the media” relies on garnering an audience, the numbers and information are handled by health officials.  It is objectively true that COVID-19 has killed thousands, over 200,000 in America alone. The World Health Organization were the ones that declared COVID-19 a pandemic, not CNN.

There are various conspiracy theories about the masks and COVID-19, but I don’t feel the need to argue against them.

It is sad that while thousands of people die in the country, there will always be some that refuse to do what is right.  I understand why people will be emotionally charged in a time like this, but it is important to recognize the objectives: we are in the midst of a pandemic, and for the greater good of our country, we must do what we can to prevent it.

Moral of the story: wear a mask.

Gabriel Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.