Where Have I Been?

Hello, dear readers. As you know, I’ve been gone recently, and I should tell you why.

I’m writing a book! That’s right! I’m writing a book!

The book is called Light the Match. It’s a historical-fiction and psychological thriller novella about Angelo Lombardo, a mafioso in the fictional Lombardo crime family in late 1940’s New York, a time when La Cosa Nostra still reigned supreme in the Big Apple.

A year after a life-altering, personal tragedy crushes his soul, Angelo stops his self-destructive binge to reflect on his life and ultimately make the decision of whether or not to turn on his family.

I can upload excerpts here if requested. But when I’m done, I’m going to get it published physically from a local publisher and hopefully on Amazon.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:” Catharsis at its Best

There are multiple words one can use to describe Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Violent. Thought-provoking. Shocking. And surprisingly, cathartic.

Cathartic is one I never thought I’d be focused on, but it’s true. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is one of the most cathartic films, and I’d dare say, one of the best that Tarantino has ever produced.

Much like “Pulp Fiction,” the film follows the stories of multiple characters, except this time in 1969 Hollywood.

There’s Rick Dalton, an insecure TV and film actor who’s struggling to stay relevant in a changing industry; Cliff Booth, Rick’s chill but violent-when-provoked longtime friend, assistant, and stuntman who’s struggling to stay out of trouble with the law while finding work; and Sharon Tate, the real-life sweet and vivacious actress married to Rick’s next-door neighbor Roman Polanski whose life is unknowingly threatened by Charles Manson and his followers.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” primarily focuses on Rick and Cliff as they struggle to find their place in a changing industry with occasional glimpses into the life of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski while the Manson family ironically menaces in the shadows.

This multi-focus works because these characters are engaging and interesting to follow.

Rick is relatably insecure, and you root for him when he succeeds.

Cliff, despite all his flaws, violent tendencies, and possible shady, murderous past, is still a funny and loyal guy who you also want to succeed despite all the times he screws it up for himself.

Sharon Tate is presented as a sweet, humble practical cherub of a woman who rends your heart because of her historically tragic fate.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie all give marvelous performances.

Charles Manson and his family members are there more to be side characters than main characters, and their presence still adds a great deal of suspense. Manson himself only appears once, so the focus is more on his followers.

Their performances are perfect. On the surface, they act like normal young adults of the time. They watch TV. They are vocal about their beliefs. They flirt. Before you get to know them, the family only seems slightly quirky.

But the more time you spend with them, the more insane you realize they are. And even if the family is not in the movie that much, their presence is still looming over the horizon until everything comes to a head at the film’s hilarious yet epic climax.

The climax is absolutely incredible. Without going into too much detail, it is satisfying and violent in a way that only Tarantino can deliver. For those who have seen his other works, the best comparison I can make is to the ending of “Inglourious Bastards” or “Django Unchained” in terms of catharsis for the audience and the characters in the movie resulting in a surprisingly happy ending.

The build-up to this climax is enjoyable, but it takes so much time that people who are not used to Tarantino’s style of directing may be confused or frustrated by the time they get there. The film does drag at times, but it more than rewards you for your patience by the time you reach the end.

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is an overall satisfying ride with memorable characters and catharsis waiting for the audience that is willing to be patient.

The Vista’s Combined Dressage and Horse Jumping Test

Last Saturday, I covered the Vista’s Combined Dressage and Horse Jumping Test for the Aiken Standard.

Here is a photo collage from the event.  Some photos were used in the paper.  Others were not.

 

 

 

Top Ten Favorite Characters

Since I have made a top ten most hated characters list, it only makes sense that I make a top ten favorite characters list.

I have to admit that for me this list was harder to make because there are so many characters that I love.

In my 26 years of living, I have consumed multiple kinds of media. I have watched cartoons, anime, movies, etc. And there are characters I love from just about all of them.

Like I said before, I have a high tolerance for annoying characters that other people don’t like.

There are also franchises where I love all the characters and simply cannot choose a favorite. Some examples of that include: “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

So, needless to say, this list is going to be a hard one to make. Nonetheless, I’ll try my best.

