Breaks

“Alright, James, this is it.

Our big moment. Our day in the sun. Our breakthrough. The beginning of the dream.
No longer will this old life continue. This is the start of fame and fortune, and a successful career.

James, oh James!
Make a bold statement, James!”
“I already did, Lily, here it is, in bold, and italics too. Good luck paying for the printing.”

Short Tails

“You two can keep squabbling over whether that’s a head or a tail.
All I know is, it’s two dollars, and a mint gum costs that much, and that’s just what I’m going to hop over and buy because you’ve been arguing so long, my mouth’s gone stale from disuse.”

Chewing On Nothing In Particular

Have you ever entered a library with the intention of staying and studying all day, determined to last as long as the summer sun (which lasts a while once the DST cycles kick in again, which is also a royal pain when you happen to be up and studying at 1:50 AM, comfortable, only to find that ten minutes later, it’s 3 AM), garner sole attention from the librarian when she comes around at 9 PM to specifically kick you out since they need to close, and then trudge home with the feeling that you’ve done something simply because you weren’t at the table beside your bed, in your nightdress all day?

Oh come on, come finals season, you will see someone in their nightdress down here. It’ll probably be me, for all you know. 

Well, if you do plan this like I do, you probably bring everything you can think of with you and try to find the sunniest, most comfortable spot. You’re gonna be here a while. 

And then you notice, there’s someone sitting next to you 

Or at least, there should have been. But they’ve probably gone to the restroom, and/or asked their neighbour to please watch their stuff for them. 

Do you sit there and wonder who’s sitting next to you?

Do you sit by, and ignore your proofs to play Sherlock on someone else’s major? Wonder what they’re learning, what they find hard, what assignments they’re working, grinding on today? 

I probably shouldn’t. 

I plan on being here a while, and I’ve a midterm tomorrow. I should be curious about my proofs. 

What goes into a Big Oh proof? Can I play Sherlock and sniff out the shape of a graph? What might I deduce from this squiggly line on a paper that my cat would produce as art?

(That’s the point. I don’t have a cat. No cat in their right mind would draw a graph that’s Theta of n squared. Not even accidentally.)

But I should. I should go do it. 

The library’s probably thankful that it’s midterm season and not yet finals. 

They’ve seen me till 12:30 before, and they sure would see me again once the library’s finals-only 24 hour runs begin. 


Where I sit in the library, albeit a strange angle, I admit.

Do Soup.

Winters can be brutal.

You’ve got to keep warm, leave early, brave the winds, activate X-Ray vision to see through the snow, perform the most elaborate rituals to ensure a snowstorm brings down that crucial midterm taking place tomorrow…

It’s definitely an elaborate season. And running around all the time, it’s easy to forget to breathe in, even when you can see your own breath in front of you, and Moreno importantly, to keep warm, in spite of the numerous white reminders tapping on your forehead.

So I decided, in the general spirit of doing good, to make people a little reminder.

I drew it up on a particularly snowy day in my residence dining hall while studying French from a library textbook, and I did, for two whole minutes, seriously consider returning the book with an added token of gratitude slipped inside.

In fact, I’m warming up to the fact again.

(See what I did there?)

So be a nice person today.

Pass this around and remind your friends to keep warm, and above all: snort soup, dress warm and snuggly in your velvet mystic robe, and practice them dark arts of snowing days in!

Rewind

Know how we spend half our energy hating on the movie adaptation of a book just because it absolutely cannot be good?

It seems half the excitement of watching a movie adaptation is having read the book and being the fact geek at the table going, “and if this were ANY like the book, then character X would have said BLAH! And what an iconic line indeed. It’s a bloody shame to have cut that out.

The movie’s no good!”

Sure, sure, say what you like, you love doing that too. And you live for when someone adds to your practically screaming chorus, especially when in unison.

But apart from movie adaptations being a twisted horror story’s version of regrouping and unity, I’ve just realised I might have a real reason to be thankful for shit movie adaptations.

