Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And the Next Sunday Serial Is...

I want to thank Elise K. and my dear, loyal brother, for their input ideas.

Both volleyed for "C U L8er: My Life In Texts" as the next Sunday Serial.

That is a possibility.  

I also enjoy watching the Food Network, so I think I'd enjoy writing "Chefs of Steel."

That is also a possibility.

There are more ideas in my head, ideas that need developing, so, with that all said, I want to say that the next Sunday Serial will be a SURPRISE.

Two more posts for the Kuehl Kids--one more week, and the week after is the Grand Finale/Epilogue (on Monday)--and then, the next Sunday Serial topic (which will be announced on the day of).

And soooooo...I conclude this post, telling my readers to Wait and Watch.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 19

The Professor was at his wits' end.

The plan had gone perfectly.  Electra, Ally, and Tyler had been captured.  He and the others had been captured.

Except for one major mishap: Quake, and his family, had been tied up as well.

The Professor rubbed his eyes wearily as Jasper Jalling, crowing with victory, led all the captives (including the various family members of Invisa, Fier, Swifte, and Walter) through a long, dark, musty tunnel.

"I knew you were too weak to resist for long," Jasper Jalling said.  "Plotting an ambush?"  He chortled with laughter.  "You're too funny," he added.

Electra, stealing a glance out of the corner of her eye, saw that Walter was pale, but strong.

Walter, she thought.  Please.

Jalling led them to a huge underground courtyard.  The courtyard was beautiful, made of some type of clear rock that seemed to be diamond.  Multitudes of people were bustling about.

Electra checked a gasp.  

"Attention, everyone!" Jalling yelled, catching everyone in the courtyard's attention.  "We have triumphed!"

Almost as if they had practiced, everyone thrust their fist into the air and cheered.

Jasper stood up on a platform of diamond, grinning from ear to ear.  Electra thought she had never seen him as ugly as he was when he smiled.

A sharp jab of mental pain forced into her stomach when she realized that she was looking at Almira's brother.  She looked at Almira.

There was no trace of emotion on Almira's face, and the Professor looked absolutely blank.  Well of course, Electra reasoned.  They were looking at a traitor.

"You know what to do," Jasper Jalling said with a nasty smile.  

As if on cue, the people in the courtyard grabbed each individual and started hauling them off in separate directions.  Electra fought a sinking pit in her stomach when she was roughly manhandled in the darkest, farthest corner of the courtyard.

A brilliantly blond woman, with a pale face and a nasty grin, was her abductor.  "I'm sorry," she said, when Electra let out a grunt of pain at the woman's twisting motions.  "Were you expecting a palace?"

Electra rolled her eyes and bit her lip.  

"Hasn't that doddery old feller told you that rolling your eyes isn't good for your vision?" the blond woman smiled.  "Disrespectful to your betters, as well.  Supper is served in half an hour," she threw over her shoulder as she locked Electra's cell.

Electra shivered and looked around her cell.  It was dismal and damp, rather like living in a metal box.  There was a metal slab hitched to the wall that she supposed was her bunk, and a metal sink.  There was no mirror.

But if all went according to the Professor's plan, she wouldn't need to stay in the place for long.  

With a whooshing feeling, she realized that Quake had been captured with the rest of them.  "Oh, no!" she said aloud.

If Quake and Walter were united with Jasper, what could happen?

She sat on her metal slab, waiting for the signal.  

*     *     *

Walter strolled across the courtyard moodily.  

The past few days had not been pleasant for him.  Whenever Jasper had seen him in the hallways or during meals, he had cackled, rubbed his hands together, and drawn Walter in for long lectures on evil.  Walter had not been pleased.  He had wanted to find out more about his relations to Jasper, not about the great heists of 1932.  

Worse were his relations to his other so-called teammates.  Swifte had taken to grinning at him disarmingly.  Fier had grudgingly admitted him into his circle of "friends," and Invisa merely watched him with eyes that Walter could not shake off the back of his head.  There were no friendly moments, such as that long-ago meeting in Ally and Electra's bedroom, simply meals and meetings.  Jasper had outlined half a dozen plans in recapturing Quake, all of which made Walter shift around in his seat and run to the restroom.  The details were unpleasant, grisly, violent, and truly evil.  Walter was beginning to wish that he'd never left the Professor's side.

He missed Tyler's humor, Ally's cheeriness, and, with a pang, Electra's courage.  And he was beginning to realize that he was worth something to them.  Had not Electra fallen in a faint?  Ally had cried, "Walter, no!"  Tyler had stood still as death.  

But what bothered him was the fact that the Professor and Almira had not pursued him.  They had simply watched.  Almost as if they'd known he was going to go to Jalling.  But Walter knew they would welcome him back--at least, he thought so.  And he was beginning to formulate a plan that would win him back.  It was made especially easy since the failed ambush--Walter was beginning to suspect that it was not necessarily a true ambush--and the fact that Jasper Jalling had a clear, one-way plan to deal with prisoners, especially prisoners like these.

Without meaning to, he wandered over to Electra's courtyard.  Electra's cell was guarded by a see-in-can't-see-out type of glass.  The people on the outside could see in, but Electra couldn't see out.  To her, it was just a door.