There will be spoilers ahead.

10.              Angel Dust from “Hazbin Hotel”

th7FL46TUW

“Hazbin Hotel” is not due to come out until October, but this spider demon has already stolen my heart.

This series is set in hell in a universe where the damned become demons when they die and hell has an overpopulation problem that is dealt with through angelic exterminators. Wanting to make a change, Lucifer’s daughter Charlie decides to make a hotel to rehabilitate sinners so they can enter heaven instead of being exterminated with the help of her hot-tempered, control-freak girlfriend Vaggie.

Their first patient is Angel. Angel Dust is a snarky drag queen, a drug-addicted gay prostitute and porn star who was the firstborn son of a mafia don in a crime family he has distanced himself from since he died from a drug overdose.

On the surface, this is not a character I would ordinarily like, especially not from his first clip. He’s irresponsible, he’s an addict, and he’s a jackass to most people.

However, from what I’ve read about him and what I’ve seen in other clips, I get the sense that there’s much more to him beneath the surface.

Angel is a jackass, but he is willing to go out of his way for the people he cares about.

I think that’s what keeps bringing me back. There is good inside him, and I can’t wait for that to come out.

9.                   Kitty Pryde from the X-Men Franchise

kitty_large
I am placing her low on the list just because I haven’t had as much exposure to the X-Men franchise. I’ve read two comics with Kitty in it and have seen her in the Fox Kids series “X-Men: Evolution.”

But from what I’ve seen, I can already tell that Kitty Pryde is a favorite, especially the way she’s portrayed in the comics.

For one thing, her powers in the comics are badass. She can phase through anything including air, which means she can literally walk on air.

For another thing, Kitty is an outspoken idealist and a natural leader who never backs down when it comes to fighting for something that she believes in.

She’s also the most down-to-earth which is refreshing considering what a Shakespearean drama the X-Men franchise can be.

Kitty is one of the most relatable characters in the X-Men franchise and I love her. What else can I say?

8.                   Osaka from “Azumanga Daioh”

osaka_ep_24_2

I really need to finish this anime. I started watching this in college about five years ago and stopped for some reason. I really need to get back to this.

I love this girl. Osaka is basically what I imagine my future daughter being like if I ever had kids.

Osaka is spacey and weird. She is sweet-natured, but she has no filter.  She’ll have these odd trains of thoughts and say such bizarre things.  She’s like if my ADHD had a life of its own.  She is not exactly impulsive, but she will do weird things without thinking them through which makes me just love her more.  To make things better, Osaka lacks almost any self-awareness which is something I can relate to.  But there’s another reason Osaka has a special place in my heart.

I struggled to fit in growing up. Growing up in a private school setting was hard for me because my peers could tell I was weird and wanted almost nothing to do with me. To make matters worse, my Christian private school was small and I didn’t have many options when it came to making friends, so for most of my life there since it was also a middle and high school, I was extremely lonely.

I was so lonely that I doubted that anyone would ever love me for who I was. But seeing Osaka and how her friends accepted and celebrated her weirdness gave me hope that the world would change to a place where people like me were accepted.  Since then, I’ve found many wonderful forever friends.

I really ought to finish this anime.

7.                  Shuri from “Black Panther”

Black-Panther-Shuri-Letitia-Wright

There are so many characters I love in the MCU that it is impossible for me to choose between them.  However, if I had to pick a favorite character, that character would be Shuri.

I have many reasons to love her, but primarily, I love her because her relationship with her brother T’Challa reminds me a lot of my relationship with my younger sister.

Shuri herself is a lot like my little sister. She’s sassy, smart, strong, quietly confident, fearless, and a complete troll who enjoys messing with her brother.  She’s also a technological genius who helps out her brother a lot in the movie and can hold her own in a fight.

I loved her in the movies and I still love her now.

6.                   Number 5 from “Codename: Kids Next Door”

Abby_Lincoln

I have not watched this show in years, but from what I do remember is that Number 5 is amazing.

She’s confident. She’s calm. She’s cool. She’s smooth. She’s noble. She’s funny. She’s stylish. She kicks ass in every way imaginable.

