on the way to the monastery

anonymous asked:

Deep in the Himlayas, there reside a monastery of monks who have abandoned the ways of our world. They do not use technology, nor do they know of any current trends. Then, one morning, a single praying monk can hear, in the distance, an echoing roar of battle: 'BRI EATS ASS'. And he says 'nice'

@klubbhead You did this.

I love the idea that Zenyatta is the angriest of the Shambali

that he who uses orbs of discord and knows how to fight was one who was frustrated with the suffering of the world

who saw Overwatch as a chance to help in a more active way than the Shambali afforded him

the fact that he hadn’t come home in a while, wondering if his brothers and sisters would welcome him, speaks of a Zenyatta whose beliefs don’t fully align with the other monks

And that Zenyatta found Genji and immediately related to him because he found somebody who had more anger in him than Zenyatta felt, that he, unlike the other more tranquil Shambali, could understand and guide Genji better

Zenyatta who is angry, but not weighed down by it–who uses anger as energy, who despite having left the monastery is still one of the most advanced Shambali who touches upon the Iris on a semi regular basis

Zenyatta who is passionate, whimsical (”I dreamt I was a butterfly”), strong and emotional, but who has enough mastery to use that emotion to help him succeed. Who taught Genji the same, that anger isn’t a bad thing if it’s balanced, if it’s channeled into the energy to do and be better, and to help others. 

Classical music subgenres
  • Fairy children dancing
  • ONWARD TO WAR
  • Electric guitars haven’t been invented yet so violins are still the sexiest instrument
  • Heavenly choir that’s way too long
  • Lost in a monastery and too timid to interrupt chanting to ask for directions
  • That one from the Bugs Bunny cartoon
  • Emilia’s garden parties are such fun!
  • Constance’s garden parties are not as fun as Emilia’s but still quite pleasant
  • Must we attend Gertrude’s garden party (Mother says we must)
  • Fairy adults dancing (NSFW)
  • You’ve heard this song a thousand times but your boss’ child has a flute solo so you have to keep nodding along
  • ONWARD TO WAR but with an indefinable Russian edge
  • An Italian man is singing from his belly so this is probably about love
  • (too quiet) TOO LOUD (too quiet) TOO LOUD
  • Intellectual supervillain shows off liberal arts education
  • Your boss’ other child has a ballet recital
  • Christmas
  • The other famous ballet that isn’t Swan Lake or the Nutcracker
  • Sitars?
  • The composer thinks cellos are sexier than violins
  • More dancing fairies but with an insidious tonal shift so you can tell it’s the weird kind with horns and this isn’t the nice part of the story
  • Church music that’s too bland to be heavenly choir or chanting
  • The Big Six

no but (among the 1424356 other things on my list) i so need to write a book about medieval history for a popular audience, just because the reality would blow people’s minds

there are so many things you can learn from it, so many misconceptions to destroy, and such an interesting social and cultural study of people learning to do things in different ways after rome fell. they had a period of almost 1000 years where classical culture was NOT the automatic standard. that is why we have gothic architecture and script. why they invented new literary and artistic genres, why they developed new laws. where, unlike in the ancient world, women and slaves were not relegated to a position of utter inferiority – in fact, slavery was abolished throughout most of the middle ages, and only began returning in the 16th-17th century when people were determined to replicate the criteria and legal systems of antiquity. same with women. you can find records of women doctors, bookbinders, copyists, shopkeepers, traders etc throughout the high middle ages. women religious were HUGELY influential; the abbey of fontevrault in france was required to have an abbess, not an abbot, in charge. queens regularly ruled whenever the king wasn’t around. it was only in 1593 that france, for example, decided to outlaw them from public/professional life. the salic law, made by philip iv in the early 14th century, barred them from inheriting the throne and later spread throughout europe, but that was not the case beforehand.

don’t talk to me about how “feudal anarchy” was a thing. feudalism was the last thing from anarchy, and it wasn’t about a lord mistreating or killing his peasants however he pleased. it was a highly structured and regulated system of mutual obligations – not a desirable condition for the serf, but still the bedrock on which society functioned. serfs were not slaves. they had personhood, social mobility, could own property, marry, form families, and often obtain freedom once they were no longer in an economic condition to make serfhood a necessity. abbot suger of france (late 11th-early 12th century) was most likely a son of serfs. he was educated at the same monastery school as the later king louis vi, ran the kingdom while louis vii was on crusade, and became the foremost historian of the period and partially responsible for establishing the tradition of ecclesiastical chronicles.

don’t talk to me about how everyone was a fervent and uncritical religious fanatic. church attendance on the parish level was so low that in 1215, pope innocent III had to issue a bull ordering people to take communion at least once a year. the content of clerical grievances tells us that people behaved and thought exactly as we do today – they wanted to sleep in on sunday, they wanted to have sex when they pleased, they didn’t believe the guy mumbling bad latin at them, they openly questioned the institutional church’s legitimacy (especially in the 13th century – it was taking assaults on every side as splinter and spinoff sects of every nature grew, along with literacy and the ability of common people to access books and learning for themselves). in the 14th century, john wycliffe and the lollards blasted the rigidly hierarchical nature of medieval society (“when adam delved and eve span, who then was the gentleman?”) partly as a result, wat tyler, a fellow englishman, led the peasants’ revolt in 1381. yes, the catholic church had a social and institutional power which we can’t imagine, but it was fought and questioned and spoken back to every step of the way.

don’t talk to me about how they were scientifically ignorant. isidore of seville, in the frickin 7th century, wrote books and books on science and reason from his home at the center of the andalusian “golden age” in muslim spain. toledo in the 9th century was a hotbed of theology, mathematics, and writing; admiring western european observers called multicultural, educated iberia “the ornament of the world.” in the 8th century in the monastery of jarrow in northumbria (aka in the middle of FRICKING NOWHERE) the venerable bede was able to open his “ecclesiastical history of the english people” with a discussion on cultural, linguistic, demographic, historical, geographical, and astronomical details, and refers to britain’s location near the north pole as a reason for its days being long in summer and short in winter (“for the sun has then departed to the region of Africa”). while bede’s information is obviously imperfect by virtue of his social and chronological location, he is a trained scholar with a strong critical sensibility and the ability to turn a memorable phrase; discussing an attempted imperial coup by an illiterate roman soldier, he sniffs, “As soon as he had seized power he crossed over to Gaul. There he was often deluded by the barbarians into making doubtful treaties, and so inflicted great harm on the body politic.”

don’t talk to me about how they were uneducated and illiterate. they were well versed in antiquity and classical authors through the high middle ages. they didn’t just suddenly discover them again when the 15th century started. the renaissance wasn’t about finding the texts, it was about deciding to apply them in a systematic way. beforehand, the 13th century saw the rediscovery of aristotle and the development of a new philosophical system to compete with the long-entrenched and studied works of plato. thomas aquinas and the dominicans were writing in this century. dante wrote the inferno in this century. i could go on.

