• Nam Da Jung Appreciation Post •

Sorry for the radio silence, folks! I’ve got a boat load of excuses, but we’ll save those for another time.

I’ve been watching Liar Game, a Korean drama, on Viki (if you’re interested) for a while and, I know I say this about almost all the dramas I watch, but this has to be one of the best! Nam Da Jung, a sweet, innocent, and trusting girl gets drafted into a reality T.V. program called, you guessed it, Liar Game. All the contestants must lie, betray, and trust each other in order to win the grand prize: millions of dollars. Nam Da Jung is sitting on a pile of debt her father left behind after being swindled by a fake investment program.

Da Jung enlists the help of a human lie detector + young professor at a prestigious university who literally just got out of prison for messing with economics. Turns out he and the host of the show (who can lie without being detected) have a history and butt heads throughout.

Anyway, this post is specifically about Nam Da Jung.

I’m all for people being treated equally, but I think that men and women are fundamentally different and that’s not a bad thing. We can be equal, but different at the same time. It’s not a ‘this or that’ situation as some seem to think. Radical feminism leaves a bad taste in my mouth because so many feminists are just so dang irritating (typically the loudest, probably not the majority). They fight so hard for women’s rights that they feel the need to silence men. Or focus just on women.

Radical feminists like the heroic female that will beat the bad guy when men fall short. They like Wonder Woman because she defeated the monster thing when Batman and Superman couldn’t. They like women with muscles, guts, and glory.

I like Nam Da Jung because she is almost the polar opposite. She cooks, she trusts, she’s sweet, she’s kind, she wears cute outfits, she doesn’t feel the need to change who she is just because she’s in a stressful environment or because she’s constantly put down. Yet she’s one of the strongest female characters in any film, show, or drama I’ve ever seen.

She is the most feminine, yet the most brave, courageous, and strong.

She hasn’t seen her dad in years; she’s dealing with his debt; she’s working several jobs for low pay. But she’s not angry, aggressive, or bitter.

To me, that’s stronger than holding the door open for yourself and not accepting help because you can do it yourself.

I appreciate this show so much and I appreciate Nam Da Jung’s character to the moon and back.

Until next time. Whenever that is. 😛

Love,

Rana || xoxo

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• next •

So I’m apparently really bad at keeping up with posting. Or anything, for that matter. Since school ended, I’ve been busy (still). You’d think summer would let up a bit but no. Anyway, a month after I finished my college classes, I finally got around to graduating high school summa cum laude with a 5.04 GPA (how, I have no clue; but hey, I’m not complaining). I hadn’t planned on going, but my parents wanted me to and  I’m actually kind of happy I did (don’t tell them though because I’m prideful).

Some people I hadn’t counted on caring or supporting me, showed up to prove me wrong. Thank you to those people.

My guidance counselor introduced me with some incredibly kind words before I took her place at the podium and delivered my speech which I’d like to share with you now. It’s not terribly long, but it comes from the heart and means quite a bit to me.

I’ve always been a bit different. Whether it was because I watched Scooby Doo instead of Hannah Montana, read Mark Twain and J.R.R. Tolkien instead of Juny B. Jones, chose to spend two weeks of summer vacation at debate camp, or jam to Korean Pop instead of Taylor Swift – I’ve always chosen to place my interests in something other than the mainstream. And I think part of that has led to our success in school. I say “our” because I know that you’re different too. [This school], together with our parents, allowed us to chart our own individual course rather than joining the mainstream. You chose this school over a traditional brick-and-mortar one; you chose self-discipline over being told what to do every day. And you’re sitting here as a result.

           There are a few things I’ve noticed over the last few years that I want to specifically address and hope you keep in mind forever. And hopefully that doesn’t sound too cheesy.

  1. We’re all equal, right? Maybe we don’t have equal talents, but we’re equally valuable and equal before the law. But I believe that just because we are valuable doesn’t mean we’re entitled to anything. Entitlement is a disease our society refuses to fight because it is mis-labeled as a “right”. As Americans, we have incredible privileges – privileges people in other countries risk their lives to attain. Is it their fault to have been born in their country?  By the same token, is it by our skill that we were born with these privileges so readily available? We’ve grown soft and we’ve become afraid of hard work; not many will say this, but I think we have this fear that, if it’s difficult or uncomfortable, something’s not right. Someone else isn’t working hard enough for us to have it easier.

So take a moment to let that sink in… And because I’m terrible at transitions, we’ll move right on into Point #2.

2. Ji Kwon, a Korean singer, once said that, “What we should be really scared of are not failures, but the heart that is no longer brave enough to take risks and embrace challenges”. Sure, risks and challenges are uncomfortable. But they’re not something to be feared. Discomfort is not synonymous with wrong or bad and nothing worthwhile comes easily.  Consider those you look up to – anyone you consider successful. They’re not where they are because they sat around and hoped for their lives to fall into place. They made it happen by taking risks and moving forward even in their fear.

At this point, I’d like to quote Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  -Teddy Roosevelt.

3. You are unique, valuable and irreplaceable – gifted with talents only you can nurture. Don’t waste that opportunity. You have everything you need to be successful on both personal and societal levels. Utilize that gift. Be resourceful.  Be creative.  Maybe you don’t have what the person next to you has, but that’s the point: you don’t need what they have. You need what you already have.  Take the time to identify what that is and use it.

