I’m coming out of the woodwork today, in the midst of this global crisis that has befallen us. My hiatus was good, but I’m coming back into the thick of it, because there are some things that need to be said.
COVID-19, colloquially known as Coronavirus, is the infectious respiratory disease caused by the recently-discovered SARS-CoV-2 virus. Mostly affecting the elderly and those with preexisting conditions (e.g. lung disease, diabetes), the virus causes symptoms which could easily be mistaken for an ordinary flu. Yet, the condition has completely changed our lives in a shockingly short time scale. The economy has gone into shock, the Olympics have been postponed for the first time in over 75 years, and you can fly round trip across the U.S. for less that $50.
There has been a lot of different reactions among the general population. For some people it’s been business as usual, and others have gone into full doomsday survival mode. But one thing that has remained constant is the amount of rumors and information ravaging the internet lately. I’ve personally heard so much hearsay, both plausible and absurd, and after browsing shared Facebook articles for a while, I realized that I had to do something. Misinformation is spreading like wildfire and I want to be part of the fire brigade that puts it out. So, here are the most common statements I’ve heard about Coronavirus, verified and fact-checked. Some are true and some are not; I’m just setting the record straight. Read on and see which ones you believed or didn’t believe.
Yes, it’s true, and I can imagine what you’re thinking right now. “It’s the end of September! What kind of school are you going to that starts their classes so late?”. And if I were you, I’d be thinking the exact same thing. But I will explain.
My classes did in fact start last month – August 28th, to be exact. It happened, but I’d say that I was quite unprepared for college. The summer was not focused on my education, but rather my excessive sleep and several empty promises. I sort of lost my way, I guess. High school tired me out so much and I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do with myself. I didn’t even decide for sure where I was going to college until early/mid August, and before then, my plan was to just get a job, earn some money and go with the flow. But it wasn’t as easy or as simple as I thought. I had to choose college in order to have some order and a foundation in my life.
A week before classes started and it finally sunk in what was going to happen. College. The official next big step in my life. I’d be looking back at it for my entire life, no doubt. Though I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t like the idea, I decided to just go through the motions, do what I could. “Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.”
Well, in short, it wasn’t so hot at first. The first day felt normal in an odd way; I hadn’t at all absorbed what was going on. I wasn’t as there as I should’ve been. The whole week was like that, and I just went along with it, treating it as something that I had to just get up and do. And I thought that that would be the whole college experience, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I felt like I didn’t fit in there, like everyone knew what they were doing besides me.
But things got better on their own. Earlier on I’d agreed with myself that I’d try my hardest to make something out of the college experience, to not squander it and get good grades and to actually do something. So I guess that’s when I started having to implement it. More and more work got assigned, and I had to adapt.
And this week is when I realized, it happened. It wasn’t like I instantly became aware and successful in college life, but that I came to a realization. It was just after class on Wednesday, and I was sitting right outside of the library, and I was thinking about all the things I had done. I just left class early. I worked on my homework and studied by myself. I saw a cute girl and wanted to say hi. I evaluated what my days had been spent doing and I realized: I was a college student. The way I acted and the things I did finally reflected it. At that moment I felt it, and it was different than how I’d felt on the 28th of August. And it was okay.
Now I hope I’ve avoided turning this into a meaningless babble about my recent college experience. But I hope you guys understand my feelings, and I’d love to know if any of you have been through anything similar. Comment below with questions or comments; I love to hear about other people’s experiences as well.
The Little Mermaid – an awesome classic Disney animated movie, remade and turned into a musical! This version was produced and performed by the amazing folks at Glasgow High School, a public high school in Newark, Delaware. I personally attended this play, and I had a great time! The acting was spectacular and the performance went smoothly–it’s too good for me not to tell you about it.
Surely you already know the story of The Little Mermaid, but for those of you that don’t, it is a very interesting story! Based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid is the story of a teenage mermaid name Ariel. Born into royalty, she is very dissatisfied with underwater life, and longs to go above the surface, to learn more about human life.
Her mother, Queen Triton, despises humans and forbids her from going above the surface. She misunderstands humans, for when Ariel was younger, her father was killed by a human hunter. Ariel sees past it, though. She, along with her best friend Flounder, travel to the surface every once in a while in order to collect human artifacts and visit their companion, a seagull named Scuttle. She has a huge collection that she absolutely admires, and sings the song “Part Of Your World” in order to describe her sorrows.
