Not Tonka! Tanka! The T.A.P. Tag!

Now this is an interesting one!

I have to say, I’d never been tagged to do a bit of Japanese poetry before! Actually, I’d never done Japanese poetry at all before, though I will admit to having dabbled in some poetry back in college. Ah, good times. 🙂

And Winter seems to be making a habit of tagging me lately. Not that I entirely mind, of course! Thanks!

Now, I don’t know much about tanka, outside how it’s basically a super haiku. And it’s meant to convey feelings about a subject? I dunno, I just got the syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7. Beyond that, I just hope it’s not too bad! 😉

Here are the rules:

  1. Headline your post with “The T.A.P. Tag!” and put “tanka” as one of your tags.
  2. Make sure to link back to the original post that started the tag (this post!).
  3. Make sure to mention the person who forced introduced the tag to you!
  4. Pick 1-3 of your favorite anime.
  5. Write your tanka about the anime you’ve chosen. It’s fine if you decide to do only one or two if the schedule is tight.
  6. Tag at least 3 or more bloggers you know, and get their creative muscles flowing.

Rurouni Kenshin

Wandering swordsman
Holding to a sacred vow
To protect the weak
Without taking human life
A man-slayer’s redemption


He solved a puzzle
Now his body is possessed
By an ancient king
A summoner of monsters
In a deadly game of cards

Ghost in the Shell

We become machines
Our brains are the computers
In bodies of steel
But where do we keep our souls
The ghosts of our programming?

That was probably a fair mangling of actual Japanese poetry, but it’s my first time. Begging a little forbearance, I had some fun with it. 🙂

As for who I tag:
Shaddowcat, welcome back!
Scott, up for a little challenge?
Irina, I love your stuff so much, you practically leapt to mind! 🙂

I look forward to seeing what you come up with! 😀

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Step Right Up, Folks! Don’t Be Shy. Be Prepared To Witness The Whimsical, The Outlandish, And The First Ever WordPress Anime Awards!

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Originally posted on KAWAIIPAPERPANDAS:
Come one, come all to the first ever WordPress Anime Awards!  We’ve got lions and tigers and heroic boys, oh my! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages we have a vast…

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Sunday’s Wisdom #213: Defending Our Home

“They’re grownups and they’re criminals, but this is my neighborhood and this is my house, and no matter how old they are, no matter how big they are, they can’t beat me here. They can’t beat me at home.”
– Alex Pruitt, Home Alone 3

Oh, look, a Home Alone trifecta! 🙂

While the adult/practical realist in me disagrees completely with Alex about whether four armed and dangerous adults “can” beat a seven or eight-year-old boy in his home, there is something simply admirable about his determination to defend his home.

Home. That’s actually a powerful word, isn’t it?

We all know, absolutely, that the world is dark and full of terrors… (and I just channeled Game of Thrones, didn’t I?)… but home is not “the world.” Home is supposed to be a place of safety and shelter, a haven from everything bad and evil in the world. Home is where there is warmth and laughter, and family. Home is supposed to be the one place that we are safe, if there is any such place to be found.

Of course, all too often, the world doesn’t let it stay that way. It sends monsters in the night, or in the brazen light of day, even, to threaten and destroy and defile that sacred safety. And the name and number of those monsters is without count, be it a burglar or a rapist sneaking through the window, or a band of secret police knocking down the door, or even a traitorous family member victimizing the most vulnerable. These are hulking, sneaking, terrifying monsters in human form, completely lacking in mercy.

But monsters are not gods. They can be met, and matched, and overcome, and repelled. All one needs is a sufficient amount of force and wit.

And determination.

It all comes down to determination, first and foremost. What was it they said in Batman Begins? The training is nothing, the will to act is everything.

It is the determination of each individual to guard his or her own ground, by any and all means, and against any aggressor, which makes for a safe home.

