Life lessons from the founder of Apple

Many know Steve Jobs as the founder of both Apple and Pixar. However, Jobs’ path to success was not easy, and he faced many mental challenges.

Along with that, Jobs learned a couple key ideas. One of them being: you have to do what you love to do in order to become successful. If one does not love what they do, their work does not become passionate, lowering the chance of success. On top of that, being passionate about your work is also better for the consumer experience. In Jobs’ case, loving his work led him to satisfying millions with apple products, that you see everywhere today.

Jobs also stuck by the idea that “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward”. What he means by this is that it is impossible to see into the future and try and figure out your life that way. However, it is very possible to look into the past and reflect on past experiences, and learning from them. Jobs had done this when he was first fired from his own company. At the time, Jobs thought his life was over, but in reality, this had been the best thing to ever happen to him, as he grew a lot from this and started Pixar, another huge company that we all know today. Eventually, Jobs was hired back into Apple and worked there until he passed away. Another lesson that Steve Jobs has learned in his life was how life is limited, and one has to do what they enjoy and prefer, rather than paying attention to other peoples’ lives.

Especially today, so many people are wrapped up in what others think of them and how they can improve themselves for others, when in reality, focusing on self-growth and setting standards for yourself is what will really make people better. Today, although Jobs unfortunately has passed away, people learn and take ideas from the thoughts Jobs had, and will overall benefit society if everybody thought this way.

-Jeremy L.

This is the Zodiac Speaking Game Review

This is the Zodiac Speaking Game Review

This is the Zodiac Speaking produced by Punch Punk Games, is a complicate4d yet thrilling murder mystery game. Operating as a news journalist stationed in San Fransico California, players hunt down and attempt to catch the lucid Zodiac killer. Solving riddles, finding clues, and chasing a deranged killer, this game is a thriller-horror like no other.

I first would like to talk about the actual ambiance and look of This is the Zodiac Speaking. This game has very unique animations, that make the game look spooky and mysterious. On top of that, the music in the game added to the mood of the game a lot. I started up This is the Zodiac Speaking and immediately started hearing creepy music, that sounded straight out of a horror game. With this feeling, it was the perfect game to play during October and the spooky season.

The game itself was very fun. Playing as the news journalist, I searched for clues and hints to try and get a lead on the Zodiac. Starting in the journalists’ house, I solved clues about where the Zodiac’s last location was, and where I could find him. Driving to that location, I searched around a large national park and was actually able to see the killer. I followed him for a while at another location. Though this may seem very easy, it was not. I spent a good hour trying to solve all the different clues,

That leads me to the problems I had with This is the Zodiac Speaking. The game was incredibly difficult on the controller. The sensitivity on my controller was much too high, and that lead to me spending a lot more time than I needed to on certain clues. On top of that, I was not able to change the sensitivity of my controller anywhere in the game settings. Not only this, but the controls were very weird. It took me a while to get used to them, and some directions were very unclear.

Besides these few problems and the difficulty of the game, I personally really enjoyed This is the Zodiac Speaking. I think it is a great game to get into the spooky season with. If you like solving mysteries or finding murderers, I think this game would be perfect for you. I think adding a multiplayer aspect to this game would be a perfect idea. Pairing up with a couple of friends and hunting down the Zodiac sounds like a really fun Idea. Once again, I really enjoyed This is the Zodiac Speaking and would rate it an eight out of ten.

-Daniel C.

Game Review: Pokémon X and Y

Pokémon is a game in which you catch creatures called “Pokémon” and battle with them. Each “Pokémon” has their own types and abilities. It’s an extremely popular game that was released in 1996 by Game Freak Inc. Over time, however, there has been different versions of these games.

Pokémon X and Y was a new version of Pokémon, and the story was based in France. It was known to be the first ever 3D Pokémon game to be released and brought a new perspective to the game. It was also known for Mega Evolution, a temporary type of evolution that made your transformed your Pokémon into stronger ones. They also introduced the all new Fairy-type Pokémon.

The game story is about you (and your friends!) trying to stop the criminal organization: Team Flare. Team Flare has a view of the world that humans, and Pokémon should be destroyed so the world could return to a peaceful state. The only people that would live, would be Team Flare.