As a kid, Number 5 was the girl I wish I was. She was so strong and so sure of herself. I was friendless and very lonely. I had no confidence, so I was jealous of her.

Number 5 was also the first character that I saw with problems with her older sister, mostly the disenchantment aspect. Those are problems I can relate to on a very personal level, so it was nice to see that represented.

5.                             R2-D2 from the Star Wars Universe

star-wars-the-clone-wars-r2d2-wallpaper

I love this little guy. He is my Star Wars spirit animal.

There are many reasons I love this little guy.  R2-D2 is quiet, but he has tons of personality.  He is sassy, bold, resourceful, loyal, and determined.

R2-D2 flies under the radar for the most part and that is his biggest asset. In all the movies and especially in the animated “Clone Wars” series, that is R2-D2’s biggest advantage because he kicks butt while nobody notices.

I know this part is short, but like R2-D2, it says just enough.

4.                                   Batman and Tim Drake
07e283f64558bb82b5dfe1df28b1a475

Hands-down my favorite superhero and sidekick duo

Batman is a complicated character.  He uses the methods of a villain to be a hero and the only rule he follows is that he won’t kill anyone.

Batman is traumatized and messed-up by what has happened to him, but he manages to just keep his head above water no matter what happens.  Batman is crazy, but his ability to never fall into insanity is what keeps me coming back.

That and his comics are amazingly well-written.

Tim Drake is just awesome, especially the way he’s depicted in the comics.

By himself, he manages to learn how to fight, figure out who Batman and Robin are, track down Dick to help out Batman, helps solve the crime Batman’s working on at the time, and earns Batman’s respect enough for him to make him his new Robin.

Tim Drake is like that in every comic he’s in. He’s just that cool.

3.                                    Sans and Papyrus from “Undertale”

flat,1000x1000,075,f

Another two for one.  I know these two are everyone’s favorite characters from that game, but I don’t care.

Papyrus is such a funny character. He’s also multilayered. He’s proud, but he’s not that competent. He’s smart when it comes to people but he can let his good nature get the better of him. He’s strong and powerful, but he’s sweet and innocent and refuses to take a life which depending on what version you play can either help him or hurt him.

Sans is my favorite for different reasons.

Sans is a very complicated character.  On the surface, he’s a lazy skeleton who likes to make bad puns and annoy his brother, but underneath, he knows a lot more than he lets on and is a force to be reckoned with.

Sans struggles with depression but is extraordinarily talented at hiding it.  He can be warm and kind once he realizes he can trust you, but you have to earn it.  If you break his trust, there will be hell to pay.

Sans’ and Papyrus’ different personalities are a huge reason why I and many people like them.  But arguably, their mysterious backstory is just as big of a draw.

Sans and Papyrus apparently just showed up in Snowdin one day. No one knows where they came from before that or anything like that. It is hinted that Sans was possibly a royal scientist at some point and conducts research in the game, but that’s about all we get.

I know Toby Fox is working on “Deltarune” right now, but I hope we can find out something about them in the future.  Even a short comic would be enough.

2.                                     Sayaka Miki from “Madoka Magica”
Sayaka

Sayaka Miki is my favorite Madoka Magica character.  I don’t care what people say.  The reason they don’t like her is that they don’t understand her.  She is one of the best parts of the series.  Hands down.

My love for Sayaka snuck up on me like my hatred for Lloyd Asplund did.  I did not realize how much I loved her until everything started going wrong for her.

Sayaka starts out as a confident, noble, outspoken girl who has a male friend name Kyousuke in the hospital suffering from his injuries due to a car accident.  She has a crush on this boy, but like most boys his age, he doesn’t notice.

Sayaka makes her wish to allow this boy to regain the use of his left arm so that he can play the violin again.  That’s all well and good until her other friend Hitomi tells her that she also likes Kyousuke and will go after him if Sayaka doesn’t go after him first.

After learning a dark secret about the nature of her powers, Sayaka goes into an existential crisis and decides that she’s not good enough for Kyousuke, so she loses her shot.

