Monday, September 29, 2014

When Your Extroverted Friends Just Don't Get It

I've been poking around a few introversion-related online forums lately, and one question that seems to come up all the time is, "What do I do when the extroverts in my life just don't understand that I need to be alone?"

An introverted man was told by his extroverted wife (whenever she wanted to go out and he didn't), "We don't just get to do what we want all the time." A college introvert found they kept losing friends because their social group got tired of the introvert only going out with them about half the times they asked. An introvert living at home offended his mom when he tried to explain that he needed time alone and went to his room whenever they had company.

This kind of thing happens a lot.

It's starting to change, I think, as introversion has made its way to the forefront and people are starting to realize not everyone needs to be excited to be with people all the time. But this still happens.

So I thought I'd share a few of the things that have helped me make peace with my extroverted friends.
Just sitting from Flickr via Wylio
© 2013 Tiago, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

1. Explain to them up front that you're an introvert.

One of the reasons it was easier for me to get out of socializing in college when I was overwhelmed was that I was pretty straightforward with all my friends that I needed time alone. This way, when everyone went out to lunch and then wanted to go bowling or something after, it wasn't a sudden surprise when I said, "No, thanks, I'm just going to head back to my room and chill." Sometimes there's an assumption that if you're friends, you'll do everything together all the time, and letting them know right from the start that I wasn't going to do that meant fewer unmet expectations.

2. Be generous with your time when you can.

Whenever introverts and extroverts are friends, then there's going to have to be some give and take on both sides. The introvert will sometimes feel like they'd rather be alone, and the extrovert will sometimes feel like the introvert is abandoning them. If your extroverted friend is willing to give you alone time, then make sure you show that appreciation by being willing to go out with them sometimes when you don't really feel like it. Not all the time -- don't burn yourself out trying to prove you're a good friend -- but sometimes introverts get weirdly militant and start proclaiming that they're never going to do anything social again if they don't want to. And that's just kind of silly.

3. Stick to your boundaries.

One of the ideas that I've found to be common in extroverts who don't get it is that we're all just shy and want to be coaxed out of our shells, that we all secretly want to hang out all the time. If you say no to your extroverted friends but then give in when they pressure you, you're just reinforcing that. If you decide you're not going out and you really don't want to, stick with that. Of course, if you realize as they talk that you kind of want to go out after all, then you can do that. But if you'd really rather be alone, then don't give in. It may puzzle them for awhile when you genuinely choose to be by yourself instead of with other people, but they'll get used to it eventually.

LOVE YOU more each day... from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 Thai Jasmine (, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
4. Enjoy being introverted.

This is connected to the above thought. Most of the extroverts who push me to hang out with them are doing so out of concern for me. (Not all of them, but that's another story.) They genuinely don't think I'm having fun on my own. But I've found that introverts really love being alone -- definitely including me! There's something so beautiful about sitting by myself in absolute silence reading a book, or going to see a movie and being the only one in my row, or taking a solitary walk with just my iPod and good earbuds. That's why I write blogs like this one that talk about how much I really adore being by myself. Sometimes introverts don't talk about these things because they think it'll make them seem weird, and maybe it will, but it'll also help people see that you're not sad and lonely every time you're by yourself... so they won't feel quite as strong a need to combat it.

These are just a few of the things I've tried. What else has worked for you guys? Extroverted friends, do you have any "aha" moments to share? Chime in in the comments, and share if you liked the blog!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Della, Part 9

The final act in the Della saga! Last time... well, the first sentence of the chapter actually sums it all up neatly.

Della couldn't believe it. Here she was, trapped in a tiny corner of the room, with a python coming at her.

Della's reaction here is nowhere near as panicked as mine would have been.

Luckily she remembered what she'd once read about how to defeat pythons, and she did have a pocket knife in her pocket.

Okay. So this was the actual advice that I'd read in some bizarre book about how to defeat pythons. Check it out.

She let the python wrap itself around her and watched Robert cackling evilly in the background.

I thought he ran out and locked Della in with the snake?

It was okay, she'd show HIM! 

Then the python began to swallow her legs. 

"Oh, gee, he's swallowed my knee, oh my, he's swallowed my thigh..."

She sat as still as she possibly could until it got up to her knees, then she stuck the knife into the side of the python's mouth and ripped upward, thus killing the python.

Yup. That was the book's answer. Let the python swallow you until you can safely stab it. Meep.

Then she slowly extracting her legs from the python's jaws, and, as an astonished Robert watched on, she sliced open the hallway doors as well, 

That's one heck of a knife she has there!

and went parading out into the hall.

Hey, you might as well be as triumphant as you can.

She got home that day 

Thank goodness. I'm glad to hear it didn't take her multiple days to get home from Robert's house.

and called the police right away. The nice sergeant at first couldn't believe her, but when she told him her story, he had to admit that sounded a lot like a murder to him! They'd go over to murder Robert right away.

Oh, dear. I see we're in a punishment-fit-the-crime society.

Scene break!

"How are you doing?" Della asked, putting a hand on Dax's pillow. 

He shrugged and squirmed a little in the white sheeted bed. "I'm restless. I'm bored. I've got nothing to do."

Maybe he would be less bored if he was in the blue sheeted bed.

