Mission Viejo Haunted Escape Room

This Saturday, October 27, 2018, my friends and I went to the Mission Viejo Library escape room. I had never gone to an escape room before, and this was a great introduction. In the escape room, our group had to solve various challenges to figure out how to open the padlocked large box. In the box, there was a cure which would save us from the witch’s curse. This backstory helped motivate us to break the locks.

The first key that we found was under the lamp, which opened a smaller box. In that box, we found a battery and a key. We didn’t know what to do with these, so we started looking around and discovered that one of the books on the shelf was fake. It turned out there was a lockbox inside. We used the key we found earlier and opened the lockbox. Inside was a blacklight flashlight which we then put the batteries in. We walked around the room and looked at everything with the flashlight. We found a padlock with three different locks. One lock had different letters it that was opened by various cards we found on the table. Another padlock was solved through different highlighted numbers on a piece of paper that we found taped to the wall. Also taped to the walls were clock hands pointing in different directions that matched the third padlock. When we unlocked the final set of locks, we were finally able to open the box!

I really liked the spiderwebs and skeleton decorating the room as well as the scary music because it gave the whole atmosphere a scary vibe. Overall, this was a fun and challenging experience, and I am looking forward to doing more escape rooms!

Andy Weir

On July 18th, Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Artemis, visited the Norman P Murray center. After his introduction, he talked about how he “accidentally “ became an author. As a child, his Father had many science-fiction novels on his bookshelf. Weir, reflecting on this, said  he was “doomed to become a nerd.” He read those novels, and fell in love with those books because of the extensive focus on science in them.

At 15, he was hired by Sandia labs to be an intern. There, he was introduced to computers and fell in love with them. His passion for writing also kept increasing at this time. When the time to choose a college came, he wanted to write, but “wanted regular meals,” so he chose to pursue software engineering. In college, he was in debt and was not able to complete his degree. Fortunately, the software industry was desperate for engineers, so Weir was hired. Eventually, he landed a job at aol, but was laid off. He had enough money from stocks to pursue his dream of writing, but was unsuccessful, and went back to software engineering.

In the early 2000s, Weir made a website to publish his stories on. He would publish longer stories, and post a chapter at a time. His fanbase loved one in particular: the one about a man stranded on Mars. Dubbed, The Martian, it rose to popularity among his dedicated core group of “nerd readers.” One day, he got an email requesting him to create downloadable versions of his writing. So, he proceeded to self-publish on Amazon.

Initially, he was hesitant about that because of the minimum purchase price because he always wanted his work to be free. However, people did not mind paying the price, and he had people who wanted to donate to him. He said he did not want any donations because he was comfortable in his life. People, however, “donated” to him by purchasing his ebook on Amazon. Eventually, it rose to do the top ten in the science fiction category on the Amazon bookstore.

From there, he was approached by an agent and The Martian was eventually published by Random House. Once it was released, it was #2 on The New York Times Bestseller List, and the movie deal was confirmed with 20th Century Fox. After the immense success of The Martian, Weir wrote Artemis. This novel is about the first human establishment on the moon, and it is in the perspective of a 26 year-old women, and how she is entangled within various struggles.

As a writer, Weir aims to write 1000 words a day, and states that the “hardest part of writing is writing.” For aspiring writers, he has three pieces of advice: 1) In order to be a writer, you have to write. Sitting there and thinking about your story is not the same as writing. 2) Resist the urge to tell your story to other people until it is done because it saps your own will to finish the story. 3) There has never been a better time to self-publish. Because of this, there is no need to spend so much money on an agent, and by self-publishing, one can see how their book does without any risk of losing money. Seeing Andy Weir was a great opportunity, and I loved hearing him talk about his life and writing. I can’t wait to see what will happen with Weir;s future works, and if there are more movies adapted from his work.

-Anmol K.

The works of Andy Weir are available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library

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

Mission Viejo: Pumpkin Dive!

Looking forward to Halloween? Need a way to cool off in the sunny California weather? If so, the Pumpkin Dive is perfect for you!

Located at the Sierra Rec Center, this event is perfect for kids of all ages, especially younger ones. For only five dollars, you get access to unlimited attractions, like pumpkin decorating stations, pool play, and fun carnival games.

Halloween is a holiday many have been waiting ages for! All that candy gathered in just one day! It’s unimaginable, right.