It is a similar determination to guard one’s neighbor in like fashion which makes for a safe neighborhood. And so on and so forth.

If everyone practiced this simple determination, the predators of the world would soon find themselves overwhelmed by their intended prey.

That would make for a very safe home.

Our home.

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Sunday’s Wisdom #212: To Be Seen and Heard

“Everyone fights for position. Everybody wants to be seen. And heard.”

“I guess so. I’m seen and heard pretty much. But then I get sent to my room a lot, too.”

– Maggie & Kevin McCallister, Home Alone 2

In the first movie, Kevin has a talk with his old neighbor. In the second, he talks with a homeless lady, Maggie, who loves pigeons. As she sees it, the people of New York City don’t want to see a homeless person as part of their world, so they try to ignore her like they ignore the pigeons. Kevin feels ignored as well, in his own home, because it seems no one listens to him and everyone sides against him, even though he feels perfectly justified. That’s when they have this little exchange, and it rings true.

Maggie knows, from experience, that it’s not so easy for anyone else either.

Everyone has their own voice, and they want to be heard. They want to be acknowledged, for the worth of their existence to be recognized. With everyone wanting that all at the same time, everyone’s voices can blend into a noise that drowns each individual in what seems like an insurmountable tumult. The natural reaction, then, is to fight harder, to raise one’s voice. And that can lead to trouble.

Kevin has the same urge as anyone else, to be acknowledged, and his frustration often gets the better of him, so he acts out in ways that aren’t very nice. What he doesn’t know yet is that there are ways of getting people’s attention which don’t involve misbehaving. Indeed, if he truly wants to be taken seriously, then he needs to make his perspective known in ways which won’t get him into trouble. Ideally, by maintaining his calm and being respectful even when he’s angry.

People may pay attention to a screaming child throwing a tantrum, but it’s not going to earn much in the way of respect.

Of course, the flip side there is that sometimes, on occasion, getting into trouble is simply a price that must be paid. My mother loves telling this story of when I was little, and one of my sisters was really making me mad, and so I hit her with all the might I could muster in my little toddler body, and then, without even missing a beat, I whirled around, marched to the corner of the room, and put myself in time out. I remember nothing of this experience myself, but clearly I understood the concept of accepting the consequences of my actions. 😉

And that is definitely something to keep in mind.

Whatever we do to be acknowledged, there will be consequences of one form or another, even and most especially if we succeed. Some of these consequences will be ours, and some will fall onto other people. We need to be aware of this whenever we speak up, because if not, then we’ll have even less say than usual about what happens after we’re done talking.

To be seen and heard is a form of power, and so it comes with responsibility, as Spider-Man would observe.

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This Week on TV, Dec. 8, 2018

Spoiler Alert!

Let the Holiday Draught begin! …mind you, it begins very easily when, out of three shows in my lineup, only one of them is airing. As for the other two, one returns in January, for its conclusion, and the other is hunkering down until after Avengers: Endgame… which I am super excited for! 😀

But, setting that aside for the moment, The Gifted had its fall finale, so we’ll see it again next year… in a month. 🙂 And wow, did they pick a climactic moment to leave us with!

The Gifted

2.09 “gaMe changer”

The Struckers probably have the easiest time of it. I mean, they find out that the woman they went to for help has ulterior motives which they are accidentally serving. She’s devoted her life to helping people, but her definition of “help” is skewed. Hers is a perversion of the crusade against hatred. It’s not really “fighting hatred” when you try to erase what is hated. That is hatred itself, just more cold-blooded.

Of course, it’s easy to see how the woman sees herself as a hero, and how her followers see that too. After all, she’s alleviating suffering and enabling people to live normal lives, without the need to fear either Purifiers or their own powers. But at the very root of it all is her hatred, her belief that the X-gene is a stigma, that mutants are bane to their families. When the root is poisoned, the fruit is too.

