Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Greetings Everyone~!

Today’s post, as mentioned by the title, is a spoiler-free review of the latest installment to the Star Wars franchise: The Last Jedi. Specifically, I will be focusing on story, characters, interaction, and direction.

The Story

I enjoyed the direction the story arc took in this episode. Rogue One was a well-done pre-sequel that bridged the original and prequel trilogies, but The Last Jedi is in a park all its own. My significant other and I kept on predicting twists and turns every chance we were given and then were proven (at least halfway) wrong more than once.

The storyline of The Last Jedi is certainly a ride worth the price of the theater tickets. And all of the logical thinkers out there, please ignore some of the practicality misses!

Storyline Rating: 8.5/10

The Characters

Within The Last Jedi, was a ton of work on the characters: From flat, two-dimensional pieces of writing to full-fledged human resembling characters that have emotions, turmoil, relationships, and limitations. Overall, some characteristics became keystones, while others whithered and replaced.

I think the various intercharacter banter that happened helped to dimensionalize the main characters: spunky ones, cunning ones, deluding ones, and surprising ones. There are even some impressive “throwaways” that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Character Development Rating: 7/10

The Acting and Direction

Finally, on to the cinematography (since I’m leaving out spoilers!). The way the movie was designed was–in my opinion–a spectacularly creative choice in spite of a few illogical plot moments. I loved the portrayal of the lasers and the eminent saber battles. The way the outer space scenes were shot were impeccably beautiful and mesmerizing. When I looked at certain parts of scenes, I loved how the director (Rian Johnson) spun the story and even tied in certain elements to potentially excite some of the biggest Star Wars nerds!

Johnson surprised me since it wasn’t the same director calling the shots in this episode, but yet maintained the cinematography that is iconic for a Star Wars story all the while adding his own pizzazz as a garnish. Truly, I think his creative vision was the kind of thing we needed for such a take on the story’s plot and advancement.

The Actors

As for the acting, I loved how the actors tried to include some of the iconic traits of their characters to show the dynamics of their changes and, rather more, to humanize them and make them relatable. For example, when I first saw Rey, she was the standard Mary Sue heroine: capable to do anything, extremely talented, and somehow had the knowledge to fix something when a problem came up. Come Episode VIII, she’s evolved into a person, and not just a stereotype.

The way each character evolves is not only believable and palpable, it seems real and natural.

Acting/Directing Rating: 9/10


As for what I think about Episode IX: it’s been slated that J.J. Abrams will return to the slot of director and screenwriter for the movie. With this, I’m sure many already have high hopes or expect the things they don’t like to be fixed or redacted. But, I only think positive for this:

  1. Rey’s heritage will (hopefully) be revealed, expanded, or possibly (I hope not) redacted
  2. Kylo will continue to be developed as a character; as will Rey
  3. The conclusion of either the First Order or the Rebellion shall come
  4. One of the throwaways becomes significant for either the next trilogy, or the next SW Story


After my evaluation and understanding, I would recommend seeing this movie and I would watch it again.



A Holiday Update

Greetings all~

I am writing this to tackle the topic at hand: what to celebrate in December.

As someone who was raised in one faith, but challenges that faith every day of their life, I am a firm believer that whatsoever one believes should not be discriminated because of a personal celebration. It is true that many families in my country (the United States), celebrate the supposed-Christian holiday of Christmas; but I have friends who celebrate Hannukah and Ramadan or other holidays that aren’t Christmas.

One thing that particularly bothered me as a child was when people would argue over “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas.” In many English-speaking countries, it is Happy Christmas, while in the States it is Merry Christmas. Then there is the fight between “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and “Season’s Greetings.” Many people feel like they are being oppressed because they “can’t” say the first saying. No one is saying that you can’t say, “Merry Christmas,” to another person. But, most of these people are also telling others to not say the other two sayings and only say “Merry Christmas.”

This then snowballed into a so-called “War on Christmas,” that is depicted by some to be an oppressive movement to ban the celebration of Christmas. Christmas isn’t and will not be banned in the States; it is far too embedded in our culture. But, many forget the origins of Christmas and how they weren’t very Christian-like.

