The social experience

Alright guys, I’ve been off for a few weeks now and it’s high time it get back on the horse, so I think it’s fitting for my first post back to be about change.

I’m going off to college in the fall and for months now I have been ecstatic to have the opportunity to change those things I dislike about myself without those I have known all my life pulling me back into old habits – we’ve all been there, trying to change and be more at peace and then that one person whose voice just grates your nerves walks into the room. But then I got to thinking, if I wait until college to change it will be too late, and those people in my life aren’t going anywhere for about a month still. What to do, what to do?

So I have been working on a little social experiment on myself, freshly resolved, and I welcome you who are in the same boat that I am to give it try, even to just analyze the problem. Shift it, shape it, make it your own. I have no idea if it works, I haven’t been using it too long, but the science is sound.

So basically, I didn’t start out with all those things that annoy me about me. I started out with a list of people I admire, with little thoughts in the back of my head about why I admired them. And them in a new document I typed down – yes I think half of the process is actually getting it down in ink, in my case…virtual ink – the traits that I admired most in others, in myself, and those I aspired to possess. Then in yet another document, I typed out the traits I found most unattractive in others. On both lists, I made a second column changing any negative traits into positive goals and anything traits like “doesn’t lie” into “tells the truth” because it’s easier to actively do something than it is to avoid doing something. It’s like telling someone not to think of flamingoes. On this I avoided qualifying words like more or less, because those words make it easy to misconstrue the goal when it suits me.

From all my lists I made four “mission” statements. These are vague umbrellas that cover all or most of the smaller goals underneath them. I only did four so they are easy to post and remember. All four have different aspects, physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental.

My goals are here:

The person I want to be is…
Kind.
Clean.
Active.
Confident.

If you want, give it a try. Feel free to leave suggestions and your own goals in the comments vvv

Fiction Friday! [Working Title] part 5

Jason led me down to the kitchen. I could tell he wasn’t taking me down any major hallways. Nowhere where we could be seen. I struggled slightly to keep up with him due to the dizzy spouts that hit every few minutes from exertion.

He pushed at a wooden door, it was heavy from the way his face contorted from the effort. It opened into a warm kitchen, obviously not often used for dining. At the center of the room stood a large wooden table for cutting and preparing, and along the walls were all sorts of kitchen equipment and cooking utilities. “What are you hungry for?” He turned and asked. I was still taking in the size of the space. “You know what? I’ll just make you my specialty.”

I nodded and he got to work. He moved around the space carefully but comfortably. I wasn’t able to tell at that point if he was comfortable because of the equipment he was working with or because he was just comfortable with himself. A few minutes later he gestured to a small round table with 4 chairs round it. He set a green…thing in front of me and one in front of himself. I sat and switched our plates. He chuckled and stared at me. I nodded at the food that sat in front of him that he had originally placed in front of me. His smile disappeared and he took a healthy bite of the meal, swallowed, and showed me his mouth was empty. “Good. What is this?” I tried not to look too disgusted, but from what I could tell, it was a slimy green gump intended to be eaten with your fingers.

“Just try it.”

“Why are you feeding me?” I countered. I wasn’t going to put unfamiliar food into my system without knowing what the possible side effects were. Last time this man put something into my system I was kidnapped and can barely stand straight.

“We want you nice and plump for when we sacrifice you then eat your innards,” he looked me straight in the eye. He sounded completely serious. My eyes widened and his composure broke. “Does it really matter?” He couldn’t get ahold of his laugh and it came out in huffs. “You’re hungry, so eat.”

“S’not funny,” I poked at the mush. It had more substance than I had expected it to have. It was slick and a little slimy, sure, but my finger didn’t just sink straight through to the plate. I picked up a smallish piece and raised it to my mouth. I looked up and he was watching me intently with a stupid smile on his face. “Can you not look at me like that?”

“Now that I know it bothers you, absolutely not,” he smirked and nodded his head to urge me on. I close my eyes and ate the piece of gunk. It was a little salty, but overall had a decently warm flavor. “Haha! What did I tell you?”

“It’s not terrible,” I dug in without seeming too eager. I was starving and the food went down easily. He smiled and turned his attentions to his own plate.

“Alright. You have questions,” he said as I cleaned off the last of my plate.

“Why am I being treated as a guest?”

“You are a guest. Next.”

“Woah, woah, woah, slow down. What do you mean I’m a guest?”

“Would you prefer to be rotting in a damp cell? We have those, I can arrange that.”

