What is Modern Family?

Modern Family (season 10) - Wikipedia

I am here to recommend one of my all time favorite television shows to binge. I do know that a lot of good shows never seem to have enough episodes, so this one is a long one, the famous Modern Family. Many people have heard of it but have yet to watch it, and let me tell you it is hilarious. Modern Family ended in 2020 but has 11 seasons for you to watch. This show revolves around 3 different families that are all related. 

The first family is Gloria, Jay, Manny, and Joe Pritchett (Joe is a new addition later on in the show). Jay is an old white man while Gloria is the young Columbian that marries him and brings her son, Manny, from a past marriage. Though many are skeptical about their relationship, they are an amazing couple. Gloria is one of the characters that just make you laugh the entire time. She is full of jokes and is constantly criticizing Jay’s old man habits. 

The second family is Cameron Tucker, Mitchell Pritchett, and their adopted daughter Lily from Vietnam. Mitchel is the son of Jay Pritchett, with Jay’s past wife. This is one of those families that you cannot look away from. Cameron is from a rural town and always finds a way to include his life from the farm into every conversation while exaggerating many events. Mitchell is the put together lawyer that tries to keep him in check. One of my favorite parts of this show is them constantly criticizing others for stereotyping them as a specific type of gay couple while fulfilling half of the stereotyping at the same exact time. 

The last family is Claire, Phil, Haley, Alex, and Luke Dunphy, my personal favorite family. Haley is the typical teen that always wants to go out and part, Alex is your nerdy middle child, and Luke is the young and carefree child constantly getting into trouble. Claire Dunphy is the mother and daughter of Jay, who is a housewife with a strong opinion. Phil Dunphy will most likely be one if not your favorite character in the entire show. He is a real estate agent with a passionate hobby of magic. He always wants to be the “cool dad” who his children see as one of the “boys”. This family is one of those crazy ones with kids running around everywhere and parents who are just as crazy.

Those families sound very different, one of my favorite aspects of this show is how we get to see being brought together during family events. There are many awesome relationships between the uncles and nieces, cousins, etc. We get to see the conflicts between adult siblings and their parents along with how they end up making up with one another. You will definitely get a hoot of this show if you love comedy while following a crazy extended family.

-Lily G.

Intro to Guitar!

With the more free time that has opened up due to quarantine it is the perfect time to find something you enjoy to fill the time. I recommend learning the basics of guitar. If you enjoy any style of music there is bound to be a guitar part somewhere within the piece. The awesome thing about this stringed instrument is once you understand the basics you can learn any song you want with a little bit of practice. Stay tuned to hear some basic tips for getting started on your music journey!

When you pick up a guitar for the first time the first thing going through your head is most likely what are all of these pieces. Right below I have a picture that shows the different parts of the guitar. If you are right handed the fretboard and neck is where you put your left hand while the right goes over the body. If you are left handed it is the opposite, there are actually left handed guitars that are made for any left handed players so keep that in mind when finding a guitar. But, it is not necessary, my brother was left handed but learned on a right handed guitar and never used a left handed one, it is all up to preference. 

As seen in the picture above there are 6 strings that stretch across the fretboard. From top to bottom, or thickest to thinnest, the notes are E A D G B E. An easy way to remember this is by remembering the expression Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie. If you noticed there are 2 E strings. The difference is the first one is a low E while the last one is a high E, meaning they are a whole octave apart from each other. Memorizing these string names is very important when you’re starting to play guitar. 

For beginners I recommend starting on an acoustic guitar so that your fingers can grow accustomed to the thick strings before playing an electric guitar where the strings ate thinner. Many do this so you can build calluses on your fingers as you play. If you start and notice that it hurts everytime you touch the string, that is normal!!!!! After several weeks your fingers will grow calluses that make  any pain disappear. 

When you pick up a guitar the first thing you need to do is tune it. On a guitar the pegs at the end of the guitar is what tunes it. For starters notes can be flat, sharp, or in tune. When it is flat or sharp the notes will sound off and distorted which is why it is important to tune it first. As a tuner I would recommend the “GuitarTuna” app available on app stores. This app will provide a visual representation of whether or not the guitar is in tune each time you play a string. Linked down below is a short and simple video to be used as a visual of how exactly to tune a guitar. 