I think the story was pretty OK, and climax was AMAZING. Near the end of the story, you get to see the new legendary, the fairy type Xerneas (Pokemon X) or the flying/dark type Yvetlal (Pokemon Y). I think the design was great, and both are overall probably my favorite legendries in Pokémon.

However, some people say that the story was rather undeveloped and rushed. At the beginning of the story, it starts off really slow and boring and as you progress, it picks up really fast.

So do I recommend Pokemon XY? Yes, and I would give it a 7.5/10. Pokemon XY brought Pokemon to a new level, and the game is played by thousands every day.

-Siriam V.

Music History 101: Harry Styles

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 18: Harry Styles attends the “DUNKIRK” premiere in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Harry Styles. That’s it. That’s the article. 

You may be wondering how this international heartthrob became so famous, so much so that the mere mention of his name gets everyone talking. Well, let’s take a step back in time and examine all his success, his failures: his history. 

Styles was born on February 1st, 1994 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. As a young adult, he formed his own boy band called White Eskimos, where they won best band at their school. His childhood consisted of working at his local bakery, attending school like the average U.K. teen, and spending holidays with his family. 

At just sixteen years old, he took the stage for the first time as a contestant on the widely popular British show, The X Factor. He auditioned using the all too famous, “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. Unfortunately for Harry, he didn’t make it to the second round as a solo artist, but fate had other plans for him. Simon Cowell, one of the judges on the show, was astonished by his performance, and instead put Harry into a group, a boy band for that matter, with four other contestants who also auditioned as solos. These contestants were Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne. 

One Direction, as they were soon to be known as, became one of the most successful and influential bands of the decade. Their hits included, but are not limited to “What Makes you Beautiful,” “Story of My Life” and “Drag Me Down”. The group went on a hiatus in late 2016, and ever since then, the ex-bandmates have been focusing on their solo careers. 

Styles, with only two albums released, has had hits of all kinds. His music genre speaks for itself: a hint of 70s with a hue of rock. Individually, he is known for singles such as “Sign of the Times” and most recently “Watermelon Sugar” and “Adore you”. 

Just last week, the global sensation snatched his first win at the Grammys. “Watermelon Sugar” won best pop solo performance at the award show. Barely ten minutes before that, he opened up the show, with a dazzling and impressive performance of, you guessed it, Watermelon Sugar. 

At the award show Styles decked out in all Gucci. His black leather jacket and pants complimented his green boa, that sure made a great deal of his fans go crazy. 

#ProudOfHarry was trending all night, and so was his performance. Who knows, maybe this’ll kick start the beginning of a new era: one filled with green boa’s and sweet, tasty watermelons.

-Haana F.

Shark Tank TV Show Review

Many people dream to become rich by being an entrepreneur, but many are unable to achieve that goal. On Shark Tank, all of that can change in 15 minutes. 

In Shark Tank, 6 different Sharks come onto the show and listen to all of the pitches. The Sharks on the show are not real sharks of course; they are humans who are very successful entrepreneurs. Then, depending on how they feel about the sales and inventory, they offer a deal as an investment. These investments can be in the form of royalty deals, loans, or deals for equity in the company. Only 5 Sharks can appear on the show for each episode. There can be celebrity guest Sharks on the show who were able to be successful entrepreneurs in their careers, too. 

The 6 Sharks, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary, have made investments that have changed the paths and outcomes of companies like Squatty Potty and Scrub Daddy. They help companies go from a hundred thousand dollars to a million dollars in sales in only a couple of years, sometimes even in months. 

The way the show works is that 5 Sharks listen to the entrepreneurs’ inventions, ideas about add ons to products, etc. First, entrepreneurs make a presentation and hand out samples to the Sharks. Sometimes they even set up the stage for large products, like earthquake bunker beds, hammocks, tents… They ask the Sharks to test/try their inventions. Next, they give brief information about their companies ( sometimes about themselves, too ) and tell the Sharks the deal that they are looking for. Later, after the pitch, the sharks can ask questions and have the entrepreneurs explain details about their sales and other partnerships. They usually ask questions like, “What are your sales like?” or “What do you need the money for?”. Then, they decide if they want to offer exactly what the entrepreneur was looking for, or if they want to make a new offer. The entrepreneurs have the right to accept, decline, or counter the offer. 