I shook my head. “That’s not it. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t put me there in the first place.”

He shrugged. “It was the choice of the king. I just followed orders. I’m just a foot soldier.”

“Oh. I got the feeling that you were someone important who had a say in such affairs.”

He chuckled and shook his head. “Nah. Just working at the grindstone like anyone else,” he shrugged. “It’s not so bad here, you know? The people are generally nice and everyone has chance to do what they really want. Maybe you’ll find a place.”

“If it’s all the same to you, I would rather not find a place and go home to my family where the place has already been made,” he looked down, as if I had upset him. “Look, you have a lovely city, but we are at war. My people need me just as much as yours need you.”

“So I should let you go to tell your armies where we are so they can come destroy my home. My family. My place? Sorry if I’m more inclined now to let you rot in a cell.”

I nodded. He was mad. “Your people took everything from me. I don’t expect you to understand, but I have no interest in getting friendly with the water tribe.” He opened his mouth and then closed it again. “I appreciate the hospitality, but it isn’t going to win my trust. Throw me in a cell if you want, wouldn’t be the first time, but I will never stop trying to get away from here and from you.”

He stood. “Come on. I’ll escort you back to your room. It’s probably best that you don’t roam alone. Not everyone is keen on having an enemy behind friendly walls,” even after everything I had said, he still offered his arm. I didn’t take it, but I thought it was a nice gesture.

Review Wednesday: Windows 8

Okay. So for graduation I was blessed with a desktop computer and though my parents said I didn’t get to have it until graduation, they let me set it up this past weekend and have it early. I adore this thing. For those of you who don’t know, I am decently technologically inept, so getting the computer I was anxious that it had windows 8 after I had dealt with windows 7 my entire childhood.

So how did it go? Surprisingly well actually. I have only had one problem and that was right after setting up the monitor shut off for no apparent reason, but apparently I accidentally unplugged it. Windows 8 is surprisingly easy to interact with and while I’m still learning the ins and outs I find myself going to “desktop” (which looks like windows 7) less and less just because everything I want is right there at the start menu.

Something I discovered today: when you have to “sign up” for a windows account, it isn’t asking you to create a whole new email (which is good for me considering I have like 7) but basically it’s just so they can track and hold you accountable. So if you are new to windows 8 too and had concerns there too, there you go.

I really like how personal you can make your start menu as far as where the tiles are and what size some of them are.

My only big complaint so far is that it came with bing toolbar installed and it kept crashing my browser (hey I sounded techno there) so I uninstalled it because 1: I’m a google girl 2: I was getting really sick of not being able to send emails and 3: I figured out how.

Having a computer has made my TPSP (Texas Performance Standards Project) so much easier. I can now print, design, and type at home without complications. Huzzah!

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with windows 8 and I’m excited to get to tinker with it after my schedule clears up a bit. (That will also give more time for reading so I will get back to book reviews)

Fiction Friday! [Working Title] part 4

It’s Fiction Friday!…on a Monday. But, as promised. Here’s part 4:

START OF PART 4

“Please. Sit,” the older man wasn’t as old as I had pictured him. Maybe fifty at the oldest. Obviously royal by the way he dressed and held himself. Laugh lines covered his face, but his hair was completely grey at the roots. He gestured to a chair at the side of the hall.

“I’ll stand if I may.”

“Please. Sit,” he repeated in a sterner tone. I lowered my head and sat in the chair next to the one he recommended. “Now, missy, we need a name to call you.”

“Missy works just fine for me,” the younger man cradled his face in his hand.

The man lowered his voice. “I have allowed you to be a guest in my house. I have allowed you into my city without screening, something that my own people don’t have the luxury of. And you are now spitting that back in my face. Tell me, do you really think that’s a good idea? Maybe we want to try that again, what is your name?”

“Why are you letting me stay in your house? You have no idea what I’m capable of,” I said, levelling with his gaze. I wanted him to know that no matter what he said or did to me that he would never rule over me. I was an earth elf and he could wait in line to control what I do.

“That would be my dimwit son Jason,” he gestured towards the younger man who looked up with tired eyes. I guess he could have used the sleeping powder more than I could. “Come say hello, Jason.”

Jason walked towards me and instead of standing near me he just plopped down in the chair next to me. “Hey, what you in for?” My eyes widened in shock. “Hear the food here is great, but the parole system is slow,” he slouched in the chair and gave his father a dirty look. He extended his hand to me, “Jason.”

I cautiously took his hand, “Christine.” The father threw his hands up in the air in disgust. The younger man smirked and stood.