Walter could see Electra lying on the slab, waiting.  Then he did an unthinkable thing.  He knocked.

"Who is it?" Walter could hear the fear in Electra's voice.  

"Walter," he said quietly.

"Oh."  Electra's tone was a mixture of sadness, fear, and something else Walter couldn't place.  Then she said, "Are you happy now?"

"What do you mean?" Walter asked.

"Are you happy where you're at?" Electra sounded defiant.  

Walter sighed, closed his eyes, and leaned against the door.  "Of course not."

"Good."  Electra's voice was hard, brittle.  "Because you shouldn't have."

"I just wanted to find out more about him!  I mean, he's my dad!" Walter said.

"Haven't you learned anything about lying tactics, especially with bad guys?" Electra asked. "Jalling was lying.  Actually, he was telling the truth."

Walter was confused.

"He's your birth dad, Walter.  The Professor told us.  See, if you'd just stayed with us I'm sure you'd know all the answers by now.  But he threw you in an orphanage and Almira and Charles adopted you."  Electra paused.  "By the way?  Almira and Jasper are siblings."

"What?!" Walter squawked.  

"Yes," Electra said.  "Imagine how hard it would be.  The Professor has an evil son, and Almira has a villainous brother."  They were silent for a moment. 

"You and Quake are the most powerful superheroes.  You control water, and Quake controls land.  Under Jalling's influence, Quake and you would have become dominant supervillains."  Electra paused.  "I think Jasper's about to get kicked now."

Just then, a blaring alarm sounded.  And before Walter knew it, Electra was out of the cell and racing toward the courtyard.

The Kuehl Kids Serial Finale is Part 21...We're Almost There!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Great Controversy of "Brave"

First of all, let me slightly retract my support of Sara Bareilles' "Brave."

This is basically an extended version of the note in my last post, because I felt like I need to clarify something.

Second, after listening to the commentary version of "Brave," let me first say that I definitely do not support Bareilles' interpretation of her song.  She speaks of "being who you are," which is wrong, seeing we're sinful (see http://randomrantsrcubed.blogspot.com/search/label/Bible%20Verses), and "Brave" is about an issue that is controversial and, in God's eyes, definitely not right.  I won't state it, because this blog is not meant to be a hotpot, but I do not agree with Bareilles' message in "Brave."

However, before I listened to the commentary, I interpreted it my way:

Being brave means standing up for what's right, for who you are in Christ...not standing up for who you are in your sinful passions.

That is the message I think should be applied to "Brave."  And I might not enjoy the song as much, hearing Sara Bareilles' true meaning behind it (in fact, I might just stop listening to it--not because I'm stringent and won't listen to anything that goes against what I believe, but because I'd feel very, very uncomfortable).  But the song shouldn't tell me what to think and, seeing as it doesn't specify the story behind it, I will keep on standing up for what's right, regardless of what the world thinks or states.

  • Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

VBS And, Or, How My Day Goes

Ooooohhhh....wake up and smile, cuz it's been a while...And oooooohhhh, there's something 'bout the way the sun shines on my face...

Listening to Jamie Grace's new single "Beautiful Day," and Bridgit Mendler's "City Lights," I will proceed to recount my past couple days.

Like most churches, my church hosts a VBS (Vacation Bible School) every summer.  For five days, kids from the church (and kids from elsewhere) going into Preschool-6th can enjoy dinner, Bible stories, crafts, recreational games, and worship songs for five days every July.  

I've long since outgrown VBS, and instead I help out.  It's a very small VBS--only about thirty-five to forty kids--and the adults/volunteers number to about 1:1 ratio.  This year, I'm a Teacher Assistant, and I help with Registration, Setup, and Cleanup (pretty much anything they want me to do).  

The VBS ends at 8:30 p.m., and we clean up, then get home around 9:00.  As you may know, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I have tennis camp at 6:15 a.m., which means I must get up at 5:30.  So...I've been working quite a schedule right now.  On top of that, on Sunday I have the makings of a sore throat, and I woke up Monday with a cold.

It's not serious, but it's the type that makes my trash can pile up with dozens and dozens of tissues.  I seem to have a chronic runny nose, and this cold only made it worse.  The sore throat all but disappeared, but a cough replaced it...and I have tennis camp...I won't bore you with my ailments, hopefully, but this week, while not torturous, is very interesting.

Monday jumpstarted.  I rested at home, then crossed my fingers and stuck a portable pack of tissues in my back pocket and arrived at VBS at five to help set up.  While wrestling tables, serving coleslaw, and handing out stickers to kids, I blew my nose more than a dozen times and wrestled with my stinking dried-out left contact.  The bright spot on Monday was the library--I checked out Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voight, and I really enjoyed it.  I didn't read Homecoming (I mean, if I already read Dicey's Song I might as well not read Homecoming since I already know what it's about), but I'm planning on checking out A Solitary Blue as soon as it's available at the library.