don’t talk to me about the stereotype of the silent and oppressed woman – we already discussed that a bit above. i should also add, women usually had voting rights on the level of their community and this wasn’t regarded as odd. i already wrote a ranty post earlier on the myth that “it was just medieval times” and thus a rapey free-for-all.

we should also talk about how a form of gay marriage was legal for hundreds of years – two men could take wedding vows in a church and live together like any other married couple (though they called them “spiritual brotherhoods”). we should also talk about the cult of male bonds between knights in the 12th/13th century, and how it was idealized as the highest form of love. i also wrote a post a while ago about richard the lionheart and how sexuality worked. so.

we should talk about how all of this was happening in the time period that routinely gets written off as basically a wash between the fall of rome and the renaissance. we should remember that the renaissance was what led to modern structures of oppression for women, slaves, etc – everyone who had been worth nothing in antiquity. we should tear into the myth of historical progress and how it was invented to justify massive, wholesale colonization, genocide, and “civilization” in the supposedly enlightened 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – because nothing we do now, apparently, can be as bad as what those bad ol’ bloodthirsty ignoramuses did back then.

we shouldn’t idealize the medieval era as a golden age either. that is never the right way to approach history. but we should take a long, long look at why we are so insistent on our simplistic, erroneous concepts of this time period, and how exactly they serve to justify our behaviors, mindsets, and practices today.

further reading to support any of these topics available on request.

things my shakespeare professor said over the past semester

“toni morrison did not develop the career she has because she spent her time in drug-fueled orgies.” EDIT: my friend reminded me that our prof said orgies, not threesomes, and that the following sentence was “no, she spent her time at her desk producing very fine novels.”

(about acting in shakespeare) “this is not the golden globes or whatever, if you’re not white, you can still participate.”

“many important things are discovered on the way to the restroom.”

(what sonnets mean) “please sleep with me”, “i wish i could be with you so we could get it on, but you’re far away and we can’t so all i can send you is a dumb poem”

“juliet is a very smart chick.”

(a few vague threats) “oh, i laugh, but people cried.” “i will cut you.” “when i am sardonic, you will feel bad.”

(about the histories) “it’s mentally easy if you see it all as game of thrones.”

“the plantagenets were no longer in charge, which was good, because they were bitches.”

(about richard III being obsessed with anne) “i’m not just some horny dude that wants to sleep with you, it’s just that you’re so hot that i had to mow down everyone else in my way to get to you.”

“what’s the fun of throwing a party if you don’t not invite people?”

“you fuck with my kids, your kids are going in a pie.”

“the people who are in love [in comedies] are usually young, dumb, and boring.”

“comedies begin in shit places- if the play opens and the sky is falling, you’re in a comedy.”

(about ephesus in the comedy of errors) “everyone’s a witch here, let’s just bail.”

“henry VIII breaks with the roman church and fucking destroys every monastery in sight.”

“henry V started off as a party-going, panty-chasing loser.”

(about hamlet’s entrance in I.ii) “it’s always fun to arrive late to the party, it does imply that you have a fascinating social life.”

“conspiracies are erotic.”

“art, am i right?”

7

My fave roboys–I like to think there was this interval where Genji was feeling like an actual person again but hadn’t quite adopted the ascetic lifestyle, and so he just ran around screaming about how incredible it is to be alive, doing backflips and harassing the other monks haha

Also shout out to @scuzer for Genji’s face headcanon–the way they draw Genji’s face single-handedly convinced me that he ought to have one lol.

FOUR SHADES OF JON

JON SNOW

  • emotional
  • sweet, pure angel
  • plays hard to get
  • wouldn’t hurt a fly
  • he saw a pussy once and then fainted
  • doesn’t know where to put it ” l almost touched a pussy once! ”
  • he’ll probably end up in a monastery

JON STARG

  • impulsive, territorial brother
  • man bun on fleek, sexfur on
  • fucker of redheads
  • everyone lust after him
  • he gets a boner by just looking at his sister
  •  he’ll strangle you with his eyes if you say sans-
  • ultimate goal have sex with his sister in the Godswood preferably against the heart tree

JON THE PLAYER

  • semi man bun
  • manipulative and cunning, would resort to anything to get his own way
  • zero fuck to give
  • duty over everything else
  •  professional killa
  • his devastating secret weapon *longclaw* is between his legs
  • they play hard to get but  still wake up in his bed in the morning
  • “they all have the hots for me look, l just fucked my aunt !”

JON STARK

  • extra babe
  • married his dream girl
  • took his wife’s last name
  •  only has eyes for his wife
  • favorite hobby creates his own vocabulary with sansa as suffix
Fuel to Fire (3)

Stucky x reader

Notes: fluff, tattooing, some angst, smut (m/m and m/m/f), anxiety, depression, mentions of parental negligence, swearing. 

Summary: Living their dream, Bucky and Steve run their tattoo shop ‘American Ink’ together, happily married for several years and business is going well. When a girl walks into their shop and inevitably into their lives right after they’ve received some exciting news, they have no idea how their lives are about to change with some harmless but straight-forward flirting.

Fuel to Fire (intro) Fuel to fire (2)

A/N: Take caution, guys. It’s pretty sad and graphic story telling. 

“There’s something about her, Buck. She’s smart, gorgeous; but there’s something different” Steve muses as he’s calmly, though focused, moving his pencil across paper. The sketchbook lays on Bucky’s shins that are haphazardly placed in Steve’s lap.

“I know. I’m not sure what it is either, but there’s a darkness there” Bucky muses, watching their giant flatscreen television, though not really watching whatever show is playing.

“Yeah” Steve mumbles, and Bucky notices he’s not drawing anymore.

“Can I see?”

Steve shrugs and hands his sketchpad over. The design is simple, no fuss, exactly like Y/N comes across to them. The front sight of an Orchid, a straight lined triangle drawn over it. Within the lines of the triangle, the Orchid is detailed and clear. Outside of them, the petals of the flower are dark coloured and detailed as well, like looking at the negative of a photograph. It’s a rough draw, but beautiful on its own.

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anonymous asked:

Sorry if I'm bothering you but can you share why you think avatar is bad?

hoo boy man ur asking for a lot bc that show is a complete and utter M E S S. first, heres the main phrase my tibetan ass wants u to think about: its a show using asian/indigenous ppl and their devastating histories made by ignorant weeaboo white men. I want to write about it in detail bc i’ve always wanted to say something about this but never rly got around to doing it. maybe ill send this in letter format to the writers lol. anyways im going to split this up into parts. I’ll put a readmore bc its kinda long

@bryankonietzko take a nice long look if u still use tumblr lmao

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Our Slayer, The Goof

DM: “You come to a large and imposing gate blocking your way from a monastery courtyard. What do you wish to do?”