The Saturnalia Festival is an Ancient Roman pagan tradition that was celebrated in the name of the Roman god of the harvest, Saturn, to mark the end of the harvesting period. This holiday festivity was held when autumn was coming to an end and winter was coming. The Roman people had drinking, engorgement, gambling, gift exchanges, and even role-reversal for a week: commoners were in charge of social processions, people drank themselves stupid, and there were even crownings of Misrule (associated with the role reversal event.)

This festival is where Christmas adopted feasting, the consumption of alcohol, and gifting.

Then there is the Nordic Yule celebrated at the beginning of winter. Families would find the largest log they could, called a yule log, and set it aflame. It would burn up to 12 days–hello the carol “the 12 days of Christmas,” which is also tied to certain Christian celebrations as well involving Saints in the Catholic division. Yule also celebrated by feasting with meat and alcohol.

Christmas was, by design, a way to convert non-Christians to Christianity, and so it took some of the traditions from the pagans and modified them to benefit the religion. So, the “war on Christmas,” is merely just a way to try to bring attention to the holiday, even though Christmas isn’t the only holiday celebrated in December.

But, this isn’t meant to anger anyone. I simply wanted people to know that it’s okay to celebrate what you will in the winter month of December, whether you’re pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever.

Have a great winter, a splendid solstice, and Happy New Year.

Justice League: Non-spoiler Review

Greetings all~!

Sorry for such a late post. But, I’ve been really busy with my internship and the upcoming finals at school. However, as a club outing, the GMU Cosplay Club and I went to see the premiere of the Justice League movie in theatres.

Now, as a movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t that big on comic books growing up and so I didn’t find many plotholes or inconsistencies with the DC Extended Universe (EU) lore and story arcs. But, onto the review!

The Plot

To go over the basics of movie ideas, Justice League seems to follow a standard movie plot, but the plot isn’t the biggest point of the movie. A simplistic plot doesn’t always conclude a horrible plot line. You wouldn’t say that a movie based on a popular book is bad because you could predict what happens next, right?

The exposition consists of characters we already know from former DC movies and leads into a hopeful and suspenseful rising action. This rising action helped us see the title group’s predicted dynamic and understand the newly-introduced characters. Once we are introduced to the newer characters (a.k.a the comic-only characters until now) we get to see the climax of an introduced villain and the lore behind the villain’s appearance. The falling action starts to demonstrate the JL’s intercharacter dynamic and further helps us understand why certain characters are the way they are. Finally, the denouement (or conclusion) gives us not only a return to some sort of normalcy but leaves room for another addition to the DC EU movies.

The Characters

For those who know, the Justice League is comprised of primarily 6 superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash. The first three of our main heroes have already been introduced previously in the movie franchise, each with their own backstory, dynamic, and motivations. The latter three are considered new to the movies by the terms of recognition.

The character interplay is fantastic in the Justice League movie. Watching the characters play off one another in a myriad of ways was entrancing. I got to view their individual personalities as they were brought into a team of emotions, strategy, and preference. Each character’s personality is complex, necessary, and human that feels real instead of forced. It felt like I was watching the story of friends coming together, not acctors playing roles (aside from the helping fact that I didn’t immediately recognize the majority of them).

The interactions have their identifying traits and also seem natural between the characters, which is a bonus.

The Score

Acting: 9.5
Story: 7
Cinematography: 9
Costuming: 6
Design: 8
Plot: 6

Overall: 8

I would recommend Justice League to others as a fun movie for the family.  Please go see it if you have a chance!


Bye for now!


Outside the Norm, But Still “Mainstream”

I live in a community where everything is more or less a binary understanding of things: men and women, white and not-white (no I’m not trying to be racist), English and other languages, religious and pagan… the list goes on. With such binary understandings of life, I grew up in an example of the Black and White Fallacy, where everything seems to only have two mutually-exclusive categories and that’s it.