Sayaka tries to continue being a good magical girl, but she slowly starts to lose herself to her depression and self-hatred.

Eventually, Sayaka gives into her pain and gets turned into a witch which is when the other magical girls learn the truth.

Sayaka’s fate is tragic because it is so highly relatable.  I had plenty of crushes around that age and none of them were mutual.  I also have friends I’d be willing to do anything for.

The people who hate on Sayaka the most say it’s because her decisions were so foolish. But they don’t understand that that wasn’t the only reason Sayaka turned into a witch.

Sayaka’s story is a little mermaid allegory. She wanted to be a hero, but she couldn’t have the pure motives she wanted. She hated herself because of it and fell into depression. Not just because of Kyousuke.

Sayaka Miki’s fate is the reason I started hating Kyubey. When she died, I was heartbroken.

At least, Madoka got her another chance.

1.                           Courage from “Courage, the Cowardly Dog”

Courage_the_cowardly_dog-show

I relate to Courage on a spiritual level.

Growing up, I was very timid. Without going into too much detail, my older sister and I never had a good relationship. She was jealous and she bullied me over the littlest things. Sure, I lashed out sometimes, but mostly, I tried to lie low.

The bullying only got worse over time. It’s mostly over now, but my sister’s verbal abuse has taken years to recover from.

Courage was a lot like me. He was a timid, bullied dog who wasn’t really understood most of the time.  But despite his fear, Courage always did his best to do the right thing and really modeled what courage was.

Looking back, I wished I could be someone like Number 5 from “Kids Next Door,” but Courage was closer to who I actually was and am as a person.  And seeing that Courage was still strong enough to save his family from evil time and again despite his timidity, I don’t think that’s a bad role model to aspire to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.R. 1044: Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

In a time of high controversy regarding immigration in the United States, H.R. 1044, also known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, stands out as a bi-partisan supported bill that the House of Representatives actually approved on July 10 when it was voted on in the House.

According to this summary on congress.gov, “This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15% and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China.

The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.”

What that means is that the number of visas granted every year to immigrants with family residents will increase. According to the immigrationforum.org, this would “allow spouses and children of H-1B visa holders to become permanent residents more quickly, reducing the number of children on H-4 dependent visas ‘aging out’ and getting sent back to their home countries because they are unable to obtain their own H-1B visas in a timely manner.” It will also reduce the backlog for families who have been waiting to be reunited for decades.

In addition, the number of visas granted to immigrants who immigrate for employment will no longer have a limit. That means that visas would be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis giving “every immigrant an equal chance at obtaining permanent residency by issuing green cards by application date rather than country of origin.”

These changes would significantly reduce the backlog of immigration that has kept around four million immigrants in limbo allowing these immigrants to gain permanent residence faster and more easily.

However, the bill has its drawbacks. It would increase the wait time for countries with lower-demand immigration because “those who are capped out under the current system would then be ahead of them in the line.”

But despite its drawbacks, many politicians believe this bill could go a long way in fixing our nation’s immigration woes.

My Top 10 Most Hated Fictional Characters

Everyone has fictional characters that for one reason or another they just can’t stand. For every one that list is as unique as they are as a person, but for me, I feel like that list is unusual because I have an unusually high tolerance of annoyingness. I tend to be very forgiving towards characters many people hate, so a character has to do something exceptional to get on my nerves.

Today, I thought I’d share my personal list with you guys. I think that goes without saying, but there will be spoilers ahead. It was unexpectedly hard to try to narrow it down to ten characters, so I tried to choose characters who were all irritating for a unique reason to me.

10.      Black Star from “Soul Eater”
soul-eater-02_black-staravi_000800883

I got into “Soul Eater” after high school, and I despised Black Star immediately.

Black Star’s just annoying.  He’s arrogant as hell.  He claims he’s going to surpass God.  But all he does is mess around and mess things up for himself, his partner Tsubaki, and his group of meisters and weapons when they’re training.

However, Black Star’s at the bottom of this list because he has three redeeming qualities.

First, Black Star is a badass who is always good in a fight when it matters.

Second, whenever Black Star acts out everyone else gives him the punishment that he deserves to get him back in line.