4. On that note, I’d like to discuss the idea of success a bit more. Unlike many people, I don’t think you need the approval of others to be successful. While we may not realize it, this is how many of us measure our value, worth, and success: by other peoples’ standards. It takes a lot of courage to shun those opinions (not the advice, but the opinions) and focus on what matters to you. Over the last few years, I’ve learned that setting goals is important to success. But the end goal rarely turns out to be the way I envisioned it. So I would agree with Seungri, another Korean singer, when he said, “Don’t believe in success. Rather than that, believe in the amount of your effort and passion”. Effort and passion are the two constants in the equation of success. I would add that faith and prayer are additional factors in this and the one that offers the most peace of mind. In their song “Fire”, BTS says, “Don’t try so hard. It’s okay to lose.” What they mean is not, “give up because it’s hard”, but rather, “acknowledge that you might not have met your goal; it’s okay. Failure doesn’t make you a loser; it means you’re working toward something”. My dad often says, “our rewards in life will always be in exact proportion to our services”. As a general rule, this is true. I’ve tested it out many times.

So, to summarize:

  1. We are all equal, but not entitled + remember that a privilege is not a right.

  2. “What we should be really scared of are not failures, but the heart that is no longer brave enough to take risks and embrace challenges”.

  3. You have everything you need to be successful right now.

  4. Success is subjective; just keep making progress and keep in mind that your value is not determined by your failures or your successes.

If you read that, thank you.

Anyway, after the ceremony, two girls ran up to me and went, “OH, MY GOSH. YOU’RE A K-POPPER TOO!” One of them had a picture of BTS pasted to the back of her cap. I laughed and told her Suga was my spirit animal. Then her mom came up and said, “She mentioned Fire and I was like, ‘ahhh’!”

It was a nice night. Only 34 graduates.

And because I’m really bad at transitions, I’ll sign off now and leave you with a picture of me in my brother’s gown from last year (::cough:: it reached down to my ankles so I was the midget smurf of the evening ::cough:: I wasn’t about to pay $50 for a shiny blue garbage bag ::cough::).

• next •

Love,

Rana || xoxo

• an interview with human sunshine // paper crowns •

One of my dear friends, Mirriam Freaking Neal (yes, Freaking is her actual middle name), has published her second novel!

Mirriam is one of the most talented young artists out there (+ I’m not just saying that). Even the first draft, which I had the privilege of reading, was hilarious, witty, and a joy to read! With the editing and her growth as a writer, the completed version is something like Christmas in May. Paper Crowns is one of those rare literary jewels (that’s not cliche at all in case you’re wondering) that appeals to children and adults alike. I highly recommend purchasing a copy for yourself, your siblings, your child, your niece, your nephew, each of your extended cousins, and that one old man at the bus stop who looks like he could stand to smile a little more.

I’m a very picky reader when it comes to contemporary literature and a stingy penny-pincher, so believe you me when I say that this is a delightful story worthy of your time + $$. My sister and I have laughed out loud so many times throughout this novel.

That said, following is the required author-bio + official Paper Crowns description and then the interview.

• introducing mirriam neal •

Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

• an interview with human sunshine // paper crowns •

• where you can find her •

//Amazon

//Barnes & Noble

//Blog

//Email

//Goodreads

//Publisher’s Page

• paper crowns •

pc

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

• le interview •

R: You usually write darker, grittier novels and the Paper Series is basically the polar opposite of Monster, your last published novel. What inspired you to write Paper Crowns, a lighthearted story?

M: I was writing another dark, gritty novel and I wanted a kind of palate cleanser. The Paper books help keep me from going ‘too far’ when working on darker things, pulling my focus toward something more lighthearted and simple. They help keep me grounded in moderation.

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R: In what ways has your writing style changed since you released Monster?

M: My style tends to change and shift to suit whatever project I’m currently working on. This makes it hard to pinpoint exactly how it’s changed, except to say it has matured and evolved as I have. Practice makes better.

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R: How was the publishing process this time around different from when you published Monster?

M:Self-publishing and Indie-publishing are very different. With Indie-publishing, the process isn’t entirely in my hands, and everything goes through the publisher, meaning I have a good deal of say – but not all of it. It’s easier for things to get lost in translation and it takes longer, but the novel ends up with more reach.

<><><>

R: There are typically a few themes floating around in each of your novels; are there any we expect to identify in Paper Crowns?

M:*laughing* I get asked this so often. Not exactly, no; it doesn’t have any of the usual gritty or complex themes I like to explore. It’s a fairytale, which means it’s good versus evil – and that’s always a good thing, I think.

<><><>

R: What keeps you inspired and in love with your writing?

M: This is such an interesting question. I’ve never fallen out of love with it, but I don’t do anything to stay ‘in love’ with it. My love for writing just ‘is.’ Sometimes I’m not in the mood to write, but sometimes I’m not in the mood to hang out with people I love. It works the same way. You have to give it time and attention, but I don’t necessarily ‘try’ to stay in love with my writing. I just do. Everything is filtered through my love for it.

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R: The world of Faerie is quite beautiful and you describe it in such a way that the reader feels that they could actually be there without bogging us down with detail; you must have a visual for that. Where do you draw your aesthetic inspiration? 

M: I’ve never been fully satisfied with the worldbuilding in Paper Crowns, so I’m very glad you feel this way. I draw my aesthetic from usual sources, of course – Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ for instance, but I also drew inspiration from Neil Gaiman and Cornelia Funke. Not specifically, but the way they create and envision without constraint. I imagine the world of faerie as a giant curiosity cabinet, with pieces borrowed from everywhere. A piece of broken blue glass, a sea shell found on a beach, a button, a bone.

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R: Are there any specific places you go to gather inspiration?

M: I find a lot of inspiration writing in coffee shops. Typical, I know; but the energy inspires me. As much as I love writing in seclusion, it’s refreshing to go where people are. The vibe is inspiring. Also, writing in front of a great view is wonderful.

<><><>

R: What is your favorite thing about Paper Crowns? Character interaction, plot, world…?

M: The characters are always my favorite part of what I write. Every time.