Slayer: “I climbed the gate!”

*rolls a 2*

DM: “You get less than 2 feet off the ground, before falling flat on your back.”

Everybody: *laughter*

Slayer: “Ok, I take a few steps back to prepare… AND I CLIMB THE GATE!”

*rolls a 2*

DM: “You’ve discovered it is a climb proof gate.”

*everybody dies laughing*

…the gate was unlocked the whole time…

NAME: Joff The Shaolin Monk

AGE: Adult

HERO LEVEL: 4

SPECIES: Meditative, Balanced Human

BACKSTORY: Raised in a monastery by two Shaolin masters, Joff is on an endless search for inner peace.

CHARACTER BIO: Joff is one of the calmest guys you’ll ever meet. Very close with Nick Army, whose aggressive ways completely conflict with his kind nature.

ATTACKS: He’ll attack you with such strength, speed, and ferocity that you’ll never see it coming from his calm fists.

WEAKNESSES: If you push him enough, he briefly enters an uncontrollable rage mode.

FUN FACT: Loves smoothies and smooth jazz.

VOICED BY: James Urbaniak

Zen Habits

Zen Habits Live Simply (don’t just shove it under the rug)

  1. Do one thing at a time. This rule (and some of the others that follow) will be familiar to long-time Zen Habits readers. It’s part of my philosophy, and it’s also a part of the life of a Zen monk: single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

  2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

  3. Do it completely. Put your mind completely on the task. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. If, for some reason, you have no choice but to move on to something else, try to at least put away the unfinished task and clean up after yourself. If you prepare a sandwich, don’t start eating it until you’ve put away the stuff you used to prepare it, wiped down the counter, and washed the dishes used for preparation. Then you’re done with that task, and can focus more completely on the next task.

  4. Do less. A Zen monk doesn’t lead a lazy life: he wakes early and has a day filled with work. However, he doesn’t have an unending task list either — there are certain things he’s going to do today, an no more. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do.

  5. Put space between things. Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

  6. Develop rituals. Zen monks have rituals for many things they do, from eating to cleaning to meditation. Ritual gives something a sense of importance — if it’s important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly. You don’t have to learn the Zen monk rituals — you can create your own, for the preparation of food, for eating, for cleaning, for what you do before you start your work, for what you do when you wake up and before you go to bed, for what you do just before exercise. Anything you want, really.

  7. Designate time for certain things. There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly. You can designate time for your own activities, whether that be work or cleaning or exercise or quiet contemplation. If it’s important enough to do regularly, consider designating a time for it.

  8. Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Each day, there is time designated just for sitting. This meditation is really practice for learning to be present. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or do what I do: I use running as a way to practice being in the moment. You could use any activity in the same way, as long as you do it regularly and practice being present.

  9. Smile and serve others. Zen monks spend part of their day in service to others, whether that be other monks in the monastery or people on the outside world. It teaches them humility, and ensures that their lives are not just selfish, but devoted to others. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you already spend at least some time in service to others in your household, and non-parents may already do this too. Similarly, smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you. Also consider volunteering for charity work.

  10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Aside from the zazen mentioned above, cooking and cleaning are to of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).

  11. Think about what is necessary. There is little in a Zen monk’s life that isn’t necessary. He doesn’t have a closet full of shoes, or the latest in trendy clothes. He doesn’t have a refrigerator and cabinets full of junk food. He doesn’t have the latest gadgets, cars, televisions, or iPod. He has basic clothing, basic shelter, basic utensils, basic tools, and the most basic food (they eat simple, vegetarian meals consisting usually of rice, miso soup, vegetables, and pickled vegetables). Now, I’m not saying you should live exactly like a Zen monk — I certainly don’t. But it does serve as a reminder that there is much in our lives that aren’t necessary, and it can be useful to give some thought about what we really need, and whether it is important to have all the stuff we have that’s not necessary.

  12. Live simply. The corollary of Rule 11 is that if something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. Now, what is essential will be different to each person. For me, my family, my writing, my running and my reading are essential. To others, yoga and spending time with close friends might be essential. For others it will be nursing and volunteering and going to church and collecting comic books. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating the other less essential things in your life.

  13. Live in the NOW

4

Crawford Priory is not a priory at all but called such for its resemblance to a monastery. It was in fact just the lovely home and estate to some of the Earls of Crawford in Scotland. It has been abandoned since 1968! More interesting articles will be on the way!

You guys know what Kai is?! A sweet man who lost his parents with no explanation, causing him to have to raise his little sister by himself. And you know what? He did a damn good job! Of course Nya has her flaws but let’s not forget that she was raised by her older brother, older brother who may only be one or two years apart!

Kai is a sweet man who in the first episode- Was concerned about training in a monastery because it was a place of peace.

Kai is a lovely man who simply uses his ego as a coping mechanism of some sort, it’s not healthy, yes, but he has been trained that if he doesn’t act that way, no one will give him the time of day!

Kai has layers, he’s not a 2d angry character:tm:

Kai isn’t stupid, he was the one to figure out that Lloyd was the green ninja, even though he was dead set on taking up the role. He pushed aside his pride and became a guardian.

Kai is wise beyond his years, which has been shown multiple times.

 I know Kai isn’t a fan favorite, and that’s probably because most people don’t look so deep into characters like I do rip, but Kai is honestly an amazing character and if I didn’t have self control I could type about him for much longer.

The Guide to Moon Lovers Deleted Scenes

It includes deleted and extended scenes, but also different camera angles that were shown in the previews, but not in the actual episodes.

(Warning: EXTREMELY LONG POST WITH PICSPAM! It took a lot of time and effort to create this list so please refrain from stealing and reposting!!!)

Episode 1

Riding to Songak

The various previews and trailers show many shots of Wang So riding to the Goryeo capital which never made it into the aired episode.

Episode 2

Beating a Prince

This is not a deleted scene, just a long shot shown in the preview, but not making it to the aired episode.

The Royal Apology Part 1

The episode 2 preview shows Wang So making a disbelieving sneer, similar to the one he makes in the actual episode after he hears HS demanding an apology from him, but the background behind him is different just as is the camera angle – so it’s either a deleted scene, a deleted part of this particular scene or simply a different version of it.

The Royal Apology Part 2

Talking about different camera angles, it’s clear that the PD used different camera angles in the previews and in the aired episodes. Just compare these screencaps – in the drama version the PD changes camera angle when he shows WS’s reaction after HS avoids his „apology“, however, in the preview we see his reaction from the previous camera angle.

Eun’s Black Eye

The episode 2 preview shows Jimong, BA and Won laughing at Eun’s black eye – while the scene stayed in the aired episode, this particular moment never appeared in the final cut.

The Queen and the 3rd Prince

An undescribed scene between Queen Yoo and Yo.

