setting the standard for the rest of the year

noonfter  asked:

ALRIGHT CONSIDER OK so my friend had a midnight OH SHIT moment and thought of gai/zabuza because holy shit. Gai seeing zabuza as a "what if" version of Kakashi Bc the whole //I'm a tool I exist only to be used by the village// thing and the fact he's shunned for his demonic chakra and bloodthirsty nature and Kakashi is shunned for his father !!! Imagine gai being like yes ok ur my second eternal rival and determined to help zabuza out of the darkness like he did with Kakashi AND IMAGINE (1/2)

THEIR KIDS??? tenten being ecstatic because swordsman!! And pestering him for lessons and neji and haku!!! Them sparring and neji determined to find a way I beat his ice mirror jutsu and just imagine zabuza taking one look at Lee and being like oh god not a mini ok kid get over here and I’m gonna teach u how to use a sword it’s for the greater good and haku just is so amused and happy Bc gai is a ray I sunshine and it’s good ok

Um. Oops?


Zabuza is honestly still waiting for the other sandal to drop.

“And this one!” the admirably bloodthirsty little girl breathes with clear reverence, lifting a sword off the wall and turning to offer it to him.

Feeling mostly bemused, Zabuza takes it, judging the balance, and feels his eyebrows climb involuntarily. “Well now,” he says, checks the forger’s stamp on the hilt, and whistles. “Where’d a brat like you get a Toye blade?”

Rather than taking offense, Tenten beams. “I took it off a samurai in northern Ame,” she says cheerfully. “He had no idea how to use a sword. I was doing the world a favor.”

Zabuza chuckles, because this brat he can connect with. He flips the sword up, catches it, and tries a couple of thrusts, and it’s not Kubikiribōchō, but it still moves like a dream, folded steel glimmering blue like ripples of water.

Tenten watches him like a proud parent showing off her children, hands clasped in front of her as she bounces on her toes. Almost reminds him of Mei, really, though she likes sharp things more than lava. Likes sharp thing a lot, seeing as the walls of her apartment are pretty much floor-to-ceiling weapon racks, and that’s not even counting the scrolls full of more standard weapons piled high on a shelf.

If only the rest of her team were like her, honestly.

From the kitchen, there’s a loud cry of victory in two voices, and Zabuza swears he can feel his eye twitch. Tenten doesn’t even seem to notice as she takes the Toye blade from him and carefully sets it back in its stand, but Zabuza supposes it would take a lot more than a bit of noise to shake her if she’s really been on the lunatic’s team for a whole year already.

“Second rival!” said lunatic cries, skidding around the corner to present him with a beaming smile and two thumbs up. “We have successfully created a meal that will nourish your flames of Youth! Come, my friend! It is ready!”

Zabuza has encountered more exclamation points in the last two days than he had in his entire life before this, and he isn’t quite sure what to think of it. He eyes Gai for a moment, then glances past him at Haku, who is splattered liberally with what is probably batter and is frazzled but trying not to look it. The Hyuuga kid seems entirely resigned to his fate as he carefully wrings out his long hair over the sink, and Zabuza can’t see the clone thing but he can hear crashing off to the side.

How the hell were they beaten by these ridiculous people, Zabuza thinks, and resists the urge to drag his hands over his face.

“We’re not friends,” he tells Gai. “You tied me up and dragged me to this shitty village and I am going to kick your ass for it.”

Gai’s grin, if anything, grows wider. “Yosh, you are clearly full of Youthful Vigor! It warms my heart to see such spirit in my second eternal rival! Shall we have a rematch? Our intense man to man battle starts now!” He drops into one of the fighting poses Zabuza had originally mocked, but by now Zabuza knows better. This guy is terrifying. And not just because of the spandex.

“Not in my apartment, Gai-sensei,” Tenten says almost absently, like this is so common it’s become rote. “And careful where you say that. If Hatake hears he has a rival for your affections, he’ll get jealous.”

Zabuza blinks, then turns to look at Gai again. Just how popular is this bastard?

“You got dipping sauce on your jumpsuit,” Neji says blandly, on his way past with a tray of bowls.

“Ah!” Gai wails, and his hand immediately goes to the zipper of his outfit. “If I don’t get it out immediately, the stain will set!”

There’s a clatter from the kitchen, and the mini-clone skids around the corner exactly like Gai did. “Gai-sensei! I have filled the sink! I will defeat this stain and it will no longer mar the green of our Youthful and manly outfits!”

“Lee! You are going to grow into a great man! One of the Flames of Youth lighting Konoha!” Gai cries, and—Zabuza is pretty sure he’s crying. Those are tears. Backlit by a sunset.

He has no idea what’s going on here.

“You’ll get used to it,” Neji tells him, over the cries of Lee! and Gai-sensei! filling the air.

“Or go mad,” Tenten adds, more cheerfully than is really warranted, on her way past.

Haku edges out of the kitchen, takes one look at the scene, and then clearly decides that Neji is the only safe territory and beats a hasty retreat to practically hide behind him.

Zabuza snorts, though he definitely doesn’t disagree, and turns from staring judgmentally at his apprentice to glace disbelievingly at Gai. He’s just in time to see green spandex go flying, and—

Oh.

Oh.

Zabuza’s hardly a slouch in the muscles department—Kubikiribōchō is an iron sword as tall as he is, and it takes a hell of a lot of strength and a good bit of chakra to use it well. But Gai makes him look like a reedy little genin, and Zabuza already got his ass kicked thoroughly, knows that Gai very well could crush his head like a melon. He hadn’t seen the muscles, though, and that horrible bodysuit hides a hell of a lot.

