Justice League: The Flash.

Oh yeah.

The Flash is one of my favorite superheroes, despite the many jokes about his name. (His alias is Wally West for those of you who don’t know.)

On the JLU, Flash could always be counted on to lighten the mood, and the mood often was pretty heavy.

On a show about alien invasions, bizarre mind control, diabolically clever bad guys, and unbelievably powerful supervillains, there really isn’t much to laugh about. The show was never corny enough for none of it to seem serious.

But Flash keeps everyone from taking themselves too seriously. Which is his obvious role: comic relief.

But what sets him apart is that he is not merely that. We all know the comic relief guy can be totally useless often enough, because, it’s funny. (Actually, I typically find that character annoying.  Ron Stoppable was the only one I laughed at, and that was after I got used to him.) But Flash isn’t, there are several episodes in which in the crunch, it all comes down to him.

And he’s arguably the least powerful. Since Batman’s gadgets probably out weigh Flash’s one superpower in terms of usefulness. But Flash is pretty resourceful when it comes to making the most of his speed.

He is after all, the fastest man alive.

And the only being faster than Superman that was ever officially shown. (Though that was on the Superman show. (Which is worth checking out, but avoid any episodes with magic in them because they were absolutely horrid.)

Here’s another interesting thing about him, he was also the only one of the team ever to overuse his power to the point where he actually burned himself out.

Unlike the other’s, Flash’s power is still tied to his normal human abilities. That is to say, he has to keep a lot of calories in his system because his metabolism burns them up so quickly when he runs. This means that, just like a normal human, he can expend his own strength. He does it one time on the show and it nearly kills him, but his friends save him. (By the way, that part of the episode never made sense to me.)

We never really find out whether or not Flash needs the League, in the same that Batman or Superman or Hawk Girl, or the Martian need it. He’s more like Diana and the Green Lantern in that he could probably be okay on his own, handling his own villains, and still have other friends and family. Flash is not dysfunctional.

In fact, he is also one of the only members who really has a life outside the League that isn’t just in his secret identity. As The Flash, he goes and visits kids in an orphanage, regularly. They love him. He’s not so infamous that his popularity ruins any personal good he can do as The Flash.

The funny thing is, we never see him as Wally West on the show, because we don’t need to see him that way to know he had a human life too, because Flash really never ceases to act like a normal person.

He’s not a genius, though I doubt he has only average intelligence. He’s not super skilled with weapons or gadgets; he doesn’t talk the talk; and he flirts with girls; Flash never acts like he’s someone special.

That’s why the rest of the League loves him, though they rarely admit it. In the Justice Lords episode, it’s even demonstrated that he’s the glue that holds them together. He’s also the one who busts them out when everyone else is unable to do anything because of their doubles. (The alternate Flash is dead, you see. It’s really sad.)

It’s interesting that the supposed death of Superman daunted the League, but the death of Flash twisted them. But not so surprising, since in Hereafter, it’s Flash who stops Diana from taking that road by reminding her it’s what Superman would have wanted.

It’s also Flash who is the first to completely forgive Hawk Girl after she betrays them, and the only one in my memory who never criticized her or even seemed angry.

One of my favorite Flash episodes was the Christmas one Comfort and Joy. In that one, Flash encounters the Humanite (a weird gorilla-shaped mutant with genius intelligence who talks with a deep silky voice.) Humanite is up to his usual no good stuff, when Flash makes an impromptu speech about Christmas, after his gift to the orphans got accidentally destroyed. Humanite is actually moved by this (though he still knocks Flash out for awhile just to get even) and repairs the toy and helps him deliver it to the kids. It’s really sweet, but better if you check it out for yourself.

Flash also shows compassion to another villain, who is really just a man who goes off his meds and does crazy things. Flash talks him into turning himself in with the promise that he’ll visit him. We don’t see him do it, but we know he’s going to.

Because as irresponsible and often immature as Flash seems. he is really neither. He cares about people.

Finally, there’s an episode I forget the name of, in which Batman and Orion follow Flash around for a day, and Orion just doesn’t get why Batman even puts up with Flash, and Batman just says sadly “No, you don’t.” Through the course of the day we see how Flash can be both annoying and really caring. And we wonder also why Batman actually seems to envy Flash in way.

Finally we get it. Batman may care about people, but it has never been his only reason for doing what he does. And he’s never been as able to open up to people as Flash is.

The truth is, what Batman acts like as Bruce Wayne, Flash actually is, effortlessly. Batman always feels that the Dark Knight part of him is there, preventing him from really being carefree and open; while Flash is always the same person, whatever mood he’s in and in whatever guise.

Batman may never go to Flash for life advice, or want to have him as a mission partner, but he still wishes he could be more like him. And I’m not sure we can say that of anyone else in the League, except possibly Superman.

