Saturday, April 28, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I was in Orlando all day yesterday, at Universal Studios, in the Islands of Adventure park. That was a blast. We started at Seuss Landing, rode some of the rides there with the nephew, and then headed through the Lost Continent on the way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We spent hours there.
We tried the butterbeer which, while not an alcoholic drink, is rich enough to make you feel warm and fuzzy. We also tried the Pumpkin Juice, which I didn't really like because it's more of an apple-based drink with pumpkin flavor mixed in.
We went to Olivander's and watched a wand pick a wizard, and then we were ushered through to Dervish and Banges where you can buy all sorts of Harry Potter merchandise. We looked at the robes, but they were $100 each and we couldn't afford that. They have replica wands. You can even buy a replica of Luna Lovegood's wand.
We walked through Hogwarts, but we didn't actually ride the ride. I'm no good with thrill rides. We looked in all the shops, but we didn't buy anything there but the drinks, and later in the day, near closing time, we went to the Three Broomsticks and got some dinner.
My boyfriend and I shared a Shepherd's Pie, and a Pumpkin Fizz, which is just a pumpkin juice with soda water in it. Surprisingly, the carbonation made the juice much better. Also, the Shepherd's Pie was amazing, like the chefs were really angels sent from food heaven to bestow upon us this gift of meat and potatoes.
We only rode one adult ride there yesterday, but it was a great one. We rode on the Popeye's water ride. I forget the actual name of the ride, at the moment. I got soaked, and I had made the bad decision of wearing jeans to the park. The seat of my pants was still damp on the ride home, nearly 6 hours later.
We spent nearly 12 hours at that park yesterday, and every minute of it was extraordinarily fun.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
If any of you have a design you want to see pretty pictures of after I fold it, feel free to suggest them. I'm not great at origami, but I'm pretty awesome at following instructions, so if I can find a how-to for your specific design, I'd be glad to do it.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
So you existed in the '90s. Great. You're not the only one. I promise. There are literally billions of people, I'm sure, who remember the exact same things from the exact same decade. It's not a feat.
Next decade, we'll have teenagers saying "Oh, you know, it was so awesome when I was a kid. We were attacked by terrorists and were locked in a war for more than ten years as a result. All of our entertainment was in a mach-speed downward spiral, too."
Yes, child. I remember. Just because you remember too, doesn't make you special. It just means you have an average memory span. Which I suppose, in a decade, will be a bit of a feat, seeing as most kids seem to have something wrong with them that makes it difficult for them to pay attention. (See: Lackofdisciplineitis.)
So no. I will not like, share, comment on, or anything else, your '90s-related post. It's just a desperate cry for attention, and I'm too lazy to care about your need for that attention.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Today, he asked if I would write a starter campaign for him. So I did. It's really short and not very greatly detailed, but it'll get the characters started and it'll help the players learn the system. Also, the lack of details will help the GM, or Game Master, to customize it for his players, to his liking. I think it works out well. So here's hoping that someday, those of you who are interested in this sort of thing get to play the system, and you'll say to your friends "I've been excited about this since I read about it on that blog that one time."
And I'm stuck wondering, what next. So I started the blog. That was easy. I told you basically all about my life. That was pretty easy too. So...now what? I don't do anything interesting that I could talk about. I mean, sometimes I write. Sometimes I draw. I could write a little about that. But it wouldn't be reliable.
Honestly, I'm not sure I'll still be posting, two weeks from now. I get too bored with things too easily. I don't hold high hope. I suppose I could post some of my short stories. But what's the interest in that? I already have most everything up on DeviantArt. The link is off to the right of the page somewhere. "My art.". You can go ahead and have a look.
I can write about character concepts. I don't write too much of that. You all know that I'm into roleplaying, and Dungeons and Dragons. But again...what's so interesting about that? Eh.
I could ask readers to give me ideas of things I should write short stories about. That might be interesting. It would certainly challenge my creativity, and it would give me something to do each day.