"Oh." Della tried to think of how to bring the subject up, but finally just said, "I thought I should tell you I'm in love with you."

Casual. Subtle. Great timing.

Dax's eyes got really big.

I'd think he'd run out of the hospital screaming.

"Really? Hmm. That's interesting."

Really? Hmm. That's incredibly anticlimactic.

Della hadn't known what she was going to get, but she had been hoping for slightly more than a "Hmm. That's interesting". 

She was hoping for him to tell her how smart she was.

Her eyes registered her disappointment, she supposed, because Dax quickly said, "That's not a bad 'That's interesting', just a 'That's interesting' 'That's interesting'."

Ah. All is clear.

Della's ears perked up at that.

Finally Dax said, "Well, you're still in high school. Once you get into college we'll talk about it."

Nice to see Dax is practical as ever... How old IS he, anyway?

Della gave a huge grin and said, "That sounds like a GREAT idea!"

And Dax said, "On second thought... How about we put the talking about it on hold indefinitely?"

Then she sat down on his bed and watched cartoons with him for hours and hours.

Well, this is an exciting end to the story.


So Mr. Jorgenson gets away with his smuggling thing. Not to mention the fact that Della spends the entire story chasing him when he actually has NOTHING to do with it. HECK YES.

Thanks for following along with me on Della's story. Next week, I'll be back with something else snarky... but I'm not announcing what yet because I haven't completely made up my mind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Top 5, Bottom 5: Medical Drama

Time to tackle another very specific Flickchart genre: the medical drama. I saw my twentieth fairly recently, and now it's time to look at my favorite and least favorite of the genre. I'm actually pretty surprised I haven't seen more of these!

Top 5:
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (#53, 1975). This movie just captivates me every time I watch it. One of these days I'm going to make Jacob sit down and watch it with me too, since he's seen all the parody versions of it (most recently the one on Spaced) but never the real thing.
2. Wit (#66, 2001). A heartbreaking adaptation of an equally heartbreaking play. Emma Thompson is superb as a woman battling ovarian cancer, looking back over her life and wondering whether she was the kind of person she wanted to be.
3. Awakenings (#136, 1990). I need to rewatch this movie, but I remember that, like Wit, it just broke me.
4. 50/50 (#210, 2011). This should possibly be up higher on my list. It's the perfect mix of funny and dramatic, and the main cast of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anna Kendrick are all brilliant in their roles.
5. Shadowlands (#258, 1993). It's been a long time since I watched this one, but I remember being really drawn into Anthony Hopkins' portrayal of C.S. Lewis. I should definitely give it a rewatch sometime and see if it deserves to be so high on my chart.

Medical/Surgical Operative Photography from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Phalinn Ooi, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Bottom 5:
5. Talk to Her (#1226, 2002). I like this genre in general, so it's not too surprising that my fifth least favorite is only about halfway down my chart. I admired the ambitiousness of this movie, but the surrealism was an emotional barrier for me.
4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (#1351, 2007). I was surprised how apathetic I was toward this movie. It's a great story... and I just didn't care.
3. The Savages (#1491, 2007). Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are such amazing actors, but even they couldn't save what was a pretty boring script.
2. John Q. (#1727, 2002). Another ambitious film that could have been so much better but fizzled out.
1. Steel Magnolias (#1798, 1989). My opinion of this has grown slightly since I saw my college do the play version, but I'm still pretty uninterested in the whole story. It's a movie dominated by female characters, but I don't relate to any of them.

Top 5 Unseen (I keep forgetting to do this category);
1. The Elephant Man (#586, 1980). I have been meaning to see this one for quite some time. It recently got added to Netflix, so it's in my queue. It's just a matter of making way for it.
2. Dead Ringers (#806, 1988). I really haven't seen a lot of Cronenberg, but I've been interested in this one for awhile too.
3. My Left Foot (#885, 1989). Yup, another one I've been meaning to see. I'm almost always interested in medical dramas, so it makes sense that these are all ones I do want to see.
4. Red Beard (#1179, 1965). Now this is one I've never heard of, but it's Kurosawa and I really like his work, so I'm sure I'll check it out eventually.
5. Drunken Angel (#1283, 1948). Another Kurosawa one I'm not familiar with... so, yes, I'll watch it someday.

What are your favorites and least favorites? Which of my top 5 unseen should I tackle first?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Musical Spotlight: Heathers

Guys, I can't stop listening to this musical. I love it so so so much. I haven't fallen in love with a musical this hard since... gosh, I don't even know. Sleeping Beauty Wakes, maybe. Of course, it did help that I got chance to see a bootleg of the off-Broadway show. I'm pretty sure I would have liked a lot of this music anyway, but hearing everything in context was fantastic.

The songs were written by Laurence O'Keefe (Legally Blonde, Bat Boy) and Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness), all of which are musicals I love a bunch, so I was thoroughly expecting to enjoy this, but I had no idea that I was going to love it this much.

I've been realizing over the last year that the things that connect with me most deeply emotionally are often things that tackle deep issues with a bit of a snarky or cynical touch. (One of these days I'm going to write a blog about that.) Heathers is definitely one of those. It matches up with the tone of the original movie really well (which I also recently watched and loved), mixing the serious with the darkly absurd... though I'd say the musical has more moments of surprising sincerity than the movie does.

