Some anime festival thingy

Hello,

I’ve participated in this anime drawing contest this week. The deadline for this contest was today (5th September), but recently I saw a tweet from the organiser (or whatever they’re called) that the deadline was pushed back to the 7th; I submitted my digital copy on the 2nd and the physical copy yesterday, on the 4th.

Further information, it’s part of the Japan Pop Festival, or something like that. Aside from the drawing contest, there’s also the modelling contest – where people make action figures, not modelling – and there’s also the cosplay competition. I had to submit my drawing to this shop called Bou Saleh Hobbies – it’s a shop especially for anime stuff, like action figures and many other things, but sadly there are no actual anime or manga being sold. The action figure sold there looked neat and legit, and I’m pretty sure they were actually imported from Japan. This was later proven to be true because I saw the package for a Persona 4 keychain/figurine and the whole thing was written in Japanese. And frankly enough, I found the package on the internet. The packages at the store looked exactly like this:

There were also Gundam, Naruto, One Piece and many other anime action figures sold there, all in good shapes and quality. The things they mostly sell are action figures, but maybe there were much more that I haven’t seen. I’ve also noticed that they also sold drawing equipment, paints and the sorts like that.

Back to the festival, it’s going to be held at the 12th September at the Grand Library… I’m not actually sure about the place’s name but it’s a library, and according to the shopkeeper it’s the “grand library” – pretty sure with capital letters. Thankfully, my dad knows where this library is because it’s near his workplace, in Kuwait City. The shopkeeper also said that there will be mangakas going to the festivals, mangakas from the Gulf region and also from Japan. However, he said he was unsure about the part about the mangakas from Japan. I hope they’ll come.

I want to show my entry to you guys but I’ll post it along with the anime festival pictures later on on the 12th. I’m really pleased with my drawing; I think it was well-made and finished finely, and even if I didn’t win at least people could see my drawing. Since I’ve completely dropped art from my school life, I guess drawing competitions will be one of my favourite pastimes. Anyways, I’ll let you know more about the Japan Pop Festival on the 12th!

-rookieMANGAKA

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Summer Movie Reviews!

Hello,

And I’m back! After a two-month hiatus, the first thing I’m posting is some crappy movie review. I did write stories but it’s not the continuation of Deus Ex Machina or 365 Days. See, I copied the files onto my sister’s hard drive but for some weird electronic reasons, they disappeared. To fill in my boring days, I decided to write come other story; I didn’t continue with Deus Ex Machina or 365 Days because I didn’t have the unfinished chapters with me in the summer, and I don’t want to start something I already started. I won’t be posting this new story in my blog, though, but I’ll consider it.

That aside, I watched a couple of films during my time in Indonesia, like Monsters University, Pacific Rim and The Wolverine, and I also watched The Great Gatsby on my plane from Jakarta to Dubai. And since this is already September, I am waiting to see if Rush is already out and if I’m allowed to watch it (but let’s just face it -I’ll watch it anyway). Aside from Rush, I’m also waiting for Thor: the Dark World and Catching Fire, and I’m still rooting for 2014 for Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Oh, and I also saw that City of Bones is being turned into a movie.

Anyways, here are the movie reviews:

  1. Monsters University: I love Monster Inc. and I was excited to see the prequel to the movie. I didn’t really know what to expect from it but I think the movie was a ticket for a break from the action movies I’ve been watching. We get to know how Mike and Sulley first met and how they come to work at Monster Inc., and I didn’t expect them to be, uh, not so friendly with each other (I’m trying to not give out spoilers – am I doing well?). The animation was great – who am I kidding? It’s Pixar! – and the story line was not so cliche like I expected it to be (I didn’t expect the thing near the end – you’ll get what I’m saying when you’ve watched the film), The story mainly revolves around how Mike is not suited to be a scary monster even though he tried harder than others, and also Sulley’s fall from his podium and how he wants to get back on it. It’s sad that Boo’s not here but, well, she didn’t exist yet, I suppose. If you want a classic family animation film, here’s the one you can watch with whoever you want, and I guarantee you you’ll like it!
  2. Pacific Rim: It’s like Godzilla meets Eureka Seven, but worldwide. For an action film, it’s great, what with the amazing CG and fight scenes. However, I feel like the story was kind of rushed and some parts were not explained in much needed detail to build up tension and excitement. Most of the story was explained in actions or very short dialogues or voice overs, and I’d like this movie more if they would add more dramatic character screen time. Not getting what I’m saying? Let’s just say that it was impossibly super easy to convince a traumatic ex-fighter to get back to the battlefield. Truthfully, I expected more panic attacks and nightmares, but nope -t he protagonist was frighteningly enthusiastic about possibly getting killed. So if you want some mecha-action movie, you’re looking at the right direction here.
  3. The Wolverine: I’ve always liked superhero movies, especially ones with humour and awesome plot. This movie is not your regular “I’m a superhero, I can fly and shoot lasers and I fight for the good of the universe” kind of superhero movie, but the element of heroism is still there.  We’ve seen Wolverine’s origins in his previous movie and now the sequel is set sometime after X-Men: the Last Stand, where Wolverine is now living in caves and walking around small towns to buy survival materials like some creepy hobo. Appearances aside, Wolverine got to travel to Japan, where he meets an old friend, meet a new lover and battle against his own mortality. That friend was a total jerk, to take it lightly. Anyways, this film is amazing – good plot, good stunts, good setting.
  4. The Great Gatsby: I think there is somewhat a trend in Baz Luhrmann’s films. Let’s list it down: glamorous movie setting? Check. Dashing and deeply lovestruck guy? Check. A beautiful but dumb girl who thinks the world revolves around her only? Check. Someone dies in the end? Check. These properties are present in Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby. The last time I saw Leonardo Di Caprio in a Baz Luhrmann film was in Romeo + Juliet – he looked more youthful in that film, whereas he looked more manly in Luhrmann’s latest film. And I feel sorry for him for dying in both films, too. And why does he have to love some dumb rich girl who would eventually be the death of him? I mean, Daisy was practically a little ballerina doll with a head dull of golds and diamonds who was married to a really rich guy who won her love with more golds and diamonds. And she’s already a mum! It’s not that I’m bashing her, it’s just that I think Gatsby deserves a better girl, And I think Gatsby really needs to move on from Daisy. Characters explained, I like how Luhrmann included some of the dialogues from the book in the film (I read the book and I remember some of the texts) because it shows that he’s really sticking with the original story rather than altering it. By watching this film, you’re already reading the book, I guess. But for the overall story, it’s just some other dumb romance films that haveno happy ending. But it’s still worth checking out.