This puts Lauren, Reed, and Cait in the difficult position of having to weigh their own needs against the world. They came looking for a way to save Reed’s life and protect everyone around him, after all, and now they know that anything but a permanent solution will only delay the inevitable. Without a cure, Reed’s power will eventually kill him. None of them want that, but Reed is the one with the most right to choose, and he doesn’t hesitate. They can’t put his life above all the mutants in the entire world. He would rather die, painfully, than be anywhere involved in their extermination.

So, Cait steals as much of the available medication as she can without attracting notice, Reed and Cait keep the doctor occupied with questions, and Lauren charms her way to finding out where they keep the blood. Unfortunately, this attracts the doctor’s attention, and she comes with security to stop them. The Struckers are caught, and at a disadvantage.

But when the doctor’s mask slips and her assistant, Noah, sees it, he understands. He may not like his powers, and he may like being normal, but he is not a curse upon his family. After all his service and devotion to her and her cause, hearing what she really thinks of him enrages him. So, he destroys the blood samples himself, and annihilates years worth of her work, and the building around them as well. He lets the Struckers get out, but the doctor tries to plead with him not to, and she’s still in the room when he lets loose.

Moving from the Struckers over to the Underground trio of John, Marcos, and Clarice, things are breaking down. John has usually been a voice of caution, but now he’s just bulldozing ahead without slowing down for anything. Marcos is grief-stricken at the losing his daughter? They need him anyway. Finding out what the Inner Circle wants with Regimen involves talking to a particular executive? They kidnap him. The man has security? They do it anyway. The man doesn’t instantly spill everything? They scare him. The authorities are rounding up all the mutants they can get their hands on because of this kidnapping fiasco? They have to keep going anyway.

Clarice gets angrier and angrier, frustrated with John’s single-minded pursuit of the Inner Circle and the lengths he is going to. She eventually bails, running out to try and help the innocent bystanders caught up in their mess. As for Marcos, he gets to be the voice of caution for once, but John isn’t listening. Eventually, they find out that Regimen deals mostly in utilitarian stuff, but they also run the anti-mutant collars. And by that, they mean all of them.

That’s the Inner Circle’s next target: the collars.

John, Marcos, and their captive are on the brink of narrowing it down a bit when Fade shows up. Or, rather, he sneaks in invisibly and murders said captive. Sage detected the remote login and followed the trail back to them, and John barely hears Fade coming before he takes the shot. The former comrades are not happy with each other, but Fade doesn’t want to hurt them. As far as the Inner Circle is concerned, they have no beef with their Underground friends, except in keeping them off their trail and out of the way.

And then, to make things even worse, as the mutants are colliding, the Purifiers show up.

Turner has risen high and quick in the Purifier ranks, and at at his direction, they’re organizing. They’re going out, patrolling the area, calling in suspicious (read: “any”) mutant activity. They’re becoming a militia, taking their safety into their own hands. So, they respond to a shooting and find three mutants at the scene. Fade gets hit, but not fatally. John shields Marcos before telling him to take Fade and get out while he holds the humans off. And he does, by charging the truck and slowing it down, even though it pins him against a dumpster, and Turner, so smug, says, “Gotcha.”

Yeah, Turner, you got him. You got a guy who only had to fight because Purifiers kept attacking mutants, and who still was only trying to stop the Inner Circle from hurting you. You’re organizing one side of the war the Inner Circle wants and stepping on one of the people who are trying to stop them. Yes, that’s so excellently done, you little fool.

And speaking of the Inner Circle, they have a little inner drama to work out before their next mission, involving Rebecca.

This episode’s flashback showed her parents turning her over to SS after nearly killing her teacher. They collared her just as she was sitting down for breakfast. As we know she murdered her family and was able to overcome a collar, I’m guessing this didn’t work out so well.

In the present, she’s confined to a unique cell. In order to confuse her space-warping abilities, they have to keep her in the dark and constantly in motion. It’s not pleasant, and she never stops screaming (that she didn’t do anything, which is most emphatically false), but it’s the best alternative they can come up with instead of killing her.

