//whimsy and wishful thinking

I want to make s’mores and spend time, under the stars and moon right now.

But not alone and not with the people I know.

I want to spend time with people who can tell me stories of times long before I was born, in the ages of dragons, magic, and castles. In times of valor and honor and in times much purer than our own.

Adventures, impossible things, and madness.

I want to wear a crown of flowers on my head, walk barefoot in a forest, and feel a cool breeze on my face.

But it’s Florida. It’s hot, humid, and the only stories I hear are from well-meaning people who tell me what they wish happythey’d done differently at my age. Or what I have that they never did. Or what they want me to do.

I just finished my junior year of high school and I want to run away from my creeping responsibilities. I don’t want to be told I’m a loser if I decide that college isn’t for me. I don’t want to be told I’m doing things wrong if I have student debt. I don’t want to be told anything.

I don’t want to be labeled a loser for decisions that go contrary to society’s definition of “success.”

I want to be happy.

I want to travel, explore, meet people I can learn from, tell stories, love, make good food, and just…

I want to be happy.

And I want to make other people happy.

I wish making people happy was a job. Because that would be great. And I would totally love it.

Have a lovely Friday, friend! ❤

Love,

Rana

Tomorrowland: A Review

Note: There are spoilers contained in this post. If you don’t care either way, keep reading. 😉

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I’ll be honest. I saw Disney had a hand in this and immediately kind of looked the other way, hoping something better would come along for me to see.

But my little sister was dying to see it, my cousin from Canada (GUYS, THE STEREOTYPES ARE TRUE. CANADIANS ARE VERY POLITE.) and a cousin from Naples came over, so we planned an outing and went to see this.

I was (mostly) impressed but mostly by the “bad” guy, who wasn’t so bad as apathetic, which is arguably the worst kind of bad there is. (Contradictory? Maybe.)

If you’re fuzzy on the plot line, basically this girl finds a pin and whenever she touches it, it transports her to another world. She runs into a man who had lived there for some time and he wants nothing to do with her or that world. But a series of unfortunate events (read: robots try to kill them) leads them both into that world where they find out that Earth is going to end.

The man, Frank Walker (played by George Clooney), comes to believe that the girl, Casey Newton (played by Britt Robertson), is special and can save the world.

Pros

>> David Nix (played by High Laurie) says something that really hit me. A transmitter from Tomorrowland is sending a signal to Earth with a message of death and destruction. He meant it to be a warning, but when Newton says they need to send a message of hope instead, he tells a striking truth: it doesn’t matter what you say. People are so obsessed with the end. He sent a warning message, but people ate it up and turned it into fantasy. They turned it into a t.v. series, movies, books — entertainment. They resigned themselves to it because they thought, “what can I do? Nothing. So let’s all do nothing together and laugh ourselves to the end.”

Why? Because “it requires nothing of them today.” People will sit in their comfortable apathy believing they can do nothing and they’re cool with that. And when the end of the world comes, they’re throw their hands up and say they couldn’t have stopped it anyway.

That was the salvation point of the whole movie for me because it was so truthful. We turn into comedy and entertainment that which we “can’t” change so we can accept it when it comes with a numb and comfortable apathy.

>> I’m conflicted on characterization. They did a relatively good job developing the characters, but I felt like Newton was a little too optimistic for me to entirely believe. She was fun though. Walker was a bit of a stereotypical grumpy old man who was too optimistic once, and comes to believe in good again because of the undaunted happy-child who shows up on his doorstep one day and turns his life inside-out. Nix was kind of brilliant, but still felt a little lacking (what motivation did he have to shoot [censored]?).

>> The concepts were pretty neat! I really enjoyed some of that sci-fi stuff going on. If you could learn what day and time you were going to die, would you want to know?

Cons

>> They kind of explain everything. It might have been for context, but it didn’t leave me wondering anything really.

>> They ended in a kind of abrupt way, but it wasn’t a cliff hanger sort of way. It was more like, “we have room for another movie, but it would make no difference to you if we followed up with it because you know all our secrets and the gist of what happens next.”

Bottom line: I would recommend going to see Tomorrowland! I wouldn’t say for you to go in expecting anything out of this world (my pun may be lost on those who haven’t seen it *laugh/gag/cough* Ahem.) but it’s entertaining for a couple hours and David Nix’s words do get you thinking: what am I doing to contribute to this apathy? Am I comfortable with that? Is there anything I can do to change it? If so, will I?