“Christine of the earthen elves. Has a decent ring to it. Familiar,” Jason turned back towards me. “Welcome to the great city.”

“She has a point, Jason. We have no idea what she’s capable of. Be careful with information you share so quickly.”

“It’s not like she can leave,” My heart pounded at that. He was right. I had planned to escape but the entire city was underwater and I was unfamiliar with their technologies so even if I got to whatever lift they used, I would probably not be able to work it quickly enough much less unnoticed.

My stomach made an obscene sound and I felt my skin flush. The father smirked. “Get her some food, Jason. Just……take care of her,” it sounded like a threat, but I was in no position to argue with anything this man had to say. He literally held my life in his old and privileged hands.

Jason held a hand out to me, obviously intending to lead me somewhere. I stood on my own, wavering slightly as my head spun out of control. “The powder will do that,” he said. “You will be dizzy for about 36 hours after ingestion. Nasty side-affect,” he shrugged as if he wasn’t the one who did this to me. “If you need support, just grab onto me. I’m going to take you down to the kitchens.”

“I think I’ll be fine,” I said with obvious bite in my voice.

He let my harshness roll off his shoulders. “Even so, the offer stands.”

Fiction Friday [Working title] Announcement

Alright guys. I dropped the ball. When I went to go post part 4 last night I found that I had saved the wrong copy onto my flash drive so it’s still at the school. So, I’m going to be a rebel and post Fiction Friday! part 4 on Monday night so stay tuned.

How my little scribbler heart died of happiness (or I would like to share Scrivener with you)

As the title reads, I have gone to scribbler heaven. I was out last night and a friend of mine whose blog is here and he showed me this beautiful program called Scrivener. Whether you write short stories, novels, or even the forced essays for school, you understand that sometimes the hardest part is getting organized. I personally am terrible at organizing my writing and for my novel I covered an entire wall in sticky notes to attempt to make it all make sense — still not entirely sure I succeed on that point — but I’m moving out in the fall and sticky note walls take space that I don’t know I will have in a college dorm.
The site to download Scrivener is here and I plan to buy it after graduation when I get a computer for college.
A few notes that I know already — and I will update a few more times as I learn the program — 2 major pluses for me are: 1) it’s pretty cheap for a program. $40 for pc $35 if you are student (yay) and 2) this one is completely vain, but it’s pretty! There are colors and customization and all sorts of things to do with this program (including a nifty name generator for when babynames.com just isn’t enough)
It also has a cork board for those of us, like me, who need to lay everything out to look at it and from what I understand, when you move an index card it moves the scene!
I look forward to the future of this program.

Fiction Friday! [Working Title] part 3

I awoke to the smell of lilies. No sooner had I opened my eyes that I closed them again. My brain screamed at me to get up but my head was even louder insisting I stay down. I was flat on my back but aside from a killer headache I wasn’t uncomfortable. I braved the light again and took in my surroundings. The stench of lilies came from my right. A bowl of water lilies rest on a table beside the bed and I swear they must be super flowers because they shouldn’t stink like that. Now that my eyes had adjusted I realized that the room was rather dimly lit. But it was all wrong. I looked down at myself and I wore a white satiny dressing gown. My walking dress hung in the closet but my shoes were nowhere to be found.

I looked out the open windows. These people aren’t even trying to keep me here. I got off the high queen-sized bed, trying futilely to not take the pounds of blankets and sheets with me. The windows led out to a balcony towering over the city. Above me I could see the ripples in the lakes surface. “Okay. It’s weird.” I was glad they had left my ankle wrappings on the second my feet hit the tile. I headed to what appeared to be a wardrobe. On the door my walking dress came in stark contrast to the clean ivory paneling. The doors weren’t locked so I swung both wide open, blown away by the fine fabrics that hung in multitudes on double stacked rods. Organized by season and color, I grabbed a black velvet cloak. It felt strange over the dressing gown but I had no idea how long it would before a guard would be along to check on me.

I went to the wooden doors and pulled on one. It was heavy but wasn’t locked. I peered around. Not an elf in sight. What kind of city keeps its prisoners in the pent house completely unguarded and dressed in the finest things?

I realized then that someone must have dressed me, because I was out cold. I was suddenly very conscious of my attire. I snuck around the door and closed it as quietly as possible behind me. I had spent my entire childhood sneaking around for one reason or another so getting around unheard wasn’t the problem. The problem was that this place was unfamiliar to me and the material was like nothing I had ever walked on before. I cringed each time my feet made pattering sounds against the stone.

