The Origins of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated holiday in the U.S. taking place every year on the fourth Thursday of November. In fact, 62% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving at home with their loved ones each year. But are we celebrating something that we don’t really know the full meaning behind? Thanksgiving is a time that most Americans can agree is spent being thankful, which is true. But the story of Thanksgiving involves much more than being thankful for all that we are given.

The story of Thanksgiving first begins in 1620, when a group of 102 religious separatists left their home in search of religious freedom. The pilgrims finally settled in Massachusetts Bay after 66 days on a ship named the Mayflower. From there, the pilgrims began to cultivate and establish the town of Plymouth. The first winter in America was brutal, and many pilgrims suffered from diseases such as scurvy. By March however, they were greeted by an English- speaking tribe of Indians known as the Abenakis. A member of one the native tribes, Squanto, taught the pilgrims how to use and respect the land. In November of 1621, the pilgrims had their first successful harvest and called for a celebration that included their native allies.

This celebration- now referred to as “Thanksgiving”- lasted for three days. Much of the menu of the first Thanksgiving is unknown, but historians rationalize that many of the sweet treats we enjoy at the table today- 400 years after the first Thanksgiving- were most likely not present in November of 1621. Most of the sugar necessary in making these sweets would have been in short supply after months on the Mayflower. Much of the meal, however, was made using native spices that local tribes had used for years before.

So the next time you are sitting around the dinner table with your loved ones enjoying turkey and stuffing, remember the first Thanksgiving, one of harvest and harmony.

-Roma L.

Cold Season, Fact or Myth?

Now that it is the cough and cold season, myths and misconceptions are constantly being spread about catching or dealing with a cold. Here, I am going to clear up some of these statements and help you differentiate between myths and facts of colds.

Facts about flu - Mayo Clinic Health System

“Going out in the cold or with wet hair will get you sick!” is a statement almost every person has heard over and again. But, in reality this overused statement is false. You are not more likely to get sick if you go out in the cold versus the heat. This is a common misconception since cold season is usually when it is colder. This is because when it is colder, people tend to meet others indoors, where colds can spread more easily.  Or they are closer to other people due to the cold, allowing viruses to spread through breathing and coughing quickly.

Another common statement heard around this time is “getting the flu vaccine will make you catch the flu!”. Again, this is another common misconception. This is a false fact that has been spread. It is not possible to get the flu directly from receiving the vaccine. Most people feel slight cold symptoms and soreness within a few days following the date of receiving the vaccine. But, this reaction is nowhere in comparison to the severity of the vaccine.

“Antibiotics will cure colds” is another “solution” many people hear in response to getting colds. But, this is not true. Antibiotics only fight bacteria, not the viruses that cause colds. Although in some cases colds lead to bacterial infections where antibiotics are useful, for general colds they are proven ineffective. On the other hand if you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics are very effective and the effects are significant.

Throughout time, ideas get spread although not always true. That is why it is always important to consult a doctor or trusted sources before acting rashly when you come down with a cold. Most importantly, trust tested and verified ways of treating specific colds when doing self-treatment.

-Lilly G.

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Wow. As someone who spends hours having an existential crisis and constantly reads sad books to feel something. I think this book may have broken me.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is an absolutely brilliant book, if you understand it’s simple complexities. However I will admit, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The book is set around Adeline LaRue, an eccentric young women set on living her own life. No restrictions, no arranged marriages, and plain freedom. But in France, 1714 she’s forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. Desperate to escape she prays to the gods as her mentor, Estelle, taught her. However, she went against Estelle’s greatest warning. “Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.” A god answers Addie, granting her freedom and also immortality. The consequence, you might ask? She will live forever alone, without being remembered by anyone she’s seen or met. She will never leave a mark on the world.

When she turns to her village, no one remembers her. To them she is a stranger, a traveler, someone foreign and lost. But once she was a daughter, a friend, and now she is nothing. Desperate, she flees and decides to travel the world.

I’ll spare you the boring details because this book sadly has little to no plot. Instead you just watch a lonely girl wander the world, stealing to live, and slowly losing herself in the process. No one remembers her except for Luc, the god who cursed her. Who visits her every year on her birthday to try and claim her soul. But Addie hasn’t given up and refuses to die despite being alone.

But one day, in New York, March 13, 2014. The boy in the bookshop remembers her name. He remembers her. For the first time in hundreds of years, Addie hears the words, “I remember you.” Three small worlds, that tug Addie’s heart.

