Small summer activities

This summer is going to be complicated. With all of the pools in the Twin Cities closed (maybe), and all the stores shut down (partially). We are going to have to find ways to keep ourselves occupied. So, for that reason I decided to come up with 6 fun ideas to try during our quarantined summer. 

1. Pen Pal

If you enjoy writing letters this is the activity for you. If you want to pursue this you’ll need to take the following steps.

  • First, you’ll want to find a friend to do this with either here in Minnesota or somewhere beyond that.
  • Then, you will want to make sure you have all the supplies necessary: stamps, envelopes, paper, and a writing utensil.
  • Lastly, you will want to set up a schedule based on distance and how often you want to update your pen pal. 

2. Chalk

Chalk is a very simple and fun way to pass the time. If you have sidewalk areas you can use, then take advantage of that space. You can draw elaborate murals or simple little designs.

All you need is chalk, which you can buy online, and sidewalk, which you can find outside. 

3. Science Experiments

This activity is a more difficult one to try because of all the materials you’ll need. There are hundreds of different science activities you could do. You could make your own ice cream, make slime, etc. 

4. Art

There is a lot you can do in this category and that’s why it’s so fun. You can draw, sketch, paint, color, etc. You can follow art tutorials or try and draw something nearby. You can use some of your old things to create a sculpture. 

5. Try Something New

Have you been staring at an old instrument in your house that you want to play? Look up how to play it and work towards that goal. Maybe you want to learn how to loom, or knit, or sew. Try it! It’s now or never.

This is the one summer where you get to do things that you can’t do next summer, or the year after that. You’re still young so embrace it! 

6. Learn to Do Something Cool

You want to learn something cool to show your friends the next time they see you? Do it! You can learn to do a cartwheel or a flip. Maybe you want to do a skateboard trick? Go ahead! Try your best! 

Always remember to be safe! Wear a helmet if you or a family member thinks it’s necessary. Don’t make unsafe choices. Be smart and be safe! 

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a 2005 animated series that’s made in the style of an anime. It features a kid named Aang, who is the Avatar of his world. The Avatar can bend all four elements (fire, water, earth, and air), and is destined to face the Fire Lord to end the war between nations.

I can honestly say that this show is one of the best animated series I have ever seen.

First, let’s get one thing straight: this is not a kid’s show.

The art style might make that a little hard to understand, but after watching it I can say that anyone, no matter their age, can find enjoyment from this show. There are no jokes that one particular generation wouldn’t understand because it takes place in a fictional world.

It also isn’t immature. Some of the lessons they learn throughout the show might be specifically designed to teach kids things, but they’re never as stupid as “sharing is caring” or whatever else you would see on Sesame Street.

The characters in Avatar are probably my favorite part of the show. Each one is unique, and the cast of characters they meet throughout the show is so diverse there is someone you can find yourself in.

Aang is the Avatar, so holds a lot of responsibility on his shoulder, especially with the guilt of leaving his tribe 100 years before the story starts.

Katara wants to be a water bender to avenge her mother, but feels she’s not good enough after seeing Aang water bend so easily.

Sokka, Katara’s brother, doesn’t know how to bend, and often feels out of place in the group, and makes up for it with jokes and humor.

That’s just the main cast; almost every side character introduced has some sort of character development. Even Prince Zuko, one of the main villains of the series, has one of the most relatable stories, and his character arc is amazing.

The world is also amazing. Everyone is split into four tribes, either: water, fire, earth, or air. Each tribe can bend that particular element, so water tribe people can make water float and splash out in their opponents faces.

The way they bend is through martial arts, and they even had a martial arts and cultural advisor present when making this show, so every movement in the show looks authentic. Bending in their world is used in a natural way, like earth benders making trains that are powered by earth bending, and water benders living in a Venice-style landscape because they can control their boats with water bending. This makes the world seem real because they are simply doing what people do when given the opportunity to do something.

Some things I don’t like about the show is its pacing. Season 1 is pretty slow and has a number of filler episodes as they travel north. However, the show is written well enough so that it doesn’t get boring. In fact, many of the characters in these filler episodes come back later in the show, so I wouldn’t recommend skipping any of them on a first viewing. This problem is pretty much just in season 1; once you get into season 2, it starts to get really good.

My final rating for this show is a 10/10. 

The Mandela effect

The Mandela effect is when a large group of people believe something happened differently than the actual way it happened, or when they think an event happened when it did not.

Several people think the Mandela effect is proof of the world going into an alternate dimension, while scientists believe that it’s proof of how imperfect and dotted our memory can be.