Shark Tank is a great show to watch because you can learn a lot from the Sharks. You can learn about how to be a successful entrepreneur from the advice they give to the ways they invest in companies. Also, you can learn from the Sharks’ experiences with their own companies. 

I love to watch Shark Tank because of the various things about business and entrepreneurship you can learn. In addition, I enjoy seeing different products that may be a big part of the future of our planet. I give this TV show a 10/10 rating because it shows if you work hard you can achieve anything. 

-Mert A. 

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

A prestigious school. An abandoned island. A deadly disease. Secrets beyond comprehension. These elements present themselves in suspenseful and exciting ways in “Wilder Girls” a science fiction horror novel written by Rory Power. The story follows the Raxter School for Girls, a coveted boarding school off the coast of the United States. The story picks up 18 months after the island had been put under quarantine due to the Tox, a deadly virus that mutates the environment and the people within it. We follow the few survivors of the plague after the teachers and several girls have already succumbed to the Tox. As the story progresses, we discover secrets behind the military’s role in managing the disease, and the true meaning of finding a cure.

Hetty, one of the few survivors, lives within the school, bickering for rations with the other students and taking care of her friends Byatt and Reese. As she looks around at the fellow students, she describes the horrifying effects of the Tox: extra body parts, vines growing out of the body, and shocking spasms that leave each victim even more distraught than before. These girls are sitting ducks, slowly decomposing while waiting for the CDC and the outside world to provide a cure while donating occasional rations. As the months go by, the students and few remaining teachers develop a hierarchy of power in order to keep order and safety on school grounds. A quarantine is set both on the island and the school, only allowing certain students to venture into the dangerously mutated forest. We see bonds broken and formed between young women as they struggle to survive and save those they care most about, making a life in their hopeless situation, surrounded by death and decay.

Themes of sacrifice and selfishness develop through the novel as their situation at Raxter worsens. When Byatt, Hetty’s closest friend and almost sister, goes missing after a flare-up, her and Reese risk the security of their other classmates to go beyond the fence and search for her, uncovering deadly and scarring secrets that reveal the true fate of the island’s residents. Hetty’s careful, loving, and protective nature fails in the final critical moments, revealing her true ambitions as she is forced to decide between the group she loves and the people she cannot live without: Reese and Byatt. Hetty remains one of my favorite literary characters due to what may seem like backwards character development but is actually a revelation of her flawed heroic nature that exists her entire life. “Wilder Girls” does a phenomenal job of displaying the flaws of even the greatest heroes and sacrificers.

I read this book for the first time in summer 2019, and found it a fascinating story that I stayed up all night to finish reading. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys dystopian YA fiction, horror, or any story with dynamic and complex characters that showcase true universal themes.

-Bailey L.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

TV Review: Unsolved Mysteries

The show Unsolved Mysteries is one of the most mind-bending and perplexing crime-solving shows on Netflix. Each episode of the show reviews a different case, none of which have been solved. 

As someone who deeply enjoys mysteries, this show is one of the most mind-boggling mystery shows I have watched and definitely keeps you on your toes throughout each episode.  Each case is uniquely different from the rest and is very descriptive.  

Some episode plots include UFOs, disappearances, kidnaps, and false identities. None of these have been solved by professionals so they come to the internet to try to bring light to certain cases that have been around for centuries, trying to get people’s points of views and hoping to close the case. 

The show became such a big hit and everyone had opinions on the cases that Netflix ended up opening an Instagram for viewers to discuss their theories. Many of these people are Webslueths or random online people who the police look to for help when a case is open for too long. 

The most perplexing thing about this series is that all the stories are true and have evidence proving it behind them. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys crime, mystery, and a good challenge. 

-Sanjana S.

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider

In the second movie in the Captain America series, Steve Rogers finds himself fighting his long-time best friend, Bucky Barnes. Bucky has been brainwashed by HYDRA and now goes by the name The Winter Solider.

As one of the strongest members in HYRDA, The Winter Solider puts up a strong fight. Although Captain America had no intention of killing The Winter Solider he has hopes of bringing the old Bucky back. Yet The Winter Soldiers’ sole purpose is to kill Captain America. 