Because of all the people in the word who have forgotten Addie, the boy in the bookstore is someone special. Or at least- now he is to Addie. The rest of the story is a blur of tragic backstories, clothes tinged with alcohol, and running through the rain. Classic hopeless romantic tropes that may or may not have made me swoon.

But as I said before, this book will break you. Because what qualifies as love? Is it someone you have a connection with? Is it someone who you know everything about? Honestly who knows. However V.E. Schwab decided to write a triangle of sorts. It may be a love triangle between a god desperate to obtain her, a forgotten girl, and a boy who just wants to be loved. Or it’s just three “people” connected by horrible misfortunes. But none the less, it can only end in one pair.

So I have one question for anyone who wants to or has read this book. The same question I wondered after reading this book. Can you be manipulated into loving someone without knowing? And would you still love them?

–Ashley Y.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

RENT, the Musical

A playbill from the Original Broadway Cast of RENT.

RENT, the musical by Jonathan Larson, is one of my favorite musicals of all time. I’ve listened to a lot of musicals—and at this point, I can’t really name them all. But RENT makes it near the top of my favorites, because of its music, plot, and beautifully fleshed out characters. 

RENT tells the story of a group of starving artists living in Lower Manhattan’s East Village, from 1989 to 1990. During this period, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was wiping out thousands of people not only in the US, but all over the world. It was a devastating epidemic, and even today, around 35 million people have passed due to HIV/AIDS since 1981. This epidemic plays a huge role in the story of RENT, as different characters—Roger, Mimi, Angel, and Collins—are living with it, and one of them eventually passes away during the musical. 

The main characters include Mark, a filmmaker; Roger, his roommate and a musician; Mimi, a dancer at the local club; Angel, a drag queen and performer; Tom Collins, a professor; Maureen, a performer and actress; and Joanne, a lawyer and Maureen’s partner. All of them struggle to achieve their dreams, and this musical shows the struggle and the cost of wanting to achieve those dreams. RENT shows the discrimination and the stigma that surrounded HIV/AIDS during this time. This same stigma caused the real life deaths of so many people around the world. A disease that could’ve been stopped and prevented sooner, wasn’t, all because of discrimination. And the cost? Countless human lives. 

This is what Jonathan Larson set out to do when he wrote RENT. He lived in the same village the characters lived in, and he wanted to put out something that people could relate to. He based the experiences of the characters, especially the ones living with HIV/AIDS, on some of his own friends. Although, this was very controversial and experimental at the time. He wanted to write a rock musical, and those were rare—even never done before. It took him so many years and work to complete RENT and eventually have it produced and performed. The most heartbreaking thing about it all is that he passed away the night RENT was going to be debuted. He put in all his work, and never got to reap the fruits of his labor. 

But even so, RENT continues to be one of the most beloved musicals in the world, and a classic. So many productions have been performed around the world, and its been translated into so many languages. It also became a movie in 2005. The reason why RENT became so popular and beloved was because it was so real. You could feel the pain these characters were facing, you could relate to their loss, and you could relate to the joys they experienced together. The message RENT is trying to tell us is that no day is promised. No day is promised, and we need to cherish our lives with the people we love, and that is such a beautiful statement. 

No day but today!

Another Day, from RENT

-Claire C.

Manga Review: Erased by Kei Sanbe

Many of the popular manga we see nowadays center around action and fantasy. Such famous mangas still have amazing reads and obviously attract readers around the globe for a reason, but they fall short of meaning or depth in their plots. Yes, there’s a lengthy plot, lovable characters, and other factors that appeal to minds of all ages. But do these mangas also talk about the reality of our world? Do they bring heart-throbbing events where the main character can’t gain hope from a 30-minute monologue? I admit, Erased may not be the best book to those looking for a light-hearted novel, but it’s definitely worth reading and allows readers to see both the beauty and cruelty of our real world.

Erased is also referred to as Boku dake ga Inai Machi (僕だけがいない街), which is directly translated as “The Town Where Only I Am Missing.” Written by Kei Sanbe, the series is filled with thriller, mystery, and a bit of science fiction. The story entails of a young man named Satoru. He enables the ability to time-travel before a life-threatening event and prevent it from happening, also known as “Revival.” One night, his mother is murdered by an unknown killer; the pain-staking event sends Satoru eighteen years back into his childhood. After discovering that the murderer is tied to his past, Satoru is now given the opportunity to prevent his mother’s death by discovering who the murderer is, as well as solve the case of three missing children in his home town.

To be honest, there are moments where the plot doesn’t make sense—especially since the author never mentions why Satoru is able to time-travel. Regardless, the plot of the book series remains absolutely phenomenal; the author quickens the plot’s pace when necessary and fills it with extreme twists and events that leaves the audience filled with emotions. The characters themselves are either loved or despised, and every character reaches their fullest potential, regardless of being a hero or villain.