Andy is most unhappy with her discomfort. Reeva tries to explain it, even playing into Andy’s own excuses for her, how she was “victimized” by the world. Andy talks to Lorna as well, asking if what they fight for was worth giving up her daughter, but, really, he’s thinking about if the fight is worth him giving up Rebecca. As the rest of the Circle goes over the plan, Andy packs up, busts Rebecca out, and wants to run away with her.

Rebecca has other ideas. Much like his family is seeing under a doctor’s disguise, to the madness beneath, Andy is forced to see Rebecca as she truly is. She’s cool with running, but first she wants to kill everyone. What, Andy thinks she didn’t mean to kill thirty-seven people? Of course she did! Why wouldn’t she?

You can practically hear the horror breaking Andy’s heart as it shoves its way in.

When the elevator opens, there is a horrifying moment where everyone else in the Inner Circle, the Frosts, Lorna, Reeva, etc. all see Rebecca emerging, all feel the space beginning to warp, and they know they’re about to die. But Andy hits her from behind, hard. He doesn’t mean to really hurt her, but he chooses to defend the others. She goes down, sliding until her head hits the wall. She doesn’t get up again.

Andy just accidentally killed his first girlfriend to keep her from murdering everyone else in a psychotic rampage.

It’s a defining moment for Andy. He’s lost and sacrificed for the Inner Circle, and he has something to blame on the human world, driving him on. He’s truly dedicated to the Inner Circle now. So when they attack Regimen, he goes with them.

It’s a simple matter at this point, and they leave bodies behind them with little to no difficulty. Andy breaks through a wall, and he and Lorna go into the facility which controls all of the collars in the country. In one blow, the two of them deactivate the entire lot. In every prison, detention center, and every psychiatric facility, outside those like the one Rebecca was in, every confined mutant is suddenly unleashed, all across the country. Prison guards are overwhelmed and slaughtered, walls and fences obliterated, and the largest breakout in history is completed.

So, in practically one moment, the humans lose the only chance they had at “curing” the X-gene, and they lose the collars, making every corner of the country erupt simultaneously, and the Purifiers themselves bring one of the Inner Circle’s most dedicated enemies low. It seems like the mutants have this in the bag now, right?

I disagree. The mutants might be erupting in violence everywhere, but the humans are organized, and only getting more so. The mutants might have abilities, but the humans have guns, missiles, tanks, jets, etc. The mutants might have a horde, but the humans already have actual armies. And the mutants might have a lot of fighter and killers, but humans have the sheer, overwhelming weight of numbers on their side.

If I were a betting man, my money would still absolutely be on the humans, not the mutants, which makes this series of aggressions by the Inner Circle tantamount to racial suicide, and they don’t even see it.

And on that happy note, see you next year! 🙂

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Sunday’s Wisdom #211: Loving Family

“How you feel about your family is a complicated thing… Deep down, you always love them.”
– Marley, Home Alone

This is just a snippet from a conversation between Marley, a grandfatherly man, and his neighbor Kevin, a young boy.

The boy is regretting how he’s behaved towards his family, and the grandfather is regretting how sour things are between him and his son. In the boy’s case, he’s found himself unexpected parted from his family, and in the grandfather’s case, he and his son haven’t spoken for years because they both lost their tempers. The separation is rather painful, but this conversation helps both of them deal with their issues a bit.

In Marley’s case, Kevin advises him to call his son and try to reconcile in the spirit of Christmas. Marley is man enough to admit he’s a bit afraid of being refused, but Kevin urges him onward. If he tries, it might work, or maybe not, but at least he’ll know. When the two part ways, Marley simply says, “We’ll see what happens.” And there’s a note of hope and courage.