Zabuza carefully checks that he’s not drooling, tears his eyes away from the way those boxers hug Gai’s truly awe-inspiring ass, and grabs Tenten by the arm as she passes.

The girl’s cunning enough to trip up Haku; she’s definitely his best bet here.

“Who’s this Hatake asshole?” he demands. “A boyfriend?”

Tenten blinks at him for a moment, then tilts her head thoughtfully. “His first eternal rival,” she says, studying him. “They’ve been friends since they were kids.”

Zabuza has a lot of work to do, then. He grits his teeth, then meets Tenten’s eyes. “How much would I have to pay you to run interference?”

Tenten beams, bouncing on her toes. “Swordsmanship lessons,” she says blissfully. “And three new weapons.”

He strangles a groan, but casts a look over her collection anyway. He’s going to have to try really fucking hard to find some she doesn’t already have—her hoard is impressive, especially for a genin. But—

He takes another look at Gai, who’s currently flexing for no apparent reason except fuck that is a pretty picture, Zabuza has not wanted someone to fuck him this badly ever—and then back at Tenten, who’s managing to toe the line between innocent and devilish with all the best qualities of both.

Worth it, he decides without even hesitating.

“Deal,” he says.

Tenten wiggles gleefully. “Weapons!” she says, and practically floats away to keep Lee from destroying her kitchen in his enthusiasm. Zabuza watches her go, then turns at the feel of eyes on him and looks straight into Haku’s slightly horrified and wholly judging stare.

It’s probably a bad sign that Zabuza doesn’t even feel an ounce of shame. He just shrugs helplessly, waving a hand at Gai—still flexing, still glorious—in illustration, and Haku groans and buries his face in his hands.

Zabuza chuckles. Maybe getting dragged all the way from Wave to Konoha won’t turn out to be such torture after all.

prompt: ssm17d24–after winter comes spring
notes: i wanted to contribute at least once for ssm17, ofc

they led separate lives, she as a pseudo head for the hospital, he as an invisible nomad who occasionally worked for the hokage, but always for himself. yet they were connected by a single band on the third finger of their left hand that, for her, she forgot constantly, that was not enough, and for him, a heavy weight that he carried. sometimes, he came back, they spent days together, always with the reality that he would leave soon. she didn’t dwell too much on the feeling, rather, hadn’t she settled in a life of constant waiting, solidified since she was twelve, when he had left for the first time and set the tone for the rest of their lives.

she settled into a quiet understanding, she did not let her moods change when he arrived, rather she worked hard to maintain her warmth all year. she knew if she started to hope, to expect, she would inevitably be disappointed, that it would cause turbulent changes in mood, in standards of living. 

“you smile less often, now,” he had said once, when they lay side by side, fingers touching. he sounded as one did when they could identify the problem clearly, but could not, after much searching, solve it. 

ironically, she smiled, and she touched his face. she never harbored any ill feelings towards him for leaving, she never blamed her state on him, she happily took in everything he gave her. 

“i’m okay,” she said, even though he did not ask, because he knew. 

he sighed, wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her face to his chest. she didn’t cry, she inhaled, and felt comforted by his unchanged scent from when she was young.

they had gone on like that for months, for almost a year, like an old couple who had lived together for fifty years, comforted by their past, yet worn by their unwavering bond. in the heat of the summer, she discovered her pregnancy, and her mood plummeted.

sasuke was ecstatic, he put a hand on her stomach, he rubbed it, he spoke to it even in its embryonic stages. he made porridge for her wary appetite, he closely followed her instructions on tonics, but he did not change his ways, he departed as he usually did, and sakura was so used to not saying anything that she did not, even when her stomach felt heavy, even when she felt like throwing up. 

 sakura’s pregnancy was not pleasant, she was riddled with pains, she was constantly angry, her temper spilling over into friendly gatherings, work meetings and she started to constantly quarrel with sasuke. when are you coming back, she would say as he left even though she never asked; i don’t know, he would reply, and it was true, he came back at any time. he left less often during her pregnancy, but she didn’t notice.

in her seventh month it got worse, she cried often, she held her growing stomach and nobody left her alone. hinata, who was also pregnant, wobbled around her house, and they usually sat together, reading, in the garden. sometimes they would talk, but sakura was content without words. ino came sometimes, newly pregnant, bright and shining, without a bump in her stomach. compared to her, sakura felt dull, fat, and it depressed her. 

he came back one early evening, and was especially affectionate with her; he made dinner, he bathed her, he rubbed her feet. finally, he took her to bed, where he seduced her and made love to her. she slept soundly for once, she was quiet, and he laid awake, watching the curious twitch of her stomach, occasionally running a hand over it, always sending his thoughts to the baby inside. 

“i’ll be staying,” he said to her in the morning, as she slowly woke, as she turned to him without focus, “in konoha.”

she did not feel a weight off her shoulders, rather she felt even heavier, because she understood sasuke’s need to be outside the village, to protect it without being in it. but, she didn’t say anything, she didn’t want to leave him, she whispered thank you, and she fell asleep again.

sarada was born in march, just like her, yet she looked just like him. delivery was difficult, but the sounds of her first cries made sakura giddy, in a way she hadn’t felt throughout her pregnancy, and sasuke handed her the baby. she looked at him, he looked at her, they understood that they were husband and wife, that they were married. sakura’s love reignited, she remembered the academy days of chasing a sullen boy, she couldn’t believe he stood next to her as she gave birth to their child. it seems he understood the same; in an unlikely gesture he bent his head and gave her a kiss, while the nurses watched, while the baby squealed, and he pulled back, kissed her again.