And there you have it! Have you watched any of these films? If you did, what are your personal opinions about the film(s)? if you haven’t, which film(s) do you want to watch and why?

-rookieMANGAKA

P.S.: It’s good to be writing again!

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Hello, motherland!

Hello,

Sorry to not tell you guys earlier, but I’m currently in Indonesia! I arrived yesterday at 10 PM and I’m still feeling jetlag…not sure if that’s a verb or noun but whatever. It’s mote humid here than in Kuwait, and moreover we don’t have an AC in our home. However, it’s kind of chilly at dawn and late at night – I live in Bandung, not Jakarta.

Speaking of Bandung, it’s a pretty big city neighbouring Jakarta and is bordered with mountains, hence the cool climate. According to my grandma – let’s call her Oma, because she’s my dad’s mum and that’s what we call her – Bandung used to be colder than nowadays but because of global warming, it’s getting hotter. Nevertheless, the climate is colder than some cities in Indonesia.

I’m not sure if I can post stuff yet because I typed this on my phone and the internet’s not that stable. Plus, my sister hogs her laptop and she has her share of summer school work, but at least I brought my stories in a hard disk, so that means I can still work on it. I’ll try something out though, so stay tuned!

Have a great summer, guys!

-rookieMANGAKA

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Failure, I’m not!

Hello,

So I just got my report card and guess what? I got straight “A”s! Hooray! Well, that’s except for Drama, but no one actually cares about Drama, except for those Performing Arts enthusiasts. Anyways, I got an “A*”s in Physics, Art, English 1st Language and Islam, and I’m really proud of myself for achieving such good grades with little to no studying! You heard me right – I didn’t really study for the end of year exams or for any other exams for that matter. I only spent about twenty minutes reading through class notes in the morning. But I guess if you pay really close attention in class and do well on your homework and revision sessions, you don’t really need excessive study for tests.

I’d like to thank my teachers for doing a marvelous job in teaching me all the things I need to know, my friends for being the best references and study partners (in break times we would study, like test each other on stuff) and for my parents for being supportive and inspirational. And I’d like to thank the internet for aiding me in homework and many other things. Hey! I don’t plagiarise works, okay! Just for references! Really!

Now that I’ve won, I have to think of a way to spend my reward, but all I want is just some books and comics, and maybe some drawing equipments or a new handbag. Okay, so maybe that handbag is worth the reward because the handbags I’ve seen are like 11 KD (put that in your currency converter and see how much that is in your currency), but then again 11 KD is not a grand reward. Maybe I should think about it more.

And now that will be the last post about Year 9! September will be the first month I’ll be in Year 10, and stay tuned for the upcoming school year posts!

-rookieMANGAKA

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Drum roll, please

Hello,

Guess what day it is today? It’s reports day! That means I’m getting my grades today! Yay and OMG WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!

I admit, I think my grades will be good but hear me out: my family does not accept “B”s. Yep, it’s the same old Asian system. In my family terms, a “B” is like an “F”, and a “C” is like a total fail. As for a real “F”, that’s a “You don’t deserve to live anymore”. So yeah, I really hope my report is graced with “A”s and only two “B”s, because I’ve only got two “B”s on my previous reports.

Well, it’s not like I’ll fail Year 9 – in fact, you can’t fail Year 9. My friends and sister said that it’s because the real deal starts at Year 10 and Year 9 is just some kind of preparation for the IGCSE, which will be at Year 11. So that means that Year 9 is prep year, Year 10 is pre-IGCSE and Year 11 is the year you should consider as the forked road that either leads to the Stairway of Heaven or the Highway to Hell. For some reasons, the Year 11s I knew didn’t look that stressed out about studies…well, at least the ones that don’t care or the ones that are really confident. But still, I’ll have to study hard if I were to get brilliant IGCSE results by the end of Year 11; I heard the test lasts for, like, a month and there’ll be about 6 papers for each subject. God, I beg for your help.

So going back to grades, I just hope I don’t get a “B” in Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry or ICT, because those are my gateways to my future success. I am really nervous right now because my mum and dad will leave to get the reports at about 12:30 PM because the reports-taking event will start at 1:00 PM. It’s now 11:30 PM – another hour before they leave. The scary thing is that my parents get to see my reports before I do, which means I can’t get rid of the evidence before they know.

Right, now for confidence boost. My peers have always called me a “genius” because I always get “A”s and I had always been in the top set for my subjects, but truthfully I just think I learn faster that others as opposed to being smart…That’s the same thing as being smart, isn’t it? I just don’t get why people would put high expectations on me. I mean, sure I do well and even better than others, but that doesn’t mean that I am more enthusiastic about achieving perfect grades in my school years. I understand that it is important but I do have a life; I seek fun in many things such as reading comics (American and manga), novels and anything educational and interesting, drawing, listening to music, and sleeping. Oh yes, I love sleeping. One of the things I dislike is being under pressure and being put on a pedestal. Ha! I’m normal!

Meh, I guess I’ll just have to wait for whatever pays of for my studies. My brother and sister had been pestering me to give the reward to them because the only I want for a reward is more books and comics. Such a geek, I am.

Please pray for me, guys! Oh, and I hope you have good grades too!

-rookieMANGAKA

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Cold hands and feet

Hello,

I’ve always been aware of my cold hands and feet. It doesn’t actually bother me, but during winter my hands would feel numb – detached, I guess is the most accurate feeling – and it makes them hard to move and hold things such as pencils and many more. Even during summer my hand would stay cold – if I stay in a room with AC and then step out into the warm air, my hands would still be cold but it will warm up after a long while. Most of my friends have warm hands and only two would have cold hands. Even my mum and dad notice that my hands would feel cold even at home. As about my feet: I would use woolen socks to sleep because my feet would feel cold when I wake up the next morning (or noon).