As it happens, it works out. The movie ends with families reuniting and reconciling. How’s that for a Merry Christmas, eh? 🙂

Of course, there will still be issues ahead. There will almost always be something to fight about, but what’s that really matter? It’s family. It’s worth it.

Family can fight, and hurt each other, and resent each other at times. Family can do and feel most everything. There can be so many aspects to family relationships, because we, as humans, are complicated creatures, and we’re all thrown together with all our issues, individual and shared. At the very core of things, however, we’re family. That’s a powerful bond of love, even when it’s been discarded.

Love, and the bonds it creates, can withstand being hammered, twisted, crushed, stretched, burned, frozen, drowned, tied into knots, cast aside, even forgotten, and pretty much anything else.

Anger, sorrow, bitterness… these may try to bury love, but they simply can’t match it, and they certainly can’t destroy it. Love endures most anything.

Yes, love endures.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean we should give our family limitless leave. It just means that love is powerful and resilient, and worth taking a risk for, especially with family.

I know that whatever problems we’ve had in my family, and whatever problems I am sure we’ll have in the future, I love my family, and I always will.

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This Week on TV, Dec. 1, 2018

Spoiler Alert!

With Thanksgiving last week, there was nothing to report on last week, but The Gifted returned this week, after the horrific cliffhanger of the previous episode, and it came out swinging. Skipping straight to it:

The Gifted

1.08 “the dreaM”

So, after their moment of triumph was turned inside-out, the Inner Circle is reeling as much as the world around them, none more so than Lorna.

Andy is in denial, trying to say that Rebecca “lost control,” when she obviously did not. Between his feelings for Rebecca and his delusions about the original Fenris being anything but monsters, he’s quick to make excuses for her, no matter the massacre she just enacted with a smile before his eyes.

The rest of the Inner Circle are a bit more realistic. When Rebecca ditches them during their escape, most of them bend their efforts into finding and catching her. What was supposed to be a lightning rod to attract more followers has instead become the opposite. Like the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11, it strikes a match to hostilities against the party responsible, which, as most people know nothing about the Inner Circle, becomes all mutants in general. The entire region erupts in flames and anti-mutant violence, including, but not remotely limited to, the torching of a foster care facility with mutant children inside. All because of Rebecca. So, yes, the Inner Circle is after her.

Most of them, anyway. Lorna is all too happy to see the crazy girl go, and she’s shaken unlike ever before. I mean, she’s not the most innocent person, what with that airplane she tore apart in flight, but simply tearing thirty-seven random people to pieces, smiling, just because, and before any of them could lift a finger to stop her? Lorna is horrified, and scared for her daughter. Dawn is her first priority, and if she’s not safe with the Inner Circle, especially with Rebecca around and the world rioting around them, then something needs to change.

That goes into this episodes flashback. Or, rather, multiple flashbacks, this time.

Lorna knew very little about her father growing up, but gossip in her small home town indicated that he was a powerful mutant with the Brotherhood. About the nearest thing to contact they had was one present, an M-shaped medallion, on her thirteenth birthday. On top of her abandonment issues and her shame at a connection to a villain, she was the weird, bipolar, green-haired mutant girl. That’s a lot to be angry about, which wasn’t helped by how much she stood out in her small home town. She got into trouble pretty regularly, and did not make anything easy for her adoptive mother.

Later, as she and Marcos contemplated their child, Lorna had one overwhelming desire: that they not be like their fathers. Marcos certainly wouldn’t be like his, that much has been clear from the outset. Lorna, on the other hand, is becoming very much like hers. She joined Hellfire, an enemy of the X-Men, to fight for mutants against humans, and she has blood on her hands, so that’s plenty of similarity already. But now, she has to contemplate doing as her father did: parting forever with her daughter.

