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You're TIMELESS to me...



I had a bit of a music adventure today. In all honesty, it started last night. I've been listening to Ne-Yo for a while, but not really obsessively... recently, however, I haven't really been able to listen to anything else, and last night I found a music video playlist on Youtube and just listened to the whole thing start to finish. In it was Ne-Yo's original, on his own version of the song "Single," and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. I love his voice and, even though he does hip hop, he does a lot of things with harmonies and a more choral sound in his music... it's a great song. But, right after that was the version of the same song that he did with New Kids on the Block, and I came to appreciate it more. Each person has their own little accent they throw into the song... and more than anything, I just like the Rat Pack feel of the song.



I know... it's kind of a random thing to pull out of the comment box when referring to a boy band featuring a hip hop artist... but there's just something about how they handle the song, it's just got that feel to it. It's exactly like everything they've done before, and completely different at the same time... maybe it has something to do with how everyone carries themselves. Joey has a Sinatra feel to him - he always has - Ne-Yo is just classy... how he dresses, dances, everything. He's got Rat Pack written all over him (there's a scene in the music video where Donnie sings something, and there's like a half second snap and it goes to Ne-Yo... that's my favorite part... that half second... it's perfect, and so subtle but so necessary). The rest of them handle themselves VERY well... Donnie's got something about him that just screams classy, Jordan's extremely laid back and care free, and Danny and Jon have this quiet, behind the scenes feel to them. Just listening to it compared to the sans New Kids version made me love the NK version soooo much more.


So, of course, I tell Jordan. She's a music fan, too, and we tend to have similar tastes. She then told me she had been listening to Frankie Valli... so, while I shot "Single" her way, she tossed me a couple of Frankie Valli remixes she had found and liked. They were fantastic!! And THAT eventually led to us talking about how certain artists are absolutely timeless.



There are so many songs out today about sex, and drugs, and fighting, blah blah blah. They're all a distinct style, and let's be honest... it's going to fade. In a few years time, there will be a better type of music, and what we're listening to today will be old hat and laughed at... but artists like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Frankie Valli, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin... they're all timeless. You could introduce one of those artists to a child today and they'd think it was from their time... because those artists found the uniqueness of music, and were able to make themselves timeless.



WHY. CAN'T. WE. RECREATE THAT? Everything comes and goes, but Sinatra will always be amazing, Frankie Valli will always be superb, and Elvis will always be king. The Rat Pack will always rule Vegas, Chuck Berry will always be the definition of awesome, and that music will always be timeless... it's never going to change



Maybe that's why I like Ne-Yo so much... he mixes up his music enough to the point where he may be able to make himself timeless... his music is absolutely beautiful. :)

I like timeless music... it'll always be there.

What kind of music is timeless to you???

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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I am the patron saint of lost causes...


I find it funny that I have to constantly remind myself that Germany is just Germany, and no longer Nazi Germany... I wonder if the British have to remind themselves that we're just America now, and no longer the insurgent colonies...

Isn't it crazy how different things can look, depending on where you stand?

We had a meeting of everyone going to Wicked on the 7th... and we were discussing the story of the musical, and the songs, and brought up the line in "Wonderful," when the Wizard says "people believe all sorts of things that aren't true... they call it history." Someone in the group mentioned that that statement kind of hurt... but if you think about it, it's very true.

Now, wait, Lauren, are you saying our history is a lie?

Absolutely not... had that discussion today, too, about people claiming the Holocaust never happened, and blah blah blah. Our history definitely happened, but what I'm pulling from that statement is, what does the situation look like from where you're standing? And where are you standing?

One of my most prevalent thoughts on July 4th is, what do the British do today? Do they just ignore it? Do they celebrate it with us? Is it a day of mourning?? Do their calendars even HAVE a July 4th? In America, we see George Washington as a brave leader, our first president, and blazer of trails. In Britain, he's probably more widely known as the "insurgent leader."

I guess it doesn't matter how people view things or what it looks like depending on where you stand... but I just always found it interesting. Which view point is right? IS there a right and wrong view?? Or are the concepts of right and wrong simply in the eye of the beholder? Who knows... just thought it was interesting.

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LAME

Star Trek count down was supposed to be TODAY'S post. It posted yesterday... I don't understand.

I posted a survey blog today on facebook... most people will probably read that.

Got my Wickets in hand... more on that tomorrow. Night!

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STAR TREK

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The Boys are Back...


Okay, I have absolutely no reason to lie to you - I love Zac Efron! OH MAN! Home boy's HOT! I mean... dang! Some people just get better looking with time, and he's taking that to a different level... hahaha.

BUT - that's not the point of the post! A while ago - when I blogged about seeing High School Musical 3 - I mentioned that there were a few trailers that looked good, one of which was the trailer to a movie called "17 Again." I've been thinking about it, and realized that I haven't seen the trailer since I saw that movie, and couldn't figure out why... so I looked it up. I think the reason the trailer hasn't been anywhere else is because of the release date of the movie... but, when watching the trailer, I got sooooo excited for the movie again!



It looks REAL good! I can't wait for it... really. And not just because Zac Efron is so totally hot in it... haha. It actually looks like a good movie. Plus, I love Matthew Perry, and the guy from Reno 911 that's in it, too.

And it's good for me to be anticipating a movie that comes out in April... because Star Trek comes out in May, and I was dying after finally seeing the trailer.



YEAH I KNOW RIGHT? I think if I can keep myself distracted, though, focus on other movies in other months leading up to May, I'll be alright... right now, my movie schedule looks like this:

January - DEFIANCE (AWESOME!)
February - FANBOYS
March - WATCHMEN
April - 17 AGAIN
May - STAR TREK! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I can't wait... All of those movies look fantastic... it's kind of sad, though. With the exception of Defiance and 17 again, they're all Geek movies HAHAHAHAHA. Oh well, don't care! I'm a geek and that is never gonna change! CAN'T WAIT! :D

LET'S GET THIS!

~Lauren

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A change of format...


video

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My Monday Confession



I'm so done running from this. I'm yours. I'm so 100% yours, it's not even funny anymore. I don't care what happens - I've accepted that I'll probably get hurt, that my feelings won't be returned again, but that's okay - in the end, I'll have the memories. Every moment you made me smile, every instant you made me laugh, and every second you made me happy. I'll remember all of that... like before, it'll outweigh the bad memories, and eventually become more potent than the hurt.

But that's all in the future... right now, I'm happy with just being happy. I'm happy with being yours.

well you done done me and you bet i felt it
i tried to get you but you're so hot that i melted
i fell right through the cracks
and i'm trying to get back
before the cool done run out
i'll be giving it my bestest
nothin's going to stop me but devine intervention
i reckon its again my turn to win some or learn some

i won't hesitate no more
no more it cannot wait, i'm yours

well open up your mind and see like me
open up your plans and damn you're free
look into your heart and you'll find love love love
listen to the music of the moment maybe sing with me
ah la peaceful melody
its your godforsaken right to be loved love loved love love

so i won't hesitate no more
no more it cannot wait i'm sure
theres no need to complicate
our time is short
this is our fate, i'm yours

i been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
and bendin over backwards just to try to see it clearer
my breath fogged up the glass
so i drew a new face and laughed
i guess what i'm sayin is there ain't no better reason
to rid yourself of vanity and just go with the seasons
its what we aim to do
our name is our virtue

i won't hesitate no more
no more it cannot wait i'm sure
theres no need to complicate
our time is short
it cannot wait, i'm yours

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Shhhh.... it's a secret...


