Friday, May 31, 2013

New Fave Restaurant...Slater's 50/50!!!!

Don't ask me why they named it that.  Although the restaurant's name is...a bit unusual, the food is seriously legit.

The first second you hear what their 'thing' is, you might think it's a big gimmick.  But although it's a gimmick, it's a seriously good gimmick.

Get this: Slater's 50/50 sells burgers.  But not just ordinary burgers (although they sell those, too).  They sell an expert 50/50 patty--half ground beef, half bacon.

My dad took me there the other day after over one hour of tennis on a practically empty stomach (I was starving).  

At Slater's 50/50, you can build your own burger (and even name it), or you can choose from their small but select menu.  The menu isn't as huge as other chain restaurants like Mimi's Cafe, but it's enough to drop your jaw.  There is the 50/50 burger, which has avocado and sunny-side-up egg with the 50/50 patty.  That's what my dad got.  There's the "Peanut Butter and Jellousy" which has, believe it or not, peanut butter and jelly.  There are other burgers, and the descriptions alone are enough to make your mouth water.  Then there are different types of mac'n'cheese.  Those sounded amazing, too.

But at the end of the day, I decided to build my own burger.  I chose the 50/50 patty, whole wheat bread (I wasn't about to go all-out unhealthy), avocado mash (extra $1), coleslaw, grilled and raw onions, something else (I forgot), and chili adobo mayo.  In order to choose, they give you a piece of paper and you check off a limited number of the choices you want.   There were so many choices, and some things I'd never heard of before.  For example, there was "bacon pretzel bread."  I don't think I've ever tried that, but it sounded amazing!  My healthy senses told me to go with the wheat.  There was also a HUGE number of sauces, which, of course, I went crazy over.  Garlic aioli (I don't know what that is, but it sounds good! :), mayo, different types of mayo, and what really surprised (and amazed) me was this choice: Bacon.  Ketchup.

At the bottom of the page, there was a little box that says "Name it!"  
I had no idea why they wanted me to name it--maybe just for kicks, I thought--so I debated (my creative juices were kind of drowsy).  I wanted to make a combination of "ultimate" and "burger," but that didn't work out, so I dubbed it the "Burginator."  Cheesy, but it works, right?

My dad also ordered an appetizer of onion rings and sweet potato fries, both of which had dipping sauces.  The onion rings came with barbecue sauce (I thought it was bacon ketchup) and the fries came with pumpkin sauce (I thought it was chili adobo mayo).  Their sauces are the bomb!

I loved the onion rings because they didn't have bready, doughy, crusty stuff--they had crisp, almost chip-like texture.  They were very very good.  The sweet potato fries were decent too--you can't really go wrong with them.

Then our burgers came.  The guy serving us said, "The 50/50?"  I pointed to my dad.

"The Burginator?"

Oh, so that's why they have us name it.  I was, to admit, a bit embarrassed...but I just got over it because it's silly to be embarrassed over that.  But then, I wonder what kind of names they get.  What unassuming people have written some sloppy silly name, only to have it spoken by the waiter?

When you get your burger, you don't think it's very big.  But Slater's 50/50 burgers bring on a whole new level of big.  They aren't very wide...but they're tall.  They're VERY tall.  It's almost unmanageable to eat (but people manage it).  It's messy, it's a delicate operation, but it's good.  The burger meat is juicy (although my dad says that there's too much bacon and that there's too much meat), and it was pure bliss.  My coleslaw disappeared, probably because of the strength of so many flavors, and maybe it was a little bit chaotic, like a bunch of fireworks bursting off in your mouth at once...but I have to maintain, the burgers were good.

In terms of prices, ambiance, etc., Slater's 50/50 is a restaurant, like Mimi's Cafe.  It's a sit-down place, and the prices are around $9 a burger.  Even though it's a burger place, it's a gourmet burger place.  It's a bit dark, with a bar, and I don't think it has kids meals--you'll have to reference elsewhere for specific information--but for true burger lovers, it's heaven.


Monday, May 27, 2013

SUMMERTIME

Whew!  I haven't posted in a week.



I'm sorry, loyal fans, for not doing so.  :(  I will try to post at least every other day from now on...especially as summer approaches.


SUMMER!  SUMMER!  SUMMER!  Glorious summer...

What first comes to your mind when you hear the word 'summer'? 


Summer =

*Vacation*Sun*Pools*Lemonade*Air Conditioner*Reading*Library Every Day*No School*No Projects*Friend Hangouts and Texting;)*Sadness (new school)*Walks*Blog Posts*Novel writing*Boredom*Vacationing somewhere over the rainbow*Sibling arguments*Summer tennis camp*FREEEEEEEEDOM...

I have two more weeks until school gets out.  This week is definitely a school week, then next week is finals (party and study at the same time...oxymoron?).  This is so crazy!  I only have a week left of regular school, and this Friday marks the last real school day I'll be at school.  I'm so sad...I'm leaving the school I'm at now and it'll be definitely a new chapter in my life :():

Summer To-Do List:

1) Work on my novel, Both Sides of the Court
2) Read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read read
3) Work on my not-so-mad tennis skills...A LOT.
4) Walk and have fun
5) Text/Instagram friends
6) Work on a new project...BAKING!!!!!
7) Write write write write write write write write write write write write write write write write write write write
8) Repeat #2 and #7
9) Get together with my crazy random friend and go outside in public.  I'll be holding a Windex bottle with blue Gatorade in it, and occasionally spraying blue liquid into my mouth.  She'll be eating vanilla yogurt out of a mayo jar. (I'm serious)
10) Listen to music.
11) Prep for school.
12) Eat.


This summer is going to be so fun..............





Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 12

Ally felt like she was being squeezed, pushed, pulled, and yanked in all directions--all in a blinding white light.  Tyler felt like he was passing through a tunnel of pain and whiteness, then came out. 

They landed with a splat on cold linoleum floor, stomachs heaving.

"I'm going to throw up," Ally moaned, her eyes still closed.  Then something was pressed into her mouth.  She swallowed and immediately gagged, but got the foul tablet down.

She felt better.

Tyler ate the pill, too, and stood up. 

Charles had appeared standing up, and he declined the offer of the pill.  "That was the DeMaterializer," he said.  "It transports you to a certain place.  You are in the Defenders of Good lab."

Ally and Tyler looked around with wide eyes.

There were three people in the lab, which was spacious and sparkling clean.  Several experiments, all involving bubbling, colorful liquids, were hooked up to one another, and seven computers (Ally counted) were all processing information.  It was the best-looking lab Ally and Tyler had ever been in. 

But what gratified the two Kuehl Kids the most was the fact that the three people were familiar.  They were, indeed, Ally's parents and Tyler's uncle.

"Mom!" The word sounded almost foreign to Ally's tongue, but she thrust herself into her mother's arms. 

"Uncle Tom," Tyler said weakly.

"You guys don't have much time," Charles Dillwin said, glancing at his watch.  "You will see them later.  Guys...enough with the hugfest."

But the five did not pay him any heed.  Ally was just detaching herself from her dad, who was exclaiming over her, when five zaps sounded and five people landed with a heap on the floor. 

For a moment, the other six stared with horror at them.

Then there was chaos.

Ally and Tyler were pushed and prodded through another DeMaterializer.  Immediately they were whisked through the tunnel and light, and landed on a cold concrete platform.

More pills were pushed into their mouths, then they were shoved through another one.  More light and whirling. 

They landed, but this time there was no pill.
Ally leaned forward and threw up.  Tyler was right behind her. 

They were on a concrete platform.  Cool air nipped their skin. 

Several figures were running toward them.

"Who are those people?" Tyler asked.  "Are they---"

"Almira!" Ally's wings flapped hard.  "Something happened!  Jasper--"

Almira's face was grim, but as they watched, eight other people came.

"Hurry up!  Use your powers!  Get away!" Ally's mother began running.  "Jasper Jalling and his crew are after us!"

"Rendezvous!" called Almira as five other figures appeared, standing up.

Walter was frozen, staring at Jasper Jalling and his group of puppets.  He'd never seen the man--but now that he was looking at Jalling, something seemed familiar.

"Walter, what are you doing?!" Electra's voice called.  The others were running far away.

An electric zap brought him to his senses, but Jasper was walking toward him, a thin, stately figure dressed in black pants, shirt, and a long cape. 

"Walter, my boy," he said, grinning.  "My son."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 11

Almira smiled.  "Yes, he is," she said.

Walter and Electra both gaped at her.  "I thought he was dead!" Electra exclaimed disbelievingly.

"Electra, you want me to be dead?" the hologram said wryly. 

Electra opened her mouth, then shut it.  "Of course not," she said.  "I'm just...surprised."

"I'd be surprised if I'd been told all my life that Charles was dead and suddenly he resurrected," Almira said.  "Anyway, Charles operates a secret underground network dedicated to defeating evil in the world.  The Servants' Quarters in Jasper Jalling's hideout lead to the American HQ."

"Oh.  My.  Goodness," Electra said.  The hologram now showed the vast darkness with the tubes that led to a giant platform hundreds of feet underground.  "How come you haven't overthrown Jasper Jalling before then?  Don't you have, like, a lot of people?"

"First of all, Jasper has a lot of people," Almira began.  "To fight him would be like waging a battle that the overworld civilians would have to be involved in.  So no.  And second of all, we don't have a lot of people.  It's basically the Superhero Club from the old days."


"Wait, you mean Ally's parents and Tyler's uncle works for the SC in the network of defeating evil?" Walter said.  He felt a weird feeling stirring inside him.

Almira nodded.  "We call ourselves the D. G.  Defenders of Good," she said with a wry smile.  "Very original, but we wanted to get to the point.  It's basically Ally's parents, Tyler's uncle, my husband, and, well..."  Almira glanced at the Professor.

"Tell them," the Professor said.

"Invisa, Swifte, Fier, and Quake.  All their parents are in the D.G.  Just not the kids," Almira said.

"You're kidding," said Electra.

"I kid you not."  Almira leaned back in her chair. 

"So they've been watching Jalling take over their kids?" Walter asked incredulously.

Almira hesitated.  "Well, Walter," she said.  "What could we do?  There was one failed attempt to let the kids see their parents; if Jalling had found out..."  Her voice trailed off. 

That seemed like a wimpy reason to Walter, but he let it go temporarily as Almira stood up and looked at the hologram.  "How close are you to the end point, Charles?" she asked.

"Two and a half minutes," Charles Dillwin replied.

"Good," Almira said, glancing at her watch and then up at the hole in the ceiling.  "That should be enough time."

 *     *     *
 
"What is this place?" Ally asked, looking around. 
 
Charles Dillwin, Ally, and Tyler were standing at a huge gray platform with green knobs all over it.  The platform was lit by lights embedded in the metal, and it seemed to be suspended in midair underground. 
 
"It's the Defenders of Good American HQ," Charles replied.  He glanced at his watch.  "I'll explain everything later.  First, we need to get to the end point."
 
He began walking rapidly towards a white-lit doorway at the end of the platform.  Then he looked back.  "We'd better hurry," he said, breaking into a run.
 
Tyler grabbed his arm.  "Why are we hurrying?  Where are you taking us?"  He took a deep breath before saying, "I'm staying here until I get answers."
 