Third, Black Star stands up for his partner Tsubaki when she needs him to, and Tsubaki is a pretty cool character.

9.       Joffrey Baratheon and Cersei Lannister from “Game of Thrones”Joffcersei-tyrion-wedding

I am only on season two of “Game of Thrones.”  Go ahead and give me grief.

But from everything else I’ve learned from fans and snippets I’ve watched with my family, I know one thing to be true. Except for Tyrion, most of the kids, and possibly Jamie, all the Lannister’s suck.  Especially Cersei and Joffrey.

Take the most entitled person you know, up their horribleness by 100, put them in a middle-ages fantasy setting, give them power, and your result will be these two.

Cersei and Joffrey are absolutely awful.  Every GOT fan knows this to be true, but I’m still placing the Lannister’s low on the list because that’s the point.

Cersei and Joffrey are written to be the obvious bad guys you love to hate. They are the people you are rooting against in the competition for the Iron Throne.  They are terrible, but they are still low-hanging fruit.

So, for that reason, I am placing the Lannister’s low on this list.

8.         Jevil from “Deltarune”maxresdefault

This secret boss from “Deltarune” is annoying simply because of all the hours of my life it took trying to defeat him.

Holy crap! This boss was annoying.

I spent hours rationing out resources for my party, perfecting my dodge moves, and trying innumerable strategies to defeat Jevil while he just danced in place with that smug smile on his face.

Then after wasting weeks of my life on this guy, I finally figured out how to defeat him with a strategy that was obvious the whole time.

Defeating Jevil wasn’t that satisfying either. I wasn’t happy I won. I was aggravated that I didn’t turn to Let’s Play’s for help sooner.

Jevil wore down my morale so much that I pretty much rushed through the rest of the game after that. It was my second playthrough so I had already seen all I wanted to see, fortunately.

But man, Jevil is the most obnoxious boss I’ve ever fought in any videogame in my entire life.

Moving on…

7.              Anthony LaRusso from “Cobra Kai”anthony_rough_1

This kid. Holy crap. This kid.

In “Cobra Kai: Season 1,” Anthony was so annoying. All he does is act like a spoiled brat, disrespect his parents, and sit around being addicted to technology. He contributes nothing.

Anthony is just there to show what a bad father Daniel is. That’s it.

Anthony’s only saving grace is that he’s loyal to his Dad when it matters and that he’s almost never around in “Cobra Kai: Season 2.”

6.            Lloyd Asplund from “Code Geass”Lloyd-Asplund-The-Earl-of-Puding-3-code-geass-34759294-1280-720

This hatred was one that snuck up me unexpectedly. I didn’t realize how much I hated this guy until I started clapping when Suzaku punched him in the face.

I’m not sure why I hate Lloyd so much. I think it’s just the fact that he never seems to take anything important seriously despite the fact that he’s the head mech scientist for the Brittanian Empire.

Lloyd is not exactly diabolical, but he has this dismissive tone towards morality and anything serious that just grates on my nerves.

Lloyd also has this arrogant, patronizing tone in his voice that he uses whenever he speaks to anyone in this show that absolutely drives me nuts.

This is on purpose. I know. That kind of performance is what this type of character calls for. I have never watched the sub, but his voice in the dub is perfectly as obnoxious and annoying as the role requires him to be. Nevertheless, it is still annoying.

In addition, Lloyd wanted to marry a high schooler for her family’s mech plans, but when she backed out, he was willing to let her go to live her own life with no hard feelings.

For that reason alone, Lloyd is lower on this list.

5.         Victor von Frankenstein from Frankensteinfrankenstein-1931-victor-slice

I’m going purely by the book on this one.

Victor is absolutely the most irresponsible man in all of literature. This guy creates a monster, brings him to life, and then has nothing more to do with him.

Victor decides that his monster is evil and needs to be ignored/destroyed just because he’s ugly. That’s it.

Instead of taking responsibility for his creation, Victor ignores him every chance he gets and ruins both their lives because of it.

The monster is understandably angry and bitter at his lot in life, but even after he learns how to read, write, and speak eloquently, Victor still treats the monster like crap which only provokes him to murder everyone close to him to get his attention.