Instructions on how to tune the guitar are readily available on YouTube!

AP Studying??

AP test month can be one of the most stressful periods in your entire high school career. Unlike regular tests AP exams demand a year’s worth of information from you. The best way to handle the overwhelming stress is to be prepared for what is coming. I have taken many AP courses and have found some of the more efficient ways of studying along with the methods that are not beneficial. 

Perhaps the most important variable to consider when studying is making a clear cut schedule for studying that aligns up with your AP test day. For example, for history or science based tests designating a certain time block to study each unit a day is very helpful. Personally, about a month out from my AP world exam I started studying half a unit every single day. This way revisiting information is not overwhelming when test time comes. 

Now that you have a set time for studying it is very important how you spend that time you have created for yourself. I have personally found that simply rereading a textbook and labeling that time spent as studying is not efficient when trying to remember information from an entire year. If you are someone who enjoys using notes to study rather than just rereading them add an extra layer. First look at the topic for the section and try to recall all the information you can about that topic. Next read the page/pages of notes. Lastly, and most importantly, outloud recall all of the information that you just reread without looking at your notes. Doing so stimulates your brain to try and read the information rather than simply forgetting the info minutes later.

When studying for history and science based tests there is so much information that no one can remember every single detail. So, when reviewing try to focus more on patterns that you recognize or different relationships. It is important to remember the college board does not just test you on verbatim facts that you have learned. The test evaluates you on different thinking processes so you have to be able to understand different relationships between time periods or scientific concepts. 

Now for the English based tests such as AP Lang one of the best tips I got was to focus on the News. At first I did not understand how this would be helpful. But, for some AP tests you must write papers where evidence comes straight from your brain, no documents. On these occasions you have to think of different important events in history to make your argument. Therefore, listening and keeping up with the news a month before testing seasons can provide you with great relevant evidence to incorporate into your essays. 

For some people, the hardest part of preparing for such a demanding test is getting the motivation to actually sit down and review. For these people, I recommend getting a study partner. As cheesy as that sounds it can be beneficial for those lacking motivation. Having someone that is supposed to study with you every day holds both your partner and yourself accountable to actually reviewing. Your partner does not need to be studying for the same AP, but having someone who is also preparing can force you to sit down and just begin. If you have a close friend you can study over facetime or at the library(considering after COVID). Other ways are finding study discords servers or zoom servers that are offered online where you can study with other people with the same goals as yourself. 

-Lily G.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Opinion: 'Avatar: the Last Airbender' is the best children's ...

Where to begin with the show, Avatar: The Last Airbender? When I was little my family and I would watch this show to no end. Then, after many years apart, this show appeared back on Netflix and I must say, it is amazing. I would say this show from 2005 was way before its time in many aspects. The writing, character development, villains, and overall plot of the show was very interesting and exhilarating.

One part that I absolutely love is female empowerment. Remember this show came out over 15 years ago when most TV shows and movies did not include the most feminist characters. Different than shows and movies today, the female involvement was not pushed or forced rather than just written to be strong leads. Characters like Toph also inspired young me, as she was blind but in my opinion, on the most powerful characters in the entire series. Each of the different women brought different things to the table but really showed me that, hey I can be just as or more powerful than anyone else.

Another aspect that needs to be talked about is the plot. This story about a young boy who was frozen in ice for 100 years to wake up and find out a war has been going on for 100 years and was partially his fault. Being the avatar, master of all 4 four elements, he meets some friends who help him on his journey while facing many challenges. Seeing the change in the duration of year was pretty spectacular. These young kids turned out stopping a war against a crazy fire lord. Episode after episode we see a group of 4 kids overthrowing corrupt governments left and right. For a kids show it was very deep. The writers introduced some real world problems to young and old viewers. The ideas of governments that aren’t what they seem took up almost half a season of the show. Along with passing by starving people and large groups of refugees as a result of the war. For a kids show, they were not afraid to include real issues and problems many face.