I have a new addiction... it's called Post Secret, and it's amazing. Basically, you mail in your postcards with your secrets on them, and certain ones get picked and posted on the blog. It's amazing to see some of the secrets people send it... it's all sorts of stuff, from people not cutting themselves, to people proposing, to people professing love... the picture above is an example of the sort of thing sent into post secret. It's always anonymous, and it's a way for people to say the things they need to say without actually having to make them known.

I love reading what people put out. A lot of them can be fairly emo, but it's amazing to see what people are made of.

And the people on the message board are amazing, too. They put up just as many secrets - but instead of sending them in, they just post them on the forums, and everyone gets to read them. Some of them seem to be cries for help, others are just ways for people to vent, and some are really poetic and beautiful. It's a way to express yourself... I mean, I'm sure all of us have that one thing they've wanted to say, but couldn't. Now you can say it... and who knows? Maybe the person you're talking to is reading it...

I've read the Post Secret blog for a while, but I just recently joined the community and made a few secrets of my own. It's fun, really. :) Everyone should check it out, give it a look see, maybe even post their own secrets... it's one of the coolest experiments ever.

And it really touches me the amount of secrets posted about people who have stopped cutting... it's good to see. :) I'm glad that something as innocent as a social experiment has changed the lives of so many. The Post Secret founder is coming to Walnut Creek, and I've decided I REALLY wanna go... lol.

Not sure why I'm in such a good mood... probably has something to do with the comical site banning that happened to me today... if anyone wants details, comment or message me or IM me or something... it really is quite hilarious.

Let's Get This!

~Lauren

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Man Saves Three From Burning Building!!!

YAY! A LIMITLESS RAMBLINGS FIRST!

I've never done an interview before, but I couldn't pass this up... what J.D. did was awesome and everyone should know about it! ;) I heard this story a couple days ago, and he was kind enough to grant me an interview, which I wanted to do because CNN covered the story and they're, you know, lame. Like the title says, J.D. saved 3 children from a burning building - and I was given the chance to ask him about the incident!


LR: Let's start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself.

JD: Me? I'm just a kid who grew up in Jersey, Lived in New Orleans during Katrina, which created my call to service. Since then, I've been an EMT and Firefighter.

LR: So, you became an EMT and Firefighter after Katrina... what were you before then, if you don't mind me asking?

JD: I am (now) what I was then. I manage 2 gyms in New Jersey, and one in Pennsylvania - a franchise called Retro Fitness - as well as a college student. EMT/Firefighter unfortunately is not a career that pays well these days.

LR: How did you happen upon the burning house?

JD: My pager went off like a normal call... everything seemed routine until we heard yelling from the house.

LR: Is that what made you run inside?

JD: Yes - there were children trapped inside, that's what made me run in, simple as that. It may sound crazy, but I always put others' lives in front of my own. You could call it crazy - haha, you wouldn't be the first.

LR: Was there ever the thought of, "man, I probably shouldn't have done this?"

JD: The thought of "S***, I shouldn't have done this..." that doesn't hit me until after I'm out... haha, but it does hit me.

LR: Can you tell us what happened? At least as far as you know?

JD: As far as I know, a mother left her kids to watch themselves, and the one kid spilled water all over his clothes, and placed them on top of a space heater; which in turn burst into flames due to electrical conductivity. The fire then spread to curtains, wallpaper, and so on. This is all pending investigation, of course, but that's what my report says.

LR: You saved the children (YAY!); was anyone else injured?

JD: No one was injured. Miracle, I know. Smoke inhalation for 2 of the firefighters and children but, hey, given the circumstances, that isn't bad.

LR: You got a few minutes on CNN... is it really as evil a network as everyone thinks? (lol)

JD: CNN seemed okay, but what I didn't like was they told me what to say. Kinda defeats the purpose, don't you think?

LR: I haven't been able to track down the video on CNN yet... but what kind of things did they tell you to say? Hail Obama, stuff like that? (Joking, of course.)

JD: They told me to tell the story as it happened, no speculation... I got 30 seconds, haha.

LR: Do you plan on staying in contact with the children you saved?

JD: I always do follow ups and such, but the problem in this case is the children will most likely be taken from the woman who left them alone... deservingly so. These children were put in direct danger and expected to watch each other at 13, 7, & 2. I don't know about you, but it seemed to me as though it was a disaster waiting to happen.


There it is - the first super awesome interview of the incident! LOL... I wish there was a link I could give you... be all professional and say go here for more information on the story, but I can't... it's an amateur interview... XD I will, however, post up more information as I get it, as well as the CNN blurb. :) I can tie this into the theme of change, but since J.D. didn't say anything, I won't say anything either. :)

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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Wanna go halfsies on a pie?


Pizza night at Jolie's tonight... lookin' forward to it... I'm probably spending all day over there. You're going to get a pretty interesting post tomorrow... yay for exclusive blog interviews!!!! :D Someone... *points to self*.... is trying to get a jump start on being a journalist... and this story was just too awesome to pass up! :D Anyway... back to your regularly scheduled blog post... which is nothing today.

**EDIT** 6:25 pm - I've been here for a few hours... and it's been fantastic! :D I'm so glad I ended up coming, because it's been a little while since I've hung out with friends, longer since I've hung out with these friends specifically, and we've had a blast. Went to the store, made pizza dough (that's right, we do pizza night right!), hung out, and laughed quite a bit. That's usually pretty high on the to do list - laughing. We always have a blast over here. :) YAY! I'm so excited... we put the first two pizzas in and let's hope they turn out awesome! :D

**EDIT** 12:34 am - Pizzas were great! We spent the rest of the night watching crazy videos on youtube and swapping random high school stories and dancing like loons to songs that were popular in Junior High... oh joy! I love friends! I met a lot of new people tonight... and then found out we all liked Reefer Madness... so we watched it! YAY REEFER MADNESS!!! :D It was a fun night, I'm really glad I went... it's been a blasty blast!

I'll probably head to bed in a bit, and then clean clean clean tomorrow! YAY! :D

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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If you're ever asked if you like Twilight, nod your head, smile, and say "Yes, of course."




Why? Well... I'll tell you why... but first, let's tackle the WHAT.

What is TWILIGHT?

Twilight is a book series by Stephenie Meyers, about a girl who falls in love with a vampire. It's also a new cult among teenagers.

No joke. If you've never read these books, I don't recommend them. I personally didn't enjoy them at all... there were too many things that bothered me, even outside of the lack of editing. If you have children, I recommend not letting them read it... I mean, nothing says epic romance like abuse and teen pregnancy, right? If you have children that are already reading it, I suggest you have a sit down with them, explain to them that it is only a book, and definitely not a holy one.