In medical terms, I read that this is common for women; around 15% of women would experience this. It’s because the heat in women would be focused in the centre of the body, mainly the uterus. This is because when the woman carries a child, the child can still stay warm in cold temperatures. Aww, isn’t that considerate of God? Of course it is! I’m not sure if men also have cold hands because I don’t hold hands with guys…you know, because…umm…it’s awkward…and…I’m fifteen, okay?!

In superstition terms – and by the way, I believe in superstition because some sound legitimate – people with cold hands have an introverted personality but they’re actually a real sweetheart inside. The introvert part is true in my opinion, but not sure about the sweetheart one.

But in my view and extremely incorrect definition, a person with cold hands is someone who’s very far from reality – a dreamer and surrealist, to summarise it. They may not do or talk a lot but their mind is going a hundred miles an hour, thinking about the impossible and the thin possibilities, thinking about new ideas and ideas that make them think. Though they may push others away from them, they actually very caring, and all those empty curses are there out of whim. They’re dreamers, lovers and individuals, though a secreted one.

I’m not sure which one you wish to believe in, but I still don’t like waking up to numb hands and feet. It makes bathroom trips all the more unpleasant in the middle of the night.

-rookieMANGAKA

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365 Days – a story full of loose nuts

Hello,

I am still working on Deus Ex Machina Part 2 chapter 3 (let’s just say it’s chapter 18) but alongside it, I’ve also got a new idea for a story. The prologue for the story was written the day before my finals started and I’ve posted it two days ago on my FictionPress account. But, I also want you guys to read it, so I’ve decided to post it today. I’m currently working on Deus Ex Machina and this story – called 365 Days – and I plan to keep working on it even in the holidays. Maybe I can convince my brother to let me borrow his laptop so I can work on my stories. I have copies of my stories in my memory stick so I can just work on it in any laptop, but I like my brother’s laptop because it’s the one I’m most familiar with.

For this story, I’ve decided to not use the caption button thing because it doesn’t show the italics, and the italics in this story is really important. That aside, enjoy the prologue for 365 Days!

–CHAPTER START–

365 Days

Prologue

He knows it’s not right, but it felt good. The feeling of finally able to let everything fall off his shoulders, the way the throbbing in his head dissipate like a drop of black ink in water, the relieving sight of stark white blooming in his vision. He had thought that will be the end of everything, but the sight of the familiar landscape roused his insecurity once more, and fear crept up his spine tauntingly.

The sky was a forlorn shade of deep blue and the only thing visible was the hauntingly beautiful full moon that overlooked the barren wasteland. The inky black ground stretched endlessly as he walked on autopilot towards a luminous gangly white tree by a small pond. His ears rang uncomfortably from the silence, and he just wished it would stop as soon as he reached the pond. When it didn’t, he knew that what he did was a mistake.

Cheating is bad, they said. That’s why games don’t provide you with a list of cheat codes to make your game play easier to complete, because that’s just not the point of playing a game. You were supposed to love the challenge, to feel the thrill of danger and to express your awe at every surprise you find in every corner. Cheating is bad, because then you’ll miss all things beautiful when all you care about is winning the game, when really there’s nothing to win. Just the End.

The ringing seemed to grow louder as he neared the pond. The looming naked tree beckoned him closer, commanding him with its eerie prowess. He stopped just a step from the water’s edge. He looked at the nearly transparent pond, the water as murky as everything around him – save for the solemn moon that hung tirelessly above everything and the aged white tree across from him. White, the colour of purity, among the colour of corruption – what was it doing there? Like a guide for the lost souls, or possibly just a ghostly reminder of everything he had lost.

He lowered himself to the ground and peered into the dark water. He could see her; the one who had brought him salvation. His savior, cloaked in worn grey cloak with just her thin chapped lips and her pointy chin poking out of the shadow that was her face, laid still in the water, but he could feel her gaze upon him.

Satisfied, not?

He couldn’t find his voice. He didn’t have an answer.

Not what you wanted? Or is this better than your “home”?

He lifted his head and looked about him. Nothingness. It enveloped him. Suffocating him. When he looked back at the water, the lady saw his uncertainty.

This is what you wished for, what you prayed for. I gave you what you wanted – are you not satisfied?

He opened his mouth and closed it again repeatedly, like a man out of breath. He collected himself, and with a voice lower than a whisper said “This is not what I want.”

It isn’t, is it? You said you didn’t want a life full of suffering; this is the world you want. There’s nothing here – no sadness, no anger. No happiness, either.

He shook his head. “I don’t want this,” he found himself saying, “All I want is to disappear. To feel nothing.”

Ah, but you see, there is no such thing as nothing. You can’t feel nothing, nor can you see it, hear it or taste it. Nothing does not exist because there is always something. Nothing is just an illusion made by the fallen, made by the hopeless – a false salvation created out of desperation, out of madness. When you imagine nothing, you see black – that is not nothing, because that is black. And white is not nothing either. So you see, there is no such thing as nothing.

“Then…what is this place?” he asked.

This is Nonexistence. In your “home”, you are declared nonexistent; as long as you are here, you do not exist.

He held on to that for a while and then thought aloud, “If this is Nonexistence, then where are all the ghosts and aliens? The cryptids, the legends, the myths?”

They do not belong here, because they all exist, therefore they live in Existence. Every living thing lives in Existence – that is the first world you need to live in if you were to simply exist.

“So where is this ‘Existence’?” he pondered.

Through this pond. All you have to do is dive in and you’ll be in Existence. But why would you ask? Did you not want Nonexistence?

“I thought I’ll be going to the afterlife,” he admitted.

Foolish thoughts. To go to the afterlife, you’ll have to have God’s approval. Suicide will not grant you approval, and thus you’ll live here until what’s left of your soul vanishes into thin air.

“And how long will that take?”

It varies; sometimes hours, sometimes longer than millennia. If you do not want to waste the next hours or millennia waiting for the time for your soul to die off, you should go to Existence.

“Then I shall do that. I already don’t like this place,” he said.