However, all my life I’ve been fairly androgynous. In fact, I was inadvertently encouraged to be. My mother dressed me up in jeans and t-shirts up until I could pick my own clothes or had a uniform I needed to wear; I’d only look socially feminine when it was time to get my picture taken. She never seemed to care if I was boyish or mistaken as a boy growing up (because that happened on the frequent when I was an infant). As I grew, she “trained” me in belching, played football and basketball with me (my brother and my dad included), let me hunt for fishing bait with my dad and brother, and even let me watch Marvel movies alongside Disney princesses ones. She encouraged me to be quirky and authentic, to never be afraid to “play like a boy,” even if my other family members wanted me to behave like a lady.

Androgyny, where I come from, is still rather novel. Not many people in my home area represent “true” androgyny or the mixture of masculine and feminine traits. Its rarity makes it hard to understand on a larger scale, causing my own androgyny to be a stressful topic to combat.

Thankfully, over the past couple of years, I have discovered a way to help myself “come to terms” with my androgyny: cosplay. The art of cosplaying has really proven to be a great help with my gender attribution of gender-neutral/genderfluid. I can be whoever I wish to be.

October 13th (or Friday the 13th), I dressed up in a suit that made me appear more masculine instead of feminine. I shoot a picture to a few of my friends and they all liked my appearance; even people exceptionally close to me liked my appearance (which I half-expected.) What I didn’t expect was to get told that I wasn’t allowed to walk around in boy clothes every day. I had to reply, “It’s just a costume, nothing permanent.”

Even though I was raised like a gender-neutral existence, I was being denied my very existence right in front of me. And it hurt because I knew that wasn’t the intended expression, but that was the implication. To be honest, I felt awful about myself afterward. I felt like there was some part of me that was trying to trick me into thinking I was only meant to be female and not my natural androgynous self.

I’m not trying to be mean, spiteful, vindictive, or anything of the like; I’m just expressing my own personal struggle. And even though this post is a bit on the heavy side, please feel free to comment and share its message. 🙂



Learning is not a Weakness

Understanding Weakness

“We all have two options: stay in the past or move forward.” This phrase, along with a few other mantras, is one I use often. Every person in life comes across a set of struggles; usually, these struggles will either help or harm the person.

One of my favorite things about what I do is that I am able to understand where my weaknesses lie. Sure, being able to recognize fault is an item on the standard job interview questionnaire, but not many seem to understand what it is like to experience this recognition without someone asking for it to be verbalized. Such a skill can only be done through thorough examination of oneself internally.

My Weakness

But, what is a weakness, exactly? Well, that’s a tough word to explain. I could give you a definition from  Mr. Webster himself, but I’ll refrain from giving you recycled information.

Where is my weakness?

I would ask myself this question during a period of self-examination. During that period, I came to realize that I am always searching for something.

Though, what does it mean to be always searching? For me, always searching means that I am always curious; I am constantly seeking knowledge. To others I know, always searching could mean something vastly different like being confused or feeling like there is something missing. This is not the case for me.

I love to learn (an acquainted colleague wrote an interesting article on this!). Since I know that knowledge is endless, I have an insatiable desire to know all that I can humanly retain. I try my best to recognize that this is both a blessing and a curse in itself. For one thing, I can be oblivious to the obvious encounters in front of me; this is a downside, showing that it is a weakness. But, I’m also very thorough in my research of topics when I am handed a project, and it allows me to cross-reference and analyze my findings, proving it to also be an enhancer.

So, what is a weakness?

If you ask me, a weakness is something that you can improve: a skill, knowledge, interactions, comprehension. It isn’t something that holds you back; it should be something that pushes you forward.

Learning and education aren’t weaknesses by the standard definition. They are motivators and should be treated as such.

The Growth Mindset

Hello all,

This post’s topic is on the Growth Mindset and how to adapt to one. (I think the title is straightforward enough to explain that, right?) But! Not only is it about the Growth mindset, it’s also about different ways to help you get into one and maintain it.


What is a “growth mindset”? Simple: it’s internal positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is the use of compliments and rewards (of some sort) to promote an action or behavior. It’s also included in constructive criticism.

“I like what you did here, but I think the word choice is a bit confusing. Does it mean this, or am I misinterpreting?”