I don't doubt that the idea may have ended up being a good read, if it was written better. No offense to Ms. Meyers, but I don't enjoy her writing at all. Any of it.

I do understand that some people like the books, however, and I've been fine about that. I've never once told someone they were stupid for liking them... and I've NEVER physically assaulted someone for liking the books... however, I will be more careful before openly announcing my distaste for the novel series, because apparently, my Twilight loving counterparts aren't as accepting.

I was made aware of some very frightening stories... stories of people being assaulted because they didn't like the books. Fans attacking non fans, because Twilight is a "holy book, and those who don't think so deserve what they get." Don't believe me? Here are a few accounts from people who have been attacked... I'll rank them how they're ranked for me: Slap-On-Wrist, Misdemeanor, and Felony... they may not actually be misdemeanors or felonies, but that's how they're ranked. I've tried to edit out all of the language used, if I missed one, I apologize... and if anyone has a problem with eyes - reading about them, touching them, etc. - don't read the last one. It made me twitch a bit.

SLAP ON WRIST:

I received this email today. And you're right, I am posting this on the boards for you. So everyone can see just how horrible some people can get over this. I won't post your email on here, but I will gladly give it out to whomever asks for it. They all deserve the right to defend themselves.

You've gotten my reply in an email. But I will say this here, in public. NEVER wish my babies dead again. NEVER make another threat against me like that again. Trust me... I will find a way to figure out who the hell you are. And you will regret it.

Here is the email:
I've been lurking on Amazon for quite some time and been wanting to say this. I can't post on Amazon, although I'm sure you'll do this for me. Stephanie Meyer is a goddess. Putting up with the bull**** that you and your Dark Siders constantly throw at her is so insane. Calling her out on Ellen? Really? How stupid and childish. Creating a website against her? Your 'precious' satire? Laughable. You Dark Siders are a sore on the literary world.

Faust, Agrippa, Obsidian, Charie, and Shantilly all think you can do no wrong. No one is better than you. Making your videos and writing your 'stories'. Please. If you think for one minute you have any effect on Stephanie, then you really have been living in a dream world. Get over yourselves. I will say it. It is just fiction. It is just a book. Love it or hate it - IT IS A BOOK.

Oh, and Liz, you are one of the worst. Creating the website... whatever. You don't deserve those precious babies you're carrying. They deserve a much better mother than you. For their sakes, I hope you miscarry.


MISDEMEANOR:
Okay, so I just want to say that I'm not a Twilight Hater, in fact I like the series. I read it looong before it was popular though, and what I do hate is how popular it's gotten and how suddenly EVERYONE knows about it.

I was re-reading a Harry Potter book in class (I like Harry Potter, shoot me) because we had a substitute teacher that didn't know what work we were supposed to be doing, so she left us to our own devices. Alicia, a girl in my class who I don't know that well comes up to me.

Her: Oh, Harry Potter? Does that mean you like Twilight?
Me: Yeah, it's pretty good.
Her: It's fantastic!
Me: I wouldn't go that far. I mean it's a good series, but it doesn't deserve all the hype it's gotten.
Her: Excuse me?
Me: What?
Her: Listen, I don't know what planet you're from, but Stephenie Meyer is a genius!
Me: No, she isn't. She's an average author, who wrote an average book!

She just stares at me angrily for quite a while, then obviously seeming to have decided on something, wrapped her hands around my throat. Shocked, my hand automatically shot up and hit her across the face. She continued to choke me, and out of anger and panic I kicked her square in the stomach. She released her grip and fell back against a table. Furious, I ran towards her and slapped her multiple times.

Finally my classmates tore me off of her and the substitute took me and the bitch up to the principal, where she got a weeks detention and I got two days. Not bad I guess, seeing as I made her bleed a little.


FELONY :
I study in an all-girl Christian school. Unfortunately, that does not keep it from being hit by the Twilight craze. So a lot of my classmates have become fans of the book, but most of them are sane and I get along with them perfectly fine, even with a few serious fangirls. There is one girl who I absolutely cannot stand.

For all intents and purposes I will call her Princess - pretty much because she acts like one.

Princess has spent a lot of her life (and every summer) living in France. Normally I would find that cool or interesting, but she brags about it way too much and is a total Francophile (she wears a beret, namedrops French celebrities, etc.). What annoys most of us is when she shows off that she can speak a little French (again, would be awesome if she wasn't such a showoff).

So when the Twilight craze hit our school, she of course went right into reading it. It annoyed me that she would run up to random classmates and ask them, "Have you read Twilight?" and when they half-heartedly answer "Yeah", she goes,

"I read it! Both the English and the French version. Did you know that they don't translate their names? Like Jacob Black stays Jacob Black and not Jacob Noir."

An anti friend and I were laughing about this one day, where she said, "I bet the French version of Twilight is called Toilette." Lame joke, I know, but we laughed anyway.

Unfortunately, little miss Princess heard this and stormed up to us, holding a French translation of Twilight. Their cover is the same, except it's called Tenation or Temptation in English. She started ranting to us about how we should respect such a holy book and that we were sinning by making fun of it. (What do you expect from a shallow Catholic schoolgirl?)

So I said, "C'mon, Princess, we were just joking." Of course, this never wins over a rabid, so she swore in mixed French/English and maturely shoved me from my chair and onto the ground. Luckily, a nun entered the classroom at this moment and took her away to "have a talk". We overheard her defending herself by repeating "It's a holy book!"

Sometimes I don't understand how someone can be multilingual but can also be... this.


Anyway, today was our last day of school before the Christmas break, and it was already dismissal time. I'm heading towards the exit, when I realize that someone is closely following me. Forget the suspense, yeah, it was Princess. Y'see, she's extra girly. Being in a Catholic all-girl school, we're required a uniform and black shoes - hers have a hundred inch heels. And she's wearing those fake stick-on sharp, long nails.

She's pretty much boiling mad, probably trying to get revenge for my getting her in trouble with the nuns a few days earlier. She's holding the same French Twilight in her hand, her "holy book". She says, "I hate you." I try to ignore her and greet Merry Christmas to a friend passing by. Then she shoves me in the back and I stumble over, but regain my balance. I shout, "Hey, stop that!"

She starts hitting me with her French Twilight book, screaming something along the lines of "YOU'RE AN IDIOT FOR NOT LIKING TWILIGHT! YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS OF BELLA! YOU'LL NEVER GET IT! BLAH BLAH EDDYKINS BLAH BLAH!"

A few people have stopped to stare, others trying to come near to help me but not get hit by her book. I try to defend myself by holding my hands up to my face, but that just hits the book out of her hand. With nothing else, she starts scratching me in the face with her fake nails.

I stupidly open my eyes for a moment when her fingernail comes into my right eye. I get this horrible, horrible horrible stinging feeling, and my right cheek felt sort of wet. I don't know where the fangirl ran off to, I was sort of crouched down and too panicked to open either of my eyes. I put a hand up to my eye and can't tell whether it's wet from blood or tears, but from the gasps and screams from bystanders I figure I'm bleeding. Two friends then help me up and bring me to the clinic. I learn later there's this huge, deep and infected gash across my eye - it'll heal in time, but it's pretty damaged.

