Tag Archives: adventure

That SoCal Life

One of my favorite things about living in Southern California is that you can be out getting coffee or whatever with your friends in the middle of January, and suddenly be like: “you know what, let’s go to the beach.”

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best thing about having a smartphone: being able to inconspicuously take candids of my beautiful friends

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i can’t remember his name, but apparently this guy is a regular on the pier.

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waves crashing on the jetty

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does this even need a caption

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the pier from a distance, all lit up.

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view of the shore from the far end of a jetty

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i <3 these people (even if the shot is a little awkward)

The eight of us made the drive from Fallbrook to Oceanside, got milkshakes at the Ruby’s Diner on the pier, then walked down the beach to a jetty, from where we watched the sunset. Eventually we drove back to a friend’s house and watched Star Wars. It was actually a somewhat magical day, and a reminder that the simple, unexciting, unplanned things in life are often the fondest memories.

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A Tale of Two People

this is a poem I wrote some time ago for TPS English 3, and because I’m in the mood to post something random, I’m posting this. =P It’s actually very pathetic; keep in mind I wrote about one-and-a-half years ago.  And I’m not going to bother editing it in any way, so don’t judge the punctuation or anything.

Once in a land that was hilly

Lived a fellow who thought himself dandy

Folks considered him silly

Because he ate so much candy

And he often would sing ‘pick-a-dilly!’

Whenever the brandy was handy.

 

Not far away, in the same land

Ventured a girl who was buff

She hated to be still and be fanned

But people just thought she was rough

Said she: “You folks are so weak and so bland

But I know that I’m made of stern stuff.”

 

On a day that was real sweet and shady

The dandy decided to tease

He saw the brave girl and said: “Lady!

Just give me a kiss, if you please!”

She screeched: “I’ll punch you o’er to Haiti!

I’ll lop off your head, you big sleaze!”

 

He laughed a great “hee!” and laughed a great “ha!”

She scowled: “I’ll turn you to ice

And put you where you’ll never thaw.”

“Oh, gee,” mocked he, “that’s not very nice.”

“I’ll grind you like meat that is raw!”,

She quipped, with a look that would shrivel lice.

 

He had fair warning and did not heed

And that’s when she got out her mace

He was so scared that he started to plead,

“Now, keep that thing out of my face!”

The poor fellow shook like a reed

She paused: “Well, I might offer grace.”

 

She cleared her throat: “Say you’re sorry.”

At him, the girl stared with a glare:

“And don’t take it back on-the-morry!”

He nodded his head and ran like a hare

Then he took off in his Ferrari

And the girl rode away on her mare.


A Poem of Great Significance

I hath made a promise in times gone past

that I would make this blog to last,

that I would post as oft I could;

so I’m now doing as I  should.

I will not let my blog decay,

and idly watch it pass away

as I grow old and turn to dust

and my laptop hath begun to rust.

I’ll post poems and stories, both new and old,

but I must warn that it’s no written gold.

Perhaps sometimes I’ll share with you

a personal adventure too;

from detours in Yosemite,

to scary kids that make me flee;

from mission trips in Mexico,

to incidents in my favorite show–

yes, I’m sorry, but if I write,

the Doctor will often be in site!

It’s also likely that in my posts

mentions of Tolkien will come in hosts,

as well as many other things I adore,

for in this way I can always say more.

I’ve said my bit, so I’ll now cease

that you may enjoy your day in peace.


CW17- A World Awaits: Part 2

guess whaaat! i finally wrote the second part to A World Awaits! this assignment was, in a way, a free write, so i took the opportunity. but it wasn’t entirely free. i had to include 10 words– words that my classmates and i all contributed to– in the piece. and not just any words. they were terms for things found in a hospital: Death, ward, scalpel, knife, syringe, healing, surgeon, oxygen, formaldehyde, crutch, hydrogen peroxide, blood, and nurse, all of which are underlined.  Additionally, i could not use the terms in a hospital setting.  As it turned out, these terms fit nicely into my story, particularly “death”, “oxygen”, and “blood”. i think, though, that i found a loop-hole with the word “ward”… ;D

one more thing before i let you read this incredibly long “short” story: i sure got my heart pumping while writing the ending. *wipes sweat from brow*

“What’re you doing out here?” a cold and steely voice asked, as a cold and steely knife was put to my throat.