The world is burning around them, Rebecca is dangerous, and the Inner Circle has limits. Lorna has due cause to worry for Dawn’s safety. Esme conjures an option of sending Dawn to Switzerland, as the USA is highly dangerous. Lorna almost does that, even taking Dawn to Marcos so he can say goodbye. That is one of the most painful and heartbreaking scenes yet on the show, but what option to these two parents have? Lorna can’t protect her within the Inner Circle and Marcos is part of a disintegrating Underground, so how can they possibly keep her safe? But… Switzerland?! Who’s going to be her parent over there?

I think that’s when Lorna really decides. She does as her father did, entrusting her daughter into the hands of her adoptive mother. She understands more than she did, and is able to admit that she took her frustrations out on the woman. She’s sorry about that now. This, which she once resented her father for, is the best idea she can come up with. At the very least, she knows Dawn will be loved. Sometimes that’s all that really matters. It’s a small solace to Marcos, but Lorna takes another step towards being like her father. She takes her father’s medallion and reshapes it into a head ornament, a crown or tiara or whatever it is, a’la Polaris from the comics.

Of course, turning it from red to green wouldn’t be covered under her magnetic powers, but whatever, it’s TV.

Over on the Underground’s side of things, they, too, are reeling from the news of the massacre. John goes on the Inner Circle’s trail, with Clarice following despite how she’s fairly certain it’s a stupid idea. They pick up on Rebecca’s trail, and eventually catch up with her. She tells them the Inner Circle was after something called Regimen and, somewhat hilariously, warns them that they don’t know what they’re in for. I mean, seriously? The mass-murdering psychopath is is warning them like that? Wow.

John is stoked to have another lead to follow, but Clarice is less enthusiastic. She’s tired, weary from the night of pursuing Rebecca, and weary from the fight, and the worry for John. She’s just so tired, and a part of her is closing off from John, as surely as she closes the bedroom door between them. Trouble in paradise.

Finally, the Struckers have more success in their endeavor than they ever dreamed of. The doctor lady remembers Reed, remembers his condition, and is able to help in every way. She’s built a career and a school on the idea of helping mutants whose powers are so dangerous and difficult to control that they’re more like high-risk disabilities. She and the people working for her apply all their knowledge and skill towards finding answers and creating solutions for people in otherwise untenable situations, like Reed.

For the short-term, she’s able to recreate the serum that suppressed Reed’s powers to begin with. They need something better, though, because if his powers manifest for a second time despite the serum, it will probably kill him. That’s where Lauren comes in. With samples of her blood, they can figure out something more effective and permanent for her blood. And, hey, that lab tech had good manners and wasn’t too bad to look at! He even takes Lauren around the campus, shows her the virtues of “normal” life.

I have to say, what he doctor and her people have built, it’s not a bad thing. It’s safe, they live in peace, they can do all the normal things that normal people can do and take for granted, and she clearly doesn’t see mutant-kind as something to cure. It’s not a bad thing. But, like the Morlocks, there’s something off about it. There is such a thing as valuing “normal” a bit too much. The Morlocks are themselves, but they hide in the sewers. This institute is above ground and normal, but there’s something just a bit suppressive of individuality about it.

Mutants are gifted, after all, and a quick and easy fix for their problems comes with a subtle cost.

Still, I was waiting for the real other shoe to fall. Especially as the doctor’s virtue was quickly extended to inviting the Struckers to her home for dinner. She was feeling towards them and Reed’s father. She even had a music box that once belonged to Andrea von Strucker, the only memento Reed’s father kept of his family. She gives it to Reed, now.

All in all, she seems like a veritable saint, right?

The shoe fell only right at the end of the episode. It turns out Lauren and Reed’s unique situation can yield unique fruit, namely: the means to suppress the X-gene across the board. The doctor’s brother, it seems, founded the Purifiers, and earned his sister’s hatred for it. I mean, hating fellow humans for something they have no choice about? But what if they did have a choice? What if she could provide that choice?

That… that is horrifying.

The means to undo mutantkind? To make everyone “normal,” by their definition of such?