The Wolf Killer

The flashback showing WS surviving his fight with the wolves ends with him throwing the torch while standing on the slope of the hill with the Kangs below; however, the released stills reveal that the scene actually continued with Wang So making it down the hill and confronting the Kangs about their attempt to kill him.

Episode 3

A Stolen Look

Just before Wang So leaves Soo and Wook in the bamboo forest, he steals a look at HS and while the moment stayed in the aired episode, we only see him look away from her, not actually the moment of him slowly, almost secretly looking at her. That moment is only shown in the previews and you can see a hint of something more, something deeper in So’s eyes there.

Wang So’s Nightmare

The moment with little Wang So tied up as a hostage shown as a memory in episode 14 was originally a scene deleted from episode 3. Hae Soo came to his room to return his butterfly hairpin, but left when she saw him having a nightmare about his childhood. Supposedly the Chungju Yoo clan and Shinju Kang clan had a feud between them, so when the Yoo army was attacking the Kangs for some reason, they put So up there to stop the attack. In episode 3, So wakes up and follows Hae Soo to the stone piles and they have a discussion about motherhood (a scene which was added in the rebroadcast version) that leads So to eventually decide on covering up his mother’s plot.This is also why when Wang So tells Hae Soo that he’ll be living in the palace, she tells him to stop having nightmares. It would be such a poignant scene because it’d show that even his nightmares are actually real because So’s life has been one huge nightmare until he met Hae Soo.

The Ride to the Monastery

Originally, Wang So’s ride to the monastery in episode 3 was supposed to be slightly longer, just like his ride to Songak in episode 1.

Burning It All Down

The final cut of episode 3 shows Wang So only in the aftermath of setting the temple on fire; however the previews, stills and the way how the camera follows him after he kills the head monk reveal that the entire scene of So setting everything on fire was filmed.

Even the aftermath scene outside of the temple was longer, revealing more of Wang So’s reaction to what he has done. In the drama, we only see him completely destroyed and numb. However, based on this preview still it’s clear that while he initially felt rage and satisfaction after leaving the temple, as everything he did sunk in he started to feel remorse and numbness which is shown in the aired version of the episode.

Episode 4

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My original outline for Still Star-Crossed (the book)

Still Star-Crossed (the show) ended last night. I enjoyed it so much! It looked beautiful. The cast were all fantastic. And it was more faithful to the book than I expected, but still had a lot of twists and turns. If you ever have a chance to see a world-class group of writers and actors take your characters (OK, some of them were Shakespeare’s) out for a spin, I recommend it.

It was also lovely to see how many fans loved the show as much as I did. I’m as frustrated as you guys are that the show ended on a cliffhanger (I’m just another fan! I don’t know what would have happened next season), so here’s a weird little easter egg you might enjoy: This is my original outline for Still Star-Crossed (then called Verona). Back then I envisioned it as a trilogy. Weirdly, Book 2 ended more or less where the show did last night. A LOT of other stuff also changed. (Livia was gonna turn evil? I had no memory of that till I dug this out.)

Enjoy! (Or keep scrolling. It’s long.)


Verona, Book 1

It’s the summer after Romeo and Juliet’s deaths and the city of Verona is a powder keg of fury and grief. Though their families have vowed peace, not every Montague and Capulet forgives so easily. They are obeying the truce – for now. But sooner or later one of the angry young nobles stalking the streets looking for trouble is going to find it.

Lady Rosaline of House Capulet is determined to leave such squabbles behind her for good. Her father was killed eight years ago in one of the endless duels between the families, and ever since, Rosaline, now seventeen, has planned to go into a convent where her family’s infighting can’t touch her. She and her younger sister Livia are admired beauties of Verona, but hold little social standing as their parents’ deaths left them relatively poor. The death of her cousins Juliet and Tybalt only cements Rosaline’s resolve to take the veil as soon as she can provide for Livia. That’s the only way she can escape her family – and besides, she’s secretly sure that there’s only one man she could ever love, and he could never be hers.

But two weeks after her cousin’s death, Rosaline is summoned to the great house of the Capulets. Before she can get there, she’s accosted by a gang of young Montagues at her cousin’s tomb. Before she can escape, she’s caught between warring groups of Montague and Capulet men. Her rescue comes from an unexpected quarter: Benvolio of House Montague.

Benvolio is lost. With his two best friends, he knew who he was: his cousin Romeo was the leader, Mercutio the clown, and Benvolio was the quiet one, the sensible one, the best with a sword but the slowest to use it. Now that they’re dead he’s completely unmoored. He spends his days stalking the streets of the city, hand on his sword, not sure if he wants to prevent fights or start one. When he hears a scream and finds his own kinsmen attacking a young Capulet woman, he has no choice but to rescue her – but he isn’t pleased when he finds out who she is: Rosaline, Romeo’s first love, someone who could have prevented all the strife that followed if only she’d accepted his advances.

The two part, not much pleased with each other, only to find they share a destination: the house of Lord Capulet. Because of the bloodbath, Rosaline and Benvolio are suddenly the highest-ranking young members of their respective houses, and Lord Capulet and Montague have decided that the best way to prove that they mean to make peace is to marry another Montague and Capulet together.

Benvolio, struggling to live up to his sudden new responsibilities in the family, obeys his uncle and agrees to the match. But Rosaline refuses, though the prince himself orders her to do it. She and Benvolio have a blistering fight and she leaves.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in Verona. The great families continue to profess peace, but mysterious insults begin cropping up. The statue of Juliet at her tomb is scrawled with WHORE. A hanged effigy appears in the town square saying DEATH TO ALL MONTAGUES. No one seems to know who is sending the messages, but tempers on both sides begin once more to boil.

Rosaline refuses to leave her house. She won’t see her uncle, or any other Montague or Capulet. She does admit Juliet’s former nurse, who minded all the girls when they were small, out of sympathy, but won’t go with her to the Capulets’ house. When summoned, she sends her sister Livia to her uncle’s house to claim she’s sick. While Livia is there, she stumbles on a surprise: her aunt, Lady Capulet, supposedly bedridden with grief, has actually been very busy. It seems Juliet’s erstwile fiance Paris, supposedly killed by Romeo, was actually only wounded. Lady Capulet spirited him away before anyone could learn the truth and she’s now nursing him back to health in a secret chamber. Lady Capulet swears Livia to secrecy, telling her that if the Montagues knew Paris was alive, they’d kill him. Flighty, romantic Livia is already half in love with Paris, and she agrees to keep the secret if she can come and help nurse him. But Paris is under the thrall of Lady Capulet, whom he calls his angel.

Rosaline goes to Father Lawrence and asks him to bring her to a convent. Lawrence, who is out of favor because of his role in the Romeo affair, goes to the Prince and tells him her plans.

