Before Austin & Ally, before Teen Beach Movie, before Liv & Maddie, there was High School Musical. This week, the stars reunited to celebrate the 10-year anniversary in a special telecast on Disney Channel. Did you watch?
(Disney Channel/Image Group LA)
Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman taped the nostalgic segments at a high school gymnasium in suburban Los Angeles.
The STACKS was there for High School Musical 3. I think it is safe to say, we were HUGE fans of High School Musical back in the day!
Are you ready for the winter weather? Winter Storm Jonas is coming to the East Coast! I am ready with a nice, big pile of books to read, some hot cocoa mix, and all the ingredients needed to bake something yummy.
Here are some other ideas for things to do on a snowy weekend.
It all started in 2013, when Shea Stollenwerk, then eight years old, asked for a new hand for Christmas. Shea was born with a partial right hand, which restricts her ability to do things that other kids take for granted.
Shea practices picking up objects with her new hand. Photo courtesy of Frankie Flood.
“My mom went online” to look for help, says Shea, who lives in Mukowango, Wisconsin. Shea’s mother, Ranee, soon learned about a community of artists, designers, and scientists who are making big breakthroughs with prosthetic (artificial) hands.
Frankie Flood, a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, was among the designers who saw Ranee’s online request. Flood enlisted help from fellow professor Adream Blair and their students, who were learning how to make designs using a 3-D printer, a device that can create layers of material, like plastic or metal, one on top of the other, to produce solid objects.
“We made a mold of Shea’s hand out of plaster,” Flood explains about the beginning of the process. “We made a cast, and then we 3-D scanned her hand.”
A LOW-COST SOLUTION
Flood emphasizes that Shea’s “robo-hand” is not like devices that medical professionals make for people who have lost limbs. Such devices can cost thousands of dollars, whereas a “robo-hand” can be printed for less than $50.
While being fitted in Flood’s laboratory, Shea got to choose the color of her new hand. She went with bright pink. She now has a pink hand, a purple hand, and a purple and pink one, and can do things that she couldn’t do before, like peel potatoes, pick up objects, and catch a ball.
Flood and his team have since built hands for six other local children. Indirectly, they have helped dozens more, by posting their designs online so that people around the world can print them out. Flood is also working on prosthetic legs for military veterans who were injured on the battlefield. “Without a covering, the [prosthetic] leg is kind of ugly and plain,” Flood says. “Soldiers want something that will restore the shape of their leg and make it cooler to look at when they’re playing sports.”
As for Shea, the aspiring musician can now play her viola with help from an adaptive device that Flood’s team created. “Nothing is ever going to hold her back,” Shea’s father, Steve, told a local reporter. “She is going to do what she wants to do, and we are going to be there to help her.”
Everybody’s favorite time-traveling dog is back in the newest installment of Ranger in Time! Ranger has traversed the Oregon Trail and escaped the Roman Colosseum, and now he’s back to help two kids navigate the Underground Railroad!
In this adventure, Ranger travels to a Maryland plantation during the time of American slavery, where he meets a young girl named Sarah. When Sarah learns that the plantation owner has plans to sell her little brother, Jesse, to a plantation in the Deep South, it means they could be separated forever. Sarah takes their future into her own hands and decides there’s only one way to run—north.
In 2006, sculptor Mark Borella felt helpless when his friends’ son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Borella wanted to give the friends something to honor their son, but he couldn’t think of anything suitable. Finally, he turned to a jar of leftover clay and molded the clay into smiles.
On the last day of the young man’s life, Borella brought a handful of smiles to his friends’ house. “I know there is nothing I can say or do to make you feel better,” he said. “So I thought I would bring you some smiles to help you get your smile back. I call them ‘Seeds of Happiness.’”
When word spread about the little sculptures, and people kept asking to buy them, Borella decided to start a business. Soon, his staff grew too large for his house, and Seeds of Happiness settled into a small building in St. Louis, Missouri, where about a dozen people work.
“We’re very laid back,” says employee Sophie Williamson. “We have a lot of fun. We always say that all this fun we have, we put it right back into our work.”
Each month, Seeds of Happiness ships more than 40,000 “seeds” to customers in the United States, Canada, Germany, England, Australia, and elsewhere. The company also sells T-shirts, caps, and other clothing.
“Leprechaun Seeds of Happiness” in the making
To make a seed, clay is shaped into a ball, and then the eyes and mouth are drawn in. “We poke the eyes with chopsticks,” says Borella. Next, an employee adds other features, like a hat or a beard. The seed is then put into a kiln to bake. About 15,000 seeds are baked at a time.
When the seeds come out of the kiln, an employee presses the bottom of each one so that the figure can stand up. The seeds are then baked a second time. Finally, they are painted and ready to be shipped.
“Everything in here,” says Borella, “is based on smiles, happiness, and being funny.”
In the video featurettes, director Genndy Tartakovsky and his animation team walk us through amazing visuals which show how they created the lighting, animation, character effects, simulation techniques, and more.
Future animators, pay close attention! This might be your job someday! Watch the videos!
So cool, right? Leave a Comment to tell us what you think!