“sarada uchiha,” he whispered, and it sounded like sakura uchiha, as if he was reminding himself of their family, of their unity.

inevitably he left, but as he walked through the door to their shared house, his home, she was comforted by baby sarada’s cries. he kissed her once, twice, and then the baby, once twice, and then he waved goodbye. she looked down at baby sarada, who was entertained by her bright smile. and laughed along with her.

i was yours from the start

summary: a pretty darn fluffy oneshot following the events of the following: world unknown, yours to keep, all that i’ll ever need, and merry christmas, here’s to many more.

word count: ~4400

also read on: ao3, ff.net

a/n: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEAGAN!! (I know, it’s not quite midnight yet for you, but it is for me so it totally counts!!!!) You’re the reason for this whole universe in the first place and you’re the reason I continue to cry every day about it, so I hope you enjoy this fifth installment!! <3  (and everyone go wish my dearest friend @swans-and-pirates a very happy birthday!)


It’s a rarity in the Jones house for there to be a morning of complete silence. Typically, there are two small bodies bouncing on her, begging her to get up. Or, her second favorite way to be awoken- yelling in her face about Daddy being gone.

Emma narrows her eyes at the sight of her alarm clock reading 8:00.

She turns onto her side, facing Killian’s side of the bed. He’s still sound asleep. He got in late and she picked him up from the airport, so he’s probably exhausted and catching up on some well deserved rest. With a small smile, she watches his chest rise and fall gently.

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I JUST FOUND A LIST OF SOME OF THE BEST FACTS ABOUT AUSTRALIA SO CHECK THIS OUT

1. Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.
2. The biggest property in Australia is bigger than Belgium.
3. More than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast.
4. In 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world.
5. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, earns $1 million every half hour, or $598 every second.
6. In 1892, a group of 200 Australians unhappy with the government tried to start an offshoot colony in Paraguay to be called ‘New Australia’.
7. The first photos from the 1969 moon landing were beamed to the rest of the world from Honeysuckle Tracking Station, near Canberra.
8. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote (New Zealand was first).
9. Each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.
10. In 1856, stonemasons took action to ensure a standard of 8-hour working days, which then became recognised worldwide.
11. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Hawke later suggested that this was the reason for his great political success.
12. The world’s oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.
13. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre.
14. Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts.
15. Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world.
16. There were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control.
17. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia (mostly for meat production).
18. Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil.
19. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.
20. In 1832, 300 female convicts mooned the governor of Tasmania. It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”
21. Australia is home to the longest fence in the world. It is 5,614 km long, and was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land.
22. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations.
23. Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world, as it has more top level sport available for its citizens than anywhere else. Narrabri, NSW is Australia’s sportiest town.
24. Before the arrival of humans, Australia was home to megafauna: three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goannas, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. It is theorised that it was also covered in rainforest before humans applied a burning style of hunting.
25. Kangaroos and emus cannot walk backward, one of the reasons that they’re on the Australian coat of arms.
26. Speaking of, Australia is one of the only countries where we eat the animals on our coat of arms.
27. If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all.
28. Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population outside of Athens.
29. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure.
30. And it has it’s own postbox!
31. The male platypus has strong enough venom to kill a small dog.
32. And when the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.
33. Before 1902, it was illegal to swim at the beach during the day.
34. A retired cavalry officer, Francis De Grootstole the show when the Sydney Harbour Bridge officially opened. Just as the Premier was about to cut the ribbon, De Groot charged forward on his horse and cut it himself, with his sword. The ribbon had to be retied, and De Groot was carted off to a mental hospital. He was later charged for the cost of one ribbon.
35. Australia has 3.3x more sheep than people.
36. Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach, and was never seen again.
37. Australia’s national anthem was 'God Save The King/Queen’ until 1984.
38. Wombat poop is cube shaped! This helps it mark its territory.
39. European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per capita than any other society in history.
40. The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than Switzerland.
41. A kangaroo is only one centimetre long when it is born.
42. Sir John Robertson, a five-time premier of NSW in the 1800s, began every morning with half a pint of rum. He said: “None of the men who in this country have left footprints behind them have been cold water men.”
43. The Box jellyfish has killed more people in Australia than stonefish, sharks and crocodiles combined.
44. Tasmania has the cleanest air in the world.
45. The average Aussie drinks 96 litres of beer per year.
46. 63% of Australians are overweight.
47. Australia is ranked second on the Human Development Index (based on life expectancy, income and education).
48. In 2005, security guards at Canberra’s Parliament House were banned from calling people 'mate’. It lasted one day.
49. In Australia, it is illegal to walk on the right-hand side of a footpath.
50. Australia is the only continent in the world without an active volcano.
51. Aussie Rules footy was originally designed to help cricketers to keep fit in the off-season.
52. The name 'Kylie’ came from an Aboriginal hunting stick, similar to the boomerang.
53. 91% of the country is covered by native vegetation.
54. The largest-ever victory in an international football match was when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in 2001.
55. There are 60 designated wine regions in Australia.
56. Melbourne has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for the past three years.
57. If all the sails of the Opera House roof were combined, they would create a perfect sphere. The architect was inspired while eating an orange.
58. Australia is home to 20% of the world’s poker machines.
59. Half of these are found in New South Wales.
60. Moomba, Australia’s largest free festival, held in Melbourne, means 'up your bum’ in many Aboriginal languages.
61. No native Australian animals have hooves.
62. The performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the 2000 Olympics opening ceremony was actually a prerecording- of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
63. The wine cask (goon sack) is an Australian invention
64. So is the selfie.
65. Durack, Australia’s biggest electorate, is larger in size than Mongolia.
66. The world’s first compulsory seat belt law was put into place in Victoria in 1970.
67. Each year, Brisbane hosts the world championships of cockroach racing.
68. In 1932, the Australian military waged war on the emu population of Western Australia. Embarrassingly, they lost.
69. Canberra was created in 1908 as a compromise when Sydney and Melbourne both wanted to be the capital city.
70. A gay bar in Melbourne won the right to ban women from the premises, because they made the men uncomfortable.
71. In 1992, an Australian gambling syndicatebought almost all the number combinations in a Virginia lottery, and won. They turned a $5m purchase into a $27m win.
72. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable, meaning gum trees may explode if ignited, or in bushfires.
73. In 1975, Australia had a government shutdown, which ended with the Queen firing everyone and the government starting again.
74. A bearded Australian was removed from a darts match in the UK, after the audience started chanting 'Jesus!’ at him, distracting the players.
75. There have been instances of wallabiesgetting high after breaking into opium crops, then running around and making what look like crop circles.
76. An Australian man once tried to sell New Zealand on eBay.
77. In 1940, two aircraft collided in midair, in NSW. Instead of crashing, the two planes became stuck together and made a safe landing.
78. The male lyrebird, which is native to Australia, can mimic the calls of over 20 other birds. If that’s not impressive enough, he can also perfectly imitate the sound of a camera, chainsaw and car alarm.
79. Some shopping centres and restaurants play classical music in their car park to deter teenagers from loitering at night.
80. Despite sharing the same verbal language, Australian, British and American sign languageare all completely different languages.
81. In 1979, debris from NASA’s space station 'Skylab’ crashed in Esperance, WA. The town then fined NASA $400 for littering.
82. There have been no deaths in Australia from a spider bite since 1979.
83. There currently a chlamydia outbreak among koala species, which has led to a 15% drop in koala populations.
84. In NSW, there is a coal fire beneath the ground which has been burning for 5,500 years.
85. An Australian election TV debate was rescheduled so it didn’t conflict with the finale of reality cooking show Masterchef.
86. Chinese explorers travelled to Australia long before Europeans arrived. As early as the 1400s, sailors and fisherman came to Australia for sea-cucumbers and to trade with Indigenous peoples.
87. The first European to visit Australia was Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon, in 1606. More Dutch explorers visited the country over the next hundred years, plotting maps and naming it 'New Holland’.
88. Captain James Cook first landed on Australia’s east coast in 1770. In 1788, the British returned with eleven ships to establish a penal colony. Within days of The First Fleet’s arrival and the raising of the British flag, two French ships arrived, just too late to claim Australia for France.