But to crossover to Existence, your existence must be verified. Someone would have to realise that you exist and not merely a story from a drunkard’s mouth. See that tree in front of you? When that tree loses its glow, that means you are not supposed to be in Nonexistence and that you should crossover to Existence. Unfortunately for you, you still have time to spend in Nonexistence.

Just as she finished her sentence, the glowing tree emitted a high-pitched ringing noise, its shine stuttering until it slowly faded to black, just like everything else, save for the moon.

Well, aren’t you lucky! First you get to have your petty wish granted, and now you’ve gained yourself a believer. Hop in, then, before that believer loses their faith in you.

The lady vanished from the lake, leaving him with a reflection of himself and the moon. She said to just dive right in, but he remembered that he had not learnt how to swim in his life ever. He dipped a bony finger into the darkness and felt the icy coldness of it. But he didn’t feel it at the same time. Taking his chances, he grasped at the ledge and moved closer towards the pond’s surface until this nose was almost touching the surface but not quite. He closed his eyes and slowly, he lowered his face down until his head was engulfed in the water.

What he met on the other side was white. Once he got his eyes adjusted to the sudden change in surroundings, he found that there were also grey hologram-like objects, living and not, moving and not. A grey woman was sitting on a grey chair, just a member of an entire row of the same looking chair. A grey man was sitting next to her, and then he realised that the two people and the row of chairs were in a corridor, and on their right was a grey metal double door with rectangular translucent glass on each door, and a glowing grey symbol was perched dully just above the metal double door. There was no more ringing in the white place but it was replaced by a comfortable buzzing of life.

He realised that he was just a head poking out of the ground. Gingerly, he lifted the rest of his body out of the pool of liquid and then sat himself down by the woman’s feet. There was no pond or any sign of any liquid on the ground once he toes were exposed to the white realm.

He stood up and surveyed the walking people he could see from the end of the corridor, most wearing a long coat or some kind of plain uniform and carrying a clipboard or any other kind of equipment. He was tempted to go out and explore, but the set of doors did a better job of luring him in. Something about those doors attracted him towards it, maybe the sense of longing it hid from behind them, or maybe the sense of…regret it was emitting. Hesitantly, he reached out for the door, but he found his arm going right through it instead.

“So I’m a ghost now, huh?” he said to himself. Gaining confidence, he walks right through the door and was met with an unpleasant sight. And what was meant by unpleasant was a mixture of sad, regretful and relief.

He could see himself, fixed up to many tubes and wires which led to various machines that flashed their beady eyes, indicating that indeed he still exists. Many people with jellyfish-like hair and covered faces worked on the machines and did various tests on his body, just to make sure he was well and recovering. He could see the glow of their happiness, their satisfaction in saving a stranger’s life, something that he would certainly never feel. The people were still busy doing their check-ups when a gust blew behind him, signaling her return.

You do realise that because of you, you have cost many people time.

He nodded. “I can see that. However, I can’t feel the things I am supposed to feel.”

Then what can you feel?

“All the feelings I can feel is regarding myself, but sometimes – like right now – I can’t seem to feel anything. I don’t even feel the dread and what other feelings I should feel when I look at my own battered body, lying helplessly just a foot away from me.”

That is because you haven’t lived in all of the worlds you need to live in, yet.

“Worlds?” he asked, “What do you mean?”

In order to live the life you had, your soul needs to live in seven different worlds at the same time. The first is Existence, a world that things live in just to be recognised. The second is Realm of Space and Time; once you’re there, you need to obey the laws of space and time –

As if on cue, the white room froze and he was transported to a hall, so vast and spacious, with rows of desks and chairs housing many grey people. Hundreds – no, thousands – no, there were billions of these grey people as well as the desks and chairs. People of all ages were writing, and writing and writing and writing, writing all sorts of things onto their books, which seemed to have an infinite amount of pages. The people lifted their heads up at the same time for a few seconds before they resume to their writing, and this pattern continued on forever. He turned around and saw a gigantic blackboard, a blackboard so big that even when he craned his neck he couldn’t really see the top. The gigantic blackboard also stretched out to the sides, and at that moment he realised that these billions of people were copying all of the writings and formulae that were written upon the massive blackboard. The laws of Space and Time, he concluded.

All of these people are obeying the laws of space and time. They will only stop writing when their time is up, when they don’t need to obey them anymore. As you can see, some people write slowly and less than some; this is because some people tend to be more knowledgeable than others. However, once you’ve signed the agreement here –

He was teleported to a desk with a motionless man. The man – which was him – had his hand poised to write on the cover of the book, where there was a line below the words “I thereby agree to live by the laws of time and space. Here signed:”

– you are automatically a servant under the laws. All you have to do from this point onwards is learn.

“Learn?” he echoed.

Learn, my boy. Knowledge. But Knowledge is the fifth world that you have to live in, so by living in the second world you are also living in the fifth. But by living in Knowledge does not make you live in Emotions and Feelings, because that realm – the sixth realm – is not connected to Knowledge. Now then, will you sign this?

He looked at the book. It looked like a normal book; a stack of papers sandwiched between two covers and kept upright with a spine. But he needed to sign this in order to continue, right? So he might as well do. “I agree, then,” he said, and then the motionless arm of his other self moved his fingers rigidly and wrote on the line across the page, in neat handwriting with black ink pen, his name: Joseph Paine.

Within the blink of an eye, he was transported back to the white realm. The jellyfish people were still going over the machines and his unmoving but breathing body. Then, a man among them, a middle-aged man with glasses, removed his mask to move his mouth and nodded at the door. The others looked at one another before nodding, something that served as a signal for the glasses man to exit the room.

He followed the man outside and saw the previous woman and man listen with rapt attention to whatever the glasses man had to say. It seemed that whatever it was, it made the woman ten times happier, but it didn’t stop the waterfall that were her eyes to stop flowing. The man closed his eyes and uttered something before flopping down wearily at a nearby chair. The glasses man talked some more before he returned to the room, now instructing a few of his crew to do some preparations of some sort.

The third world is this one you are currently seeing – the Third Dimension, the Physical World. In order to fully enjoy the gifts of life, it is fully recommended to live in the Third Dimension. Some spirits, like the jinns, cannot live in the Third Dimension, but even so we can still feel their presence; this is what leads to the stories about ghosts and what not. Some special people get to see the living things that do not live in the Third Dimension, but because this power is not so common among people many had dismissed these gifted ones as madmen. Maybe I’ll consider giving you the ability to communicate with those outside the Third Dimension.