Then when Victor finally agrees to help the monster by giving him a mate, he changes his mind at the last minute because the monster is just so ugly.

A lot of bad things happen to Victor, but if he had just parented his creation in the first place, none of it would have happened. It’s entirely his fault.

4.         Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind”Tumblr_inline_ncxtnwVPR31qlr65v

I’ve never read the book, but I know this much from watching the three-hour movie. Scarlett O’Hara sucks.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this classic movie, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few films to tell the story of the Civil War from the point-of-view of the devastated Southerners who endured it.

For that reason alone, it is a fascinating story, but unfortunately, you have to see it through the eyes of the absolutely horrible female protagonist Scarlett O’Hara.

Scarlett is the oldest daughter of the wealthy O’Hara family. Throughout the film, she is a spoiled, manipulative siren of a woman.

Scarlett starts out as just being a manipulative spoiled brat who doesn’t care about anything or anyone outside of her shallow social bubble. But when her love interest Ashley marries his cousin Melanie instead of her, Scarlett dedicates her self-centered, petty life to winning him back and making herself as rich and comfortable as possible.

Along the way, Scarlett marries two men she doesn’t love for money (one of whom was her sister’s love interest) who both die tragically, manipulates her way into business deals to raise her family out of poverty after the Civil War exploiting many vulnerable people in the process, abuses her servants, is callous to her sisters, marries Rhett Butler ( the only man who actually understands her), has a daughter she never pays attention to (who also dies tragically), and keeps pursuing Ashley (almost destroying his marriage in the process) until the end when she realizes he never loved her and returns home to Rhett who leaves her because he’s sick of her crap.

The only time I actually felt a little sorry for this woman was when she returned home to her devastated house after the war ended and had to pretty much take over as the leader and provider for her family since her mom died from an illness and her dad lost his mind. But even then, she resorts to unnecessarily callous, exploitive, and manipulative means (such as stealing her younger sister’s love interest) to improve her family’s situation and doesn’t care how much she makes them miserable in the process.

If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a selfish person who uses innocent people like they’re objects and takes the people in their life for granted.

But unfortunately, there’s a woman who’s even worse.

3.          Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby

2-carey-mulligan-daisy-buchanan

Daisy is Jay Gatsby’s love interest and the reason he breathes. She is married to a wealthy, racist cheater, but instead of taking her daughter and leaving him for Gatsby, she strings Gatsby along and refuses to do anything meaningful.

Daisy is absolutely spineless. She knows how much Gatsby loves her. She hates how much her husband cheats. She could choose a better life with a man who actually cares about her any time she wanted, but instead, she plays games with him until it’s too risky to play anymore.

Then when Gatsby gets murdered because of her husband’s underhanded manipulation, Daisy knows what happens, but she runs off with her husband and pretends nothing happened.

The main character Nick Carraway said it best, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Daisy, you are a spineless whore.

2.           Hal, Mercedes, and Charles from The Call of the Wild

1849354

For those unfamiliar, this book is about a dog who gets kidnapped from his home in California and sold up North where he becomes a sled dog, goes through a series of owners, finds a great owner who gets killed and then joins his wolf brethren for life in the wild.

Three of these owners are Hal, Mercedes, and Charles, rich people from the States who go up North to search for gold and have no idea what they are doing.

These three are spoiled idiots and horrible people who have no business being out in the wilderness. Their stupidity gets them in trouble time and time again, but instead of learning their lessons, taking advice, and adapting to survive, they abuse their dogs and have screaming matches at each other like entitled teenagers.

Their cruelty towards their dogs is what particularly got under my skin when I read this book. I have loved animals my entire life, so reading about Hal beating them whenever they cannot go along with his unrealistic demands while Mercedes and Charles stood by and did nothing was infuriating.

Mercedes was just obnoxious. She was a pampered, spoiled brat who threw a tantrum every time she didn’t get her way. She did try to stand up for the dogs at first, but she gave it up so she could just sit and pout as conditions got worse.