The man had come up behind me as I stood on a headland, watching the sunset. Either I was unusually engrossed in the golden glory, or the man had incredible stealth. It was strange for my senses to not have been piqued.

“None of your business, cur,” I growled in reply.

“Well now,” he said as the blade pressed closer against my skin, “if I was just an ordinary cur, it would indeed be none o’ my business. But as it happens, I work for someone very important who desires your services. You’ve hindered his business too many times, but rather than simply dispose of you, he wants to offer you the chance to work for him, instead of against him.”

I knew instantly who the ruffian was speaking of. A crime lord simply called “the Boss”, he was cruel, and could not be trusted. Knowing that anger could send negotiations in the wrong direction, I tried to remain as calm and diplomatic as possible. “So basically, I start doing dirty work for the Boss, and he spares my life?”

“That’s about the way of it. Now, if you’ll just come this way—” his words were cut short as he suddenly slumped to the ground, the knife slicing my shoulder at the same time.

I whirled around to see a young man standing behind me, a club over the head of the unconscious thug, and a smug expression on his face.

“Adrian!” I exclaimed, grinning at him. “It’s always good to see you, my friend—but this time your presence couldn’t have been more welcome.”

“Oh, Eva,” he laughed, “why is it you keep getting into pickles? It seems like I’m always having to save you…”

“Hey! I’ve saved myself plenty of times without your help—you gotta have that kind of skill when you’re a vigilante. Certainly I don’t need you as a crutch. I’ve even saved your ungrateful hide a couple of times!”

“Vigilante, eh?” he said, raising his eyebrows, “when did you start calling yourself that? Certainly not when you first came here.”

Throwing my head back in laughter, Adrian playfully punched me in the shoulder, cutting off the laughter as I gave a cry of pain. Looking down, I saw that my sleeve was partially soaked in sticky blood.

“Oops,” he said apologetically, “c’mon, let’s get you cleaned up.”

“What about him?” I said, gesturing to the slumbering man on the ground.

“Oh, I’ve got a feeling he’ll be out for a while. I’ll have someone come by for him later, and then he can sleep all he wants—in jail.”

“Sounds good to me.”

As Adrian and I began walking away from the disappearing sun and back towards the direction of town, he spoke up again.

“So, my joke about how you weren’t a vigilante when you first came here got me thinking… where did you come from before you came here?”

The question threw me off. “Well… I, uh…” I stalled, sending my thoughts back in time. For a solid year or more, I had lived in and near this town and the surrounding woods, acting as a sort of unofficial keeper of the peace. But going back much further than that, all I came up with was confused, blurry images. To be honest, I couldn’t remember a single thing about my life before coming to this area. Not wanting to sound insane, I simply shrugged.

“Y’know, I would, uh, rather not talk about it. I had a, um, bad childhood—I’d like to forget about it. Let’s stay in the present, shall we?”

Adrian seemed to accept it as a legit answer. “Sure thing. We’ve all got things we’d prefer to forget.”

I nodded and started walking with a brisker pace. I wanted to get back to town as quickly as possible to do something, anything, to get these strange, muddled thoughts out of my head. That, and I wanted to get my shoulder taken care of before it got too infected.

A short while later, we arrived in town and were at Adrian’s place. As he rummaged through a cupboard, he said, “Dr. Lane has been instructing me in the art of healing. He thinks I could make a fine surgeon someday.”

“Pfft, you?” I scoffed, “you wouldn’t make so much as a decent nurse. I’ll bet you don’t even know a syringe from a scalpel.”

“Ha, ha,” he said with slow and bitter sarcasm. “Laugh all you want, but I really think I can make a living out of this. I don’t plan on spending all my days apprehending criminals in the wilderness—unlike some people.”

I knew it was true. Although Adrian sometimes accompanied me on adventures of errantry,—at my insistence, of course—his real passion and fascination lay in the medical field. He now approached me with a bottle and cotton swab in hand, and began addressing my wound.

