Category Archives: creativity

Hawaii, part 3

We got up extra early today (5:30am, Hawaiian time) and ate at Perry’s Smorgy again. We were all really tired, and I have a few dim pictures of Norinne and/or Connie looking completely out of it. Not terribly post-worthy. Actually, we were up early to board the tour buses to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Turns out they only let a certain number of people in per day, so everyone lines up for entrance tickets super early, forming a massive line goes 1.5 times around the field next to the museum building. Our tour guide, E.T., was really cool and taught us some Hawaiian words on the way to the Memorial.

Me on the bus, flanked by Norinne and Naomi
Me on the bus, flanked by Norinne and Naomi
E.T. while waiting in line with us on the field
E.T. while waiting in line with us on the field
Norinne's crazy shirt and Connie making a face (we were getting bored in line)
Norinne's crazy shirt and Connie making a face (we were getting bored in line)
emo Norinne
emo Norinne
Connie slapping Lil' T's hand really hard during the slapping game
Connie slapping Lil' T's hand really hard during the slapping game

Once we got our tickets, we had about an hour and a half to kill, so Norinne, Naomi, and I sat around for a bit, watching a fountain, then watching an old guy feeding the birds (even though he wasn’t supposed to). Then, Norinne decided that palm trees are ideal for sitting under; therefore, she proceeded to go sit under a palm tree. It took me a couple shots to get it right because I kept making the palm tree parallel to the picture edge, and then the whole picture looked crooked (then I figured out the palm tree wasn’t straight XD). Naomi and I joined the fun, but we fell asleep since we were so tired from getting up early.

Norinne chillin' like ice cream fillin' (my Jason Mraz phrase of the morning) under a palm tree
Norinne chillin' like ice cream fillin' (my Jason Mraz phrase of the morning) under a palm tree
Naomi and Norinne asleep before I fell asleep next to them
Naomi and Norinne asleep before I fell asleep next to them

We woke up in time to enter the theater to watch an introduction video to the events of WWII and Pearl Harbor. I knew all about it, thanks to a good AP U.S. History teacher (I was going to get him a cool poster, but I forgot). When it finished, rangers and US Navy sailors ushered us to the little boats that took us to the USS Arizona Memorial, which is out in the bay, constructed over the sunken remains of the battleship. The whole memorial is open to the wind and sun.

Flag flying over the memorial
Flag flying over the memorial
my dance teacher placing her flower lei in the shrine room
my dance teacher placing her flower lei in the shrine room
the open structure of the memorial, as viewed from just outside the shrine room
the open structure of the memorial, as viewed from just outside the shrine room

After the boat brought us back to the museum, we went back to the tour bus, whereupon E.T. drove us around the island of Oahu. All my pictures came out a little blurry because the windows of the bus were fogged up between the panes with humidity.

View of the north side of the island as we emerged from the longest tunnel ever (three of us tried to hold our breath but almost died)
View of the north side of the island as we emerged from the longest tunnel ever (three of us tried to hold our breath but almost died)

For lunch, we wandered over to the international market, where Connie and I had shoyu ramen, even though the weather was plenty hot and steamy. Afterwards, we found out the koi fish in the hotel pond was nothing on the international market pond koi. What on earth do they feed those things???

Lunch--yummy
Lunch--yummy
lots of fat koi
lots of fat koi

Connie and I went wandering through the outside markets. I finally figured out what kind of necklace I wanted, which made finding it a whole lot easier. I decided to find a bird necklace, since I’d seen a lot of flowers and turtles. I managed to spot it in the middle big board with literally hundreds of pendants on it. Picture later. We had rehearsal again this afternoon, and I actually took pictures.

Norinne dancing her solo
Norinne dancing her solo
what my feet look like after wearing my Chinese toe shoes and dancing my solo. X[

Of course, since we’re in Hawaii, we went to the beach again after rehearsal! I made a little castle around the hole I dug with my feet once I got out of the water. Lil’ T built one, too, but mine was infinitely more amazing because mine had a flag.