So now I have this gauze pad over my eye. It only stings a little now, but I can manage. What sucks is that it's currently a school break so I can't go to the principal and complain, but my mom is planning to contact the fangirl's parents somehow.

Moral of the story: Twilight makes my eyes bleed in so many ways.


This is why it's very important to make your children - or yourself, if you're the one reading them - understand that it's just a book. I was talking about it with Jordan, and she told me that her friend pointed out that no other fandom has ever been this insane. Not Harry Potter, not Star Trek, not Star Wars, not Lord of the Rings, NOTHING... the only thing that I can think of that has fans near as crazy would be boy band cult followings... but even then, at least THEY'RE freaking out about REAL PEOPLE. These people are jumping, scratching, punching, even trying to DROWN people over a BOOK. A BOOK.

Once more, say it with me now: A BOOK.

It's just a book. Vampires don't exist (if they did, they wouldn't sparkle and treat you like a princess, they'd bite you and die in the sunlight like good vampires), and I'm sorry, but someone standing around your room while you sleep and following you everywhere... we have a word for that. It's not vampire... it's um... what's that word... oh yeah: STALKER. Werewolves don't exist, either... and... Robert Pattinson existed before he was Edward Cullen. Just so you all know. (HARRY POTTER FANS UNITE!)

I understand that there are a lot of sane fans out there... I know some of them... but that doesn't make this thing any less scary. I think we all need to sit people down and talk to them about it; remind our children that it's just a book, and it's not worth fighting over. Honestly, I'm kind of frightened just writing this blog out. A part of me doesn't even want to post this, because I could be walking down the street and get jumped one of these days... but someone needs to say something. This is sooo not okay with me... someone's going to end up getting killed... over what? A book? No... over a poorly written book (fan or not, you can't deny that). All because some people can't discern between real life and fantasy.

And, for your safety, if anyone asks you if you like Twilight, just say you do. Edward's awesome, and you wanna be Bella so bad, it hurts. And Jacob sucks. You should be safe... if they ask you what your favorite part is, run like the wind. Run as fast as your legs will carry you, pack your things, move to a new city, and change your name. It's the only way. Me being me, I'll probably still say I don't like it... and I'll probably end up getting my butt kicked someday... but I know the risks of having literary taste, and I'm pressing on. It's kind of like being a police officer, except not as honorable, and I don't get a gun. Or a badge... I should make a badge... any way... just be warned. Talk to your children... drive home the fact that it's not a holy book... and remind them it's NOT OKAY TO HURT PEOPLE.

And I feel Ms. Meyers should be made aware of this and make a public statement, maybe that will help the attacks to stop.

Let's get this.

~Lauren

To read the rest of the accounts, go HERE. They're all categorized.

P.S. If you're a fan of Twilight, but not an INSANE one, I hope you don't take offense to this. Like I said, I have a bunch of friends who are fans and aren't insane... so I know those people exist. I mean no offense to anyone who likes Twilight whatsoever... until you attack me for not liking it. :D

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Defiance


No witty title for this one... just the word, plain and simple... and ironically, there's nothing plain and simple about it.

Defiance is the title of the movie I saw today... it stars Daniel Craig and tells the true story of the Bielski Otriad, and how they protected nearly 1200 Jews during Hitler's reign of idiocy. They lived in the forest for 3 years - they knew nothing but fear, sadness, death, sickness, hunger, grief, and faith. FAITH. That word just kind of sneaks in there... it's almost like it doesn't belong. I know for a fact that, if I had to go through all of that, I'd lose my faith... Big guy upstairs knows how fickle I am, how many times I've turned my back on him because things haven't gone my way, because I felt my prayers weren't answered.

There's a scene in the movie that really grabbed my attention. One of the teachers is leading the group in prayer after two of their comrades had died, and he says something to the affect of, "we have no more grief, no more tears to shed, no more blood to spill. We've endured your trials... please, God, pick a different people." It kind of brought to light everything the Jews had to go through - Nazi Germany wasn't the first. Jews were prosecuted in Serbia for being Jews - Communists put them in prison, Hitler put them to death. For years on end, Jews were persecuted, and this particular group lived in the forest for 3 years. Later in the movie, the same teacher speaks to the main character and says "I almost lost my faith, but I believe you were sent by God to protect us." He ALMOST lost his faith... I couldn't imagine going through that and only kind of doubting God... Christians today, for the most part, are so fickle in their faith... we live a life of ease and when things are even the least bit difficult, we get our noses bent out of shape. I know I'm a prime example of it... why can't we follow the example of those left for us? I was discussing this with Mikayla right before I wrote this, and she said "If your faith was as strong as when you were sick, you would probably be in perfection." And that's true - our generation has never really had to suffer for anything, so we don't know what it's like to have nothing but faith and hope. We have everything at the ready, that whenever something goes wrong, we panic. We never really lean on God until we think we REALLY need Him... which is ironic because we REALLY need him 24/7.

Despite touching me very deeply and opening this whole can of worms - the movie was fantastic, very moving. The sheer strength of the Jews left me in total awe... and it amazed me that Nazi Germany started this whole thing because they felt THEY were the superior race... but if you really think about it, no one was weaker than the Nazis... and no one was stronger than those they persecuted. Daniel Craig did a GREAT job, as did the rest of the cast. :) I was in tears for most of the movie. I recommend everyone see it, it will certainly change you... it changed me a little bit (every piece of WW2 history I acquire does, but you know what I mean).

I guess what I'm trying to say here, as I step off my soapbox, is that I would love to have faith similar to that of the persecuted. I would love to be able to realize how blessed I really am. And I would love for everyone to realize the same if they haven't already - because I don't know anyone stronger than someone who knows what they have when they have it. Someone who knows what could be, and loves that it isn't that way.

Let's get this. :)

~Lauren

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Why is kitty sad? Probably because she saw this trailer...





If you know anything about Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, you probably just lost a piece of yourself. If you're a fan of either show, I have tissues at the ready. Don't be ashamed, I cried, too. If you're a fan of movies - I really do apologize for the pain this trailer has caused you. My heart goes out to you... honestly. I'm still burying the part of me that died after seeing this.

I've known about this movie for a while... holding out hope for it because, while it seemed ridiculous that they'd attempt a Dragon Ball live action movie, James Marsters was in it and I thought it might be alright. I got this trailer sent to me today after a brief discussion... here's what took place:

Jordan (6:47:45 PM): I can kill you with a video
Lauren (6:47:46 PM): lol
Lauren (6:47:53 PM): I can kill you with a toothpick...
Lauren (6:48:03 PM): my marine friend showed me how
Jordan (6:48:08 PM): so uh
Jordan (6:48:18 PM): you know that Dragonball is also being made into a live action movie right?
Lauren (6:48:27 PM): yeeeeeeeeees
Lauren (6:48:30 PM): kill me naowwwwwwwwwwww
Jordan (6:48:34 PM): okay
Jordan (6:48:38 PM): just watch this
Jordan (6:48:39 PM): and then you die XD



Just... why?? And Dragon Ball isn't the only anime they're hoping to ruin with a live action movie... no... they're talking about ruining Cowboy Bebop, as well!! I'm a tad more upset about CB, because I'm a fan of that... seen all the episodes and even have the animated movie on DVD... I mean, I knew about Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, but wasn't a fan, and I lost a part of myself after viewing that trailer. Imagine what will happen when I see the trailer for Cowboy Bebop! *sucks thumb* And guess who's being cast as Spike Spiegal? Too slow, I'm gonna tell you. Keanu Reeves. KEANU REEVES! Don't get me wrong... Keanu Reeves is great... at being Keanu Reeves! And his acting style might actually fit an anime, but I think he's more suited for something like... Astro Boy or Speed Racer... not something as cool and magnificent as Cowboy Bebop! What bothers me more is that, CB is one of those things that is made awesome by the characters - and the movie can be destroyed if they cast the wrong people... I swear, I will go out of my mind if they cast Dakota Fanning as Ed... lol.