This post will definitely have spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie or the musical and don't want spoilers... go watch the movie (it's on Netflix) and then come back and read this post. Go. Go now.

The plot centers around a girl named Veronica who is part of the cool clique in her high school (she is the only one there not named Heather, and the only one who feels qualms about being mean to the uncool kids) but ends up getting romantically involved with a clearly mentally disturbed bad boy named J.D. Together, the two start killing off the cool kids and passing the deaths off as suicides.

It was really really really really difficult to choose just five favorite songs from this show. Like... a lot. I wanted to include every single one of them. But I managed to stick to just the five.

As a heads up for my more easily-bothered readers, songs with * have cursing in them (Which is most of the songs in the show). Also, these are lyric videos, so even though they look like they have all the same album art going on, there is something to look at when you play them.

In chronological order:

*1. Fight for Me
This is Veronica's first encounter with J.D., when he gets into a fist fight with one of the jerk jocks at school... and she's kind of into that and sings a whole song about it. This was also the first song from the musical I really fell in love with. It's such an unusual love song, and I think that's what really draws me to it. It was also when I discovered I loved Barrett Wilbert Weed's voice (the girl who plays Veronica). It's so interesting to listen to.

*2. Dead Girl Walking
I've already written a bit about this song on my "Girl Power!" showtunes mix from last month, and it actually was the one that inspired the mix in the first place. While, er,  no, I don't think it's a great idea to drunkenly climb into a guy's bedroom through the window in the middle night, wake him up, and demand he sleep with you the way Veronica does here, the music is fantastic and rocky and it is a ton of fun to sing along with. Just listening to this song always makes me feel more energized.

(I played this one time on with one of my friends who listens primarily to metal and is not generally a showtunes person, and when it was done he said he kinda liked it.)

3. Lifeboat
And now we get into a couple of the more serious songs. In this one, one of the Heathers (whose best friend and boyfriend have both died at this point) admits that she's been very depressed recently, and sings this short, very sad song about the pressure of living up to everyone else's standards, and she feels it's only a matter of time before everything falls apart and she's tossed. It's the first time we (and Veronica) see a glimpse of humanity from the cool kids, and while killing them up until this point has been shown as some sort of noble act of justice, suddenly it seems... not so much.

4. Kindergarten Boyfriend
So back when I was an especially emo high schooler who collected unrequited love showtunes and "no one will ever love me" songs, I would have been all over this song. Even though I am less emo these days, I still empathize very, very strongly with this character, one of the unpopular kids who has been picked on for years and years and years.

The character up until this point has been naively optimistic about the idea that maybe she won't be bullied so much this year and maybe the quarterback likes her, and this song captures the heartbreaking desire to hold onto hope while being crushed with the realization that the world is sometimes very ugly.

*5. Meant to Be Yours
As I was compiling this list, the above four were "must haves," but as I tried to decide what to round it out with, I realized I didn't have any songs from the guys in the show. Granted, this is a girl-heavy musical, but the guys have some awesome songs as well. So I decided on this one.

Veronica has decided she doesn't want to hurt anyone anymore, and she tells J.D. so in no uncertain terms. He threatens her, only to come back and sing this song to her, where he describes his plan for killing everyone in the school at once in the hopes of making some sort of statement about society and says he needs her to be there with him. When he opens the door to her room, he finds her (supposedly) dead body, sings his love for her, but then vows to carry on the work they started.

I find the music to this song just fascinating to listen to. It does an awesome job of switching between J.D.'s tender, emotional proclamations of love and his clearly unhinged fantasies of violence. It does everything it needs to to build the tension of his character toward the end of the show.

There are so many more incredible songs, so if you liked any of these, go buy the cast recording as a whole because IS AMAZING.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Della, Part 8

Last time, Della followed Mr. Jorgenson to a mysterious warehouse where he was apparently smuggling "test scores," which were guarded by a "panther jaguar." She was nearly killed but Dax rescued her, only to reveal that her stalkery policeman friend was the one who murdered her parents. There's only one more chapter after this one, so things move along pretty quickly here...

Della couldn't believe it. The man had seemed so nice when she first talked to him, he had comforted her during her greatest time of grief. Now he turned out to have caused that greatest time of grief! Oooh, she was going to get him for this.

That seems like a pretty mild response. That's the kind of thing you say when people saran wrap your car.

What he did couldn't be condoned by any priest under any circumstances. She gritted her teeth and punched her fist into the side door of the car.

Dax looked at her out of the corner of his ye. "Careful there," he said with a mocking grin. "I don't want you punching holes in my car."

Didn't she poke holes in Mr. Jorgenson's trunk? Dax has reason to be worried, I guess.

Della shook her head. "I just can't believe he would do something like that. I'm going to confront him."

Anyone surprised by this plan of hers? Nope, me neither. Della's plan: Always. Confront. Everyone.

Dax looked at her out of the corner of his eye.

That corner is mighty busy.

"Confront him? Is that the wisest idea?" he said slowly. "HE may be violent - "

He just might, given that he's killed both her parents.

"I have to," Della said, her eyes wide. "For my parents. For me."