But who wants a boring, bland pumpkin lying on their doorstep? Here at the Pumpkin Dive, tents are provided, sheltering tables and tables with mounds of crafts heaped in paper plates. Pumpkins, you’re getting a makeover. Let young ones overflow with creativity, imagination, and fun and let them decorate their own pumpkin and become their own Michelangelo!

And plus, enter the pumpkin decorating contest for a great opportunity to win a free one-month membership!

But days under the blazing California sun are incredibly hot. Cool off in the pool! But that’s not the real reason this amazing event is called the Pumpkin “Dive.” Turn the pool into a floating pumpkin patch! So decorate your pumpkins, set it into the pool, and make a beautiful, festive Halloween-themed floating pumpkin patch!

If anyone is looking for a fun, creative way to cool off and spend the afternoon, the Pumpkin Dive has it completely covered. Have a spooky Halloween!

-Katharine L.

The Pumpkin Dive at the Sierra Rec Center

While a lot of people were probably enjoying their air-conditioning on Sunday, elementary school kids, other volunteers, and I had a blast at the Sierra Rec Center. Diving for pumpkins was a lot more fun in the 95 degree heat, instead of the rain like last year.

The event lasted from 2 to 5, and started off with kids jumping into the pool to find the perfect pumpkin. I thought that pumpkins would sink to the bottom of the pool, but who knew that they float?

After the kids found their perfect pumpkin, they got to decorate! With some paint bottles, stickers, googly eyes and pom poms, I saw a lot of creative designs. Painting the pumpkin pink was a really popular choice too.

And I can’t forget about the carnival games we had. There was a basketball hoop, some bean bag tosses, and face paint. The kids won prizes, and volunteers did an amazing job with the face paint.

Even though this wasn’t a teen event, you would’ve had a blast if you brought your siblings!

-Rebecca V.

Click here to see some photos from the event!

Event Recap: Teen Writing Workshop with Alyson Noël

teen_writing_workshopEarlier this month, an exceptional author came to Mission Viejo City Hall to talk about the basics of writing a story.

Alyson Noël is a very well-known author who writes books for young adults. She started her career as a flight attendant, but after the incident of 9/11, she became a writer. Since she was twelve years old, Alyson dreamed of being a writer. The Immortals, The Soul Seekers, and The Riley Bloom Series were some of the many books she has written.

Alyson Noël began her presentation by telling the audience about her early life. Her family was very poor and she took writing classes to benefit her writing when she was a teen. Her first book, Faking 19, took Alyson fifteen years to write. She kept on revising the book since the New York publishers kept rejecting it because it did not include a conflict. Now, Alyson Noël has written a lot more books that have been sold in a million copies, written in about fifty languages, and sold to an estimate of thirty countries.

Alyson also gave the audience many tips about writing. She explained that all stories need characters that transform, have goals, and have motivation. In addition, she advised that every plot must have a conflict and a theme. In my opinion, her speech was very inspiring and informative. She said that writing is harder than it looks, and there is nothing more intimidating to a writer than a blank page.

In addition, Alyson Noël recommended some books on writing such as Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, Story by Robert McKee, and On Writing by Stephen King.

For those who do not like to write or are not very good at writing, Alyson Noël’s speech might change your mind!

-Riley W., 6th grade

Event Recap: Lauren Oliver Author Visit

Lauren_Oliver_booksA few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend my first author event! New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver’s visit to the Mission Viejo Library helped me look at writing with a newer and fresher perspective.

I loved hearing how Lauren Oliver got her inspiration. She had many factors and ideas that popped in her brain and inspired her to write something. She also related to me and many other individuals in the story time room by talking about how she figured out she wanted to be an author. She gave us many helpful techniques that she performed in her childhood. They helped her with her writing skills and the multiple genres that she can now write.

Fans arrived as early as one hour ahead of the event’s start time; a very exciting environment in the room. Lauren Oliver talked to the audience about how she’s been writing ever since she was a child. She loved to read, and she learned that technique from her parents, who are literature professors. Her father, especially, was a big influence in her writing methods.

Lauren Oliver signingLauren has been writing every day since she was nine years old. She first started to compose long novels in her freshman year of high school. In her senior year of college, she completed her first accomplishment of a long novel. She currently has an MFA in creative writing from NYU. After her years at NYU, Lauren started to work at Penguin Books, a major publishing company.

She got the inspiration for her hit book series, Delirium, when she took a trip to the gym. She was thinking about the swine flu epidemic going around and knew that she wanted to write her next novel about love. So, she created the series Delirium, which is about people living in a world in which love itself is a disease. Continue reading