"Tyler, not now!" Charles' eyes widened.  "Okay.  The Defenders of Good includes the Superhero Club.  Your uncle and Ally's parents.  And some other people.  We're fighting Jasper Jalling.  This is all part of the plan to get you out of here and to fighting the other kids.  We have to hurry.  I think Jasper Jalling knows something about us."
 
"How can we trust you?" Ally asked. 
 
"Kids!  You're killing me."  Charles looked at the floor.  He ran his hand through his hair.  Then he twisted his watch.  A hologram of Almira popped up.
 
"What is it, Charles?" she asked.
 
"Oh," said Tyler.  He felt remarkably unsmart.
 
"Nothing, we'll meet you there."  Charles broke into a run.  Ally and Tyler followed him. 
 
"Use your powers," Charles urged them.  "Go through the doorway!  Run!"
 
Tyler disappeared with a zapping noise, and Ally sprouted wings.  With the air of freedom, she rushed through the portal. 
 
Charles breathed a sigh of relief.  He entered the portal.
 
At the same instant, Jasper Jalling, Invisa, Fier, Quake, and Swifte stepped onto the platform.
 
Jalling's face spread wide with glee.  "We've got them now," he said.  "At 'em, kids!"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 11 PREVIEW

Walter and Electra both gaped at her. "I thought he was dead!" Electra exclaimed disbelievingly.

"Electra, you want me to be dead?" the hologram said wryly.

Electra opened her mouth, then shut it. "Of course not," she said. "I'm just...surprised."

"I'd be surprised if I'd been told all my life that Charles was dead and suddenly he resurrected," Almira said. "Anyway, Charles operates a secret underground network dedicated to defeating evil in the world. The Servants' Quarters in Jasper Jalling's hideout lead to the American HQ."

"Oh. My. Goodness," Electra said. The hologram now showed the vast darkness with the tubes that led to a giant platform hundreds of feet underground. "How come you haven't overthrown Jasper Jalling before then? Don't you have, like, a lot of people?"

"First of all, Jasper has a lot of people," Almira began. "To fight him would be like waging a battle that the overworld civilians would have to be involved in. So no. And second of all, we don't have a lot of people. It's basically the Superhero Club from the old days."


"Wait, you mean Ally's parents and Tyler's uncle works for the SC in the network of defeating evil?" Walter said. He felt a weird feeling stirring inside him.

Almira nodded. "We call ourselves the D. G. Defenders of Good," she said with a wry smile. "Very original, but we wanted to get to the point. It's basically Ally's parents, Tyler's uncle, my husband, and, well..." Almira glanced at the Professor.

"Tell them," the Professor said.

"Invisa, Swifte, Fier, and Quake. All their parents are in the D.G. Just not the kids," Almira said.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How To Write a Story (the Basics)

How To Write a Story (intro)

I feel like a lot of girls my age aspire to be a few overall professions.  They are...
  1. An actress/singer/celebrity
  2. A writer

If you're a girl around the age of 8-11 and don't fit one of these choices, my apologies.  Just from experience, I feel like those are the main goals of some girls.

And from my own experience, I also feel like some who aspire to be writers do not start off with the hard, cold basic facts that go into a children's fiction story.  I got this from experience. 

As a writer, I'd like everything to be happy with the main character--she (it's always a she) would have adventures and have everything go her way.  My first books were like that.  My first ever recollection of an actual book was entitled "Kim's New Baby."  In it, the main character (Kim) has several fun plans and no actual problem to the story.  She goes camping with her BFF Elja (don't ask me where I got the name, because I honestly don't know.  I think it's because I like the name Ella, and I like the letter j).  She becomes a big sister when her younger sister is born.  She has a 6-day-long weekend (that was on accident).  You get the drift.

In other words, Kim's New Baby is boring.

Yes, I just put myself down as a boring writer...in the beginning.  Kim's New Baby, and several others following that story, are reminiscent of the no-conflict type of story.  And I'm going to tell you: you aren't ever going to publish a book if all that's in it are rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies.

Writing a Story
There are several technical literary components that have to go inside a story.

The first is the protagonist, or a main character.  The protagonist has to be likeable (she can't be mean), but at the same time, she should have at least one fault (for example, say she's a little angel except for her habit of telling little white lies).  The reason why she (I have a natural tendency to put things as girls.  If you're a boy reading this, don't take any offense) has one fault is because she needs to resolve it by the end of the story.  She has to grow and learn through the conflict.

The second component is the conflict.  The conflict is, many times, demonstrated through the author's use of an antagonist, or a bad guy.  In this case, let's say that you're writing a story that has a very strong antagonist who makes life hard for the protagonist.  The antagonist should be very against the protagonist, should not be likeable, and should create a problem for the protagonist.

Okay, pretend I wrote a very simple story.

My protagonist's name is Jane.  She is very nice to everyone, except she sometimes tells lies to her friends, parents, and teachers.

My antagonist's name is Amy (no offense to any Amys who might be reading this).  Amy (for an unknown reason) bullies Jane.  Jane's conflict is Amy, the bully.

The conflict should target the protagonist's fault and help resolve it.

Because Jane has a tendency to lie, she lies about Amy and tells her parents that Amy is her friend.

This is when the climax, or the "highest point of suspense" in the story comes in.  When writing the climax of the story, show how your main character realizes that problem is getting out of control, and also show how your main character resolves it--and, in the process, stops sinning, too.

With the Jane story, I think you can tell where I'm going.

The climax is when Amy bullies Jane to the point where Jane can't take it anymore.  So, after several failed solutions (like diplomatically negotiating with Amy, yelling at Amy), Jane decides to tell her parents and admit to lying.

When writing a story like this, THE PARENTS SHOULD SUCCEED.  If the parents failed and Jane realizes that she made a mistake in telling them, will she stop lying?  Of course not, because now she's convinced that parents can't do anything.  Sometimes too much failure will prompt the reader to stop reading.