For the Gipper.

Dax said nothing to that, he could only not.

He just could only not. For real.

When he dropped her off in front of Robert's mansion, he nodded to her. "If you need anything," he said, "call me on the phone." 

Wow. Now there's a protective friend, non?

Della nodded and he drove off, leaving her in a pile of dirt 

Dax's friendship definitely leaves something to be desired.

in the front of the mansion. 

Why does Robert have a pile of dirt in front of his mansion? Heck, why does Robert have a mansion?

She turned around and looked up at the gigantic white house. She wondered vaguely if he had bought the money for the mansion with the money that he had gotten from doing whatever illegal things her father had caught him doing.

Because THAT'S not a complicated sentence.

Then a disturbing thought occurred to her. If he had been willing to kill once to protect his integrity, might he not do it again? 

Aaaaaaand the lightbulb turns on.

That must have been what Dax meant when he said it might be dangerous. She hadn't really considered it.

And now that she's considered it, she'll walk away like an intelligent person, right?

Oh, well, she had gone too far to back out, now.


She walked up the giant stone steps to knock on the front door. When theye was no answer, she reached up and poked the doorbell.

Poke. Poke. Bother. Bother. 

A moment later, the door opened, and a black-clad maid stood there, nervously gripping the edge of the door. "Yes miss?" she said.

Not only does Robert live in a mansion, he lives in a mansion from the 1800s.

"I'd loke to speak to Mr. Robert Plaintive," Eella said with determination.

What sort of accent is "Eella" trying to pull off here?

The maid's eyes grew wide. "Don't nobody see Mr. Plaintive except through appointment," she whispered. 

She is... a maid from a movie.

"Would you like me to make an appointment for you?" 

Handy dandy maid and secretary all rolled into one!

Della didn't answer, but simply shoved the poor girl out of the way 

When Della's about to confront, she doesn't hold back.

and ran into the living room where she found Mr. Plaintive in a large reclining chair smoking a cigarette and musing on the state of his life. 

He spends his time well I see.

He turned around when he saw her come in, and said, with a gesture of surprise, "What ARE you doing here, Della?" 

Della put her hands on her hips and said, " I came to find out why you thought it was necessary to kill my parents."

Get right to the point, why don't you, Della?

Robert's face drained of blood, and he began to stammer, "But I - but I - "

Della appears to have this affect on most people. I want to learn her confronting techniques.

Della shook her head. "No buts, ands, or ifs! conjunctions! I want to know why you killed my parents and if you're going to kill me now."

"Because if the answer to that is yes, I'd rather leave right now, thank you."

Robert rested one hand on his head and said, "You know, that's not a bad idea--" 

He hadn't considered it up until now?

When he saw the expression on her face, he said, "I'm kidding." 

Yeah. That's a great thing to joke about.

Then he sat there, thinking for a moment. "I don't know that I'm really sure how to answer that question," he said. "I don't know if I killed your parents or not."

There's a great explanation coming up.

Della stared at him in disbelief. "How can you not KNOW?"

"Well, I wasn't exactly in full possession of my faculties at the time," he said

"You were intoxicated!" she accused him.

"Actually, no, I was hypnotized," he said.

Best excuse ever.

She stared at him. "How could you commit a murder when you were hypnotized?"

Sheesh, don't you watch stupid old horror movies?

"Oh, quite easily, if the hypnotist says 'Go murder these people,' you have to do it. So I did." Robert shrugged. "I'm awfully sorry, 

He's SO CASUAL about all this.

but I didn't find out until just last night. Now I'm being blackmailed by the hypnotist because if I don't cooperate with him he'll call the police and tell them I did it and he's got photos and everything."

Della's heart began to beat for this man. 

Wha-?? Della is going to fall in love with him?

"Just give them the same story you gave me. I'm sure they'll understand." 

That's... not horribly likely.

Robert snorted. "Yes, sure, they will." He took a swig of his Mountain Dew. 

Product placement! And I'm not sure Mountain Dew is something one "swigs."

"Don't ever doubt it for a moment," he muttered to himself. 

What IS he talking about?

"But really, I'm very sorry."

I think he thinks the topic's closed now.

Della sobbed incessantly, "YOU KILLED MY PARENTS!" 

I LOVE Della's mood swings. She is all calm a few sentences ago and now...

Robert stood up and shrugged his shoulders again. "I don't know what else to say. I AM sorry, but it wasn't my family."

I sense he's not showing quite as much sympathy as he could be...

Della shook her head. Then she stalked out of the house.

It wasn't until she got back to her own house that she began to wonder if she was even hearing the whole story. Couldn't Robert be lying through his teeth to her? 

She thinks of these things always a little bit too late.

Maybe Dax would have some ideas. She picked up the phone to call him but just as she did the doorbell rang. She put down the phone and ran to the door eagerly. When she opened it, it was Dax, this time with a large steak on a plate. Oh, yes, she had forgotten he was bringing her food again.

As had the author, for a bit.

"Yum, steak," she said to him when she opened the door. "Let's eat it."

She's regained her composure quite well.

They brought out forks and knives and ate the stake at the kitchen table, 

Yum, yum. Wooden stake. Seasoned with garlic. No vampires will bother them tonight.

and then eventually Della gave him all the information she'd gotten from Robert. Dax shook his head. "He's lying, lying!" he exclaimed.