It’s definitely one of the rare Disney-involved films that I don’t despise and would recommend. 🙂

God bless!

Rana

Why “LOST” Works

I finished this roller coaster of a show on May 14, around 10:20 p.m.

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but the ending – it was satisfying. It ended in a place I’m happy with. It didn’t leave me waiting for more because loose ends weren’t tied up (EXCEPT FOR ONE THING THAT I REMEMBER: WHAT WAS JULIET GOING TO TELL SAWYER RIGHT AFTER SHE BLEW EVERYTHING UP AND BEFORE SHE [LOST CONNECTION//ERROR 589006//TRY AGAIN WHEN YOU’VE WATCHED THE SHOW]???????).

It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I’m so thankful it happened. So, what can writers learn from this show?

1] How the diverse cast works

The diverse and muli-racial cast works because there was a reason for there to be people from so many backgrounds. Unlike Once Upon a Time (excuse me, but I cannot stand that show), it made sense for there to be an American, Asian, and Australian in one scene.

OUAT just gives me the impression that they were so desperate for actors that they pulled names out of a hat and gave the part to the (un)lucky winner. (Consistency is key for me.)

LOST, in comparison, had a reason for this difference. It’s logical and each background (whether through personal stories or cultural traditions) contributes to the plot. Sayid knows how to torture because that’s what he grew up around and did for a living. Jin and Sun – we understand how and why they act they way they do because they come from a country where the behavior is very rigid.

2] Common Goals

There’s always conflict. It reflects reality. But each group has a common goal, whether that conflicts with another group’s goal or not.

But the bottom line is: they all need to survive.

All these people – strangers – come together, sacrifice for each other, and work together to stay alive. That’s their common goal. And these strangers need to work out their differences so they can do that. They use their different skill sets, knowledge, and even apply their professions from back home to this mission.

Life is the glue that keeps them together.

3] It’s relatively realistic

Obviously, not all of it. But the fact that there’s no dictator – they all choose to work together, make their own decisions, and contribute in their own ways – is entirely realistic.

Jack keeps them together for a while and creates an efficient unit that focuses on keeping them alive. But that doesn’t stop each of them from doing their own thing.

One of the biggest lessons we can take away from this is the fact that each character is the star of the show. And that’s how a book – any story – should be written. No one sees themselves as the side character in their own lives.

Think about it: you do what you do because that’s what’s best for you (or, at least, what you perceive to be a good thing) or someone you love. It all comes back around to us. Our lives. We can see ourselves as the side character in someone else’s life, but never our own.

Everyone in LOST has their own agenda. Some are better at putting it aside for the common good than others, but they still do what they do to keep themselves alive.

Bullet-point list (because I need one and they’re so organized):

Let’s recap:

  • Point 1: How the diverse cast works:
    • It makes logical sense.
    • They each use their experiences to contribute to the group.
    • Everything they’ve been through has meaning and made them the person they needed to be on the island (except Shannon).
  • Point 2: Common Goals:
    • They need to survive.
    • They do what they need to do to stay alive (except [censored] *cries forever*).
  • Point 3: It’s relatively realistic:
    • Everyone’s their own star of the show. No one just sits out because they don’t want to interfere. They all have their own agendas and worries.
    • There’s no dictator. There are leaders. And everyone has the right to choose who they will follow.

If you write stories, I challenge you to try and work some of these lessons into your WIP.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wonder what to do with my life now that LOST is over, cry a bit over everyone, get school done, and catch up on the 17 years of sleep I’ve missed.

God bless!

Rana

Updates x 2

Hello, lovlies!

I hope all is going well. ^_^

Update #1:

Regionals was spectacular. I did not break (move on to the next level) in debate; however, I did make it to semi-finals in my After Dinner Speech (it was filmed and you may have access to it in the near future).

EDIT: It’s up on YouTube! Excuse my insane eyebrow movement and fairly fast pace… and face. Anyway, here ’tis!

Here are some pictures to prove that I had a wonderful time (more coming soon [maybe]), courtesy of Sarah Mackenzie whose blog you should totally check out (and if her URL doesn’t draw you in, maybe these pictures will):

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And, of course, speech and debate tournaments call for a massive consumption of caffeine (due to no sleep, up at 6:00 a.m, and bed anywhere between 10 and 12. For three days.). My mother (bless her precious heart) knew this and took the liberty of buying me a s’mores (S’MORES!) frapp. This led to a Starbucks-themed photoshoot which resulted in a .gif which tells the story of three heartbroken young maidens as they realize

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there is no more coffee.

