Friday, September 26, 2014
1. You might receive sub par work. If you underestimate a person's ability and set them to a task beneath their skill level, then there is a chance you'll receive less then their best.
2. It could prove dangerous. By underestimating, you risk courting danger with both eyes closed. In unfamiliar situations, it is best to maintain at least some degree of caution.
3. You could make a mistake. If your preparations prove insufficient, then whatever you are working on might suffer a setback.
4. You could miss important information.
5. When you underestimate someone, you may lose a chance to make a friend.
6. When you underestimate something, you cut yourself off from future opportunities within that activity.
7. You could become overwhelmed due to not fully understanding the situation.
8. You could be surprised. By underestimating, you leave yourself open for the unanticipated.
9. You cheat yourself. By underestimating your ability, you hinder your own growth.
10. By underestimating another's work, you not only insult them, but deny yourself an opportunity to enjoy their work.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The world has fallen to ruin.
All because of me.
It began the day I became a hero.
Gifted with abilities I did not fully understand, I happened to be in the right place to save a bus full of people when its brakes failed.
You were on that bus.
As the passengers exited, you caught my eye and mouthed a thank you.
Your pale eyes sparkled like the moon, and I was drawn to you like the tide.
I became fixated on you, though we had only that brief meeting.
You seemed to be a magnet for trouble, and though anger filled me at the thought of you being hurt, another part welcomed the excuse to get close to you.
But despite my ever increasing feelings, you never showed me anything but gratitude for the rescues.
I wanted you to feel the same as me.
When I tried to get closer to you, you fled.
I couldn't understand why.
I was strong, a hero! I could protect you from all harm, and give you whatever you desired.
Surely you had at least some feelings for me.
They just needed to be brought to your attention.
I showered you with gifts. From the common to the exotic, my beloved would want for nothing.
But you were so difficult to please. All my gifts were beneath you, scarcely worth a moment's notice.
That's when I realized that only one gift would be fitting for you.
I waded into the darker portions of the city, where those with more nefarious minds dwelt.
I found a man who claimed to have a way to harness the moon, and I aided him in his research.
Fending off any who tried to stop his research, I anxiously awaited the day that I could give you the ultimate gift.
Finally, the day came that the man used his device.
His aim was off.
Instead of gaining the moon, we drew in the sun.
I'm no scientist, to explain the disasters that followed the man's experiment.
All I know is that I lost you within the first month.
It's been four years since I lost you, and there are only a few survivor's left.
For the most part, I ignore them. My powers keep me from their desperation, and none of them could ever take the place of my memories of you.
Looking up at the sky, I watch the shattered remains of the moon.
And think of your eyes.
Friday, September 19, 2014
1. As a shortened version of your name. If you have a long name, forming a nickname from it can save time.
2. To show a characteristic you possess. If you're quick on your feet, you might get a nickname like Speedy.
3. As a reference to some past event. Sometimes, you receive a nickname because of something you did or had happen to you. This is usually known only by a certain group.
4. A title or rank can be become a nickname.
5. A last name can be a nickname. Sometimes you may prefer to be called by your last name.
6. A nickname could reveal something you like. It could be your favorite color, food, or even an animal.
7. It could be a pet name. Some common ones are Sweetheart, Darling, and Honey.
8. It could be used as friendly teasing. Just be sure that everyone involved is alright with the nicknames given. It's not friendly unless everyone is happy with the nicknames.
9. As a filler name until you can learn their real name. There are times when you don't know someone's name, but need something to call them. These are usually temporary, but can end up becoming an oft used nickname.
10. To hide an embarrassing given name. Sometimes, people can find the name that they were given by their parents to be embarrassing. At such times, they may decide to create a nickname that they find to be less embarrassing.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I had always heard that names have power, but it wasn't until I nicknamed my cat that I realized it was true.
Sweetie was the nicest cat I had ever seen. Then one day I came home to find that she had knocked my mom's potted plant off the table. I picked Sweetie up and scolded her, calling her Sweetie the terrible.
In the blink of an eye, Sweetie became a monster.
Hissing and clawing, she got away from me and began terrorizing the house.
Furniture was destroyed, documents ruined, my formerly gentle cat had become a terror.
All because I jokingly gave her a nickname.
Since then, I've tried to be more careful with names. But there have been times when a nickname has slipped out.
Francine became terrified of everything when I called her a scaredy cat late one night while we watched a movie.
My cousin Peter hasn't grown any taller since I called him little guy at the family reunion three years ago.