The flag on my castle... yes, it's made out of the corner of a Goldfish cracker bag that was thrown in the sand
The flag on my castle... yes, it's made out of the corner of a Goldfish cracker bag that was thrown in the sand
my bird necklace with its chain sitting in the palm of my hand
my bird necklace with its chain sitting in the palm of my hand

To keep the daily tradition, I went hunting for a different Hawaiian sunset picture for today. Connie came with me, all the while talking to her boyfriend on the phone. At some point she made me spell out this domain for him to visit, and it took us practically ten minutes -__-. I think he got it in the end… Hi Dan!

Sun reflecting off the water
Sun reflecting off the water
Connie looking sad because the ocean attacked her pants
Connie looking sad because the ocean attacked her pants
Connie on the phone with the sun setting behind her
Connie on the phone with the sun setting behind her
the jetty we walked out on to get a good picture, tearing our feet apart in the process
the jetty we walked out on to get a good picture, tearing our feet apart in the process
the sun glowing while slipping past the horizon
the sun glowing while slipping past the horizon
Lil' T pooping in her "castle" that looked more like a toilet bowl while Emily looks on in disgust
Lil' T pooping in her "castle" that looked more like a toilet bowl while Emily looks on in disgust
my footprints in the sand
my footprints in the sand

And the winner is…

Hawaiian sunset, Day 3
Hawaiian sunset, Day 3

I love Hawaii.

Hawaii, part 2

Day 2 started off with breakfast at Perry’s Smorgy, two blocks down the street from our hotel. It’s also an open air kind of place, with no distinction between the indoors and outdoors.

Sign at the front of Perry's Smorgy
Sign at the front of Perry's Smorgy
cool picture of Norinne at the stoplight
cool picture of Norinne at the stoplight
view from our table at Perry's
view from our table at Perry's
my second plate of food, the Plat Orange du Jour
my second plate of food, the Plat Orange du Jour
all of us eating at the table
all of us eating at the table

We took our time eating, and at some point I decided to go bird hunting. I shot a few.

Small bird on the ledge right next to our table
Small bird on the ledge right next to our table
birds at the pond-side at Perry's
birds at the pond-side at Perry's

Later Connie, Tiffany (aka Lil’ T, to differentiate between her and me), Emily, and I went wandering around the hotel. We found a pretty koi pond with the FATTEST koi fish EVER in it.

Flower arrangement by the pond
Flower arrangement by the pond
fat koi fish
fat koi fish

We had a two hour rehearsal in the afternoon, then we headed to the beach, where we at a late lunch / early dinner. I forgot to take pictures of the food, but I have lots of cool pictures from the beach. We went in at first, but we got cut up pretty badly from climbing on the retaining wall thing, so we retreated to the shore, where Connie, Lil’ T, and Emily played with the sand while Naomi and Norinne threw rocks around. (And I was taking pictures, in case you were wondering.)

Naomi and Norinne skipping/throwing rocks
Naomi and Norinne skipping/throwing rocks
Lil' T, Emily, and Connie building a sandcastle
Lil' T, Emily, and Connie building a sandcastle
desktop-worthy photo of a palm tree
desktop-worthy photo of a palm tree
Connie looking very happy to be playing in the sand
Connie looking very happy to be playing in the sand

We came back around sunset, then Connie, Lil’ T, Emily, and I went looking for pearl milk tea. What a sad goal… but we found it! My camera was out of batteries by then, so no pictures. Now I’m sitting up late, finishing this blog even though we don’t have free internet, and everyone else is asleep. This is probably really bad for my eyes. Oh well!

Hawaiian sunset, Day 2
Hawaiian sunset, Day 2

Hawaii, part 1

Ahh Hawaii… the weather here is a little overcast and windy, and it rained this morning a little. My dance group is here for a competition, which is very exciting. We landed yesterday about half an hour behind schedule. The flight was… not very productive. Mostly we played cards and argued about whether or not we wanted to buy an overpriced Northwest Airlines snack box. They didn’t even give us free peanuts!
When we got off the plane, we stepped into the humidity and open air airport, with palm trees growing all around. Two tour guides met us at the terminal and lei’d us!

lei'd Naomi at the baggage carousels
lei'd Naomi at the baggage carousels
awkward picture of Connie's Threadless panda shirt and her lei
awkward picture of Connie's Threadless panda shirt and her lei
Jay the tour guide talking with one of our parent chaperones
Jay the tour guide talking with one of our parent chaperones
Connie's dad searching for our luggage
Connie's dad searching for our luggage