I'm waiting for Starbucks to call and see if we're interested in marketing for them.

I’m waiting for Starbucks to call and see if we’re interested in marketing for them. (Also notice me sporting those sweet Converse sneaks with a suit.)

Update #2:

I finally changed the blog name! Here’s to hoping you like it now and I will like it in a few years. 😉 Please bear with me as I make this transition and try to correct all the links.

Before I go, however, I would like to direct you to a sweet blog. The owner is a mother of 5 (her oldest child is 5 years old) and her husband just got diagnosed with stage IV Melanoma. I’ve followed it for a while and can tell you that it’s one of the most comforting blogs on the internet. Please be praying for their family and, if you have the chance, comment over there to let them know.

God bless!

Rana

The Avengers: Age of Ultron: A Review

Note: This may be an incoherent one-sided “discussion” rather than a review, but I’ve got another speech and debate tournament coming up next week, loads of crap to get done, SAT’s tomorrow, and a dinner to go to tonight. (Prayers would be appreciated.) So if I seem a little off, it’s just because I’m a distracted French fry drowning in a cup of tea (basically, I shouldn’t be here).

No-Spoilers-Version: Bottom Line: It was wonderful. Go see it.

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When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron (James Spader), a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

– The first review that popped up on Google when I asked for a summary of AoU –

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Financial Issues I have a theory. I think that the citizens of the Marvel universe secretly hate the Avengers. I mean, let’s face it: thousands of them just lost their (a) homes, (b) jobs, (c) probably a friend or family member, and (d) all their money. On top of that, I’m sure a lot need therapy. I’m guessing Stark is still rich because whatever governments in the Marvel universe don’t make him pay for the destruction caused justify that by saying, “Oh, well, you’ve just saved the world. Again. So it’s on the house.” And promptly raise their taxes. I’d really love to see all the Marvel universe monetary statistics and how they deal with their financial crises. Aside from that, I have to say — I really did enjoy Age of Ultron. And, you guys know me: I’m the queen of skepticism. The trailers looked like just another typical Marvel movie. But I felt that the characterization was almost 100% on point (while I’m more okay with Bruce and Natasha, considering Clint’s personal life [which, I have to say, was not expected and absolutely wonderful], I still don’t think it’s going to work out and I liked Nat better when she wasn’t interested in people). Back Story

They did a phenomenal job with showing this. We can talk about their pasts all day long, but until we see it, it’s not Humanization This was pretty much perfect. Clint actually talked, the Hulk made facial expressions other than angry, Tony is… Tony, Thor likes to party, Steve likes to dance, and Natasha used to be a ballerina or something. I loved that Ultron wasn’t just metal. He could think for himself. He had emotions. He got angry. He apologized for pushing Andy Serkis (that was him, wasn’t it?) down the stairs. He brought up and quoted the Bible. As a Christian, I was a bit wary of that because I don’t like to see it misused. But it really reminded me of when Jesus was in the desert, tempted by Satan. Even the devil can quote scripture. So I think that, by using those Biblical references, we see a bit of a sick parody in Ultron’s character. He knew he was doing wrong through his means of promoting “peace.” He could think. He wasn’t an idiot robot. Furthermore, he forgot words and made jokes. His verbal characterization was pretty well done. SPEAKING OF WHICH… “Language!” Captain America/Steve Rogers, that was amazing. Age of Ultron ticketsHumor I love humor as much as the next sarcastic weasel. But I felt like they could have done with a little less. It was a darker film that dealt with human problems and bad robots. But they tried to lighten it up with (almost) cheesy humor too frequently. Personally, I felt like it was unnecessary, but I laughed so it served its purpose. Twins I’m a sucker for twins. I love them. (AND IT’S WRONG TO SEPARATE THEM, MARVEL.) And I felt like these two weren’t just thrown in there. They had a purpose. Honestly, I think it’s incredible that the cast of characters was so well balanced. I didn’t think anyone was lacking a part and they all played theirs well. I’d definitely watch this again (not a hundred times, but again). And when I do, I might update this because I feel like I left out a lot. 😛 God bless! Rana P.S. I’m still working on another blog name.