Dax has evolved from the one sensible character in the story to... this.

"I was following him, he never went to any hypnotist. 

Well, that would explain how Dax knew Robert was the killer... but not why he didn't say anything earlier.

Nor has he been withdrawing large amounts of cash from the bank, so he couldn't have a blackmailer."

...And he's seen his bank statement? Dax is a thorough detective.

Della raised one eyebrow. "How do you know all this?"

Finally, a good question from Della.

"I have my reasons." Dax took a spoonful of cereal. 

Steak and cereal. The quintessential meal.

The milk flew everywhere.

He's not a very tidy eater, is he?

"I think you should go back and tell him again that you know he's lying."

Dax is also 100% for the direct confrontation tactic now...

"What about all that 'he could be dangerous' stuff?" Della asked, slightly curious and embarrassed.

"Well, we needn't go into that need we?" 

I see he's taken his personality reversal medicine this morning.

Dax said, putting his napkin under his teeth.

First the steak wasn't enough for dinner so he had to have cereal... now he has to eat the table linen too? Or is this some bizarre dinner table ritual?

"I suppose we needn't," Della said, letting her eyes wander down to her lap.

WHY is Della getting so shy all of a sudden?

Then the truth came out. Della stood up to do the dishes but Dax went into the other room to study.

Wait, wait, did we skip over the truth bit?

Before long Dax said, "I'm going home," and he laughed, 

Relieved to get away from her?

and Della realized she missed him a lot. 

...before he even left?

Maybe she was falling in love. Kathunk kathunk. That was the sound of her heart falling.

Yup. It's confirmed. I'm the most amazing writer in all of history.

It was truly beautiful.

Kathunk is NOT that beautiful a sound.

She loved Dax. He must not love her, though, because he just left her.

I'm giggling like mad rereading this. Oh, the dramas of being in love with a Dellalike emotional quotient...

She'd have to wait until the next day to find out for sure what he thought of her. 

She couldn't wait until the morning came. Dax would come with breakfast, and then she would tell him what she thought and everything would go perfectly lovelyly. She joyously showered and washed her hair and got ready for the day in general. Her teeth were brushed to perfection, although it seemed rather silly since she would be eating in a few moments.

Hey, can't look too good for Dax.

However when time ran up she began to be worried, and picked up the phone to call him. The phone rang eighteen times on his end before she finally let the receiver fall onto the phone itself. Maybe something was wrong with him! She put on her quickly coat 

The coat that allows her to move quickly?

and ran down the street to his little apartment that she knew so well.

There was an ambulance outside.

Her heart beat faster. No, not Dax too!

Oh no oh no oh noooooooo!

She ran inside, looking left and right for the police in her way, and then made her way up the stairs to where Dax's apartment was. Someone was carrying Dax out on a stretcher. Her looked so white and helpless.

Her did, did she?

Della reached out and grabbed his hand, but it was cold and clammy, and she pulled it away with a shriek of disgust. 

She must not be all THAT enamored of him.

A man in a white coat was coming out of Dax's apartment, and Della grabbed him by the coat and snarled, "I demand to know what's going on here!"

The man replied simply, "He took two thousand pills and now we have to pump his stomach."

OH. MY. Oh. My.
This might be my sentence of the entire thing. I'm thinking if he took 2000 pills, they might do a bit more than pump his stomach. In other news, this guy was much less thrown by Della's aggressive style than most people.

Suicide? No, Dax, couldn't have tried that! He was too full of life! 

This sentence does not have the ring of originality.

She knew in the pit of her stomach what he really happened. That horribly Robert Plaintive had put all those pills in his foot.

That's right. DEATH BY INJECTION OF TWO THOUSAND PILLS INTO THE FOOT!!! Typos + speed writing = worst murder plot.

Oooh, the man made her so mad!

Again, something of an underreaction. That Robert Plaintive, he's such a stinker!

With her fists clenched, her teeth gritted, her shoulders back and her feet stomping, 

That's about as aggressive as you can make yourself look.

she marched to Robert Plaintive's house and pounded on the door.

That doesn't work though... you have to poke the bell!

The maid opening the door once more said, "I don’t think you'd better come on, miss. He's in quite a foul mood-"

From murder most foul.

"I WILL see him!" Della said, pushing past the man 

The maid is a man?

and removing her scarf. "He'll see me once he hears what I've got to say."

The maid shrugged and gestured toward the same room Robert had been in the night before.

Add the maid to the list of people Della can walk all over with little to no effort.

Della wandered on it, and Robert was once again sitting the large red backed chair facing the fireplace. 

Was he contemplating life again?

When he heard her he stood and turned to greet her. "Why, Della," he said slowly, "it's so nice to see you again."

I suspect this isn't the whole truth.

"I'm sure it is," she said, ice in her voice. "But I'm sure it would be far nicer to see me dead!"

Don't give away your hostility all at once, Della...

Robert's eyes got hard and cold. "Don't be silly. I wouldn't want anyone dead."

Somehow that's not convincing.

"Not even Dax?" She put her hands on her hips and her eyes rolled upward. She had him this time, and he knew it too.