“Why would you do that?”

Something about you draws me in, child. Now quit wasting time – you will live in the Third Dimension, and you shall be grateful for my help once more. However, my good deeds never come cheap.

“What do you mean?” He was starting to feel like this was not a good idea in the first place. Of course, why would he listen to a cloaked stranger in the first place? Oh wait, he’s never rational to begin with, anyway.

I’ve decided to make your resurrection…amusing, to say the least. I guess I’ll make you earn your living with labour; you’ll have to serve me in order to live in the other worlds. I’ve let you live in three worlds now – the part I said about the fifth world, consider it a bonus from me, since you’ll need all the knowledge you have. Once you are in the third world, you will have to obey my commands in order to be fully human again.

He didn’t think it was a bad idea – a quest would make his life all the more lively, not bleak like the previous one. Unhesitant, he said “Fine by me, madam. I shall start as soon as I am reborn, then.”

A grin blooms ominously across the woman’s grim face.

Very well. I pray you good luck, Joseph.

–CHAPTER END–

-rookieMANGAKA

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I got books!

Hello,

After I watched “Man of Steel”, I went to the book section in this supermarket (I still think it’s weird that they sell books and food together) and I found the greatest classic section ever. There were lots of Jules Verne books like “Around the World in 80 Days” and other young adult novels, except I don’t really read young adult novels except for the “Hunger Games” trilogy, which I read out of curiosity and interest. I had planned on buying three classics, but my dad insisted that I should buy a book by Sidney Sheldon. I didn’t know who he was but after some background research, he was an Academy Award-winning fiction crime-thriller novelist that had a 20-year period of successful career. He died on 30th January 2007 at the age of 89 from pneumonia. Since I’m also interested in crime books (a thing I discovered after reading “No Second Chance” by Harlan Coben, which I thought was brilliant), I decided to grab one of his books, “Windmills of the Gods”.

The edition of “No Second Chance” that I have. A great book, it is.

Aside from Sheldon’s book, I also took “20 000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne and the last copy of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know about “20 000 Leagues Under the Sea” from a passage I read in Year 7 for a comprehension practice, and I liked Captain Nemo’s traits after reading the extract about the attack by the sea monster. I know about “The Great Gatsby” when I was browsing the internet about the greatest books ever written. I stumbled upon the name, did some background research and thought about reading the said book. I enjoyed Fitzgerald’s short story “The Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button” because it was weird but sweet at the same time – I watched the movie before reading the story, by the way. Then, the Baz Luhrmann version of “The Great Gatsby” came out and then I saw the trailers and listened to the soundtracks – the songs were all beautiful, especially “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey and “Over the Love” by Florence + the Machine – and I just really want to read the book. Then I saw that lonely copy of the famed novel on the shelf, and I took it without hesitation. I can’t wait to read it! In fact, I can’t wait to read all of my three new books!

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So, what books did you just get? What will you read this summer, or are currently reading? Do you think the book is good, or is the book you’re reading good?

-rookieMANGAKA

 

Categories: Books, Journal, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Man of Steel – Review

Hello,

Since today is the last day for my exams (yay!), I went to watch the “Man of Steel” as soon as I finished my test. Overall, I love the film because it was just packed with imagination, action, drama (the feels, bro!) and of course, hot Superman. Seriously, you can’t deny that Clark looked really good in everything he wore in that film.

This version of Superman is more dramatic and full of action compare to the ones I have watched, which was the “Superman Returns” and the old ones from the olden days…you know what I mean. The CGI – I assume what you call them – is really well done, and the music score and style of directing is creative and makes me feel the emotions I needed to feel. SPOILERS ALERT: like, you know that part when Clark was in the ocean and he thinks about the past; it’s made to be like that to create a sense of wisdom and strong-hearted-ness (if that’s a word) upon Clark, since he is, after all, an outcast who had grown stronger through his bullying experiences. And that part when Clark and Lois see each other off before Zod’s crew come to pick Clark up, when the scene before just cuts off to that one – it creates a feeling that there’s no time to say goodbyes, that everything happens in a rush and no one has time to process their feelings. And the way the staring contest goes:

Look at those eyes – da feels, bro!

Another thing I want to point out is the explosions. Stop. Exploding. Every. Tiny. Seconds! I was sitting at the very back of the theater – the very top seat – and it was a little bit to the right, and that was where one of the speakers were. So every time something goes off, it would feel like an inner earthquake that would continue for what felt like hours. I don’t blame the movie though, because the explosions are the main elements of awesomeness – enough said.

Next: though the only funny part I found was the end where the girl captain (forgot her name) said she thought Clark was “kind of hot”, I think the shameless product placements of Nokia Lumia are marvelous to say the least. I’m not saying it’s bad – just saying I found it funny. SPOILERS ALERT: the part when Zod’s spaceship is seen, you can see that Nokia Lumia is obviously in the limelight. Also in the Zod’s message scene – in plain sight, bro! And also when Perrie calls Lois, how it’s the distinctive Nokia ringtone and how the screen is on close-up. Not the first time I’ve seen shameless product placing, but the seriousness of the movie was what made me think it was funny.

I just love this scene – she was like “It’s on my phone too!” and then points out the Nokia Lumia 925 in the middle of the screen.

SPOILERS ALERT: As for the story: I just love Jor-El and Lara, and Jonathan and Martha Kent for being the best parents. They’re all really badass and understanding and super, because what would Superman be if not for the super parents? He wouldn’t have that glorious cape and wouldn’t get a chance to ride an awesome spaceship. And I love how Martha was all like “Go to hell!” to Zod – gotta love her!

So I think the next movie review will be on November because that will be when “Thor: the Dark World” and “Catching Fire” will be released, but if there’s a good movie, then maybe I’ll review it. Also, note that I don’t usually get all detailed about reviews – it’s just that the explosions really rocked my brains, and I can still see the fight scenes behind my eyelids.

Well, enjoy you summer, guys! Be safe and stay tuned!