if anyone has a source for this, please add it!

kyoandyuya  asked:

Do you watch Boruto? What do you think of the newest episode that covers Gaiden? Satisfactory or no?

ask me something you’ve always wondered

no I dont ahh its too childish and fillery for my taste. I am on 4G and i’m using my data to read and watch Haikyuu!! plus update my tumblr and study (ill watch gaiden when the whole thing is out when im back home with stable wifi). From what i’ve seen i’d give the animated rendition a 5/10. I am not impressed tbh, the animation style after the last kept going down hill and it’s at lowest point rn. The characters look nothing like their manga counterparts and they aren’t even trying to make them look better, the designs are messed up, the animation is so stiff it’s like you can TELL they used the same drawing and frames to avoid spending money. I am beyond done with SP. That scene with Sarada in the library is just unnecessarily stupid and makes no sense and the lead up to gaiden just shat on ss with the 2 minute date bullshit. People bitch that people who complain are setting the bar too high but? do these people even WATCH anime? Naruto has been shat on by the rest of the anime community for its shitty animation quality, inconsistent fillers and annoying fan base.  

‘they just want to meet a weekly deadline!’ then fucking WAIT like other animation studios do…don’t fuck up kishimotos immaculate art, dont destory Tokyo Ghouls story in s2 and don’t help fuel Bleach’s shipping wars you unprofessional shit house. Why are anime like SNK, BNHA and Haikyuu!! held at such high standards? They give themselves time to ensure the best project execution. I am not asking SP to wait 90 years like SNK but holy fuck the amount of fillers and shitty animation quality is a viral joke at this point..RIGHT after the wedding episodes (which were made to be ugly comic relief style to avoid budget overload) boruto was released which already meant screwed up stiff frame animation that makes me so annoyed because SP CAN do better..they did some crisp frames for bleach, some beautiful fluid fights in naruto, some seamless frames in TG and all in all have had some great graphics. If they can pull some amazing animations like that then how good will they be if they fucking WAIT and do the simplest job- give people what’s in the manga since you are shitty writers and animate to the best of their capacity. Stop with the excessive fillers that shit on characters and add plot holes to the original work that the author worked so hard on and simply do your god damn job.

A simple example since -ic yall havent noticed ive been wanking the haikyuu!! series a lot lately- you started this rant, lets look at these two animation frames of 2 hinatas, one more superior than the other

see how the animation literally focuses on one drawing, moving the frame and adding that effect to give the LEAST amount of effort into the animation? Anime is meant to be pretty and fluid, this is literally just MOVING LINES.

look at this fluid ass eye shot where EVERYTHING is thought out, down to the wind motions moving the hair as he jumps. There is more than one drawing of the eye to give the scene fluidity and even the ‘still’ frames such as his hair are drawn more than once to make them move seamlessly and give them kinetic momentum. The hair moves with the wind and the eye focuses on the enemy as he moves. Thats an animation.