Flash is humble too, and the least suspicious out of all of them. He’s also willing to go against them when he thinks it’s right, as in the episode featuring more of my favorite characters The Ties that Bind. In it Flash helps out Scott Free and Barda when they come to the League for help. (They’ve helped the League, so it was a fair trade.)

Actually, Flash is the only League member known to disagree with the Martian and get away with it in the end.

There’s only one bad Flash episode in the whole show, and he wasn’t the bad part of it. Actually, he was almost playing a Christian role. (I wonder if he is Christian. But even if not, it doesn’t take away anything from his character.)

So, that, in a nutshell, is The Flash. But check him out yourself for the full appreciation of how awesome he is.

Until Next time–Natasha.

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Happy is as happy does.

I notice that I talk about problems a lot on this blog, and not a lot of solutions. I know I didn’t start off that way. I used to blog about mostly positive stuff.

And I notice more people read my blog since the change happened.

It’s a simple fact that negativity sells.

Not that that’s why I write about it, that’s just what’s on my mind a lot. But I do wonder if it’s quite healthy.

I think about how in past centuries, or even decades, there’s been plenty of hardship to go around, and there were people then who couldn’t say enough about it.

It’s not like venting, where after two or three times (or if you’re more mild than me, once,) you  can move on, get over it. Be cheerful again.

No, nay saying and foreboding is never satisfied. We’ve all met that cynical person, a lot of us live with one, you know the type, they can never stop talking about what’s wrong with people, the world, the country, etc.

And it’s a bit of a downer to say the least, but it’s even worse if you start thinking “I’ turning into that person.”

That’s the last thing I want.

You see, my siblings and I, we have a thing where if someone in a story morphs into a villain, or is defeated in a deeper way than just losing their live or health, we say they gave in to the darkness. They lost to it. Most often this means they turned evil, but it can just mean they gave up the fight.

And when this happens, we feel as if they died. More than we’d feel it if they really had. Death isn’t really just the end of life, it’s the end of vitality in life. IF that makes sense.

And we all have our personal battles with this type of loss. It is recoverable from, but it’s difficult if you’ve let yourself get to that point to even want to come back.

It’s like C. S. Lewis said, some people like happiness, and others, for some reason, don’t.

And the thing I notice is that cynics, they really don’t like feeling happy. They don’t trust it. If they feel glad for a day or two, or an hour, they always find something that will put them out of sorts again, and they go back to comfortable pessimism.

People who like happiness, on the other hand, may go through times where they emotionally can’t feel it, but they will push through that until they find it again. PR they’ll adjust until it’s not so hard. There is a downside to this, they may be more focused on happiness that on doing what’s right (ultimately compromising their own goal) but overall, I think they are more satisfied than the other type.

A person who likes happiness can forgive themselves quicker than someone who doesn’t, because they don’t want to feel down about something for too long. I notice that the ones who don’t like happiness tend to dwell on their own faults, and on rectifying them.

They will perhaps say that they don’t deserve happiness, but it really it  because they don’t trust it that they avoid it. Human beings really have no trouble accepting what they don’t deserve.

Which is fine, I think God made us that way so we could receive his gifts, no gift is given because it is deserved, then it would be a prize.

And Christians who don’t like happiness will always, always, treat salvation like it’s a prize instead of a gift. Trust me, if you’ve known any one of these folks, it’s part of the reason people don’t like Christians as a whole. Not the main reason, but part of it.

Like Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy) says of the townspeople in Footloose, these are the kinds who have sticks up their rear ends. They can’t have fun.

I knew how to have fun once, I still have it every now and then, but I don’t have it often enough I think. It’s mor ein my nature to be happy, or at least ot want ot be and not ignore it, but often the people I’m surrounded by and the circumstances I’m in seem to prevent it.

Which isn’t right, I ought to rise above such things. But it is difficult.

Misery loves company.

I know that I’m more cynical than I used to be, it seems to happen with age, and with the knowledge of more and more problems that you will have to deal with as you get older. Like taxes; ageing; and voting; to name a few.

And the amount of things that just tick me off about this culture.

But all that is temporary after all, and happiness can’t really be built off those things.

It works like this, if it’s foolish to build your happiness upon something, like money, or fame, or even family and friends, then it it foolish to lose your happiness over that thing. Permanently. Grief is fine to feel for a time, but not the hill you want to die on, if you get my mixed metaphor.

As this song goes:

I will build my life upon your love, it is a firm foundation. And I will put my trust in You, oh Lord, and I will not be shaken.

Love is the only things worth building your life on, and with love, truth. Those things never change, and never will. They can’t be taken away by our culture, or the people around us, not unless you let them take it.

And he is a fool who lets that happen. (We all do it though, so we’re all fools together, but it’s more important who ceases to be a fool than who starts off as one.)

Those are my thoughts for now, until next time–Natasha.

Justice League: Batman, part two.

