ha made these in the summer

Rage

Author’s Notes: Alright, I decided to do Estela’s backstory for the Choices Creates #36 theme, “Non-MC’s Past”. Again, hosted by @dopecatcollins and @brittney-beaumont . Basically, this describes her days during her training after Estela received the news about her mother’s death.

By the way, I’m making it my goal to do all the ES love interests’ backstories, so that’ll mean I’ll probably post the ones for Sean’s and Jake’s soon…assuming I can submit them to Choices Creates on time.

Rated: T…I guess?

Choices Book: Endless Summer

Character Introduced: Estela Montoya

Summary: By the time she received the news about her mother’s death, Estela made it her goal to avenge her, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, it turns out that the greatest enemy she has to face was the anger inside her.

“Hrngh!”

Baring her teeth through the harshness of her training, sixteen-year-old Estela kept countering her uncle’s combat skills against her, desperately trying to pinpoint his weak spots. This training appeared to be harsher than her previous ones, but she treated it no less different. No matter the circumstances, the young assassin would always view this as if it were a real battlefield to the point where her life depends on it. To top all of that, she only has one goal in mind.

Revenge on her mother’s killer.

Ever since she received the letter from the Rourke International informing her mother’s death, Estela was completely devastated. She immediately locked herself in her room and cried for her mother’s passing. Later, that sorrow turned into rage. She knew Everett Rourke has something to do with Olivia Montoya’s death, so she vowed to get revenge on him for taking away the most wonderful woman she ever loved.

Her uncle, Nicolas Montoya, advised her against it for some reason, but he eventually agreed to help Estela out by doing two things; gathering pieces of information about the C.E.O of the Rourke International and helping Estela enhance her combat and weapon skills in case such tactics are necessary to break into the building. It wasn’t easy for either of them since they have to constantly be on guard and obtaining such resource about a billionaire company is so scarce in San Trobida, Colombia. But despite that, the young assassin refuses to give in just as long as she is still breathing.

However, there were times when Estela began to deteriorate during her training. Nicolas noticed that, giving his a niece a disappointed look on his face. In a few seconds, the brunette launched her attack to the opening right below his abs, but the older man swiftly managed to block her moves, grabbed her by the wrist, and twisted it right behind her backs, causing Estela to grunt in pain and forced herself on her knee.

Her uncle still kept his grip on her arm and started whispering to her in Spanish.

“Why are you in pain?” he asked his niece.

“Because you’re stronger than me!” Estela spatted.

Nicolas shook his head and let go of her. As she glanced up at her uncle, defeated, while rubbing her sore wrist, Nicolas answered “No. It’s because you’re blinded by rage. There’s no way you’ll succeed if you continue to fight with such hatred.”

Estela could only stare at her uncle, irritated and perplexed by his words at the time like this. She knew that he was against this plan from the first place, and it angered her because she thought her mother’s death, who is also his sister, didn’t affect him at all. Sure, they don’t agree with each other on many things, but at the very least, Nicolas still cares about Olivia. Or so Estela thought. No, he wouldn’t understand this. He wouldn’t understand why she was doing this.

The young assassin got up and silently head back to the cabin, fuming in anger. Her uncle glanced at his niece in concerned. He knew Estela didn’t like this, but he was against her idea of such revenge because it was his sister’s wish to protect her daughter from such a dangerous place. Although she knew the risk of working at the mysterious island, Olivia left him and Estela for the job opportunity at Rourke International so that she can support them and perhaps create a better place in this world for them. Most of all, she wanted to give her daughter a peaceful life she deserved, a life where she doesn’t have to worry about all the hardships they have to endure in the country they lived in.

Unfortunately for him, Estela inherited her mother’s pride and stubbornness. Once her mind is set on something, she chooses not to go back. Nicolas eventually to help out his niece with her plan…but only to help see the better light of her away by giving her the benefit of doubt. His only fear will be when the rage inside her will eventually destroy her, and that there will be no way for Estela to turn that around. But whether or not she’ll be able to go through this, he hoped that his niece will come to understanding all of that someday.


Back at her room, Estela glanced at the letter that she received a year ago from the Rourke International that her mother died in a freak ‘accident’ and that they were sorry for her loss.

Yeah, right. Accident her ass. The assassin knew there was no accident causing her mother’s death, and everything else they wrote in this letter are nothing but bull.