This ability even seems to work on pre-existing nicknames. When I met Dash, I thought that was his real name. But after I called him that, he suddenly became impatient and jittery, unable to stay at one task for more then a few moments before growing frustrated.
To make things worse, no one seems to notice the changes my nicknaming brings except me.
Though I remember Sweetie as she once was, all my family recalls is the beast she became.
My urge to nickname keeps growing, and yesterday I learned something about this ability that makes it even harder to resist using.
It works when I nickname myself.
Friday, September 12, 2014
1. Watch a movie. Friday is a good night to pull out a long movie and watch it with friends.
2. Read a book. Just settle down in a comfy spot and read a book from cover to cover.
3. Play a game. Whether it is with friends or on your own, playing games is a fun way to spend an evening.
4. Bake cookies. The best part of baking on a Friday night is that you can stay up and eat them.
5. Write. Why leave the house when you can create your own adventure from the comforts of your favorite chair?
6. Stargaze. Looking up at the night sky can be an enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.
7. Have a sing-a-long. Gather your friends and their favorite musical movies, and belt out every song that comes along.
8. Listen to the silence. Sometimes, simply spending the night sitting in a quiet room is enough.
9. Sleep. Guess what? Sleeping on a Friday night can actually be quite relaxing!
10. Have fun. It doesn't really matter what you do on Friday night, so long as you enjoy whatever you choose to do.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I'm fifteen today, which means it's time to declare my specialization.
Because everyone who turns fifteen and has even an ounce of magic has to choose a discipline they'll follow on the first Saturday following their birthday. If your birthday happens to fall on a Saturday, then you make your choice on that day.
I played with the plain iron ring on my left little finger. Since I was confirmed to have magic at thirteen, I had worn this ring. Glancing down the bench at the other three youth who's birthdays had come during this week, I tried to guess what their specializations would be.
The boy at the end was in my class, and had a silver tongue. He'd probably become a beguiler.
In the middle was a jittery little guy who I found hard to believe was fifteen. With how much energy he had, I guessed he had an affinity for wind or electricity.
I didn't know about the dark-haired girl beside me. With her head tilted back and eyes closed, she seemed almost bored. Not that I could blame her, since we'd been here for an hour.
I looked away from the girl as the door to the theater opened.
"Follow me," the woman said, briskly disappearing back through the door before we even stood. We hurried after her, shifting into our positions according to birthday.
Like always, I was last.
Marching down the the raised walkway that stretched above the audience and down to the stage, I faltered as I glimpsed the representatives waiting for us.
Hundreds of magic users, each from a different specialization.
And I didn't know which I wanted to join.
Hurrying to catch up to the dark-haired girl, I tried to focus beyond growing panic. Choosing a specialization should be a simple matter of picking the type of magic I was most interested in.
That was my problem. Each time I thought about what I was interested in, I blanked.
I'd begin thinking how fire magic was exciting, but then thoughts of ink magic would surface. Then the flood would begin. Duplication spells would lead to healing, then transfiguration to weather magic. My mind would sort through dozens of magics, then discard them for another set.
We stopped at the edge of the walkway, and the woman stepped onto the stage. Lifting her left hand to her throat, the ring on her little finger sparkled as she used magic. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome!" Her amplified voice carried throughout the room as the woman strode across the stage. "Today four of our youth will declare their specializations and join their colleagues!"
Spinning like an ballerina, the woman held out her hand. "Soren Glace."
The boy from my class moved forward to stand in the center of the circle painted on the floor. Removing the ring he wore on his left little finger, he held it out to the the representatives of magic.
"I choose the path of beguiling."
From among the representatives, a woman slipped away from the others and sauntered to Soren. Holding out her left hand, she touched his ring. In a shimmer of power, it transformed to the silver and black ring of a beguiler.
"We welcome you." The woman intoned, the traditional greeting slipping like water from her lips.
As they moved to stand where they could be seen by the audience, I scanned the crowd of magic users. What did I want to specialize in?
The jittery boy chose electricity, his ring changing copper.
"Claret O'Connor." The dark-haired girl walked into the circle, leaving me alone on the walkway. Slipping off her ring, she held it up.
"I choose the path of acculermancy."
The man who moved to greet her wore the uniform of a city officer, and her ring split into equal segments of black and white.
"We welcome you." He grunted, then they moved to join the others.
My feet were heavy as I walked to the circle. Mind racing through the different types of magic, I couldn't settle on one.
