I spent most of yesterday reading and I'm done with sociology work through Monday... which means I'm free to worry about astronomy, production, philosophy and photography! Woot! Seriously, this schedule is not working out so great for me. It's so stressful. My jaw cracks sometimes and it gets worse in proportion to my exhaustion and stress levels. Well it's been cracking a lot more frequently and a lot louder lately, and it actually hurts now. When I touch the hinge from the outside of my face, it actually feels tender. It's never been this bad before.

The randomest memory came back to me the other day. When I was younger, I had a little glass prism and I thought it was the best. I could just sit there in my room and turn it all different ways and put it up against different things to see how they would look as rainbows. I miss that, back when refracted light was a tiny miracle, back when I had time to use my imagination, back when I used to read a couple of books a week because I had that kind of time. I mean... I'm still reading at about the same rate, but nothing nearly as interesting as "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Emerald City of Oz." I don't know what happened to that prism I used to have - I probably gave it away at some point - but I sort of want it back. Just to remind me that my imagination is bigger than the box I have to live in.

I went over Schneckleface's for a lil heart-to-heart last night and it was really good. We talked a lot about honesty - with other people, with ourselves, and before God. I ended up continuing the conversation with Roomie when I came back and I've finally reached a plan of action for dealing with some things I'd been trying to sweep under the rug. I feel at peace right now, like things are going to be all right very soon. It's a good feeling.

Well, last order of business: I found this poem I wrote last semester when I really hated certain people. If you know about Angry Frodo you'll totally get this poem. Otherwise you'll probably think I'm a homicidal psycho jungle cat (or just a very menstrual individual... which can be true at times XD), but that's okay. You can think that. I'll love you just the same.

So maybe I’m a killer. That’s all right.
Your blood runs colder than mine.
Everything would’ve been okay
If you’d heeded me and run away.
I don’t miss you, off in your little corner of hell.
I don’t miss you cause you brought this on yourself.

Oh no, we are finished with this game.
Do your best to forget my name.
It’s over and you lost. Don’t talk to me.
No, there’s nothing left for you to save;
just bite the bullet as I walk away.
Bang, bang! You’re dead. Don’t talk to me.

You drove me to this – can’t you see?
How can you ask for my sympathy?
This here’s your little temper fit,
scripted so I’ll feel like shit–
but I’m the one who fired the gun
and I can sleep at night with what I’ve done.

Oh no, we are finished with this game.
You drove me to the point of hate.
It’s over and you lost. Don’t talk to me.
No, there’s nothing left for you to save,
so drop your empty hands as I walk away.
Bang, bang! You’re dead. Don’t talk to me.

Never thought I’d have to leave.
Never thought I’d have to lie.
Never thought it would come down to a bullet and goodbye.

Oh no, we are finished with this game.
I’ll have none of your raining on my happy parade.
It’s over and you lost. Don’t talk to me.
No, there’s nothing left for you to save.
Heave a sigh and hide your eyes as I walk away.
Bang, bang! You’re dead. Don’t talk to me.

Family. Furniture. Flying. It must mean SOMETHING.

I had a very eventful night last night. I dreamed I was at a relative's house for some sort of family gathering. It was an aunt on my dad's side, which in itself is strange because we don't do a whole lot of gatherings with that half of the family. But there I was, and my grandma was there, and I was trying to be friendly and sweet towards her but I guess I offended her by saying that she was short. Which she is, and which she constantly draws attention to when we do see her, and which the men on that side of the family tend to good-naturedly tease her about in real life. Well for some reason it really upset her in the dream, and it upset me that it upset her, so I really didn't want to stick around anymore since she was so angry.

Also, my dad was trying to convince me to take my aunt and uncle's pull-out couch because it folded out into a king-size bed. They were moving out and weren't going to keep it anyway. Evidently I'm just that enormous that I would need a king-size bed all to myself. Or maybe he was anticipating that I wouldn't have it all to myself, since he was talking about bringing it to "my place." Yes, apparently I had a place and someone to share it with.

Then I was at a different house, which was nearby and, I think, still belonged to the same aunt and uncle as the other house. At any rate, I'm pretty sure the other person there was their son, who's probably not more than ten or so. I still wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of there. Then I remembered I knew how to teleport so I decided to go see Boyfriend. But I didn't want to just vanish; I wanted to be showy about it. I decided I would climb up the outside part of the staircase (because I couldn't just walk up the stairs like a normal person would) and throw myself off the banister on the second floor, then vanish midair. I climbed up and was about to stand on the banister when I heard a really weird noise. At first I thought it was the cat, but then I realized there was a monster in my cousin's bedroom and fell off the banister. I must've teleported myself while falling because I never hit the ground, but I never ended up at Boyfriend's, either, so I don't know what happened there.

Next thing I knew, I was at this big, grassy area off the side of King St. in Coho. Although no such grassy area exists in real life, I have dreams about stuff happening off that street ALL the time, and there's always a lot more wilderness than in actuality. Anyway. The grass was greener than anything I'd ever seen and there were gargantuan trees, leafless and twisted, sticking out of the field. I was flying, and effortlessly, which hardly ever happens. On the rare occasions that I dream about flying, I generally have to like, swim through the air. Some of the massive tree branches had been cut off, leaving flat, table-top-like circles up at the tops of the trees where I would alight to rest. But one of the tabletops was being swarmed by little black flies, and they tried to eat me when I landed there. Gross.

Then my phone went off and I woke up, really angry that it was already seven and I had to get up to finish the homework for my 9:10 class, which I didn't do last night. Imagine my euphoria when I saw that it was a text message saying CLASSES WERE CANCELED! So now, Ima finish that homework and maybe some other stuff too so I won't have to stress this weekend, but mostly I'm looking forward to having a little time to work on "Before the Empty Moon."

I was wigglin' around, like... when I was a zygote, brotha.

The issue of abortion hits pretty close to home for me. I'm adopted; my mother was young and unmarried and, if she'd wanted to take the easy way out, could've chosen to abort me. Imagine that. I would have never existed. I didn't do anything right to deserve this opportunity to live instead of die. Neither did millions of unborn babies do anything wrong that made them not deserve the same opportunity to life that I received, yet they were killed anyway. I think that, living in the United States, it would be outrageous for the government to take that choice away from mothers, and there would probably be all sorts of riots and such, but it's equally outrageous to give mothers permission to slaughter their unwanted children through partial birth abortions and the like. I understand there are circumstances in which abortion is the best and/or only option. When the mother's health is at risk. When the mother is a rape victim. Not when the mother slipped up and ended up with a fetus she didn't want. Also, taxpayers are going to be responsible for the cost of these abortions, whether we agree with them or not. The FightFOCA site has a lot more info in a lot more detail than my little rant here, so check it out, and SIGN THE PETITION to PREVENT the Freedom of Choice Act from passing!

