The Adventures of Thalia and Friends: The Starbucks Run

The upside of living on a college campus is that students tend to leave food everywhere. Sometimes they’ll even just give you food, if you do something funny for them.

The downside though is that they never give you the food you want. Ask for the hot dog, and you get part of the bun. Just one piece of pepperoni? They’ll give you a glob of cheese. Trying to get some of that divine smelling chicken? Hope you like pickles, cause that’s probably what you’ll get instead!

Personally, I don’t like trying to get food from humans. It’s a lot of effort for very little reward, and I always run the risk of being met with screams when I let them see me. Also, it only works outside (students hate finding a rat in the dorm rooms,  found that one out the hard way).

Calliope, however, loves getting humans to give up food, and as I am her best friend, she drags me out with her occasionally, and since today was the first time in months it had been warm enough for students to actually go outside, we left the relative comfort of the dorm room to make the journey to the campus Starbucks.

Calliope bounded up to the patio to beg for scraps, immediately getting a reaction from the humans. I decided to hang back, since Calliope was way better at this sort of thing.

“Awww, what a cute little mouse!”

“Ew! Rebecca, it probably has rabies!”

“Oh, don’t be mean, Kaitlyn. I’ll bet she’s just hungry.” The human was already pulling at whatever food item she had on the table. “Are you hungry, cutie?”

“Yes! Very! Give me your food, human!”

“Just listen to those happy squeaks!” The human cooed again and then tossed down some kind of bread. “There you go! Enjoy!”

Calliope grabbed the bread and returned to the bush I was hiding under. “Check it out, Thalia! It’s got something really yummy smelling on it!”

The bread did smell good, but it was still only bread. “Great work, Calliope!”

“Are you gonna try and get something, Tals?”

“I’m not sure they’d give me anything,” I said.

“So steal it.”

Calliope squeaked and practically jumped ten inches into the air at the unexpected voice, but I’d seen our new companion approaching from around the side of the building.

“Hey Polyhymnia,” I said, giving the raccoon my best smile.

“Polly! You scared me!” Calliope said, recovering from her fright. “And what do you mean steal?”

Polyhymnia grinned, letting her mischievous nature shine through. “Watch and learn, Cali.”

Polyhymnia crept towards the patio, keeping out of sight whenever she could.  She was only a few feet away from the humans Calliope had begged from when she pounced, hissing and baring her teeth.

The humans screamed, dropped their food and drinks, and then ran away. “This is why you don’t feed wild animals, Rebecca!”

Polyhymnia dragged her bounty off the patio, and Calliope and I rushed to help her.

“Woah! You got so much food!” Calliope said, investigating a sweet smelling bread.

“Not just food!” Polyhymnia said, nosing at the cups. “This human drink is amazing! And these ones are cold, so no burns!”

“What is it though?” I sniffed at the white drink; it smelled sweet.

“I dunno. But you should try it!” Polyhymnia said, trying to pry the lid off of the cup she’d grabbed. The liquid in her cup was brown. I slipped my head into the opening at the top of my cup, and gave the mysterious drink a taste.

“Holy—”


“Ian! Check out that crazy rat!” Kyle pointed towards the edge of the patio, where a rat was going nuts after having gotten into someone’s coffee.

“Dude! We gotta get that on film; we can put it on Tik Tok!” Kyle said, already pulling out his phone. “You go, coffee rat!”

 

Opportunity, NASA’s Mars Rover, Has Died

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that NASA was running out of options in their efforts to reboot the Mars rover known as Opportunity after a dust storm blocked off the rover’s solar panels. Sadly, on Wednesday, Opportunity died after 14 years of hard work and the mission was declared complete.

The rover, which traveled over 28 miles during its mission, was unable to wake up after being frozen due to the harsh Mars weather. The rover’s last words in June were: “My battery is getting low and it’s getting dark.”

The rover was expected to recover as it has done previously but unfortunately, the rover didn’t wake up. The final resting place of the rover is called Perseverance Valley.

Opportunity’s many accomplishments include outlasting its twin, Spirit, by 8 years, remembering over 800 different commands from scientists, and finding a possible area where water had been on Mars.