When Jane tells her parents, her parents obviously tell the teacher and the teacher punishes Amy for bullying Jane.  This is the resolution.  The resolution should solve any and all problems and give the reader the assurance that nothing bad will ever happen to the main character again (that's unrealistic).  It should be very thorough.

Finishing Up How to Write a Story (end)
There are so many different exceptions to the basic-basic story format.  Like if you were writing an adventure trilogy, you wouldn't want the resolution to be so thorough that the readers wouldn't buy the next two books.  And sometimes the conflict is within the protagonist herself and she has to battle it.  Writing a story is so complex that sometimes the basic structure gets drowned in different writing styles. 

If you're looking to improving your writing, I suggest reading.  Reading will improve your vocabulary, your way of thinking, and, most importantly, your writing.  I've included a list of suggested books.

The Boxcar Children Series, by Gertrude Chandler Warner.  *The ones that say "CREATED BY GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER" on the front are less in-depth and intriguing than the ones that she actually wrote.

The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling.  I know some people say that it's a very darkly magical story having to do with witchcraft and all sorts of dark stuff, but honestly, I don't think it's too comparable to true witchcraft.  I appreciate the adventure, the writing, and the font (Adobe Garamond--MY FAVORITE) of Rowling.  She depicts a brilliant picture, and all the elements of the story are there for a purpose.  You unlock a mystery as you read.  *Suggested age group is 11+ (or to parental discretion) as there is some killing and romance in it.

The Anne of Green Gables series, by L.M. Montgomery.  Not just Anne of Green Gables, but the whole series.  All of them are brilliant, witty, and funny chronicles following Anne's life.  Humorous adventures and wonderful insight and perspective are in this series.  Rilla of Ingleside, the last one, also gives you an in-depth understanding of what it was like to be in World War I.

Those are all that I can think of at the moment, but I think the post is long enough...







Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just Some Thoughts

SCHOOL IS ALMOST OVER.

I'm not sure about people in other cities/counties/states/countries/worlds/universes (which defeats the purpose of a universe...but whatever!) but all I know is that school is almost over for me and the other schools in my district.  And like most people, I'm looking forward to it...but it's bittersweet, because I'm leaving the school I'm currently at for a much different school.

So right now I'm torn.


Well, anyway, I just wrote something and I erased it.  So...as a last resort, I will write down some points I made during a speech I had to give today to my class. 

My topic was "Why You Should Play The Piano."

Well, let me tell you one thing, some people are very prejudiced against playing the piano...hint, hint (just kidding ;).  I play the piano.  I have personal experience with it (like, 6-7-8 years?) But at one time or another, people have tried playing the piano (and quit).

Here are some reasons why people quit:
  • It's boring
  • They're discouraged
  • It's boring and they're discouraged
  • It takes up too much time
  • They think it's time to quit (1 1/2 levels is enough, right?)
  • It's just not "their thing"
Well, let me tell you something: there are SO many benefits to playing the piano that all the drawbacks pale in comparison.  Some points I have to COUNTER the "why I quit" reasons are...
  1. Playing piano enhances your love for your own music (you start to get a motivation to practice) and it enhances your love for other people's music.
  2. Playing piano helps you socially.  If you like rap, you only talk to other people who like rap.  But if you start taking piano lessons and like classical music, you can talk to people who like a. rap, b. classical music, and c. both rap and classical.  It helps you be more relatable.
  3. According to the University of Sarasota and East Texas State University (and probably other colleges who have conducted similar studies), playing piano enhances your math, literature, and science skills (that's pretty much got it covered).
  4. It enhances testtaking skills.
  5. It helps with independent coordination (right hand's playing something; left hand's playing something different).
  6. Musical notes is a different language (it's not English).  When you're reading music, you're reading a different language.  When you take a foreign language, reading music helps.
  7. Playing piano is the visually best way to learn your notes.  From there, you can learn chords to play for church or switch to a different instrument.
  8. Playing piano, forcing yourself to practice it, will eventually build up discipline, perseverance, persistance, and patience, all of which are EXTREMELY important in life.

THAT is why you should play the piano.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 10

"But we don't have time now," Dillwin said.  In the light, he looked pale white, with brushed-back, well-groomed brown hair.  Model material, Ally thought.  He'd be a good choice for Almira if he hadn't abandoned her.

Ally and Tyler couldn't argue.  And besides, there was something about Charles Dillwin that they trusted.  They didn't completely trust him, of course.  But they didn't fully distrust him. 

Dillwin led the two down a hallway.  Blinking in the brightness, Ally and Tyler noted that the passage was completely white, with dirty white linoleum.  A single lightbulb seemed to light up the entire hallway.

"Here," he said, turning into a door marked "Servants' Quarters."

"Servant?" Ally said incredulously as Dillwin pushed the two of them into the room.

It was dark and dirty.  The single lightbulb didn't entirely light up the room.  The bed was a cornhusk mattress, partly rotted away.  A table with a dented spoon and a couple of cans of Spam was pushed in the corner.

"You live here?" Tyler said, looking around him.

"Of course not," Dillwin said, not unkindly.  He pressed a white button on his watch, and the bed suddenly disappeared, as if something sucked it underneath.  He looked up.  "Hurry."

"Can't I just teleport somewhere?" Tyler asked.

"If you so much as teleport half an inch, alarms will ring and Jalling and his band of rude mindless proteges will be here in an instant.  And where will Ally be then?" Dillwin said.  He jumped down the dark hole that had replaced the bed.  "Get in here.  Quick."

With a slight hesitation, Tyler dove into the hole.  Ally jumped a little more primly.