As the liquid bit into my flesh, I bit back curses, “What is that?! Are you trying to kill me?! Gosh, why don’t you just soak me in formaldehyde now.”

“Ah, ” he said with a smirk, “Eva, the rough and tough vigilante, is afraid of a little hydrogen peroxide, eh?”

I rolled my eyes, “Oh… just slap a bandage on it and let me be on my way. I told Mama Rosie I’d be on time for dinner.”

He complied, and after bidding him goodnight, I made my way to Mama Rosie’s Inn. I often stayed at her place, and would eat meals there whenever my business wasn’t too… distracting. She could always be relied upon for a clean room and a hot, satisfying meal. She and her other guests also made excellent company, constantly ready to tell a tale or spread gossip that was useful to me. That night, however, the food seemed strangely bland, and I felt out of touch with the other people. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was missing.

Hoping to reestablish my equilibrium, I decided to go for a late night walk. It might have seemed risky, considering the incident just a few hours earlier. But such run-ins were terribly rare, and the occurrence of one made the occurrence of another much less likely. Sort of like being stuck by lightening.

Trying to ward off the cold, I pulled my brown leather jacket closer about my body.  Around me, the graceful trees danced slowly in the nighttime breeze; nighthawks chirped from their shadowy hiding places on the ground; and the full moon cast its glistening glow on me and my surroundings. But I was too preoccupied in my own thoughts to take much notice of the natural beauty. Without warning, a nearby voiced called out to me.

“What are you doing way out here?” it asked.

You have to be kidding me! I said inwardly and, placing my hand on my dirk, I spun around to face the speaker, determined not to be caught off guard this time.

To my surprise, it was not a ruffian but an old man. He had a long white beard, a wooden staff, and a large brown cloak.

“What are you doing out here?” he said again, his voice warm and kindly.

“I’m… I’m just walking,” I answered, not sure of what else to say.

“Had an interesting day, have you?” he queried.

“Well, yes, I suppose so.” I cocked my head to the side, watching him as he walked closer, a smile on his face.

“You’re quite fortunate to have friends like Adrian. You know that, don’t you?”

“Who are you?!” I exclaimed, “And how do you know I’m friends with Adrian?”

“My name,” he said, “believe it or not, is Clover. And I know a great deal about you—probably more than you yourself know, at this time.”

Although mildly alarmed at his words, I sensed that I had nothing to fear from him. Folding my arms, I said, “Ok, and how do you know these things that even I don’t know? What’s your deal, old man?”

“I am a Guardian,” he replied, “I watch over the Portals between Worlds. I make sure that no one is transported who was not meant to be transported. And, when the time comes, I send the Chosen Ones back to their own World.”

I stared blankly. “I didn’t understand a word you just said.”

“Of course not,” he sighed, “for you have forgotten. Although, I suppose that even if you had not forgotten, you would hardly comprehend my meaning. But that is of no consequence. I have a message for you.”

“I can’t believe this,” I said, slapping my face. “Out here in the forest—with a crazy old man.”

“Eva McDonald,” he continued, speaking with grave importance, “you must return.”

“Return where?” I groaned grumpily.

“You must return to your own World. You used to live on a planet called Earth, in forests very similar to this one.”

“I’m sorry,” I snorted impatiently, “but I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I don’t intend to waste my time talking to a madman.”

“Wait! Listen! Eva, this is imperative. You must return to your own World through the way which you came to this one—a Portal in a little picket fence. Down that road there about a mile, and then cutting across the field, and then over the hill, and from there you should be able to find it. I know you don’t believe me. I know you have forgotten. But you must trust me. You can no longer stay here.”

“And why can’t I stay here, grandpa? What’s gonna happen? Huh?” My anger was overcoming my civility.

“You cannot stay here because this is not reality. Yes, yes, it is reality for the people of this World—but not for you. Your time here is done. If you do not return, this World will disappear—and you will disappear with it.”

His words sent my skin cold. For the first time, I tried to listen. “What do you mean?”

“Eva, you have your reality; this is not it.” He placed a hand on my shoulder. “Go back, before it is too late.”

“When?” I asked, my eyes searching the man’s face.

“Tonight. Now. If you wait more than a night’s time, there is no guarantee the Portal will work.”