His eyes widened. "How did you know about Dax?"

NOW she's got him. Because he's stupid and completely gave himself away.

"The question is how did YOU know about Dax?" She leaned forward until his nose was in his face. 

That's... something.

"You have to tell me!" 

He shook his head. "I - I had to do it!" he blurted out. "Life wouldn't be the same without him!"

I'm not sure I'm following his reasoning.

She put her hands on her hips and said, "Aha, so you decided to kill him?" 

He broke down into sobs. "Yes! Yes! I did! He knew too much, he could get me kicked out of my job!"

WOW! Della is good at this interrogation thing!

"Well, you're not doing a very good job enforcing the law when you're a murderer, now can you?" 

I wonder if he's thought of this.

Della couldn't believe the audacity of this guy. He still thought he could be a policeman when he wasn't even a non-killer? 

They probably ask you that on your application. "Are you a killer or a non-killer?"

"You KNOW I'm going to turn you in." 

Robert fell to his knees. "No! No, please don't! Please, I beg of you!" 

He's not all that tough without his stray bullets and pill syringes.

But Della ignored his heartfelt pleas and coldly turned and walked toward the door.

She heard Robert stand to his knees 

That's not standing very much.

and then heard him mutter in a low, cold voice, "Attack!"

She turned around just in time to see a giant python running toward her. 

Oh. Right. I'd forgotten the giant running python. Running. With LEGS, apparently.

"AAAAHHHH!" she yelled. "Why are you doing this?"

I'll give ya three guesses.

"He's just hungry," Robert said, a malicious glint in his eyes. "I think it's time he had . . . FOOD!" 

Talk about a threatening line.

Quick as a flash, he ran to the door and locked them with a key so she couldn't get out. 

It's a cliffhanger!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Text Message Tombstones

I posted this on my Facebook yesterday:

Reddit asked, "If the last text message you sent was engraved on your tomb stone, what would it say?"
Apparently my tombstone would read: "Yay "
What would yours say?

The response was fantastic. I got several responses, along with friends reposting it on their own walls to get feedback from their friends. I was surprised by how many were somewhat appropriate... and amused by the ones that weren't. So here, for your reading pleasure, are my very, very favorite answers from my own post and the other ones I read:

Yay :-) [that one was mine]

Sometimes I worry that I'm too transparently trying to bring all the people I love together. And then I realize that's not actually a problem.

I made it here safe. I'm having a cup of tea.

Ok laying around impatiently.

The pink slime has been vanquished!

I feel super strong today. I'm not sure what the difference is but I'm feeling the She-Ra :-)

LoL, I like it

I've got this under control. No biggie

We talked about this, right?

Slow very slow

Welcome to the gang!

Who doesn't hate Mondays?

Love you too!!! Hang in there, babe.

I can't talk. I'm at work!

I was running late so I didn't grab the corn but I'm going to want it tonight.

Seriously, that is not okay.

Back home safe now.

I think that thing under my eye might be ringworm.


Never mind they looked it up. WAIT FOR ME.

You coming to lunch today? If so what do you want from the grill?

Will you smother me with hugs

Smells like bananas..


Okay! Love you both! Keep me updated! Give dad a hug for me!

I love you and will chat with you soon!

Hopefully we will have a positive outcome

Yeah, I'm far from Walmart now :-/

Wanna meet up?

And... I was hoping you could help?

I feel your pain.

:-) Just kidding!!!!!

Boo ya.

Leaving now - need anything?

I am making a stop. Won't be home right away.

Which of these was your favorite? And while we're at it, what's the last text you sent?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Della, Part 7

Last time, Della sneaked into the back of Mr. Jorgenson's car -- again -- and wound up a LONG way from home.

You should all know that this is probably my favorite chapter of the whole story.

She sat there in the backseat, waiting patiently as he drove miles and miles

That's pretty stinking patient.

until he finally reached an abandoned warehouse. He parked in the parking lot outside

And what a good place that is to park.

and then got out of the car and walked into the house. Della wanted to know what was going on, so she wandered on inside. 

It was dark in there, and she reached out to turn on a light switch 

Hold that thought there, Della. You're not wearing your inconspicuous long evening gown and mask, so Mr. Jorgenson MIGHT see you.

but then realized probably Mr. Jorgenson would be in there, 

Since he went in there and all.

and she didn't want to alert him, definitely not.

Definitely, definitely not. Definitely in a box with no TV.

She crouched down behind a barrel and watched him walk toward a ring of light in the center. Suddenly a different man materialized in front of him and said, "You have the money?"

Yup, there's something shady happening here. And it involves people who are maybe able to materialize...

Mr. Jorgenson nodded, looked around him, then reached in his pocket and handed over a wad of bills.

The man thumbed through them, then nodded in satisfaction. "All your stuff is in the back," he said, nodding his head toward a room that Della hadn't noticed before now. Boxes were stacked in it. She wondered what was in the boxes. Obviously something Mr. Jorgenson was buying.

This is a fairly logical train of thought, actually. Simplistic logic, but hey, it's more than Della's mastered up until now. I'm impressed.

"Now remember, don't tell anyone about this," the man said, putting a finger to his lips.

Er... okay.