This is a form of positive reinforcement. It’s not just compliments and rewards; it can also be acknowledging that the reinforcer could be at fault for something related to criticism.

Contrastively, negative reinforcement is encouraging beneficial behavior or actions by means of pointing out flaws and errors. Such flaws and errors could also be out of the person’s control. Examples of negative reinforcement could be ableism, argumentation, and “pretty” insults.

“You shouldn’t do it this way.”
“Your project is so useful!”
“It isn’t that hard!”

(Granted, I’ve caught myself saying these kinds of things every so often. I try to refrain now.)


I didn’t always have a growth mindset. Even now, when I get stressed out I start internally screaming at myself and micro-managing, but I eventually get back to my self-forgiveness that comes from the growth mindset.

Even if you have a “little demon” that lives in your head, like anxiety or depression, for example, a growth mindset is still possible. That voice could be screaming at you, but I will always believe in you and the opportunities that Life holds for you, in spite of the little demon and its nasty ways.


Fight on,


A quick blog

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to get internally isolated from the rest of the world?

What I mean is that it feels like you’re physically in the real world, but suddenly your mind gets lost and you don’t know why it does this. My mind is like this.

It sucks, feeling like all of a sudden, you cannot partake in the real world. At random, this feeling separates my attention, sucking me into a vortex that I don’t recognize; I never remember what happens during this “fazing out” from wherever my mind vanishes or the real world. It’s like my brain goes into white noise or an area where nothing exists, and yet I start feeling my chest constrict and my body going into fight or flight mode.

The real world will vanish, but my body is still seemingly able to respond to the panic, despite my ignorance of the cause. I’m glad it does, to be honest. If not, my friends would probably think that I need to be hospitalized or that I’m insane.

Also, it’s hard to admit when this stuff happens. Normally the responses are pretty polarized: either extremely in-your-face helpful or completely ableist. Just because one is vocal about it doesn’t mean they are seeking attention. Just because someone says, “yeah, I have anxiety,” but appears to be normal, doesn’t mean the anxiety isn’t real. Just because it isn’t visible doesn’t mean it’s not real.


Mental illness is just as crippling as physical ones.


This has been a PSA

The Beauty of Foreign Language

Здравствуйте, люды! Hola, gente!

Hello, people! I know I haven’t been on in a while, but that’s what college does to you! Above, I typed to you all in Russian and Spanish. I am a current Language Pathology major up at university studying Linguistics and Foreign Language.

So, I wanted to ask all of you a special question: How do YOU use language? Do you prefer to speak, write, or draw?

Right-Brained or Left-Brained?: Conundrum Solved

The concept of “left” and “right” brain. Many great thinkers and people were discovered to possess traits of both sides.

Hello people, today I would like to discuss something of great importance to me, and to a class that I was once part of: Theory of Knowledge. My instructor told us to evaluate the validity of this concept. It wasn’t something I knew of very well at the time, but it fascinated me to the point that I continued researching the concept.

It turns on that the whole “right-brained or left-brained” concept was used by the culture in order to separate people into categories. This means that this concept is flawed and ruled by social culture. We all live in this culture, and we’ve all been told that STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering) are where the money is being made; but that would single out the more creative and artsy people. So the artsy people then created STEAM, which includes the Arts and Music, to combat STEM.

When in all reality, all subjects are important. Not only that, but the matter of right- vs. left-brained thinking has been pronounced meaningless: it no longer matters that one person is logical over creative. In the above infographic is a short list of people (Steve Jobs, Marissa Mayer, Albert Einstein, and Dong-Hoon Chang) and each of the people had traits from the right and left brain lobes.

So, allow me to reach a point: this society is stuck in a tradition that is inaccurate. The inaccuracy can be fixed by future generations, but they must be taught that they are not divisible by how they think by the current generation: US.

In the United States alone, we have slowly started to deem arts and more social classes as “add-ons” that simply get in the way of “critical learning” because schools have been more focused on how smart we can make our students. Nowadays, one has to be both smart and innovative in order to be wildly successful. That involves the skills of STEAM, which is the combination of all learning, from logic to inspiration.

I truthfully hope that this post enlightens people, educators, and learners alike.