Yes, I know. Part two.

Since I already got into the Batman/Superman dynamic on the show, which I like a lot better than in that awful Dawn of Justice flick, I’ll move on to his other relationships.

I know Batman and relationships sounds like an oxymoron, but again, that’s what made this show great. The superheroes were really each other’s friends and family.

I want to talk more about the Batman/ Wonder Woman thing.

According to the directors of the show, it was practically non-existent, even in their minds; but boy did it work.

Like I said, the first thing in her favor is that she recognized him, but in that episode they work exclusively together, and it rocks. Not just because I ship them, but because they’re characters play off each other so perfectly.

And not for a comedic effect, but for my money, it’s even better when you can have two characters working together and it’s just fun to watch even if they aren’t being funny.

The main thing about this episode is actually about Wonder Woman and respect. you’ll never hear it in the episode itself, but it’s the one that really establishes Diana as someone who should be listened to.

At first she and Bruce aren’t exactly working together. He’s in Paris to investigate some suspicious activity (and to do some Bruce Wayne stuff also,) she’s just there to have fun. (Cue the dumb song.) But after Diana saves Princess Audrey and kicks the crud out of the guys attacking her (all while Bruce just sits back and enjoys the show; another important thing to note,) she decides to party with her as her personal body guard. After they become new best friends, Batman decides to drop in on Wonder Woman in her apartment. After a line or two of banter, he tells her that Audrey’s father is suspected of being involved in some shady business. (I’m really sorry that I can’t remember, but it’s been four years since I’ve seen the show.) Wonder Woman sticks up for Audrey, but agrees to ask her about it. Which she does, and Audrey tells her there’s no possible way her dad is involved. Wonder Woman excepts this, but then gets the shock of her life when Audrey introduces her to her fiance, Vandal savage.  Actually, his grandson who looks just like him. (But it really is the original.) To Diana’s credit, she is not entirely convinced it really is his grandson, but she also behaves pretty ungraciously, to Audrey’s annoyance. Bu they patch thing up quickly and Diana talks to Savage alone, making it clear she suspects him. (And she overhears part of a phone conversation also.) After this, Wonder Woman gets on the phone with Batman, and while they’re talking they hear a news bite that Audrey’s father has just had a serious–and convenient–stroke. Wonder Woman leaves immediately to warn Audrey, while Batman says “Meet you there.”

To make  a long story short, Wonder Woman gets creamed by a freaky guy with a conic blaster embedded into his vocal cords. (Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.) Batman finds her after she’s been knocked out and tells her Audrey is getting married. She recklessly decides to go crash the wedding, in the process breaking some law about intruding. Batman kind of smiles at her way of doing this, but then she gets herself captured, and gets Audrey really worked up by her accusations. Diana really starts to lose patience with her friend here, since Audrey refuses to listen to her, and thinks she’s a lunatic. Then acts like a spoiled brat.

Batman tries to call in help, but the only three members available have to go take down the space weapon Vandal Savage has set up that can destroy entire cities. (It’s not really that much like the Death Star.) So Batman decides he and Wonder Woman will have to fend for themselves. he proceeds to free her, she punches someone while he’s doing it. Then jumps in front of him to block bullets with her bracelets. The two of them proceed to storm the castle and ruin Savage’s plans. (I love the part where Batman runs up to him with a chair and says “You’re in my way” then pow!) They also free Audrey, who has since discovered the truth, not very cleverly I might add. (I like her and all, but she should have listened to Diana.)

The episode ends with Wonder Woman alluding to their dance, and Batman denying it because, secret identities; but she says “You’re still taking me dancing.”

And that’s the episode. There’s a lot more with them in it, and confession-ally, I watched all their episodes many, many times. (I was on the edge of 14 when I quit the show, okay.)

The reason these two work so well is because they are evenly matched. Diana keeps up with Bruce not by being as smart as him, analytically speaking, but by being intuitive. She’s not stupid either, but she definitely is more impulsive. But it generally works for her, and Bruce only seems to admire her for it. He once said that she was a remarkable woman, a devoted friend…and standing right behind him, wasn’t she?

To Diana, their relationship makes perfect sense, but Bruce would never commit to it.

He used the excuse that his enemies would get to him through her, and Diana pretty much just crushed some stone as if to say “Are you kidding me?”

he also thought he had too many issues.

Actually, it was kind of sweet in a way that he seemed to think she could do better, but she didn’t want to.

It’s funny, Batman seems pretty humble for a guy who has so many trust issues, and the truth is, he’s a mix of pride and humility.

He really doesn’t want to lose more people he care about, but he still allows himself to care, just not to show it. It’s like he’s really just afraid of them knowing he cares and thinking he’s vulnerable.

Diana understands this and defends him even when the others are kind of frustrated with his lack of communication. But we see that in his own way, Batman is trying to do his best by them. He just doesn’t like being on a team.

