October Sky

This movie follows Homer Hickam and friends in the town of Coalwood, West Virginia around 1957. His father, John Hickam, wants Homer to join him in the mines. However, after seeing Sputnik 1 shoot across the sky, Homer becomes determined to build a rocket of his own. Homer and his friends Quentin, Roy, and O’Dell set off on building this rocket. Though their first couple of rockets are utter failures, they continue trying to build and test out these rockets with the support of their teacher Miss Riley. However, their rocket building endeavors hit a snag when local authorities blame them for causing a forest fire, leading to the group of boys tearing down their launch site and ending further rocket testing. Undeterred, Homer is able to prove through calculations that he and his friends were not the cause of the forest fire and resume building rockets, eventually getting to the state science fair.

This movie was amazing in that it shows the power of passion for whatever may interest you. By putting in their all and never giving up in the face of failure, Homer and his friends were able to completely change the path of their future that washeld for them. The audience may ask themselves, “How is this even reasonable? There’s no way simple interest in rockets and entering a science fair can alter someone’s future this greatly!” However, this was in fact based off of a real story! This movie teaches a great story of following one’s dreams and the importance of family in one’s success. It is a great movie to watch, with an even greater lesson behind it.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

The word “effort” shows up often and is used quite often as the main point of a success story. There is often much emphasis on efforts and hard work, but our attitude in accepting good efforts needs a bit of change. Instead, we should also focus on the limitations that were faced. Grit is instead good enough and able to surpass this hollow and overused shell of effort.

This book took a scientific approach from the beginning to the end. I preferred this approach as it is based on research and experimentation. Furthermore, it can be applied for to most part to many peoples’ lives. It is a great and hopeful message that grit is much more important than talent to ordinary people like you and me. This book clarifies that we can develop and improve grit, and proves that our efforts in doing so are important.

This books also opens the discussion about grit and broadens its scope from personal territory to the surrounding environment. If everyone supports and encourages and never gives up and instead chooses to teach others and the next generation about the importance of grit, it will give them a chance to experience its importance in developing more grit in one’s life. The future of society would be brighter.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Cowboys Draft Plan

On Friday, April 13th, the Dallas Cowboys formally parted ways with star WR Dez Bryant. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has come out and stated that the Cowboys do not believe they have a receiver that can come in and completely take over the “WR1” mantle previously held by Dez. This is a sound assumption as there are no real wide receiver prospects in the 2018 draft that look as though they would be home-run picks like Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones. However, there are many receivers that look to be solid WR2 receivers that have the potential to turn into WR1 caliber receivers. The release of Dez Bryant has led to many tying the Cowboys with drafting a WR in the first round. However, the timing of this release seems to state otherwise.

As many teams do not want to give any hints as to what their draft plans may be, the timing of Dez’s release seems intriguing. If the Cowboys really were planning on drafting a receiver at 19 or potentially even trading up in the draft, keeping Dez– business wise– may have been the best move to hide a lack of star receiver power. As a result, it seems as though the Cowboys are not planning on actively pursuing a receiver, but may instead be pointed to drafting a defensive player in the first round to add to their lineup. Furthermore, the signings of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson seem to indicate they are fine with drafting a receiver in some of the later rounds of the draft, as this receiver class, though lacking in star power, has solid options that can be selected in the second and third rounds. With Sean Lee getting a year older and David Irving potentially being suspended to start the season, the Cowboys have more pressing needs at linebacker and defensive tackle and would be in their best interests selecting one of those positions over WR.

-Kobe L.

LA Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

On Monday, April 1st, the Los Angeles Lakers played the Sacramento Kings in the Staples Center, with the Kings coming away with an 84-83 victory. Attending the game in person, I was able to feel the intensity of the atmosphere in the stadium, making the whole experience much more enjoyable. Being able to rejoice with fans over the Lakers making a three-point shot and feeling frustrated at bad calls by the referee, I could feel my general interest in the game much higher than when I usually watch basketball games at home.

First driving up to the stadium, I was taken aback by the sheer number of fans present at the stadium. Though I did expect there to be a lot of people, I was surprised at just how many Lakers fans were in attendance. Entering the stadium, I saw a lot of purple and gold, as well as memorabilia all over. As my family and I settled into our seats, I looked around as saw many different types of fans present at the game. There was anywhere from little babies to more elderly fans, some dressed in normal streetwear, others decked out with Lakers gear. I also saw some Sacramento Kings fans, though they were much less in size than the amount of Lakers fans.