There are multiple examples of the Mandela effect happening. 

The Mandela effect started, and got its name, when Fiona Broome, a self-identified “paranormal consultant” remembers Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s. Nelson Mandela lived until the year 2013. Fiona Broome remembers the news covering his death and his widow giving a speech. Which, none of it happened. Later, it was found out that multiple other people had the same thought as her and remembered the same things.

The Mandela effect happens because it’s said to be false collective memories. Those false collective memories are then spread amongst a large group of people. Although those “false” memories could also be real, and as you remember, it’s believed that the world goes into parallel universes. So, whatever you remember could be correct but in another dimension.

There are multiple examples of the Mandela effect.

A very common one was where people remember the Berenstain Bears as the Berenstein Bears. It was believed that it was Berenstein Bears and people have evidence of it.

Another example comes from Star Wars. It was thought that Darth Vader said to Luke, “Luke, I am your father.” In reality it’s “I am your father.”

The last one is where people remember the Monopoly man and how he had his monocle. It turns out, he never had one.

What happened to the school lunches for SPPS?

By: Elsie Olive

Most students have already noticed, but if you hadn’t already, the lunches served at St. Paul Public Schools have severely gone downhill between the 2018-2019 school year and this one.

In the years prior to the 2019-2020 school year, SPPS had provided a variety of nutritional foods. In fact, in 2013, TwinCities.com said SPPS lunches had gotten national attention for the incredible and healthy foods the schools were providing.

However if you look at the lunches served now, almost always the options are either some variant of chicken, hamburgers, gyros, or Italian dunkers, and every lunch is served with a side of fries.

So, what changed in the few months between these two school years?

Unfortunately, there is hardly any information that explains exactly what happened, but, by checking some of the links on the SPPS lunch menus page, there is one that takes us to Nutrislice.com. Here, at spps.nutrislice.com, it gives us a message which suggests that SPPS no longer uses Nutrislice as a means of supplying their lunches. The newest and working links on the SPPS page take us to SchoolCafé.com, where you can view current school lunch menus.

It could be that this is the only reason school lunches have decreased in value this much, but it is hard to believe that such a small change could completely offset the school’s menu. It is likely that there were some staff changes in the Nutritional Services and Wellness department of SPPS.

At this point, there isn’t much other information available, and the lack of information provided on the SPPS website about it’s staff members or exactly what changed between this school year and the last one doesn’t help with that.

However, it probably has much more to do with the relaxing of regulations for school-provided meals by the Trump Administration according to BusinessInsider.com. This particular article also mentions that the billions of dollars cut from the education budget has deeply affected the ability for schools to provide enough nutritional food for all of their students.

‘Persona 5 Royal’ Review

Persona 5 Royal is an Japanese role playing game (JRPG). Persona 5 Royal is basically a remastered, and rethought with more extra plot, version of the original game Persona 5. This fixes a lot of the problems in Persona 5 making Persona 5 Royal a great JRPG. Even though Person 5 Royal is taken from the original game, it did not just address its flaws; it develops more plot and flows very smoothly.

When I first got this game I thought it would be ok, but I was mistaken and it’s now one of my favorite video games I have played.

In Persona 5 Royal, you play as a teenage boy in Japan who is falsely accused of a crime and ends up with a criminal record. You make friends with other kids who have been screwed over by evil adults, and they discover the power to make those evil adults feel remorse and confess their crimes.

They can do this by stealing their heart’s desire, or also known as a treasure. They use a place called Mementos to find where the evil adults are, but Mementos is the public’s overall heart.

Palaces are the evil adults’ distorted hearts that have been corrupted by their selfish actions. You fight monsters through these palaces to get to their treasure and steal it to make them confess their crimes. Also, there are hidden ‘will seeds’ through palaces and if you find all three they turn into a help tool you can use. 

While you are going through palaces you have a normal life as a student. Meaning you have to manage your time to study, interact, have a job, and more.

The time span of Persona 5 Royal is one year that you have to manage your time correctly, so it is easier to complete the game. While you go about your daily life you can interact with the world around you, talk to people and buy items to help you in your battles.

Overall this is one of the best games that you can find and play, from its art styles to its music, and even its unique combat style. If you are looking for a new game to play on your PS4, this is the game I would recommend.

Things to do this summer 

By: La Dafia Dehaney

Summer is here and we have spent almost four months locked up inside the house. If you are looking for something to do, here are a few ideas: 

1. Go to a lake – Minnesota has the most lakes of any state. Some lakes you can visit are: Lake of the Isles (in Minneapolis), Mille Lacs Lake, Lake Minnetonka, Lake of the Woods, Leech Lake, Gull Lake, Rainy Lake, and Lake Vermilion (in Saint Louis County).