I can hear it now. “We just want to help them!” By taking away what’s unique and powerful about them.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

So, Marcos loses her daughter, Lorna loses a bit of herself and steps further into the darkness (without Dawn… ah, I see what they did there), Clarice is in the dumps and shutting down, John is driving onward with stubborn enthusiasm, Reed and Cait have overwhelming hope for the first time in awhile, which their daughter has to contemplate robbing them of in order to stop a quietly rising nightmare advanced by people with noble intentions who are trying to help them, Rebecca is on the outs with the Inner Circle after committing mass murder, and they catch up to her right at the end, with a knife at her throat, and all of this while the world around them is burning.

Not a good day for pretty much anyone except the Purifiers.

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This is So Neat

Neat? Why, yes, I am, thank you for noticing! Ok, maybe not when it comes to cleaning my room, but, still, in a not-quite-so-literal sense…

…oh, it’s my blog that’s neat? That too, yes, thank you! (waves regally, “no autographs please”)

Heh, in all seriousness, thank you, Winter, for the nomination. I had fun! 🙂

The rules:

1. Display the Award Logo.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
3. Answer the questions of the one who nominated you.
4. Nominate 7-10 bloggers.
5. Ask them seven questions.

So, as for the questions.

The questions:

1) If you could Blue-Skadoo into your television or monitor, what show would you choose and why?

Big Bang Theory. I’m less likely to die in that one than most others I can think of.

2) Once inside your show, what would you do?

What do any of the other geeks and nerds do? Look for “the one.” 😉

3) If you could meet one fictional character for a date at a coffee shop, who would you choose?

Nami, from One Piece.

4) What are some of the questions you would ask?

No idea. I’m terrible at dating.

5) You have been placed in a fighting game and your about to do your signature move. What is the name of your move and what do you do?

Crystal Cannon! (shooting a force-field beam)

6) Your opponent’s life bar just depleted and you won your match. What is your winning phrase?

Strong silence. Because I am the strong, silent type. By which, I mean I can’t think of anything. 😛

7) And lastly, question number 7!

Yes. 🙂

Now, for my nominees:

Ty, the mind behind Why We Still Love Anime 🙂
Irina, as it’s been awhile since the last time you got this one 😉
Remy, a newer new friend of mine, let’s get to know him! 🙂
Spooky Redhead… again. 😉
Lethargic Ramblings

I choose you!

And as for questions:

(becomes a hunch-backed old man in a robe with a croaking voice) “What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color/the capital of Assyria/the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow/is that an African or a European swallow?”

I love that movie! 🙂

And as long as I was in the mood, I had some fun coming up with questions. I look forward to your answers!

1. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

2. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

3. You have a hundred trillion dollars to spend on something to improve the world. What do you do with it?

4. If you could meet with any three historical figures, who would you choose?

5. What is one thing you would like to see change anywhere in the entertainment industry?

6. What is one technology or scientific knowledge we don’t have yet but wish you could live to see?

7. You have a magical genie, like the one from Aladdin. What are your three wishes?

Have fun! 😀

Posted in Blogging Awards, Challenge Accepted | 11 Comments

Sunday’s Wisdom #210: By Our Own Will

“It’s your life. You’ve got to live it your way.”
– Jim Kido, Digimon
Season 1, Episode 38, “Prophecy”

I remember back when Digimon first came out. As we followed this group of kids and their digimon friends, I didn’t really think anything at all about the inclusion of all their families in the cast and the story. It’s kind of depressing, now, to think of how much the show stands apart from so many other anime simply with that. I mean, I know Japanese culture encourages independent behavior at a much earlier age, but, still, families are important. They support, shelter, encourage, question, advise, oppose, fight, forgive, love, and so many other things, which are key to the experience of defining oneself.