I slinked along the walls. The area appeared to be completely deserted. I ran down several flights of stairs only stopping once to catch my breath. Whatever powder that jerk had thrown into my lungs was still working its way out of my system and it seemed that the second my heart rate got above normal I was cursed with dizzy spells. I reached the end of the stairs. I prayed that the doors would open to the bottom floor and that it was another deserted area. Maybe the kitchens. I had to guess it was mid afternoon but it was hard to say with the light being so filtered by the water. I listened at the door before opening it into a hallway. There was no draft, no wind, no movement in the halls. I chose to go left and hoped for the best. I was beginning to wish I had tried climbing down the window instead of risking getting caught.

“This is precisely why you aren’t supposed to leave the city alone, Jason!” A voice boomed from my right. I pressed against the wall. My breath was shallow, I covered my own mouth to muffle the sounds. “How long will it take you to realize that not everyone can be trusted?”

“She’s not a threat to anyone.”

“She tried to kill you, son. You seem to keep forgetting that. And she was obviously searching for us. Why else would an earth elf be so far from her boarders and so heavily armed?” this voice was deeper and worn.

“Maybe she was hunting. The killing me part was a misunderstanding, I’m sure, I shot first.” I guessed this was the young man from the lake.

“Hunting on enemy lands in a time of war?” The older voice muttered. “We could always ask her.”

“I’ll inform you when she wakes.”

“No need. She’s already waiting outside.” My blood froze. “Come on in, Missy.” I squeezed my eyes shut and rounded the corner into a great hall. I opened my eyes to see the two men looking at me the elder with a certain calm inquisition that made me feel like a statue in an art museum and the familiar younger man’s eyes widened as I walked into the room. “You forgot the mirror in the hall.” The older man pointed behind me and I turned. There was a floor to ceiling mirror along the opposite side of the hall. I cursed myself. I always missed the mirrors.

Still looking for a title if anyone has any suggestions.

Ye ol’ shenanigans

Yesterday I went to Scarborough Renaissance Festival and I left with a few strange stories I would like to share with you, dear readers.

I want to start with the fact that this was my 3rd or 4th festival year and every time I go I can’t stop getting a little silly smile on my face because I always feel like I belong there. This of course spurred a new dream: to do a year on the circuit after college. I don’t know what job I would do, but I want to be there and be involved.

Back to the stories. This year I went with my family and my cousins that came in for the weekend–which was a blast by the way–anyway I got dressed up along with my cousins (the parental units decided to go modern) and what a bunch we were. I was a huntress, my 15 year old cousin was a fine lady, and my 12 year old cousin was Robin Hood. But, hey, it worked. This was the first time either of them had been to a Faire outside of the state fair, which just isn’t the same. Automatically both of their eyes lit up. There were jewelry and weapons and people on the side of the road hackling for attention.

First off, the fifteen year old cousin – let’s call her Agent M for time’s sake – so Agent M was taking pictures of the scenery and one of the performers blocked her shot (now, to clarify, this performer was “French” with the cheesy ‘stache and all) he bends over slightly and says “make sure to get all of my good side” to which Agent M says “no thanks” and walked away. I was so proud. More on her turning down performers later (yes there were multiple instances).

So we walk around and watch everything and shop around for a while. Then the parade started. It’s a huge event and anyone who isn’t in the parade stands along the side of the road. In the middle of the parade they came to a stand still while the king and queen make a proclamation to another area of the road. And in that time one of the actors with a bowl of mud came around “mud mud mud” and putting a dollop of mud on everyone’s nose. Like I said: my kind of people. Everyone there seemed to love their job.

Now for another Agent M turning down an actor and being slightly embarrassed. An escape artist asked her to come and help him. Let’s just say he didn’t shy away from making her uncomfortable, and anyone who has ever seen a straight jacket knows that one of the straps goes between the legs…yeah…the video will be played at her wedding.

My 12 year old cousin – Agent C for time – and I went around to all the weapons shops (because basically I’m a 8 year old boy about that kind of stuff) and then I took him down with the play swords. Muahahaha. He might be taller than me now, but I had to prove that I could still take him down.

But I have to say, my favorite moment…and I’m still not sure it actually happened because it was so fast…but a guy came up to me, bowed, called me gorgeous, bowed, and walked away. I don’t know if he worked there or was some random stranger. It was strange but funny at the same time. So, if you’re reading this strange renaissance guy, keep it up. You make people’s day.