It grows on him though, first through working with Diana and coming to see her as an equal, then eventually with all the others too. That’s why I think he and Diana are so great together, because they make each other better.

I couldn’t say that for any of his other love interests (save in the new Lego Batman movie.)

I have got to end this now, but I’ll talk a little bit more about Bats when I get to Flash. Until next time–Natasha.

Justice League: Batman

So, I’m finally getting to the big guy himself, aside from Superman. (But after Man of Steel, doesn’t Superman have a lot less fans anyway? Maybe I’m wrong.)

The JLU version of Batman is my favorite. Though I’ve watched the sixties Adam West show, and seen a few clips of the Dark Knight saga (ugh.)

But I think the show’s version of Batman was the best for a variety of reasons.

The first was that Batman had a more balanced personality, he was still too far on the dark side for my own taste, but he also had moments where he loosened up. The Bruce Wayne part of him was not totally absent from the Batman part.

And the brilliant reason behind this was that the other members of the League (the seven original ones I mean) knew who he was.  We see that Superman knew already, (which is explained in the show that was specifically about Superman from the same creators.) But what I loved was how the other characters found out.

We’re never told how Hawk Girl or Green Lantern knew, and the martian man-hunter either read his mind, or else just found out when Flash did. (In the middle of Starcrossed, it’s one of the funniest parts of that super serious episode.)

But we do see how Wonder Woman knew. It’s in that all time favorite episode Maid of Honor, early on. Diana and Bruce both happen to be in Paris, at the same party, which seems to be a complete coincidence. And Diana is getting harassed by a lot of fans…and the press it looks like (pause to acknowledge the sad fate of every superhero if they were real.) Then a handsome stranger steps in to ask her to dance and she jumps at the chance. What’s fun to watch is how through the ensuing conversation she’s slyly looking hard at his face and insinuating that they already know each other.And Bruce (of course it is him) isn’t really denying it. The golden part is that Diana actually doesn’t know his name, but you can tell she recognized the voice.

Can we all just applaud her for a moment? I can’t be the only one who gets annoyed when superheroes meet people they know and the person can’t even place their voice. I can recognize my family’s voices. (Though sometimes they sound so alike I get the wrong person, but I know it’s one of them.) And even if you allowed for the fact that some people just sound alike, the superheros are always dropping hints. Till you want to bang your head on a wall at the stupidity of the person they’re talking to.

Diana subverts that stupid cliche in one conversation! You can see why I like her now.

This is also one of the things that make me think she was the best match up to date for ol’ Batman. None of his other (and often evil) love interests have ever recognized him without his help.

There’s more heated debate about this than you would beleive, but I’m moving on.

So, why this whole secret identity thing is important is because it denotes some measure of trust. BAtman is always critisizd, even by the otehr characters, for one thing:Not trusting nayone.

Superman is actually pretty chill about it in the origin story episode, and explains to the martian, who says “A wise policy.” (I found that idiotic from a guy who could read minds and ought to know how important trust is to our psyche.) But Batman does trust the league, to an extent. I reviewed the JL movie Crisis on two earths several months ago (It’s in a series called “Earth crisis” if your’e interested) and at the end of that when Batman faces off with Owlman, Owlman ribs him for not trusting anyone else to do something, though, he confesses with a laugh, he feels the same way.

I disagree that Superman would have been the better choice in that situation, but the point remains that even if he were, Batman would probably not have trusted him.

And Batman says on the show to Diana “Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me, real hard.” But that was an early episode.

I really have to appreciate how Batman interacts with Superman even so. He’s about the only one who will tell Superman to get over it, and stand up to him. Which amazes people since he’d arguably the least powerful and Superman could crush him. But Superman wouldn’t. Though he does shove him aside pretty hard in the same episode I just referenced, and Batman doesn’t even  hesitate after that.

It’s clear to see that despite how often Superman and Batman disagree, Superman deeply respects him. And Batman admires Superman more than he will ever show. They’re relationship was pretty much summed up by a brief exchange after Superman came back from the future.

Wonder Woman: Don’t let him fool you. He’s just as glad to see you as the rest of us. (I apologize if I remembered her line wrong.)

Batman: No, I just never believed you were actually dead.

Superman: (nonchalantly) I…guess that’s a compliment.

There you have it. They get each other. Actually, it’s partly because of their friendship that I think the League is so good for Batman. He actually gets to help people who are more his equals and who won’t listen to everything he says because they all are just as used to calling the shots as he is. (Versus his relationship with Robin and Alfred and the other kids.)

You think I just mean the idea of it, but there is seriously a difference with how he acts.

He’s actually so complex I’ll have to split this part into two. Sorry, it’s character discussion after all.

Hope to see you then–Natasha.

Growing cold.