What I don't understand is why these people didn't look at the anime that did go live action, i.e. Death Note, Speed Racer, and Sailor Moon, and think that maybe this wasn't a good idea? You can see for yourself what I mean:



And THAT was one of the better done live action adaptations... it was absolutely ridiculous, but at least it wasn't a complete waste of time to watch. This whole thing is ridiculous... *sigh* Oh well... at least I'm THAT MUCH MORE excited for Watchmen and Halo Wars. :)

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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Only the strongest will survive - I'll be the one to save us all








Okay so... I've never really been into the "The fate of the universe rests in your hands" games... in my opinion, they're never really done well. For starters, it's usually the same thing: We - as stupid, curious humans - have released some sort of hellish alien menace from it's resting place, and now one person - yes, just ONE - has to save everyone. Lame.

However, there is one series of games that has done this story line VERY well. One series of games that handles it realisticly, while tossing in things like character development and all that fun stuff.

I am, of course, talking about the Halo series. I've always enjoyed video games, but I think Halo was the game that turned me into a "gamer." The first Halo was magnificent - I think what caught my attention first was the music. The soundtrack was beautiful, sporting orchestral pieces that were absolutely gorgeous and moving. Even the music during action scenes or boss fights was beautiful. Then there was the feel of the game - dual toggle controls, different types of zooming and scope functions (depending on your weapon), and the layout was even awesome... your health, ammo, and sensor all laid around you as if you were merely looking through Master Chief's visor. It's also fairly realistic, by gaming standards. The main character has shields, so he can only be shot so many times before his shields go down and he's vulnerable to being killed, at which point one needs to hide so that the shields can have time to replenish. Your enemies have shields, as well, but a well placed shot on either side's part will put the character down. To put it frankly - shoot someone in the head, and they die. Being the sniper rifle enthusiast that I am, it pleased me to find that I could save ammo simply by being a good sniper.

But what REALLY caught me was the storyline. In Halo, you play as Master Chief, a soldier in the futuristic marine corps. Due to a warp jump, you and your fellow soldiers stumble upon a strange ring. It's size is massive, and on the inner most surface is what resembles a planet, complete with it's own atmosphere and everything. You land on the ring and begin to investigate, overhearing on a Covenant radio frequency that a weapon cache is somewhere nearby. You look for it, despite a hologram's warnings, and find that it's already opened, and not a weapon cache. Instead, you find that the ring is infested with a race of creatures known as The Flood, and anyone who has landed on the ring previously has been killed. Along the way, you find out that the ring is called a Halo, and it is actually a weapon of mass destruction, far more hideous than anything Iraq could throw at us. It is then your duty to destroy the Halo, so that it can't cause any more harm through out the universe, so you set out to do that... were it only so easy.

While you're trying to destroy the Halo, you cross paths with the Covenant, a species that views the Halo as a holy relic and - because you want to destroy it - view you as a demon. You defeat the game by joining with Cortana and destroying the Halo. An amazing game - when I defeated it on all three difficulty levels, I couldn't have been more satisfied. There was a good, solid ending, and the game had been a pretty fantastic mix of everything amazing. I had no idea that a second Halo was in the works, and nearly peed myself with excitement when it came out.

Halo 2 is by far my favorite in the series. The game play was smoother, there were a few new weapons, and the music was even more fantastic. But the story line was what really amazed.

Halo 2 opens up with a bit of an awards ceremony for those who survived and those who fell in the battle against The Flood, the Covenant, and Halo. However, you are interrupted when a small Covenant fleet appears amidst your ships... looking to inhabit Earth. As you battle, you find out that each batch of Covenant soldiers is leaving bombs on the ships, and you have to find the one on yours and return it. You find out that one of the Covenant Prophets - named Regret - was leading the small fleet on who knows what kind of mission. You get more acquainted with Cortana, as she helps you more and more throughout the game. As you defend city after city from the Covenant, you learn that Regret jumped the gun on his "invasion," thinking there wouldn't be anyone on Earth when he went. You also learn he's on some sort of "great journey." As the Covenant tries to flee the city you're defending, you follow it into a hyper space jump.

Alternately - and I think this is my favorite thing about the game - you learn the fate of the Elite Covenant warrior that failed in stopping you from destroying the Halo. He is dubbed as a heretic and tortured, until he is brought before the remaining Prophets - Truth and Mercy - and has the honor of Arbitar placed upon him. As the Arbitar, you are chosen to help smash a real heretic uprising within the Covenant ranks...

After the hyper space jump, you discover another Halo and get to the surface of it, finding that Regret intends to activate the Halo and use it. You set out to kill him and as you do, you are thrown into the deep waters and dragged to your "tomb" by an unknown force.

As the Arbitar, you are given the task of finding the Index, the key that will activate the Halo. When you are successful in your mission, you are betrayed and thrown into the deep darkness, only to find yourself constricted by the same creature that holds Master Chief in his clutches. It transports you both to separate locations, forcing you to find the Index and stop the Prophets from activating the Halo. I don't want to give too much of the ending away, but you end up having to leave Cortana behind, with a promise to return for her.

Talk about moving.

Halo 3 picks up right where Halo 2 left off - I don't want to give too much away, because the whole game is basically "the ending," but basically, you team up with the Arbitar to stop the Prophet Truth and retrieve Cortana before she is corrupted by the Flood. The only gripe I have about Halo 3 is that they took away the ability to double weild a Needler, and that's one of the most effective weapons... but for the most part everything is great about it. It seriously feels like you're playing a movie - the character development and story line and everything is just so thick. I like watching the relationship between Cortana and MC grow, as well as the change in the Arbitar as his eyes are opened more and more to the Prophets' definition of the Great Journey.



Halo 3 is supposed to be the end of the Halo series... Bungie has swore up and down that they weren't going to make any more, but anyone who beat the game on Heroic or Legendary found a special secret ending that hinted towards Bungie not being completely honest.

Sure enough, Bungie announced it's release of Halo Wars on March 3 in America... and I peed myself with excitement again. I really do love this game... and I can't wait to find out what happens to Master Chief and the Arbitar! If you've never played Halo, I strongly insist that you do - it's beautiful and tons of fun, especially if you unlock all the secrets! (In Halo 2, you discover Silver Skulls - one of which is called the Grunt Party Skull. If you get that skull, then, every time you shoot a Grunt in the head, it will explode into a mess of confetti, and a bunch of children will yell "yaaaaaaaay!" It's so cool XD) I can't wait for Halo Wars... or the much talked about Halo movie! :D It's going to be FANTASTIC!