R: It my favorite part of your writing, too. ::ignores the sound of her heart shattering::

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R: What are your favorite personality characteristics of both Hal + Ginny?

M: I like Ginny’s stick-to-activity. She doesn’t take guff and she doesn’t give up, even when she’s in way over her head. As for Hal, I like how he manages to stay completely devoted to Ginny while keeping a very broad view of things. He doesn’t lose his focus.

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R: Are there any writers or stories that inspired you to write the Paper series?

M: Diana Wynne Jones was a huge inspiration, although in an odd way – much of it was subconscious. It wasn’t until I went back and re-read the Howl trilogy that I realized how much of an influence she had really been.

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R: Should Paper Crowns become a movie, who would play the main characters?

M: It’s the dream of every author, I think, to see their book become a movie. (A well-done movie, that is.) I would cast Birdy (the singer) as Ginny and Jin Yi-Han (R: 100% ready for the film) as Hal – he’s far older, but he plays younger characters very convincingly.

<><><>

R: What was your greatest struggle in writing Paper Crowns?

M: There really wasn’t one. It’s the easiest novel I’ve ever written.

<><><>

R: You’ve mentioned that there are going to be additions in the Paper series (personally, I’m stoked for Paper Hearts). Is there anything that ties them together (other than the location + characters) or can they be read independently from each other and still make sense?

M: They can be read independently, but reading them as a series would be more fun, I think. There are small nods, cameos, and references that would add a lot of enjoyment.

<><><>

R: What is one quote or phrase that you think captures the feel + tone of Paper Crowns?

M: The quote I put at the beginning of the novel sums it up. ‘The world of faerie is a dangerous place.’ John Howe gave me permission to use said quote, for which I’m eternally grateful.

R: I will forever be jealous of your friendship with John Howe, honestly.

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R: What is one lesson you’ve learned from writing and publishing Paper Crowns and will apply to future novels?

M: A) Indie publishing is just the next step toward traditional publishing, and B) don’t stress. This entire process has been exciting, but I’ve stressed about it so much that the excitement was dulled. It’s taught me to relax.

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R: In 50 words or less, tell us something random you’d like us to know about Paper Crowns.

M: Hal’s accent is, in fact, a blend of South Korean (Busan dialect, specifically) and Scottish. No, I haven’t spent time talking aloud trying to figure it out, why?

R: I need the movie now so I can figure out what that sounds like.

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Not convinced yet? Then I shall channel my inner-Ursula and cry over your poor, unfortunate soul. I don’t often recommend anything as highly as I recommend this book and supporting this starving artist. (Okay, well she’s not

Pick up a copy and you too can be this happy.

Pick up a copy and you too can be this happy.

starving, but still…)

Mirriam, thank you for your time + for sharing your skill with us! I’m still doting over my signed copy (this life is surreal) and really looking forward to your future novels!

Eternal love,

Rana || xoxo

• mixtape : study edition •

Because I should be doing school.

Best excuse ever, amirite?

And because I get super distracted if I’m listening to lyrics I want to sing along to, but can’t stand soundtracks, foreign music is ideal. And not just any foreign music; foreign music that makes you excited to be alive; foreign music that makes your soul sing because you can’t; foreign music that doesn’t put you to sleep or make you go, “ugh, foreign noise”.

I know, I know. You’re just dying to learn what kind of foreign music I fill my ears with. You have no clue. Fine; I won’t make you wait.

• korean pop + japanese rock •

Hit you like a truck, didn’t it?

You never expected that from me.

Nah.

Well, I’m just full of surprises.

Now you want to hear it, right? Of course you do.

• BTS •

The Bangtan Boys encourage me when I feel like throwing a text book out the window + screaming, “I’M DOPE. I DON’T NEED TO BE EDJUMICATED.” The only pain I feel as I listen to this comes from the fact that Jungkook (one in the officer getup) is my age. And can dance. And can sing. And doesn’t have to do school. I don’t know if he does or not, but it seems like he has the option not to?

Dope

Do yourself a favor + turn on the captions.

I Need U

If only I could do more than the chicken dance…

• BIGBANG •

Fantastic Baby

Fantastic Baby whispers that I can do the thing. Well, it probably doesn’t. But I think being told, “wow, fantastic baby” a few times isn’t a bad thing.

• FTISLAND •

Pray

They are praying for me. I can do this.

Time To

And it’s time to fight, fight, fight. Time to do it right. Even though I’m down + afraid to go.

• SHINee •

Spoiler

The most amazing entrance + dance, yo.

• VIXX •

Chained Up

Because I can’t get away from all this school work.

Memory

I need memories of times when I had time to write, draw, smile, laugh…

Love Equation

Because math has taught me that I can’t do anything without calculations + watching grown men shove ice cream in another person’s face is kind of funny.

• GOT7 •

Just Right

Because I don’t need a 5.0 GPA to validate my worth.

Okay, kids, that’s what I’ve got. If you want more recommendations, please feel free to ask me. I really love chatting with you + enjoy the Korean culture very much.

Love always,

Rana || xoxo

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

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.

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies: Review

For the past three years, I have gone to see The Hobbit in theaters (twice for each film). Now, last night, I saw The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies in theaters #onelasttime. I came close to crying. Again. I laughed. Again. And I caught things I didn’t notice the first time around. It was so good, I stopped popping candy a little after halfway through, I think… Now, I’ll just sit here like this, wondering what to do while I’m waiting for it to come out on DVD:

WIN_20150201_074103

WIN_20150201_074412

WIN_20150201_074445

Excuse how freakishly large my hand looks. It was obviously too close to the camera.