The Prince’s response is to hold a ball. It’s in his sister’s honor, and he knows Rosaline can’t ignore the invitation without giving offense, because years ago when Rosaline’s mother was the Prince’s mother’s lady-in-waiting, they were all playmates. All of Verona’s high society turns up at the ball, so they all witness Rosaline leaving with the Prince when he calls her away for a private audience. That would not be a problem, except that they don’t come back. The Prince proceeds to get Rosaline drunk in his private chambers so she won’t notice he’s kept her away from the party for a scandalously long time. But it backfires in an unexpected way.

Once she has half a bottle of wine in her, icy, obstinate Rosaline is gone, replaced by a playful passionate girl who blindsides the prince by admitting she’s adored him for years and kissing him. As he forgets himself and begins to kiss her back, she gets woozy and he puts her chastely to bed.

The next day, he coldly reveals his plan: She, an unmarried girl, has just spent the night in his house. If she goes along with his demand that she marry Benvolio, he will let it be known that she spent the night quite properly with his sister. If she doesn’t, he will say nothing. Her honor will be ruined and neither she nor her sister will ever make a decent match.

The prince forces himself to go through with this, even though he’s beginning to feel something for her. Rosaline agrees, of course – she has no choice – but he can see her feelings for him die.

Rosaline outwardly agrees to the match, but in truth she’s more determined than ever to escape the vipers’ nest of Verona nobility. She goes to her “fiance” and strikes a deal: Neither of them truly want this match, so they will get to the bottom of who’s making trouble between the families and make it stop. If they can make real, lasting peace between the two families, there will be no need for their marriage, and they can both be on their way.

What they don’t know is that it’s Lady Capulet who’s behind the troubles. It’s she who defaced her own daughter’s statue. Rosaline and Benvolio arrive just after the statues have been defaced a second time, and Rosaline recognizes a mark left behind in the paint: it’s from the beaded train of a dress. The saboteur is a woman.

Livia and Paris, meanwhile, are being drawn deeper and deeper into Lady Capulet’s plans. Paris has begun leaving her house in disguise, picking fights with Montagues, including Benvolio. Livia, angry over the way the Montagues “attacked” him, goes to the Prince and tells him that Benvolio and the Montagues are behind the attacks.

Benvolio denies this. He believes, because of a note that he’s intercepted from Livia (though he doesn’t know it’s her who lost it), that someone in the Capulet household is behind what’s been happening, but because he’s been accused himself, no one believes him.

Things really take a turn for the worse when the nurse turns up dead. Of course it was Lady Capulet, but since the nurse has a note thrown on her body saying “thus to all Capulets” scrawled on a Montague crest, it looks bad for the Montagues. In fact, the crest was stolen by Livia, who didn’t know what it would be used for.

The families withdraw within their respective walls. Livia and Rosaline are sequestered within the Capulets’ house with the other women of the family. Rosaline’s engagement, of course, is no more, but she uncovered enough evidence with Benvolio – and she’s grown to trust him enough – not to quite believe the charges against him.

Rosaline is sleeping in her cousin’s former chamber when a desperate Benvolio climbs the balcony (yep) to tell her he’s innocent and to beg her to help him clear his name. She leaves with him, not before being seen by a sleepy Livia.

Rosaline and Benvolio flee the city and go to Father Lawrence to beg him for help. He’s withdrawn to a monastery some miles away, but Benvolio is convinced that he knows something about the true culprit. He admits he does, but can’t say what it is (Livia confessed her theft of the crest to him, so he knows it was Lady Capulet). His discomfiture is evidence enough to raise their suspicions.

On their way back to the city, a storm forces them to stop for the night, and they’re accosted by brigands. The “bandits” are actually led by the Capulets’ former servant Peter, who decided to seek his own fortune on the road. An exhilarating escape from their clutches leads to a kiss for Benvolio and Rosaline.

Afterward, they return to the city to find it in an even worse uproar than when they left. Livia has raised the alarm that her sister was abducted by a Montague, and the two families are now in open war.

Paris finally reveals himself, and challenges Benvolio. Rosaline reunites with Livia and finds out about the crest that she stole. After telling Livia how it was used, Livia admits that it was Lady Capulet who took it from her. Rosaline and Livia bring the evidence before the prince, who orders Lady Capulet exiled.

Though badly wounded, both Paris and Benvolio survive the duel. The two families once more establish an uneasy peace, but they agree that the forced marriage isn’t a good idea. Rosaline and Benvolio’s engagement is dissolved, and they both discover they’re not quite as relieved about that as they expected to be.

The prince apologizes to Rosaline, and reveals that he persuaded the two families not to press the issue of the marriage. She forgives him for what he did to her before, but still isn’t sure she trusts him. He promises to win her trust back – and, privately, decides he’s going to court her.

With Lady Capulet gone, Rosaline is now the mistress of the extended Capulet family. She decides a nunnery isn’t for her, and that she will stick around. Paris, angry and confused, leaves town to follow Lady Capulet, despite Livia’s pleadings that he stay.

Benvolio realizes that he’s in love with Rosaline, but when he goes to see her, the prince is already there. Knowing it’s suicide to compete with the city’s ruler for her hand, he decides not to tell her how he feels.

Book 2

Rosaline has come farther than she could have dreamed possible. She is the toast of Verona society, she is the de facto head of the Capulet household, and she’s practically engaged to the prince. But she’s not as happy as she ought to be.

For one thing, her friend Benvolio has entirely turned his back on her. She doesn’t understand why he refuses to see her, or why he seems so angry when they do meet.

For another, her adored sister Livia has been acting strangely. Rosaline tends to think of Livia as a child, and never realized that she was in love with the exiled Paris. Livia blames Rosaline and Benvolio for Paris’s exile, and she wants revenge. She forges some documents to make it appear that Rosaline has been conspiring against the Prince. Rosaline is forced into exile herself (so much exile! But, you know, Shakespeare), and flees the city.

No sooner has Rosaline left than Verona comes under attack. A mysterious army surrounds the city and lays seige. Rosaline is presumed killed in the opening battle. Ever-loyal Benvolio is made general of the prince’s armies, but assumes the position somewhat reluctantly, since he blames the Prince for Rosaline’s death. A brutal, desperate war begins.

Rosaline, meanwhile, is not dead. When she finds herself in the midst of a war, she disguises herself as a boy and joins the enemy army, hoping to learn something that will help her city. She finds that it’s a ragtag group of mercenaries hired with the promise of plundering wealthy Verona. No one seems to know who the leadership is. Rosaline falls in with Peter, the Capulets’ former servant turned bandit turned mercenary, as she tries to get closer to the army’s leadership.

Eventually she finds that the army is being led by a trio of angry traitors: Paris, Lady Capulet, and Iago of Venice. Paris and Lady Capulet are motivated by revenge, Iago by plunder. Rosaline follows them when the army feints a retreat to Padua. When she’s wounded, she takes refuge with a relative who lives there, Beatrice of Messina, whose husband (Benedick) visits Iago with Rosaline as his “page” so that she can steal Paris’s battle plans.