Standing in the circle, I scanned those before me as I slipped off my ring. Did I just name a magic, and settle for whatever it was? Why did specializing in one type of magic matter?
Eyes widening, I almost lost hold of my ring.
Was there even a specialization for what I was thinking?
"I choose the path of ... matter."
What little noise there had been in the theater vanished. Then, from the back of the representatives, there was movement. The steady tap of a cane echoed through the room as the ripple of movement drew closer. Then at last, an old man stepped into the open. When he reached me, his pale eyes squinted as he studied me. Lifting a wrinkled hand which trembled, he touched my ring.
In the flash of light, it transformed into quartz.
"I welcome you." The old man's voice was so soft, but his meaning sent a chill through me.
He was alone in the specialization I had chosen.
Friday, September 5, 2014
1. Cats are sneaky. Cats are always slinking from room to room. And if you happen to catch them at it, they dart away before you can catch them.
2. Cats are unpredictable. You could be sitting there reading a book, with a cat watching from beside you. Then suddenly, the cat leans forward and bites the corner of the page! Whatever did that book do to anger the cat?
3. Cats can be jerks. The cat saunters into the room, and you cheerfully call to it. But instead of coming over, the cat completely ignores you to go to someone else.
4. Cats can be mean. You're gently stroking the cat, when it suddenly growls and tries to bite your hand.
5. Cats have to be the center of attention. Sitting at the computer, you're typing away. Then the cat comes and blocks your view of the monitor, and when that doesn't work, begins pressing random keys to ruin your work.
6. Cats don't always get along with one another. Two cats met at a crossroad. Instead of peacefully passing each other, they arch their backs and begin hissing as they prepare to tear each other apart.
7. Cats are dangerous. When startled awake, the cats strikes out with a vengeance far greater then the crime committed.
8. Cats have a horrible sense of timing. It rarely fails that a cat will choose to grace you with their presence at the exact moment you are about to leave.
9. Cats are thieves. Be it pillows or food left on the counter, the cat will lay claim to anything it wants without regard of your feelings.
10. Cats are cats. The only person who can trust the cat is the cat itself.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
One day, a bird fell into my backyard.
With pretty yellow feathers that tinged to a light bronze at the edges and inquisitive brown eyes, I decided to call him Harrison.
When Harrison first arrived, his right side was burned, and those pretty feathers were covered with ash.
I called for my mom. I had thought that if anyone could help this bird, it would be her.
But when my mom came out to see what the matter was, she didn't seem to notice the bird laying in the grass. Sure, she has glasses, but even without them she should have been able to see a bird the same size as her son.
So it fell to me to care for Harrison.
He didn't trust me in the beginning, but had been too weak to protest.
I cleaned up his injuries, and brought him different things to eat.
He likes hot dogs and peanut butter.
As Harrison began to get better, I tried to find out what kind of bird he was. But the school library didn't have any books about him. And whenever I tried to ask someone about him, they could never see him.
Dad says I'm too old for an imaginary friend, but Harrison isn't imaginary. If he is, then who ate all those hot dogs and peanut butter?
He keeps getting bigger. Now Harrison is twice my size, and he's almost completely better. But he hasn't tried to fly away.
I wonder what he's waiting for. Looking out my window at night, I see him waiting on the grass. Sometimes, he's looking up at my window.
Yesterday, Harrison ate the neighbor's cat.
I scolded him, but he just looked at me and preened his feathers.
I don't know why he's still here, since you can't even tell he was ever injured anymore.
He's as big as my dad now, and I don't think he's done growing yet.
When Harrison flapped his wings today, the backyard fence broke.
He hasn't eaten any other animals, but mom and dad are starting to wonder where all the hot dogs and peanut butter are disappearing to.
I tried to tell Harrison to leave, but he just sat there, staring at me.
I hope I don't remind him of the cat.
Harrison takes up most of the backyard now. Dad is upset that he keeps having to fix the fence, and mom's put locks in the kitchen.
I haven't fed Harrison since yesterday.
When I went out to the backyard today, Harrison gave a crackling croak. I went to give him the peanut butter crackers I had saved from my lunch, and he grabbed me with his foot.
Then he flew away from my house.
When Harrison let me go, I landed in sand. Looking around, I saw a girl who looked about twelve walking toward me. She paused to look at Harrison as he landed behind me, then spoke.
“Welcome to the Roost.”
“Why did Harrison take me away from home?”
Because he's a roc, and has chosen you to be his person.”