So - as a game - Halo definitely gets 5 stars... it's one of the best games I've ever played. Go Bungie... and go Master Chief. :D

If you've never played Halo, you need to, if not just to find out why you don't like it... if you have and loved it, you need to let me know so we can play sometime... ;)... and to everyone who's reading this blog - say hi to your mother for me.

~Lauren

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It's gonna be a Wild Card super bowl...


Not because wild card teams are going... but because the Cardinals are going. I couldn't be more pleased... I'm not a Cards fan by any means, but they beat the 49ers, and it's nice to be able to say the 49ers got beat by a Super Bowl team. :)

I can't wait. *bouncing in her seat*

SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl
SuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowlSuperBowl!!!

I am SO excited. I'm not pleased with either the Ravens OR the Steelers... this game is ridiculous, and I don't think either of them are playing at a Super Bowl level... which is fine by me. Any of them takes this performance to the Super Bowl, I'll be dancing around my room to the tune of a Cardinal victory.

Though - I don't know if anything is going to be as exciting as watching the Giants beat the Patriots last year... w00t. AH... the Super Bowl... I look forward to it every. Single. Year. :D I remember so many super bowls from way back in the day... I absolutely love it... that's probably never going to change.

LET'S GET THIS!

~Lauren

***EDIT*** Nothing kills momentum like a major injury... Clark and McGahee had a collision. Clark (Steelers) was able to limp off the field, and seems to be okay, but McGahee (Ravens) was carted off on a stretcher. He wasn't moving a lot, but he had a bit of arm movement when they got him on the stretcher and onto the truck.

The Ravens just announced that McGahee is speaking, and he is moving, but he has significant neck pain.

Injuries suck... even if I don't like any of the teams or players, I always get scared when there's a big injury on the field... that's one thing band taught me. You don't make fun of anyone during that - it's a respect thing. I mean, I don't want anyone to get hurt, no matter who they are - but something I learned over the years is that, no matter how bitter the rivalry, competition will get along when there's an injury.

Hope everyone is okay.

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Hard to say what it is I see in you - wonder if I'll always be with you....


Have I ever stated how truly envious I am of the New Kids? Not because of the fame or the fortune or whatever... but because of their friendship. I think I have stated that once, but I never went into great detail. See... they started when they were young whipper snappers... if I remember correctly, Donnie was 15. I could guess the other guys' ages, but the first mention of the group being pieced together, Donnie was 14 or 15. If you listen to what they say on Behind the Musik and THS, you'll find out that a number of the members grew up together, and were already friends before the group was even conceived. I think only Joey was the one that was new to the group, replacing Jamie Kelly. SO - they were friends before they were the group, they were friends while they were the group, and they remained friends after the group split up. Now, 15 years later, they're back together and STILL friends. I'm fairly jealous of that.

It hit me last night when I was watching Stand By Me - I love that movie, it's absolutely hilarious, but it's also very touching. Four friends go on this "adventure" and kind of discover who they are and learn a lot of lessons about life. But what bothers me is, at the end, Gordie talks about how they drifted apart... until Teddy and Vern were merely faces in the hall.

I bring up both of these things - the New Kids and Stand By Me - because it really got me thinking. I went through a lot of stuff in high school... I really had to do a lot of searching and listening to God to find out who I was. I had to get my mind right and crawl out of a pretty deep depression before I got anything done... but through all of this, I had a group of friends that I truly adored. Best friends. By about end of Sophomore year/beginning of Junior year, we four - Cassandra, Denise, Debra, and I - had dubbed ourselves the Squishy Squad. We were BEST friends, got into oodles of trouble together, had more inside jokes than we had sense, and we even fought with eachother. Some of the biggest fights in highschool I had with these people... but we got over it. We loved eachother, and we relied on eachother. I've never had friends like them... but like the movies says, who ever does?

The problem is, we drifted apart. We had all these memories and inside jokes and little one liners that only made sense to us, and we drifted apart. Denise became nothing but a memory and a face in band... we still talked, and after graduation I tried to stay in contact with her, but it wasn't going to happen... I haven't seen or heard from her in who knows how long. Debra was a year behind us, and we stayed in contact for over a year or two, but now all she is is a contact on my AIM buddy list. We hardly talk, and when we do, it's like talking to a stranger - I have no idea what to say. And then there's Cassandra - if I were Gordy, Cassandra would be my Chris. I stay in contact with her and keep tabs on her, but even that isn't the same... I miss those days in high school.

Now, there are occasions - RARE occassions - when Debra, Cassandra, and I are able to chat on the phone or online like we were still in high school, but those moments are sooo few and far between, and it makes me wonder... why do we let people drift away? Now, I understand that sometimes, it's out of our hands, but I also have to admit that I don't try as hard as I could to stay in contact with them. I just wonder why it happens - if those relationships are nine times out of ten what keep us going through the hardest times of our lives, why do we let them drift away and become memories, like the hardships they helpes us through? How come it's so hard to keep people close to you, no matter what? And it's not just them... I had so many friends in high school that I let drift away... or that passed away. There are moments when I think of all of them... something will remind me of something in high school and I'll just take a nice detour down memory lane...

I watch my brothers as they grow up, too, and see them with their friends... sharing laughs and making trouble and being crazy, and I wonder if they'll drift away from them, too. I know that one of Steven's friend's won't be around forever... and that's heart breaking, too. I know I pushed people away so I wouldn't have to remember those I lost, and I regretted it every day and I hope he doesn't do the same - but I wonder if the drifting away thing is as universal as it seems. I just wish there was a way to reconnect with everyone at the drop of a hat... or that I could at least figure out what the New Kids did to remain friends for so long, even when they were apart... because sometimes, I just tell myself it was time to move on... but most of the time, I really do regret letting them drift away - and that's heart breaking for me, because I don't want to regret a lot.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is, as time goes on and things change, relationships may fade... so make the best of the time you've got.

Let's get this.

~Lauren



told you you'd get a worth while post! :D

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You wanna be the Lone Ranger, or the Cisco Kid?

Man this blogging thing is hard... XD I can't think of anything to blog about. I've been writing a lot, but none of it is worth blogging about. *sigh* I promise, you'll get something worth reading about soon...

I am watching Stand By Me... one of my favorite movies. It's hilarious... but I gotta ask, and maybe some of you can explain it to me... how is dodging a train "just like the beach on Normandy?"

Thus a kid who had illegally scaled the junkyard fence might hear the dreaded cry of "Chomper, sick balls!"

"Chris Chambers never misses!"

"Not even when the ladies leave the seat down!"

Ah... love this movie! There aren't enough movies about friendship and coming of age and all that stuff. :) Great cast, too.

Anyway... ending this... :D Yay!

Let's get this!

~Lauren

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Wow... it took me a long time to write such a short post...