The brunette crumbled the paper and angrily threw it across the room. She then took the one that she received from her mother a week before her death, the one that has the dragon seal every time the latter wrote to her. As she read it slowly, Estela has a solemn expression on her face.

Dearest Estela,

How are you doing, mija? Are you still in good health? Is everything okay with your uncle? He’s not sending you to more of those missions, is he? I know things are different since I’m not with you back at San Trobida. There isn’t a day I haven’t thought about you, wondering if you’re handling rough life back at home. But I promise that things will be better. And there will be time where I can get you and your uncle out of the there and live in a more peaceful life. Just know, that I will always love you, no matter what. My beloved daughter. My little star.

With love,

Your Mother.

A single tear rolled from Estela’s eyes as she clutched her letter to her chests. All she can remember now was her mother’s warm scent when she embraced her daughter for the last time and hearing the words ‘I love you’ before leaving to La Huerta. And now she wouldn’t be able to see her in this part of the world ever again. Her mother didn’t deserve this. Estela wouldn’t let her mother’s killer get away with this. That’s why she has to do this. No matter how much blood she has to have in her hands.

11/17/17, H

Now, is it winter?
I am discontent.
Gone is the summer,
sun has set again.
Earlier still each day,
this season chokes me
with a glorious grip.

With bruised arms
and dogs barking,
no shadows spy my heart.
I am proved
a determined villain,
cheated by fair proportion, lamely ambling but no delight.

Never victorious, bound to be
neither subtle nor false,
only well-spoken and idle,
I cannot prove treacherous.

War-visaged nymphs in states
of daily pleasure, wanton joy,
and piped in peacefulness,
fills into the chamber;
it elevates the half made up
world, I am breathing.

some self-care/mental health tips for the upcoming school year

with school coming soon or already starting for some people i figured i’d share some of my tips for a healthier lifestyle. i know in the past i’ve struggled so much with being good to myself once school starts, both mentally, emotionally, and physically!

keep a clean room 

i know how hard this is. i’m absolutely awful at it, even in the summer but it really makes the biggest difference. coming home to a mess when your life is already stressful and messy enough just makes things worse. i know when i have a clean space i’m way more productive and at peace with my situation.

take a break from social media

just doing this every once in awhile makes the hugest difference. social media is a wonderful world but it’s easy to get caught up in how everyone is doing things without you or having more fun or how someone’s prettier or whatever. it’s not worth it. i’ve learned that just deleting the apps for even a few hours can make my mental state 10x better. it’s important to realize that while people are out doing things all the time, you can never be as fun as all the 162 people you follow combined.

don’t be afraid to invite people out

one of the biggest things i struggle with is being social, simply because i overthink inviting people to do things with me too much and just wait to be invited by someone else instead. remember that even if someone says they can’t do something, it’s not the end of the world. at least you opened up a possibility!!! by being someone who invites others to do things, people will feel more appreciated and like you actually want to hang out with them! but also always save time for yourself as well!

create a self-care routine with motivation

by giving yourself some type of reward to wash your face, brush your teeth and shower, such as only watching your favorite tv show afterwards, it will feel a bit easier to accomplish the tasks that seem simple but can be terribly hard, especially if you suffer from depression. i’ve learned that combining things into one task also makes it easier, such as once you get in the shower, do everything. wash your face, brush your teeth, shave, all in the shower. it makes self-care so much easier.

get outside, stay out of bed

laying in bed is the best thing ever, i know, but it can be so easy to get in there and never get out. this is my biggest bad habit. i feel more productive even just sitting on the couch. my bed is like a black hole of lost motivation. go outside for twenty minutes a day if you can. sunlight makes things a little better and staying inside all day does nothing for you.

do one thing that scares you everyday, big or small.

i’m someone who has struggled with social anxiety for years now, but i’m slowly getting better because i’m making a conscious (and very terrifying effort) everyday. this won’t work for everyone, i know, but it’s helped me a little bit. i try to challenge myself everyday to do one thing that scares me, whether it’s asking someone to do something after school or agreeing to get coffee with a friend you’re not super close to yet, or even just making conversation with someone next to me in class. don’t push yourself too far but don’t make zero effort either.