But I digress—what is most enjoyable about this book is its uniqueness and how meaningful the story is. Time-travel itself is quite a cheesy plot factor, but the connection between reality and fantasy is what makes the series interesting. Overall, the plot remains realistic; characters often make mistakes and feel lost, some moments seem hopeless, and a glimpse of light that every reader looks for rarely shines. Sanbe weaves the cruel reality of our world into the plot with regards to child abuse and kidnapping. Yet he still gives signs of faith and hope through time-traveling and fiction, giving Satoru another chance at making things right, and a bittersweet ending. Such factors are simply not found in any typical manga.

Overall, the Erased series is truly underrated. Although it does fit those who prefer the gory over glory, Erased does what any manga rarely does—give hope and faith to the hopelessness of our real world.

– Natisha P.

Erased by Kei Sanbe is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

5th Annual Harry Potter Trivia by MVL: July 30, 2021

Hello trivia enthusiasts! I hope you all enjoyed the fun, zoom-based, summer season of pop culture trivia series, hosted by Mission Viejo Library. In case you didn’t get a chance to participate this year, make sure to keep a lookout for all future trivia hosted by Mission Viejo Library. They are super fun, engaging and the questions really challenge your knowledge in a fun way. Our energetic trivia host makes the activity more thrilling.

Mission Viejo Library saved the best for the last. Our 4th and final summer trivia, hosted on July 30, 2021, was also our 5th Annual Harry Potter Trivia. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable trivia host covered the depths of the Harry Potter world. The trivia was designed in three rounds. Every round had 12 mind-boggling questions.  The host went through every round twice: once for the questions and once again for the answers.

Here are some of the questions he covered. See if you can guess them!

Round 1:

1. Name all the Weasleys from oldest to youngest.

  • Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny

2. What is the Dursleys’ address?

  • 4 Privet Drive

3. How many staircases does Hogwarts have?

  • 142 staircases 

Round 2:

1. Name all seven ingredients that create the Polyjuice Potion.

  • Lacewing flies, leeches, powdered Bicorn horn, knotgrass, fluxweed, shredded Boomslang skin, and a bit of the person you want to turn into.

2. Which spell is also known as the Thief’s Friend?

  • Alohomora

3. How much does a ticket for the Knight Bus cost if you include a cup of hot chocolate?

  • 14 Sickles

Round 3:

1. During Harry’s sixth year in Hogwarts, who is the instructor that taught the Apparition class?

  • Wilkie Tycross

2. Which ice cream flavor did Harry eat at the zoo when he went out with the Dursleys?

  • Lemon Ice Pop

3. What is the name of Draco Malfoy’s son?

  • Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy

Our Summer Trivia Program is now complete! If you joined us in any or all of the trivias, we hope you enjoyed it! If you missed it, come back next year! Hopefully we can even meet in person next year! 

-Anya P.

Name That Tune: Disney Edition by MVL: July 23, 2021

Hello trivia enthusiasts! I am sure you were enjoying the fun, zoom-based, summer season of pop culture trivia series, hosted by Mission Viejo Library. 

Our 3rd trivia, hosted on July 23, Name that Tune: Disney Edition was as exciting as it sounds. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable trivia host covered an array of nostalgic Disney movie tunes. The trivia was designed in three rounds. Every round had 10 mind scintillating tunes. The host played every tune three times for the trivia enthusiasts. The host went through every round twice: once for the clips and once again for the answers. If the attendees didn’t know the tunes, they had an option of guessing the movie name. Our generous host then challenged his audience more with a bonus round based on Disney TV tunes. The bonus round had 4 questions and had the same rules as the regular rounds.

Here are some of nostalgic tunes/ movies he covered:

  • “When will my life begin”: TANGLED
  • “Almost there”: PRINCESS AND THE FROG
  • “Un Poco Loco”: COCO
  • “Kiss the girl”: LITTLE MERMAID
  • “You’re Welcome”: MOANA
  • “You can Fly”: PETER PAN
  • “Everyone wants to be a cat”: THE ARISTOCATS
  • “Friend like me”: ALADDIN
  • “Topsy Turvy”: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
  • “Theme song”: PHINEAS AND FERB

I would totally recommend participating in fun family friendly events like these!

-Anya P.

Heroes and Villains Trivia by MVL, July 16, 2021

Hello readers! I hope you have already read my writeup on the first of the four zoom-based Summer Trivia Programs hosted by Mission Viejo Library in July 2021. By now, I hope you know how exciting and fun this summer season of pop culture trivia was!