Once we collected all our luggage, we got on the van and took the parents to the rental car place. We had to wait in the car so I took a bunch of random pictures.

the massive tour van
the massive tour van
Norinne's cleft tongue
Norinne's cleft tongue
pretty picture of Tiffany
pretty picture of Tiffany
close up of my lei in my hand
close up of my lei in my hand
Connie on the phone with her boyfriend
Connie on the phone with her boyfriend

By the time we got to the hotel, all of us were STARVING, but it took forever to get checked in. The whole lobby is open to the courtyard, and there was a pretty row of orchids.

Orchids!
Orchids!

We probably should have looked around for someplace Hawaiian to eat, but all we wanted was KFC or Burger King right across the street. But before we could go, we got lost on the way to our hotel room, I lost my key card, and we found out our luggage almost didn’t fit in the room. Finally, after eating, we came back to our room and watched TV and fell asleep due to 3-hour jetlag, which is pretty darn sad.

Hawaiian sunset, Day 1
Hawaiian sunset, Day 1

Daemons and Inspiration

Now my keyboard has decided that if I whack the proper keys really hard and then just go about business as usual, all of them will work! I discovered this on the road when I decided to type the Jade League prologue anyway and suddenly my keys started working again. Trust me, I’ve been celebrating like there’s no tomorrow.

I’m officially creating a new category in the tags for this blog-collective. *points down to signature* This is mostly because after launching this site, I suddenly realized the restrictiveness of it =( So. Here I begin the actual blogging of this blog. It’s the blog half, rather than the collective half. To start it off, here’s a snippet from the website for the movie version of The Golden Compass, one of my top five favorite books/series. Philip Pullman is a genius in so many ways; he’s one of the writers that I admire and envy, but mostly admire. One of his creations is the dæmon, an animal manifestation of your soul.

[defunct embed]

Heehee isn’t he cute? =)

There’s nothing quite like a trip into the Canadian wilderness to clear the mind. I’ve decided that when I retire (hehe quite a ways in the future but I like planning, okay?), I’m going to buy a patch of land in British Columbia and build a summer home, keep a few horses and dogs, and go fly fishing. That’s the way to live.

Currently, I’m on a mission to find some good mood/background music for when I write The Jade League. If any of you want to help out and find me some classical or soundtrack music, leave a comment! Here’s what I’m looking for:
Etienne: moody brooding piano
Mira: sweet but sad
Prologue: sad “we’re leaving” music
General Paris: epic-ish orchestral stuff
General Jade League: clandestine creeping music

The Jade League is in progress on FictionPress without the prologue I started a few days ago. I think the general feel is there, but I’ll be posting this story on Kethadros eventually. As far as music goes, so far all I have is Etienne–Rachmaninoff’s Prelude Op. 32 No. 12 in g# minor (youtube version, but I like it played slower, like my sister plays it).

Time to go to sleep. Hope you like my dæmon. =)

Temporary fix…

I’m currently writing from my laptop! But I’m using a USB keyboard and mouse; my keyboard is still broken =(

Hopefully I’ll be writing on the road–I’m travelling a lot this summer, so I really wish my keyboard worked. In the meantime, I’m finally posting “The Lone Wolf Complex.” You might have been wondering who this “lone wolf” person is who has been commenting on this blog. That would be Risa, one of my friends who read this short when I polished it for my English class. She and I are both rather lone-wolf-y, so I think she’s become a fan of this piece =)

“The Lone Wolf Complex” was inspired by a day at the beach last year after finals. I think the story mostly speaks for itself. When I wrote it originally, the perspective kept flipping, and there was too much abstract explanation of what was going on in each character’s mind. I rewrote it for a descriptive essay in English, and the result was very much satisfactory. That’s all I have to say. So now you can read it. Or read it again, if you’re Risa.

The Lone Wolf Complex

Waves crashed on the beach, reaching forward to devour abandoned sandcastles and erase the long trails of footprints. With no rocks to check its steady advance, the water foamed along the sand, leaving behind seaweed and broken seashells while indignant sand crabs burrowed back to safety under the surface. Each wave nudged a little closer to the lifeguard’s lonely shack, which stood silhouetted against the setting sun.