My brain fires strangely... it thinks of things in very odd, and sometimes creative, ways... some days are better than others. Today, I found myself thinking - gee I should hurry up and post... and then getting quickly distracted. 'Golly, I sure do like the way my fingers move when I type!! I pretty much just let them do their thing! It's like a dance... almost... a choreographed dance that only they know... what was I going to do?? Oh well, must be nothing.'

Xbox has been talking to me recently... no... it hasn't ACTUALLY been talking, but I've started playing it again. I'm fairly into a game that we got - Quake 4... I'd played Quake, and my brothers had played Quake 3, so we figured we'd give 4 a spin... I like it so far. It's similar to Halo, but a little easier to handle... better weapons, minus the plasma sword... and I like the controls a tad bit better. My only grievance is I hate having to be in a vehicle... I'm much better with my nail gun... or even better, my scoped machine gun... HEADSHOT! :D

Not a lot to report, except that I chopped a lot of my hair off... I'll have pics up as soon as I can. :)

I suppose I should tie change into this somehow, huh? Now that I think about the them of January, I wonder how that applies... do you have to mention the word change in every post, or can the change just be described?? Like, a changing of one's mind, or a change in their daily routine??? Exactly how profound of a change does it have to be?? Who knows... but one thing is for certain... when I started NaBloPoMo for January, I thought it'd be a good idea... I'm beginning to CHANGE my mind... XD

Let's Get This!

~Lauren

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Haven't been here in a long time...


Time for a movie review! :)

I watched Wall-E finally last night... and I have to tell you, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had two thumbs up - both people with exquisite movie taste, both told me that I "HAVE TO SEE IT" - and a bunch of thumbs down. Consensus was, the movie was boring, had no story, and was a complete and total tree hugger movie. I respected the opinion of my two friends, but also wondered how a movie with so many negative reviews would be good at all. Either way, I figured it was time to watch it... that way, if I didn't like it, I could at least say I watched it. After watching it, here is my opinion: *clears throat* AHEM...

I LOVED IT. The movie was absolutely fantastic... it was beautiful in every sense of the word, an absolute visual treasure. The colors were sooooo vibrant!!

The movie was very visual, with most scenes sporting little to no speaking... but the dialogue was extremely thick. Wall-E's character was adorable - a robot, by himself, feeling the need to do his job. There was so much to take in with his character alone, much less when he was interacting with the other characters. He seemed so innocent, not understanding why he can't just do what he feels is right. I liked that about him.

I also really liked his love for E.V.E. Yes, he was a robot, but it was a Pixar movie, so there are going to be a few cutesy twists... and for the first time, I think Pixar finally got a love story in one of their movies! It was absolutely adorable, watching everything Wall-E did for E.V.E.! He loved her so unconditionally - no amount of abuse or hardship could be thrown at him that would make him leave her side, and all he wanted in return was to hold her hand, and make her happy.

The comedy was great - I think it was a relief to get a movie that was thick with hilarity, without relying on curse words or sexual innuendos or anything like that. It was all so physical - as a stage actor, I can appreciate that... we're always told to not only act with our personalities, but with our bodies as well. You need to be able to steal a scene without saying a thing - and Wall-E captured that through out the entire movie. Most of what he said was said with his body and actions... I found it very similar to Tom & Jerry. My dad and I always talk about how you can look back on Tom & Jerry and not realize that they never spoke... think about that. That show was on for so long with little dialogue - you just watched it. Wall-E is the same way, and I really like it. Sometimes it's not what you say - after all, don't we always say that actions speak louder than words?

The movie itself was very similar to Idiocracy (without the profanity) - a huge, corporate conglomerate owns the world, and we've become to reliant on technology to notice the world around us, and we've let Earth go. I can see how some would see that as a tree hugger point of view, but I honestly don't see it that way. I've said before that I don't like the fact that advances in technology are allowing us to become more and more lazy - and THAT'S what I think the movie is trying to get across. In one scene, a woman is flying around on her hover chair, and her "cell phone" gets turned off, and she gets to see the world around her for the first time, and I thought it was very well done. Extremely profound. To me, it wasn't saying "we have to prevent global warming and take care of trees and forget people protect nature," it was saying, "turn off the iPods and the cell phones and all of that and just look at what's around you." And it's not just about nature - it also shows how we're neglecting the relationships around us and becoming extremely self absorbed... the only thing important is what the newest thing is.

I really, really, really liked the movie, and I'm so glad I decided to watch it. I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob. I appreciated all the little things, like how E.V.E. said Wall-E's name, and vice versa. I implore all of you that haven't seen it to give it a chance - I'm not saying you'll love it, because clearly, plenty of people didn't, but at least check it out. Give yourself the chance to build your own opinion, instead of going with the crowd. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Oh and, say hi to your mother for me.

~Lauren

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Limitless Ramblings presents: CALI - an original short story by Lauren Brent

This is a short story I just wrote, based on a picture I drew a little bit ago... I have a picture of the drawing, but it's not on my computer. I'll put it up here when I get it. BUT - I hope you enjoy the story... Stick with me through the whole thing if you can - it's a bit long, but it's really close to my heart. :) I think the theme of "change" is handled fairly well in this post. :)


CALI



Cali wasn’t the best stuffed animal in the world… she wasn’t even the second best. In fact, as far as stuffed animals came, Cali was lacking. She was small – tiny, really – and she had more stuffing in some places than she did in others. Not to mention, her stitching was extremely noticeable, making her less aesthetically pleasing than all the other stuffed animals.

What was worse was, Cali was a panda… she was SUPPOSED to be cute. She did her best to live a happy life, not caring what others thought of her, but it was tough. If she had been a stuffed panda in the old days, things would be easier. Back then, children weren’t so focused on looks… they were just happy to have a toy. But, now a days, parents could buy their kids as many stuffed animals as they wanted, and one was apt to be thrown away if it wasn’t absolutely adorable. Cali thought herself lucky – she had seen some of the less tolerable animals tossed out because of their ugly appearance, but she was small and unnoticeable. No one would throw her away, because no one knew she existed. It hadn’t always been that way. When Cali first came around – when she was a brand new panda – there were only a few other stuffed animals around, and Cali had been loved and payed attention to. But, as more and more stuffed animals came in, Cali was slowly pushed away. The more tattered she became, the more she was ignored.

After a while, Cali began to long for the attention she once had. She wanted to be noticed again; wanted to be held and loved – but every time she thought to speak up or get involved, she was reminded of her appearance, and ended up biting her tongue and fading back into the background. She had made friends with some other stuffed animals, but only talked to the ones who were kind enough to engage her in conversation first, and mostly kept to herself in the toy box. As she got older, she got more depressed. She desperately wanted to express herself, to make friends and actually be someone. As it stood, she felt she was useless and unwanted – pushed away to make room for the better toys. If she ever dared to get close to another stuffed animal, they ended up leaving. It was amazing the amount of trouble a stuffed animal could get into. Cali was sick of getting hurt, too. She was sick of listening to all the other stuffed animals laugh at her less than pleasing appearance… so what if her stuffing was disproportioned? So what if she wasn’t fuzzy and adorable? Where did they get the right to make fun of her? She began to get angry at her predicament and wish that someone would notice her and throw her away. She was rude to the older animals, talking back and yelling and saying mean things, and she’d make a mess wherever she went. She wanted so desperately to be thrown away. She was sick of being angry and sad and lonely and useless… she just wanted to be thrown away.