Thank you all for reading.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged Clip

Hello G33kdom inhabitants! As probably one of the final posts of the 2014 year–despite not posting very many–I ran into a very interesting and personally very funny video from the Abridged Yu-Gi-Oh! series. It is during the final duel when the gang gets virtually trapped within the computational realm of computer animations controlled by the evil-but-attention-deprived Noah! It’s funny (at least to me). 😛 Watch below.

Feminist Diaries #2: Modern Feminism and Everything Wrong With It

This is why I can say I’m a traditional feminist. I’m a true gender #geek and I will proudly say that I have nothing against Barbie dolls or girlish things, and that upbringing DOES in fact play a crucial role in how a child ends up being.
However, I DON’T agree with the neo-feminists out there who are trying to masculine-ize females to make them be viewed as tough. That is not how it works.
Nothing is wrong with the color pink, I just don’t think it looks good on me. But I USED to be an extreme girly-girl, now I am a subtle tomboy. Now I am admitting that I am a feminist, one who supports females of ALL types and preferences WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
I am not afraid of admitting I’m a female and that I grew up with baby dolls, Barbie toys, My Little Pony, Dora the Explorer, and playing dress up. It’s nothing bad.


Here’s A Controversial Canned Promotional Poster For The First Mario Strikers Game

OMG, this is actually good though! At least the first one anyhow. Sure it is a little aggressive, but back then kids were nothing but that and they still are today! My commentary is simple: The first one should have been let through for the promotional factor around it. Soccer is a much loved sport and I believe the reaction promotes taking your anger out on a fictional character of whom to us cannot experience pain and suffering unless programmed otherwise.

The second poster is just flat out funny and will be seen as something I personally (at first) found truly harmless to younger kids. And then I remembered that nowadays Nintendo would probably get in trouble for that now. 🙂


My Nintendo News

Nintendo was clearly defiant back in the day and it shows with this aggressive promotional poster for the original Mario Strikers which launched on the GameCube back in 2005. It’s fairly obvious why the poster was eventually canned, but it’s certainly a good one.

mario_striker_banned_posterThanks, Michelle

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Eight charts that put tech companies’ diversity stats into perspective


The latest hot-button subject in tech, hotter even than ephemeral apps, is diversity. Or at least, if not actual diversity, the act of releasing employee diversity statistics. From Apple to Twitter, almost all the big names in Silicon Valley are doing it. Google fell first in May, and with some pushing by activist organizations the rest soon followed suit.

We’ve broken down some of the top players – [company]Apple[/company], [company]Twitter[/company], [company]Pinterest[/company], [company]Facebook[/company], [company]Google[/company], [company]Yahoo[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]eBay[/company], [company]LinkedIn[/company], [company]Cisco[/company], [company]Intel[/company], and [company]HP[/company] – comparing their overall gender and ethnicity demographics. Then we went a step further to look specifically at the tech and leadership roles. Where relevant, we also charted the demographic information of the U.S. labor force and the graduating computer science class.

Please note that the numbers in the company charts come from a range of sources — federal EEO-1 data, company blog posts, and annual corporate reports. In some cases, particularly diversity in leadership…

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RAKS GEEK: An Interview With a Dancer Who Fuses Fandoms


Another Castle

Raks Geek pose at Challengers Comics in Chicago. Pictured are (upper left) Michi Trota, (upper right) Dawn Xiana Moon, (lower left) Dimitra Louloudaki, and (lower right) Lee Na-Moo. Photo by Braden Nesin. Raks Geek pose at Challengers Comics in Chicago. Pictured are (upper left) Michi Trota, (upper right) Dawn Xiana Moon, (lower left) Dimitra Louloudaki, and (lower right) Lee Na-Moo. Photo by Braden Nesin.

Performing at Mayne Stage in Chicago on July 25 as part of White Cat Cabaret, Raks Geek is a troupe that fuses belly dance movement with aesthetics from comic books, genre fiction, and video games. For those not in the know, “raks” is the arabic word for “dance.” Belly dance is more formally known as “Raks Sharki,” (sometimes spelled “Raqs Sharqi“) literally meaning “oriental dancing.”