In fact, further wanking haikyuu!! (and literally any other series with a studio that gives a shit) here is a fun fact: in an animation of orange boys eyes, they are made to move with MULTIPLE different drawings, as much as SIXTY different drawings for an animation that lasts less than 5 seconds…and then when the studio goes into one drawing animations they make sure to add movements, shadings and vibrant backgrounds to still make everything look appeasing to the eye and fluid. Compare that to SP who do one drawing FULL BODY frames and do their best to avoid spending time and money to yield results that are as beautiful as THIS

In that jump scene the camera angle and fade out is literally just made to symbolize one of the characters view of the match as he is so absorbed into giving the jumping kid the ball and is so singularly focused on the ball…this goes FULL circle (yes they even kept that much attention to detail in mind) when the match is then shown in an objective manner for the audience with the camera angle showing us the height of his jump and it shaking to show us the impact of it all and then fades out again because orange kid is focusing as he spikes the ball…it’s literally a beautiful piece of animation. They went as far as animating an exaggerated idealized CORRECT and accurate to real life volleyball pose..the attention to detail pays off immensely. 

Even when on a budget, anime is the art of animation..the entire genre of media is based on aesthetic animation. Every shading, shadow, camera angle given by the director, frame and drawing makes a huge difference to the visual story telling aspect of the story. SP not only fucks up the basic definition of an anime but they ALSO add their shitty writing to top it off. 

sorry for the rant omg I went off on a tangent.

What about you? What do yall think?

Before You Know It

This is a Greg Bird story for @sonnygrays because she said she needed one and I figured I would take one for the team and write it. It’s not the best, but it’s something. It clocks in at 11 pages, 5,025 words. You’re welcome, Cait.


When Greg managed to pull himself out of his dead-stare at the x-ray on the exam room wall, he limped back to the waiting room to find his mother sitting in a paneled chair, her eyes scanning the cover of some beat up magazine she’d plucked from the table in front of her. Without a word, he slid down into the seat next to her and placed his head on her shoulder, causing her to briefly tense. Turning her head to peer at him from the corner of her eye, she relaxed, setting the magazine down amongst the rest of the standard waiting room clutter that had accumulated on the scuffed table over the years. Greg seemed to remember this table from childhood, still in the same place it had always been, but newer back then with less scrapes and scratches marring its surface.

He felt ridiculous sitting like this with her; it reminded him of being sick as a child, of the way he would crawl into her lap whenever he felt unwell, seeking the kind of comfort only a mother could give. It wasn’t the way an adult, especially one who played Major League Baseball for the most well-known organization in the world, sat. But then again, wasn’t he sick? Oh, it wasn’t his stomach that was bothering him, and his head felt fine, too. The sickness that plagued him was a broken heart, spurred by the news he’d received in the exam room only moments before.

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Last year, during the Toronto International Film Festival, the filmmakers behind The Promise premiered their film before an audience of 1,500 and were met with a standing ovation. Yet at the same time, the film was being given thousands of single-star reviews through IMDb.

Films should always be given a chance and many times, given internet culture, people unfairly and impulsively despise or support films. This concerted effort looked different than a trending issue for the internet’s next bandwagon. The negative reviews, which climbed to a massive 85,000 before the film was even released, looked like clear sabotage. It came to light this was a cyber plan put together by the Turkish government and executed through a horde of internet trolls.

With enough negativity, any critical response can bury a film and wreck its release. Look at last year’s flop, The Light Between Oceans, which had many bad reviews premature to its release, thus steering audiences away. To similar effect, the Turkish government’s intent with The Promise was to ruin the release because they claim the movie is propagandizes a false history.

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“The Ninth Wonder Of The World” Chyna
[1998]

They called her “The Ninth Wonder Of The World”.  A physically domineering presence, surpassing gender roles and creating a legacy of breaking boundaries, Chyna truly was a pioneer of today’s professional wrestling world. Prior to Chyna’s arrival in the WWF, it was scoffed at to have a female beating up male wrestlers. And yet, Chyna’s partner in the original D-Generation X, Triple H, pushed to have her spotlighted as part of the company’s talent pool.

As a member of D-Generation X, Chyna was essential to the total package of DX, watching her allies’ backs in moments of turmoil and ensuring that the group’s best interests were never in harm’s way. Once she branched out from being by Triple H’s side, Chyna’s star power rose to an incredible success story, as she began racking up a series of “Firsts”. Between January of 1999 and January of 2000, Chyna would be the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble match, would be the first woman to compete in the King Of The Ring tournament, and would, in November, become the first woman to hold the WWF Intercontinental Championship, defeating Jeff Jarrett for the gold.

In 2001, Chyna topped off her legacy by defeating Ivory at WrestleMania 17 to become the WWF Women’s Champion, becoming the first female wrestler in the WWF to have held both a women’s championship, and a title meant for male competitors. Chyna was a pioneer of today’s wrestling world, setting a standard for intergender competition in a world that was known as “a boys club”. She was a focal point of the famed Attitude Era, a Playboy cover girl, and a role model to future superstars for years to come. Yesterday, the world of professional wrestling lost a legend, and the “Mamacita” has gone to join Eddie Guerrero in the squared circle in the sky. Rest in peace, Chyna. Your legions of fans will always remember you, and sincerely thank you.

To The Ones Who Are Waiting

I want to encourage my sisters in Christ about trusting God to lead your heart in potential romantic relationships.

No matter your age, no matter your past experiences, no matter where you’ve made mistakes or had your hopes let down; I pray what I have to share speaks to you. If you are single, please listen.