cut the negative language/mindset

anytime you have a negative thought find a reverse positive. even saying “i’m not happy with how my hair looks but my ass looks great in these jeans” is better than saying “i look awful today”. stop the constant internal bullying! think of it this way, if your best friend said the things you say to yourself, how would you feel? you’re your own best friend, so cut the shit! compliment yourself like you do your best friend. complimenting myself and finding things i find beautiful on my own body even once a day has increased my confidence exponentially. a negative language towards yourself leads to a negative mindset.

find someone who motivates you

if you need motivation to work out, study, anything, find a buddy. having someone to do things with and hold you accountable makes a world of difference. this summer i got together with a friend and made a deal that we would work out 2-3 times a week. it worked so much better than if i had just made that goal for myself because she was always there to text me to ask to workout when we needed to but i lacked the desire. and i did the same for her. now we actually both got a job at a gym together this fall and are working out consistently because we have that mutual  accountability with each other! plus just having someone you enjoy seeing makes doing the hard task more fun!

accept your individuality

you don’t need to look like society’s ideal of beautiful. there’s millions of types of flowers, and just because one kind is pretty to someone, does that make all the others ugly? no. there’s tons of species of dogs too and they all look totally different. is a poodle ugly just because a golden retriever is cute? NO. your individuality is you. everyone is beautiful in the very own unique way. don’t try to look like someone ellse. your beauty is not measured by how perfect your features are. 

drink some fucking water

and eat some food too

understand that a bad week doesn’t mean a bad life

we’re all going to go through those weird ass time periods where it feels like everything sucks and nothing can go right. accept that although it’s pretty bad right now, it won’t be forever. 

good luck with this school year everyone! hope my tips help even just one person. take care of yourselves, kiddos.

Planets: As Seen by Voyager

The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft explored Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune before starting their journey toward interstellar space. Here you’ll find some of those images, including “The Pale Blue Dot” – famously described by Carl Sagan – and what are still the only up-close images of Uranus and Neptune.

These twin spacecraft took some of the very first close-up images of these planets and paved the way for future planetary missions to return, like the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, Cassini at Saturn and New Horizons at Pluto.

Jupiter

Photography of Jupiter began in January 1979, when images of the brightly banded planet already exceeded the best taken from Earth. They took more than 33,000 pictures of Jupiter and its five major satellites. 

Findings:

  • Erupting volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io, which has 100 times the volcanic activity of Earth. 
  • Better understanding of important physical, geological, and atmospheric processes happening in the planet, its satellites and magnetosphere.
  • Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere with dozens of interacting hurricane-like storm systems.

Saturn

The Saturn encounters occurred nine months apart, in November 1980 and August 1981. The two encounters increased our knowledge and altered our understanding of Saturn. The extended, close-range observations provided high-resolution data far different from the picture assembled during centuries of Earth-based studies.

Findings:

  • Saturn’s atmosphere is almost entirely hydrogen and helium.
  • Subdued contrasts and color differences on Saturn could be a result of more horizontal mixing or less production of localized colors than in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
  • An indication of an ocean beneath the cracked, icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa. 
  • Winds blow at high speeds in Saturn. Near the equator, the Voyagers measured winds about 1,100 miles an hour.

Uranus

The Voyager 2 spacecraft flew closely past distant Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun. At its closest, the spacecraft came within 50,600 miles of Uranus’s cloud tops on Jan. 24, 1986. Voyager 2 radioed thousands of images and voluminous amounts of other scientific data on the planet, its moons, rings, atmosphere, interior and the magnetic environment surrounding Uranus.

Findings:

  • Revealed complex surfaces indicative of varying geologic pasts.
  • Detected 11 previously unseen moons.
  • Uncovered the fine detail of the previously known rings and two newly detected rings.
  • Showed that the planet’s rate of rotation is 17 hours, 14 minutes.
  • Found that the planet’s magnetic field is both large and unusual.
  • Determined that the temperature of the equatorial region, which receives less sunlight over a Uranian year, is nevertheless about the same as that at the poles.

Neptune

Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe the planet Neptune in the summer of 1989. Passing about 3,000 miles above Neptune’s north pole, Voyager 2 made its closest approach to any planet since leaving Earth 12 years ago. Five hours later, Voyager 2 passed about 25,000 miles from Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, the last solid body the spacecraft had the opportunity to study.