They appeared in three separate glass cylinders that went down tubes.  Tyler and Ally could see a huge network of tubes twisting and turning, and other people riding in more of them.  Where did the tubes lead?  To a seemingly endless, dark bottomless pit. 

"What on earth?" Tyler said to himself.  "Where is Dillwin taking us?"


*     *     *
 
"Jalling was one of my closest friends."  The Professor put his hand on the warm, chipped yellow mug that Almira had just handed him.  He swallowed a sip of warm Swiss Miss hot chocolate.  "I trusted him with my life."
 
Walter stared at his own mug, a cheesy hand-painted and hand-glazed one that he recognized as Ally's handiwork, from two years ago.  He couldn't bring himself to drink it.
 
Electra, however, was inadvertently sipping her drink (pumpkin spice tea) and following the Professor, her green eyes seriously catching every expression, every muscle, every word that the Professor said.
 
Walter wished he could bring himself to have Electra's concentration, but the knot of worry was turning over and over in his stomach.  Who are my parents?  What do my powers have to do with the PowerCloak?  I NEED ANSWERS.
 
Almira was nodding at every word the Professor was saying.  The four were sitting at the kitchen table, by the room that they trained in.  The ceiling had a gaping hole, revealing the stars.  Bits of dirt and soil had sprinkled on the table.
 
"Then I realized he wasn't playing for the Superhero Club," the Professor said.  "We were dedicated to solving the world's problems with superheroes.  Wars would be replaced by battles between the countries' head superheroes.  But Jasper wasn't going for that.  He was going for world domination: himself as dictator, us as his minions.  He wasn't satisfied with being the head scientist at the Superhero Club."
 
There was a short pause.  Then the Professor went on.  "We were so naive, young.  We were all wrong.  Superheroes can't save the world, Almira, Walter, Electra.  Neither will Jasper Jalling as his own boss.  No being with a wicked human nature can ever save the world.  Faith, grace, hope.  Those save the world.  Not us."
 
He took another sip, then said, "But people with pure motives can help do that by showing faith, grace, and hope.  We know faith, grace, and hope.  We have to share it with others.  That's where the superheroes come in."
 
Walter thought, Yeah, Professor.  But how do we get Ally and Tyler back?  And defeat Jasper Jalling? 
 
The Professor concluded, "We, as superheroes, can show the world what faith, grace, and hope are all about.  When we capture Jasper Jalling and rescue Ally and Tyler--"
 
"That's just it, Professor."  Electra leaned in.  "How do we capture Jasper Jalling and rescue Ally and Tyler?  We need a plan of attack.  I've been thinking and--"
 
"Hold on, Electra."  The Professor suddenly grinned good-naturedly.  "I'm one step ahead of you.  For once."
 
"But--" Electra said.
 
"Hold on."  The Professor put his hand up to silence her.  "We already have Ally and Tyler secured.  And Jasper Jalling is sure to be on his way to jail time.  In fact, we're executing the plan Almira and I have set up right now."
 
"How?!" Electra and Walter both exclaimed at the exact same time.
 
Almira jabbed a button on her watch.  A hologram popped out of it and lit up the wall, showing a man's face. 
 
"Al, I've got them," he said. 
 
Electra squinted.  Walter cocked his head.  "Who is that?" he asked.  "He seems familiar, but..."
 
Electra interrupted him.  "Wait!  I know who that is!  That's...that's Charles Dillwin!  Almira, your dead husband's...alive?"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 10 PREVIEW


Ally and Tyler couldn't argue. And besides, there was something about Charles Dillwin that they trusted. They didn't completely trust him, of course. But they didn't fully distrust him.

Dillwin led the two down a hallway. Blinking in the brightness, Ally and Tyler noted that the passage was completely white, with dirty white linoleum. A single lightbulb seemed to light up the entire hallway.

"Here," he said, turning into a door marked "Servants' Quarters."

"Servant?" Ally said incredulously as Dillwin pushed the two of them into the room.

It was dark and dirty. The single lightbulb didn't entirely light up the room. The bed was a cornhusk mattress, partly rotted away. A table with a dented spoon and a couple of cans of Spam was pushed in the corner.

"You live here?" Tyler said, looking around him.

"Of course not," Dillwin said, not unkindly. He pressed a white button on his watch, and the bed suddenly disappeared, as if something sucked it underneath. He looked up. "Hurry."

"Can't I just teleport somewhere?" Tyler asked.

"If you so much as teleport half an inch, alarms will ring and Jalling and his band of rude mindless proteges will be here in an instant. And where will Ally be then?" Dillwin said. He jumped down the dark hole that had replaced the bed. "Get in here. Quick."

With a slight hesitation, Tyler dove into the hole. Ally jumped a little more primly.

They appeared in three separate glass cylinders that went down tubes. Tyler and Ally could see a huge network of tubes twisting and turning, and other people riding in more of them. Where did the tubes lead? To a seemingly endless, dark bottomless pit.

"What on earth?" Tyler said to himself. "Where is Dillwin taking us?"

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thar She Blows...

Seriously, checking Instagram is like a full-time job.  That's why I haven't posted in two days :( Sorry

You might be wondering what the title means.  No, I didn't go whale-watching.  But it was practically like that for my family..."Oops, there she's going again..."

Let me explain.

The sore throat I had on Saturday (Did I mention that???).  It erupted in a full-fledged cold, the type that attacks your throat (as well as your ears and nose, because they're all connected).  Congestion, noseblowing, the like.

I am the QUEEN of noseblowing.  Even when I don't have a cold, I blow my nose.  After I take a shower, I blow my nose (moisture).  After I wash my face, I blow my nose (moisture).  When I'm outside playing tennis, I blow my nose (allergies).  And I have perfected the art of noseblowing to the point that you can hear me in a three-mile radius (and I'm only exaggerating slightly). 

