Bandersnatch Black Mirror

My Wig Is BanderSNATCHED After Watching Black Mirror's Latest Interactive Episode

Accept or refuse, you will have to choose.

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*** SPOILERS AHEAD: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK ***

If you've been living under a rock or just oblivious and been offline for the past few weeks, you may have missed out on the latest episode of anthological series "Black Mirror," a terrifying choose-your-own-adventure installment titled
Bandersnatch" streaming on Netflix.

Bandersnatch follows video game programmer Stefan Butler as he adapts a choose-your-own-adventure novel into a game in the early 1980s. The twist? You get to choose your own adventure and make choices using Netflix's interactive interface that gives you a timed interval to choose the path that Stefan takes. Depending on the choices you make, Stefan's story can have a variety of endings, from becoming a successful programmer with a five-star rated game to killing his father and getting arrested.

However, as you navigate through the episode with Bandersnatch's interactive technology, Stefan begins to suspect that he is being controlled by an external force and resists multiple actions that you choose. The episode is meant to display the illusion of choice and shows that choice itself is not decisive of the outcome and alterations can be made even in the future to prevent an adversity.

As I watched the episode, certain choices I made did not follow through completely and redirected me to a screen with two options, each of which contained a previous scene. I later found out these were soft endings, meaning that they were not complete and therefore did not conclude Stefan's fate and the rating of the game. These "standstill" moments forced me to go back and make the other choice.

I began to realize that some of the choices were not being made by me since my first preference could not be selected. For example, when the choices were "Kill Dad" or "Back Off," I chose to back off. However, the episode did not allow me to do so, forcing me to go back to the previous scene and pick "Kill Dad." In time, I realized that the system was controlling the choices I made during the episode that would further determine Stefan's choices.

In short, nobody was in control, and it was all an illusion.

It was this aspect of the show that particularly resonated with me and caused me to think of it much after its run time. While not like a typical "Black Mirror" episode, "Bandersnatch" focused on the impact of choice on the mind more than that of technology or society. Black Mirror's famous "White Bear" and "The National Anthem" may have had more social themes, but watching Stefan in "Bandersnatch" slowly drive himself insane was a different kind of dark. I enjoyed being a part of the episode, and watching my decisions take shape on screen, even if it was regarding a detail as trivial as the music being played.

I would highly recommend Bandersnatch to anyone who enjoys a thriller with a twist. It is better to watch the show with friends, so that you can discuss the ending you find together. No matter what ending you discover, it's very interesting to pave your own path and create something uniquely horrifying.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Remaining NBA Playoffs Matchup Predictions

NBA playoff predictions

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With the NBA Season coming to a close after 82 games and multiple playoff games, I wanted to predict the remaining NBA series's and who would win. Let's start!

Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: Sixers in 6 vs Raptors

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This one's pretty simple, The Sixers have more firepower, they have better chemistry, and they have a better coach. The Raptors are still adjusting to the Kawhi era and might take them a couple years for their chemistry to improve. The Sixers should win this series in six, but only because Kawhi is good enough to win two games by himself.

Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: Bucks in 5 vs Celtic

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The Greak Freek is so good he can single-handedly beat this Celtics roster with Kyrie and Tatum. The Celtics have been suffering since late in the season and Giannis is here to expose that. Mike Budenholzer has made the Bucks into a complete team and they should easily dismantle last year's Eastern Conference Finals Losers.

Western Conference Semi-Finals: Blazers in 7 vs Nuggets

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It's always Dame Time in Portland. Dame is leading his team fast and furious in the playoffs. He is averaging over 30 points a game and is carrying the Blazers. Him and CJ are a formidable duo. While Denver has great players, I believe in a 7 game series the Blazers will outplay them.

Western Conference Semi-Finals: Warriors in 6

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The Warriors are the greatest team in the NBA this season. I'm not tired of how good they are because of Steph Curry. Often it seems like they don't try when they're playing, but I am sure that when it counts they will be able to oust the Rockets.

Eastern Conference Finals: Bucks vs Sixers: Sixers in 7

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The Bucks vs the Sixers; two young teams battling it out to be the East's best. Who will win? Not going to lie if this happens it will be the best series in the playoffs. This series will definitely go to 7 games and the matter of fact is the winner of this may be lucky to keep on moving. Based on talent I took the Sixers, but with Giannis anything can happen so watch out!

Western Conference Finals: Warriors vs Trail Blazers: Warriors in 5

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To make it simple, the Warriors talent makes the Blazers look like a high school JV team. Dame might be like the outlier and help the Blazers win one game, but otherwise the Warriors will make it look easy and go past this series easily.

NBA Finals: Warriors vs Sixers: Warriors in 4

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The Warriors will finally find their momentum by the time the Finals rolls around and should easily sweep the Sixers. The Sixers lack experience in the Finals and even the playoffs that much to be honest and it will show. The Warriors will be too much for them and will dismantle the Sixers in 4 games.

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