Erica stood alone on the beach, right where the plateau of sand ended and land began its descent to water. An almost critical expression was fixed upon her normally neutral features as she stared at the landscape. She crossed her arms at her chest and rested her weight on one hip as her feet settled into the sand. The wind caught her hair and teased strands away from the messy bun she had tied to keep her sandy, sea-soaked hair off her neck. To the west, the sun cast slanting shadows along the beach, the light streaking her deep brown hair with gold. Her hazel eyes watched the waves rising and building then crashing with a faded roar, though she didn’t really see them. Instead, she gazed beyond, letting the sound of the waves surround her.

She remained motionless, even when sand-muffled footsteps approached from behind her. Nothing could disturb her calm, least of all a well-wishing companion from the group she had left behind. Erica nearly moved to walk further down the beach–further away from the campfire where unsympathetic friends laughed at trivial, shallow things. But it was too late to move now. Now she would be running away.

So she waited, dreading the inevitable conversation. Her feet shifting in the sand, she braced herself for the words and tried in desperation to think of some response–but silence descended, eased by the crash and hiss of the waves. In the corner of her eye, she saw Derek step up beside her.

To fend off the cool air of dusk, he had put on a collared shirt, clean white against his tan skin, though he left it unbuttoned to the breeze. He hadn’t yet exchanged his swim trunks for slacks, just as Erica had not changed out of her suit. While he had opted for long sleeves, she chose to stand on the windy beach with her shoulders bare to the cold, though her loose pajama pants trailed in the sand. Derek’s eyes lacked the critical edge of Erica’s, though his gaze toward the ocean was as steadfast as hers. His short hair whipped around like wheat caught by the wind. Fighting the cold, he shoved his hands deep in his pockets as he stood poised on the edge of the dry sand. He seemed to be on the brink of falling into the embrace of the crashing waves.

They stood together, yet apart, silent in unspoken understanding. In his expression, Erica could see the same awe of the world around them that others could not begin to fathom, a world brought out by the monotony of the waves. Erica understood the faint scorn in his eyes, and knew that, like her, he could not connect with the murmurs of excitement that drifted from the fire behind them… nor could they share in the intimate whispers of friends roasting marshmallows over the flame–the warmth–that they shared. Erica–and Derek as well–felt no pulling need to join them in blowing out burning marshmallows, or shrieking when graham crackers fell in the sand. No, the pair was content to watch the waves.

By now the sun had become nothing more than a glow echoing over the water. The wind, seeking to fill the growing darkness, picked up speed. Ruthlessly, it chilled the dampness that remained in Erica’s hair, and touched her bare skin like ice. She tried not to shiver, even as the cold raised goose bumps on her arms. Throwing her shoulders back, she raised her chin as if in challenge to Nature’s elements.

They stood there until it was dark, and the fires began disappearing into the night as beach-goers threw sand on the burning driftwood and turned home. The beach seemed to get colder with each fire reduced to charred, smoking wood.

Despite attempts to suppress the chill she felt–no matter how she tried to trick her mind into thinking she basked in midday heat–Erica shivered, reluctant to leave behind the calm of the waves to find a jacket back at the fire. She had already rejected the thought of asking Derek for his shirt. Not only would he be cold as well, but she detested the idea of taking advantage of his presence. She refused to be like the other girls he’d known, who had sweetly asked for his jacket or sunglasses or baseball cap in the past. She would rather be cold.

At last the others of their group began bustling by the fire to collect their belongings and throw sand over the fire. They called out to Erica and Derek, at last finding the pair and intruding into the calm space between them and the sea. They admonished Erica for freezing to death, then Derek for not finding her something to wear. They reproached both for being anti-social, not comprehending the perfect understanding that Erica and Derek shared without exchanging words. They would never grasp the joy these two found in solitude, and in watching the waves.

Word Count: 905
Completed: September 25, 2006

Enjoy!