Rosaline takes Paris’s battle plans and races back to the city with them. She and Benvolio, having each thought the other dead, have an emotional reunion in an army tent. They admit they’re in love with each other and decide to get married if they survive.

Rosaline and Benvolio deliver the battle plans to the prince, but they don’t realize they’re only a ruse: Paris’s true secret weapon is Livia, who opens the gates of the city sewers so Paris’s army can pour in and overwhelm the city. The prince is captured, and most of Verona’s army is cut off outside. Dun dun DUN!

Book 3

Verona is under occupation. Those of its nobles who kowtow to “Governor” Iago are left more or less alone, but those who maintain loyalty to the prince are exiled or killed, their lands and houses seized. The mercenaries run roughshod over Verona.

To give a semblance of legitimacy to the occupation, Livia and Paris are married and put in as rulers. Livia is deliriously happy at first - Paris is all she’s ever wanted. But he’s still under Lady Capulet’s thrall.

Rosaline has, to all appearances, become an empty-headed young noblewoman, content to go to balls and be Verona’s social queen as though the city isn’t burning around them. In fact, she and Benvolio are secretly working to free the prince and rout the enemy from the city. They, along with Friar Lawrence, are leading the resistance.

As Iago’s rule grows more brutal, even the mercenaries become discontented. Rosaline uses her friendship with Peter to start to sow division in the ranks.  

When Livia realizes that Paris has been sleeping with Lady Capulet all along, she decides to help Rosaline. Together they manage to free the Prince. Paris and Benvolio fight again; this time Paris is killed.

Verona’s army returns to the city. The mercenaries, most of whom have no interest in trying to hold the city, flee. The prince captures Iago. Lady Capulet runs; Livia tries to stop her, and Lady Capulet stabs her. She dies in Rosaline’s arms. Trapped, Lady Capulet commits suicide at her daughter’s grave.

Order is restored in the city, and the Prince, back in his place and assured of Rosaline’s loyalty, assumes they’ll be getting married as they planned. Rosaline is torn - she loves Benvolio, but she cares for the prince too, and since House Montague’s fortunes suffered so badly during the war, Benvolio’s been pushing her away because he doesn’t think she deserves a poverty-stricken husband.

But the prince is also refusing to give Livia burial in her family’s vault - despite Rosaline’s pleadings, he insists her body be buried by the road outside the city with the other dead from Iago’s army. She finally gets her way by threatening to kill herself if he doesn’t allow her to bury her only family properly. When Benvolio, unaware of all this controversy, comes to lay a rose on Livia’s grave, Rosaline bursts into tears, throws herself at him, and insists on going to find Friar Lawrence right then so she can drag him home and seal the deal. Happy ending!

Black history month day 17: St. Moses the Black.

Saint Moses the Black (330–405), (also known as Abba Moses the Robber, the Abyssinian, the Ethiopian, and the Strong) was an ascetic monk, priest,and a notable Desert Father.

St. Moses was a servant of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. He became the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. Once while attempting to hide from local authorities, he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Wadi El Natrun, then called Sketes, near Alexandria. Their peace, faith. And commitment deeply influenced Moses deeply and he soon gave up his old way of life and was baptized and joined the monastic community at Scetes.

St. Moses was known for his imposing strength. He was once attacked by a group of robbers in his desert cell. He fought back, overpowered the intruders, and dragged them to the chapel where the other monks were at prayer. He told the brothers that he did not think it Christian to hurt the robbers and asked what he should do with them.

Though Moses was very zealous, he became discouraged when he concluded he was not perfect enough. Early one morning, Saint Isidore, abbot of the monastery, took Moses to the roof and together they watched the first rays of dawn come over the horizon. Isidore told Moses, “Only slowly do the rays of the sun drive away the night and usher in a new day, and thus, only slowly does one become a perfect contemplative.”

Once Moses was invited to a meeting to discuss an appropriate penance for a fellow monk who had sinned, When he came to the meeting, Moses took a leaking jug filled with water, or possibly a basket full of sand, and carried it on his shoulder. Upon being asked why he was carrying the jug, he replied, “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the errors of another.” On hearing this, the assembled brothers forgave the erring monk.

St. Moses died at around 75 while defending his monastery from bandits. He is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Eastern Catholic Churches, and the Lutheran Church. He is the patron saint of Africa and pacifism.

Haunted Places in Romania (according to Wikipedia)

Argeș County

Trivale Forest in Pitești - There is a legend about a maiden, daughter of a rich landowner, who loved a poor servant of her father. Her father found an old rich man for her to marry, but during the wedding day, she ran with the servant in the forest. Her father found them and killed her lover and then decapitated her. It is generally accepted that the two scary things about the forest are: the decapitated ghost of the bride and the people going into the forest to do satanic rituals.

Bacău County

Zarifopol Mansion in Filipești – Called by locals “the House of Evil”, the mansion is the site of several reports of paranormal activities: indistinct voices, bizarre sounds, steps, cold currents that “walk” through walls.

Bucharest

Bazilescu Park – Also known as Nicolae Bălcescu Park, Bazilescu Park is located in Bucureștii Noi neighborhood. Within the park is the Summer Theatre, built in 1953. During the night, in the area can be heard strident sounds and the cough of a man (whereof it is said that belongs to Bazilescu), coming from beyond the columns of the derelict theatre.

Central Girls School – Inside this historical building and its courtyard have been reports of strange sounds, cold breeze and fetid odors, but were also seen levitating objects, doors and windows that open and close without any human intervention.

Chiajna Monastery – This ruined monastery has its root somewhere in the 18th century, during the rule of Alexandru Ipsilanti. It was a big monastery, with thick walls, reason for that the Turks “confused” it and assaulted it. Moreover, some historical sources show that between its walls died of plague the Metropolitan of Wallachia, Cozma. The land and the building have never got to be sanctified. For these reasons it was abandoned, and the monastery’s bell was thrown in the Dâmbovița River, people blaming it cursed and leaving it in ruins.According to locals, the bell can still be heard ringing on full moon nights, many audio records proving this fact. Moreover, it is said that on one of the walls near the entrance can be glimpsed the face of a beautiful lady, which is said to be Ancuța, the daughter of Mrs. Chiajna, who would have been killed on the orders of her mother after she ran with her beloved without her mother’s approval. On top of that, in the area would have been several murders and numerous mysterious disappearances.

Cișmigiu Hotel – The building was closed in 1970 and reopened in 1990, when it was converted into hostel for students of the Faculty of Theatre and Film. Legend says that in a weekend, when all the students were away on vacation, a young woman from Moldova was raped and then thrown into the elevator shaft. She died there, after three hours she desperately cried for help, with no one to hear her. Many say that her screams can still be heard.

Hospital of the Posts – Previously housed in the building behind the Stavropoleos Church, Hospital of the Posts was a site of organ trafficking. It is said that, especially in long winter nights, can be heard on adjacent streets groans and cries of those who died in hospital beds.