Now, Curiosity is the only NASA rover left on the Red Planet until the launch of another rover in 2020 and the future launch of Britain and Russia’s first rover.

It was an opportunity for NASA to learn more when Opportunity was sent to the red planet and oh boy, Oppy did everything imaginable.

RIP to one of the best missions in NASA’s history.

Love Poem

Hand raised,

Flinch and cover,

“Don’t hit me,”

In response to a loving caress of the cheek.

Pushed up against the wall,

Panic, “I can’t escape.”

Passionate kisses are impossible.

Grabbing wrist gently.

“No.” I must be able to fight.

“Don’t restrain me.”

I trust you,

But memories come back

Of every hurt you never inflicted.

I am fearful of speaking my mind

Because he screamed at me.

“You’re just my slut….

No one will want you….

You are selfish….

You are worthless…

I am the only one who loves you.”

He beat me,

Leaving watercolor rectangular bruises on the back of my thighs,

Smacking my face when I misbehaved.

He made me do whatever he wanted,

Covered me in kisses like nothing ever happened,

A bad dream nothing more.

My love never treated me like a broken porcelain doll

But rather saw me,

Beautiful and strong,

An invincible girl mistreated and deserving of love.

Love says, “You deserve everything.”

Love gave me back to myself after he destroyed me.

Love still has to deal with the scars of my past,

But never tires of loving and caring for me.

Love treats me like a warrior princess

Holding me close to his chest,

Always understanding of what I need.

Love is my everything.

President Trump Has Declared A National Emergency For The Wall

President Donald Trump, since day one of his presidential campaign, has said a wall would be built along the Mexican and U.S. border to stop illegal immigration. Unfortunately, it took declaring a national emergency in front of the Rose Garden.

In front of multiple reporters and press, President Trump declared the national emergency, stating, “the current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency.”

However, President Trump did state in his press conference that even he isn’t sure that this type of national emergency will be allowed in the court of law but this was the only way for him to get funds after the Senate and House passed the spending bill to avoid a government shutdown again. That bill only has $1.5 billion of the $5 billion that the president had originally wanted.

Now, it is expected that Trump will get at least $8 billion in funds if the order stands in the courts. It could also lead to more presidents declaring national emergencies to accomplish their campaign promises, which has both Democrats and Republicans fearful.

The 1,954-mile border which separates Mexico and the United States does have some type of border, but it’s not a wall. Rather, the border is made up of fences with barbed wire and there is even a butterfly sanctuary (featured in another article).

Some people are aware that the wall can present risks to wildlife that are crucial to the areas, but the White House has not presented any evidence that would show otherwise and have not even talked about it.

Even the true cost of an actual wall on the Mexico and U.S. border is estimated to be over $20 billion, but the amount that the president is getting is only worth renovating the areas that have a border.

There’s so much that can be talked about this wall and whether or not it is going to actually happen, but it’s going to be an interesting next few years in the court system.

Forgive and Forget

Part 1: Forgive

You forgave the mother who
Birthed, traumatized and left me in fear
You forgave the best friend who
Spent years putting me down to make himself feel better
You forgave that girl on the bus who
Barely knew you but touched you without consent
You forgave that short blonde girl who
Broke your heart and kissed her crush in front of you
You forgave the drug dealer who
Threatened to assault you because of false accusations
You forgave the nerdy best friend who
Left you to be tormented by the other kids
You forgave the 7th-grade class who
Bullied you to the brink of antisocial isolation
You forgave the father who
Was barely around and used you as physical labor
You forgave all of these people

Or did you?
You spent years letting
The emotions tear away
You let the pain
Sit on your shoulders
You let the emotion bundle up inside like a butterfly
In a cocoon
It hatched
And flew away
Now the feeling is gone

You don’t care
Why forgive people
Who don’t deserve it?
If the body is numb
Is the mind numb?
Does the emotional trauma heal
Or does it get worse?
Time heals all wounds
But some wounds stain the mind
Fear’s trophy case
Does it really even matter anymore?