“But Clover,” I said, speaking his name for the first time, “I must say goodbye to Adrian and Mama Rosie, and many others. I can’t just leave.”

“But you must!” he insisted, “Besides, by time you get to each of them, they will have forgotten you, even as you have forgotten your past.”

“Forget me? They won’t forget me!” I said, my anger returning. “And, and… I still can’t remember any of which you speak. How do I know it’s true? How can I trust you? I can’t! I won’t go!” I began to storm off, heading back to town.

“No! Eva, you must do as I say!” he sounded desperate.

“I’m not going to listen to you!” I yelled, “You’re insane!”

I’m insane?!” he yelled back, finally losing his temper, “You’re the one who can’t remember the first seventeen years of your life!”

I whirled around, intending to hurl another insult at him—but he had disappeared. Huffing, I stomped away. Just forget about it, I told myself. As if more forgetting was what I needed. I mulled over all these compelling thoughts as I made my way down the shadowy streets, back to Mama Rosie’s, into my room and into bed.

I woke up the next morning with a start. Something was wrong. The sun shone through my window, but it wasn’t golden. It was grey. Sitting up and pushing myself to the edge of the bed, I tried to clear my mind. The more I tried to clear, the more the thoughts came in floods. They came in torrents. Suddenly, I saw them—my friends. My home. My life. Tears streaking down my face, I struggled to get dressed.

“Susanna!” I said aloud. “Susanna—I left you! You must have felt horrible. And Nickolas—we never made up after our last argument. Levi—you were going to show me your latest drawing when you had finished it. I left you! I left you all!”

Tripping over my boot as I put it on, I fell to the floor, sobbing. I rose back up and straightened myself out. I knew what I had to do.

Racing down the road at top speed, the wildlife around me already seemed dim and faded. Mama Rosie hadn’t noticed me running out the door. When I’d ran past him in the street, Adrian didn’t acknowledge my existence—not even when I called. But I knew they’d be alright; this World wasn’t really fading. I was.

Having followed Clover’s directions, I ran the last stretch of open ground, and then slowed down as I approached the fence. I began jogging along side it, looking for the Portal.

“It’ll be here, it’ll be here,” I said, “it has to be.”

I halted. In the fading light, I could just barely make out ancient-looking symbols on a picket. I dusted them off just to be sure. I had found it.

“This is it!” I exclaimed, “It’s still here! That means I’m not too late!”

With that, I hurled myself in between the bars of the fence. Standing up, I took in my surroundings again. All hope left me. Despair overwhelmed my soul.

“It didn’t work,” I whispered, “I was too late. I’m not back home. It’s just the other side of the fence.”

I yelled frantically, blindly, despairingly to anyone who might hear, “It’s just the other side of the fence!”

All went black. My body crumpled to the ground, and I could feel the oxygen leaving my lungs. Even the ground beneath me left. Death came.

Still, lifeless, cold.

I feel something. Dirt. My fingertips move slightly and touch the grainy material. My chest starts to move up and down—air is entering. A foreign sensation comes over me. Warmth. I lift my eyelids and see magnificent, golden rays streaming above me. I hear birds and smell fragrant blossoms. I see the trees of a northern California forest. Life floods my veins. I am alive. Yes, I am alive—and I can hear the voices of my friends in the distance.


J15- Honor, Courage, Commitment

On the question of what nostalgic book series I would most like to revisit, coincidentally I recently began rereading one of the most prominent books of my childhood. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, the first in the Horatio Hornblower saga by C.S. Forrester, was read to me by my dad when I was about seven. Set in the 19th century, the series begins as the story of a lonely, depressed English youth who joins the Royal Navy. I immediately fell in love with Hornblower (in a literary sense, not a romantic sense!), and recalling his adventures still thrills me.

As a midshipman, the seventeen-year-old had a sensitivity and shyness that made him relatable; an intelligence and seriousness that made him intriguing; and a sense of honor and duty that made him admirable. My dad and I soon became wrapped up in following him from the seasick days of being the bullied novice to his first adventures and daring rescues where he finally got to prove himself.