“House of the Devil” on General Praporgescu Street – The house, which now looks degraded, is distinguished by the ivy that covers it entirely. It is the site of two tragic events: in the interwar period, a man would have killed here two women, and within a few years, a young woman would have committed suicide.Some say that on full moon nights on one of the walls of the house can be seen the number 666, symbol of the devil, and here would live a demonic entity full of hate and anger, that can be felt from afar.

Orphanage on the French Street – Legend says the house, located at number 13, is haunted by no less than 203 children’s spirits. In this orphanage were brought homeless children, even by its owner – Stavrache Hagi-Orman. He kept the kids in unimaginable conditions, without water and without food. After dozens of children died of starvation, the orphanage was closed. Locals reported voices of children crying “Water, we want water!”.

Vernescu House on the Victory Avenue – It is named by locals “Cellar of the Devil” (Romanian: Hruba lui Scaraoțchi). Here still operate a casino. It is said that in the past century, several players committed suicide inside the house after they lost the entire fortunes at roulette. Reports indicate three ghosts that haunt the house. They shake the furniture, cause air currents and sometimes even appear on the hallways of the building. Passers also reported strong odor of sulfur in the building’s yard.

Witches’ Pond – According to the legend, the pond located in Boldu-Crețeasca Forest, having a diameter of only 5 m, is the place where Vlad the Impaler was beheaded. It is said that after the 1977 earthquake many trucks unloaded debris in the pond, with the aim of stoppering it. Within weeks, the debris disappeared in its waters, although the pond has a depth of only one meter and a half. Locals say that many times when pregnant women didn’t want the child went to the pond, bathed and ridded the pregnancy. Even the animals would be scared of this place: there would be no frog or any being that lives in the pond, and the animals don’t drink water from there. The pond is famous for the gipsy witches that gather each year to Sânziene, St. George and St. Andrew to practice their magic rituals. Near this eye of water have been observed over time strange phenomena, like globular lightnings or storms started suddenly. The pond never change, doesn’t dry, doesn’t expand, whether it rains or is drought. In a video from mid-90s is shown a strange phenomenon: in midsummer, on an area of some square meters it snowed, immediately after a woman from the stunt team was terribly amused while trying to put a helmet on the head of a mannequin that portrayed Vlad the Impaler.

Călărași County

Călugăreasca Forest – It is a forest of mulberry trees, where it is said that the wind never blows. Here, people say that existed a monastery of monks, but they were killed by the Turks, and the place was made one with the earth by the pagans. The last monk killed by the Turkish army threw a curse upon them. So that, after death, the spirits of those who have defiled hands with the blood of the monks returned in thickets of Călugăreasca, from where they never found the way out.At the edge of the forest are also a lot of crosses, which legend says that stand sentry as the pagans’ spirits can not escape. People are reluctant to seek the thickets of Călugăreasca due to the curses, and the only safe place in the woods was the large white cross that reminds about the monastery and that protects those who pray next to it when the night catches them in the grove.

Cluj County

Bánffy Castle in Bonțida – Dubbed “the Versailles of Transylvania”, the castle is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a young servant who paid with his life because he revealed that his mistress deceived her husband. Another variant is that the place is haunted by the ghosts of those who died in Bánffy during the Second World War, when the castle was converted by Germans into a military hospital. Legend says that there were often seen sinister shadows that seemed to be of some soldiers, while through walls were heard strange noises, groans, sounds of footsteps or indistinct voices.

Hoia Forest – The forest near Cluj-Napoca has long been known for the mysterious events that take place here and was even cataloged as a gateway to another dimension. Dubbed “the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania”, the forest is one of the most active areas of the world in terms of paranormal phenomena. Legends would have occurred, it seems, after a shepherd disappeared into the forest along with his 200 sheep and no one managed to find neither he nor any part of the flock. It was only the first mysterious disappearance that took place in the forest. People who accidentally pass right through active areas report skin burns, redness, irritations, headaches, amplified sensation of thirst, anxiety, sensation of fainting. Hoia Forest became famous in the world after on 18 August 1968, military technician Emil Barnea photographed in the Round Glade (Romanian: Poiana Rotundă) an UFO, the photos being among the few of this kind genuine, according to experts. Numerous accounts of villagers reported unexplained physical sensations, observations of various shapes and colors lights, strange shadows, voices and human faces. The local vegetation is often bizarre. The trees have strange shapes, even human faces can be depicted from their trunks. In 2000, Alexandru Pătruț, President of the Romanian Society of Parapsychology, caught a strange phenomenon in the forest, around the Easter: a kind of sap flowed profusely from the top of the trees. Next day, everything was dry. He also reported strange sounds of ambulance sirens, tire exploding and even cuckoo clock. The forest was included in top 15 most haunted places in the world by the American magazine Travel+Leisure.

Constanța County

Tomis Nord neighbourhood from Constanța Supposedly, the neighbourhood is haunted by a woman who was decapitated by her husband who believed that he was cheated on.

Dâmbovița County

Bride’s Trinity on DN7 – On national road DN7, near the town of Găești, there is a monument called Bride’s Trinity or Margareta’s Trinity. Here it is said that on 24 September 1936, Margareta Ștefănescu died in a car accident, even on her wedding day, and since then the place has become cursed.  In the area have occurred a lot of fatal crashes, even if the road is straight and with maximum visibility. The road was “baptized” by locals “the Road of Crosses”. In the road tragedies are involved especially men. For example, only in 2008–09 in that place 12 young men died, mostly unmarried. Likewise, there were several reports of a silhouette of a woman dressed in white near the trinity.

Dolj County

Radovan Forest – Dozens of people, especially men, have drowned over time in Lake Fântânele of Radovan. Locals put numerous tragedies on account of the curse of a bride, who legend says that in the 1940s hanged herself in the forest surrounding the lake. Her story has two versions: one, according to that a young Moldovan woman arrived in Oltenia with her family, would have committed suicide after her husband was beaten to death on the night of the wedding; the second version says that she has committed suicide after, even before the wedding, would have been raped by a kulak that employed her. Locals say the bride haunts the road near the forest, and the passers are advised to move quickly and try to simply overlook any sound or appearance, otherwise the bride will lead them in the heart of the forest, from where they won’t ever return.