I was lucky enough to sit down with Dawn Xiana Moon,the producer of Raks Geek’s shows. We had desserts at First Slice in Andersonville and talked about this group she brought together.

JPV: How long have you been belly dancing?

DXM: I actually started out as…

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Video Games Could Use More Ass Kicking Princesses!

Geek Force Network

There has been a ton of discussion in main stream media, blogs, social media, and forums over having more female characters taking the lead in video games or at least having female characters who aren’t your stereotypical “the girl needs saving by a strong, buff male” type.  When games then try to spruce up classic video game characters from established franchises to breathe new life into them and to get with the times, then you have every reason to get excited about the possibilities and potential to have female characters who aren’t just there for the male character to save or end up with by the end of the game. This is why catching a glimpse of Princess Zelda in action for the upcoming game for the Wii U in Hyrule Warriors, as a princess who can take care of herself and fight as well as Link, is an exciting and refreshing…

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Emotionally Vague

Emotionally Vague

I did an experiment called Emotionally Vague by Orlagh O’Brien in Britain. I created wordles with my responses.






Story Post: Destruction, Chapter Two

Jeremiah’s robotics team was fun but tonight was the night before the mid-semester exam, and the week before Thanksgiving. People never really thought Jay credible for his intellect because of how he and Gen are inseparable of their bond. He slams the locker door with a clinking of the hanging lock, haphazardly throwing his books into his knapsack having them somehow magically reorganize themselves into an orderly manner, and then readjusting the knitted beanie on his head to cover his ears. “Dan,” he tells his friend approaching him, “tell Daynes that I won’t be attending this week’s meeting. I have homework plus my parents are going into helicopter mode because I need to pass the Quarter Exam.”

           “No problem, brutha,” Daniel says with a grin. “Daynes will understand.”

        “Actually, I have the instructions on how to calibrate the controller in my backpack.” He digs through the bag to find a crisp green folder filled with papers of multiple colors. “It should be titled ‘Controller Calibration’.”

        “Gotcha. Thanks. So,” he goes on, popping a bubble of gum, “what’s the real story? I know you’re lying.”

        “Breaves went easy and gave me community service detention. I have to spend an hour cleaning his car and mowing his lawn.”

        “I’ll cover for you.” They fist bombed and then parted ways.

        Breaves’ house was a palatial mansion with beautiful shadow box windows, a slightly overgrown lawn about twenty acres big, a white stone sidewalk, and a fountain in the front yard in the center of a circular driveway. “And you work as a school principal? You sick bastard. Why don’t you retire already, you old fart?”

        “Hush it! You’re lucky you had your sister bail you out.”

        “Whatever, judgmental old man. Where’s your car?”

        “Over there.” Jeremiah drops his things onto the front porch and heads for the two floor garage. “Don’t scratch it! I want it good as new!”

        “Don’t push your power. I live in a democracy.” He angrily picks up the bucket and sponge.

        He finished the car in about four hours. His phone rings and it’s Gen. “Hey, sis.”

        “Where are you? I thought detention only lasted an hour,” she says calmly. “You need me to pick you up?”

        “Please. Breaves is performing cruel and unusual punishment.”

        “I suspected he would. I’m on my way.”



Maroon5 plays over the stereo connected to the Pandora station on Ginnifer’s iPod as she dances around the house; her tomboy hair, brown and purple shamelessly, frames her face just right to make her look older. Jeremiah smiles as he watches his goofball sister be who she is: she’s dyed her bangs a vibrant purple (they fall in front of her face like loose grasses), her skin is tanner than his, and it’s brought out by the by the dark clothes she typically wears (ripped jeans, blue high tops, a tank top and a cropped sweater). “Hey Gen,” he calls teasingly, “you might want to stop before what Mom blessed you with starts showing itself.” He laughs.

        “Ha, ha, very funny, Jay. I’d like to see you dance. Oh wait, you can’t!” She says over the music, falling into one of the bean bag chairs laughing hard enough to turn her cheeks into a flushing red. “Oh man, I pity the fool that has to watch that.”