I’ll be getting back to my Justice League stuff soon, but today I want to talka bout a verse that has intrigued me for a long time.

Maybe you’ve heard this “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

That verse is from Matthew  24:12

Just for context, that whole chapter is about end times.

Which is a big theme nowadays.

But what most of us who haven’t been in church a long time don’t realiz is that the Bible calls all time after the ascention of Christ the End Times, or The Last Days. We’ve had 2,017 years of the Last Days.

But a fun fact about God is that he says a thousand years is the same as a single day to him, so with that view of it, it’s been two days and a few seconds since Jesus left.

Witht hat perspective, Jesus could show up at any minute.

But this post is not about that, I;m merely setting the stage for my actual topic.

The reasib the context is important is because whenever the End Times are referenced in Scripture, they usually are getting progressively worse. For instance, it is said it will be like the days of Noah, then like the days of Lot. Lot’s days were worse than Noah’s.

What this means is that the cooling off of love that the above verse talks about is going to increase more and more as time goes. It won’t just stop and then plateau.

Whether or not you are a Bible fan, I think you’ll agree with me that there is a big loss of love going on in the world today. And that it has gone on for some time.

What I never really thought about before was the first half of that verse. “Because iniquity shall abound.”

In the Bible Iniquity is a word used to not just mean sin, but to mean sin that is like a disease, sin that spreads and infects everything around it. (My personal take on it, I don’t think that’s the official definition.)

There’s a lot of iniquity to go around now. Always has been since those words were first spoken.

But did you know that the love Jesus is referring to in that verse is the Unconditional Love that the Church is meant to show?

And by Church, I do not mean a gathering of believers. IT’s great when you can find that, but most often you’ll find that the actual church is only a percentage of the people in the building. The ones who are actually godly and care about living holy lives. That’s who I’m referring to.

So, in summary, the Love of these Christians will grow cold because of all the sin around.

Now for the shocker: I always thought this verse was a warning to those who took their faith too un-seriously. Now I think this verse is a warning to me.

That’s right, me. The person who’s been obsessed with her faith ever since she was a kid.

But lately, I notice I do have a problem with love.

You see, I find sin to be an annoying thing. Not that I expect perfection, but when I discover people are lax about the most basic principles of Christian Living, I get kind of…testy.

I’m just telling you all the truth here. I do have a vindictive personality.

I have high standards for myself, and while I do not hold others up to that level, I do expect more from them than they do from themselves.

What irritates me is that I like it when people expect a lot of me (within reason,) but the majority of folks do not.

How many of you have felt the same way? I know some of you have. You look around and wonder why everyone else has lost their minds, and you seem to be a lone sensible person in a sea of stupidity.

And to make matters worse, these others will constantly tell you that you’re just better than they are, but you shouldn’t expect them to be like that.

At this point, smoke usually starts coming out of my ears.

But even if I’m right to be angry and disgusted, I do face a danger here.

It’s true, many people are less moral than I am. It’s not pride, it’s fact. But that doesn’t mean I get to stop seeing hem as people.

That is the temptation. Once we feel someone is lower than us in some way, we cans tops seeing them as full human beings, who deserve love and compassion.

We’ve all done this, we warn someone about doing something dumb, they do it and come back crying, and we just shrug and say “I told you so.” And don’t help.

Because obviously the fact that we told them so means we don’t need to help them any further.

Well, maybe if people were like dogs, and lived only to do what their master wanted and occasionally get a bone or a toy in return, that would suffice.

But people are not dogs. And when we got he extra mile with them, sometimes it’s only then that they can understand what we were trying to say all along.

Jesus actually said “If someone compels you to go with him one mile, go with him two.”

We’ve all seen it in movies, a person forces another to help them, the other person eventually comes to care about them, and even when they no longer have to help, they decide to stick around anyway.

Life is really no different.

And the hard truth is that even if you go the extra mile, you may never make any lasting change in someone’s life…but they will change yours.

We still need to do it.

And though sin makes it easy to despise people, as I know only too well, it does not make it right. Sin never made anything right.

Christian or not, your life is going to be better if you learn how to show Unconditional Love. Love that can’t be driven off, duped, or disowned. It just is.

I have to go now and get ready for a driving lesson, until next time–Natasha.

So–the drama.

Drama.

The word every highschooler dreads, unless they are one of the ones who seem to enjoy it.

I don’t mean the acting type of course, I mean the emotional type.

There’s a difference between the notorious drama and real issues, the difference being drama tends to be mostly in a person’s head, and is generally petty and immature.

So, being as isolated as I have been, my encounters with drama have been minimal, but as I hang around my peers more, I’m starting to see it.

I think I could do with never seeing it again. It stresses everyone out, even those who aren’t directly involved; it makes people feel bad; it puts a damper on everyone’s mood; and it makes tension at the worst possible moments. People take sides, and at the end of the day, its usually over something that wasn’t worth all that trouble anyway.