I also blow my nose a lot.  One day this week (I was sick), I filled up a trash can and used up a whole tissue box (and more). 

My cold was the type where you get a lot of stuff blocking up your nose and no matter how hard or how many times you blow your nose, it always gets congested again.  I always thought I was a mouth-breather, but it turns out I'm a nose-breather.

I blew my nose a lot.

As a result, my family got kind of annoyed.  One of my parents' comments was "the joy of hearing your daughter blow her nose over and over again."

Oh, yes, that joy.

Monday was the worst, Tuesday only slightly better, and Wednesday sinking into Monday's hole again.  Then today, Thursday, I woke up and started feeling better.  No epic noseblowing today, folks ;-)

Of course, I had to have math tutoring on Monday, and tennis on Wednesday. 

You know you've got a bad cold when you have to bring a tissue box to math tutoring and tennis (an unopened one to tennis, to boot).

I'm sure people at tennis thought I had a problem.
 
Now to the whole matter of Instagram.  I've been enjoying my Instagram.  I made it a private account with no pictures of myself (which is kind of hard to follow).  I've already posted 17 pictures, which is pretty good considering I've only had this since Monday (if you don't like people who post a lot, don't follow me). 
 
But Instagram is a full-time job...seriously.  You're always checking it to see if people have posted anything, Liked anything, followed anyone, any new development.  It's crazy how addicting it is. 
 
And if any people who have a job with Instagram are looking on this (rare chance, but there's a try): can you make a dislike button?
 
I just want to make a dislike button.  To make a stand!
 
Here is a pic I've posted on Instagram...
 
People post anything on Instagram--from Arizona sodas to cliche, that's-so-true sayings.  So I made up my own.  The vegetables one, and also a Psy one ("CY YOUNG AWARD BECOMES PSY YOUNG AWARD AFTER GANGNAM PITCH").  Of course, I had at least one comment protesting my vegetables post (that's why we need a Dislike button). 

Thanks for listening to my nose-blowing, Instagram-filled rants about life and such. 

-RCUBED
is back

WAIT!  One more thing to note.  I (as the expert on tissues and noseblowing) have compiled a list on the topic.

See, at those public restrooms, the city doesn't want to invest in good-quality paper towels or toilet paper.  Those brown paper towels are practically paper.  They're not the best for noseblowing.  So...I have a LIST, therefore, of the rankings of best noseblowing material (don't make fun of me...)

1.  Tissues (that's what they're made for, so obviously they're the best to use).  They're soft and pretty sturdy.

2.  Toilet Paper Since I never remember to have a tissue box (and I don't want to burn the energy to obtain one <laziness>), I always use toilet paper.  Although you may have to use a lot of it, it's the best option next to tissues.

3.  Paper Towels If you're in a public place, try to use the toilet paper.

4.  Your shirt I have not been driven to desperation as to stoop to these low heights (oxymoron).  I do not use my shirt.  *DO NOT USE YOUR SHIRT*
 
 
 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Make, Bake, Take, For Goodness' Sake

After yesterday, and during today, all I can say is one word:

Gargoyles.

Yesterday was really hectic, really long, and really tiring (I was so pooped yesterday!).  The reason for my tiredness was a bake sale.  My friend conducted a bake sale for our church's missions trip, and her idea was: bake, take to her siblings' soccer games, and sell.

Well...

I woke up at 7, after a tiring Friday.  I'd baked and packaged my blueberry muffins and chocolate-chip-cookies-on-a-stick (I'd made the batter the day before), and well, I had to use the oven in 90-degree weather.  I had a headache, and the entire process took hours.  And I'm meaning literal hours.

I had to skip tennis to do my bake sale stuff.

I woke up with a sore throat, a dry but runny nose, and a tired disposition.  After reclining in silence with a bowl of chunky vanilla-flavored granola and Pride and Prejudice, I hopped into my friend's car and was immediately off to one of the two soccer games planned.  My day took off from there.

We arrived fairly early.  After arranging our wares (along with my blueberry muffins and chocolate-chip-cookies-on-a-stick, my friend had made banana-chocolate-chip muffins and Rice Krispies) in a borrowed vintage-looking wagon, we pulled our way to the field.

Our selling started as the games did.  There were three games going on at one time, and so it was the perfect place to sell.  We went around calling, "Muffins!  Cookies!  Rice Krispies!"  Our first sale (a blueberry muffin) went to a nice-looking Asian mom with a son.

This was one of the first times with hands-on experience for me, and after that I formed a couple of opinions on selling like that (on the people buying, the way people sell things, and overall business). 

1) The experience is great, but for the amount of work, the profits aren't worth it.  We made around $35, a good haul, but for me, squeezing the baking, packaging, and selling into an already-packed schedule just wasn't worth it.  My friend tries to do this every week, but since I'm very busy, I don't think I'd dig it too much.  And we contributed all funds to our church's mission trip...not counting the time and money used to actually make the wares.

2) People selling products cannot be too aggressive.  We went around at a slow pace, shouting every couple seconds.  Salespeople should not do that.  To a certain extent, salespeople should be aggressive, but not so aggressive that they're overbearing and annoying.  Once people hear us, that fact registers in their brains.  It's up to them to stop us and buy.  We're the ones advertising; they're the ones doing the buying. 

3) Consumers should not seem interested and not do anything afterward.  In a couple instances, some people would ask us why we were selling.  We'd tell them, and they'd be, eh, okay, I've got my answer; now you can move on.  It's not a completely terrible practice, but still, it is inconvenient for the people selling.  It gives them false hope (which plummets down), and it is a bit inconsiderate on the consumers' part.

After the game, my friend and I targeted the exits.  I managed to make two dollars off one family, but apart from that, I didn't really make anything (I'm not the "up-in-your-face" kind of person). 