"I'm not stupid!" Mr. Jorgenson said, offended.

I beg to differ. He didn't notice when Della made a FLYING LEAP into the BACK SEAT of his car.

"I know better than to run squealing to the cops about this."

"Just checking," said the man. "Some people haven't been as careful, and then CLICK!" He mimed shooting a gun into someone's head. Mr. Jorgenson winced.

Yeah, I feel threatened. How about you?

"Yeah, ok, I know, I know, just take me to the gold," he said.

The man led him into the back room, where the two men shut the door. Della couldn't see through the door 

She is spoiled by her hole-filled door at home.

into what they were doing. She sat pondering behind the barrel.

Best place to ponder!

Obviously Mr. Jorgenson was involved in something illegal. 

No! Really?

What was in those barrels? 

Barrels? Besides the one she's sitting behind? I think she means boxes.

She had to find out. Drugs? Evil papers?

Watch out for those evil papers. They attack and papercut you to death.

Children being sold into slavery? 

...That they stack in boxes in warehouses? That can't be the most efficient way to store human beings.

Mr. Jorgenson came out a moment later, his hands full of boxes.

And that crosses off the possibility of them being full of children.

The man helped Mr. Jorgenson loaded them into his car, and then Mr. Jorgenson drove off into the sunlight.

Oh, my. A lot of time has passed since Della jumped into his car.

Della wasn't with him, she had decided to stay behind so she could get a look at the boxes. She could always call someone to come pick her up.

Er... Della has lost all indication that she EVER thought sensibly. Which, I mean, she didn't to begin with, but...

As soon as the mysterious man vanished into wherever he came from, Della crept over to the door and pushed it open. It squeaked open and lay rusting on his hinges as she tiptoed in and looked in awe at the millions of boxes 

That is a LOT of boxes.

scattered across the floor. Which to open first? They most likely all contained the same thing,

See, if they're the same on the outside, they're always the same on the inside too.

so whichever one she opened would contain what the rest of them did. 

She took a deep breath, chose one and random, and opened it.

Inside lay a nest of papers. 

A bird sat on top of the nest.

She pulled them out and began looking over them. Oh goodness! They were test scores! Mr. Jorgenson was slipping test scores to people! 

Now hold on just one second. Mr. Jorgenson's illegal purchase is TEST SCORES? Not even test answer sheets. SCORES. As in "Billy got an 89, Susie got a 96." The only law that can possibly breach is some sort of student-teacher confidentiality thing. This is nonsense.

She couldn't believe his audacity, 

I can't believe his moronity.

and was about to turn around and report it to the police,

Who were coincidentally standing right behind her...?

when she felt a cold hand on her shoulder. She whipped around and saw the mysterious man holding her shoulder, 

It appears he ripped her shoulder off.

a grim smile on his face that didn't look at all pleasant.

"I see you've discovered our treasure trove," 

And quite a trove it was, I must say.

he said, without humor in his voice. "Now it's time to pay you."

Uh... Yeah, I messed that one up. It SHOULD have been "Now it's time for you to pay." But perhaps they're going to bribe her?

He cuffed her on the shoulder and all went black. 

Oh, my. That's a powerful hit.

When she woke up, she was tied to a chair in the same back room, a gag in her mouth and her chair leaned up against a wall. No one was in the room but she supposed someone was.

Er, sure.

She tried making a noise, maybe if they came she could explain to them that she was just on her way, just leaving, 


but nobody came when she called.


She suddenly noticed a stirring in the corner of the room. It was a very large feline creature 

So... a cat.

which lay napping lazily in the corner, its tongue flicking in and out when it yawned.

It is SO tired, it yawns AS it naps.

It opened one eye, glanced around, and then glocsed it again. Della realized in an instant what it is. It was a panther jaguar.

This panther jaguar is an amazing creature, let me tell you.

She had read about them in school, they were the deadliest of cats and could tear a human being to shreds in an instant.

But of course this is all pretty common knowledge. I'm sure you all knew that

Not only would she have to be careful, they had probably left it there as a trap in case she tried to escape.

Er... yes. Guard those test scores, Mr. Panther Jaguar!

She realized joyously that she still had her cell phone in her pocket.

I don't know how else she thought she was going to call someone to "come pick her up."

Maybe she could escape if she could call somebody.

Well, yes, maybe.

She wouldn't get attacked by the cat unless she moved out of the room, presumably,

She's making a lot of dangerous assumptions about how this panther jaguar operates.

so if she could just get a hold of it--

She moved and the cat opened its eyes and let out a warning snarl. She let her hands stay in the position they had been. Obviously she had been wrong. The cat would attack if she tried to move or untie herself. The captives have been far too clever.

Well, aside from the incorrect use of the word "captives," it's nice to point out that they'd been so clever that they didn't practically open the door and let her waltz out.

She racked her brain trying to think of what other clever things she could do. Nothing was coming to mind.

I hate it when I'm trying to think of clever things and nothing comes to mind.

She began to think that she would never get out of here, when she heard a familiar noise outside. It was a car. Dax's car.

I am unbelievably impressed that she can recognize Dax's car by its sound. Almost as impressed as I am that Dax is somehow here. Miles and miles away.

"I'M IN HERE!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Note how I completely forgot about the gag.