WIN_20150201_181449 WIN_20150201_181452 WIN_20150201_181458 WIN_20150201_181514 Ahem. But what did I notice? Well, grammatical errors for one thing. The line, “Die now Wizard” should have been “Die now, Wizard.” But let’s overlook that. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture – starting off with things I didn’t like (because that will take much less time) and then go ahead and address what I did like. Cons

  • Grammatical errors (but I already addressed this and said I’d look over that)
  • PJ’s love of battle scenes (they are necessary – I mean, we’re talking about Tolkien here. But I feel that PJ knows he does well with filming fighting scenes and so he uses them. Too much. This film did a much better job of spacing the fighting scenes out and not letting them last too long. Whoo hoo!)
  • It wasn’t a Tolkien-purist’s cup of tea.
  • The end.

Pros

  • PJ’s ability to know when to cut off battle scenes. He did a much better job on The Battle of Five Armies. I never felt like the fighting just… got old in this one. ^_^
  • The characters (even Tauriel was used to show us a part of ourselves).
  • The story-telling.
  • Thranduil’s sass.
  • Bilbo’s sorry-not-really apology to Thranduil (“…ysh. Sorry about that.”).
  • I am totally fine with it not being a Tolkien-purist’s cup of tea. I’m kind of glad it strayed from the book. I think we got to see parts of Middle earth Tolkien never got to write. Also, keep in mind that this is a film adaptation. It’s adapted. It’s not going to be word-for-word from the book. 😉
  • Okay, you know what? I’m going to stop with the bullet points and just go ahead and tell you what I loved about each character that made an impression on me.

Balin taught me that you should probably know the history of the person before you give advice about them. Everyone has gone through some major change that has shaped them into the person they are now. Until you know that history, all you’ve got is the end product. You don’t know what’s made a person the way they are. You don’t know what challenges they’ve faced. I really don’t think we can know someone well until we’ve seen their darkness and fought with them through it.

Bard taught me that you should always give someone a chance (*cough* Alfred. *cough*). Whether you like them or not, they need the opportunity to be better than what they’ve become. After you’ve done what you can, leave them be. Don’t let weasels drag you down. Keep your sense of humor and point out that their slips are showing.

Bilbo Baggins taught me that adventures, no matter how uncomfortable and how late for dinner they make you, if you can grow, learn, help others, and become a better person, it’s worth it. We need to stretch our horizons and go farther than we’re comfortable with before we can know what we are. He didn’t know he was brave until he risked his life for his friends. He didn’t know he was a friend until he was willing to lose a friendship for the sake of the other’s well-being. He didn’t know he was a hero until he made difficult decisions in the interest of many lives.

Dwalin taught me that crowns don’t mean a thing if you act lesser with it on. Being king doesn’t mean having a bunch of stuff. It’s a responsibility. It’s about putting your people before yourself.

Tauriel taught me that love hurts. I’m not a fan of the love story going on between her and Kili, but I think it was redeemed by just Tauriel and Thranduil’s exchange of words after Kili’s death. I wonder if that wasn’t more for us than it was for the romance…

“If this is love, then I do not want it. Take it from me, please! Why does it hurt so much?”

“Because it was real.”

Thorin taught me that greed is not okay. Now matter how much you have, it’s not satisfying. Think about it. He had a sea of gold. He had his father’s halls back. What did he do? What did he become? He was terrified that someone might come and take a little bit of it. After trusting his friends and family with his life multiple times, he lost sleep doubting their loyalty. He became a selfish son of a gun. He was willing to let hundreds die for the sake of gold. But… what good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36) He also taught me that it’s possible to redeem yourself. It’s never too late to become a better version of yourself.

He also taught me that the world is not overrun by evil because of its strength. It’s run over by evil when good people fail to fight against it.

Thranduil taught me that heroic actions without love mean nothing. He’s a king. He’s immortal. He’s gorgeous. But he’s been hurt too. He lost his wife and now he’s afraid to love. He’s afraid to love someone who can leave just like that. He prefers to play it safe. If you’ve seen the film, recall the time when he received the death threat from Dain. He seemed pretty excited to me. Someone passionate about life shouldn’t have looked like that. When he told Tauriel that love hurt because it was real, I think we definitely got to see why he was so careful about not getting emotionally involved in anything that could drain him. “Love will leave a mark” – RED (look up that song, guys. It’s a tad heavy, but RED has a habit of pinpointing emotions and writing about it in a real way).

I think we’ve all been a little scarred by love. We need to get past that. We need to get past the risk of getting hurt again. It’s easier said than done. And it’s not going to happen overnight. It could take years. It certainly did for Thranduil. Apathy is a beast that corrodes a person from the inside out. It’s easier to deal with life through an apathetic lens, but then you’re merely existing. You’re not living. You’ll miss out on both the bad and the good. You’ll miss so many opportunities.

I think Bilbo was probably sitting in comfortable apathy before he was shoved out his door. No one hears the story about the man who was comfortable and took care of his own. No. We hear the stories of the broken. The wounded. The uncomfortable. They’re the ones who show us what we can be.

What we should be.

This is by no means all I have to say about The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. This is a Tolkien fanatic’s gushing about- EXCUSE ME, THE LAST GOODBYE IS PLAYING ON SPOTIFY AS I FINISH THIS UP. I NEED TO CRY AND EAT LEFTOVER CANDY.

God bless!

Rana

“Tick Tock”

Tick Tock Nursery Rhyme from Doctor Who

Tick Tock goes the clock
 And what now shall we see?
 Tick Tock goes the clock
 Now Thou shalt marry me
 
 Tick Tock goes the clock
 And what now shall we play?
 Tick Tock goes the clock 
 Now summer's gone away
 
 Tick Tock goes the clock 
 And all those years they fly
 Tick Tock goes the clock 
 Your love shall surely die
 
 Tick Tock goes the clock
 We laughed at Fate and mourned her
 Tick Tock goes the clock 
 Even for the Doctor
 
 Tick Tock goes the clock
 He cradled and he rocked her
 Tick Tock goes the clock
 Till River SAVES the Doctor.