Erica and Derek

Erica and Derek are two characters that I’ve fiddled with for about two years now. I’m not quite sure how their story began, but the setting for them satisfies my inner geek and love of logistics as a writer. I never really started writing their story because, to me, they’re really just there to keep me busy when I can’t think of anything else to write about. Not only do they have a home in one story, they are my default characters when I start something new but am too lazy to come up with new character names.

This introduction was originally written in a much rougher form in the summer of 2005. I had been thinking about nothing but the Gathering for six months, and this new setting was just emerging in my mind. After some fun in Java I programming class, I started up this story. It was meant to be a prologue, and I think I might’ve purposely challenged myself with it. Originally, it was written in first person, present tense. The second half made no sense and quickly became over-analytical. However, the whole thing set the scene for the rest of the story, which kind of took off in my mind, but never really showed the potential to get written down again.

I was getting bored last week after APs were done, plus I hit a sort of writer’s block and I had nothing interesting to write. Simple solution? Start up a story that I haven’t touched in ages and has no plot potential or point in general except to keep me entertained. In the process, I ran across this piece again and had a major spaz because of how terrible it was. (I would post the original but for the shame.) I copied the whole file, pasted it on a new document and started over.

By the time I was finished, not two days later, I was surprised. Erica’s voice has a certain tone to it that resonates with me. She’s a lot of fun to write, and I think a certain amount of her sarcastic cynicism and humor comes from my new-found lack of stress post-APs. Who knows, maybe I’ll continue this story in the future. For now, I’m satisfied.

from the Journal of Erica Larelius

April 30th, 2012

The cool mist felt good on my face as I gripped the rail of the cruise ship. I tasted the familiar tinge of salt in the air, a taste not unlike the sweat I had just washed off in the shower. The sun slipped into position for halo-inducing light, a nice glow on everything as our planet’s favorite ball of gas edged closer to the horizon, and I knew I would be called inside before long. I only hoped my isolation would last.

I stood there thinking, thinking about how I wasn’t normal. I wasn’t what you’d call a normal girl, not that anyone is really normal. I remember thinking I must be hitting that in-between stage where I’m not a girl, but not a woman either. So what are people supposed to call me? After that tangent I started thinking about the Academy, and how none of us is anywhere near normal anymore. We work for the CIA and we don’t even have high school diplomas. How exactly are we supposed to get around to being “normal” now? Not that I’m even supposed to know that we work for the CIA. Derek and I figured it out. After all, it’s not like we’re stupid.

In my mind’s eye, I could see myself just the way I was that moment, as if from a stranger’s eyes. Erica Larelius. Pretty brunette not-quite-girl with those distant brown eyes staring off into the sunset. Reasonably tall, reasonably slender. Strong enough to break someone’s arm but smart enough to know better, non-brute force ways to do it. Sixteen and two months old with exceptional IQ and world-class training in mathematics, sciences, rhetoric, composition, three foreign languages, computer programming–not to mention martial arts and a little dabbling in politics. It felt a lot like bragging, but I figured if you’re bragging about yourself to yourself, it doesn’t matter a whole lot.

It crossed my mind that this academy is something special, and not just for its clandestine affiliation with the Central Intelligence Agency. This cruise ship is not for tourists, not for the upper-middle class that once enjoyed cocktails on that same deck. This is an elite school, a place for the smartest people the recruiters could find based on middle school screening and entrance examinations. It hit me while I was standing there: I’m lucky. I’m luckier than the Irishman who finds the Central Leprechaun Bank’s premium pot of gold. I’m a head captain, ready to take on the world with my advanced training in anything and everything I ask for. With my brain and anything accessible at my fingertips, I can carry out missions for one of the best intelligence networks in the world; I command the power of eighty female minds (talk about a scary thought) led by the six people I trust most in the world. Besides Derek, that is. Now Derek, there’s a head captain you can put your faith in. If I were to make a religion, I would call it Derekinism, and we would worship Derek Tasalis.

(Don’t get me wrong, though. I would worship my co-head due to the virtue of his ability, not like most who would join Derekinism to worship his face.)

But going back to where I started. I was alone on the deck because I asked Derek to meet me. He was late, which was unusual, but not altogether unexpected. We’d both dreaded today–not the date in particular, but the day when we’d meet up here to face something we hoped would never come but knew was inevitable nonetheless. Lucky me, I was the one to request it. I didn’t hold it against him that he was late, but he of all people knew that we needed to talk.