Question of the day:
What has been your favorite introduction you have ever gotten from someone, stranger or future friend?

Fiction Friday! [Working title] part 2

I grimaced to myself for underestimating him. Such a rookie mistake and I wasn’t a child anymore. I should know better. I threw my bow to the ground but took faith from the weight of my hunting knife in the inside seam of my boot and the wood of the arrow between my fingers. I braced a hand against the tree and turned to face him.

The man was younger than I had expected. I would guess he was only a few years older than me. The rowboat that had been in the centre of the expansive lake now was perched from the bow up onto the shore a few feet from me. The man himself stood poised in the boat holding a perfect archery pose. I almost had to stare at his immaculate attention to detail in the way he held himself completely straight; He didn’t shake at all, not a single waver. His feet were exactly shoulder-wide and his body looked like he could stand against a wall without any bends or breaks in the line. The string was pulled back with an arrow locked and loaded. I glared at him and dropped my arrow. He seemed to relax a bit at that. Even though he was obviously technically trained, I wouldn’t exactly describe him as threatening. He was scrawny for a fighter but made up for it in height. Water elf for sure with blue eyes and pale dirty-blonde hair; I had never seen someone so pale, but I guess that’s what you get when you live underwater.

“I put my weapon away. Why don’t you put yours down and make this easier?”

He shrugged. “Easy is great, but I like the feel of the bow in my hand and I don’t trust you,” I tried to get a sense of his temperament.

“What could a defenceless woman like me do against a trained warrior,” I gestured towards him.
He smiled. “Well, that’s very sweet of you, but I have known too many crazy women.”

“I’m not crazy,” I leaned against the tree at my side.

“But you are desperate, and that, missy, can make anyone crazy,” his arrow remained fixed on me. If I ran into the forest he would put it through my back, no doubt—filthy water tribe with no class. He had already proved he was a good shot and didn’t shy away from using that to his advantage.

“You’re right,” I stepped towards him—testing his reaction. His arrow followed immediately, but he didn’t release it. He didn’t want to kill me, or even fight me, or he would have done that already. I let a smile play on my lips. I ran at him and he pulled a little blue bag from his breast pocket and threw it at the ground at my feet. A thick powder flew up in my face and I gasped in shock. I looked up at the man. He was covering his face with a cloth as he jumped out of the boat. I tried to push at him and hit him but I had no strength.

“I wanted to do this easy way,” he said through the cloth as I started to fall. He caught me and the last thing I remember is him carrying me towards the lake, cradling my head.

Then I lost consciousness.

END OF PART 2

Review Wednesday: A Very Potter Senior Year

I know I normally do books for Review Wednesday, but since I’m such a huge fan I’m taking a week for Starkid! Whoo!!

20130403-105659.jpg
After years of waiting, A Very Potter Senior Year is now on youtube for the general public to watch. If you aren’t a Starkid fan you should be. If you have never heard of Starkid, go on youtube right now and watch A Very Potter Musical. It is a parody of the Harry Potter books. They also did a show called Holy Musical B@man! Basically, I love Starkid.

Anyway, A Very Potter Senior Year came out in March and I had a little freak out spaz moment. Then I watched it. I laughed, I cried, I randomly danced. I loved that it was jus the raw read through because you got to see the actual reactions of the actors and the fact that they had so little time to prepare proves how talented the entire cast and crew really is.

I have listened to the soundtrack at least 100 times and I can’t find a singular favorite because all of the songs are memorable and unique, but I have to say “The School is Mine” with Lauren Lopez and Darren Criss, “I’m Just a Sidekick” with Joey Richter, and “Get in My Mouth” with Jeff Blim really stick out to me.

This addition to the Potter musical tradition added in characters like Hagrid, Aragog, Gilderoy Lockhart, and the Basilisk all of whom were taken in amusing interpretations. Evanna Lynch who plays Luna in the Potter movies is officially a Starkid, joining the team as Luna in the musicals (and she has a lovely singing voice)

My only complaint about the videos is that Darren’s microphone has a weird sound to it throughout and in the first few scenes it is very distracting, but you get used to it really quickly.

Other questions about the musical: When did Tom Riddle become attractive–oh that’s right, because Joe Walker is playing him. And why is the most seductive song sung by a spider? Oh wait, this is Starkid!

Overall I think it wrapped up the series well and I am very excited for their next project “Twisted” the classic Aladdin tale from a different perspective.

If you aren’t a Starkid, give them a try and get hooked!

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