Tick tock goes the clock, 
He thanked river for the saving Tick tock goes the clock, 
Now prison doesn't wait for River

Tick tock goes the clock 
Tick tock goes the clock 
Tick tock goes the clock Doctor, brave and good, he turned away from violence 
When he understood the falling of the silence.

photo 60

Just a short random post. Disregard as you fancy.


Yesterday, I was watching the seconds tick by on the T.V. screen (Roku’s screen saver is the time), I realized that those weren’t just numbers on a screen. It was my life ticking away and I wondered how many of those seconds I’d wasted.

In such a distracted world, it’s easy to let the seconds tick by. Don’t let that happen to you, love.

How much time have you wasted? How do you spend your time? Selfishly? Selflessly?

Sometimes we need to be reminded that’s we’re not immortal and we’re not invincible. We should live to the best of our abilities and have fun on the way but fun isn’t the reason for life. We should live to know, love, and serve God. It’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, although I’m sure any Christian would agree with me. 😉

And even if you’re not Christian, I’m sure you’d agree that one should live in the best way they know how. And that’s what I encourage you to do. ^_^

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Please be praying for me. 🙂

Heroes Aren’t All That Super

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.

Yep, I was watching Batman again. Surprise! I finished The Dark Knight Rises last night about 10:30 ish. I hadn’t been paying attention the first time when I watched it several months ago, so didn’t think it was all that great. But then I watched it again and wanted to push replay.

But I want to focus on the quote above. “A hero can be anyone.” Why does the world think we need some man or woman in a mask and cape to save us? We don’t. We need the broken to stand up and be beautiful so others know that they can rise to that level no matter how many pieces have been chiseled away.

I think people are like blocks of stone. We crack. We break. Pieces fall off. But I think God allows those things to happen so that we can be His beautiful sculpture in the end. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you would probably agree with me that hard things make people better.

We step out of our comfort zones to grow.

Recently (I think the last year or so), I’ve decided to start complimenting random strangers. You wouldn’t believe how amazing it makes me feel and sometimes they’ll let you know how much of an impact those kind words had on them.

> Hey, that shirt looks great on you!

> Oh, my gosh, that color really goes well with your skin tone.

> Not to be a total creeper, but you are flipping gorgeous.

> Hey, um, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are so pretty — not to be a weirdo or anything.

> You have such a lovely personality! I feel like you’d be a fun person to have as a friend.

> You have such a nice face. I just had to let you know.

> Your eyes are so pretty!

Most of the time, people just smile, laugh, and say thanks or maybe they don’t care. But sometimes, they’ll just kind of laugh quietly and stare at you, touched. Then they’ll say, “I needed that so much right now. Thank you.” Or, “Aw, that made my day!”

And that’s one of the most rewarding experiences ever. It makes me so happy inside.

It makes me wonder if I was their personal Batman, you know? Maybe I was their hero for that day, that moment. Maybe later in their lives, they’ll look back and be happy again because of those kind words. Maybe I gave them hope. Not all the teenagers these days are thugs. 😛

It doesn’t take much to take two steps to the side or go running down an aisle, chase down some random customer, and tell them you think they’re gorgeous. Just a few seconds of courage and adrenaline (although the latter is optional). And who cares what they think of you? You did your part.

Batman wasn’t always loved for the good things he did. People believed lies about him and that’s okay. He did the right thing. He did what he had to do. Whether the citizens cared or not, loved him or not, believed him or not, he was their hero. Also, keep in mind that Batman wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. But he learned from them and grew. It’s the same with all superheroes. Except Superman. Superman’s perfect. *cringe*

Go out and be someone’s hero today. Help someone across the street, do the dishes for your mom (or give Alfred the day off 😉 ), compliment a stranger.

Go ahead. Be a hero. Ditch the mask and cape. We’ve already got enough of them. Being a hero is doing the small, good things in life. You don’t need to change the whole world to be one.

God bless!

Rana

Updates, Snippets, and the Cast of The Reset

Helloooooo, all!

I’m babysitting my four year old cousin and not feeling well. Also, I’m tired.

What better time to write a blog post, right?

Update #1: THE HOBBIT IS SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN! NO SPOILERS, JUST ASDFGHJKL!!!!!!!!! It didn’t follow the book and I was a bit worried that Peter Jackson would totally butcher it, BUT I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Okay, the first one didn’t set high standards, so I wasn’t expecting much, but THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. *spazzes*

My 11 year old cousin thought Thranduil was a girl until he spoke. O__________________________o I thought he was an interesting character. I hope to see more of him and the other elves in the third and final installment of The Hobbit. 🙂

My 12 year old sister liked Kili best. Hm, wonder why…

Update #2: There was a Christmas dinner and show at my church Saturday night and it was amazing! They all did such a wonderful job. ^_^ It wasn’t the typical Christmas play either. They went all out, had “commercials” which advertised used carts “cheap as dirt” because they were so dirty and other things. 😛

Update #3: My grandma is an amazing lady. Just throwing that out there. She had me, my sister, and cousin sleep over, then took us to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which preceded a lovely lunch at the Pita Pit.

Update #4: Yesterday, I was babysitting the four year old, as previously mentioned. Two years ago, I changed my first diaper. (It wasn’t mine, I promise. I’ve long since stopped using those things. It was her diaper. Just felt the need to clarify that.) Since then, I have never changed another diaper and have never felt the urge to. I couldn’t get within three feet of the kid without gagging and I’m not exaggerating. We had no wipes, Mom was taking a nap, and I was the only one mature (and brave) enough to handle the situation.