By the way, the quote in the title came from Mr. Ryland Blackinton, who equals love.

Brighter than the Northern Lights

Today was a bad day. Nothing especially bad happened, but for reasons unknown even to me, I suddenly decided to hate life, including homework, class, school, the entire educational institution, our society, and probs some other stuff that I'm forgetting. Oh, but Roomie was excluded from the explosion of hatred because she listened to me rant and cry and offered condolences in the form of tea and schneckles. Best roomie everrr <3. Anyway, my grievances are as follows.

What am I doing here? Today I have the most overwhelming sense that I am in the wrong place. Not that Go-Co is the wrong school, but that school is the wrong path altogether. I want to learn, but I don’t feel that I gain anything from reading hundreds of pages a week because it’s too much to actually absorb. It all gets stored in the part of my brain designated “temp files,” to be deleted after the exam. Some of it’ll go even before then. This is not because the information is uninteresting, but because there’s too much of it, and because knowing I HAVE to read it and remember it drains all the fun out of learning. I don’t even like reading anymore, and I would’ve thought only the greatest evil could take that away from me. I want to know things, like how space and societies work, and I want to read things, classic stories and fantasy stories and funny stories – but turning exploration into something I will later be examined on makes me hate even the things that interest me.

Most of all, I want to write and create. I know that we can’t always do what we want when we want, but it’s not like I want to go play video games all day. Writing a book is a legitimate and career-oriented undertaking. Doing is the best way of learning a craft like writing. I am ready, willing, and even eager to work hard for hours at a time to accomplish something if I can see the value of the task. However, I cannot see the value of all this material I’m supposed to read and recall. I can’t care about everything they tell me to care about. That’s not to say I don’t see value in the subject, but some things should not be taught in a classroom. Astronomy, for instance. The study of the heavens. Well, the heavens aren’t exactly hard to access; I’m pretty sure you can see them from almost anywhere on earth. What the hell are we doing in a classroom?

I digress. I was saying that I can’t see the value of what I’m doing at school right now, and I think that’s because the goal is all wrong. I’m stressing trying to get good grades, so that I can graduate, so that I can put college on my resume, so that I can get a good job, so that I can make a lot of money and have a “good” life. Who defines something like a “good” life, and what makes ‘em so darn sure it’s the same for everybody? I don’t even want to be rich, and I’m still trying to fulfill society’s expectations! Who’s to say this is the way to “success,” or even what success is? My tenth grade history teacher had a poster in the classroom that said, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” If I merely follow the path laid out for me by somebody else, I’m only doing what millions of other kids my age do. How can I call myself different? I may SAY I don’t care about the institutions and expectations of society, but I still play by their rules.

It comes down to this: do I want to spend two more years and 70 thousand more dollars on this endeavor? For sleeplessness and acne and crummy food and noisy res halls? I’m not saying I hate college. I’m making connections with friends, professors, even professionals in my fields of interest. Do those benefits outweigh the costs? Maybe. Today it doesn’t feel that way. But could I live with myself knowing I gave up? Could I live with my family knowing I gave up? Is it even “giving up” if you’re closing one door in order to open another?

As for my family, well. I’ve been saying how I spent my younger years trying to please my parents and how I should’ve just done what I felt was right, maybe leading to mistakes, but always providing life experience that would teach me something. I’ve been saying I’m done trying to make others happy at my own expense but I still do it all the time. I am here because I did well in high school and have the means to further my education. They expect me to be here. By “they” I mean teachers, mentors, pastors, guidance counselors, parents, and most of all, culture. Culture says if I don’t do life this way, I’m fucked and a failure and my life is going to suck. But being trapped in a life that is wrong in every way sounds like a worse fate than living in a little house and driving a clunky old car. Is a publisher going to reject my manuscript because I don't have such-and-such a degree? There are two grounds for rejection in the publishing world. Either your submission did not suit the needs of the publishing house and market, or you’re just not good at writing.

But I’m not dealing with publishing houses right now. I’m dealing with teachers and textbooks. I am not taking care of my body. I am not taking care of my heart. I’m only taking care of that little corner of my brain everybody seems to think I should be taking care of. Every part of me is screaming that it wants to do the things I was made to do, yet every second of my time is spent doing anything but. I just don’t want to die before leaving my mark on the world, no matter how small that mark may be. I want to die trying, knowing I gave it everything I had. I want to know something, somewhere, changed because of me. Maybe I don’t deserve that kind of significance; I guess we’re all afraid of being forgotten, aren’t we?

Perhaps I only feel caged because I have such an academic schedule this semester. Perhaps things will only get better. All I know is, I never feel right except when I am creating things, lost in a song, or with people I love, who complete me. Is that so wrong, finding happiness in those places? Tell me what’s so wrong with being happy. You say immediate happiness won’t last? Well I’m gonna goddamn make it last! but I’ve got to start somewhere, and there’s no time like the present….


I'm too emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted to write about the Reel Big Fish show tonight. I do, however, have a couple of sick souvenirs to share... you decide which one is more epic.

Goddamn pharisees.

I'm sorry if this rubs you the wrong way, but when someone gets caught up in a messy situation, the last thing their supposed "brothers and sisters in Christ" should be doing is gossiping about it, especially when said brothers and sisters are adults and the person who got screwed over is only a child. What the fuck makes you think it's all right to judge and condemn a high school girl based on "what everyone is saying" about her? "What everyone is saying" is total bullshit, and even if it was true, you're a hypocrite if you expect better from her than you were ever able to do at her age. Not that she even did what you did. Not that she did anything at all, really, even though "everyone" seems to think she did. And when is it ever, EVER okay to make a kid, especially one that isn't yours, feel guilty about a situation in which she didn't do anything wrong? About a situation that probably would've been fine if double-standardized grown-ups hadn't meddled in the first place? You impose your unrealistic, impossible-to-meet expectations on your own children and everybody else's like God came down and had a heart-to-heart with you over coffee, detailing precisely what he thinks everyone should do and telling you to make sure they do it. Hello, we're human, hello, that is why Jesus died - because we're all gonna blow it at some point, in fact at many points and even, some might say, at every point. Jesus was always ragging on the pharisees for imposing stupid, arbitrary rules, or have you learned nothing from the gospels? And look, as humans, we learn through trial and error. If we're not allowed to mess it up then we'll never get it right either. You're entitled to your opinions, even if they're wrong. Freedom of belief equals the freedom to be stupid. It just pisses me off how much Christianity has come to be about looking the part and "doing things right" rather than trusting Jesus to get us out of this mess. Because he's the only one who can. You can't. Your rules can't. Your goddamn gossip isn't gonna fix things, and your judgment will be brought upon your own head. You know what else? I started this post with a lie. Maybe this rubs you the wrong way, but I'm not sorry.