-rookieMANGAKA

Categories: Journal, Uncategorized | Tags: | 4 Comments

Posting this from school!

Hello,

This is the last day of proper school so not much is going on except for revision and do-whatever-you-want sessions. We’re also watching “Romeo+Juliet” in English, you know, the one by Baz Luhrmann with Leonardo DiCaprio. The only reason I’m in school is because I get to see DiCaprio being such a lovestruck sweetheart in the film – I mean, he is so beautiful! And yes, Juliet (played by Claire Danes) is beautiful too, so I guess that’s the only reason I’ve not laid a finger on her.

That aside, this is chapter 2 of Part 2! Enjoy!

Deus Ex Machina: Part II

17 – Aurora musis amica

Atticus Institute of Science’s main building looks like God had just dumped a large glass cube into the middle of nowhere. Whoever is in charge of the institute managed to remodel the land around it make it look more welcoming, like adding cypress trees, flower bushes and memorial statues. Other buildings, aside from the dormitories, are scattered around to form a circle so as to make navigation around the university ground easier; there are five buses and go back and forth from dorms and study buildings, and you can tell its destination by the colour of the bus, because different departments have different colours.

The dormitories for the fraternities and sororities are built to look like a comfy villa complete with a multiuse playground – it has two basketball baskets and drawn-on-wall goalposts – and a swimming pool which is only open in mid spring and summer, because by autumn and winter the weather will be too cold.

For the sorority and fraternities, they have three housing building. Inside a building, there are twelve rooms, each with their own bathroom. Six of the rooms have two bunk beds while the other six has twin beds – that means a dorm can house thirty-six students. The buildings are placed so they face the playground and swimming pool, which is situated in the middle of the three buildings. Sometimes, a building will not be used because not all students decide to stay in a dorm, so they will turn that building as a kind of party house. However, the dorm ground itself is famous for its ghost stories, so students will sometimes enter the deserted building and search for any paranormal activities.

On her first day at the sorority dorm A, Dea nearly got lost when she was searching for the meal hall – luckily she found it before breakfast session is done. There are six long tables and benches that can hold six girls per table and on the left hand side there is a rectangular hole in the wall where it houses the tray line server, and behind that you can see the chefs working on more food. Dea takes her healthy breakfast which consists of coleslaw with chicken fillet bits and orange juice. Seeing that the only empty table is the one at the corner, she makes her way past crowded benches and towards the lonely bench.

“Dea! Over here!” a familiar voice calls out. Dea turns around and spots Kalista sitting at a table with the dorm head and other students, who seem to not care about the duo. Dea walks over to the table and settles down at the empty space Kalista was patting. “Here’s Sleeping Beauty!” Kalista beams, “You look really tired yesterday so I let you be – sorry about that.”

“No, I think I’ll thank you because I feel well-rested now,” Dea replies.

“Oh, and I’m sure you know Helen,” Kalista gestures to the dorm head – Helen now – who gives a small wave and a placid smile. “I found that she’s actually really cool, and I’m sure you’ll like her and vice versa.”

“Hi, Helen,” Dea greets.

“I never thought I’ll ever see a Naitt,” Helen muses.

Dea gives a light laugh, “I honestly didn’t know the Naitts are so well-known here.” Beside them, the students who were previously uninterested are murmuring, throwing glances towards Dea once in a while. “But I guess the Pastors are respectable people, too – that peace treaty with the Troys went well, despite the things that happened.”

Helen shrugs. “But even though the declaration of piece had been signed, there’s still tension between us Pastors and the Troys. I guess it’ll take more time than I thought for us to completely bury the hatchet.”

Dea nods in agreement. Helen is a pleasant young lady to be with, lovely inside and out. She keeps her bronze curls in a high ponytail and her long bang is clipped to the left to let her glass-coloured eyes view the world calculatingly. Something about her makes Dea glow in respect, and though it doesn’t show Dea has the same effect to Helen. While Dea’s grace comes from her strong-headedness and leadership qualities, Helen’s aura was more lady-like and like the moonlight upon a pond.

The trio spends their breakfast until the last minute before they have to board their respective buses. Helen is learning law so she goes to the navy blue bus; Dea’s medicine department bus is the pastel green one and Kalista’s psychology department bus is the fuchsia one. Dea’s bus is packed with a close-to equal ratio for boys to girls. Spotting an empty seat at the very end, Dea squeezes her way through the cramped space and flops down on the seat when she finally has her foot in front of it. Unknown to her, there’s a girl seated at the far right of the back seat and she’s looking at Dea curiously. Dea notices her presence and smiles in greeting.

“I didn’t think I’ll see you here,” the girl says.

Dea laughs internally and says “And I forgot that you actually go here.”

The girl nods. “Actually, I doubt you’ll even remember me. Even Mum doesn’t communicate with me that much anymore. What’s been going on at home, anyway?”

Dea doesn’t say anything. How can she say this to her without causing a scene? Tell her in private. “There’s a lot to tell you, but I can’t tell you here. Meet me at the canteen tomorrow in lunch, okay. Or I’ll find you myself instead,” Dea says in a low voice.

The girl looks at her with dark slits – as dark as her mother’s. “Alright,” she says, “I’ll see you then, Deanna.” The bus halts to a stop and the girl stands up to leave. “By the way, what are you studying?”

Dea stands up and follows her. “Birthing and babies,” Dea simply says.

The girl laughs. “Decided to follow me?”

“Part of the reason. But I’ve always wanted to have a career with the babies.”

The two walk towards the medicine building whilst talking about the old times and catch up on what’s been happening. Dea makes sure she’s not mentioning about the whole Cornelius thing and so she only tells about the fun bits – it’s more like filtering sandy water; Dea can feel the filter paper getting heavier and heavier as more sand gets piled up and now there’s only a thin sliver of clear water that’s flowing through the wall of sand. Since Dea has to go to the introductory assembly before starting her first lecture, Dea bids farewell to the girl with a hug. “Good to see you again, Lucia,” Dea says.

“Send my regards to the others when you call home, okay?” Lucia says, “The last time I saw you guys, you were so young, especially Erin, Michael, Hiero and Brian. And I want to know how Mum and Ace are doing, too.” Lucia lets go and smiles. “I’ll see you soon, Dea.”