My cousin laughed at me and so did my sister as they ran back and forth from the kitchen with paper towels. Lovely family.

After nearly choking on the putrid scent and getting human child feces on my hands, I was done. No more butt-wiping for me.

And two years later, that same girl is sitting on the couch, watching Dora the Explorer (and I didn’t remember how annoying it was) and coloring, when she looks up and says to me, “Rana, can you get me some different underpants?”

I was sitting there, like, “x_x Why (dare I ask)?”

“I pooped my pants.”

I’m just sitting here going:

She gets in the bathroom and says, “I’m joking.” I stand there, staring at her until she finally gets it. “That’s not funny, right?”

Yeah, I’m a Sherlock fan, in case you haven’t noticed. 😛 I said, “Not dead” in theaters when we were watching DoS. Because I’m that kind of a person. 😛

Update #5: I’m loving The Reset. January… just… I fangirl over him. ^_^ A big thanks to Lisa for fangirling with me. 😛 And to Mirriam for getting excited about his name and face with me. XD

This boy is so lovable. ❤

Here’s what he looks like:

eefb1944ea81a46a988df0a5ac55f3e2 Isn’t he lovely? ^_^

Anyway, I’m having so much fun writing him.

Onto the snippets! 😀 I’m doing a lot ’cause I have 13 chapters already and I love this so much. XD I was trying to choose only my favorite parts, but the whole book is my favorite part, so there’s a bunch of snippets. 😛

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I want to be done,” I whisper, dropping back into my chair as I stare at the picture of a handsome gentleman with blond hair and blue eyes.

“I apologize, Miss Holden, but that is no longer an option for you,” Fanon reminds me. He doesn’t seem sorry at all. He’s just like Fëar. Emotionless. Dehumanized.

“As if it ever was,” I retort.

“It was,” Fanon tells me, glancing up from a file on his desk. “Before you joined us. Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“You’re gonna regret that in the mornin’,” Silas warns me, interrupting my thoughts and bringing me back to the present.

“Then I’ll just sleep ‘till noon.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I don’t look any different than when you saw me yesterday morning.”

“Not to the untrained eye, anyway,” says Fëar. “But I can tell, Alias, m’darlin’. I can always tell. I’ve had since the beginnin’ of time to practice reading people and I’ve grown quite good at it.”

I sigh. “Stop reading me. It’s rude.”

He shrugs. “As you wish.”

“Okay, Westley.”

“Good movie, that. You and your date should watch it sometime.”

“He’s not my date. I don’t date my targets,” I groan as I pour myself a mug of coffee and sit down at the table.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A girl on the stool next to mine elbows me with a sly grin on her face.

“Isn’t he a dream?” she asks, nodding in Silas’s direction.

I smile back at her and nod. “A perfect nightmare.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I don’t want to kill anymore.” I grind the words out through my back molars.

Fanon leans in and clasps his hands on the desk as he speaks. “You don’t have a choice.”

“What can I do to get out?”

“Nothing.”

“No, there is way, isn’t there?”

“Well, I could release you from your bond, but I don’t feel much like doing that. Or you could find someone else to take your place. But then you’d still be bound for a year so there would be double the blood on your hands. And there would be no way to redeem yourself after you died, an occurrence which would take place immediately once the year was up.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

My cell phone buzzes on the table.

I flip it open.

“YOU HAVE 1 TEXT MESSAGE.”

I open it and read the message.

“Hey, srry ill be a few mins l8. –SV”

That makes me want to puke. Really?

You seemed like such a wonderful person until I read that text message, Silas.

“Don’t worry about it,” I type with my thumbs before pressing the send button. A yawn stretches my mouth.

“A yawn is a silent scream for coffee, or so I hear,” the barista calls to me. “Can I get you anything?”

I smile at the young lady. “Sure. What kinds do you have?”

She begins rattling off a long list consisting of espresso, double espresso, cappuccino, Americano, café latte, extra shot, and flavored coffees. I inquire as to what options the latter might include.

“We have hazelnut, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, gingerbread, honeycomb, and mint,” she replies cheerfully.

I run through the list in my head a couple of times before looking back at the brunette.

“What’s your favorite?” I ask her. I’m horrible at making decisions.

“Well, I’m a vanilla person, so I’d go for that. But the caramel is good too.”

“Can I do both?” I ask.

She laughs. “I can try!”

With that, she sets to making my caranilla coffee and returns with a steaming mug of it. I take a deep breath and let it out in a contented sigh.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“It’s rude to break into people’s houses, Fanon,” I shout.

“I didn’t break in,” he replies, appearing in the middle of the living room.

I roll my eyes. “You’re in here uninvited. It’s the same thing.”

“No, it’s not. Breaking in implies that I forced myself into your house, which I did not.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Alias, darling,” he says slowly, “have you read about the old legends?”

Where is he going with this? I wonder.

“Which ones?” I ask instead.

“On the elves,” he replies without looking at me.

“No,” I tell him. “I’ve read quite of a bit of Tolkien though, if that’s what you’re referring to.”

Fanon chuckles. It’s a deep, throaty chuckle that sends shivers up my spine. He pulls a book off the shelf. Its cerulean cover sports golden letters that form to create the title.

The Truth in the Legends

Fanon begins to read a passage located somewhere in the middle of the book.

“In the old legends, Elves were not the honorable creatures Tolkien led people to believe in. They were powerful, dangerous, and beautiful supernatural beings who are more than likely to harm humans than help them.”

Fanon stops and I stare at him, my jaw hanging open. The fact that he read “are more likely” rather than “would be more likely” bothers me. The way the text is written implies that these creatures are real.

The man continues.

“The word ‘elves’ comes from a Germanic term that translates to ‘nightmare.’