Sound familiar?

Actually, I’ve seen plenty of this drama around much older people, even people in their seventies. I’ve been in it myself. I don’t like it, but I don’t think anyone escapes it entirely unless they are a hermit or a recluse.

So far I have added no new enlightenment to this annoying phenomenon. You may be wondering why I choose to being it up anyway. I mean, don’t we all just have to deal with it?

Pretty much.

You see, drama happens because human nature tends to be petty and dishonest, as Megara points out in Hercules. Someone gets in a snit over something stupid, blows it out of proportion, and soon its a full scale war.

The problem is, very few of is realize we are creating drama when we first begin it. The hurt seems perfectly legit to us; or, in some cases, it doesn’t, but we are still upset. And feeling like we’re being stupid only makes us more miserable and hence causes more drama.

Now, as much as we all have probably caught on to those facts, we still do it.

So, here’s my take on the problem.

Human beings are flawed. (Duh.)

That means we can’t always behave the way we think we should.

We literally can’t.

But even though we lack the willpower. we still have the conviction that we ought to do better, and conviction without willpower is torture. So we feel guilty but can’t do anything about it.

This leads to shame. The shame makes us defensive, and so we act worse. Thus the cycle continues.

There is no formula for preventing this from happening, but there is a cure.

One has to mature as a person. I don’t cause as much drama as I used to because as I get older and more mature I see the potential storm on the horizon, and I avoid it. Not always, and it takes two to tango, so sometimes the storm happens whether I want it to or not, but it is getting more rare.

I also let things go more quickly, thus stopping the problem early on.

I wish I was to this point, but the most mature people just don’t get offended period. That way they can’t be the cause of drama.

It’s better to have the attitude that we will be able to deal with whatever comes, and not to sweat it. Then, if it ends up being too much to handle, it will generally be something more weighty than drama.

What I mean to say it, drama is drama because people freak out over little things. If no one freaked, then the annoyances that compose drama would be soon forgotten and even sooner gotten over.

Kind of like how when I was a kid and scrapped with my siblings, my mom would usually treat it as a passing problem and quickly resolve it and in an hour or a day, all was forgotten. But when Mom or Dad made a big deal out of it, I remembered it for weeks, some things I remember to this day.

And some things like that should be remembered, but most shouldn’t.

Christians call this Drama Queen complex the old, dead self. It’s the past of us that we have to overcome daily. Until it becomes more natural to us to ignore offenses, or forgive them and forget them quickly, than it does to make drama.

We all need to be stronger than that old dead self. We need to be healthier, and more confident and kind and unselfish.

As Kim Possible often says “So not the Drama.” That’s the kind of nonchalance a lot of us desperately need.

In that spirit, I think I’ll end this post. Until next time–Natasha.

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all is new….this is living now!

It was life changing.

First of all, thank you to the people who read my posts even when I’ve not written any new ones, I appreciate your loyalty.

Second, obviously, I’m back from my mission’s trip.

I know some of you will want to hear how it went and some probably don’t care, and here’s the thing, it’s as interesting as the person makes it.

I found after my mission trip last year that what was most important to me about it was not what everyone asked me about. They wanted to know what I did, I wanted to talk about the people and place itself.

This time around, I am more interested in what I did. Because I did it to get out of my comfort zone.

And I certainly succeeded there because I was uncomfortable about half of the time. I did not feel like God was just keeping me cloaked in grace this time around. Which means that it was not so easy and smooth as it was before. Part of the reason for that was I went with people I knew slightly instead of total strangers, and a lot more personal issues were involved because of that, nothing like a trip to another place to bring out everyone’s insecurities and quirks. I ended the trip by getting yelled at over something stupid and unfair. Lovely right?

And so I’m debunking the myth here that all mission’s trips are supernatural and life changing experiences, at least on the surface. They aren’t. I won’t say that this trip did not change my life, I believe it did, but not in the easily recognizable way we expect when we use that phrase.

If this trip showed me a little more about myself and the people around me; gave me a little more knowledge of how to do certain things; helped me overcome a few more of my fears; and gave me the chance to change lives even in a small way; it was life changing (duh on the last part right?)

If nothing else, I got a lot of cool souvenirs.

That was a joke, of course, though seriously, they have nice stuff at Swap Meets.

If you asked me what I learned through the experience, I’d have to say I learned that everyone is human. That is, I saw both the good and bad sides of my team mates, more than the team I went with last year, and these were not worse people, I dare say, they were just more able to lose their cool around each other. I realized that people have expectations of each other that are often not met, or not met in ways we think they will be.

But I also saw that the flaws that normally make me disinterested in being friends with someone can be compensated for. My team mates have plenty of annoying quirks (as I do myself) but they have a lot of good qualities that make up for them. The ones that don’t, well, they don’t.