Dea watches Lucia’s retreating figure before she enters the auditorium, shoulders hunched from the burden of carrying ten albatrosses.

* * *

Even though all she did was sit through an hour-long(ish) speech, Dea feels so battered and worn, and the first thing she did when she arrives in her first class is to drop her head on her table like an anchor. The head of the medicine department was a meaty man with a balding head, but his otherwise comical appearance was sharpened with his jet black suit and permanent frown and angry wrinkles. His booming voice had snapped Dea out of her dream-like trances every now and then, and she had to suppress a dozen of yawn so that she won’t make a bad impression on herself and her family. The head then introduced the other professors one by one and each one would deliver their own version of we-wish-you-a-good-year speech. Though they were informative, it was deathly boring.

So before the professor comes, Dea plans on taking a short nap so she can be alert when her lesson starts. Dea wonders if Kalista is going through the same exhaustion, but Dea knows Helen isn’t because it’s her final year before she gets get bachelor’s degree, and their speeches are usually before the graduation (according to Lucia). A body seats itself on Dea’s right, and then another filled the space on her left. It seems like the two are conversing across her head and though they were whispering, she can clearly hear them despite her weary state.

“That assembly was so boring,” the one on the left says.

“Yeah! But I didn’t dare to yawn ‘cause the head looks so scary!” the left one says.

“Hell yeah, he did! And straight after that we have this – why can’t they put a five minute break or something?”

“But this day’s schedule’s only temporary; tomorrow will be according to the normal schedule, you know, the one we’re given.”

“Ugh! University life’s so hard! But, at least the people are nicer…”

“…Is she sleeping?” the right one whispers.

“She’s the Naitt, right?” the left one muses, “Should we ask her about it? I’m kinda dying to know –”

“Why are you being so inconsiderate?!” the right one hisses, “Think about her – she must be traumatised! And why would you care, anyway? Everyone should just give the Naitts a break for once!”

Dea feels thankful to the one on the right. Dea has never thought that strangers can care and all that, and now this unknown boy is defending her family’s privacy – such a gentleman. Dea lifts her head and feigns tiredness, looking lazily at the boys on either of her sides. The boy on her left is someone she has never seen before – she’s not interested. She turns to her right and she swore her heart nearly leap out of her throat. The boy is none other than Oscar.

“Holy – Oscar?!” Dea squeaks indignantly.

Oscar smiles sheepishly and gives his usual small wave, “Hi, Dea. I didn’t know you’ll be here.”

“And I didn’t know either!” Dea exclaims.

“Actually, I told you about AIS a little while ago, you know, during Careers Week?”

Dea blushes. “Oh, then I must’ve forgotten.” Or wasn’t listening, Dea cringes inwardly.

“That’s alright, but I thought you were going to the university in the next city. What changed?”

“Oh, well, I thought this is actually better,” Dea laughs nervously, “Jenny’s been complaining about how I waste such a good opportunity, so I thought about it and eyah, I think AIS is better. Obviously.”

Oscar smiles; Dea thinks she’s in heaven. “Well, I guess we’ll spend the rest of our years together, then.” Dea thinks “together” is such a strong word, and the thought of spending time with Oscar through difficulties would be wonderful, and she can act like his best friend so she can know more about him than she already does.

Oscar is not that drop-dead gorgeous type but his appearance is not that shabby either; in fact, Dea had almost dismissed him entirely the first time she met him. But something about him made Dea take a second look. They were lab partners in middle school, and the two would make small talks to get along through the school years. Then, they go to the same high school and they decided that they good companies for each other. When Dea shared her passion in hunting the boars, Oscar would sometimes tag along with her to hunt, much to Abel’s disapproval. Dea had thought of him as a loyal friend, but a basketball game celebration was what it took to change everything.

It was in the middle of her first year in high school, just after the basketball’s victory against the visitors. Oscar and Dea were celebrating by sharing a bucket of caramel popcorns whilst watching a cheesy romance film – they loved to watch those kind of films and then make fun of them, only to have them admit that it wasn’t so bad after all. They were at the cinema and since it was a school day, not much people were around, except for some adults and elders. When the film finished, just as the two were getting out of the cinema, a mugger jumped out of the blue and screamed shakily at the two of them to hand over their wallets, gripping his knife with a white-knuckled grip. Dea couldn’t really remember most of it, but she did remember the moment she charged forward at the man in an attempt to seize him – all the blame on the tomfoolery of youth, really. She heard Oscar call her name and then there was a lot of tumbling and disorientation and when Dea finally came to, Oscar got a hold of the knife with shaking hands, a black eye and a cut on his right cheek.

It looked as if he had just won a death match but he assured Dea that after Oscar beat the mugger up, he ran away without a glace, completely forgetting his knife. Dea felt so guilty, so foolish, so selfish to just put her friend’s life in danger because of her recklessness. But all Oscar said was:

“I don’t know what I’ll do without you, Dea.”

Okay, so there might be a chance that Dea had looked at that line too deep, however no one cannot possibly look at a man who had just wrestled an armed man for you without awe and gratitude, and these feelings slowly turned into some kind of attachment. Dea couldn’t stop thinking about how Oscar was so fierce yet so gentle, and as time passes she started to think about the little things he does that made her giddy. In conclusion, she fell in love.

If it was when Deanna Naitt was only a little girl, tomboyish and hot-headed, she would stubbornly say that she will never fall for a Prince Charming because that would prove her weak. The current Deanna Naitt thinks that it’s not so bad of a feeling.

Her flashback is cut short when a voice says “Umm, guys? Can you, uh, stop staring at each other? It’s kinda awkward…”

Dea blinks and snaps her head around to look towards the professor’s desk, flushing furiously. From the corner of her eye, she can see Oscar rubbing the nape of his neck, a gesture which means he’s nervous or embarrassed. The boy on Dea’s left smirks in amusement.  “So,” he starts, “you must be Deanna Naitt.”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah. Hello – uh, pleasure to meet you,” Dea says distractedly.

“Pleasure’s mine,” the boy says, “I’ve heard so much about you from Oscar –”

“Eric!” Oscar gasps.