Findings: 

  • Discovered Neptune’s Great Dark Spot
  • Found that the planet has strong winds, around 1,000 miles per hour
  • Saw geysers erupting from the polar cap on Neptune’s moon Triton at -390 degrees Fahrenheit

Solar System Portrait

This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’, is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. 

The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic.

From Voyager’s great distance, Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” - Carl Sagan

Both spacecraft will continue to study ultraviolet sources among the stars, and their fields and particles detectors will continue to search for the boundary between the Sun’s influence and interstellar space. The radioisotope power systems will likely provide enough power for science to continue through 2025, and possibly support engineering data return through the mid-2030s. After that, the two Voyagers will continue to orbit the center of the Milky Way.

Learn more about the Voyager spacecraft HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

Back to School: How to Get an A*/8 or 9 in an English Lit Essay!

Happy September, everyone!

As we all get our gears in motion to start a new year, I thought I would share my top tips for scoring the highest marks in English Literature essays. 

(P.S. Lots of these tips are applicable to other subjects too)


1. Don’t write about the character as if they are real

Unfortunately, this is a common error in English Lit essays. It is absolutely imperative to remember that a character is not a person, but is a construct of the writer in order to present an idea or theme. No matter the question, you should be linking your answer back to the writer’s ideas and theme of the text, even if it doesn’t seem obvious what the theme is on the first inspection of the question. Using the author’s name frequently in your essay will demonstrate that you recognise the character is not a real person - ‘Shakespeare portrays Macbeth as a tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle as…’

2. Don’t analyse the plot

Avoid analysing the plot or when things happen in the text. Don’t write ‘When X happens it makes us think Y’. Instead:

  • Analyse the writer’s use of language, structure and form to create meaning
  • Do a close language analysis of specific words/phrases, including a sound analysis (plosives, assonance, etc.)
  • Do a structural analysis of what happens when and why that’s important (Freytag’s pyramid)
  • Do an analysis of form (stage directions, dramatic monologue, etc.)

3. Keep your answer relevant throughout

You need to be explicitly answering the question - not going off on a tangent nor trying to change the question to suit an answer that you want to write. One way of avoiding this is by starting each paragraph with a topic sentence, summarising what that paragraph is going to be about and how it answers the question. Another method is simply by rewording the question into your answer at the start and end of every paragraph. At least. For greater impact, include synonyms of the word, which can also help with the readability of your answer.

4. Avoid PEE/PEEL/etc. where you can

Thousands of students are taught the same, basic Point-Evidence-Explain (or variant) analytical paragraph structure. If you want to stand out, show academic strength, and achieve the highest marks then you must break free from the chains of PEE! (This also applies for your introduction format. ‘In this essay, I will argue…’ gets pretty dull after reading it 100 times)

For my students, I will be teaching them to write What-How-Why paragraphs:

WHAT has the writer done?

HOW have they done it?

WHY have they done it/is it effective?

This way, your focus is always on why the writer has chosen to use that specific language/structure/form, but it allows you to be creative in crafting your response. Being able to discuss the ‘why’ of literature is the key to unlocking the highest grades. Reading through examiners’ reports this summer has made one thing clear - it is not enough to merely spot linguistic devices or structural features. You must explain why the writer has chosen them and why that is an effective choice (or not).

5. Avoid sweeping statements about context

The main advice here is to only include comments about the context of the text if it adds to the analytical point that you are making. They should not be a bolt-on sentence, but they should enhance your answer.

Further, sweeping claims like ‘All Jacobean women were oppressed by society’ is far too vague. On the other hand, a comment like ‘Lady Macbeth is a disturbing example of womanhood because she denies her gender at a time where the role of a woman was clear-cut, even patriarchal, in Jacobean society’ suggests that you have a greater understanding of how context can influence the writer’s choices.

6. A plan is your best friend

Always, always make time to plan your answer. A method I recommend is, first, circling the key words in the question (character/theme, what you are asked to do, where in the text you are asked to look, etc.). Secondly, write all of your ideas down onto the page, highlighting parts from the extract if you have that in front of you. Finally, select a judicious number of points that you are going to talk about (quality not quantity here) and number the order in which you are going to make them.