“Now, dear Alias, in light of this new discovery, please keep in mind that if you disappoint me, I will hurt you. The Bank isn’t a game. It’s a business. I would appreciate it if you would treat it as such. From now on, stop playing with your targets and just perform the job. It will be easier on you.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I tear my jacket off and go through my arsenal which is comprised of five blades, not counting the one lying somewhere downstairs in a puddle of blood.

The spear-point will be for Silas and the drop-point for Mirai. I’ll try to do them at the same time to avoid causing one of them the agony of watching their only loved one die.

I’ll spare them the agony I’ve dealt with these past two centuries.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I hold onto Alex tight, knowing he’ll be gone at any moment. “Elizabeth Barton is dead,” I tell him.

“You could have been Mrs. Elizabeth Wilkins.”

“No, I couldn’t have been,” I sigh. “I would never have left you to this life. I would rather die every day and live in hell so you could be saved.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Fëar crosses his legs and hovers in the air, his elbows on his knees, his chin in his hand.

“Well, we hate humans, basically. So anyway we can hurt them, we will. Immortality is one of those ways. Killing the conscience is another. Though that doesn’t matter much until the soul leaves the body.”

I look up at the navy blue drapes that ensure no sunlight gets in the house. The thick material does its job well.

“So you live to see us hurt?” I ask, yawning. “That seems like a really shallow motive.”

“Oh, there’s more,” Fëar says, flashing me a wicked grin. “You humans don’t know it, but we control the earth.”

I blink. “What?”

“Oh, yeah. President of the United States? He’s the same as you. Of course, we do make exceptions for leaders. They have to die so no one will start to wonder.

“The assassins are all one of us. Most of them fake their deaths, some of them we kill if we think they’ll start telling the world about the Bank.”

“What other leaders do you own?” I ask.

“Well, the politicians are easy to win over. We’ve got some kings and queens.”

“Don’t they have to kill?”

“Yeah. But they do it differently.”

“How so?” I lean forward, curious.

He grins, revealing a set of perfect, white teeth. I notice his bicuspids are sharp. Sharper than any normal person’s. Almost vampirish.

“Do you drink blood?” I ask suddenly, forgetting my previous question.

He sits back, the grin fading. “Absolutely not,” he answers. “No.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Are you in trouble?”

I nod. “Been in it for two hundred years and I guess it’s not stopping today.”

“Wait, what? Have you been at the bottle?” Silas raises an eyebrow.

I laugh bitterly. “I wish that was as far as my troubles went, but no. You have to understand that I don’t like this.”

“You don’t like what? Just get to the point!” Silas watches me so closely as if he’s trying to pinpoint the problem somewhere on my face.

“Oh, how much longer must I sing this song?” I mutter under my breath. “It’s an old tune and was never catchy in the first place.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Hey, God,” I mutter. “Um, You know what I’ve done. You know I don’t want to do it but have no other choice. This is kind of like a slave contract sort of thing, I guess. I don’t know what to do. I’m lost, okay?

“Like that goat or whatever You talked about finding even when You had the ninety nine all safe and stuff. I’d like to be found again so if You could pick up that lost people detector or whatever You use to find us, I’d appreciate it.

“I’m willing to give this whole faith thing another go if You’ll just get me out of the Bank.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Why do you hate me?”

“I don’t hate you,” Fëar says. “My feelings toward you are worse than that.”

I had been heading toward the couch, but stop and cast a confused look over my shoulder. “What’s worse than hate?”

“Use.”

“What do you mean?” I curl up on the couch and watch his face.

“Hate simply means I wish ill for you, but use is much worse than that. It’s wanting to hurt you for my personal gain. You might enjoy it for a while, but I’ll only put up with you until your entertainment purposes surpass your usefulness.”

“Sometimes, I think you’re my friend,” I whisper. “But then I have to remind myself that I have no friends and even if I did, you couldn’t be one of them.”

Fëar chuckles. “Smart girl. Yes, you are smart, m’darlin’ but you’re stupid at the same time.”

I sigh. “Oh, go away.”

His chuckle echoes throughout Stone Cross Manor even after he disappears.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

NOW FOR SOME SCENES WITH JANUARY BECAUSE I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.

In the park, a man with vertically striped pants (almost like the kind Fanon wears, but in thinner stripes), a coat, some arm bangles, and a black cowboy hat covering half of his face. He appears to be sleeping so I brush past, but his hand reaches out and grabs my wrist.

“Ay,” he says, glancing up at me from his one visible eye. He doesn’t uncross his legs which stretch out on the park bench.

“Let my wrist go, please,” I say, in too much of a nice mood to get angry.

“No, not yet,” he says with a distinct American accent, and sits up. He fixes his cowboy hat and straightens his belt which is old and worn by the looks of it.

“Can I help you?” I ask. I stand far enough away to be able to move if he stands to get closer.

“You might.”

A blue printed scarf peeks out from beneath his dirty white shirt which is covered by a denim jacket. To top it all off, he wears a threadbare wool coat. It all adds up to make an interesting statement to say the least.

His face is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s dirty, but he has angular features, a straight nose, full pink lips, and it’s all framed by long strands of black hair that escaped his loose ponytail.

“What might I be able to help you with?” I ask when he doesn’t continue.

“Don’t know yet,” he says, eyeing me.

“I beg your pardon. I don’t understand.”

He flashes me a white, but slightly crooked smile that I find just darling. A few seconds later, I find myself smiling back at him.

“Would you care to sit with me for a while?” he asks me.

I know I shouldn’t, but I’ve got nothing to lose, so I sit beside the young American man and he releases my wrist.

“I thought you were sleeping,” I tell him.