“Part Of Your World” performed by Liz Hamil
Sebastian, a crab working for Queen Triton, is assigned to look after Ariel. Meanwhile, Ariel is busy longing about the beautiful man she saw when she went to the surface, a prince named Eric. Unknowingly, Eric spotted Ariel as well, and is also obsessing over her. He is amazed by how beautiful she is, and vows to come back and find her.
Soon after, Ariel meets her mother’s evil sister, Ursula. Ariel is desperate to go and find Prince Eric, so she strikes a deal with Ursula–she will give her legs and the ability to walk on land like a normal human, just as she’s always wished. But, in exchange for being a human, Ursula gets to keep Ariel’s voice, rendering her mute. If she can get Eric to kiss her within 3 days, she will remain a human forever and get her voice back. If not, she will turn into a mermaid again and her soul will belong to Ursula forever.
The Little Mermaid is an enchanting play that teaches love, acceptance, and friendship. It’s something that all family members can enjoy, and it was performed really well right here. The musical aspect of it was amazing as well; I applaud the orchestra for doing as good a job as they did!
Cast & Crew
Everyone involved did a spectacular job! I’m really proud of them for working so hard and putting on such a great show. The costumes were as accurate as possible, and did a really great job of bringing the play to life. Here are pictures and descriptions of the main cast and crew:
Ariel – Elizabeth Hamill
Prince Eric – Jacob Zervas
Sebastian – Ernest Drake
Flounder – Sabina Troncone
Ursula – Julian Turner
King Triton/Queen Triton – Ahlyssa Sooy-Mattson
Scuttle – Nathalie Balog
Grimsby – Scot Nordmeier
There are many more than just those above, of course! I will include pictures of the entire cast in the credits at the bottom of this post. More photos will also be uploaded in a photo gallery that I will upload later.
Luckily, I got the chance to interview one of the star cast members. Jacob Zervas, a senior at Glasgow and the actor who played Prince Eric. He’s also a personal friend of mine who I’ve known since a very young age. He was open to answering any questions that I had for him, so I decided to do a mini interview and ask a couple questions about the play, the production, and the experience as a whole. Here are the questions and answers below.
Q: So Jacob, that was a really awesome performance you put on last weekend, needless to say. How long were you working on it? How often did you practice?
A: We start rehearsals in November and work scene by scene with occasional run through of what we know. As we get closer to the play we begin having everyone at rehearsal and run either act one or two for 2 weeks and extend practice from 4:30 to 5. The last week before the show has 3 rehearsals that run from 2-9 at night and two Saturdays 9-1. As for the sets,the art teacher and a variety of cast and parents all start helping in build days, mainly Saturdays, building, painting, and doing everything in between, as all of our sets are made from scratch. Both rehearsals and set creation takes up to essentially the night of the show, same deal with costume creation/collection.
Q: Very nice. How difficult was the acting for you? Did you have trouble with any specific parts?
A: I was very nervous with signing in general. I’ve never been a great singer per say, but my confidence and vocal range improved drastically throughout making the show.
Q: I see. Was the kissing part difficult, or did you guys have a sort of unspoken agreement?
A: Well me and Liz have dated before and we’re super comfortable around each other so we both knew at the beginning that the whole kissing thing would be a piece of cake.
Q: Lastly, how would you rate the entire experience, on a scale from 1-10?
A: Everything has there rough spots. There’s always alot of stress when getting down to the wire. But the payoff is so amazing. So 9.5!
If you missed the showings of this play, no need to worry! If you are in or around the northern Delaware area, in early march, then you will be able to catch the play put on by the Glasgow High School drama team. They do something different every year, and each one is just as amazing as the last! If I get the chance, I’ll surely blog about the one they have next year. It’s sure to be a 10/10 performance that you and the whole family will love!
(Photo credits are at the bottom. If I used one of your photos, please notify me so that I may give you the proper credit.)
This seems to be one of those things, y’know? One of those things that begins as a fleeting idea in your mind, and then you Google it to see if it’s really possible. Then, you find out that it is indeed very possible, and you end up bookmarking it, promising yourself that you’ll do it once you have enough time. One of those things.
That happened with me, honestly. As with many things, I put this on the back burner, hoping to do it once I had some time–but I never did. I pretty much forgot that this was even a thing, and so I never got around to doing it. Until today, that is. I was thinking about something interesting that I should do, and I remembered about this idea, the thought creating your own font using a pre-printed template. I looked into it more, and as it turns out, it’s a LOT more simple than I thought! The whole process, from start to finish, took me less than an hour in total, and the results were better than I thought they would be.