Or maybe I'll do all of that. Meh. It'll be a fairly random blog, then, but then I've always been a fairly random person. We'll see how it goes.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
He had his back to the elevators. He didn't know where I'd be coming from. So, I strode right up behind him, leaned over (I was wearing heels and we're already almost the same height), and whispered in his ear, "Orlando smells weird."...It's not the greatest thing to say to the man you've never met face-to-face before, but it breaks the ice.
He whipped around, his eyes went wide, and he just looked me up and down. Ok, I'm not that stunning, really, but...he was astounded. He'd seen me before, plenty of times. A 3-hour walk to a nearby Best Buy (to get a webcam) and back had made sure of that.
The look on his face was flattering, really. And, me being shy, I just stood there grinning like an idiot. Then we both kind of silently decided that we should go, because his mom was waiting to pick us up. We headed to baggage claim, claimed my one bag, and headed out of the airport. We wasted no time in starting conversation. We were talking all the way through the airport. Then we got to the truck, and as is habit for me when I get into a vehicle, I shut up and took in the scenery. He stared at me the whole time.
Backing up a little in this story, to two years earlier. Sixteen years old, browsing the internet in my loads of spare time, and I spy an ad on Facebook detailing exactly the game I'd been wishing for since a few years back. Dungeons and Dragons...Online! And it was free to play now! I signed up for that baby right then and there. I played for about a week, but I'd never had any experience with roleplaying before.
I was wandering through the virtual world, looking for more quests, when I got a private message from someone telling me that my character's biography was pretty good, and he was wondering if I'd be interested in joining his guild. They were all about roleplaying. I was hesitant at first, but I did join them. And I was introduced to the magical world of roleplay. I made tons of friends, and there was one guy in a public chat channel who was particularly cheeky, trading veiled innuendo with me whenever he was on.
One night, I was roleplaying, as had become my usual, when my friend Issy decided to embarrass my character...which was all to easy, with that character. So Issy called over a friend of hers. Surprise surprise, it was that same guy who I'd been joking with for about a week already. All of our previous contact had been strictly out of character, meaning our characters had never met before. My character was in for a treat that night. And so was I.
The character who sat down across from mine was a charming man, polite and roguish all at the same time. And then he changed his voice. He had been speaking with a local accent, but he switched to one that would be akin to an Irish accent, and my character was turned into a beet-red puddle of mush. Oh dear. Two relationships blossomed, one between the characters and one between the players.
Two years later, I was standing in an airport clear across the country from where I'd lived all my life, talking with that same guy...and holding his hand.
We got to the house and I went straight to the bedroom, put my bags down (I'd had carry-on, too), and sat and looked. Then I went back out to the living room and sat on the couch. I wanted so bad to just go into hiding and not come out for a week, but I knew that would be rather rude, so I sat on that couch. Of course, at that point, I'd been awake for near twenty-four hours. So I was getting tired. I eventually shuffled back to the room, crawled into my new bed, and passed out. I think I was out for about seventeen hours that day.
Everything since then has been about the same, day in and day out. I wake up, I pick up my computer, I check various accounts for messages, and then I wander through the internet. When I get tired, I put the computer back down, I curl up on the bed, and I go back to sleep.
It's gotten pretty dull, after nearly a year. To the point of frustration. I wake up, check my messages, and then stare at the screen for a few minutes before I put the computer back down and stare at a wall. Beige. I think the color can be described as beige. Very light tan-ish yellow. Blegh.
I try, for at least twelve hours, to keep myself entertained, but more often than not, I'm groaning and complaining about having nothing to do. I would be going to school, but since I haven't been here for exactly a year yet, the school would be charging me four times as much as it charges him. I would try to get a job, but it's an hour's walk to the nearest place, which happens to be a gas station. It's probably another hour to the next nearest place. I can't drive. He can't drive. We only have one truck to depend on, now, and his father uses it to get to work every day.