For one, they make for brilliant author disses. Author Max Brooks has said about the movie adaptation of his acclaimed book World War Z, that the only thing the book and the movie had in common was the title. It was also pretty much a sheer delight to read a snippet of Rick Riordan’s letter to the makers of the Percy Jackson movie adaptation outlining his very discernable concern about how they were taking his book and killing it, turning it into an absolute nightmare. (I haven’t been able to find that letter anywhere ever since. Would any know?)

That’s pretty much the author sitting on your couch with you during your movie dissathon, stuffing their face with popcorn and slamming their fist down on the table with you and shouting up louder, except this time, your couch has the added edge of smug self righteousness, and you feel reprived. Oh brilliant author, save me from these madmen who ruined my favourite book!

“Ruined my favourite book, hell right! I wrote that stuff!”

But movies do have a much wider reach than books do. You won’t see a repetitive blockbuster-scale commercial on air every five minutes with JK Rowling popping up and shoving her latest book in your face.

So one cool thing about shit movie adaptations are that they seem cool enough without the book to introduce you to a good idea and lead you to a better book, and because the director gets high enough on their own story to completely change the ending, they end up doing me a service: I still have a really good, suspense filled book to read!

The only real spoiler? The book isn’t going to end that stupidly. (For reference, go read Fight Club. Then come back and talk to me.)

Unexpected Sights

On my way back from French tonight, I passed by a building. A lot of buildings on campus are about a hundred years old, and while the design student in me is asleep, I’d eyeball it and guess that it’s Victorian architecture I gaze at every day. Victorian, perhaps, with a hint of long, painted glass windows. (Is gothic the word? I’m bad at this.)

Normally, this building is pretty lively, because there’s always a lot of activities going on in there: athletics, debates, conferences, music, and it even has its own theatre with independent productions, but you can normally only hear the general low din of voices mixing with the chilly air above.

Today as I passed by, I heard a rumbling piano. It rose right above anything else in the building, and mind you, it’s not exactly small, and it sounded really lively and good.

I figured I had some time to spare. So I followed the sound.

Thanks to the sheer volume, it was pretty easy to follow. I quickly ruled the theatre out: it was only pianos, but they were in perfect synch. From the general direction of the sound, I could also guess that it may have been the choir in practice or something. My friend had wanted to attend a session there once, and they promised they had no auditions, so we’d gone over to try it out. No auditions meant they couldn’t kick us off the choir.

We went. Twice.

And managed to be late both times, and decided it would be rude to interrupt thirty people and a conductor in full throaty flow.

So we didn’t actually make the choir.

Even though they had no auditions.

It’s a rare distinction, I suppose.

So I’m expecting to see the whole lot of them in evening practice, belting out gospels to the piano.

But instead, I walked by an empty room, a single person at the piano. I slowed down as I walked by because I could actually not believe that was only just one person.

One guy, lost in his practice, at the piano.

The room is sort of like a horizontal long hall, with three doors. As I passed the second, I saw the guy.

When I passed the third, I saw two people, a guy and a girl, practicing a waltz.

And here I’d expected the choir.

I don’t know, that kind of made me smile, so here I am blogging about it. It was nice to be proved wrong like that, and this was quite a wholesome little thing. It kinda does help make your day when you’ve just finished your last class of the day at 8 in the evening, I suppose.

After that, I just slowly slipped out of the hallway to the main exit, careful that I didn’t disrupt the magic they created in there, and continued my walk home.

And yes, I realise there is absolutely nothing particularly exciting about my own life right now, unless you consider midterms ‘exciting’ (you freak), and watching people slowly die on the inside just by looking at their todo list (high priority only, by the way).

If that’s your jam, drop by and say hi in the comments. If that isn’t your jam, drop by and say hi anyway, I’d love to talk! (That’s an alibi, you realise? Just distract me. Another five minutes. Just a few more, alright?)