He laughs. It’s a pleasant sound. I haven’t heard a genuine laugh from an adult in such a long time. If Silas ever laughed, it was because of some hidden nervousness or insecurity. Not like this man’s. It’s clear, loud, and real.

“Most people do,” he tells me with a wink.

I smile and nod, unsure of what else to do.

“Do you need money?” I ask.

He lets another laugh ring in the foggy air. “Oh, please,” he chuckles. When he doesn’t explain the humor in my question, I prompt him for an answer. He looks me in the eye, still grinning. “I don’t need money!”

I blink. “Forgive me for being so frank, but how do you not need money? You’ll freeze before the winter sets in if that’s the only outfit you’ve got.” I gesture toward his thin jacket.

The strange man continues grinning as he leans backward. His right arm rests on the back of the bench. He rolls his first two fingers in a circular motion to prompt me to go on.

“And it baffles me that you would sleep out here on a park bench in the cold if you have a flat or somewhere to live.”

Another chuckle escapes his lips. For some reason, it goads me on.

“No offense, but you’re quite filthy too,” I point out. “If you had enough money to live like a decent person, you would be much cleaner.”

He just keeps smiling. But the light in his brilliant blue eyes tells me he’s laughing at me.

“Plus, you-” I stop and shake my head as he begins to laugh again. “What’s so amusing?” I want to know.

“You put so much faith in something so unimportant,” he explains.

“I don’t understand. Yes, money isn’t the most important object, but without it, life is a lot more difficult.”

The man leans closer to me and whispers, “That’s what they want you to believe.”

I lean backwards and place a hand on his chest to keep him out of my personal space.

“What’s your name?” I ask. He leans back.

“Jan,” he answers. “It’s short for January.”

I wrinkle my nose. “January? Is that your real name?”

He shrugs. “I was born in January. That’s all I know about myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was put in the orphanage right after I was born, so I don’t know anything else. They never named me so I named myself.”

“Who never named you?”

Jan sighs and taps the side of my head. “Not very bright, are ya? No one named me! Not my parents, and no one in the orphanage.”

“Oh,” I say lamely.

“What’s your name, beautiful?” Jan smiles at me. He holds my gaze and doesn’t look away, even when he’s speaking. It’s a bit unnerving.

“Alias,” I answer.

“Is that your real name?” he asks, mimicking the tone in my voice when I had asked him that question.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I respond, with a grin.

“Yes,” he says. “Yes, I would very much like to know.”

“Why?” I stop fingering the folds in my scarf. I hadn’t realized I was doing it until now.

“Because I’m a creeper.” Jan rolls his eyes. “I’m just curious, is all! No need to get so defensive.”

I smile at him and pat his cheek. “Cute.”

“Who is?”

“You are.”

“Why?”

I laugh. “No one acts the way you do. It’s cute.”

He shakes his head. “I’m not cute.”

“Then what are you?”

“I’m a loner who happens to be very attractive.”

I smile at Jan and he smiles back. “I’m willing to bet self-confidence is your best quality,” I say.

January shakes his head. “Nope. Humility is my best quality. Couldn’t you tell?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I think the longer you live, the shorter your Christmas list gets because you begin to realize that the things you want, you simply can’t find in a shop.” He shrugs and puffs out his cheeks.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“You hungry?” I ask him. “Can I take you out for supper?”

He raises an eyebrow. “Did you just ask me out on a date?”

I shake my head. “No. I asked you if you wanted some free food.”

He spreads his hands out. “Hey, I’ve never not accepted a free meal. But what’s the catch?”

“No catch. Just food.”

“Unless, of course, we eat fish. In which case, there must be a catch for there to be food.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I smile at him. “All right, what do you feel like eating.”

“People,” he mutters. A large man shuffles past the back of his chair and knocks the back of his head with his elbow.

I lean forward. “I’m not sure what you’re used to eating, Jan, but human beings are not on the menu.”

He laughs. “No! I was just-” He gestures to the man. “I was commenting on people’s manners, is all. Or rather, just people in general.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I smile. “What? You don’t have friends?”

“Nope. It’s just I, myself, and me against the whole world.”

“Same here.”

“Then maybe it’ll just be us against the whole world.”

I look up at Jan. “You’re sweet, you know that?”

He grins and sticks his tongue in his cheek. “Yeah, I think so.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“What do you want?” I moan.

“Some fun,” he hisses.

“Find it somewhere else. I’m not a Happy Meal.”

A low chuckle sounds in the back of the elf’s throat.

“I don’t need you to be happy,” Fëar clarifies. “I just need the meal. I’ll find the pleasure in it somewhere.”

“I’m not on any menu,” I snap. “Go away.”

He steps toward me and crouches before the bed. His hand stretches out and tucks a loose strand of my dark hair behind my ear. I stare into his pale blue eyes, rimmed with red.

“You still haven’t gotten me the blood I wanted,” he whispers.

“I just killed two innocent people,” I tell Fëar, wanting so much to be able to cry. “I can’t.”

The elf’s hand is on my throat in less than a second. His strangely beautiful face is just centimeters away from my own.

“We made a deal,” he growls. “You’re not backing out, love. I want blood in return for the blood I transferred to your account last time you decided you didn’t want to kill. And, beautiful, if you don’t, just know that I can make your life more miserable than you ever thought imaginable.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

the_reset

Okay, I don’t know why it turned out so small, but this is my lovely cast. ^_^

Starting at the top left corner and going clockwise, we have Fëar, Fëar again, Stonecross Manor, Alias, Alias again, Silas Vealy, Fanon, Fanon again, some weird blood-smoke thing, the Stalker who I have yet to name, January, and January again.

I hope you enjoyed that horribly long post. Every time, I plan on writing something short and sweet, but then I get going and, well, this is the result. 😛

Now I have a question for y’all.

God bless!

Rana