The snow is falling and friends are calling yoo hoo.

New Year's Resolution #1: Suffer for my Art

Got up at 7 this morning and went out to take pictures in the Gordon woods. Okay, saying I got up at 7 is sort of a lie, but that was the time I set my alarm for and it was only quarter to eight when I made it out the door with my digital camera (sadly I didn't have any film for the other one) and a double dose of hot green tea with honey to keep me from turning into a walking igloo. I was wading through snow as high as my knees at times. That hasn't happened since I was about five. Doubleplusawesomexcore.

By the time I got to these wacky trees, I'd walked quite some distance and had long since drained my supply of green tea, so I plopped down in the snow and took a little nap. I know that sounds crazy, but I swear it was the most comfortable nap I've taken in ages. The snow formed perfectly to the shape of my body and I was hardly even cold. It was just... peaceful. Unlike my second-floor hall of Ferrin on the east side.

After wandering the woods for two hours and eating a carbtastic breakfast to cancel out all that good exercise, I got invited to go sledding with Schneckleface and Hacks, so I re-bundled up and we went to dig out Hacks's car. This was an adventure unto itself, as apparently it had snowed about a foot in the less-than-24-hours since she'd parked it. Then we packed up the ol' storage bins (i.e. makeshift sleds with a bit more to them than Lane trays... even the fiberglass ones ^_^) and drove to Marblehead, where Schneckleface teaches and knew of a good hill.

Amber thought we were crazy for using storage bins instead of going out to buy cheap $5 sleds at the store. But none of us had five dollars. We didn't even have five collective dollars. Plus, being inventive is far more entertaining and makes for much better stories (and photos) in the end.

On top of fun times in the snow, I'm happy because my sister's been talking to me. Of course I'm not going to spew the details of her life across the internet (I only inflict that sort of abuse upon myself XD), but I'll say that she was telling me about a certain boy she's got a sort of date with this weekend. Apparently they texted back and forth just shy of 70 times within the span of four hours last night. I have a boyfriend and we don't talk that much. Good grief. But I'm happy for her, and I'm happy she's telling me about her life like I'm her friend or something. That's all I've ever wanted to be for her.

Welcome to Hyperstressdom! funtime.

For the record, I've disabled anonymous commenting. Didn't want to, buuut I'm not gonna lie, whoever's pretending to be Gabe Saporta and asking where I live is sorta creepin me out... If you wanna identify yourself I'll turn anonymous comments back on... and I mean, saying you'll design my wardrobe isn't really something worth hiding, it's kind of silly, don't you think? Why don't you... uh.... go write a poem, and not attribute it to yourself...? Oh. Kids can be so cruel. <3 SB

I'm a lil bit out of it. That point of hyperstressdom is setting in really early this semester on account of the family I might babysit at 6AM 3 days a week is psychotic but if I don't take the job I'll probs have to drop my photography class because I won't be able to afford materials. That's the nutshell version.

I'll share my little scene from life, and then I'm crashing. I went to the grocery store yesterday to get all those essential things like milk, apples, yogurt, and bananas. Walking to the checkout line, there was this girl standing there with a humongoid Bratz balloon that played a SONG about the Bratz and how they're fashonistas and clearly the shiz and stuff. I could only shake my head. Why, back in my day, you were lucky to get a balloon filled with helium instead of CO2. And you had to walk five miles to the grocery store to get one... uphill both ways... in two feet of snow.

Taz tried to warn me there was pot in the eggplant parm at lunch.

Hooooo boy. It's been a while since I had one of these dreams, and this one was the absolute worst I've ever had. First let me say that I was thinking I must be in a pretty good place considering I had a flying dream last night. I used to have those a lot as a kid but they sort of petered out as I grew up, as I think they do for most people. I don't remember much about that dream, just that I bought some new shoes from Wal*Mart (why the eff would they be from Wal*Mart?) and what's more, I apparently spent a whole lot of money on these shoes that I bought at Wal*Mart. Meanwhile, I was searching for a friend to go to a Cobra show with, and I had Stoof on the phone, trying to convince her to go. She finally said she'd be able to, and I remember flying all around that grassy space out in front of Lane, telling everyone I was going to see Cobra. If I could fly for real, that is TOTALLY something I would do.

I had Sociology and Astronomy today. I can already tell Soc is gonna be one of those classes where, if you show up and turn in the assignments and even remotely care about them, it'll be a piece of cake to get a good grade. Heck, the prof even lets you choose your grading scale: you can make the papers worth more, or the tests worth more. Astronomy is only intimidating because I realized that I don't remember algebra. My sister asked me for help this break and I was like, "uhhh... I don't remember learning this... oh snap." The prof's a total nerd and showed us this ridiculous video about powers of ten, made like 30 years ago before soundtracks weren't garbage. I think it's gonna be a good class though. One of the projects I could choose to do is go out and study the constellations with the TA and then have him test me on it. Well, that's why I'm in the class. I'm down. Oh, and chapel was hilarious because I sat near the usual suspects - Hacks, Taz, Brace Face, Piercey, Mrs. Piercey, Josh and Kay - and I hadn't seen most of them in ages. I forgot how nice it was to have chapel as an opportunity to see people like that since I sort of stopped going. Anyway, the praise band played "Indescribable," and Piercey HATES that song because it says God is indescribable and then goes on to describe him for the rest of the song. So he mocked it by singing really, really loud. I couldn't stop laughing.

But yeah, after Astronomy, I came back to Ferrin to take a nap because my head was killing me for some mysterious reason. It's been uncomfortable on and off this week, but I didn't really notice it until today. So I was just innocently taking this nap when I had one of those demon dreams again. Basically what happens in these recurrent dreams is, I think I'm awake. It interrupts whatever dream I was in the middle of, and I'm lying in the bed where I fell asleep. Everything is in its proper place, the lighting is appropriate for how long I was asleep - and then I try to move. But I can't. The harder I struggle, the more I realize that I am quite paralyzed, unable to move or speak or do anything other than think no matter how hard I push my muscles. And even though I know I've dreamed this before, every time it feels so real. I hope and hope my roommate or my mom will come in and rescue me, that I can fight hard enough to at least draw someone else's attention. I just want to make a sound, any sound, just so someone will hear me.

I especially hate it when it happens in powers of ten like that movie. Like, I'll think that I've successfully woken up, and then I'll realize I'm still trapped. Sometimes that happens three, four, five times. A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream, etc. Today it was five. I think my record is seven.