If you are writing a comparative essay, each paragraph must start and end with a comparative point about whatever it is you are comparing (characters/themes/etc.) I suggest the following format:

X is presented in both text A and text B. However, in A the author uses device 1 and 2 to demonstrate X. On the other hand, in B, the author demonstrates X via use of device 2 and 3.’ Then write one paragraph for each text. Repeat this again for another similarity. And again for a third - if you think that is appropriate.


Photo credit @eintsein 🌻

“summer storms always felt like coming home”


lovely tonberriesandcream commissioned me to draw this scene from an absolutely stunning fic called running on air, which is 75k of beautifully written slow burn with long road trips across the country, muggle cars, unusual career choices, flower fields and starry skies, time turners and memories stored in tiny glass vials

believe me, you really want to read it

started from the bottom

now we’re here

5

Took a while but finale doodles :D Oh geez man super stoked for Season 4! I actually got confused on the whole Beth clone thing and I’m also curious if Jerry changed for the better or not… Like there was that moment, but you know… People change after a while… But maybe it’s to help build more conflict…? Aw man, so much to think about even after a whole week!

One thing that really threw me off was Beth (?) saying that everything would be like Season 1 again, but I was rewatching Season 1 and realizing how everyone’s relationship really changed throughout the seasons. I’d be worried if everything really would be back to Season 1 and I’m hoping that Beth just said that since she doesn’t know how much Morty and Summer have changed. (But then there’s the behind the scenes video where the creators were talking about how they made it look like people grew in character but actually didn’t…)

And while people around me were kinda mad at the finale, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE STAFF-WIELDING RICK. Such fun fight scenes…! And kudos to the president for putting up such a fight.

And Rick’s autism comment made me super nervous for two seconds until he said he loves it and I was like “!!!!?????” My little brother has autism and it was such a cool shout out to the community. Would it mean Rick is autistic or is he just saying he has autistic tendencies? Ah, but let’s not get into that too much.

AU. Demon Keith & Little Takashi (10/12 yo)

Story! (sorry for the typos):

They meet each other in a forest near Shiro’s grandpa home in a old town. People don’t like the forest for the legends of nasty demons (galra) the humans are protected by the Alteans (a nice demons?) they’re not angels.

Shiro is a noisy kid so when he see Keith for the first time, he was in awe bc the demon was so beautiful & small (demons are big and scary, no?).  So Shiro can’t shut his mouth and spurtle how pretty Keith was. Since then both have gradually become friends, Keith even distrusting because humans are super irrational and aggressive. Shiro didnt worry because Keith had no evil presence.

No one knew about Shiro’s new friend and he was going to keep it a secret. For several summers, Shiro visited Keith until his parents need to travel for business and need to leave the country. They were both overwhelmed. Shiro was going to lose his best friend (and crush). But he promised Keith that he would return to his side, no matter what!

Surprised, Keith smiled at him (Shiro loved the demon smiles!) And made a little pinky promise

4

Stage one, initialise: “Small wins of time”
To wine and dine with neurons that know how to love

Me, the machine

Can dream

Washington D.C. in 48 hours

From rooftop views of the White House to the best Indian food in the city, Garrett M. Graff, former editor of Washingtonian magazine, reveals how to spend 48 hours in the capital.


Day One

08:00 – Like a local

It’s hard to miss the power and grandeur of Washington, the centre of the city remains a political powerhouse and it permeates nearly every corner, but there’s also much more to the city than simply politics.

After landing at Washington Dulles International Airport and you’ve settled in, start your morning like the locals with coffee and breakfast at the Tryst Coffeehouse in funky Adams Morgan, before heading up to the National Zoo (Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, to give it its full name). It’s seen a dramatic renovation in recent years that has turned its 163 acres into a shining gem filled with great exhibits from elephants and pandas to American buffalo. Entry is free and it’s open 364 days a year.


Noon – Power lunch

Recharge with a casual pub-style lunch at Duke’s Grocery on 17th Street NW (have the Proper Burger) or indulge in the city’s best Indian food at the fine dining Rasika in Penn Quarter, where you might very well find yourself dining next to a Cabinet member. Don’t miss the palaak chaat – crispy flash-fried spinach – that’s one of the city’s most-requested dishes.