The movie introduces us to a new character, Sam Wilson. Who also goes by the name The Falcon. Personally, I did not support the casting of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon because I felt as though he lacked in some areas. 

The CGI and visual effects in the movie are phenomenal. The casting of the movie was well executed. Although one thing I disliked was the lack of depth in some scenes. Yet for the time limit, it was acceptable. Overall the movie was well executed and had a nice plot. They did not drag the movie and kept it intriguing. The movie was almost flawless and I would deeply recommend it to anyone interested in action, superheroes, and marvel.

-Sanjana S.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Dannie Kohan knows where she will be in five years. Or at least she thinks she does. Her path seems clear, realistic, achievable. In fact, she basically has her life planned out by the year, and so far her plans have worked.

However, the night of December 15, 2020, Dannie has a vision of the future exactly five years from the present–something more solid than a dream, and something so vivid that her logical, corporate lawyer-oriented brain cannot pass it off as a mere fragment of imagination. What frightens her is that the future she sees is farther from her planned version of the future than the earth is from the sun.

The rest of the book takes place primarily in 2025–during the months leading up to the vision of the future that Dannie saw on December 15, 2020.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting. Dannie lives in New York, a little star in a thriving, pulsing sky of skyscrapers and fashion and business. The fashion, the food, the language, and the references were all relatable to today’s young generation.

I also loved Rebecca Serle’s voice. The book is full of beautiful, flowing words interluded with sharp, short sentences brimming with emotion. Her descriptions–of food, characters, emotions–are incredibly detailed and vivid, and I think they add so much richness to the book.

Lastly, the characters. From determined, rational, detail-oriented Dannie to joking-but-serious and caring David (Dannie’s boyfriend) to spontaneous, beautiful, loving, and imaginative Bella (Dannie’s best friend), the characters of In Five Years are all so endearing in their own ways. I loved how realistic they seemed–from their aspirations to their worries, their strengths to their flaws, their language to their quirks.

If you enjoy books that you just can’t stop reading until you’ve finished them, I would highly recommend this book. It’s fascinating to see all the pieces of Dannie’s vision enter her real life, to turn page after page wondering what will happen–wondering if Dannie’s vision will really come true.

I would recommend this book for older teens and adults, as it is a romance with characters in their early thirties. In addition, there are some intense parts when Dannie faces loss and heartbreak.

I think In Five Years is a beautiful, sad, inspiring book that will leave readers with a multitude of emotions and thoughts about how they live their lives. The story might also make readers think twice if anyone were to ask them where they see themselves in five years.

– Mia T.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Game Review: Pokemon Black 2 and White 2

Of the many generations of Pokemon games, the 5th generation is the most controversial in the quality of the games. While Pokemon Black and White are generally considered a solid game, the sequel is often up to further debate. 

The game design of Pokemon Black and White 2 closely resembles the prequel and is based on the same region two years after the events of the first game. The game contains the amazing sprites and animations that made the first games so visually appealing to the player while continuing to develop the established story. The game also includes earlier access to many of the Pokemon from older games, giving those fans another chance to use some of their favorites. Overall, the game maintains some of the good aspects, although has some glaring issues in the context of a sequel. 

One major complaint of the game is that it feels too similar to the first. About half of the game has you progressing through the same general locations as the first game, and while some minor changes were made, it still detracts from the experience overall. Another major drop in quality was the integration of the story and evil team. While the prequel had a fleshed out story with interesting ideals, the sequel lacks some of the fundamentals of good lore-building. The story was generally empty and did little to improve or change any of the story that was already established, making the evil team battles and story quests feel completely pointless, leading to a game that doesn’t feel up to par with the previous game. 

In general, I personally feel as if the game isn’t worth playing compared to the prequel. The game, although it is a Pokemon game, still lacks many qualities that make it an enjoyable experience when compared to the first. The game could still be a worthwhile play if you enjoy the outlandish lore of the game but I would personally rather recommend other games such as the prequel or the previous generation of DS games. My rating for this game would be a 6/10 as the game is still very visually appealing and maintains core design concepts. The game had potential but the lapses in story development and similarities to the first significantly worsen the overarching experience.

-Benjamin L.