And I saw myself in a lot of the annoying things they did; scary, right?

So, all in all, I can’t judge. The things that were seriously wrong I do have a hard time with. Maybe you’ve been there, you see sides to people that you just can’t excuse because it goes against your principles, not just your taste. When that happens, all I can do is back away.

That does not mean I will not care about those people, of course I will, but it is unwise to be intimate friends with someone who has a serious difference of principle from yourself, because when you need a good kick in the pants, how can you count on them to give it to you? The best friends remind us who we are, they don’t excuse us when we act out of character.

I have tried to be this kind of friend, with very little success, I suppose because I never actually know people as well as I think I do. Or else, they don’t know I know them that well.

I have waited a long time to find friends who will encourage me in my principles, and it can be a long and lonely search, but how can I be satisfied with less? Who is to say that it is impossible? It’s only impossible if you give up looking.

And on that note, I got to know some people better who did bring out the best in me. I hope to continue to know them more.

At the end of the day, I need to trust my instincts. My first impression of people is often mostly accurate, it just needs expanding.

So, that was this trip. And on the less emotional side, I did cross another thing off my bucket list: Rock Climbing. (I so recommend trying this if you can tolerate heights at all. It’s a real rush to conquer a climb.)

I hope everyone found something of interest in this post, and until next time–Natasha.

 

A quick announcement, I am going on another trip next week and won’t be able to post for eight or nine days, so hang in there with me people, I shall return.

While I was gone…

I really couldn’t help not posting for several days, I was out of state and away from my computer.

That’s all my explanation and apology. It was a family tragedy.

It happens to everyone, but as the cliché goes, you never think it’ll happen to you.

I think though that I knew it would happen eventually, I just didn’t know when and I didn’t see it coming. I almost don’t believe it still.

What a crazy week, between visiting the bereaved my family tried to snatch a little bit of the vacation we were planning to have this year because now we can’t do it, and then there was a hasty funeral and long trip home.

Bringing me up to today, when I’m recovering and still trying to process these events.

There’s a few things I think everyone experiences when one of their family members dies. There’s a realization that death really happens, and could happen to you. The immediate response is fear.

There’s usually anger. In this case the cause of death was not wearing a seatbelt and driving too fast. Why was the person so stupid?

There’s shock of course. And most of all there’s regret that you spent less time than you wished with them.

If I’m totally honest,  I admit that people probably spend about as much time with each other as they really want to. The problem isn’t that death cuts it short but that we prioritize the wrong things or just neglect the ones that are more difficult. And the truth is, if it were me who died, other people would feel like they should have spent more time with me.

And maybe they should have, or should really. But I wouldn’t blame them all that much that they didn’t because that’s the way life is. We don’t always get the chance to do all that we think we should. We’re human and we miss what’s right in front of us, or what’s far away from us and yet very real.

This may sound like I’m taking a cynical view of this, but I’m not, I’m trying to avoid the common mistake of thinking that knowing this was coming would have made anyone different. It should make us different anyway, but I’ve never liked the idea of being nice to people because you fear death.

The fact is, death may be a wake up call for some, but for many it’s a shadow. One that will go away in time if we heal in the right way, but one people often cling to as their new normal.

The important thing is not to focus on death and how it’s a possibility, because it always was, and it’ll ruin your life to be always thinking of it.

The thing to think of is how everyone’s life is so short, but no one’s is meaningless.

I didn’t know this person who died all that well, I wish I had, but at least some people did. It is better to find out that someone was an amazing person than to find out that they did no one any good.

What I have learned is that there is more to people than you can know based on a slim acquaintance. Even if you are able to judge one part of their character, there may be another part you knew nothing about. If that makes me a little less quick to assume in the future then that’s a good thing.

But I don’t expect it to completely change my own character, and I’m not foolish enough to try that, only One person’s death can change someone’s character in that radical way.

Maybe you were expecting a different post, and for all I know, this just sounds like the typical way people try to comfort themselves after a tragedy, and perhaps that’s what it is.

Perhaps, also, that’s fine because grief is typical in life.

I am not afraid to die myself, I am only afraid to die before I’ve really helped anyone or changed anything, or done something that was important and unselfish and brought God the glory.

I know what kind of person I want to be before I die, but I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near close enough to being her.

And I don’t know how well my family member was satisfied with his life, not too well from what I’ve heard, but he couldn’t see the incredible person he was destined to be.

I guess it’s not where you are now so much as where you’re going to be, sooner or later, and with many bumps along the way.

As many times as I have heard the above said, it’s so easy to forget and think the present is our permanent state of being. It’s not. Things will get worse or better, they will never stay just the same.

Worse or better will alternate, but the overall effect is up to you and what you want to believe in.

And those are my thoughts on this for now. Until next time–Natasha.

Avatar

I’m breaking from my new series to catch up on my film reviews.