But the reason this one was so bad was because I could see the, for lack of a better word, demons, and that's never happened before. If you've ever experienced an aura with a migraine, it looked a little something like that; or think about Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke after he falls off the roof, when he's walking through the village and bends the guy's spear and stops San and Lady Eboshi from killing each other - what his demon looked like then, but clear. Basically it was just sort of a colorless disturbance in the air, and I could see it writhing and wrapping around me. Horrifying, right? In my head (because I couldn't speak), I kept shouting for Jesus to help me.

Well, of course I finally woke up, covered in a cold sweat and way too freaked out to fall asleep again. I made a couple cups of tea (the first one was garbage. I'm throwing away the rest of those tea bags, ugh) and munched on that puffed corn stuff, which made me feel better. Except, since this has been a recurrent nightmare, I know it's got to mean something. Any ideas? I wish I had something a little more concrete to go on. Or maybe the answer is right in front of my face. Maybe I've got some demons to wrestle in my life. I don't know what they are. I thought I wrestled one of my biggest issues with that mega-post last night and I thought I came out victorious.

I should pray.

Explosion 2: Brace yourself.

For the record, I do believe it has been a month since Boyfriend and I started dating and I thought a shout-out would be appropriate. YAY US!


The Life of Mandii Explodes All Over the Internet, Part Two!
Uhhh. This was more honesty than I was really aiming for. Brace yourselves.

First off... thanks to everyone who commented my last insanely long post. Your words make me happy like you have no idea. Unfortunately, the prospect of writing these next couple of posts makes me a lot less happy. Everything that went down this fall is still a little too recent for me to detach from it, not to mention I am concerned that some people who were involved will take offense if they read about it. But according to Mr. Ralph Keyes, who wrote this book I'm reading called "The Courage to Write," every writer fears the same exact thing. It's true that I've felt this same fear with my books, which started out more or less true to life but quickly became fictionalized. As a result, some characters grew into very different people from their real-life counterparts, and good grief, I stressed myself out about what said real-life counterparts would think of me for months before Season hit the shelves. Suffice to say that this post is a documentation. It's not fictionalized. Sorry if that's an issue for anyone.

As I've said many a time, it was a great season for concerts. I was fortunate enough to befriend another spontaneous concert enthusiast whose taste in music was a lot like mine, and we went to a bunch of stuff on a whim. Then, as we spent more time together, I realized he was getting a bit more attached than "just friends" normally do. I was conflicted: though I wasn't interested at first, he continually proved to me that he had the biggest heart of anyone I'd ever met; not to mention I was starving for affection, as it had been over a year since my last relationship and even that had been sadly schneckle-free. But I wasn't ready to jump into anything. I am very rarely ready to jump into anything, relationally or otherwise.

Halloween rolled around. Even though I wanted to go see Anberlin at the Palladium, I'd made an amazing Princess Mononoke costume and didn't want it to go to waste, plus my friends were having a party at their apartment and there was going to be a bonfire out at Gull Pond, so I decided to stay on campus this time. The party was delicious, there was a mediocre haunted house out at Rider, and me and the Spontaneous Concert Enthusiast got our kicks scaring the bajeebers out of some kids walking back through the woods after the bonfire.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, the Spontaneous Concert Enthusiast and I wound up holding hands. After a bit, that developed into snuggling. And after a bit, that developed into considerably more than snuggling, and considerably more than I'd ever shared with anyone before. That's it, then: the big confession, the big secret. If you wondered why I went totally emo for a couple weeks there... it was guilt. Relax, we didn't like, do it or anything. We kept our clothes on. Mostly. It probably wouldn't have been a big deal to most people, but I'm not most people. This was utterly out of character for me, and utterly outside of the plan I had for sharing these certain things with another person.

Even in the moment, I knew I was playing with matches in a straw house. I gathered what dignity I had left and went back to Ferrin to sleep, as by then it was around four thirty in the morning. But sleep did not take pity on me; I just kept re-living it all and berating myself for being foolish and trying to keep my stomach from turning. Why couldn’t I have just gone to Worcester and moshed my brains out like a good little scene kid? I listened to some screamo, which, counter-intuitively, helps me fall asleep sometimes when I'm distraught. But I was too disgusted with myself and finally decided to take a shower - a really, really long, hot shower. But you can't wash away things like that, and even after the shower I couldn't sleep, so I got in my car and drove. Then I stopped at Denny's for some nice, fattening, comforting pancakes and a long perusal of my Bible. I found these things to be both convicting and greatly comforting:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:28-39~

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
"Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
~Romans 3:9-25a~

"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
~1 Corinthians 6:12-20~

For a long time, I begged God to give me space to do things wrong. Maybe I knew in my head that the fire was hot, but I wanted to stick my hand in it and get burnt before I believed it. If I'd been in God's shoes, I would've been like, well, this is the fuck up you were begging for. It's not as much fun as you thought, is it? But those beautiful verses about grace chilled me out a little bit. I left Denny's and drove to Rockport to watch the sun come up and beg God for forgiveness instead of space. Suffice to say that it was the most marvelous sunrise I'd seen to date. Even so, I knew I was not comforted enough to actually fall asleep, and no way in heck was I going back to school to lay in bed and torment myself some more. So I bought tylenol PM and finally fell into a peaceful, dreamless sleep around nine or ten in the morning. But I'm not a druggie. That would only be true if I made a habit of this. Okay? Okay.

I think it goes without saying that I was a bit of a drama queen about the whole situation. Spontaneous Concert Enthusiast, I know you know who you are. If you happen to be reading this, I meant what I said when I told you I didn't blame you any more than I blamed myself. I accept responsibility. Not all of it, understand. It WAS your idea; I just got caught in the current. But I sure didn't try very hard to swim against that current. I apologize that I had to be a cold-hearted bitch and shut you down after the fact. I couldn't justify what happened, which would have made it impossible for anything more than friendship to develop. The only way I knew how to handle the problem was to hide from it. I know we've talked this through, but this is more honesty than I can achieve in conversation, and I want you to know that I'm grateful we're still friends. You make me smile.

ポッキ... Hmm, questionable.

Just for the record, apparently my dad really likes pocky. My friend gave me a box for Christmas and I only got like two sticks of it because he ate so much. *tear*

Also for the record, there is some seriously weird shit listed under "Ingredients" on the back of the pocky box. Stuff like "chocolate liquor" (so theoretically I could get trashed from eating this? Gotta love the Japanese) and "rapeseed," which really doesn't need to be elaborated on, I mean just look at the word. Also, "emulsifier," which may be a perfectly legitimate and not fatal ingredient (this is my assumption since I have eaten pocky many times and lived to tell the tale), but it sounds like something you'd find in a mad scientist's lab. Some tool responsible for, I dunno, hyper-charging electrons or shooting laser beams at the moon or something. So basically, when you buy a box of pocky, what you're really purchasing is a box of booze-coated sex lasers. Yummy, right?