You don’t want to open up your heart to a relationship with a guy based on the fact he gives you attention, he’s interested in you, he notices you, he sees you for who you are, he likes you, he compliments you, he has great character, he has good qualities. You don’t want to choose a guy based on how much you have in common, how attractive he is, how much you admire him, or the way he makes you feel. You don’t want to be in a relationship just because you want one. All those things can be important to you, but you will settle if you choose to be with someone based on those things.

You should be with a man who loves the Lord with all he is, and it’s evident. You want a man who is on fire for the Lord. What do I mean by “on fire”? He is passionately consumed with love for God; you can see his heart burns for Him. His actions and words declare, unashamed, how much God is his life. Not to impress you, not to show off, but only because he cannot contain it. You want a man who is filled with the Spirit of the living God. You want a man who makes his life aim to glorify God.

You could meet the most perfect man, your dream ideal… and if God is not as vital to him as the heart beating inside his chest… I promise you, it’s like polished gold becoming dull iron. (I do not mean that at an insult). It’s like, what is the purpose of having a relationship if you can’t love and glorify God together?

I say this from personal experience. Once I met someone who was practically perfect for me in almost every way possible, who was one of the most wonderful man I’ve ever gotten to know. He was the most quality guy that had ever been interested in me at that point in my life, and a Christian. I could’ve told you an endless list of all the reasons ‘why he was basically perfect for me’ and pretty much everything I wanted in a man. As I got to know him better, I saw a serious possibility of a relationship, but I kept praying that God would give me wisdom and reveal to me if this man was a yes or a no.

I am so thankful I gave it over to God and asked for Him to give me discernment. I am so thankful I didn’t go with it based on all the good things I knew about him, or how he treated me, but instead I surrendered it to God from the beginning. I told God, basically this: if it’s not Him, I don’t want it. I do not want to step for a moment out of His will. I will give up anything He asks, no matter how good it seems, because my life belongs to Him. My heart belongs to Him. And I trust He knows what is best for me.

God answered my prayers. I came to discover and discern he did not have a close, intimate, growing, vibrant relationship with God. It just became evident to me all of the sudden. In that moment, I lost all attraction that had been there. It was like every other reason that I felt attracted to him -and there were LOTS of them- just fell away.

If someone does not share the love of my life -Jesus Christ- he can’t be the love of my life. Because Christ is central to everything I am, everything I do, everything I live and breathe for.

There are a lot of reasons to choose a man who loves God passionately and fully, but I just want you to realize that when it comes down to being with someone, please don’t let other things override this one vital part that you can’t ignore. I know the danger of meeting someone amazing and the drive-you-crazy time where emotions get in the way and can cloud your judgment. And I don’t want you to settle just because you meet a guy who is great or makes you feel special or desires you. I want you to be wise.

Passion without passion for God will turn into a disaster. It will fall apart. If you want to be in a relationship, you should look to God to direct you. In a relationship, you both should share your heart’s greatest passion in life, and it should be Christ. Do not settle out of want. Do not settle out of allure. Be with someone who loves the Lord more than anything.

And listen, I am not saying that every man expresses his passion and love for God in the same way, some people are more reserved or show it differently (that should always be taken into consideration; don’t just write someone off without getting to truly know and see their heart); but you can tell with the light in their eyes is not there when (and sometimes only if) they mention God. And honestly, God will reveal it to you. He will.

I am not trying to make men feel inadequate in their passion or love for God. I hope in fact if any men read this, it will challenge and encourage men to realize that the most attractive and valuable quality they could have is to love the Lord completely, and to be passionate about Him. This is not about raising your hands during worship or even being a big talker. It’s about your heart. It’s about what evidently consumes it and moves it.

When someone’s love for Christ is alive, it spills over into others and it changes everything about how they are, how they live, how they see things. You can’t see the same things the same and be on the same page if your hearts are not in unison; one of you just won’t understand the other. There is a deeper bond in loving God together than any other commonality you might share.

I understand some people are going to scoff at this, criticize it, reject it, or say that is too harsh. It’s not. I would rather be single the rest of my life than be with someone who does not love God with everything in their being. I want someone who is passionate about Christ and will spur me on. I am not setting an impossible standard for men or expecting perfection; I am just making clear it isn’t wise to get into a relationship without the love of God giving life to the heart of the person you are with.

Be with someone who has a love that is alive for God.

10

American Horror Story: Freak Show Review

Everyone has a curiosity for the abnormal. As a species, we thrive on seeing oddities and exploring uncharted territory, discovering new things and being exposed to the unexplained. And us as humans are the source of that wonder, presenting some very interesting, and sometimes disturbing, results. So for the newest season of American Horror Story, what better than a combination of two immensely unsettling topics: the circus and human deformities. Enter the freak show, the newest subject of Ryan Murphy’s anthology horror series. But after the disappointment of Coven, can this newest addition redeem the series? In simple terms, most definitely.

American Horror Story: Freak Show takes place in Jupiter, Florida, set in 1952. Elsa Mars, played by Jessica Lange, is the owner of the last remaining freak show in the country. The business has dried up, and the public’s opinion towards freaks is less than positive. Struggling to survive, the freaks are delighted when two new members are brought to the show: Bette and Dot, twins with separate brains and sets of organs that share a single body. Excited at the prospect of new business, Elsa pampers the twins and tries to win over Dot, the more cynical and mistrusting of the two. But alas, tragedy quickly strikes the freak show. Now, against all odds the freaks must band together in the hardest of times as new enemies threaten their way of life, and more importantly, their survival. The plot is very solid, and opens up the door for all types of horrors, just like every season of the series. Throughout the season though, Freak Show holds its own the strongest since Asylum. From start to finish, an unfathomable amount of things happen, but it never feels cluttered or too fast paced. The story moves along at a perfect pace, although some stories can drag out a bit. Once resolved though, everything becomes fine and it doesn’t detract from the rest of the season.