14:00 – Read all about it

Spend the afternoon at the Newseum, the towering interactive museum of news, where you can revisit the world’s most notable events, and lose yourself for hours watching old footage and breaking news coverage. The Washington D.C. Explorer pass offers a package admission to the Newseum and other top D.C. sights like the International Spy Museum.


17:00 – No reservations

Getting into many of Washington’s hottest restaurants has grown harder in recent years, with some of the most popular adopting no reservations policies that can lead to long lines. At Bad Saint, a 24-seat Filipino restaurant – named as the second best new restaurant in the USA by Bon Appetit magazine in 2016 – lines can begin as early as 17:30.

Not up for waiting? Plan ahead with a reservation at Tail Up Goat, a Michelin-starred restaurant featuring creative Mediterranean and Caribbean food by chef Jon Sybert – expand your drinking horizons at the bar by following the lead of sommelier Bill Jensen.


Day Two

08:00 – Morning rush

Breakfast at the Old Ebbitt Grill, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, usually packed with lobbyists and power players first thing in the morning before the tourist crowd sets in during the day. 


09:00 – Famous figures

Across the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery is best known for its stark and formal Changing of the Guard ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, honouring America’s war dead, but the 600-acre cemetery is home also to the graves of many famous figures like John F. Kennedy – marked with an eternal flame ­­– boxer Joe Lewis, and Pierre L’Enfant, the architect who designed Washington. Save your feet and jump on the Hop-On, Hop-Off trolley.


Noon – Fit for a First Lady 

Lunch on the Georgetown waterfront at Fiola Mare, the glimmering Italian seafood restaurant of chef Fabio Trabocchi – a favourite of Michelle Obama.


13:30 – Remember them

Spend the afternoon wandering ‘America’s Front Lawn’ on the National Mall, starting at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Wall, then up to the sunken World War II memorial, where you can see the emotional visits of buses filled with veterans, and gaze up at the Washington Monument. [NB the monument is closed until spring 2019 but can still be looked at].


14:30 – A history lesson

Nearby, take in Washington’s hottest new attraction, the giant National Museum of African-American History and Culture, honouring the artistic contributions of African-Americans while also wrestling with the nation’s still-unfolding racial legacy of slavery and civil rights. Plan ahead – or wake up early – to score timed-entry tickets, but it’s well worth the effort.


17:00 – Treats and eats

Spend the evening wandering the environs of 14th Street NW, which has been the centre of Washington’s revitalization over the last decade. Window-shop at the boutique Salt and Sundry, Detroit-made watches and leather goods at the city’s flagship Shinola store, or vintage and antiques at Miss Pixie’s, a long-time 14th Street fixture. 

Once you’re hungry, the area has something for every palate: for the city’s swankiest French bistro, try Le Diplomate, where the breadbasket alone is worth the visit. 

Prefer Latin American? Try Tico for its hibiscus margaritas, tacos, and a delicious shredded cabbage salad. Or, on nearby 17th Street NW, get in line for mouth-burning, authentic Thai food at Little Serow [NB Little Serow is shut for summer 2017, reopening 7 September] from one of Washington’s top chefs, Johnny Monis (if it’s a weeknight, be in line by 17:00 or 17:30 for dinner, if it’s a weekend, try even earlier). Once your name’s on the list, have a drink around the corner at Hank’s Oyster Bar while you wait. 


Where to stay 

W Washington D.C. – head up to the cocktail bar for presidential views down on the neighbouring White House.

Washington Hilton is home to many of the city’s black tie galas, including the star-studded spring White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Hilton Garden Inn is a new hotel in the city’s West End, you’ll be just around the corner from where former President Barack Obama has set up his new office.

Plan your Washington trip now


Words by Garrett M. Graff, former editor of Washingtonian magazine 

Photo by tpsdave on Pixabay

Let’s Talk About Midnight, Texas

“Did you just find a new fandom?” 

I had been talking about the premier episode of Midnight, Texas all. day. long. Seriously, there was nothing anyone could do to get me to shut up about the show. In fact, I was demanding all of my friends watch the show. When I first heard about the show, I was apprehensive to say the least.

The initial trailer seemed to be missing something. It’s possible I didn’t look close enough, or this character really wasn’t included. Chuy Strong appeared to have been erased from the Midnight, Texas universe, and I was livid. As such, I took to Twitter to express my distaste. You’re really going to make a show like this and not include the gay guys? Really? Monica Breen corrected me quickly. “You mean Chuy? He’s in the first episode.” Oops, ignore the angry queer girl in the corner. I chose to watch the first episode and reserve any judgment. 