One day, Cali had been playing with some of the other stuffed animals. They had asked her to come along, and she had agreed because she didn’t want to be lonely, but she kept to herself thinking it was a trap. She had heard stories of “uncool” stuffed animals being befriended, then having pig’s blood dumped on them or being beat up or embarrassed. It wasn’t going to happen to her.

Suddenly, the stuffed animals scattered, leaving Cali in the middle of the floor, confused.

“What are you doing out?” Cali heard someone say, and froze. She had not been made aware that the Master was home, and she suddenly became very angry. This was the trick – they all left her out. The Master would see her, be disgusted by her appearance, and throw her out.

Fine, she thought. I’m useless, anyway. It’ll be better this way. The Master picked her up, dusted her off, and smiled at her.

“You’re perfect,” he said, taking her with him, away from her family and so called “friends.” The Master carried her into the bathroom and she all but gasped.

OH MY GOD! He’s going to flush me down the toilet! Cali felt more shamed than she ever had before. She had heard of a number of ways to be discarded, but being flushed was by far the worst, and most embarrassing. Instead, however, the Master turned the sink on and began to wash her. Cali was confused – why wash her before flushing her? It didn’t make sense.

“There we go,” he said when he was finished. “Much better! What do you think?” Cali stood up and examined herself in the mirror – she had never realized how much dirt and grime had built up on her in the years, and as she looked at herself, she smiled. She wasn’t so ugly after all. She peered up at the Master and smiled.

“I like it… thank you. Are you going to throw me away now?”

“Throw you away?” The Master asked, his laughter booming out of him. “Why would I do that? No – You, my dear, are a very special creature, and I have something equally as special in mind for you.” Cali couldn’t help but smile. No one had ever called her special before! The Master scooped her up again, carrying her into yet another room.

“But what about all the other animals? The ones who were ugly like me… you took them away, and I never saw them again. Some of them were my friends,” she added, and felt sadness tag at her heart again, and she was certain that if she could have cried, she would have. “I miss them…”

“Some of them had already served their purpose, and it was time for them to move on… but others… others are like you. I had something special for them. You never saw them again because they were busy doing what I had in mind for them.” The Master set her down in the room, and she looked around. There were stuffed animals everywhere – big, small, fat, skinny, old, new – and various wooden creations. She looked up at him again.

“Where are we?” She asked, and he smiled.

“My workshop,” the Master said. “Go – get acquainted with some of the other animals… we have a while yet before we need to leave.”

Cali did as she was told, and began to talk to the other stuffed animals. They were very kind, and she had little trouble talking to them and getting to know them. For the first time, she felt like she was actually loved and wanted. Before long, the Master scooped Cali up with a number of other animals and stuck them in a box. They were in the box for a long time, and Cali began to get nervous again.

“It’s okay,” some of the animals said. “We’ve done this before, we’ll help you out.” The Master took the box into another building, and placed it down in a room. Cali could hear voices, and desperately wanted to look around. Soon, she was removed from the box, and placed with a number of the other animals in a window. She looked out and saw a number of children, and as they began to grow quiet, she realized they were watching her.

“What are we doing?” Cali whispered, and one of the other animals smiled at her.

“Puppet show, it makes the children smile.” Just then, the Master picked Cali up, moving her arms and legs, and giving her a voice. The children laughed at what was being said, and Cali felt sad and angry again. She thought that the Master was making her look stupid, making the children laugh at her… but still, she liked being up there, acting out puppet shows.

“This isn’t funny!” She hissed, and one of the other animals shook their head.

“They aren’t laughing at you, they’re laughing because they’re happy!” The Master grabbed another animal, and made Cali and the other stuffed animal engage in dialogue. Cali began to smile – it was pretty funny, and she liked that she was making the children happy.

By the end of the puppet show, Cali felt as if her heart would explode with excitement.

“That was so much fun! Can we do it again? Can we?”

“You see? You’re not so useless after all. You made all these children happy, just by being yourself.” Cali smiled, and her new found friends began to congratulate her on a job well done. As they were packing up, a little girl walked up and looked at Cali, and Cali peered back at her. The little girl crouched down until her face was in line with Cali’s.

“Well hello there. I haven’t seen you around before.”

“She’s new… first day.” The Master smiled at Cali, but Cali didn’t see it. She kept staring at the little girl.

“Well, she’s very talented for a first timer… may I hold her?” The Master nodded, and the little girl picked Cali up and hugged her tight. “She’s so soft!” The little girl put her down after a while and skipped away, and Cali watched her go.

“Cali, do you remember when I told you I had something really special in mind for you?” Cali nodded. “That little girl is named Mercy, and she’s in need of a friend, and I think you’d be perfect for her. She’d take good care of you, and I’m sure you’d make plenty of friends with her.” Cali was uncertain. She was happy where she was, finally. She had lived with the Master for so long and had felt miserable… now that she was finally enjoying where she was, he wanted her to leave? “It won’t be forever… and I’m sure you’ll love it much more than where you are now. I have so much planned for you, but you have to take a step in faith… trust me and go with Mercy. It’ll all work out.” Cali looked up at the Master. His kind eyes told her it would all be okay so, even though she was frightened, she agreed.

Mercy took her home, and held her tight the entire way. When Cali was placed in Mercy’s room and given a chance to talk to the other stuffed animals, she found it very easy to make friends. Everyone was extremely friendly, save for a few stuffed animals with attitudes or tempers that needed a bit of work. Within moments, Cali met Dallas, a small stuffed cat that had lived in the same place as Cali for a number of years. They found out that they had a lot in common, including similar calls from the Master. They quickly became best friends, and began to do everything together. Before too long, Cali and Dallas had put together a group of stuffed animals that was almost inseparable. They got themselves into plenty of trouble, but shared more than enough laughs to last them a life time. Cali began to love living with Mercy. She wasn’t angry anymore, was hardly sad, and wasn’t ever lonely.

Mercy put on a lot of puppet shows… sometimes they were in her room, sometimes in other rooms in the house. Cali wasn’t always used in the puppet shows, but when she was, she loved every second of it. She was so happy that when she looked back on her life, she could hardly believe she had been so anti-social and sad. Her life wasn’t void of sadness and heart break, but she was at a point where she could climb back out, and be okay. She felt herself change. Her sadness was replaced with a witty sense of humor, her loneliness replaced by the warmth and love given to her by her new friends, and her sense of uselessness replaced with an intense sense of adventure.

Cali still lives with Mercy. Dallas and other members of the group were taken to college with Mercy’s older sister, but the group still gets together and starts trouble. As assumed, her life is far from easy – roadblocks and challenges present themselves as often as they can – but Cali herself is different. She’s rarely seen without a smile on her face, and it’s almost impossible to get her to shut up now. She still misses her old home, but is perfectly content where she is, and will always be grateful to the Master for everything he did for her to get her where she is.

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