American Horror Story has always excelled with its characters, and Freak Show is possibly the best example yet. Jessica Lange returns in graceful form for her final performance on the series as Elsa Mars, the leader and maternal figure to all the freaks. Out of all of her roles, Elsa is by far my favourite character that Lange has played. Maybe it’s because I relate with her desire to make it in show business, but there’s something entrancing about her. Lange always steals her scenes, but it feels even more amplified in Elsa, because her whole character is literally a show stealer. Elsa is an attention-seeking, over-dramatic manipulator, and what a character for Lange’s final role in the series.

Sarah Paulson plays a dual role as Bette and Dot, the conjoined twins. Considering Paulson’s talent, it should come as no surprise that she absolutely owns her roles, but Bette and Dot are definitely Paulson’s best characters out of all the seasons. The way the twin’s mentalities are explored is very intriguing, which gives Paulson gets a lot of room to expand her characters to their full potential. Evan Peters also does a fantastic job as Jimmy, the lobster boy. However, through Freak Show’s progression, I felt like Jimmy was the main character with the least progression. His character is practically identical from episode one to the finale, which is mainly where I felt the story could drag.

Newcomer to the series Finn Wittrock makes an absolutely mesmerizing performance as Dandy Mott, a spoiler mother’s boy who is completely deranged. Wittrock joins the ranks of Anthony Perkins, Christian Bale, and Michael C. Hall as a lovable psycho. Dandy is by far the most interesting character in all of Freak Show, and Wittrock put’s Lange’s scene stealing to shame. Any time he’s on screen, Wittrock owns the whole room and is impossible to turn away from. If he doesn’t come back for another season of the series, it will be a devastating loss, and Wittrock deserves tons more work.

My personal favourite addition from Coven, Emma Roberts, also returns as Maggie Esmerelda. She gives a good performance, but I feel her character was terribly underused, despite having some excellent moments. Michael Chiklis as Dell was probably my least favourite of the leads aside from Frances Conroy, who I’ve never seen to be very strong through all four seasons. Angela Bassett rides a very fine line for me between likable and cliché. On one hand, she has some very good scenes as her character develops, but then she also falls into the sassy black woman stereotype, which I’ve never found enduring. Denis O’Hare is absolutely revolting as Stanley, a detestable con man who works with Maggie. Despite me completely loathing his character, I can’t deny O’Hare plays him perfectly. Despite the character never growing, he’s exactly what the show needs him to be from beginning to end. Kathy Bates was as interesting to me as she was in Coven, which is very little. Despite her credit from Misery, I feel her talent is highly underused in the series. Finally, the supporting cast is full of excellent actors. From excellent guest roles for Neil Patrick Harris and Wes Bentley, to every performance from the actors as the variousfreaks. The supporting cast is used to full potential, which really helps build the wondrous world of the freak show.

The series has also always had great production value, but Freak Show blows all the other series away with the massive single set of the freak show, from the expanding camp ground to the glamorous tents. Every home, every car, every detail feels lifted straight out of the 1950’s which just adds to the already engrossing world Freak Show puts on display. Additionally, the music this season is particularly memorable, with Jessica Lange performing several anachronistic songs from David Bowie and Evan Peters doing a great cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”. Even the atmospheric score is memorable, with many musical queues becoming running motifs that are instantly recognizable and exciting to hear time and time again, without fault.

The writing for Freak Show could go both ways, from very predictable and bland one episode, to completely shocking and exciting the next. Dialogue is fairly solid throughout, but characters could often go through development loops that felt very tedious. Regardless, the finale is absolutely spectacular. Not only for a season finale, but I feel like it could have acted as a series finale. Jessica Lange is sent off in spectacular and tear-worthy fashion, with all characters receiving satisfying ends to their long journeys. As far as finales go in American Horror Story, Freak Show’s was by far the best.

In the end, American Horror Story: Freak Show was the best season since Asylum, with Freak Show surpassing it in many regards. The story is very engaging, the acting is superb from many, despite some lacking performances. The writing was good throughout, regardless of some off episodes and lacking character development. And the production value sets a new standard for all following seasons to live up to. Despite the negatives, Freak Show may be the best season yet, and after such a high note, I’m very excited to see where Ryan Murphy takes the series next year.

*None of these gifs are mine*

Re: Disney sucks because racism (maybe)

Being on the Internet and being an animator, naturally I’ve seen and have been approached with a lot of criticism about Frozen because the cast is primarily white.
There are several reasons for this (ie. setting, time period, etc.) and there are several reasons why it shouldn’t be this way (here is a post about that)

As a giant and loyal Disney fan, I’m definitely not hesitant to say that maybe Disney isn’t the greatest with representation in its films. There are lots of things they have done to put themselves ahead of other animation studios, but still they absolutely could be doing a lot more - I get all that. 

What I do find very frustrating (as a, once again, giant and loyal Disney fan) is that Disney seems to be getting the biggest backlash for this out of all the other studios. For instance, let’s take a look at some other animated films released by major studios in the past year….