Y’all. I don’t even know where to begin. This show is remarkable. I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris. I have read all of her books several times. When I get frustrated about writing, I remind myself that a bad ass like her went out there and created magic. Then, I go for it and write weird shit like stories about Weresharks. Screw it, it’s all fair game. If Charlaine can create all manner of creatures and monsters and magic, I can too. Seeing the world of Midnight, Texas come alive has practically been a religious experience.

The cast for this show is insane. To be honest, no one in the cast is how I mentally pictured any of the characters in the book. However, once the show began and they started speaking and acting, I was sold. These people really are the best choices. 

One of the first things we see in the first episode is Manfred Bernardo (François Arnaud) conducting a psychic reading. At first sight, my initial reaction to Arnaud was “That is not what Manfred looks like.” Manfred was supposed to be a walking “I’m a freak” billboard. He was supposed to be all tattoos and piercings and vibrant hair color. Francois Arnaud looks so…normal. This dude is light years away from normal, and I say that in the most complimentary fashion possible. Watching him interact with a spirit no one else could see, getting possessed by that spirit, talking to his dead grandmother…I’m sold. Arnaud is Manfred Bernardo and I couldn’t be more delighted by that. Someone in casting watched him and said “YES!” and did the world a huge service. As for the missing tattoos and piercings…they’re still there, just subtle. The closer that I watched the character, the more frequently I would catch a glimpse of something shiny or of some ink. This is attention to detail on a whole other level.

Sidenote to go with Manfred: Xylda (played by Joanne Camp) is brilliant. This woman comes off as the well meaning (albeit dead) grandmother with some spark to her. She could be leading you to a messy situation just to amuse herself, or she could really be aiming to take care of you. Buy the ticket and take the ride.

Olivia Charity (Arielle Kebbel) is one of the first citizens we come across in midnight. Another thing that worried me about the show was what would happen with Olivia. Would they turn her into some daddy-issue-ridden-sex-kitten? Y’all. High fives all around. Olivia is every inch of the badass in the show that she is in the books. Even in a scene where Olivia is in her underwear, it’s not in order to be sexy. She was off duty and getting ready for bed (it would appear) when her help was needed. Who the hell has time for pants? Olivia grabbed up her bow and arrow and went to work. This girl is murder and kindness and energy and grace and strength rolled into one and she. Gets. Things. Done.

Next up, we meet Bobo Winthrop. He is renting out a house to Manfred. Whoever cast Dylan Bruce as Bobo deserves a raise and a bottle of whisky. I fell in love with the character of Bobo Winthrop in the Lily Bard series. We watched him grow from a goofy teenager to a man with a huge heart. His family situation imploded and Bobo just kept plowing forward. He has always had a calm, easy going, charm about him. This guy, though, has one “weakness” so to speak. He can stand on his own two feet and has proved that many times. Bobo is at his most effective with a woman’s support. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he always needs a romantic partner. He just happens to do best when there is a woman there to tell him “This is okay, you are okay, I’m here.” There’s a scene in the first episode where Fiji and Bobo are sitting together and a police officer asks to speak to Bobo privately. Fiji gathers herself to leave, Bobo reaches for her and asks her to stay. That is classic Bobo. He knows he can do it alone, but would prefer not to. Dylan Bruce managed to bring all of Bobo’s best parts to the table.

Creek Lovell is played by Sarah Ramos. If I’m honest, I never gave much thought to Creek in the book series…even though her family has a pretty solid plotline. Sarah Ramos has given Creek so much depth that I am officially in love with Creek. Don’t get me started on shipping Manfred and Creek…I’m already there. She’s a strong woman trying to do right for her brother Connor. All I want for her are good things. During episode one, it is Sarah Ramos in voice over giving the lowdown on the citizens of Midnight. It appears Creek knows a little about everyone there.

In the book series, Reverend Emillio Sheen was a mysterious creature. He kept to himself and tended his church and graveyard. As the books progressed, he added on the care of young Diederick, but still stayed somewhat disconnected from the world around him. Between the talented writers and the wonderful Yul Vasquez The Rev is a brand new man. Sure, he’s still mysterious. Everyone in Midnight has their secrets. But, the way this character is written and acted have me empathizing so much more with him. It was an unexpected quirk of the show, but not unappreciated.