After somehow staying alive for another twelve hours, I flop back on the bed, and roll around for another two hours. Somehow, I finally end up slipping into a light sleep, where I stay...for about twelve hours. When I wake up again, I don't feel rested. I don't feel invigorated. I only feel bored...and frustrated. And my neck and shoulders, without fail, are tight.
Maybe I'm depressed. I probably am. He refuses to believe it. Or he does believe it but refuses to let me believe that he believes. I tell him sometimes that I think about talking to a doctor about it, but then he reminds me that we have no source of income to pay for that sort of thing. So I stare at the wall some more.
And then I go back to sleep.
I have a twin brother. I have two older brothers, they're also twins. I have my mother and my father. I have my grandfather. I have a lot of other family members, too, but these people...they're who shaped my life.
I grew up in California, in a generally small town called Antioch. It's in the San Francisco Bay Area, a bit inland. I lived there for eighteen years. My first memories are around the time when I was three years old. I can remember sliding down the stairs of our apartment in my nightgown on my butt when I was maybe two. I was cruel to our cats; I remember throwing them in small places, or trying to lock them up in my dresser drawers so that I could cuddle them later whenever I wanted. I was a terrible kid, I think.
Then we were kicked out...having upwards of 20 cats when you're not even supposed to have one will do that to a family. So we found a new place to rent; an actual house. That's the house I grew up in. I learned to read, there. I remember sitting in my daddy's lap reading The Jungle Book all on my own.
When I was five years old, I started Kindergarten. The teacher's name was Mrs. Mass, if I remember correctly. She was a really cool teacher, I think. I don't remember any of my classmates, really, except one jerk who kicked over my cardboard house because he thought he heard the teacher call for clean-up time. Jerk.
Then came first grade. Mrs. Pryor was my teacher. I had a huge crush on a kid named Mason. Short blonde hair, he was really short, and he was in the second grade. We were in the same class because Mrs. Pryor taught a first grade/second grade hybrid class. She was talented like that. I think she's the one teacher who had the most impact on my life. Pretty safe to say that she was my favorite.
In the second grade, I had Mrs. Pryor again, only this time, she'd switched to just teaching the second grade. My crush had moved away over the summer, I haven't seen or heard from him since. At some point, Mrs. Pryor was keeping an eye on me, and one day I was sent to this strange tiny room that I think was actually a storage closet but they had converted it to a testing room special for that day. I was given an IQ test, and I was told that I was exceptionally smart. In fact, they called me borderline genius. Apparently I was pretty talented when I was seven.
The third grade was pretty awkward for me. I was enrolled in a program called G.A.T.E., which stands for "Gifted and Talented Education". Every Monday, I got on a school bus that was waiting in the school parking lot, and I went to a different school entirely, and I spent all day goofing off in a classroom there. I can't remember the teacher's name, but he was really cool. He got me interested in origami. I was only eight years old, and I was folding really awesome-looking paper cubes. I learned how to braid there, as well.
Then, when the day was over, I'd get back on the bus with a bunch of other kids and ride around town to all the other schools, because my school was the last stop. When I got back to school, classes there weren't quite done. I was always at least fifteen minutes early. Now comes the fact that I have always been terribly shy. So, I was afraid to walk into the classroom on Mondays, because I knew that everyone would turn around to look at me, wondering where I'd been all day. So I sat on the ramp to the portable classroom for fifteen minutes and I waited for the bell to ring, and then I'd walk with my brother back out to the parking lot to wait for our mother to pick us up.
The fourth grade went by pretty quick. I only remember two things from that year. One: I built a pretty sweet wood replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, with my mom's and grandpa's help, only to have it crushed by the class fat kid. Jerk. And two: the sweet field trip to the Chabot Space Center, where I, not so sweetly, shoplifted some silly putty from the gift shop. Dad was there chaperoning, and I'd asked him for a souvenir, but we've always been pretty poor, and the usual answer, as it was that day, was no. That day, I was pretty tired of being the only kid walking away with nothing.