“What? It’s true!” the boy – Eric – laughs, “You know, he just keeps on talking about how Deanna Naitt is so –”

“Awesome!” Oscar interjects, “Really, really awesome. You know, remember that time when you shot the boar right between the eyes? That was awesome. Awesome, you know what I mean?”

“Umm…I think I do,” Dea says slowly, trying to summon the said event. She can’t remember such a thing.

“Anyway,” Oscar rambles on, “we really need to get settled down because the professor can come any minute now – oh! Speak of the devil! We need to be quiet now. Especially you, Eric. Shut up.”

Eric throws his hand up in surrender and then snickers about how “smooth” Oscar was. Dea follows Oscar’s suggestion and readies herself for the lesson. She still can’t figure out why she can’t remember the event Oscar was talking about.

* * *

“I hate assemblies,” Kalista whines to her pillow, beating the mattress with her legs in a mock tantrum fashion. On her desk, Dea is going through what classes she has to attend tomorrow and their whereabouts, highlighting a map of the university and the rooms in the buildings she needs to be in. She is also organising what books to bring and for which lessons, and at what amount of time she will spend reading each books after lectures. Dea swivels around to face Kalista and says “At least we’re going to have a welcome party for dinner – I bet you’re definitely coming.”

Kalista jolts up. “Hell yeah, I am!” she beams.

“Good, now do something productive before it’s six,” Dea says, going back to her schedules, books and maps.

Kalista frowns. “Since when are you so organised?”

“Since forever,” was Dea’s simple answer.

“Yeah, but not even Helen’s that organised,” Kalista points out.

“We’re raised differently, I guess,” Dea mumbles.

Kalista considers that for a moment. Dea is from Myca, and Mycan’s are perfectionists – God, why didn’t she think of that?! Spears is a strict city too, with militarism being their main focus (according to recent studies, most of the country’s military consists of Spearsans). Helen is very good in athletics but since she’s the daughter of a very rich man, she gets to learn about lady-hood and the like, thus hiding her ferocity behind a silk veil. Meanwhile, Athna focuses more on law and order, knowledge above all, with the best thinkers and political figures produced in Athna; they said that while Spears is the country’s guts, Athna is the brain.

But what’s Myca, if not nothing but a fairytale city? If Kalista was to put it in her own words, she’s say Myca is the heart of the country because of the town’s ability to conjure up many emotions from tourists and locals.

“You’re going right?” Kalista asks.

“Of course, why not?” Dea says.

“I don’t think you have a reason not to,” Kalista says, “And you’re going to be the highlight of the event; everyone’s going to crowd over you and bombard you with questions, I bet.”

“A day here and it’s still absurd how famous the Naitts are,” Dea huffs, rolling her eyes.

Kalista shrugs, “Can’t help it, I guess. I’m just going to take a shower. When will you take yours?”

“I took one before you came; now I can just pick something to wear for the party and go without a fuss.”

Kalista sniffs and mutters about how a shower won’t entertain her. When Dea hears the shower running and Kalista’s humming, she takes out her phone and dials Abel. “Okay, I did not know Oscar’s in AIS,” she says as soon as Abel’s voice is heard.

“…He is?” Abel says, sounding guarded, “Then stay safe, Dea.”

“I don’t get why you hate him so much, Abel, it’s not like he kicked your puppy.”

“I don’t have a puppy.”

“It was an expression.”

“Whatever,” Abel huffs, “I just…I smell something weird about him.”

“Even in middle school?”

“Even then.”

“What has he ever done to you, anyway?”

“Nothing,” Abel answers.

“Then why on Earth do you hate him?!” Dea says exasperatedly.

“Just instincts, okay?” Abel snaps, “Now moving on, nothing’s been going on here. Erin’s health is improving but she’s still bedridden, and Ace goes in and out the house a lot. Annette is keeping Hiero oblivious but she’s also working on the case with her knowledge about law and stuff. Aside from studies, I’ve been doing nothing but check on the security systems and –” A loud beep is heard in the background. Abel sighs and excuses himself. Dea can make out a conversation somewhere not too far away and then there’s some sobbing and cursing and the sound of hurried footsteps. Just where in the world is Abel working at? It’s minutes later before Abel’s back on the phone. “Sorry, I’m actually in break in my part-time work and they need me to replace a co-worker – she has an emergency call or something – something about a baby.”

“Okay. Be careful,” Dea says.

“Relax, it’s just a cafe – worst thing that can happen is a couple break-up fight,” Abel jokes, “Be careful yourself, Dea.”

“I met Lucia – she sends her regards.”

“Lucia? Oh, I haven’t heard from her in a long while! I’ll get the message through, then.”

“Please do. Bye, Abel.”

“Be safe.” Abel hangs up.

Dea puts her phone on sleep and then taps it on her chin, thinking. Cornelius’s lack of moves leans more towards disconcerting than to relieving. His next move will be unpredictable like it always have been, or maybe Cornelius is currently focusing on pushing Zach to his edge of insanity – so that means there’s a possibility that Cornelius is in Athna or that he has accomplices that are stationed here. Chances are that he has minions, but Dea guesses that she’ll never know who’s who.

The shower turns off and there’s some shuffling. The echoing padding of wet feet gets louder until the bathroom door opens. Kalista is dressed in a comfortable lilac blouse and a pair of jeans that borders from indigo to navy blue. “I’m proven wrong – the shower was relaxing,” Kalista says, “You should get ready now; it’s almost six.”

Dea agrees and hauls herself from her seat. She goes over to her drawer and picks a sky blue frilly dress and a light knitted cardigan. She gets changed in the bathroom and when she goes out, Kalista expresses her awe. “If there are boys in the party, you are so going to get –”

“Let’s go, Kalista,” Dea says, dismissing Kalista’s remark.

“No, really,” Kalista says, following Dea out the door, “It’s either Helen or you, and I heard that even if the boys here are study freaks, they’re actually really good at –”

Dea hooks Kalista’s head under her arm and gives her a noogie. Kalista, despite her declaration of surrender, still brings the topic up for the sake of pulling Dea’s tail, much to Dea’s fond annoyance.

-rookieMANGAKA

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