Bulzești commune Villagers talk about the “creatures by the hill”. A long time ago, the village was moved because of the strigoi. According to a villager:“The evil spirits haunt us at both day and night. Nobody dares to go up the hill because of the vampires. A neighbour has paralyzed many years ago when he bumped into one of the evil spirits. He couldn’t find his peace and does bad things to all those around him” The Romanian poet Marin Sorescu, born in the commune, mentioned the legend in his poem “Dumneata”: One night, here, by the fountains,| Where homes are rare, due to the ghosts |Who they say have showed around |And the people were strained to put houses there, for the ghosts to have their place.(…)

Iași County

House of Gavril Buzatu on Manta Roșie – In this house from Iași lived Gavril Buzatu, “the last executioner of Moldova”. The house was the site of several killings and atrocities. It is reportedly haunted by strigoi about people think would be the thieves beheaded by Gavril Buzatu. During the night can be heard howls of beast or human, followed by roars of laughter. Here can be seen strange lights that “run” through the mansion, especially during the winter. A former tenant reported a black creature running through the nearby forest. Likewise, were seen flames lighting up suddenly in the abandoned salons.

Lungani Hill – It is said that the hill that separates the villages of Goești and Brăești is haunted by thousands of ghosts of soldiers from the World War I. Locals reported white lights, silhouettes of soldiers descending from the cemetery into the valley, at night, late after 12 o'clock. On the other side of the hill, in the commune of Lungani, peasants saw headless people who went on the road or even the devil in the body of child or cat.

Maramureș County

E58 near Cicârlău – The area is known by drivers as one where many accidents happen. The accidents are attributed to a ghost which is said that comes out from the crops and scares the drivers. In the 1930s, a young woman named Pălăguța, envied by women for her beauty, was accused of witchcraft and beaten to death. Old people speak about a kind of animal with very long legs which haunted the village in Tuesday nights. It is said that appeared after midnight and went to houses where women violated the church rule. Women would have been hit in the temple and died or remained paralyzed.

Prahova County

Iulia Hasdeu Castle in Câmpina – Bizarre by its architecture, Iulia Hasdeu Castle was built by writer Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu in the memory of Iulia Hasdeu, his daughter, who died at age 19. It is said that the castle was built in accordance with the indications received during some seances, from his dead daughter. Locals say that during the night, Iulia Hasdeu can be heard playing the piano, in father’s applause.

Buddhism: The Hard Questions

  • So, if Buddhism teaches us that the key to enlightenment is the cessation of desire and full acceptance of inevitable change including the fact that everything we hold dear will be taken from us then is this not the same as saying the key is not to want anything and not to care what happens?
  • Is the Buddhist path a path to happiness or just numbness? 
  • Is the Buddhist path something that can be achieved by regular people or is it just another one of those impossible religious standards that nobody can possibly meet except the rare saint?
  • How can the realization that all will be lost possibly make anybody happy much less enlightened?
  • Is enlightenment any more real than heaven or hell?
  • Why would anybody want to live without desires? Isn’t love a desire?
  • Does acceptance that we are going to lose everything make these losses less painful? How would this lessen my pain if my beloved dog was run over?
  • We all know we are going to die. Everybody dies. We have no choice but to accept this fact but does this acceptance in any way make death less frightening? According to Buddhism, it should but it doesn’t does it?
  • Where is the comfort in Buddhism? At least the Abrahamic religions hold out the remote possibility of immortality. Isn’t this far more comforting?
  • If Buddhism is a peaceful religion then why were the Buddhist nations of  China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and others so militant historically?
  • Why do Buddhists put little kids into monasteries before they even have a basic understanding of the world much less Buddhism?
  • Aren’t Buddhist monks living useless and selfish lives by living on charity so they can reach enlightenment?
  • If Buddhism is non-materialistic then why are people in Buddhist countries like China, Japan, and South Korea so materialistic?
  • Isn’t reincarnation just a way of keeping the poor people in their place by making them focus on the next world just like Christianity does?
  • Didn’t the Buddha abandon his family including his newborn son and leave his elderly father alone to eventually lose his kingdom?
  • Didn’t the Buddha refuse to ordain women at first? Aren’t women still second class citizens in most Buddhist traditions?
  • If the Buddha was just a teacher then why are there so many miracle stories associated with him? Why do people pray to his idols?
  • How is just sitting quietly going to accomplish anything? In fact isn’t it true that most of the world’s Buddhists don’t meditate?
  • Isn’t possible that the Buddha only wanted people to be compassionate and kind and the rest of the stuff is just window dressing?
  • Isn’t it true that the discourses attributed to the Buddha are often vague and even contradictory? Example: the Buddha instructs us not to believe something just because he or another teacher says it but in another discourse identifies doubt as a hindrance to the attainment of enlightenment. Is this correct?
  • Isn’t it true that Buddhism romanticizes poverty? How is this a good thing?
Emotion and Pacing in comics

One of the reasons that I love comics so much is that there are many valid ways to approach the medium. When I make comics, the parts I’m most concerned with are character and story. Everything I draw on the comic page is in service to character and story. Because of my focus on those two elements over, say, experimenting with my art and page structure, I will sometimes get criticism that my work is safe or boring. This is probably fair criticism! I don’t do a lot of experimenting with paneling or challenging storytelling or explicitly challenging artwork in my comics, because right now that’s not what I’m interested in. Maybe I will be more experimental someday, but not right now, with the kind of stories I want to tell. :)

When I make a comic, my goal is for my readers to be engaged with the story I’m telling, and the characters in that story. That’s also what I look for when I want to read a good comic. I want characters to love, I want a story to be engaged with.

For the most part, I struggle with drawing comics (most artists do, if we’re honest ;)), but there are some parts of comics I think I have a good handle on. I feel like I’m strongest when portraying emotion on the page, and I’m good at drawing those scenes out and making the reader feel what my characters are going through. Some of the techniques I use to convey emotion came from being obsessed with movies when I was a teenager, and some techniques are stolen from my holy trinity of influences: Jeff Smith (Bone), Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist) and Naoki Urasawa (Monster, Pluto, 20th Century Boys). 

Of the three artists I’ve mentioned, I consider Urasawa especially to be a master of emotion and pacing. When I first started reading his comics, it was like light struck my brain; finally I saw what I’d been trying to do for years right there on the comic page in front of me! I like the way he lays out his emotional scenes a lot. Here’s an example (read right to left): 

Urasawa uses repeating panels and decompression to draw out the emotions of a scene. In this single page there isn’t a lot of movement. It’s literally just two characters staring at each other, but the tension rises going from panel 1 to panel five. Gesicht (the man)’s expression doesn’t change between panels two and five, but we literally feel his anger rising off-panel, concluding in the close up in panel 5.

There’s an excellent You Tube channel called Every Frame a Painting (I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, please go watch all the videos! There aren’t many, and they’re all really informative). My favourite video is this one, about editing:

This video hit on something that I strive for in my comics: emotion takes time. When I draw a scene that is emotional, when characters are struggling with something, or celebrating something, or being challenged, I want my readers to feel what the character is feeling, and one of the best ways to do that, for me, is to take my time. To give that emotion time to breathe on the page. 

I’m going to use some scenes in my graphic novel The Nameless City to illustrate how I use decompression and pacing to underscore the emotion in my comics. To avoid spoilers and because this is getting a little long, I’m going to put it under a cut. Please read on! :)  

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