Also, I realized today that it is nearly the two-year anniversary of this blog. I’ve grown from two followers to forty one. This is pretty cool.

Anyway, to the review:

I am not talking about the show Avatar, I’ve never seen it. I’m talking about the movie that kind of went under the radar.  I remember first seeing commercials for it and thinking it looked cool. Blue aliens, they aren’t usually my thing, but it was an interesting concept.

And I finally got a chance to watch it.

The story is about a man named Jake Sully, who is an ex-marine, and has lost the use of his legs, but thanks to being a twin and having the same DNA of his dead brother, he is able to replace him in an experimental program that will use his soul and mind into the body of a human/alien being, and allow him to infiltrate their culture and find out how to get the valuable metal they have in their forest. Unobtainium. (That name was said with a straight face throughout the entire movie.)

Creepy sounding right? But once you get over the initial weirdness and your mind adjusts to the idea of a man being inside a large blue thing with a tail, it’s not so bad.

The character I found most intriguing, next to Jake, was Grace. A scientist on the project, who at first didn’t like him being there because she thought he was dumb. (Incidentally, Chris Pratt auditioned for Jake’s role, and Jake Sully is a lot like Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy. Apparently Pratt gets type cast.)

After a lot of in between events that fill us in more on these blues aliens (I can neither remember nor spell their actual name) Jake and his new body end up on their planet, Pandora, with a handful of other humans in avatar form. Jake has some run ins with the flora and fauna of this world, and one of the natives is going to shoot an arrow through him, but the seeds of their ancient tree stop her. It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. This tree is like the Home Tree from Pixie Hollow, a source of power.

The native spares him, and then saves his life, making it plain that she thinks he’s an idiot, but he has s trog heart, and she’s not going to kill anyone the tree says to spare. Later she takes him to her people and he is trained by her to be one of them.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but this movie is really long, so I’ll go to the important part. After months of this, Jake begins to feel more conflicted about destroying these people. And Grace, who was in charge of a school for their children and ahs been allowed around them again, is also not for the idea of destroying their home and them. But their protests get them locked up. And after a lot of cat and mouse with them escaping and being caught again, Jake rallies all the tribes of the aliens against the humans. I’ll admit this was the most intense action I’ve seen in awhile.

Of course there is the obligatory scene where the blue people find out Jake was playing them and the girl he’s fallen in love with (and mated with…skip that scene) is furious with him and sends him packing. But as cliché as it is, the actors sold it really well, and made it more unique. Plus we never get that annoying scene where the hero is bellyaching about how they ruined everything and lost the girl, blah, blah, blah. Jake never wastes time.

In the end, the blue people win over the Earthlings, with the help of they’re planet’s god, Awah (Phonetic spelling,) who causes all the animals of the forest to help them, even the ones that would normally eat them. Jake gets to stay there, along with a few other people, and they use they’re mystical tree to make him permanently one of their kind.

The verdict:

I really recommend checking this movie out for yourself. It’s a lot like Atlantis, only with Milo Thatch replaced with an ex-marine. It’s also like Epic and Fern Gully. But the themes are more adult, and a lot more interesting and complex.

I knew Grace would change her mind about the people from the beginning, because she was learning about them the most and spending time with them, she had a more open mind, and more respect for their culture. Jake closed off to begin with, but you knew he’d change his mind too.

The bigger surprise was that a handful of the other humans also changed their minds, and sacrificed even their lives to help the people.

One of the most gripping lines is at the end, when Jake, in making his video log, reverses the terms, saying “The aliens went back to their planet, a few were selected to remain.” The aliens now being his own people.

The is movie is somewhat like Ender’s Game in plot device, but not in tone. I hated Ender’s Game and I didn’t like Ender. Jake on the other hand, I could at least root for. I felt sad for him, and his friends, and I could see clearly why the natives did not deserve what they got and how the whole project was bad to begin with and got worse as it went. You also see that the other humans had almost no respect for the natives, they thought of them as primitives, little better than animals, and that destroying them had no moral implications. The familiarity of such thinking was scary.

I don’t like movies that paint humans as the most evil, despicable race that there is. But I don’t think this movie would do that unless you chose to see it that way. Some of the humans are noble. It is more about how one race cannot dominate another in that way, and that it is not treason to join the opposite side if they are in the right. (Just like in the Hawk Girl post I just did.) It’s also about respecting life.

Even though the religion of the movie seems very Eastern, I found none of it to directly contradict my own faith. I actually thought Awah was a good representation of God in some ways. The rituals were weird, and I did skip some, but mostly it was fine.

Also, instead of the head of the tribe taking an instant disliking to Jake, the mother of it is the most just to him, and she is the one who frees him and Grace at the end, instead of the love interest. I thought that was cool.

This has been a very long review of a very long movie, so I’m signing off now.

Until next time–Natasha.100_2868