Lastly, I’m going to talk about my personal favorite part of the show, the villains. In my personal opinion, many of the villains were simply misunderstood. For the siblings Zuko and Azula we get to see why their actions came to be. Being in a royal family with an abusive father and mother who was forced away. Azula was a prodigy firebender, that in my opinion the most powerful fire bender in the entire show. Along with Zuko who is also powerful but not up there with Azula. During this show, we get to see the character arc of Zuko as he finally puts his wants behind him and joins the avatar and his friends in joining the fight against the fire lord. Sadly for Azula this is not the case, she goes insane while trying to be perfect to please her father.

This show is a must watch for anyone in any age group. There is something in this show for everyone. The writers hit gold when producing this show. Also, some appearances from some of my favorite actors such as Mark Hamill make an appearance throughout the show. If I had to score this show it would definitely be a 11/10 for me.

-Lilly G.

My Favorite Episodes from The Office

The Office is one of those shows that will never die off. After being aired over 15 years ago in 2005, it is still one of the most talked-about shows. Making people wonder, what makes this show based on a boring topic so addicting. Some of these episodes are worth watching over and over for the rest of my life. Each one consists of different hilarious jokes and drama that keeps you on the edge of your seat laughing. Here is a quick rundown of my favorite episodes in the series.

To start off is probably my all-time favorite episode, “The Injury”(s. 2 e.12). It begins with a screaming Micheal on the phone. He tries to explain how he needs someone to get him to bring him into to work because he is too hurt. At first, everyone is actually worried that something had happened to him. But later on, they find out he had burned his foot. The funny part is how he had burned it. He tells the story of his love to wake up in the morning and listen to crackling bacon. Of course, he has no butler, so he explains that he leaves bacon on the grill next to his bed at night, then wakes up to plug it in and goes back to sleep. But this time he steps on this George Foreman Grill as he wakes up. Dwight is Micheal’s biggest fan, so he is very worried and rushes off to get him and crashes into a pole, but he still keeps on driving. As Micheal acts as Micheal he gets very angry that no one is treating him special, so he calls in a favor. The building owner happened to be in a wheelchair, so Micheal called him to talk to the workers about being disabled but remember Micheal had only burned his foot. After being harassed by Micheal an unexpected twist happens. Dwight ended up having concussion after crashing so he is urgently taken to the hospital. The episode ending scene is a funny moment when Micheal, who is his emergency contact goes with him and tries to stick his foot in the CT scan while Dwight is in there.

Another one of my favorites is ” The Merger”(s.3 e.8). This episode is kinda a clash of two worlds. We see the Scranton branch absorbing the Stamford branch which includes an old friend, Jim who had moved away because Pam had turned him down in the previous season. Micheal tries to impress all the new employees but fails except for one due to his different type of management. The one is Andy Bernard, who tries to be the biggest Suck up to Micheal. This in return gets Dwight real mad because he sees it as Micheal replacing him. During this episode, we see the reunion of Pam and Jim. There is so much excitement that they will finally be together. But there is a new problem, Karen Filippelli, a new love interest for Jim. Micheal uses the whole episode trying the unify the two branches but they don’t seem to click. He begins receiving major lash back for his management style and one new employee ends up quitting. In the end, this episode has ups and downs full of drama that kept everyone wondering what would happen next.

Next up is an amazing, but heartbreaking episode, “Goodbye Micheal” (s.7 e.22). Like TV shows, when they say the main character is leaving, they will most likely end up staying in the end. The first time I watched it I did not think Micheal, the star of the show, would actually leave. But he did, and I ended the episode in tears. It begins the introduction to Micheal’s replacement being shown around, but everyone knows, Micheal Scott can never truly be replaced. He spends the day trying to get a special moment with all of his workers and how are now his best friends. As time runs out we see a new side of Micheal, a soft loving friend. My favorite part of this episode, and my favorite scene in the show, is the goodbye between Micheal and Jim. Jim discovers Micheal is really leaving a day before he said he was and goes to talk to him. They have a heartfelt conversation where Micheal was in tears the whole time. He says they must save the goodbyes for tomorrow and be happy today. Another just well put together scene is the goodbye between Micheal and Dwight. The best friends sit together as Micheal hands Dwight a letter of recommendation that is the sweetest words ever spoken. On the edge of our seats, we see Micheal leave for the airport without a goodbye from Pam. But the very last scene we see with Micheal Scott is Pam running to him in her bare shoes in the airport giving him the biggest hug.