 

Mirror

She stood before the mirror.
She stood, embarrassed.
She was the tough guy.
She wasn’t the girl.
And it definitely wasn’t like her to be in front of a mirror.
At least, be in front, and looking at herself.
Because that’s what the girls did.
And that’s what you’d do, when you have to make sure you’re all made up.
Not when it doesn’t matter to you what you look like.
If someone else has to bear looking at me, well that’s just their luck, crammy or good, it’s no different to me.
This established, she stood before the mirror.
It was awkward, even in privacy, it was embarrassing to herself.
It’s only curiosity, she reminded herself, and waited to see what the reaction from within was.
No inner voice checked her;
So this was truth.
Yet, there she was.
She stood before, in the new clothes, new for the style, one she was most unaccustomed to.
She wasn’t exactly averse to such clothing, but it wasn’t her go to clothing. Not her style.
She did know of her imperfections, but she also knew of their limitations.
There was only so much she could do about them, there was only so much they could do to her.
Still she cringed a bit… and then moved out of the frame.
Curiosity.

The next night, by sudden impulse, she stood before the ridiculed silver reflector again.
Am I silver lining now? Curiosity is once… what’s this?
Still she tried.
The eyes are prone to wander to what they dislike.
What now?
A hard line became of that mouth.
And a picture was frozen in space and time for a few minutes.

That that can’t immediately be understood tends to keep playing on the mind.

All the things she told herself, told others, were they to become only sweet words of comfort? Saccharine? Empty?
Was she becoming what she ridiculed, and never knew she feared?
Yet, answers cannot be sought by running away from them.
So she pursued her recent demons.
By visiting them again.
Again, what was familiar greeted her.
It wasn’t a smile- yet not a frown either. Not yet.

What now?
Should she face it, or hide behind bad angles?
… yet, light or dark, she knew exactly where they were, for her better or worse.
What good was hiding then? That would be denial, wouldn’t it?
So she peered, through mental hands over her eyes.
It is what I see that I fear, or is it how I feel that scares me?
The answer would soon come.
The dreaded answer.

Nothing changes in a flash, no, so there she was.
Same as yesterday.
And the day before.
And perhaps the first day.
She hoped what was inside too, was the same as the first day, and the time before that.
She bit her lip.
She stared.
Then stared some more.
And looked closely.
Sure, some may call it terrible.
Some may be horrified and faint at her utter disregard for what they considered standard.
Would most people really care, though?
Perhaps not.
As much as we’d like to think us the centre of the universe, were only one in seven billion, perhaps more; just a fleeting second in our twenty four hours…
So what really did matter, then?
What the ones who never knew her thought?
What those close to her thought?
… what she thought?

And she stared some more.

Hmm…
Fuck the passerby’s thought, she decided.

She recalled day one.
You look at me, it’s your luck, bad or good.
The closer ones will have to settle for what she was.
After all, it wouldn’t be her anymore if she chased a prototype, a definition, would it?
A definition was an idea.
She was a life, a person.

… a person with a thought.
What was it, though? She wrote the story from here on.
So she stared.
Was it really that bad?
Look again,
Whatever it was, it definitely was something different.
Something new.
She wasn’t a face in a million… or perhaps a leg in two million.
Whatever that meant.
But look again!
Perhaps it really isn’t so bad, no delusion!
-She knew where she should look, just to disprove that.
But how much did it matter?
She was the looker, she decided her luck.
Was she then, becoming like the others?
Was this an obsession?
Was she worried, though?
The colour of light is only really decided by the wavelengths it emits, nothing changes below.
She’d be just who she was, but she could choose whether she’d want to be the vibrant red or a sickly purple.
She looked again.
Then followed with another look.
This one to the face.
Yep, it was a smile.

So was it an obsession?
No, she realised at last, far from that.
This was acceptance.
And now, she’d carry herself with pride.
She knew where to look.
Perhaps others would too.
But they had a choice. And luck.
They could like it or leave it.
It wasn’t her decision.
There was no shame there, no sir.
In fact, she was a one-woman trend.
And that no one could judge.
Yet, ironically, she reflected, her hated reflector had shown her the truth.