Just thought I'd point that out.

Holy crap, the past year of my life just exploded on the page.

Reading The Pantsless One's LJ made me realize that I never really post about what I'm doing in my life anymore. It's not like I don't have stories to tell. I dunno what the deal is. My life is a pretty entertaining place and I should blog about it more, especially since I haven't written in my journal in over a year so I'm going to forget everything that ever happened to me in college. And reading Ravin's LJ made me realize that I write a lot of introspective posts, but not really any in which I ponder anything that actually matters. I should do that, too, as that's how I'll define who I become.

Well, let's begin with that kick-ass Relient K/Switchfoot show I went to in NY LAST November.... as in 2007.... No, I'm not kidding. When in doubt, Relient K and Switchfoot are always a good place to start. Someone let SF take care of the tour dates, which I know because if RK was in charge they would've come to Boston.

Instead Megs and I had to take the Fung Wah bus four and a half hours to New York, where we stayed with her sister, who is a shoe dealer. Shoe is what they call heroin nowadays. Just kidding (maybe). Her friend was a burger and almost killed us driving around the city at thrice the speed limit, on the wrong side of the road more often than not.

The show was the best ever, even the opener, Ruth. Now, if you've ever seen Relient K live, you know how great the crowds always are. But this one totally sucked, no one was moving or anything, so I turned to some random guys we'd been talking to before the music started and told them to help me start a pit. And we did, and boy howdy was it glorious. It started with the two of them and the two of us all squished together spoon-style, jumping up and down, but then the crowd opened up for us and more people joined in and soon enough we had a bona fide circle pit going.

Then RK played "Sleigh Ride" and we had a slow-mo mosh pit to that (but I've already told that story about 128973298073420974 times). Then Switchfoot played and the crowd got kind of boring again, EVEN THOUGH it was epic and Jon was swingin' the mic stand around like nobody's business. After the show we got noms at Friday's and crashed at Christine-the-shoe-dealer's place again.

Okay, and then 2007 ended and it was 2008, and more stuff happened but I can't remember what. See, this is why I need a journal. I think I published my second book around then. Novemberish, I mean.

My friends and I developed the habit of staying up all night. When visitation ended and Piercey had to kick his fiancee out of the room, we'd all meet in the lounge and play Scum and Emperor. We had great house rules that involved very awkward dances for both the victors and the losers. "Heath Ledger? Too soon, too soon." "Please kick me in the groin/ovaries. I deserve it; I'm scum."

It was totally great because I had this huge crush on one of the guys that always played with us. It all started at the end of 2007 when our entire hall went out to dinner and I met Brace Face and Cafferty. We all got really close towards the end of '07, but then Cafferty transferred, and there was a lot of stress because I knew of like three other people that liked Brace Face (am I being too honest here? Screw it, it's old business and it's not like it's a secret anymore.)

But then people got too cool/busy to stay up all night anymore, and then I told Brace Face that I liked him and got shot down in the nicest possible way that anyone could ever get shot down. Truly. If he ever reads this, I want him to know that I appreciate him being kind to my fragile emotions. Rejection is still rejection. It sucks. But then you get over it.

Spring break was epic. Schneckleface stayed at my place, and because she was 21, my parents let me get away with all sorts of stuff I wouldn't normally get away with, like going into Boston to see random Japanese bands at a tiny little club.

I'm so good at meeting bands. After the show we found Ketchup Mania in this random pizza joint down the street from T.T. the Bear's (that was the club) and we took a picture with them, but it wasn't as awesome as when I usually meet bands because they didn't speak English.

Schneckleface and I also joined The Pantsless One on an excursion to her family's New Hampshire place, which, again, wouldn't have been allowed without Schneckleface (unless TPO's mom or dad was going to be there, which they weren't). I don't remember much about the trip except that we sat in the hot tub and complained about how hairy our legs were, described my foot as a fuzzy dandelion, and invented preggy yog, which is yoga for pregnant ladies.

Then we made pizzookie and watched Enchanted (good movie) and Across the Universe (terrible movie: impossible to follow, and trippy to the point of lulling me to sleep).

I know other stuff happened that break, but I can't remember a single thing except deciding that "bubbling fuzzy dandelions" was a good euphemism for smoking weed.

SICK PIE and the Spoon Squad formed after spring break. Basically we were the night owls wandering campus after all the buildings got locked up. We took to pulling harmless pranks, such as outlining the huge crocus cross planted in front of the chapel with spoons we stole from Lane. We also staged a musical in Lane during finals, but people were not amused. Note to self: not only do people not laugh during finals, they also don't spend a lot of time at Lane, as eating is not high on their priority lists.

Summer was pretty epic, too. I'm gonna try and use the word "epic" as many times as possible in this blog, okay? Okay. I worked for Ash's parents again, but at the end of the summer they had an epic downsizing and I'm gonna have to find somewhere else to work this year. Anyway, I've folded, inventoried, counted, stamped, and printed enough flags to last me quite some time; I just don't want to get into food again after how bad Henry's Root Beer Stand was. I know it wasn't a normal experience, but it really put me off working anywhere that involves food or a cash register, which rules out pretty much everything ever. I would've been fine if anyone had ever actually taught me to use the register. As it is, just the thought of all those buttons freaks me out. My mom keeps telling me to be a waitress because I'll get good tips for my looks. I guess tips are the closest I'll get to under-the-table pay in the real world. Or on-top-of-the-table, depending on how literal you'd like to be.

But yeah, I remember getting randomly stressed over work because my boss is a very eclectic character and the discombobulated nature of a work day was driving me crazy. Plus he had me trying to do all this shit with a PC, and I frickin hate PCs, or at least old and stupid ones that can't run more than a third of a program at a time without failing epically.

Luckily, I also started hanging out with Shmoe a whole lot right around that time, because he would be leaving for the Coast Guard Academy really soon and we wanted to get in some quality time before then. He took me creek-jumping by the North River a couple of times, and I'd never been so happy. It balanced out all the stress from work. We would just run and run along the banks, and whenever we came to a creek we'd just soar right over it.

He also got me to jump off the bridge. It was high tide and I shouldn't have been such a wuss about it; I've jumped off a second story porch into an unfamiliar lake in the dark. I guess seeing how far away the water was just wigged me out. But it was such a rush, and I was glad I did it. And of course, I remember being thrilled that he held my hand when we jumped, since at that point I'd liked him for, oh, four years or so. Basically as long as I'd known him.

