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.

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. 

Online school

Recently, it was announced that Minnesota schools will be finishing out the 2019-2020 school year online. This means we will all be checking Schoology until June 9, doing various assignments, discussions, and tests for every class. Here are a couple of positive and negative things about the distance learning program.

One of the main benefits of doing online school is having flexibility for whatever tasks, and things that need to be done, while in quarantine. Instead of having one class after another in a timely manner at the school building, during online learning you can decide to eat lunch or walk your dog in between classes because it isn’t as structured as normal school.

Along with that, school most likely does not take you seven hours per day, as it normally would. Hopefully, this leaves everyone with more free time to go outside, relax for a little bit, or get other things done.

In addition to those benefits, another positive thing is that you do not have to do classes in the order of what your normal school day was like at school. This means you can choose to start with an easier class to just warm up your brain, or get harder assignments done earlier so that you can take on small, maybe even fun, assignments at the end.

But when there are positives, there are usually also negatives.

One of these cons is that it is harder to stay motivated and on task. Unlike at school, there are many more distractions and challenges you may face at home including: pets, electronics, and even the nice weather outside. This means that there is more responsibility on you to check Schoology often and to make sure work gets done and turned in on time.

Another negative effect of online school is that the internet and technology is the foundation of distance learning. The program is heavily reliant on the internet and using devices, such as your school iPad, to be checking and sending in responses and assignments daily.

Not only that, but when school is done online, you don’t have friends sitting next to you as they normally would in some classes, maybe making it lonelier, and even harder for some people.

Businesses staying open during COVID-19 quarantine

From staying cautious, to a full quarantine shutdown, the coronavirus has affected many things as it has escalated quickly. Recently, nonessential stores were closed to slow the curve of its spread. But as many stores fight to stay open and argue to be an essential, what remains open during this time? 

One place that has to stay open is, of course, grocery stores and places that carry items that people need to replenish frequently as an important, or essential item. That includes large companies like Target, Walmart, Costco, and Cub Foods, as well as some smaller businesses like Lunds and Byerlys.

Fortunately, they have remained cautious and found ways to keep a six foot distance between customer and employees sometimes by using certain markers to stand on or even plexiglass divides.

Pet stores are also deemed necessary as they carry food for animals and pets that people own. From the standard dog food, available at any stores that carries groceries, to feeder insects for more unique animals, like reptiles. 

First responders are also expected to remain present at their jobs. These jobs include police officers, firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and other trained members of important organizations. Though they have taken precautions and provided masks to some workers, a few first responders have become the patients after being tested and quarantined for coronavirus. 

As for restaurants and fast food places, many have stayed open and found ways to work around the suggested guidelines, or distances, of the coronavirus. Many places have limited the number of people allowed inside a store at one time or even switched to delivery or drive thus. But this raises the question, do places like Dairy Queen or Starbucks “need” to be open?

There are still many flaws that stem from stores being closed depending on how important they are. Many different businesses have argued and manipulated the system to remain open. Some of these places include Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and many more. Though it may seem pointless to keep them open from an outsider’s view, businesses risk closing because of the lack of human traffic and income. This also means that many employees would be laid off, making it especially difficult for those who live paycheck to paycheck. 

But, as many companies lose business, Amazon and online shops become the safer and better option for many people. Though it may seem like a good idea, be careful how dependent you are when ordering from these sites as deliveries have become significantly slower to arrive as people turn to this no contact, quarantine friendly, way of buying goods. 

Debunking myths about the Coronavirus

*NOTE: This article was written before the state shut down schools due to COVID-19

I think everyone has heard a thing or two about the Coronavirus. After sweeping the media and traveling quickly, myths and facts have intermixed leaving people questioning what is true and what is it made up about the new virus.

As panic spreads, here are a few myths debunked to help separate bogus claims from the facts. 

Myth: There is a vaccine available for the Coronavirus. 

Fact: There is no magical vaccine that will cure this virus available at the moment. Though scientists are working on a treatment, it will take many months or even years for an efficient and safe vaccine for humans. For a vaccine to be produced, it has to be tested many times to make sure that all side effects and results are spotted before allowing it to the public. 

Myth: Wearing a mask will protect you from the Coronavirus. 

Fact: This myth is in fact false for the majority of people, though certain masks used for health care workers can protect them from infected patients. Most people are wearing lightweight disposable masks that aren’t a tight fit, therefore, they still will allow infected substances through to the nose, mouth, and eye areas. Also, by buying and wearing these masks out in public, it limits the stock that some patients and workers actually need. 