Going into the second volume in the series, the young man has now lost his low self-esteem and has replaced it with calm confidence. Filled with mutiny, bloody war, and a little bit of romance, Lieutenant Hornblower continued the saga and continued to captivate me. Over the next several years, my dad and I plowed through the first eight books of the eleven volume series; although we read them about a decade ago, the first and second books were by far the most memorable.

Today, at the exact same age as Hornblower when he first became a midshipman, I can relate to him like never before. A deep interest in the navy—no doubt originally kindled by the Hornblower saga—has lead to my joining a cadet program. Hearing and using the same nautical terms and orders that Hornblower used, and aspiring to rank up to the same positions that my hero aspired to rank up to—it’s like walking in some kind of dream.

Honor, Courage, Commitment

  “But still, it’s the West Indies for us, anyway,” said Hornblower philosophically. “Yellow fever. Ague. Hurricanes. Poisonous serpents. Bad water. Tropical heat. Putrid fever. And ten times more chances of action than with the Channel fleet.”

  “That’s so,” agreed Bush, appreciatively.

  With only three and four years’ seniority as lieutenants, respectively, the two young men (and with young men’s confidence in their own immortality) could face the dangers of West Indian service with some complacence.

Lieutenant Hornblower, Chapter 1.


CW10- To Meet One’s Hero

in the way of literary heroes, i really only have two: Horatio Hornblower, and Sherlock Holmes. i chose Holmes because his story is a little bit less defined– it has no ending. plus, it is assumed that not all his tales are told, which makes it easier to add to. and i didn’t write myself into a mystery, because, quite frankly, i suck at writing mysteries. =P (awesome soundtrack here)

“Mr. Holmes! Mr. Sherlock Holmes!” I cried desperately, trying to catch the man’s attention.

I raced down the beach, my feet flying over the soft, white sand as I ran after him on his daily morning walk. He paused as I caught up to him, a warm smile forming on his thin face.

“Good morning, Miss Campbell,” he said in good-natured greeting.

I fell in step with him and replied breathlessly, “Good morning, Mr. Holmes.”

As we continued on in silence, I took in the salty air, the ocean crashing against the shore, and the crying gulls. The restless wind tossed my hair just as it tossed the waves nearby; I pulled my jacket tighter around me to block the chill which I knew would dissipate as soon as the sky cleared.

My thoughts wandered over the past week that the renowned Sherlock Holmes had been with us; even though I remained outwardly calm, I still jumped with joy inwardly as I had wanted to do when he first arrived on our doorstep with his friend and colleague, Dr. Watson. How many times had I read Dr. Watson’s accounts of his friend’s daring adventures, quick calculations, and inhuman intelligence? I’m not sure, but I do know that every magazine and newspaper I owned that contained tales of Sherlock Holmes was worn and falling apart. And now my hero stood before my very eyes: not an apparition, not a fictional character, but a real human being who had come to stay in my family’s beachside inn. Apparently, Dr. Watson occasionally insisted on Holmes taking a vacation from the stress of city life, but I could not believe that our homely place had been selected as their destination.

Since his arrival, I had taken every moment I could to learn from him and his ways—as much as I dared without worrying that I bothered him, although I’m sure that I still did. I found myself greatly disappointed in my inability to effectively learn his methods of deduction despite my former perusal of his reasoning used in the stories.

I had also persuaded him to give me lessons in boxing; I believe he was pleasantly surprised to find that despite my small size, I made a willing—and able, if I may say so—student who eagerly picked up the art of self-defense.

And then there were the fascinating discussions which I eavesdropped on—ahem, accidently overheard. A myriad of guests at our inn could often be found in the dining hall, guests whom Holmes would converse with on sundry topics. Sometimes the discussions became quite heated; some of them I wanted desperately to join in on; others went right over my head.

I wasn’t sure how long Holmes and the doctor planned to stay; and I didn’t want to ask. I wanted to savor every moment and pretend that this time would never end—an almost magical time that every fan dreams of but rarely receives. To meet one’s hero. Once it passed I would never feel that I could know for certain: did it really happen—or was it just another dream?