Hold the feelings in your hands
Let them slide between your fingers
Into the dark abyss
One lie at a time
One fear at a time
Watch it fall
And then let the tension
Drop like rain
One drop at a time
But enough to
Let the sun out
So you can see your shadow
Of who you were

Part 2: Forget

Breathe….1, 2, 3….
And like a gasp of air hold it in
And then let it out
Whoosh, let the emotion out
Like a summer breeze, it will calmly escape
And you’ll forget
Ignorant bliss
Memory does not stay in the mind
It flees
Because it doesn’t want to face the pain
You want to forget
You always did

Child of Starlight: Issue 2 – Part 4: Celestial Chief

Aliene looked up past the branches into darkness. “Yes it was.” Aliene stood pulling her sword and bow out of her pack.

As Jacobus loosed his reach and contracted it, the muscles in his arms visible grew. With a blast of wind from the brush a voice called to them, saying something just out of hearing. The pair exchanged glances until Aliene froze, visibly disturbed. “Did you hear that?”

“Just now?” Jacobus questioned, Aliene nodded. “No.”

“There it is again,” Aliene stood from her crouched position. “It’s calling me to it.”

“What is?”

“I don’t really know,” Aliene started walking sword still raised. “Come on, grab the brick from my bag.”

Jacobus didn’t answer, just obeyed and followed behind her, leaving his own pack and the rest of hers. He looked past Aliene into the inky blackness that enveloped her, then it filled his own vision. Until the faint glow of something in the distance appeared, and a voice came from all around saying, ‘Go towards it and fire an arrow.’

“Now that I—” Jacobus was cut off by Aliene shushing him.

After the sounds of a bow creaking followed by the whoosh of its release, an explosion of light rushed past them. What had been a black abyss was now filled with countless flecks of light. Swirling like firefly’s in a dome, that then became still appearing to be stars in a clear sky. Jacobus felt a hand on his shoulder force him into kneeling, he fought it in vain till he saw what it was. A man taller and broader than any Jacobus had ever seen, and as the being passed by him he saw the legs of an equian. It was in fact a full body of an equian as the beings lower half, the feet of which were large thick talons, the digits linked by webbing. His whole body had a rough skin that glistened like scales, and a pair of long folded fins sprouted from the sides of his left forearm.

“Daughter do you know me?” the voice from earlier said as the being approached Aliene.

She had fallen to her knees staring at it, “Yes,” her voice was meek.

“Say it, child of starlight.”

“Aquar Equias, Chief of hunters, Centauri,” Aliene flinched as the being flexed, extending his left arm and watched him pull his right hand along his left arm like you would a bow. She looked on in amazement as a sliver of pale blue light manifested, Centauri aimed upward and fired the sliver. It claimed into the air and burst becoming almost like a sun that began filling the area with soft blue light.

“Dear child how long I have watched you grow,” Centauri spoke with a voice that made the air shiver. “Your strength is something beyond mortal limits. You bring me honor,” the being turned to Jacobus, “So you will quiet your mind boy, I am one of the avatars for her pantheon of gods.”

Aliene coughed out a breath tearing up as she looked to the being who would be her god. “Why Me?” Aliene says finally letting tears flow down her cheeks. “Why would you do this to me,” Aliene screamed it clutching her chest.

Centauri was silent for a moment, “If I knew child I would tell you, truly. It is your mark, it was made by your magic, I have watched over my tribe for a thousand generations. I have seen heroes be foretold come to pass and be welcomed amongst the starlight households.” The being of hunters bent to place his hand under Aliene’s chin lifting her face. He looked into her hazel eyes that begged for relief, to have this burden lifted. “You are different, you have something more than what I know, how you live, how you deal with this, will be up to you. All I can do is arm you with what I do know, give me your bow.”

Aliene lifts her weapon with both hands bowing her head, as she does the weapon changes flashes of light force her eyes closed. When the light subsided, she looks at what her bow had become. Heavier than before and almost pulsing with magic. It was thinner, but as she gripped it the ends fanned out like the gods own arm. “Give it a try.”