Charles mostly stood there like a complacent bump on a log, so he wasn’t as annoying. But he didn’t help either and tried to save himself instead of his wife right before they all died, so he’s just as bad.

When they all died, the only ones I pitied were their dogs.

1.           Kyubey from “Madoka Magica”

kyubey2

Do I have a bone to pick with this little monster! Kyubey is the absolute worst!

Kyubey’s backstory is a bit complicated but bear with me. He is one member of an alien race controlled by a hive mind who is trying to stop the entropy of the universe.

Kyubey makes contracts with adolescent girls and grants them a wish. In exchange, they become magical girls who fight the witches that prey on humanity.

However, as our unfortunate protagonists find out, Kyubey’s intentions are not what they seem.

The problem is he fights entropy by using the energy that comes from the emotional turmoil of adolescent magical girls who have turned into the witches they were created to fight in the first place.

That’s right. Kyubey tricks these girls into becoming something that will eventually kill them. He doesn’t lie to them. He answers questions if they ask, but he doesn’t tell them the truth and counts on the girls not asking to find out.

Kyubey counts on these girls finding out the hard way, and he will manipulate the girls to make the transformation happen faster.

That is diabolical on so many levels, but I think what pisses me off more than this SOB are the people who try to defend his actions as moral.

I’m not kidding. Maybe the majority of them are just trolls, but there are honest-to-God fans who defend this monster like Marvel fans have tried to defend Thanos even though Kyubey is arguably much worse.

Okay, the Kyubey don’t have or understand emotions and operate by pure “Hal 9000”-level logic.

However, the Kyubey arguably still have some sense of what’s right and wrong since they want to stop entropy. They also understand that humans are emotional and value each other, so they hide things that would upset them and go against their goals.  They have no excuse for how they behave.

In addition, even when given the opportunity to stop entropy in a way that doesn’t hurt magical girls, Kyubey still prefers the method that hurts magical girls just because it’s more convenient. That’s messed up and indefensible.

Those are ten of my most hated characters. What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life of an Anxious Woman

My day begins with the night before.

I do not have a full-time job or even a part-time job at the moment, so I can technically stay up as late as I want. However, because of my social media gig with a good friend through Poshmark, I make myself go to bed around midnight so that I can get up in the morning to share her posts.

An hour before I fall asleep though, I take a sedative. I began having insomnia due to my anxiety about three years ago when I was still in college. At its worst, I would go days with only three hours of sleep at a time. My mental health went so downhill I ended up losing my job. When I was finally diagnosed with delayed sleep onset, I got the medication. It was a lifesaver.

After I graduated from college, I tried sleeping without medication. I could fall asleep more easily than before, but I would end up waking up at around 5 AM with an anxiety attack that would last until I took my daily antidepressant. So, I still take my medicine.

I usually wake up at around 7 AM or 8 AM regardless of whether I’ve had a full eight hours of sleep or not. It’s an anxious habit. If I sleep in too much, I feel good, but I also feel guilty.

I take my medication. Then, if I’m not too tired, I get up and I begin getting ready for the day in the bathroom while booting up my laptop so that I can share my friend’s Poshmark posts and earn money or free merchandise by the end of the week. I check my phone and make sure there are no unread emails in my personal inbox or in the notes of my Deviant Art page. I check my emails

As a Christian, I also spend time reading Scripture and praying every morning. How long I do so depends on when I get to it. If it’s after 7 or 8, I will aim for reading for five minutes and praying for ten minutes. If it’s after 9, I’ll give myself the full hour to worship. If it’s after 10, I’ll give myself 30 minutes. If it’s after 11, I’ll give myself the 15 minutes I did at the beginning.

I scroll through my contacts and choose people to text at random to maintain my friendships and social life for the day. I keep it down to a minute.

I then alternate how I spend each minute. I will spend a minute getting ready for the day. I will spend another minute helping my friend out on Poshmark. When I am ready for the day, I will not go downstairs until I am done with it.

When I go downstairs to eat my late breakfast, I will eat inside with my Mom watching TV, watch TV by myself, or go outside to enjoy the weather by myself.