        He throws a graphic novel at her. “Shut up.”

        “Oh! Mum and Dad are coming home today. They’re bringing Uncle Ben and Auntie Nora. I hope they have souvenirs,” she says fast as a race car.

        “Great.” Jay’s voice drips with sarcasm. “Lemme know when they leave. I’ll hide out in my room ‘til they’re gone.”

        “Yeah. Ben and Nora are a nightmare. But I meant souvenirs from Mum and Dad. They’re coming home from Italy.”

        Jeremiah shuts his book and stands. “You wanna know what?” He pauses for dramatic emphasis. “Why don’t I mop the floor with you in Virtua Fighter 2?”

        “You’re on game boy!” she says, loud as thunder. “Grab the controllers.”

        The parents, Benjamin, and Nora come in to find them in a heated match of Chun Lau and Pai in the video game. Nora instantly gives a displeased grunt at their childish behavior. “Is this really acceptable of a grown woman and a developing young man?”

        “Nora, you just ruined the match! She beat me!”

        “And it must be hard getting defeated on a device you didn’t grow up on. And I, on the other hand? The Playstation 2 is my life!”

        “Touché, you play well dear sister. Truly discussions are your strong suit.”

        They high five at the matches played then finally welcome the aunt and uncle, who have already been greeted by Mother and Father in the most highly respectable way possible for the self-imposed heiress. Nora grew up in Flushing and has the accent to match its high society, stuffy dress, and impossible expectations; she met Ben on a trip to Washington, D.C when she went to examine the city life of “Southern folk”, always talking like her societal mannerisms are the only ones considered normal. She kisses the air around Ginnifer, never making fun of how she spells her name, only how she dresses and “disrupts her womanly appearance.” Gen just rolls her eyes at the high horse remark.

        “Jeremiah, it’s a, um, memorable time seeing you again. You’ve grown since last visit?”

        “It’s been twelve years since you’ve visited when I’ve been home. You usually leave before I can get home,” he remarks humbly, trying to keep his cool. “You haven’t stayed long enough to notice me.”

        “You’re such a shadow it’s hard not to notice you. Maybe if you were more imposing like Gen or Matthew then you wouldn’t be such a ghost.”

        He pulls his hands back with the greatest restraint. They’ll only be here for a little while… Just grin and bear it, Jerry. “Sorry, Aunt Nora,” he says with a painful smile. “I’ll try harder.”

        “Nora, Ben, why don’t we go to the kitchen and discuss things? Ginnifer, will you take Jeremiah out to the town and have some fun? Go to an arcade or something.” Dad shakily slaps a major credit card into her gloved hand. “Go on now.” The quivering of his voice created a veil of uncertainty for Jay; he’s never seen Dad so upset in his life. Aggravated, irritated, frustrated, frantic, panicking, and tired as hell he’s seen Dad emote, but never nervous or fear.

        “C’mon, Jay. Let’s get going.” She throws him his coat and heads for the door with a soft smile on her face. “I’ll help ya with your Christmas shopping. And you can get a new decal for your board in return.”

        “Works for me,” he says, smiling like a kid in the candy shop.



Matthew Connelly’s fist smacked the table. “Nora, you cannot act so arbitrary! The children need to stay here, where they belong.” He and Nora, his dear high society bred sister, were face to face locked on to the other’s intense glare. “You don’t understand.”

        “What don’t I understand, Matthew? Your son is a social outcast, and Ben and I plan on moving to Virginia. We are getting much too old for the hustle and bustle of the city life in New York. D.C. is a fascinating Southern city, and we are moving to a small village like town near it. Less suppressed, less crowded. We think it would be a good change of pace for Jeremiah.”

        “It isn’t like that, Nora! If you separate those two, then you will only bring chaos to the places around you. They need to stay together, like a package deal!”

        “Poppycock! Now, you shall tell Jeremiah that he is to be leaving by the end of the month. The movers will be by to pick up the little things he has and will ship them to the new address in Berryville, Virginia.”

        Matt’s head dropped as his beloved sister walked out with her darling husband. “Jay isn’t going to like this, Mara.”