Despicable Me 2 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

The Croods

Epic

So anyway, yeah Frozen could have had more PoC, but so could literally every other animated film that came out in the last couple years. I think the reason Disney receives the most criticism is because it has always set the standard for the rest of the animation and family film industry and has basically always taken the moral high ground. Therefore when Disney does something that’s even a little bit wrong, it’s the worst thing in the entire world, but if another studio does it, it’s usually forgiven or ignored. The people who say “I hate Disney because this and this”, are still the most offended when Disney does something like this because in American culture most of us have been raised to see Disney films as the highest level of family films in terms of innocence and purity.

tl:dr I’m not saying “Don’t yell at Disney!!” I’m saying “Yell at other studios too because Disney is definitely not the only one doing it!!!" 

*deep breath* Pearlcatchers tho.

Imagine: Pearlcatchers with non-standard Pearl shapes. Pearlcatchers with star shaped pearls, pyramid shaped pearls, ovals, cubes, konpeito shaped pearls.

Think of avant garde PC fashionistas that hold annual contests. Where young PCs from far and wide enter for that year’s most ‘beautiful’ or 'interesting’ Pearl shape. Where elite judges will choose the NEXT TOP PEARL and set the Pearl shape trend for the rest of the year.

Imagine Pearlcatcher society divided in two. Older traditional Pearlcatchers, like those described in FR lore, who hold their Pearls as sacred objects and consider it blasphemous to alter them in anyway. Whilst a new younger generation of Pearlcatchers that think, hey, these pearls don’t actually DO anything in the long run, why not make them fabulous?

And with this mindset, a gateway of possibilities has opened for a new generation of Pearlcatchers. Not bound by the traditional idea of the 'Pearl’, but rather sees the pearl as more malleable.

Pearlcatchers that shape their pearls as tools. Inventors and tinkerers that have Pearls shaped as functional Rubik’s cubes or pocketwatches. Pearl cutlery, utensils, small useful objects that have a special value in a PC’s everyday life in accordance with their profession.

And some Pearlcatchers go the extra mile. Lines of homemade PC pearl jewelry and piercings. Bits of PC pearls embedded in jewelry, hair, and pierced into flesh or wing membrane for the sake of vanity (or sentiment).

Goodbye Gravity Falls

For the last few years, I’ve watched the series called Gravity Falls and loved every second of it. It’s been a passionate choice for me, and despite my love for other cartoons, Gravity Falls has always been my favorite. And I mean, my favorite cartoon of all time. No series I’ve ever been a part of takes itself this seriously without being too overly dramatic. It was a series that was, instead, fun! Every joke, every danger, every heartwarming and tear jerking moment has been genuine and incredible. It knew when to be a comedy, and when to be emotional, and it’s pacing was phenomenal. If there were ever qualms I had about the series, it would be some less-than-spectacular episodes like some of the first, and that it was ending too soon, but I’ll leave that for later.

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In truth the series went further and took bigger turns than any other series. It had a mystery that was fun to solve, with clues hidden almost everywhere. It had foreshadowing like I’ve never seen and continuity that made the story feel real, even if it was about Cloning Copy-Machines and Rainbow Barfing Gnomes. The characters changed and grew, and when it came time for the series to close it felt like they had actually taken a summer-long journey, been broken and built back up, like no characterization I’d seen before. Dipper became stronger. Mabel grew more serious, Stan developed a heart. Anti-Villains like Robbie and Pacifica became likeable, and side-characters like Wendy and Soos gained depth. And the villainous Bill Cipher was phenomenal. As for art and music, it was all beautiful and perfect for the moment; lighting, tone, and themes perfectly set the mood for the moment at hand.

 

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When news came that the series was coming to a close, I had already seen it coming, so I wasn’t as sad as I should have been. There were many opportunities to continue the series from here, but as invested as I am in this series, I think it’s ready to end. This journey has been great, but every journey has a point where things have to close up. I wished I could have seen more, or that a series of equal greatness was currently airing for me to shift devotion to, but nothing currently running quite matches the exact quality that the series has met. A potential candidate to shift my focus to once the last episode is done with would be Steven Universe, the only airing cartoon series to come even close to the quality of Gravity Falls, a series I consider it’s “Sister Series” due to how similar they are quality wise.

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As the last episode draws near, I will cherish it while it lasts, and continue to love the series even after it’s put to rest, awaiting the day I find another series that exceeds the standards Gravity Falls set. Let’s take this time to reminisce, and thank the team for all their hard work and sacrifice that it took to make this work of art a reality. To Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, Jason Ritter, and everyone else who was a part of this; thank you. You made the last few years of my childhood and the beginning of my adulthood an adventure. A weird, fantastic adventure. For all you’ve done, you have my love, and I’d like to make it clear that I was inspired to pursue my own animation career thanks to you. Thank you, for everything.

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Now as I close this, let’s remember some of the greatest moments of Gravity Falls, the number 1 cartoons of the 2010’s…

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Stan going behind the vending machine in episode 1…

The revelation that Gideon has Journal 2…

Mabel’s first kiss…

The appearance of Bill Cipher…

The reason Stan is hard on Dipper…

Gideon taking over the mystery shack…

Dipper saving Mabel from Gideon, and Mabel saving both of them…

The universe portal’s reveal…

Experiment 210’s warning to Dipper…

McGucket finding his memories…

The return of Bill Cipher…

Pacifica’s redemption…

And the tapestry at the end of Northwest Mansion Mystery…

STAN PINES DEAD…

And Ford, the Author of the Journals…

The Stan twins’ past…

The Dimensional Rift being revealed…

Mabel punching Celestebellebethabel…

Bill Cipher’s third appearance…

Dipper saving Ford, and Mabel’s heart being broken

Bill possessing Blendin Blandin…

And most of Weirdmagedon.

Here’s to the future; to the end of the journey; to growing old…

…but never having to grow up…