Lake of the Isles, in Minneapolis, is the quietest of all of the Minneapolis lakes, and also the most beautiful. Lake Vermilion, in Saint Louis County, is the fifth largest lake in northeastern Minnesota.

2. Take a road trip – Choose some states that are close to each other and tour them. Visit museums, tour buildings, and find good food to eat.

3. Get a job – You can always get a job to make some money to buy new things.

4. Try new foods – To make the best of the summer, you can drive around to new restaurants and try the food and write about them.

5. Volunteer work – Minnesota has a lot of volunteer work. You can volunteer at: the Lead Global Affairs discussions, drive cancer patients to treatment, serve meals, become a JA volunteer, or volunteer for Music Teachers for Underprivileged Children.

6. Watch movies – Netflix and Disney+ have a lot of great new movies coming this summer so you can binge watch a couple of them.

7. Re-Decorate your room – Keep yourself busy by redecorating your room by adding new furniture, re-painting it, organizing your closet, or adding new carpets.

8. Have a sleepover – Nothing better than having friends by your side, so invite friends over, watch a couple of movies, eat snacks, and gossip a little.

Review of ‘Outer Banks’

As Netflix releases new shows and movies to watch regularly, one that has gained lots of attention since its release in April is Outer Banks. If you haven’t already watched it, or don’t really know if you should, this article will go into what it’s about and my personal review of the show along with its possible renewal for season two.

Outer Banks is a ten episode show released to Netflix on April 15, 2020. The show is based around four sixteen-year-olds that live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

John B, who is the protagonist among them, is looking for his father, who went missing nine months ago, and embarks on a whole new challenge of finding $400 million worth of missing gold. In this, he faces challenges with the rules of the island and the major separation between two different types of people, the rich group known as the “kooks” and the working class known as the “pogues.”

It mainly fits under the genres: action, drama, adventure, mystery, and I’d say a little comedy to lighten the mood.

This show has many aspects that contribute to my overall review. Production, storyline, characters, and overall execution are some of the main factors that make this show what it is.

Firstly, the production of the show is probably one of my favorite aspects of the entire series. After looking into the production and how they filmed it, almost all of the scenes that have natural elements were actually filmed outside utilizing the natural beauty of sunsets and the bodies of water in Charleston, South Carolina. This is really a game changer for the show and has been recognized by many people for the summer vibe that it gives off, something that would not have been captured if the scenes were filmed in front of a green screen and reliant on heavily edited clips. Of course, this made it harder for producers to have to consider the weather and conditions, but it paid off in the end.

What the whole show is based around, the storyline, was also very important for the show to be successful and get a bigger audience. As it turned out, the somewhat questionable plot had a lot of good points that may be unrealistic to expect in your own life but seemed to suit the imaginary lifestyle created in the show. It was also a fresh path that lots of shows may be hesitant to cover because it could easily turn out childish when involving a hunt for lost treasure, but this was not the case for this series. Because the plot was rather broad, it left lots of room for creative twists in this season and plenty more for a possible next season.

An aspect probably just as important as the actual storyline itself is the characters and actors that are involved with the show. Personally, I believe that the group of people they choose for all the different roles were pretty much perfect. All the actors seem to have no problem performing their designated role, which comes as a shock to some of the parts that may be harder to sell. The development of the characters is also something to note. Just after a couple of episodes, opinions of certain characters can shift and change very easily which leaves lots of questions at the end of the first season.

Lastly, the overall execution of the show. You can definitely tell that this has been thought out and put together very well by the producers, actors, cameramen, and editors. There are lots of details that make a big difference in the show, but one being all the thought put into it. In addition to that, this show was no do-it-yourself series filmed in someone’s backyard, as it seems they spared no expense to produce it with $50 million dollars invested only in season one.

Another positive thing about the show was some of the work done before it. In an article, it was said that the producers considered filming in Wilmington, North Carolina but chose not to after learning of the anti-LGBTQ bill that required people in the state to only use the public restroom that was consistent with their birth certificate. In disagreement with this bill, they decided to shoot outside of North Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

A couple of things I would say I disagree with includes its rating and description on the Netflix streaming service.

Firstly, I don’t think this show should be rated TV-MA because it never gets to be overly inappropriate or graphic. Besides some occasional swearing or kissing scenes, it never really escalates past that. Despite the mature language and actions within the show that are used for effect, this show’s rating should at least be TV-14.