When we meet Joe’s brother, Jim, he immediately takes on a role in support of his little brother. They haven’t seen each other for a bit, it seems, and the first thing Jim asks about is Joe’s objective in life, to become a doctor. Jim seems a bit skeptical, which Joe’s digimon friend takes issue with, not realizing Jim’s motives for questioning Joe’s goal. See, he intends to become a doctor, but only because his father, also a doctor, wants him to do so. As capable as Joe is, he’s also a boy standing in his father’s shadow, living as his father directs.

Jim makes an opportunity to give his brother this particular bit of advice. He knows Joe can be a doctor if he wants, but he also knows it takes more than smarts. It takes a personal resolve and backbone to truly be a doctor (or anything else) instead of just some guy doing a job. He needs to take the wheel into his own hands and steer his life himself.

Joe eventually does just that, partially because of how he grows throughout his adventures. Incidentally, he does become a doctor, but for digimon, not humans, so it’s not quite a fulfillment of his father’s wishes, but it’s what he wants to do with his life.

I believe I commented once, way back towards the beginning of this blog, about humble victories being every bit as great as the ones we all read and sing and tell stories about. To me, that’s what Joe’s story, especially, is about. He faces the end of the world more than once alongside his friends, but it’s the life he lives afterward which is the real victory. Indeed, that is the story of most of the kids in this story, which is another reason I love it, but there’s a reason Joe is the one to hear this from his brother.

Now, of course, I do not want to diminish the importance of our loved ones and all the advice they can give us. Joe’s father wasn’t a bad man at all, quite the contrary. It’s merely that Joe represents us in how we sometimes fall victim to what other people think is best, instead of deciding for ourselves. And we absolutely must decide for ourselves, or there will always be something missing.

No matter our accomplishments, if they aren’t ours, seized with our own hands and by our own will, we will have deprived ourselves of something vital, and so we will always be less than we might otherwise have been.

To live our own life, we must live it by our own will.

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Sunday’s Wisdom #209: Grateful Thanksgiving

“Do you remember our first night here? It was all so new and exciting. A world of endless wonder. I’m just so glad that we got to see it.”
– Myka Bering, Warehouse 13
Season 4, Episode 18, “Lost and Found”

When Myka says this, she is saying it in the shadow of quite possibly dying from cancer. When facing the end, of course one looks back on what’s come before, and the last few years of her life have been filled with danger, terror, heartache, loss… and endless wonder. That last is what she is remembering most, regardless of the rest.

She’s not cursing her death, she’s just thankful for her life.

There is a dignity and poise to that, a wisdom that comes from living life well enough to recognize what’s good about it even when something has gone wrong.

And there, you may see why I thought of this moment in the same week that my country celebrates Thanksgiving. 😉

To me, Thanksgiving has long been a time to remember that there is always something to be thankful for, no matter the trial and tribulation of our lives. Indeed, there are so many people suffering from so much loss, and yet they manage to keep smiling, because they remember what they still have.

Gratitude is a defining virtue of human decency, essential to keep if one wants to be happy.

(this is one of many reasons why I hate the Black Friday shopping madness)

Personally, when I think about my life, I can’t help but remember all the blessings I’ve had, and still have, within it. I have all of my necessities provided for. I have modern amenities. I have some things which are, quite frankly, luxuries. I have good, tasty, nourishing, filling food. I have good, clean, comfortable, intact clothes. I can clean and groom myself easily. I have a good roof over my head, with heating in the winter. I have an AC unit for the summer. My job might not be glamorous, but it’s a job, and a good job, and it pays the bills. I have my blog, and I have all of you, my wonderful audience. 😉 I have a community. I have friends. I have family. I have my dogs. I have a place to belong. I have my religion and the freedom to practice it. I have so many good memories. And I have stories, stories, and more stories to feast upon!

And that’s just scratching the surface! 🙂

In short: I have so much to be thankful for. And I am.

So, Happy Thanksgiving!

And if you’re not in America, have a great week anyway! 😀

Posted in Sunday's Wisdom, TV Shows | Tagged | 4 Comments