We also kayaked all the way to that bridge that goes over the Marshes in Marshfield. It was a long way to kayak and I was exhausted afterward, but again, it was SO worth it. Hanging out with him awakened the adventurer in me and I spent the rest of the summer trying to be as epic as possible.

In July, I went to NH with the fam and Ravin and The Pantsless One came up for a couple of days. Usually we go to Story Land, but we didn't have the time or money this year because we also wanted to go to Attitash, which is a water park. It was obviously the better choice, as there were random foreign boys working the dippin' dots stand.

Not to mention the attractions were just better. The slides were bigger, there were those trampolines they strap you into so you can bounce ridiculously high and do flips and stuff, AND they had an alpine slide half a mile long.

We went into North Conway for the fireworks and were going to watch them from up on a bridge because we're hardcore little rebels like that, but then we realized we'd probably get hit by a train if we did and joined all the normies on the village green. I think that was the night that TPO was saying nothing should come out of a woman below the waist except for babies (as in "girls don't poop"), and Ravin, who wasn't paying attention, exclaimed, "and SANDWICHES!"

Earlier in the week, before Ravin and TPO came, we went to this big huge ropes course that looked like a pirate ship and my sister's friend Sammy and I climbed around a lot, but no one else was epic enough to join us. There was a zip line at the end, which inspired us to go to Wildcat and try their MASSIVE zip line down the side of the mountain. I raced my dad and would've won if I hadn't stuck my arm out to wave to my mom, Jay May, and Sammy watching from the deck.

We also went to Attitash (we went twice that year), which was not particularly memorable except for the random mohawk kid we befriended. Everyone else was too lame to take on the alpine slide with me, so me and this random mohawk kid went together. Twas fun times except I got stuck behind mohawk boy's sister, who was going like two miles an hour the whole way.

The Vans Warped Tour came to town at the end of July. The 23rd, to be exact. It was a day to remember. We didn't meet a single band, not for lack of trying, but it was still the most fun I'd had in ages. At any rate, it was the first concert I'd been to since the Japanese thing, which didn't really count because no one was moshing.

First we saw The Color Fred, which wasn't as good as seeing Taking Back Sunday (Fred Mascherino used to be in TBS til he went solo) since I didn't know any of his songs, but it was all right. Ravin got pwned in the face during Oreskaband's set, which was amazingly ironic since they were adorable little Japanese girls in schoolgirl uniforms, playing the happiest variety of ska music I've ever heard while people skanked. I'd never skanked before. It was so much fun. Think like, Caramelldansen with your entire body.

We randomly ran into Shark after that. All of us went to see Cobra Starship, a band that nobody knew very well beyond the fact that they were good friends with our beloved The Academy Is.... William Beckett from TAI... came out to sing Snakes on a Plane with them. Cobra's set was probably the most fun, or at any rate, the most colorful. Gabe Saporta, please design my entire wardrobe. Thank you. And Reel Big Fish was in there somewhere, but I didn't really know who they were at the time.

The Anberlin crowd was really intense but good fun. I shouldn't have bought a poster though; it was getting crushed. Then I fought some kids over a drumstick and lost. Wanda and I were going to meet the band but it started pouring rain and security canceled the signing, made everyone get out of the tent and sent us to the amphitheater. My phone got wet and gave up on life.

Somehow, though, we were allowed to leave the amphitheater in time to catch the end of Story of the Year's set. I bumped into Ducky, my friend from summer camp, and she had just hugged Matt Thiessen of Relient K. Sooo jealous. I only ever met him once and I was a total fangirl. I must redeem myself.

But then I passed on their set in order to see TAI... since I'd been to about seven RK shows at that point and NEVER seen William Beckett in real life until Snakes on a Plane earlier that day. It was worth how much my lungs got crushed just to look at his pretty face for half an hour. And their music is so dang catchy. But when I got out of the crowd, I realized the TAI... shirt I'd bought and tied to the strap of my bag had come loose and gotten lost. Suck, I don't have the kind of money it takes to go around buying TWO shirts for every band I like. So, naturally, I promptly went back to the TAI merch table and bought another one.

Wanda and I ran into Jack the Camera Guy, who makes TAI's podcasts. He said the band had just flown in from CA and they were exhausted, which meant that we couldn't meet them. Sad day. But we took pictures with Jack! That must count for something. No, not really. He's not nearly as pretty as Billvy, and he had to stand on his tiptoes in the picture with me just so I wouldn't tower over him. XD

We left before Angels and Airwaves played because we wanted to avoid the rain and the crowds trying to get out. This endeavor was only partially successful, as several others had the same idea. We sat in the parking lot and made fun of TPO's phone, which got even wetter than mine and kept calling Shark, who was apparently number 8 on speed dial.

Pulling out, we befriended some kids in the car next to us and bonded over "First Date" by Blink 182. It was one of those moments that'll stick with me. Concerts are so great for restoring my faith in humanity, except when awkward random strangers get a little too friendly, which thankfully didn't happen even ONCE that day, although some guy advertising Streaker clothing stamped my nonexistent cleavage with their logo.

And things got even more epic after that because I went to the other side of the country, but that is another story for another hour, because right now I desperately need either food or Midol. Damn my ovaries. And damn whoever's ovaries confused mine into thinking I should have my period THIS week instead of NEXT.

Grand total of "epic" usage in this post: including that one right there, 10. Hmm. Mediocre.

I have returned. Good God I just got the sex talk from my mother AND my mother's friend. That was... interesting. I have mastered the art of smile and nod.

So in continuation, August rolled around and I flew out to Arizona to stay with Schneckleface. I couldn't believe it when I walked out of the airport and the hot, thick air hit my lungs. It was like, crap, do I really have to function on this stuff for the next week of my life? I dunno if I'm capable of that. But it was all right once I got used to it. You just don't go outside much, and the AC becomes your biffle. Apparently the climate did not agree with my camera, as it ceased to function entirely. Good thing I brought my film camera. Too bad film costs a buttload of money to develop.

The first day, we set out for the Grand Canyon. We stayed in Williams, an adorable town on historic Rte 66 that never quite made it out of the fifties. Every stereotype in Cars and every other movie that ever referenced the southwest in the 1950s rings true. Williams, Arizona is also home to the largest fuzzy dandelions known to man. Imagine a fuzzball the size of a tangerine and you got a Williams fuzzy dandelion. I tried to save some of the seeds in the little zipper pocket in my purse but they got all squished and stuck to everything so yeah. Fail.

We waited until the next day to see the Canyon and went to bed early. Of course, my brain was thinking it was like one in the morning when in fact it was only about ten at night, so I was ready to crash.