Throughout the game, I cheered with the fans and shouted and clapped along to the songs playing during the game. I eagerly watched the players run up and down the court, taking shots and dunking on others. It was an overall great experience, and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you are a basketball fan or not.

-Kobe L

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The novel Things Fall Apart was written by Chinua Achebe in 1958, and follows the story of Okonkwo. Set in Umuofia, a fictional village in Nigeria, it details life in Africa before European colonialism and after. The first part of Things Fall Apart introduces the reader to life in a typical African village, with Okonkwo as the main protagonist. A hard-working man looking to escape the shame brought by his father, Okonkwo rises to a high position in his village, becoming one of the leaders.

In the second and third sections of the novel, Achebe begins to write about the settlement of Europeans from the point of view of the African people. He details the effects colonialism has on Africans, and the complete disruption and, eventually, destruction of traditional tribal life. Though the main character Okonkwo does try to fight this, his attempts are futile in the end.

This novel has great literary significance as up until the publishing of this novel, most books about African life were written by the point of view of Europeans, who would often portray Africans as inferior and primitive in their novels. However, Chinua Achebe would be one of the first of a new wave of African writers. He would show the world a new perspective on colonialism and how it was not always a good thing. This amazing novel brought about great change in the literary world and is one that should be read by all.

-Kobe L.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is available for checkout form the Mission Viejo Library

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is a best selling book written by author Paul Kalanithi, who majored in English literature in Stanford and would get his Masters degree in English literature. He would enter medical school in Yale and at 36 years old, he would become a resident neuroscientist and neurosurgeon. His life had full of hope and would seem to blossom with his wife Lucy. However, he was diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer. His future seemed to be gone, and it looked as though his potential wouldn’t come to fruition.

Paul had learned about life and death throughout his studies in literature and philosophy. He would learn about death through the experience of studying medicine, but it was a whole new experience when death seemed to come to him. His short term and long term plan for his life would have to be revised. In the hospital, the doctor was somewhat like the “captain” of the ship, and Paul had always been the doctor, the captain, the leader. Suddenly, he became the patient, the ship, the follower. He was confused about his identity. However, he would choose to be a leader and captain of his own life. He spent time with his family, he would write his book When Breath Becomes Air, returned to the hospital, took care of patients, and would even have a daughter. He would leave this unfinished memoir behind and leave a lesson to us that we are all going to die someday, but we have to continue living our lives and making the most of it.

-Kobe L.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Film Review: Lion

I watched the move Lion with my family. It’s about a 5-year-old boy named Saroo who gets lost on the streets of India, put into an orphanage, and is eventually adopted by a family in Australia. As he becomes an adult, he starts to wonder what happened to his biological family and begins to search for his old home. After a long effort, he is eventually reunited with his family. However, this simple story seemed to us much more dramatic as it was based on a true story.

I don’t know how much fiction and storytelling effects were added to this story, but it is a very moving and emotional movie anyways. In the beginning of the movie when the boy Saroo got lost in the streets and was in grave danger of being kidnapped, I almost stopped watching the movie as it was quite terrifying and intense. It felt really realistic, and the terror and loneliness that Saroo experienced could be felt right through the screen.

Both Sunny Pawar (the actor who played young Saroo) and Dev Patel (who played older Saroo) successfully played their part. The emotion Dev Patel was able to portray in his performance really pushed the movie forward and was a wonderful addition. Similarly, the shockingness of Saroo being able to use Google Maps to pinpoint the location of his old home was another great aspect of this movie. The scene where he was flooded with memories of his past and is able to finally pinpoint and track down his old home was a great climax of the movie.

Lastly, the scene where Saroo is reunited with his family was so powerful and moving, and brought me to tears. The joy in the face of him and his mother–though they were actors–felt real and was a great ending to the movie. The revelation that his real name was Sheru was an interesting fact and its meaning that was revealed in the end credits wrapped up the finale of a great movie.

I highly recommend watching this movie. If you do, you will get to learn what the name “Sheru” means as well.

-Kobe L.

Lion is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library