Myth: You can get the Coronavirus from packages ordered and shipped from China. 

Fact: This fact is false based on information already known about the virus. Though scientists have more information to discover about the virus, notes from other viruses like this one state that they do not survive on surfaces for very long. So, you would not get sick from a package that has been in transit for many days or even weeks. 

Myth: The Coronavirus is not more dangerous than the flu. 

Fact: Those who are experiencing the virus may only have symptoms similar to the flu. Overall, the disease is a lot more dangerous as shown by the mortality rate so far. According to an estimation, it’s assumed that it is about ten times more deadly. Part of the danger of this new virus is the lack of knowledge we have about it, unlike the flu which we have studied for decades.

Importance of the school counselors

I’m sure everyone has seen the counselor’s officer banner hanging in the hallway on the first floor. But why is it important to provide counselors at school? What are the benefits? Here are several reasons to consider when wondering about the importance of school counselors. 

Academic success. Counselors can help students who may be struggling with certain classes or have lower grades. They can provide advice or even connect you to teachers to help solve problems that are the most challenging. Not only that, but if you want to switch out of a class and change your schedule, the counselors are able to figure it out with you. Over time, they want to make sure you are earning credits towards graduation and building your high school transcript and GPA. 

Well being of the students. Although counselors are provided to help with academics and choosing a career path, they also are present for personal issues that may be interfering with school. If this is ever the case, you can schedule a one-on-one conference with your counselor to help get guidance or advice on something that may be occurring outside of school. They also provide an individual focus to students who may be struggling from mental health or are just overwhelmed and stressed about something at school or home. 

Future success. Lastly, counselors work with students to help determine what the future might look like. Especially for upperclassmen, they can help with scheduling, transcripts, and college applications. Most importantly, they want to make sure that all students are ready for the college and/or career path ahead of them.  

In the end, counselors do many important things for the school and the students in it. They provide a support system for students who may be struggling and offer solutions to help them. 

Eating in class

We have all been in that position where you have to run out the door in the morning to make it to school on time. But, if you don’t have time to eat breakfast, or choose not to, it may leave you rather hungry during class. Depending on the time, lunch might still be a class or two away. That’s why many students have turned to snacking during class. Should you be able to eat in class? Is this a habit with negative effects?

According to experiments and studies, we should have the ability to eat in class. It is important that we don’t have big distractions in class, but an empty stomach can completely change your focus. Instead of learning, all you’ll consider in how much longer till lunch.  

Through research, it has been proven that a student who has not eaten, is less likely to succeed than a student who has eaten. This research helps to support why it is important that students can eat in class, because hunger can be a distraction that only keeps you counting down the minutes instead of paying attention to what you are doing in class. 

That being said, what snack is the best to have to get you to lunch? The best snack is one that isn’t messy, isn’t candy, and isn’t loud. This makes the least amount of distractions for you and the people around you. So, pretzels are one good option. 

Lastly, what do students think about eating in class? Well, I asked a couple of students and they all seemed to agree that eating in class should be allowed. One explained that everyone should be allowed to eat when they feel it is necessary to eat, and another student described how early lunch affected how hungry they feel at the end of the school day.

But does eating in class distract them? They say no. One student explained how eating in class doesn’t make them fidget or look at their phone. They also described a pattern they developed of grabbing their snack and writing notes in a cohesive system. 

If you do eat in class, please be sure not to leave behind any trash or crumbs. No teacher wants to pick up wrappers or residue from the floor or desks. Also, if you leave behind a bunch of garbage it may deter the teachers from allowing you, and all the other students, to eat in class. 

Australian bushfires

Australia is in a devastating position. Bushfire has been burning acres of land since October, 2019 and they have continued into January, 2020. Though lots of people are aware of the fires, here is some information to further educate you on the topic. 

One of the first bushfires started on November 11, 2019. It burned roughly 49,000 acres of land in an area known as Ravensbourne.

But it does not stop there, since then more fires have ravaged more of Australia leaving $4.4 billion damage. 

Why did the bushfires start? There are many different reasons for the fires that have overtaken parts of Australia. One of the biggest contributors is the extreme conditions. Australia is currently enduring its hottest, and driest, year recorded. Though the conditions do play a role, other components like humans actions and weather, such as lightning, have also started other fires. 