Secondly, I would not recommend deciding to watch the show based on the description Netflix provides. Personally, I don’t believe it does it justice and I think that you should determine if the show is for you based on a review or just watching it.

So, the question is, would I recommend that you watch this show? Although I have lots of positive thoughts about it, I don’t think this is for everyone, as no show really is. If you like the idea of almost hour long episodes involving a good deal of action, mystery, and some romance then this show would be a good option for you. In the end, I would say that if you have any interest in watching it, just go for it and if it is not your cup of tea you don’t have to finish it, even though the ending has some of the best parts.

And for those of you who have already watched it, will there be a season two? As of now, there is no definite answer. Even though Netflix usually lets us know about a show renewing for another season about a month after it’s premiere, they have yet to make the call about Outer Banks. Even though it may be concerning to know there is no for sure answer, there is room to assume this beloved show will be back.

The fact that the show was successful would be one major reason they would renew it. Also, the producers of the show, Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Shannon Burke have said to multiple different sources that they planned for Outer Banks to be a four, or even five season show, which makes lots of sense after the season finale cliffhanger that left lots of questions unanswered. Not only that, but Netflix had told them to work on scripts before season one was even released, giving them a few months now. In addition to that, Chase Stokes, the actor of John B., posted a picture to his Instagram of his character’s signature button-up shirt and bandana around his neck with the caption saying “JB’s back.”

So, as we not-so-patiently wait for some clarification, remember that Netflix also may be holding off to confirm a season two to keep the audience interested. If they release a statement that they will be back for a season two when production is on its way, and they are closer to being able to release it, the second season will likely get more attention when it does release and more of the audience will still be around.

Black Lives Matter!!

 

“I can’t Breathe”

by Zakianna Johnson 

“I can’t breathe, see his knee is on my neck as I take my last breathe 

I can’t breathe, my life is ending now as everyone sits here and watch 

I can’t breathe, someone please help me I’m begging you 

I CAN’T BREATHE, boom I’m dead another black man gone 

I can’t breathe,  George Floyd May 25, 2020

I can’t breathe, Eric Garner July 17, 2014

I can’t breathe, you shot me Tamir Rice November 22, 2014

Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Aebery, Breonna Taylor, how many more.

How many more will it take for America to realize the hate

I can’t breathe, I want to but it’s hard, it hurts, I can’t see

I can’t feel, I’m dieing, I love you momma, I’m gone.”

As a young black African American teenager it hurts to see that my culture has to destroy things just for us to get a point across. BLM ( black lives matter) is more than just a protest, more than a hashtag, it’s our lives. We say black lives matter but we still aren’t heard more of the less we still aren’t safe. Day after day the death of a black man or child or woman is on the news. Why? Because there are racist cops who will do anything just to harm us. They say “I saw a weapon” but they saw a hairbrush. He was resisting but in reality I asked you why was I being detained.

Video proof of cops, racist, KKK, and all and yet the white man doesn’t go to jail for long. Oh but when it comes to a black man killing anyone they get the death sentence. There have been plenty of times and opportunities for a change to happen. It’s so sad that I have to grow up in a world where I could be killed just because of the color of my skin. It’s sad because young boys and girls have to see how messed up the world is. No parent should have to sit down with their kid and tell them that they could die at a young age, because a racist police officer or man or woman will fear them because of the race they were born into.  

What did Sam Cooke say? “A change is Gonna Come” and yet we still haven’t seen it. When the color of my skin is seen as a weapon, I will never be unarmed. I will never be not seen as a threat, a murderer, a demon, a vicious animal. Everyday an Black African American faces a racist encounter. We are free, but it really doesn’t feel like it. We as people as human beings shouldn’t have to always wonder if today will be the day we die. If we’ll be talking our last breath in a matter of seconds and minutes. The world needs to change and it needs to change fast. 

I’ll leave you with these quotes and maybe it’ll help you realize why rioting was the only option that was left.

“It’s hard to elevate when this country’s ran by whites

Judging me by my skin color and my blackness” – Joyner Lucas 

“Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine?” – Tupac Shakur

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King Jr

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal” – Martin Luther King Jr

The last quote left an engraving in my spirit because there have been many other races that have protested with us. They have contributed during the protest by speaking up and marching with us. But there are also the ones that aren’t doing anything to help us spread the word. We wanted the protest to be peaceful, but instead they were violent. We wanted to get a point across but instead we were called hoodlums.