The next game was extremely slow (although we managed to sell off the blueberry muffins and I think most of the other stuff). 

Overall, it was an interesting learning experience, and although I'm too busy to do it again now, I think that I'll be excited to do it again sometime soon.





Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 9

The rumblings stopped.

Almira studied the scene around her with a cool, unchanged face.  The Professor sat among the rubble, his face in his hands.  Electra felt all her adrenaline draining out of her. Walter's face was even paler than it normally was. The lights flickered back on.  Then the true nature of the disaster showed itself.

Great jagged pieces of Walter's unmelting ice stood in four spots.  Some of the walls had torn out, leaving bare beams of wood standing.  The ceiling was broken in some spots, leaving open a couple of holes looking up into the night sky.  A lone moth flickered down, attracted to the light, which had remained undamaged.

"What happened?" Almira said in a cold, emotionless voice.

As Electra and Walter told her, the Professor looked up with each increment of the story, slowly and desperately.  When they got to the part about the interrogation and the meaning of the sullen darkness, he gasped.  "PowerCloak?" he said.

Electra and Walter paused.  "Yes," Electra said.

After a moment of silence, Walter said gently, "Is there something we need to know, Professor?  About the PowerCloak?"

"About everything," the Professor said.  He stood up, seeming like the old-looking but spry man he usually was.  "Let's see if the Vision Room was damaged."

The four silently walked to the Professor's moped.  Its high-wattage beam showed the damage of the hallways.  The chunks of ceiling that had rained down had left dents in the ground.  Electra tried out her power for the first time in an hour.  Her hands sparked to life.

"I guess the PowerCloak was lifted," she said.  Then she looked at Walter.

Neither of them could forget the surprise and suspicion they had felt when Walter's powers had proved immune to the PowerCloak.  Walter could feel something growing inside of him, something antsy.  Something was wrong.  With him?  With his past?  Maybe.

Electra's eyes glowed at Walter as they rode.  Walter didn't need to look at them to know what she was unspokenly asking.  Should they tell the Professor about his overcoming the PowerCloak?  Or should they hold off?

Deep down inside, Walter knew they should tell the Professor.  But half of him was worried that something was wrong with him--maybe there was something evil lurking inside him, or something about his unknown past.  Walter, unlike the other kids, didn't know his origins.  Electra's parents had been killed in an "accidental" car crash, probably engineered by Jalling's men, Tyler was an orphan (because his parents had died in a train wreck; they hadn't been associated with the Superhero Club) and his uncle had been a member of the SC, and Ally's parents were still alive, although they were in hiding like the Kuehl Kids were.  But according to the Professor, Walter had been found on the doorstep of the SC headquarters, with a pink Post-It reading "Walter Waterboy" stuck on him. 

He decided to ignore Electra.

They got to the Vision Room.  Inside, they noted that there was barely any damage.

"That's funny," Almira noted.  "The Vision Room is closer to our room than to the electrical room--yet there was damage in the electrical room."

"Could Quake control it like that?" Walter asked.

"The question is--why would he control it like that?" the Professor asked gravely. 

"Because there's something in here," Almira answered.  She looked up at the ceiling, newly patched. 

*       *       *


"Come on," grumped Fier.  "I thought we did a good job of doing this." 
The four were staring at the screen as Walter and Electra prepared to demolish the patch of ceiling. 
"It was a good job," Jasper Jalling said smoothly, coming into the room.  "DeMaterializing it onto the new ceiling was a good idea.  Nobody would notice.  Nobody did notice.  After all, Fier, who's got the prisoners?  We have much better things to watch."

"We've only got two of the prisoners," a new voice said.  "Only two."  A man stood in the doorway, an amused look on his face.

"Be quiet, Dillwin," snapped Jasper Jalling.  "Don't remind me."

He turned to his child proteges, who had watched as Electra zapped the ceiling.  The screen turned to static.  "Why did you only bring me two--and the two that I needed the least?"

"Sorry, Jasper," Swifte said humbly.  "It was my fault."

"You are a team, so it's all your fault," Jalling said menacingly.  "Why did you only grab those two and go?  You know the Waterboy means the most to me.  So why did you get the two most useless people on the team?"

"Quake started too late," Swifte said.

"YOU SHOULD HAVE STARTED RIGHT AWAY!" Jasper roared.  "YOU SHOULD HAVE STARTED RIGHT AWAY, QUAKE!  WHY DIDN'T YOU?  YOU...IMPS!"  He strode away, leaving Charles Dillwin to grin at the four miserable-looking kids.

"Sorry," he apologized, then left.

Swifte turned to her friends.  "Who wants to break it to him that Waterboy was immune?"

"If you're the high-and-mighty, go and do it yourself," Fier snapped. 
Swifte rolled her eyes at him and left to go to her bedroom.  At least she could practice in there...by herself.

*      *      *
Ally and Tyler sat in their separate cells.  They were divided by a wall that was clear and looked completely like they were in the same cell, but they knew by experience that there was something like invisible Plexiglass in the middle (Ally had a bruise on her forehead, and Tyler was still experiencing vertigo).  Worse, there was something like the PowerCloak with them, submerging them in darkness and taking away their powers.  The glass was also soundproof and touchproof--they could neither talk to each other nor devise a system of knocking.  Since it was dark, they couldn't act out their frustrations to one another.  Escape seemed futile.  And both of them were scared out of their wits.
 
A crack of light shone.  A door was cautiously opened, and a man entered.  Lights flickered back on.  Ally immediately jumped up, and wings sprouted from her back.  "I'm outta here!" she exclaimed.  "Loser."  She aimed a punch at the man, but it was deflected expertly. 
 