We got up at four (=7 in my mind, so again, not so bad) and made the last hour of our journey. It was beautiful, driving through the desert with the stars overhead and all this nothing surrounding us on all sides. I've never seen so much nothing. We got to the Grand Canyon so early that no one was at the gate yet to take our money, so we got in for free. As it should be. They didn't make this place, why the heck should I give them money to look at it? People are so dang greedy. We watched the sun come up and I took about a bajillion pictures.

Then we headed back to Williams, packed out and headed south-ish to Sedona, where the rocks look like blood. It was pretty brutal in a not-metal-at-all sort of way. We waded in a river and I collected a whole bunch of blood-red rocks for everyone I knew. Then it started to thunder, and we made it back to the car just in time to avoid the epic downpours. I swear it rained more the week I was there than in the entire rest of the year. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but we definitely got some serious rain.

Back in Phoenix, where Schneckleface lives, we were out to dinner and our waitress couldn't wait to go out and get wet in the storm. Everyone was so excited, it was really funny. Oh, and the food was fantastic. I've always thought I disliked Mexican food, but in fact, I only dislike Mexican-American food; the real deal is delicious!

The next morning, we set out for California. By then Schneckleface's friend Ali was also with us. I got to drive on the highway for the first time ever. On the one hand, starting out on a straight shot at 80mph might not be the best way to learn to drive on the highway - I definitely wobbled a lot. But there weren't a lot of cars to avoid or turns to maneuver, so in that respect it was great.

We stopped off at the desert where they filmed Star Wars so I could fill a bottle with sand to give to Ash, who's the biggest Star Wars fan I know. We had to cross the freeway and breach the barbed wire fence to even get to the sand. We had a fake light saber battle, and then I felt all woozy because we were out in the desert at high noon.

We got to Coronado Island sometime in the middle of the afternoon and went swimming in the Pacific. The others thought the water was a little on the chilly side, but since I'm used to icy New England waters, I was like "THIS IS GREAT! IT'S LIKE A REALLY EPIC WAVE POOL!" The waves were a whole lot bigger than any I'd ever swum in and I got owned a few times, which was scary at first because I couldn't fight it. And for the record, salt water tastes equally bad no matter which ocean it comes from.

But overall it was fantastically fun. The best part was watching the waves from the shore as they crashed into the glittering sand and pulled it back out to sea with them. You wouldn't believe how much the sand sparkled at that beach... like fairy dust or something. Magic!

That night, we stayed with Schneckleface's friend Kiki in Long Beach. She worked at Disney and got us into California Adventure for free the next day. I was obsessed with California Screamin'. It was my first upside-down roller coaster, and it was a good one to start with. The cars had speakers in the headrests, which played epic music the entire time and counted down to launching. And I really mean launching - the thing shoots out from under the lake and flies up this huge hill. It was such a rush!

There was a light parade after dark. I more or less melted. Christmas lights are one of my favorite things in the world, and this whole parade consisted of floats and costumes made entirely of tiny colored fairy lights. The only bad thing about the entire day was that we went on a water ride and my new purple Chucks got soaked. As it was, they were a size small; just add water and you've got yourself the equivalent of Chinese foot binding. Damn canvas sneakers.

The day after that, we went to... are you ready for this... THE VANS WARPED TOUR. AGAIN. And it was just as amazing the second time, give and take. We were so far back in line that we missed The Academy Is... ENTIRELY, because some idiot put them first on the lineup and we didn't even get through the gate before their set ended.

But we met Cobra Starship, and that was rad even though security was snapping at us to hurry up and wouldn't let us take pictures with the guys. Ryland was really cool, contrary to our expectations. I guess he's just a really talented actor when he pretends to be the incorrigibly awkward Guy Ripley on TAITV. It was lucky I even got to meet them, because I was looking for their merch tent while Schneckleface waited in line so she got a stamp and I didn't. I said my friend had been saving me a spot, and they were like "Oh yeah, she told us" and gave me a stamp... but Schneckleface hadn't said anything, so clearly they thought I was someone else's friend. XD

Anberlin and Relient K were great, as always, and I even got to catch Anberlin's acoustic set later in the day. They played "Inevitable," which was ADORABLE, and "The Unwinding Cable Car," which is easily the most beautiful song they've ever written, and I never thought I'd hear it live.

But the most fun was indubitably Reel Big Fish. They were the only band we saw all day that really got the crowd going. I guess people in So-Cal are just too chill to mosh or something, but the skankin' was amazing! Ravin had given me some of their music, and knowing the music always makes shows more fun, not to mention I think their lyrics are utterly hilarious. They made fun of Say Anything's song that says "I have a girlfriend now," and it was love.

This time I stuck around for Angels and Airwaves, but they were pretty lame live and everyone kept yelling at them to bring back Blink. Which I want, too, but can't people just be happy with the good things they have? I caught a little bit of Gym Class Heroes while Schneckleface and Ali were getting the car, and I even enjoyed that, mostly because I think the song that says "put your peace sign up, put the index down" is effing hilarious.

Naturally, I was amped coming out of there and wanted to blast First Date like those guys had after Warped Tour #1, but Ali needed to be a little more mellow. Which I guess I needed, too, or I never would've gotten to sleep.

The next day, we visited Schneckleface's great aunt, who was adorable. Then we drove around Long Beach a little so I could get a feel for it, since my book was set there. It was nothing like I'd pictured. I'd like to go back and explore a bit more so I can go back and fix all the stuff that's wrong with those first two books. At the same time... I want to forget those books exist because they're so juvenile and embarrassing, I hate showing them to people. I must redeem myself by writing a fabulously epic fantasy book, yes yes.

After seeing LB, we headed back to Phoenix, dropped off Ali, tried and failed to find the new TAI... CD at stores as soon as midnight struck, gave up and downloaded it on Sarah's lappy instead, and crashed.

The original plan was to take a cross-country road trip with someone Schneckleface knows, but she backed out a couple of weeks beforehand and we had to rework things. I'm so glad we did; exploring the Southwest and So-Cal was the greatest adventure of my life. The only downside is my family being sad that I want to move there now.

And that basically brings us to the point at which I started this blog, in... was it early September? I think so. It was really close to when school started. I broke up with LiveJournal and here I am. This year started out pretty exciting; I was out late a lot, wandering the streets of Go-Cotown with people and putting plastic spoons under all the windshield wipers in Woodland, the huge student parking lot.

But then my co-wanderers weren't around as much because schoolwork started to eat everyone's social lives or something like that. Course I never let that stop me from having fun, but when there's no one available to have fun WITH, fun gets a lot less fun, you know? Scum and Emperor simply didn't happen; Brace Face and Josh were living on the hill, Piercey was living with his new wife, Lauren wasn't around very much, and Hacks and Schneckleface were busy being seniors. That's not to say we didn't hang out, but it made it harder that all my closest friends were all over campus and none of them (except Piercey) were even in my building anymore.