Of course, I got caught. I got suspended from the rest of the field trips that year. I was pretty heart-broken about that because that was the year that the end-year trip was supposed to be a trip to a nearby water park. Thankfully, the principle was actually pretty awesome, and she let me go on that end-year trip. Funny thing is, I don't actually remember what I did there.
Fifth grade, I had a pretty cool teacher. I don't remember her name, either, but I remember she used to be the music teacher. Pretty weird that the music teacher switched to teaching the fifth grade, but she was great.
I never really had any good friends, in elementary school. There was a kid in the first grade who my twin and I used to hang out with, who lived right across the street from us, but he was really more my brother's friend than mine. There was another kid who lived around the block from us, but she was...well, a bit annoying, really. It was fun hanging out at her house because it wasn't my house, but when I think back on that relationship, I really don't think that I thought of her as a friend.
In the sixth grade, I was forced into homeschooling by my mother. My older brothers had gone to the local middle school for the sixth grade, and they were subject to so much bullying that mom was afraid for our lives. One of my brothers once came home with a hole in his arm where a bully had stabbed him with a pencil. On another occasion, my brothers came home to tell mom about how the bully had been threatening their lives. I don't know why this kid hated them so much, but I really hate that guy.
Homeschooling was cool, I suppose. I got to learn what I wanted, when I wanted. Most of my history classes consisted of watching shows on the History Channel and sometimes taking notes. Math classes were when I baked things. We were doing the schooling through an actual program. E.N.C.O.R.E Homeschooling. I dunno what the letters stood for. We had the coolest teacher there, though. Her name is Irene. She directed our sixth and seventh grade learning.
In the eighth grade, we were given to another teacher because we were slacking off too much with Irene, and they thought it was because we thought of her more as a friend than a teacher. We slacked off just as much with the other teacher. We were bored with homeschooling. Stuck at home all day, every day, learning straight out of our textbooks, in the living room behind mom as she worked on her computer. She always had the TV on for background noise. Two thirteen-year-olds find it awful hard to concentrate on homework when there's a TV on in the room. We got into so much trouble for it. It didn't help that we're both better at learning through example, and without anybody there to give us any examples for our homework...it was hard.
Then there's the lack of social interaction. When I say that we were stuck inside all day every day...I do mean it. We woke up sometime around 8am, we grabbed our schoolbooks, we went out to the living room and sat down, cracked the books open, and sat there until 4pm, trying not to be distracted by mom's mystery shows. Well. We really didn't try not to be distracted. We couldn't have cared less whether we were distracted or not. But we were in trouble every day. Then, at 4pm, we'd retreat back to our rooms to do...whatever it is we did. My brothers have always played a lot of video games. I guess I just used to read a lot. I honestly don't remember what I did to pass the time. Then dinner time at six, watch TV until nine, then bed time. The next day, we'd do it all over.
Weekends, grandpa came over and took mom out shopping for various things. Groceries, essential everyday things...Since I had nothing better to do, I tagged along. At least I was getting out of the house, and grandpa always got me some pretty awesome stuff. I learned from an early age that it's hard for him to say no to me. I am his only granddaughter, after all.
Highschool began, and the schooling program changed to the school downstairs; Prospects Independent Study. E.N.C.O.R.E. and Prospects are in the same building. We had the same teacher that my older brothers had. Joyce. She was pretty awesome, though she did have a terrible habit of not really prioritizing things. The appointments with the teachers were supposed to be once a week, for only an hour, one-on-one. With Joyce...there was always at least one other student, even when our appointments were the earliest available.
For the first three years, I could understand going overtime on the appointments. We had to grade our own work, take up to five tests, and get our next week's assignment. That takes time. Especially when the teenager is terribly bored and really doesn't want to be there. During year four, however, for the longest time all I had to do every week was bring in a drawing or two, get the next week's assignment, which was to do another drawing or two, and get out of there. Simple and quick, right? Well...Sometimes I sat there for an hour just waiting to be acknowledged as Joyce scrambled to work with the other students in the cubicle. The hour that had been slotted for my appointment, my one-on-one, face-to-face appointment. It got pretty frustrating.