Today I am writing about the second zoom based Trivia night that I attended on July 16, 2021. It was about Heroes and Villains! It consisted of some fun trivia questions from some of my favorite movies from Marvel and more: the Iron Man series, the Spider-Man series, the Batman series, and the Harry Potter series.

These were some of the questions. See if you can guess the answers yourself before checking the answers:

  1. In the film Captain America: The First Avenger, what is the name of the top secret project that turned Steve Rogers into a super soldier?
    • Project Rebirth
  2. In the Back to the Future trilogy, Marty McFly is antagonized by a member of the Tannen family. Name each iteration as they appear in the trilogy?
    • Biff Tannen, Griff Tannen, and Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen
  3. Which Hogwarts instructor was revealed to have erased the minds of witches and wizards while taking credit for their accomplishments?
    • Gilderoy Lockhart
  4. What is Dr. Octopus’ real name?
    • Otto Octavius
  5. S.T.A.R. Labs has a prominent role in numerous DC properties. What does S.T.A.R. stand for?
    • Scientific and Technological Advanced Research

These were some of the many fun questions we got to answer! The trivia nights consist of 3 rounds, and each round has 12 questions.

-Anya P.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 51C8Tg0TCaL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The first time I read The Book Thief was when the book was given to me by a family friend years ago. The second time was for school, to analyze it in English class. The third, and so far last time, was a few weeks ago. Every time I have read it, it has always been very enjoyable.

The novel takes place in Germany during the Second World War, a time of great tragedies and massive casualties for both soldiers on the battlefield and civilians at home. That tone is accentuated by the choice of the author Markus Zusak to have the narrator be the personification of Death himself. Death is not merely cold and unforgiving as society often perceives him. His character is far more solemn and sympathetic to the struggles of the characters.

And who are the characters? Well first there is the main one: Liesel Meminger, a young girl who is adopted by foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann. There is also Max Vandenburg, a Jew who hides in the Hubermann household, and several other more minor but no less interesting characters. 

Zusak does an excellent job of developing these characters and making the reader develop an emotional connection with them. Even Rosa Hubermann, who often seems rough and abrasive at the beginning, grows on the reader as the book goes on. That emotional connection makes all of the struggles and tragedies that afflict the characters throughout the book all the more heartbreaking.

Along with the theme of mortality and struggle is the theme of reading. Throughout these hard times, Liesel often finds an escape by reading several books. Liesel uses reading to connect with the ailing Max Vandenburg. The Nazis, being the antagonists of the book, often burn books that question their regime. The theme of reading contrasts sharply with the theme of mortality. Reading offers hope to the main characters while they deal with the trials and tribulations they are faced with.

And how relevant is that theme? The past year has been a struggle for all of us, and we often found reading as an escape from the problems we dealt with. During the beginning of the pandemic, when it felt like society was shutting down, we used reading to give us a glimmer of hope and as an escape from the stress of world events, just as how Liesel uses reading in the book.

Thus, The Book Thief, a book written a decade and a half ago remains relevant to the struggles we face today, and remains one of my favorite books of all time.

-Adam A.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Nathan Pesta Biography

Nathan Pesta, going by the name of Npesta on Youtube and Twitch, is a famous content creator with a large following. Like many other content creators on these platforms, not many people know about his personal life. Pesta was born on August 1st, 2002 in Pennsylvania, where he would continue to live even today. His followers know him for streaming on Twitch and uploading stream highlights to YouTube, but the large majority of the internet knows him for having a very loud and funny reaction to beating a level in the game Geometry Dash. Ever since this reaction became a meme and was featured in a Pewdiepie video (a very famous Swedish Youtuber), Pesta’s Youtube and Twitch channels have been growing exponentially, with his Youtube having 160 thousand subscribers and his Twitch having 53 thousand followers. Along with Geometry Dash, he also loves to stream other games such as Super Mario Maker, Osu! Mania, Minecraft, and others. Pesta has also hired an editor who goes by the name Doggie on Youtube and Twitch. Unlike Pesta, Doggie only streams and uploads content related to Geometry Dash. Pesta hiring Doggie as an editor has contributed to his massive growth, as Doggie’s edits are really good at amplifying Pesta’s funny and vibrant personality. Today, because of the Covid-19 virus, Pesta has taken leave from college (due to online classes being expensive and therefore not worth it). This has allowed more time for Pesta to stream and make content, as he does not have to worry about school work.

-Jeremy L.