Point is we are not hoodlums, we are not ratchets, we are not ghetto and we are humans. 

We are America’s people just like everyone else in this country. We are Black African Americans, We are Black Lives Matter and until everyone gets it into their heads we will not stop until our voices are heard. 

Long live my black queens and kings 

How COVID-19 has affected different forms of transportation

One thing that has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic is transportation. Whether that be public transportation, or moving by cars or bikes, they all have had significant changes over the last few months. 

Public transportation, including buses and subways, have taken a pretty big hit from the virus. This is because the amount of germs and commonly used areas deter lots of people from using public transit.

Also, many people are working from home and no longer are leaving their houses as often. As a result, in many large cities in the United States, China, and Europe, the amount of people who utilize public transit has dropped 50-90%.

Unfortunately, this takes a negative toll because the funding and money invested in these systems has been going quickly. 

Another form of transportation that has seen a significant difference recently are airlines. Because lots of people have been limiting their travel and staying home, airports are starting to resemble ghost towns and flights are almost completely empty,  with some flights only being about 15% full.

As of the time of this article, only one in five seats are being filled, while in the beginning of the year, airlines were filling about four out of five seats.

While thousands of airplanes are not being used and there are only a limited number of operating security lanes, airlines have asked for a $58 billion federal relief package. This is so they can pay grants to their employees and pay loans for some expenses during a time where airlines have lost big sums of money. 

While other forms of transportation have been struggling, a very popular way of getting around has been cars and personal vehicles. Not only is this the most sanitary option for many, but it also is significantly safer. Although fewer people are hitting the roads because of the ability to work from home, and the limited things to do outside, traffic has gone down leaving roads bare and somewhat empty.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in more fatal crashes and deaths mainly caused by speeding. In Minnesota and Louisiana, there have been more traffic related fatalities during the coronavirus pandemic than there had been at the same time in previous years. 

On a positive note, the environmentally friendly ways of getting around by foot and bike have flourished during this unfavorable time. While more of us have time to spare, and the weather has been enjoyable, lots of people have been out riding their bikes, walking their dogs, or going out for some exercise during the day. Not only is this a safe way to leave your house and get some fresh air, but it can be a very relaxing and stimulating thing to do after a long day of work at home to change up the scenery and relax. 

“Unturned” the free steam game, is it worth the download?

By: Courtney Smith

I would definitely recommend this game for people looking for adventure and combat. Anyone
familiar with the game DayZ will find this similar but not as difficult. It can also be compared to a
game on Roblox named Apocalypse Rising.

The game modes are easy, medium, and hard. Those determine how many zombies there will be, how strong they are, how much supplies there will be, and other commodities. This game can be played in multiplayer or single player.

This review is based on the single player gameplay experience.

This game’s scene is set post zombie apocalypse, where NPCs are the main predators. These
coded zombies attack you and deal damage to your in-game character. There are many types
of zombies. There are firemen, police officers, farmers, mafia members, lumberjacks, campers,
and chefs.

Those zombies can also come in different forms. Sprinter zombies run on all fours, they are extremely fast, super difficult, and my least favorite! Some zombies crawl and some walk.

When a zombie is killed it may drop supplies, for example if it’s a farmer zombie, it can drop a straw hat or pitchfork.

There are multiple maps in which you can play on, this includes: Washington (home to the
Seattle Space Needle), Russia, Hawaii, and many more regions. This scene diversity makes the
game more interesting; you can find different structures and supplies. For example, in the
Russia map there are mafia houses and in Washington, the famous Space Needle.

Defeating a zombie will give you skill points. You can use skill points to upgrade your characters
expertise. The upgrades include: stamina/speed, attack speed/damage, agricultural skills, and
many more! I enjoy this because if you don’t have the equipment to protect yourself, you can
upgrade the character to fight, farm, and run better.

The object of the game is to explore and collect supplies to aid you in your travels. There is
clothing and backpacks which can be salvaged for their components, or used to increase the
player’s inventory. Weapons, camping gear, hunting equipment, and many more items are
found all over the areas.

You have a radiation bar on your screen, if it reaches zero your character slowly loses health, same with your thirst and hunger bars. To maintain health, you need to search for food! Food can lower your radiation bar if it’s damaged. Finding medicine is key to keep your radiation and health safe.

Structures can include houses, barns, stables, warehouses, apartments, pharmacies, hospitals,
fire departments, police stations, jails, military bases, and many more.

There is a lot to find in this game and to experience; you can even craft, repair, and build items.

My favorite part about this game is the diversity you find all around, it’s extremely creative with the environment.