Finally...after thirteen years in school...I graduated. I wasn't anything special, just the girl in the back row with the really bright orange hair. I'd recently dyed it. Nothing too weird, a pretty natural color, but still. As I received the cover that would hold my diploma, I was told that the lady shaking my hand was a friend of my grandmother's. Small world. I stood on the tape-square and got my picture taken by the professional guy, though he was pretty irked because I was looking off over his shoulder at my mother who was taking the pictures that really mattered. She's spent some time as a professional wedding photographer, and her pictures were, of course, free.
Then, as I was about to step off the tape-square, my grandmother's friend, who'd just handed my brother his diploma-case, leaned over and whisper-asked me if I would like to have a picture with my brother. I shrugged and said, "Sure." So the lady pushed my brother over at me, and he had the second funniest "What the heck is going on?" look there.
The photographer that the school had hired, though. That guy was hilarious. He was freaking out. I could read on his face, "What the heck are they doing? I'm supposed to be taking pictures one kid at a time! Nobody said anything about taking pictures with more than one kid in them!" So as that guy got his bearings, mom snapped two or three pictures, and off we went. I think the guy actually got one picture in, but I dunno. We never saw the pictures he took. Why pay $50 for those, when mom had taken pictures for free that were probably better quality anyway?
Graduation was June 7th, 2011. About a week later, came the graduation party. That was great, I suppose. I dunno, I was pretty worried the whole time. The thing is, four months before that, I had gotten a one-way plane ticket to fly out to Florida to meet my boyfriend for the first time. I think I'll write that story in another post. Back to this story, though. I was worried that whole day of the party because the next day was the day that I planned to tell my parents about this plane ticket. I'd kept it secret for four months somehow. Well, my twin knew. But that's because he snooped in my stuff and found the printed itinerary. He was cool about it, though.
The day after the party, I was sitting on the couch in the living room with my parents, watching TV. During a commercial break, I finally let it out. "So...I'm going to Florida." I was greeted by...silence. And the iciest glare...I didn't dare say another word, so I slunk away to my room to hide. I posted on Facebook that I had a one-way ticket to Florida. The departure date was set for June 27th. The day after my 18th birthday. Apparently, when I'd told my parents that I was going to Florida, the 'one-way' part hadn't occurred to them, because my mother replied with a 'what a wonderful way to tell your parents'...I could hear the sarcasm dripping off of those words. The worry had been nagging at me for too long, though, and I kind of exploded at her.
I had tried to tell her. She didn't say a word. What right did she have to be angry at me, when all she had to do was say something...anything.
Later, I saw that she'd deleted her comment. Out of courtesy to her, I deleted my reply to her comment. Even so, she still didn't say anything to me for some time.
About a week before I was to leave, she finally started talking to me again. We talked about my plans, my boyfriend's plans, the living arrangements...all the things we should have talked about before. The tension eased, and then came the day. It was a late flight. I think departure time was 10:40pm. Dad drove, mom was in the passenger seat, and I was in the back, taking in as much of the scenery as I could before I flew away. I was pretty sure I was never going to see those places again. I was scared, worried...I'd never been more than fifty miles away from people I knew, and the one time that I was was in 2009 when I went to a week-long camp at a ranch near Half Moon Bay. At least I think it was near Half Moon Bay...
We got to the airport, said our goodbyes, and I got on the plane. As it started down the runway I distinctly remember the knot in my throat as I thought to myself, "I don't want to do this, I'm scared, what am I doing?"
Six hours later, I landed in a foreign place. Now, nearly a year later, I'm still here, starting a blog to pass the time.
The rest of this story, I think, will come later. For now, I think this is enough. It's probably boring. Most of you probably haven't even made it this far. Who cares about some girl writing about her life on the internet? I bet none of you even know me. But like I said, I suppose this is more of a public journal than anything meant to entertain people.
Maybe if I can write about my life in detail, I can see what went wrong and when, and I can start to make myself better.
Until then, the internet gets to suffer through my life story.