Lemuel Bridger (played by Peter Mensah) is probably the world’s coolest vampire. Not only has he been around long enough to control his impulses, but he can also leech energy instead of taking blood. Watching Mensah play Lemuel in a moment of bloodlust (where he leeched Manfred instead) was breathtaking. The careful, controlled, restraint shown was exactly what one would expect in that situation. His interrogation of the Sons of Lucifer member was horrifying and wonderful. Mensah definitely showed how immune to the concerns of humans an ancient vampire would be.

Fiji Cavanaugh in the books and the show is a breath of fresh air. This witch is incredibly brave and talented. Additionally, she’s not afraid to show her softer side. Fiji has always been a motherly type of character. I didn’t know what to expect with Parisa Fitz-Henley playing Fiji. Really, I don’t watch a lot of TV shows (only Midnight, Texas and Supernatural right now!) and am not familiar with her work. From the second Fitz-Henley took the screen, I was smitten. This woman…wow. She is kind, courteous, bad ass, and magical. This year, we got Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman…by the same token, we need to appreciate the hell out of Parisa Fitz-Henley as Fiji. The heart of everything Fiji is can be found in loving kindness and a desire to protect others. She is, for sure, the Wonderwoman of this show.

Let’s put the next two together, because that’s where they belong. Chuy and Joe Strong (played by Bernardo Sarcino and Jason Lewis respectively) are couple goals. These two men are angels…literally. In the first episode we get treated to Joe unfurling his wings and flying around. Can we just take a moment and appreciate the VFX and SFX teams? Joe unfolding his wings was gorgeous and a little gruesome. In their daily lives, the two men run a tattoo shop (Joe) and Nail Salon (Chuy.) The second episode treats us to a touching exchange between the two men. Though it is of Chuy questioning Joe’s decision to go flying and a little tense, you can see the love they have for each other. These two men have watched over the crossroads for ages. The end of the second episode reveals that Joe was in Midnight millennia ago. I cannot wait to see how things progress this season and to have Chuy and Joe’s perspectives on unfolding events.

Y’all…I literally do not have a single complaint about this show. There are certain unexpected aspects of it, but none of them are unpleasant. With episode two concluding, the overarching plotline for the season is starting to come together. The strengths and weaknesses of the citizens of Midnight are being revealed. Add in the amazing writing and killer visual and sound effects and this show really is a can’t miss.

P.S. Fiji’s cat talks…and he’s got a Texas accent! 

anabellerosenai  asked:

Hello, could you write this for a Drarry drabble? Soulmate AU where you experience unfathomable, collapse, sob and heave, pain when your soulmate is about to die. Draco Malfoy has experienced this pain at least 3 times and keeps a journal for it. He has felt this pain the day after the dark lord was vanquished, (maybe near-death from abusive/neglectant relatives?), when Quirrel burnt to death, basilisk biting Harry, etc. Bonus if Draco loves his soulmate and worries every pain may be The Death.

((the infamous carrot prompt was easier than this…oh my god… here take it.  I give up. I’m so sorry if this isn’t what you were hoping.))

Entry 1- 1988
I don’t remember the first time so I can’t write it down. Mother and Father told me I was a baby and I got hurt and they didn’t know why. They took me to St. Mungo’s and a healer said I was fine.  My soulmate died. That is why I hurt so bad.  I thought I was going to die yesterday.  I am alive still. The healer said maybe my soulmate got recreated and bad luck made my soulmate die again so soon.  The healers want me to write it down.  Maybe if it ever happens again I can write that too.  They don’t think it will happen. I hope I can see them if they get recreated again.

Entry 2- 1992
Mother had the healer come see me at Hogwarts so I didn’t have to leave school.  She called it an “episode.” I had another “episode” she said.  It doesn’t sound as bad as it was.  I don’t remember it hurting so bad last time.  Last time I didn’t cry.  I think I cried because I was sad.  Not just because my chest hurt.  I couldn’t breathe for a minute.  I’m supposed to write down what it felt like.  It felt like when you smash your finger in a door but not just on your finger. On your whole body.  

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