Aliene stood her mind asking why there was no bowstring, but her body just moving. Her arm went through the motions and as she drew her magic was pulled from her hand. She aimed at a tree that appeared some ways off, half rotten and released. With a hiss and whistle her target more splattered than splintered but was missing a huge section in an instant.

“Raw power has its uses, merely think sharper to pierce a target, though try not to use this more than ten times a day child. Don’t lose it I have blessed it but Hafwen did spend weeks making it for you in the first place,” Centauri smiled at her beneath his star filled eyes and nodded at Jacobus, “He is more than he seems, don’t discard such faith.”

Jacobus had stayed a good distance form the girl and the god, kneeling and as the being of hunters nodded at him he stood only to drop the meteor stone. “What the,” Jacobus picked it up as Centauri appear beside him, no sound, no warning. The being took it, examining the stone for the moment.

“Interesting, this is the star that fell to you?” Jacobus nodded to answer him. “This is from the House of Crafting.” Centauri looked up towards the sky, seemingly past the darkness. “I give you this advice young one, in the heart of a mountain north of here lives a being much like myself, should you find him give him this stone.”

Aliene opened her mouth to reply but was suddenly blinded by white hot light, when she blinked rapidly to adjust her eyes she heard the buzz of insects calling and the song of birds fill the air.

Facebook May Hide Pro-Anti Vaccination News Because of False Info

For years now, a battle has been brewing between anti-vaxxers and everyone else. Whether or not, vaccines cause mental disabilities like autism. Now, with a measles outbreak going on in the United States, Facebook has taken steps to limit the outbreak and the anti-vaxxers opinions from being released.

After a rough year of dealing with tons of fake news and being criticized for not being able to control the news, Facebook has stepped up to the plate and decided to control the spread of false news relating to anti-vexxers.

Back in September, the Pew Research Center reported that at least two thirds of Americans get their news on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Starting this year as well, the World Health Organization has declared people deciding not to vaccinate as a world crisis and the CDC has noted the increasing number of children that are not getting vaccinated.

This has resulted in a measles outbreak in Washington state where over 50 kids, mainly those who have not been vaccinated, have gotten measles. It has gotten to the point where the state may force parents to vaccinate their children.

The paper that was published by the disgraced doctor has been debunked multiple times now. Seriously, there’s no reason for anyone not to have a vaccine. We aren’t in the middle ages now, we have the power to stop diseases like polio and measles, and yet this subject remains a debate.

Mint Condition of Famous Game Sells Big

Have you ever thought, “yeah, I would spend over $100,000 for a video game.” Well, one person thought the money was well spend.

An original mint condition Super Mario Bros was sold at an auction on Thursday for $100,150 to a group of people that plan on sharing the game among each other.

This is the most expensive game to have been sold since the unique Nintendo World Championships cartridge was sold for $100,088 on eBay back in 2014.

This version of Super Mario Bros, is a  version that was used during the early test launch. So most likely, any version that you and I may have of Mario is not going to sell for that much. The same goes for most of our favorites and no, Fortnite isn’t one of them.

The question is now, could a game that is graded as mint, sell for over $1 million. A lot of people in the gaming world believe that we could see that in our lifetimes.

The question is that what would be the game to reach that mark. Could it be an arcade game like PAC-Man or could it be another Mario game or could a game that we don’t expect like the failed E.T. games that were reportedly buried because of how bad they were.

We just have to wait for the moment when one of these games hits the auction block.

Sunset in Christiansburg

Sitting here with you,
I forget the day’s troubles.

The pain and anger melt away
As the sun sinks out of view.

Sitting here with you,
Just holding hands quietly.

We don’t need any words
As we watch the golden light.

Sitting here with you,
My heart has lit up with love.

The clouds colorful and bright,
Like fire burning across the sky.

Sitting here with you,
The world is at peace.

The trees are dark silhouettes,
Standing firm and tall against the sky.

Sitting here with you,
I wish this night would never end.

Let the world freeze in this moment,
Sitting here with you.