The cat jumped to its feet, snarling and snapping. Della paid it no attention but kept yelling, "DAX, DAX, COME HELP ME, I'M IN HERE!" The cat began to walk toward her, its leathery paws tapping the floor in rhythms.

This... has to be one of the most amazing mental images ever. Why, the panther jaguar ALWAYS rhythmically tapdances over to its prey.

Della squirmed and squealed in her chair, hoping to escape herself

THAT wasn't translated from Spanish to English using Google Translate.

so she could run from the monster. "THERE'S A CAT MONSTER IN HERE!" she screamed next.

Hey, it's not a MONSTER. It's just a panther jaguar.

She wouldn't want Dax to come in unprepared. That would be the most horrible thought. He would mauled in an instant by this lovely creature.

Yes, this lovely... monster... Della has no idea what she thinks of the p.j.

She squirmed some more, as the cat put one paw up on her knee.

"Now, now, Della," the p.j. said calmly, "we must stop screaming, mustn't we?"

If she moved any further the cat should push down and push her knee off. 

That is NOT a pleasant image. But an interesting one.

She had to stay completely still now. The cat gazed into her eyes as if saying "Don't you try THAT stunt again," and then dropped down onto the floor, padded back to the corner, and curled up and lay down.

Apparently the cat didn't hear the sound of Dax's car...

She wasn't fooled though, it wasn't sleeping, not by a long shot.

Yeah, you've gotta get up pretty early in the morning to fool Della. Or at least the morning after you've fooled her, so you can dispose of the body.

She could be cleverer!! 

Glad to hear it. I've been waiting for that.

She began to sneeze violently. The cat opened its eyes, unsure whether to count this as a thing or not.

"A thing"? I think I just ran out of words here.

Then it finally closed its eyes again, assuming it was just a normal sneeze. Della kept sneezing, though, 

I really want to know how one sneezes, gagged. But I guess she's been managing to talk, so...

hoping Dax would recognize her sneeze for what it was and follow her sneeze trail to where she was kept.

If he's taken Sneeze Trail Following 101, he just might figure it out.

A moment later, the doors were thrown open and Dax burst in, holding a pitchfork in his arms. "Come away, cat!" 

The attack of the horrible dialogue!

he yelled at the feline, who had lazily opened one eye and then jumped to its feet at the sight of an intruder in its territory. It snarled as it moved forward slowly as Dax backed up, shoving the pitchfork at it and jabbing it.

Is it tapping its feet on the floor in rhythms? That's when you should get nervous.

Finally when they were so far out of the room that Della couldn't see them anymore, she heard a wild scream and began to panic. Had Dax been mauled?? What would she do? She might get mauled too... 

But note how she isn't really worried about Dax...

But a moment later, Dax came into the room, his pitchfork gone now, and wiping his hands on his pants.

Sounds like quite an adventurous triumph...

"All's well," he said. "Let's get you untied."

She didn't ask what had happened to the cat until he got the gag off.

Why not? Obviously Della can still speak with it in. And sneeze too!

Then she said, "What did you do to it?"

"Oh, that thing," Dax said, dismissively waving his hand.

"That old thing? I've had one in my home for years. They're quite easy to deal with. A bit of a nuisance, but that's all."

"I lured it into a pile of gasoline rags and then set it on fire. Let's go." I think this speaks for itself.

Her ropes were on the floo besider her, and she was able to get up and move around now. It felt good. Her arms and legs were sore from being in one position for so long. She hadn't moved in hours. Finally she and Dax could walk out.

Now that she's noted how good it feels to move.

She avoided looking at the disgusting pile of whatever it was on the floor on the right. She assumed it was the cat but she wasn't about to look and find out.

Is it near a pile of gasoline rags? Actually, if it is the cat, it's probably still on fire.

As they got into Dax's red sports car, 

As all archaeologists drive.

Della asked curiously, "How DID you know that I was here?"

Just what I was wondering.

Dax nodded. "Easy. You left your cell phone on and I traced your last call.

...What? And Dax says he can't find her parents' murderers... *shakes head*

I needed to talk to you. I think I've found out who killed your parents."

I knew it!

Della jumped up and down in her seat. "You don't say! Well, don't be quiet about it, spill spill!"

Dax put on his blinker and headed onto a dirt road, where they proceeded to bounce up and down as they traveled the path.

That fact is so important. It's pretty much the key to the ENTIRE STORY.

"I don't have absolute proof," he said, "but I have some evidence to support the fact that it was a man who your father had some information on. He threatened to go to the police about it. This man panicked and killed him and your mother." 

Della was astonished. "How on earth did you find all this out?" 

Dax waved his hand. "Never mind all that.

Ha! This way I don't have to explain it either!

The point is, how are we going to prove it?"

This would actually be easier to know if we knew how he found it out in the first place.

Della leaned back in her seat and put her feet up on the dashboard, wondering this very same question. "Well, the first thing I need to know," she said, "is what's his name?"

"Can't possibly prove it without his name."

Dax turned toward her and gave her a steady gaze. "His name," he said, "is Robert Plaintive." 

Della shook her head. If she was supposed to recognize the name, she didn't.

"He's your police man friend," Dax said.