“Hey.” I could hear the hesitation mixed with resignation in that one word. I didn’t look up. What would I see? Just Derek. Reliable Derek. Supposedly good-looking, somewhat mysterious co-head captain of mine Derek. Nothing new. Nothing special–not after almost two years of working together. Yet still mysterious. (One might note the definition of “complete sentences” has slipped from my vocabulary.)

“Hey,” I replied, staring fixedly at the deep blue water angling away beneath me. If we had been anywhere near standing water, it would have been the perfect time for us to become the mosquitoes’ Thanksgiving feast. Thank goodness we weren’t, for were it true, I would not be sitting here writing a ridiculously long journal entry–the first in months (I’d apologize but there’s really no one to apologize to). I would instead be dousing myself in aloe vera and vitamin E until someone stabbed me with a tranquilizer to put me out of my misery. Anyway, back to our conversation.

“What’s up?” he asked with his favorite and most annoying attitude of utter apathy. He knew perfectly well what was going on.

Even now, I can remember what he looked like when I glanced over at him. He was leaning against the railing, his head tilted back to gaze some indiscernible object in the sky. His hair was dark brown two years ago when we started training, but all that time in the sun streaked it with auburn and gold highlights. It’s gotten long lately, and the wind on the outside deck blew strands all over his forehead. He looked…almost majestic standing there, like a blasé model striking a pose on the cruise liner before heading down the red carpet. He had those Oakley’s on, the ones that look really good on him. I have to admit he is sort of good looking in a Derek kind of way, not that I’d ever admit that to Kerri and the rest of my captains. I swear, every female on this ship thinks he’s the hottest guy born to Earth, and thank (insert celestial being of choice) he never lets that get to his head. But not only does Derek have a fan club of eighty-six teenage girls, every last one is under the impression that I’m the only one he’s ever had his eye on. Damn him. I don’t even care.

It took me a moment to remember he’d asked me a question. “Did you read the mission reports?” I asked in reply. Casually, even though I knew I’d linked the report directory in the memo that invited him to the outer deck in the first place.

“In a glance,” he replied.

I prompted him to continue. “And?” (Is it sad I still remember this conversation almost word for word, even an hour later?)

“Something about a French diplomat terminated by Alpha Crew Gold 127. Mission captain: Erica Larelius. Mission status: successfully completed.” (Maybe it isn’t sad I remember this conversation, since Derek apparently memorized the mission report in a glance.)(Or maybe that isn’t a parallel comparison. Maybe it’s just some random, self-satisfying, adjective-laden connection I’m trying to make…Ignore my side commentary.)

“I was a fool to think this day would never come,” I told him.

Truth, but Derek gave me some sort of twisted comfort. “You always knew, in the back of your mind. It’s not something you can completely avoid.”

I agreed. Still agree. “Target practice, poison studies, history of assassination classes–of course I knew it was coming. But how was I supposed to know they wanted me to do it? Why not send an omega crew out?”

He gave me a look that clearly said, Are you effing serious.

Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best choice of suggestions; why would Mission Control delegate something that important to an omega crew when it really did merit an alpha or at least beta crew. At least Derek didn’t laugh–he gave me a slightly more valid reason than “because hubris requires that the highest ranking officers in the academy get the pleasure of executing the most challenging missions.” Instead, he said something along the lines of:

“Because you’re the best shot. You’re the one who managed to remember all the poisons, their origins, and their antidotes. And you scored highest on the theory test and analytical essay in HoA class. What other choice did they have?”

I answered the first thing that came to mind, “You.”

The obvious answer–the head captains are always together on everything. So far the only discipline we split on was back in first year, when I trained in the K9 unit while he worked with the bomb squad. Besides that, I can’t think of anything I did that he didn’t, or vice-versa. But then, he did know what my answer would be. In fact, he expected it. I should have expected what he said next, though.

“I was about to invite you when I got your memo.” He handed me a folded sheet of paper from his pocket.