 

Photo by Carly Sumpter

One State is Trying to Tax Violent Video Games

For some, video games are the way of life while for others, gaming is just a lazy way to live your life. However, in one state, there are plans to place taxes on your favorite games like GTA, Call of Duty, and God of War.

Yes, the home of most Amish people, Pennsylvania, is trying to add a tax for games that are violent or mature, in efforts to make more money for state-run programs. The plan calls for a 10 percent tax, which would be at a cost of $6 for games that usually cost $60 when the game is initially released. This tax would only happen at retail stores as Pennsylvania would be unable to control the digital sales of the games.

This is the second time that the bill has been presented to the legislative body as the first bill failed to make it out of the committee. Now, the bill, which is called House Bill 109, is picking up steam with two Democrats and a Republican currently sponsoring it.

The tax money made from the games would be used to enhance school safety measures in the state.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is currently challenging the law. The ESA says that the law would violate the U.S. Constitution, citing a previous case that stated video games were protected by the Constitution.

ESA also cited research that says there’s no evidence attributing mass shootings to violent games.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the case will be, and we will be sure to keep up with any updates as the bill progresses.

 

Photo from Gamezine

At the Alter

After months of planning, of fittings and tastings and color coordinating, the day was finally here. Everything was beautiful, the flowers and the bridesmaids and the forest surrounding the field where the wedding would happen. The ceremony was set to begin at sunset, and they’d light the candles the lined the aisle. It was going to be beautiful, maybe even perfect, or it would have been, if it had been anyone’s wedding but my own.

I watched my reflection with a detached indifference as the hair stylist wove flowers into my hair. I could hardly recognize the woman in the mirror before me; she looked too beautiful to be real, like she’d been pulled from the pages of a magazine, inhumanly flawless. She lacked the scar on my chin that I’d gotten while playing field hockey. I’d hated that scar when I’d gotten it, but I’d had it so long that my face looked wrong without it. I couldn’t see my freckles either, or the birthmark that was supposed to be on my collarbone.

My reflection looked beautiful, but she didn’t look like me. This whole day was like that though, beautiful, picturesque, practically perfect in every way, but it wasn’t me.

“Oh, Claire, you look so beautiful!” My mother looked like she was on the verge of tears, her eyes big and watery and filled with pride. “Everything’s just so perfect. I’m so happy to see it all come together.” Continue reading At the Alter

Hand in the Fog

To run with you
The day away
I feel your hand in mine
It pulls me on
Through foggy stretch
A road without a sign

From tightened grip
The guiding hand
I feel it slipping through
And when the fog
Comes crashing down
My thoughts are only you

A light that shines
When I see none
My warmth is in the palm
That feels you there
Till your return
The inner storm becalmed

Through distance gripped
Through absence held
Through hardship to the last
I feel your hand
Held tight in mine
No matter distance past

Apple Has Officially Released the Fix for FaceTime Group Bug

A few weeks ago, a 14-year-old kid was able to find a bug that sent Apple into a panic and led to them shutting down an important function for any Apple product.

Just last Thursday, Apple released an update for their iOS software, which patched the FaceTime Group function after a bug was found that allowed people to eavesdrop on any conversation even if the call wasn’t answered.

This came after a 14-year-old, of all people, discovered the bug. Apple did acknowledge the finding and apologized about the issue, which resulted in a temporary shutdown of the function until the release of a patch.

Of course, this isn’t the first or last issue that Apple has dealt with over the years. Remember when all Apple users got a new U2 album for free on their products? Yeah, the backlash was so bad that it lead to Apple releasing a patch that allowed users to delete the unwanted music from their playlists.

How about the worst of the worst when Apple admitted to slowing down older phones so people would have to eventually buy another phone? Apple would have been better off if they just declared it an urban legend. This problem has led to many lawsuits that are still being fought in federal courts to this day.

The good news for Apple here is that no one (well, at least not yet) is planning on launching any lawsuits against the multi-billion dollar company for this bug and hopefully for them, the bug has been squished.

 

 

Marching On

We stood on the bridge
In the wake of a new dawn.
The musical sunrise reflected in your eyes;
The water below dappled gold and pink;
And I couldn’t help but say,
“Hello, I love you.”