Ally went spiraling to the ground.  Just then, a zap sounded, and Tyler appeared in her cell by her.  "Are you all right?" he said.  To the man, he said, "What do you want, and why is the PowerCloak disabled?"
 
"I thought you'd be more grateful," Charles Dillwin said.  "I'm helping you escape, of course."
 
Ally got up.  She and Tyler faced the man.  "You helped kidnap us," Tyler accused.
 
Ally squinted at the man.  Then she gasped.
 
"Yes, but I've had a change of heart," Charles Dillwin said.  "What is it, Ally?"
 
"I've seen you in pictures!" Ally said.  "You're...You're--"
 
"Yes, Almira's 'deceased' husband," Charles Dillwin said smoothly.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 9 PREVIEW

The rumblings stopped.

Almira studied the scene around her with a cool, unchanged face. The Professor sat among the rubble, his face in his hands. Electra felt all her adrenaline draining out of her. Walter's face was even paler than it normally was. The lights flickered back on. Then the true nature of the disaster showed itself.

Great jagged pieces of Walter's unmelting ice stood in four spots. Some of the walls had torn out, leaving bare beams of wood standing. The ceiling was broken in some spots, leaving open a couple of holes looking up into the night sky. A lone moth flickered down, attracted to the light, which had remained undamaged.

"What happened?" Almira said in a cold, emotionless voice.

As Electra and Walter told her, the Professor looked up with each increment of the story, slowly and desperately. When they got to the part about the interrogation and the meaning of the sullen darkness, he gasped. "PowerCloak?" he said.

Electra and Walter paused. "Yes," Electra said.

After a moment of silence, Walter said gently, "Is there something we need to know, Professor? About the PowerCloak?"

"About everything," the Professor said. He stood up, seeming like the old-looking but spry man he usually was. "Let's see if the Vision Room was damaged."

The four silently walked to the Professor's moped. Its high-wattage beam showed the damage of the hallways. The chunks of ceiling that had rained down had left dents in the ground. Electra tried out her power for the first time in an hour. Her hands sparked to life.

"I guess the PowerCloak was lifted," she said. Then she looked at Walter.

Neither of them could forget the surprise and suspicion they had felt when Walter's powers had proved immune to the PowerCloak. Walter could feel something growing inside of him, something antsy. Something was wrong. With him? With his past? Maybe.

Electra's eyes glowed at Walter as they rode. Walter didn't need to look at them to know what she was unspokenly asking. Should they tell the Professor about his overcoming the PowerCloak? Or should they hold off?

Deep down inside, Walter knew they should tell the Professor. But half of him was worried that something was wrong with him--maybe there was something evil lurking inside him, or something about his unknown past. Walter, unlike the other kids, didn't know his origins. Electra's parents had been killed in an "accidental" car crash, probably engineered by Jalling's men, Tyler was an orphan (because his parents had died in a train wreck; they hadn't been associated with the Superhero Club) and his uncle had been a member of the SC, and Ally's parents were still alive, although they were in hiding like the Kuehl Kids were. But according to the Professor, Walter had been found on the doorstep of the SC headquarters, with a pink Post-It reading "Walter Waterboy" stuck on him.

He decided to ignore Electra.

They got to the Vision Room. Inside, they noted that there was barely any damage.

"That's funny," Almira noted. "The Vision Room is closer to our room than to the electrical room--yet there was damage in the electrical room."

"Could Quake control it like that?" Walter asked.

"The question is--why would he control it like that?" the Professor asked gravely.

"Because there's something in here," Almira answered. She looked up at the ceiling, newly patched.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Internet Rules

I have been blessed with a wisely cautious set of parents, and they equip me with the knowledge of Internet dangers.

The Internet is a scary place.  There are weird sites, stalking people, lying people, cheating people, and overall just scary people that use the Internet.  I've been sheltered from those incidents that happen to get on the news, but then reality kicks in.  Life is a scary thing, and the Internet is part of what makes life scary.

I begged my dad for a blog (he granted it to me) and then recently, I asked him for an Instagram.  Okay, so most people don't have to ask their parents to get social networking accounts.  I do. 

He just told me I could get one if I followed his Internet rules.  That might sound weird to you, like my dad's being overcautious, but really, you can never be too wary about the Internet.  Really.

So I'm posting some of the Internet rules he told me here. 

1.  Assume EVERYONE can see your posts/profile/etc. 

Instagram accounts you can make private, but according to my dad, anyone can see them, regardless if you've made your account private or not.  Like when I'm posting this blog.  I don't give away my address, my name, my age, any of my personal information.  Sure, you've got a couple of stuff (like the fact that I like to cook/bake), but what good does that do you? 

Like I said, there are some pretty scary people out there.  And they can hack, and sometimes they don't even need to hack.

2.  Everything you post on the Internet stays FOREVER.

It doesn't matter if you delete it, my dad says it stays in the digital swing of things ultimately.  Who knows who's seen your post before you actually delete it? 

3.  Be careful what you post.

This might sound crazy to you, but employers look up your social networking posts to see if they like your personality and your posts.  You could lose your job because of a post; you could be suspended because of a post; you could be cyberbullied because of a post.  Be careful what you post, and always think through your actions before you actually post something.

4.  Don't trust people through the Internet: Know Them Personally.

Over a computer screen, you can lie easily.  For example, go on the My Favorites page.  I put true things about myself and untrue things about myself (and I even labeled them!).  Sometimes people put down untrue things about themselves...without stating that they're untrue.  So a fifty-year-old man can masquerade as a sixteen-year-old girl. 

That's why only Friend people that you actually know.  Because you could be Friends with a robber in prison, for all you know.


The Internet is part convenient, part harmful.  For every good thing (convenience, fast speed) about the Internet, there's also a bad thing.

Privacy is the primary issue.