While we see how truly hilarious scenes in the show are, it is much more than that. We see real friendships developed and goodbyes that make your heart sink. I loved the contrast between funny and sad. Showing that one show can have many sides, not just one. The writers did an absolutely amazing on in taking an ordinary job and showing the beauty in it.

-Lilly G.

Stay Safe!

We are in a modern day in age where the global pandemic, Covid-19, is a playing factor in almost every decision made. The only way to get rid of this devastating virus is to know what it is and how to prevent it. Some countries were able to lower the amount of cases present without a vaccine by simply following a few guidelines. 

To start off, EVERYONE PLEASE WEAR THEIR MASK!!!!!! I know it is repeated constantly but it really is a significant matter.Covid-19 is a virus that spreads when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. Many scientific experiments done by countless organizations and top medical professionals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci explain that masks can catch the droplets that one may breathe out. Less transmission occurs when there is a physical barrier between your mouth and the open air. Many people may be asymptomatic, but that does not mean it doesn’t matter. One can still spread the virus to a parent or a close friend who may not be so lucky.  It is unknown actually how many cases there are in the U.S. But it can be assumed that the number is much larger than what is known. You are not just wearing a mask for yourself, you are doing it to protect everyone around you. There was one scenario where a man who tested positive for covid went on a plane but wore a mask the entire time. The 25 people around him were tested negative since they were all wearing their masks properly and stopped the spread through the air.

I know it can be difficult to wear a mask in public, but when looking at the context, I would wear 100 masks on my face if it meant no one around me would catch covid or even die from it. I especially urge everyone to wear their masks properly. All over the internet and in real experiences I see many people have their masks on them but choose to wear it inappropriately. I personally dislike this the most, nose maksers. Wearing their mask under their nose. Simply pulling up your mask all the way in public may just save an old man with heart issues, or a child with a weak immune system due to preexisting conditions. You never know who is around you. Simply wearing a mask properly, not just holding in your hand may just save a life.

The last topic I would like to elaborate on in gatherings. I understand over this long quarantine it can be very hard to be alone. But when I see on the news that a giant rager was thrown and one of the attendees’ parents or grandparents died because they wanted to party, it breaks my heart. Hanging out with one or two people while wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart is totally okay. I personally have hung with my cousin by sitting in two different cars while we ate and talked. Finding fun like activities where you are distanced and outside can be just as fun. Remembering especially kids, though you may not personally get hurt, have empathy for those around you. Including parents, grandparents, uncles, and even siblings.

-Lilly G.

Christmas Movies!

Home Alone (1990) - IMDb

During the winter season, there are a plethora of different Christmas movies to choose from. Once I sit down to watch Christmas movies with my family or friends the hardest part is choosing which one to watch. There are varieties of different Christmas that appeal to different people. I will be breaking down my favorite Christmas movie of all time.

My personal favorite Christmas movie of all time has to be Home Alone. I have watched it over and over again since I was a kid. Starring Kevin McCallister played by Macaulay Culkin this movie is a comedy that will never grow old. Beginning with young Kevin who got in trouble and was sent to sleep in his family’s attic.

The following day Kevin’s family was going on their holiday trip, but they forget Kevin at home. Kevin thought his wish to have no family, since they were mean to him, had come true. Living up his solo life until 2 thugs come to try and rob the McCallister’s house. Kevin then sets up bobby traps and tricks to try and protect his house from the robbers. Kevin successfully fights them off multiple times, but the robber’s Harry and Marv will not quit. After many battle rounds Kevin was finally able to fight the burglars off permanently. Later on, Kevin befriends an elderly man, who was known to be a criminal, but finds out he is just a man who lost his connection to his son and feels lonely. After Kevin encourages him to make up with his son, he realizes that family is important along with the impact children have on their parents. During all these events Kevin’s mother was finding the fastest way home from Paris to make sure Kevin was safe at home. Once his whole family returns they get to spend the Christmas holiday together and realize the importance of family.