The birds wheeled overhead.
Traffic rushed past.
No house, no money,
But nothing else mattered.

The moment I saw you,
I knew we could make it,
For better for worse,
To have and to hold.
Til death do us part,
I swear we were reborn.
My hand in yours,
Let’s march on.

Systems Outage with Wells Fargo Services

Our money is very important to us in today’s society.  Of course without it, you won’t be able to buy your needs and any wants that you can afford for the week.  However, some people got worried when their hard earned money wasn’t showing up on their accounts.

Customers with Wells Fargo were unable to access their money on their accounts just this past Thursday and even as recent as Friday it was reported that customers were still having troubles and they were unable to access their accounts and direct deposits.

Wells Fargo released a statement that said that the issue was contained by their data center that the ATMs were working and most online and mobile services were back up and operating.

Because of the issue, Wells Fargo extend their hours for most of their branches by one hour for Friday and Saturday.

However, the issues that are still going on are serious ones like mortgage issues which are affecting closing on houses which could affect the futures of many.

Another issue which is the most common one is customers not being able to access their money which worried business owners and others as people’s paychecks could had been delayed due to the issue.

As of press time, some of the issues are lingering as some customers are planning on switching bank providers as soon as they are able to access their accounts, they will be switching to another bank. This won’t affect the fourth largest bank in the world right now but it could affect their future if they are not careful.

It is going to be an interesting few days to see how many customers leave Wells Fargo due to this debacle.

Robocalls At An All Time High In U.S.

Has there ever been a time where you were in class or at work when your phone went off and it was a call from a number that you did not recognize? That may have been a robocall, and you ain’t the only one getting them.

A whopping 26.3 billion robocalls were made just last year, according to a report from Hiya. This number has increased by 47 percent since 2017, when there were 18 billion robocalls. That means that the average person would have gotten at least 10 robocalls.

Hiya also released their first annual State of the Call report. Their mission is to give insight “into how Americans use their phones on a monthly basis given the rise of robocalls.”

They found that there are over 11 billion calls that are made monthly, but only 52 percent of them get answered. The unanswered calls are mainly robocalls, telemarketers, and fraudsters, which Hiya calls “general spam.”

Just remember that when you get a call saying you have won a world-wide trip or a call telling you that you have won a million dollars from a contest that you never entered, it’s a scam and you probably shouldn’t answer calls like that in the future.

 

Photo from KimKommando

On This Canvas

I wrote our names with rocks
And placed them perfectly
On top of the red clay.

I can’t write our names in sand.
The waves destroy my creations:
Castles, moats, and especially names.

I can’t write our name in the sky.
That lasts less time than the sand.
A mere wind will destroy my creation.

But here, we may be safe.
On this vast canvas that I have claimed
Our names scar the earth.

Each stone was perfectly selected,
Spelling out our promise to each other
For the world to not destroy… just yet.

Want To Get Rid Of Bugs? Well, Bug Bombs Aren’t The Way To Go

Some of us, as college students, have dealt with bugs occasionally, especially living in Muse Hall, which may have more rodents and bugs than students at any given time. However, a new study suggests that some ways of killing bugs don’t work.

In a study that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina and will appear in BMC Public Health, researchers found that bug bombs do not help kill off bugs; even when the residue is left behind for months, it will not kill the bugs.

In the study, when researchers set off bombs in 30 infested houses, the cockroach population did not increase but did not decrease either.

However, research did find that with certain types of bait, the population of roaches dropped in these houses, with one bait decreasing the population by over 75 percent over a month period.

While this may not mean a lot to you as of right now, it may mean a lot to your parents who may have dealt with a roach issue or fruit flies.

Also, another thing to consider is the chemicals in the bug bombs don’t disappear for a while, so the chemicals that aren’t killing the bugs are actually killing you. By that time, the chemicals would had spread to where you prepare your dinner for the night and what not.

It would do you better if you created your own bug bomb that’s natural for your household rather than kill yourself and others for bugs that won’t just die.