CW8- A World Awaits: Part 1

freeeeedommmmm! finally, I can write anything I want, anything at all. not that I don’t love the prompts for CW; they really are thought-provoking. but I have so many story ideas coursing through my mind (and unfortunately, I rarely jot them down) that it was incredibly easy to come up with a topic. I really didn’t even think about it. go here for the second installment.

  I ran swift-footedly through the underbrush of the forest, trying to contain my laughter and maintain my speed at the same time. 

  “You know I’m faster than you, Susanna!” I called to my friend who I knew was some distance behind me. “You’ll never catch me! Haha! Ai!”

  Tripping on a root, I dived head-first to the ground to receive a face-full of dirt.  Groaning as I wiped my face, I sat up to address a burning sensation in my knee. As I did so, something caught my eye and pulled my attention away from my ripped jeans and ripped skin. I stood up to inspect the object of interest. A moment later I heard a rustling in the bushes nearby.

  “Eva!” Susanna panted, “Where are you?”  

  “Over here,” I replied somewhat dazedly. “Come look at this, Susanna. It’s incredible.”

  Susanna pushed through the trees and walked over to where I stood, still staring.

“Oh, Eva! You’re filthy—and your knee! When I said it was a life or death race, I didn’t mean–”

  “Look,” I interrupted, pointing at my new-found obsession.

  “Um, it’s a wooden picket fence,” she replied, clearly unimpressed.

 “But aren’t these markings on it amazing?” I insisted. “They’re almost like some kind of hieroglyph or something.” The top bar of the picket fence came to about my waist level and displayed a row of intricate, colorful symbols that I was unfamiliar with. I ran my hands along them, enraptured by their strangeness.

  “What—what markings?” Susanna sounded as if she was prepping for one of my all-too-common practical jokes. “I don’t see anything.”

  “Whoa, check this out!” I exclaimed, ignoring her comment as I kneeled down for a closer look. “From a certain angle I can see this iridescent film in between the posts.”

  Susanna stared, “Eva, I think you must’ve hit your head when you fell. C’mon, let’s go home and get you cleaned up.”

  She tugged on my hand, trying to pull me away.

  “No, no!” I protested, “I—I have to investigate this. It intrigues me. I almost feel as if… as if it’s somehow calling to me.”

  “You’re acting really weird, even for you. Snap out of it!” her annoyance made itself clear.

  “Y’ know, I think I’m supposed to crawl through it,” I said, almost in a trance.

  “What—what do you mean? Crawl through what?!”

  “The pickets in the fence, of course. It’s calling me… I have to crawl through!” My agitation increased as I spoke.

  Susanna moaned with hopelessness, “If I let you crawl through the fence, will you stop this nonsense?”

  “Um, yeah, sure,” I replied distractedly.

  She sighed, “Well then go ahead.” She began muttering, “I suppose your knee will get an infection, and you’ll get splinters, but—Eva!”

  With my head through the fence, I could hear Susanna freaking out behind me.

  “Eva, come back! Stop! What’s happening?!” she screamed with fright as she grabbed my leg and tried to pull me back; I angrily yanked free and tumbled between the pickets to the other side. As I scrambled back up and prepared to ask Susanna what her problem was, a chill went down my spine: Susanna was nowhere in sight. I looked around and realized that the forest, my friend, and my world were gone.

  “Where the heck am I?” I muttered confusedly, trying to get my bearings. I turned and studied the fence from which I had just emerged; the markings and shiny window existed on this side as well, but I could hear and see nothing of Susanna or the other world. Lifting my eyes to the world around me, I began to observe my new environment. My location, a green valley with rolling hills, held trees and plants of various colors. Off in the distance, about two miles away, I observed smoke rising from an area blocked from my sight by the gently sloping land. Intrigued, I turned to walk in the direction of the smoke. In hindsight, perhaps I should have begun panicking, even freaking out, but a combination of excitement, curiosity, and a strange sense of rebellion prevented me from worrying about my bizarre situation. After a step or two, I glanced back at the fence and then shrugged.

   I’ll come back, I thought.

   If I had known then what I know now, would I have kept walking, or would I have returned to my own world? Ah, the dreaded, “What if?” questions that plaque humanity without answer; for I shall never know.                      

                                                                                                  To be continued…