When I finish eating, I go to the piano room with what’s left of whatever I’m drinking. I will practice some exercise pieces and take a sip of my drink every time I mess up. If I finish the drink in under ten minutes as I usually do, I stop practicing the piano usually for the day. If not, I will ideally practice a performance piece and work on my own piano compositions. That doesn’t happen that often, so I usually intend to do it later in the day.

I practice almost every day. I love the piano and playing it calms me down so that I can do my work for the day. After that, if needed, I’ll clean up the kitchen to help out my mother.

Then, I do my work for the day. This past month, I did contract work for an international law research firm. Now that that’s done, I am working on my own articles as an unpaid freelance blogger and pitching my work to any media outlet that will listen.

The work is frequently interrupted. You see, I work according to the music on my iTunes. If it’s a song with lyrics, I’ll do my work. If it’s an instrumental song, I will do one of the other things on my to-do list until 5 PM, including filling out job applications to find my 26-year-old self a more conventional job.

If all this sounds exhaustingly meticulous to you, it is, but it’s the best way I know how to cope. If I don’t have my life scheduled like this, I literally don’t know how to live my life. All the options overwhelm me until I feel too frightened to do anything. Then the depression kicks in and takes any energy I have left.

But despite my every intention, I still get easily overwhelmed. It could be something simple. Maybe a sudden demand will come from my family. Maybe my dog won’t stop barking. Maybe a friend will ask for a favor. Maybe something else will happen to interrupt my plans.

Taking breaks when I need to is hard. I have to make myself leave my work aside to take a break for lunch.

Nevertheless, thanks to therapy, the support of my friends, and of course, God, I have improved. I no longer feel worthless if I don’t accomplish everything, but that doesn’t mean the anxiety attacks will not pop up if I feel a bunch of demands piling up on me at once.

Speaking of demands, I spend my day mostly alone because other people stress me out, but since I live at home, I still have to deal with my family. How understanding they are of how I feel varies from day-to-day. Most days, they give me my space. Other days, they are not so understanding.

Fortunately, my mood no longer depends on how supportive of me my family members are at the moment, mostly. Nonetheless, I still try to stay out of their way to decrease my anxiety.

On particularly bad days, I text my friends for support. Over time, I’ve had to learn which friends I can trust with my emotional baggage and which ones I can’t. Some don’t understand. Others can’t handle it. Others just aren’t always available. However, I usually find the support I need.

After 5 PM, I finish the last of my work and scroll through emails to decide on something to work on between whatever writing project I decide to work on that night until it’s time for me to either eat dinner with my family or go out to whatever activity I have planned for that evening.

Despite my anxiety, I am very outgoing. I go to Bible study, to Tae Kwon Do, to game night, or to whatever else I have planned. Going out is so habitual at this point that it does not really stress me out anymore.

Unscheduled hangouts are a bigger problem. It’s still hard for me to drop whatever I am doing to spontaneously do anything. It’s easier if it’s going to eat than if it’s just walking or going to a random person’s house. Then, I can justify it more easily by saying that I need to eat anyway. Other times, my anxiety won’t justify it as easily. I love spending time with my friends, but I still struggle with making time for them as much as I struggle with making time to take breaks.

The main problem is I get overwhelmed easily. I am also introverted which means sometimes I can get too tired to spend time with people which can lead to me feeling guilty for not spending time with my friends and cause me more anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.

This can apply to my work as a Lyft driver as well. I usually drive only on weekends, so I’ll be depressed for not working more often.

Nighttime is usually the calmest time for me. My family goes to sleep early preventing me from getting more done, but I don’t mind it. It gives me more time to write.

So, I get ready for bed, climb on my bed, take my sedative, and get to the best part of my day.

Nighttime is when I write fiction. I will choose something from a list and try to write a page of that idea until it’s time for me to go to bed. Sometimes, I run out of time, but I always make progress and seeing the result is always worth it.

Then, I go to sleep and prepare to start the day over. Sometimes, I ponder my life and hate myself for not being independent with a full-time job like many people my age are, but then, I look back at the day and God reminds me that I did the best I could.

When I remember that, I can sleep peacefully.