Though it may be a little cheesy, this movie remains one of the best Christmas movies. Not only is it a classic, but it is also a rollercoaster ride. The character development from a bratty kid to one that is able to spread joy and love. The action scenes are also a great laugh. We get to see a little boy beating up two full-grown men with his mischievous little tricks up his sleeve.

-Lilly G.

Home Alone is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Online Schooling

Online Schooling. An idea most never thought about, but now is a reality for almost every student in the United States in the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Many people that I know do not like any aspect of the whole concept. They find themself always distracted and unmotivated to sit in front of a computer for hours. But due to an unexpected part of our education, I have found myself taking the opportunity of having so much more free time. Personally, I have a fairly large family. With 3 other siblings all trying to stream a class at the same time. But unlike most, I have a different view on the idea of schooling on a computer.

Though it may be an unpopular opinion, I have found myself striving for the past 7 weeks of online schooling. Though I am taking many hard classes, having an online perspective is much more motivating for myself. My personal favorite aspect would be the pre-recorded lectures. Normally, I would find myself struggling to get down the important information that is being thrown at me at a very fast pace. But most of my teachers this year have been recording their lectures that students then watch on their own time. I find myself grasping the complicated concepts much faster due to the new aspect of being able to pause a lecture and write down information at your own pace.

Another factor of online schooling that seems to be going away for myself is procrastination. Normally on a school day, I would go to school around 6:50 am and not leave till about 5-8 pm. By the time I got home, I would be exhausted. Not mention my work would not start when I first got home. I would have to eat, then usually rest for a little bit of time before I could physically get myself to start work. But now, always being at home, I have found myself thriving even though I have hours of school work. Now, on a regular online school day, I get out about 1 pm and complete homework straight till about 11 pm. Give or take a couple 10-15 minute breaks. I just began to imagine having this much school work on top of my hours of extra curricular’s that I normally would have to balance.

If I could give any advice to anyone about to start their online journey would be this, take the opportunity of time that has been given, and improve your work habits. This time last year, I procrastinated beyond compare. I would always leave assignments untill the day they were due. Now, I have seemed to reinvent how I take my education. I complete the assignments the day they are assigned, and I ensure I fully understand the ins and outs of the concepts. Without this online schooling, I most likely would not be in as great of a position school wise as I am now. I am aware that my option is most likely far from most, I encourage for some to accept the new normal of most children’s education.

-Lilly G.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell’s composition of Animal Farm tells a story of real-life actions, in a form everyone understands, through the eyes of animals. The idea of communism, or in this case what the animals refer to as “animalism”, is a sensitive topic. But, Orwell was able to explain part of the issue that power leads to corruption.

In the beginning of the novel, Napoleon the pig is shown as a protagonist that helps end the animals suffering under the farmers. But as a shock to all, he slowly his idealism changes as the animals take over the farm. This event was one of the main problems that occurred in real life in some countries.

Orwell’s ability to link a compelling story to real event in time was a very interesting connection to make. He was able to explain actions that happened in countries like Russia, and put in how these people were able to rise to power through a story. Each character or event that occurred in the story portrayed different communist leaders and ideas, along with different ideas of totalitarianism.

Before getting into the novel, I was familiar to the ideas of communism and other neighboring branches of it. Once I started reading I could see some connections of these ideas as they were portrayed in a different form. But as the story continued and the characters growth was at a point in which their true attributes were finally being showed, I could see what Orwell was doing. He allowed each different sets of animals grow into separate groups, all with different views on the situation. Each group were essentially the different types of people during these types of Revolutions.

Overall, this book was very intriguing and I would rate it a 9/10. It was one of those books where once it was started, it had to be finished. My dad constantly told me of books that even his generation was urged to read. Animal Farm was one of the classic books that he would tell me about. It was very cool to be able to relate with my dad about a book he had also read when he was a teenager. This story by George Orwell was a very fascinating read.

-Lilly G.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.