The effects of these fires have been unfortunate. Approximately 18 million acres of land have been burned, including about 200 homes. Unfortunately, 27 people have died, of which three were volunteering firefighters. And lastly, a lot of animals have been put in severe danger posed by the fires. Though it’s an estimation, it’s possible that half a billion animals have been killed; some being endangered species threatened by extinction. 

Recently, there was a project to help out the animals fleeing their natural habitats. They called it “Operation Rock Wallaby.” The Australian government of New South Wales dropped thousands of carrots and sweet potatoes, around 2,000 pounds in total, hoping to prevent the animals from starving to death. 

So, what can you do to help Australia? The best way you can help Australia is to donate. Some of the best charities include Mission Australia, Oxfam Australia, and Sacred Heart Mission.

In January, it was announced that 1.1 million people have donated to Australia and raised $30 million to help repair the damage caused by the bushfires. Some of the biggest contributions came from celebrities or businesses, including Kylie Jenner, Elton John, Pink, and many more. Their money helped volunteering firefighters and their families, to get more emergency resources, and families who are in need. 

What to do over winter break

Winter break is coming up very soon and I think everybody can agree they are looking forward to leaving the school this Friday. Though you can only imagine two great weeks of lounging and relaxing, what are you actually doing? Here are a couple of ideas that may inspire what you will do this winter break.

  1. Relax and take advantage of the break. Ever since school started, it’s hard to go one day without saying you’re tired. This may be the break you were waiting for to catch up on some much needed sleep. Also, just relax and hang out. School is pretty fast paced and any extra curricular activity only helps to fill up your schedule, leaving barely any time to just sit down or do anything with your loved ones. So if it’s possible, try your best to build in some time to wind down this winter break and do whatever you’d like to. 
  2. Hang out with friends. In general, it can be kind of hard to make time during the week or the weekends to hang out with your friends, especially the ones that don’t go to the same school as you. So maybe you could find a time during break to get together and catch up. 
  3. Do something outside and have fun with the snow. Going outside, especially with snow on the ground, may not appeal to everyone’s interest but for those who like outdoor activities, do something outdoors. You could try something new like skiing or snowboarding, or something more fun based like sledding or a snowball fight. This also gives you the perfect excuse to get all your friends together for a good laugh. 
  4. Stay inside and take the opportunity to make some hot cocoa. A warm fire, blankets, and a comforting cup of cocoa is always a great idea considering the conditions outside. Maybe just take a moment this break to get as content as you can and relax in the comfort of your own home. 
  5. Find the balance between relaxed and lazy. Though winter break sparks a sense of laziness in everyone, don’t let it get the best of you. Some teachers will still be giving out homework during break, so don’t put it off and just get it done as early as you can so you don’t have to worry about it. Also, make the most of your break and do more than just camp out in your room doing nothing. And if you take part in a sport, don’t skip practice for poor excuse like sleeping in or just not wanting to go. Stay on top of what you have to do, but still make sure you relax over the two week long winter break. 

How to manage stress

There is no doubt that at one point or another you have most likely felt stressed about something, or maybe even someone, making your life a little more difficult. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly overwhelming but there are ways to help you work around it.

So, here are a couple of minor things that you could do to help yourself out, especially during the school year. 

One day at a time. It is extremely important to only take one day at a time to avoid stressing yourself out and getting overwhelmed about something that can not be changed. Saying a week is seven days is harder to process rather than just taking on the day when it comes.

Stay calm and breathe. I think everyone can understand when everything gets so piled up that sometimes you just need to stop and breathe. The thing is, being stressed has no benefits whatsoever. It is not pleasant to do anything when you feel overwhelmed, so the best way you can help yourself out is just by remaining as relaxed as you can. This doesn’t mean you should be lounging around on your couch, but instead just trying to figure out a way around whatever is working you up and finding an achievable solution. 

Do something that makes you happy. It might help if you can take your mind off whatever is making you stressed. You could start by doing something that you enjoy or surround yourself with people you know make you happy. This way you can find better things to influence your mind set and spend less time focusing on the negative stuff going on in your life. 

Organize your life. School can be a very stressful and fatiguing time of the year, not to mention what goes on outside of school in your personal life. The worst part is trying to remember everything you need to do in a day, such as your schedule, homework, and extracurricular activities. It may not be this way for everyone, but it can’t hurt to try writing stuff down. Whether you would prefer to write in a planner or journal is a personal opinion and should be based on what you can keep up with and enjoy doing the most.