Of course. Of course of course of course. I unfolded the sheet: a mission report, filed just after I left, with the same clipped language we use for reports and the same formatting–practically the same report. Both of us. In one day. They’d made assassins of us both.

I said it out loud, almost afraid of what it would sound like. “Both of us in one day…”

He smirked, a new expression for him, one that he might’ve picked up from Jay (it seemed like a very Jay attitude once I thought about it). “And here you were, thinking you beat me again?”

Oh Derek and his way of prodding my ego. I let the silence fall between us; I could tell we were both a little lost among our thoughts. Searching for something to say, or something to do, I reached over and pulled off his sunglasses. I looked him in the eye and asked, “Does it bother you?”

“What,” he questioned, “that we spent a year in Ethics and still have no conclusive answer to whether assassination with good intent is moral or not?” Turning to me, he gripped the wrist of my hand which still held his sunglasses. “Or were you talking about my Oakley’s?”

I eyed him steadily. “Both. Either. Neither. Take your pick,” I replied.

“I always knew you had an eye on my most chic shades.”

“These? I never really wanted them.” I put them on and threw an uncharacteristically saucy smile in his direction.

He laughed, but after a moment he turned to the ocean, his features pulled into an expression of thoughtfulness. Without looking at me, he said (and I quote), “I didn’t like them at first, but I got used to them.”

I must say, he threw me off with that remark; I have no idea what he was talking about. But I rolled with the punches. “If I keep them, you think I will, too?” I set my chin in my hand and rested my elbow on the railing. The sun was going down, falling into the water.

Derek glanced at me. “They suit you,” he said. At that moment I admit I was tempted to run away and keep his beloved sunglasses hostage until he paid me decent ransom. That is, until I realized he’s broke.

I took off the Oakley’s and handed them back. “Thanks, but they were never really my style.” A valid point; I preferred the cheap, plastic frame sunglasses I didn’t mind breaking by accident over Derek’s prized polarized, wire frame Oakley’s.

When he took them, he gave me this weird look as he put them back on. Then he reached out and brushed my cheek with his fingers, from temple to jaw line. “Things change,” he said, and walked away.

We killed people today and all we can talk about is a pair of Oakley sunglasses. How did we get to this?

Word Count: 1966
Completed: May 22, 2007

G’night. =)

French projects

My teacher for French 2, 3, and 4 honors loves projects. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: big deal. So let me explain.

At first, M Jordan seemed like a standard enthusiastic high school teacher. Little did we hapless French 2 students know what we had just gotten ourselves into. Over the course of 3 years in his class, we had 3 “normal” final exams (you know, multiple choice, scantrons, study guides, etc). Then, second semester in French 3, we had a final project–the web magazine, or “webzine.” Come French 4 Honors… what written exam? It was “Murder sur la Seine” and the scrapbook of our lives.

Not that those were the only projects we did. We had various projects over the course of the year. The ones that come to mind include the movie review show (for which my group filmed breakdancing Barbie and Ken dolls under the flickering light of my bathroom floor), a miracle product commercial (my group wasn’t very creative, but famous projects include CH-CH-CH-CHIA FROMAGE and Jason-tastique!), grammar board game (MONDE DE CLOVIS! which included a M Jordan playing piece), and a re-enactment of the legend of King Clovis and his Vase de Soissons (featuring a French, Vase de Soissons rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic).

Strangely enough, I never really learned that much French from these projects. It might’ve been subtle–the forced immersion in the language while I slaved away, finishing component after component to check off on M Jordan’s famous rubrics–but one thing I did learn was how to wrestle with Photoshop. I have a love-hate relationship with Photoshop, especially since my desktop computer is aggravatingly slow even without Adobe exploding my RAM. In any case, here are some of the random French project things I’ve made over the past 2 years.

Thanks M Jordan =)

Paper cranes

Soundings photo entries! Soundings is my school’s literary magazine that publishes poetry, prose, photos, and artwork.

I actually submitted these two years in a row because none of them got in last year Q_Q but apparently that was because of some nonsensical editors’ executive decisions. ANYWAY this year “Othello” got in =)
(Click on the picture for a larger file)

Apparently I had too much time last year… The saddest thing is that I did this twice: once when I took pictures with my phone, once with a good camera XD