Perhaps you have wondered about this yourself. Maybe you have been curious about what your handwriting would look like if it were typed on a computer screen, or to try to trick someone into thinking a typed essay was handwritten. I’m showing you this guide so you’ll all know how easy it is; hopefully you won’t have any reservations, and maybe you’ll even try it out yourself!
Step 1: Print out your template
For this entire tutorial, I’ll be using a website known as MyScriptFont.com. This website is very specifically dedicated for this exact purpose–for creating your very own customized font. I’ve heard about this site from a few different sources, so I decided to go with it.
This is the page you will be directed to. The first thing you have to do is to get one of their pre-made templates. Basically, all this does is it tells the website what each letter is supposed to look like. e.g., whatever you write in the box labeled “E”, it’ll let the website know that that is what the letter E is supposed to look like. Simply click on either one of the template links (I prefer the one that says “PDF”, although for some it doesn’t make a big difference) and download it like you normally would.
This is what the next page should look like. Each one of the squares has a watermark made to show which box corresponds to which box. It starts with the uppercase letters, then the lowercase letters, then the symbols, then the accented letters. All the characters that you’d need on a regular basis, really.
This is what my hard copy looked like. My printer was out of ink so I used the public one at my school, but any printer at all will work, so long as it has a good amount of black ink and it prints nice and evenly. See how the letters in the boxes are really light, barely noticeable so that you can only barely make it out? It’s supposed to be like this, actually. This ensures that the only thing that scans is the letters that you write, and not the watermarks themselves.
Step 2: Fill out your template completely
Now, fill out all of the boxes with the correct letters. Again, the watermarks should be very light, but you should still be able to see them well enough to make out which ones are which. Use a black felt pen for the best results and dark, uniform letters. I decided to use a regular black pen, but if you happen to be a perfectionist and want your font to be real solid, then a felt pen would be the way to go.
Step 3: Scan your template
Once that’s all done, you simply have to scan the template, in order to get the information back to the website. For people who don’t do it regularly, scanning may seem like something difficult or foreign, and you may feel tempted to push something aside once you find out that it requires a scan. That’s far from true, though; this is my first time scanning something myself, and it was actually pretty simple.
The process varies depending on what computer you have, what programs are available, and what scanner you used., but if you already have things set up, it should be a breeze. I simply went into Microsoft Paint, selected the “From scanner or camera” option in the ‘Files’ drop down menu, and then clicked “scan”. If your template is aligned right on the scanner, then it should pop up in your previously blank MS Paint document, and at that point, all you need to do is click “Save”.
Step 4: Upload your template
Now, here’s the fun part: where you actually get to see what your new font will look like. Click “Choose File” and then find the file that you saved in the previous step. Oh yeah, and the awesome part about this step? You get to name your font, too! I chose “Times New Hayden”, since that’s what I’ve always imagined that I would name my font, if I ever were to get around to making it. Anyways, once you name your font, click “Start” (don’t mess with the output format, by the way), and it should lead you to a page that shows you a preview of what your font will look like. It should show some or all of the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. If it all checks out, then click the blue text there at the bottom and download the file. As you can see, my lowercase ‘0’ is a little too far to the right, but it’s manageable.
Step 5: Install and start using your font
This is the final step you have to take before you can finally use your font. Go to your document in the File Explorer, or, to make it easier to find, move the file onto your desktop. However you do it, you now have to right click on the file and select ‘Install’. This just tells the computer “Alright everyone, this is a legit font. Let them use it whenever they want”. It does require the administrator password though, for me at least. After that, the font is officially installed on your computer and is ready to use. All you need to do now is test it out…
It works!! A completely new font was just created from scratch in a relatively small amount of time. I’m very pleased with the results; I expected to have many problems that would require a ton of troubleshooting, taking up at least the rest of my afternoon. But that, in fact, was not the case. I had minimal problems with the maximum results–something that is great to have with projects like this.
This is how Times New Hayden looks compared to my actual handwriting. Pretty neat, right? This is a fun project that I strongly recommend doing, for anyone with a little bit of free time looking for something cool to do on the Internet. The possibilities are endless!
To download and use Times New Hayden yourself, click here. Otherwise, feel free to comment below with what your experiences were like with this project, or any tips, advice, or questions you might want to share.