I can't complain though. This semester certainly showed me that I've got better friends than I ever realized. Some fell by the wayside, but the ones I'm closest to now gave me good reason to stay close. On top of that, I made it to some good shows and I met some cool bands. I never did write about disc golf that one time, did I? And I've sort of left all the drama of everything-beyond-Halloween-'08 completely unmentioned. I'll have to get back to that....

Next time, on The Life of Mandii Explodes All Over The Internet!!!

Let me paint a picture of my world.

Because I have been reprimanded for neglecting the 'ol blog and because I promised to post a taste of "Before the Empty Moon" for Christmas and never followed through, here's an excerpt from the beginning. It's really just the foundation for the rest of the story, but nothing else I post is gonna make any sense if you haven't read this first.


Once upon a time there was a man who was made of paradoxes. He was fierce and humble, dignified and defiant, a craftsman and a caretaker all at once. He was a friend; he was a father – and not just to me, his daughter, but also to Jesse, who had never known his father, and to Lila, whose father was an incorrigible realist and frowned upon my father’s insistence that there was more to humanity than met the eye.

That brings us to it, then: Dad didn’t think like other people. He believed in dreams, and not the way most people tell their kids to “follow their dreams.” He believed that what we experienced while sleeping was a world unto itself, a world called Myriad where real heroes and villains clashed like the characters of storybooks. At the beginning of time, man was no different from any other creature wandering the planet. Then Fëanáro established Myriad and appointed the Andasi to script fantastic dreams and inspire the people of our world, Versitas. By enabling us to dream, Fëanáro completed humanity and raised us above the beasts of the earth.

My father raised me, Lila and Jesse on the chronicles of that other world, for like anything, Myriad had a history quite apart from the benefits we saw in it. Growing up, the three of us understood the establishment of the Andasi better than the Senate. We respected them more than we respected the principal of our school. We feared Jamus, the rogue Andasus, more than terrorists in the Middle East. We had our priorities straight, so naturally, everyone else thought we were absolutely bonkers.

It was one thing when we were children and everyone expected us to believe in things like Santa Claus and fairies, but as our peers outgrew those kinds of beliefs, we were forced to become more and more secretive, and even so, we were each other’s only real friends.

It turns out that people don’t like being told Myriad is the fount of their hope and inspiration. They want to think their ideas come from themselves, not some distant, invisible strangers who deign to give us humans our dreams. Artists can be particularly stubborn about this. Sooner or later, all the greatest ones either recognize the hand of the Andasi in their work, hence their quirkiness, or go crazy and start cutting off their ears and stuff. Then there are those who, like Mr. Castillo, simply can’t stomach the schmaltzy idea of hopes and dreams. For them, Myriad’s right up there with Santa and rainbows and butterflies.

Whatever their reasons, the other grown-ups rejected my dad. “Crazy man Quinn,” they called him, or “Zany Zechariah.” But he kept his chin up, a statue of steadfastness in the face of mockery. No one could change his mind about anything, and that was how I knew he was telling the truth in every one of the far-fetched yarns the other adults hated so much. Dad would never lie to us. I knew it. Jesse knew it. Lila had known it at one point. We spent most of our childhood years searching for a way to Myriad, which landed us in a lot of places we weren’t supposed to be. We scoured the woods around the Reservoir out back of my house and rooted around the state park beyond that, but we never found anything.

Now that we were starting high school, it was nearly impossible to excuse or disguise what we were doing. It was especially hard to fool Phoebe, my so-called mother, who was hardly more tolerant than Mr. Castillo. We were planning to start an environmental club at school and pass off our adventures as tree-hugging eccentricities, but of course free time was harder and harder to come by as our parents signed us up for all the extracurriculars we would need to get accepted at the best colleges. We had to give up most of the searching in favor of plotting and theorizing.

You might call it an obsession. And you wouldn’t be wrong, but you have to understand: we needed to get to Myriad as much as we wanted to get there. Humanity was on the line, or would be if we didn’t go and play our part in the resistance against Jamus. If he got his way, the people of Versitas would not be a people for much longer.

Jamus has been working against Fëanáro since the creation of Myriad, trying to prevent the unworthy scum of Versitas from leeching onto the Andasi’s lofty musings. Course, he doesn't actually have the authority to do anything of the sort, so instead he sends nightmares to punish us and unleashes whatever wars and plagues he can think of on the realm of Myriad. Sooner or later the strife always bleeds through to our world.

My friends and I knew that only Fëanáro had the power to do away with Jamus, but until the day he put his foot down, we would fight for him and for the sake of all that Myriad added to humanity.


OK, so you know about Myriad and Versitas now. You know who Fëanáro and Jamus are. You know that the main character is really close to her dad. Next time I post we can get to the good stuff. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pick up my prints from Walgreens ($16 to develop two rolls! B&W! No doubles! God, what is this world coming to???). Then I'm picking up Shark and we're going to The Pantsless One's for pizzookie and, hopefully, Rock Band. I need to suck less at drums. That is all.

Currently listening to: Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me
And you should, too.

Red fish, blue fish

Alternative Press: Top Ten Songs of 2008

I'll admit there are a couple of good songs in there - I mean, I like All Time Low's cover of Umbrella, the new Jack's Mannequin song and the catchy little ditty by FTSK. Some of the others were decent and some less so. But I don't think a single one of these belong on a "Best of 2008" list. ESPECIALLY Norma Jean. Good God, how do they even continue to have a career? Like, even beyond differences in stylistic preference, they are just plain BAD.

Let it suffice to say that I am disappointed.

But on a brighter note, MAE has gone indie. This year they're releasing one song every month. To get it, you have to donate on their website ($1 or more), and all the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. These guys are really doing something cool with this scheme, not to mention they're just really cool guys in general; and no, I am not biased because the bassist hit on me that one time. They're talented artists making quality music for a noble cause. Do your part to save the scene (and the world...?) and go nab their first track of '09, "The House that Fire Built," off their site. For now I've got it playing in the sidebar so y'alls can get a taste of it. Hope you like it... because I don't know how to turn off "auto-play." ^_^

A world in white gets underway.

All is quiet on New Year's Day.
A world in white gets underway.
I want to be with you, be with you night and day.
Nothing changes on New Year's Day.


"Sleep when you’re dead." And save Facebook for later, too.
Suffer for my art… and finish the first draft of “Before the Empty Moon.”
Get the female equivalent of balls to tell people what I’m really thinking.
Be able to support my sponsored child AND my concert addiction.
Take a road trip.
Play a show.
Meet William Beckett.

In the words of my good friend Adam T. Siska, "2009's gonna be delicious."
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