Tuesday I woke up at five-thirty, and it didn't go down so well.  See, we ran a mile.  A mile is more drawn-out, which makes me more tired, and my nose run faster (I wish I had my nose's energy, but, unfortunately, I don't).  And I was already kind of tired on top of that, so it just made me do not-up-to-par during the actual tennis part.  Ugggghhhh... (Do I sound whiny to you?  Hope I don't.  Gargoyles [sorry] if I do).

Then I kind of got into a bit of trouble with my mom about math, and although VBS postponed that, I went to bed not-so-happy...  The bright spot?  Jamie Grace came out with her new song "Beautiful Day," which is definitely up to standards!  

Today (Wednesday) was much better.  It was kind of like a bright spot all day (so far).  I finally managed to pull myself together (in no small part to my mom's commands).  Woke up at 5:30, went to tennis (lower body workouts are much more interesting than upper body workouts), and WE DIDN'T RUN A MILE, WHICH IS AMAZING.  Instead we did sprints and stadium jumps, which require more strength in short periods of time.  And more rest.  Soooo...I was happy.  My contact did dry out, but I managed to make it work again.

Then I had a PB&J sandwich, which makes everything better.  And my mom told me I had to do my math before I could check Instagram on my iPhone, so I did it before lunch!  And even though it took me around two hours, it was definitely worth it because that means I can blog now with a clear conscience...Yay!

The moral of this blog is...parents know best, and even though you go to bed sometimes with plans to run away and stuff (believe me, this happens as you get older), they do know best, and sometimes you just have to tell yourself to be quiet and listen to God by listening to them.

Oh, and Of Witches and Wind, the second book in the Ever Afters series by Shelby Bach, came out yesterday.  UNFORTUNATELY, Barnes and Noble sent my dad an e-mail saying my preorder was DELAYED, for goodness' sake.  Ahhhhhk!  Whenever I see the "Spoiler Board" page on shelbybach.com, I want to freak out because everyone else seems to have read it and it's intriguing me SO MUCH...

Of Giants and Ice was the first book in the Ever Afters series, and I strongly--STRONGLY--encourage you to check it out, as it's a pretty good book!


P.S.  I listened to the commentary on Sara Bareilles' new song "Brave" in her new album, The Blessed Unrest, but I have to say, I don't admire the meaning behind the song.  I think we had different ideas, and I don't support her interpretation of the song.  So, whenever I listen it, I'm going to think of how I interpret it.  Just a note about that.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 18

Electra didn't feel very brave.

She was standing on the grass next to Ally and Tyler.  The sun shone on their faces, and wind whipped around their bodies.  It was a lovely day.

The perfect day to surrender.

Electra shivered.  She noticed that Ally's face was paler than usual, and her freckles stood out against her white skin.  Tyler was standing straight, with impeccable posture, but, as Electra watched, his eyes didn't blink.

She flexed her hands.  This didn't feel right.  No electricity crackled from them.

Electra missed her powers.

Then, suddenly, a rumbling ripped through the grass, and Electra knew that this time was no time to go back.

If this plan didn't work, nothing else would.

"It's time," Ally said out of the corner of her mouth.  

As if you couldn't tell.  Electra shivered again.  

Quake's transformation had been almost immediate.  The reunion with his family had brought a change within him, and Electra could tell that he already was happier.  And Electra knew that Quake didn't want to go back.  

At least, she thought he didn't want to go back.

The rumblings grew noisier and noisier, and ripped through the grass.  Electra forced herself to pay attention.  Now was the time.  

Suddenly, Fier, Invisa, Swifte, Walter, and Jasper Jalling all appeared.  They were all dressed in white bodysuits emblazoned with the letter J on the stomach and sleeves.  

"Well, look who's here."  Swifte cocked her head and grinned, impishly.  "Ready for a lickin'?"

"Have you brainwashed Quake?" Fier looked positively murderous as an especially vicious wave of earthquake nearly knocked him to the ground.

Have you brainwashed Walter? Electra thought, standing her ground.  She sneaked a peek at Walter.

Water was gathering under his legs and slowly building up.  Was it just her eyes playing tricks, or did Walter seem a bit paler than usual?  That white suit made him look positively ill, Electra thought contemptuously.  What have you DONE to him, Jasper?

"Got your powers back?" taunted Jasper.

"Nope," Tyler replied, almost cheerfully.  "We've come to take them back."

All was still on the ground.  Electra steadied her feet.  She knew what was coming next.

Wham! An especially vicious quake threw Electra right on top of Swifte.  The girl struggled, but Electra pinned her down.

Swoosh!  Swifte ran right from underneath Electra's arms and before she knew it, Electra was on the ground, the wind knocked out of her, with Swifte's competent fingers tying her up.  "Gotcha," Swifte said sassily.  "Would you like me to read you your Miranda rights, or do you know them already?"

Electra just coughed.

She turned over and saw that Tyler was overpowered by Fier, and Ally was taken care of by the flickering Invisa.  Jasper and Walter were looking on.

"Not so powerful without your little powers, are you?" cackled Jasper.  He turned to Walter.  "Are the others captured?"

Walter nodded, red tinting his cheeks.  

"Walter," Electra said.

Walter looked at her, no flicker of emotion on his face.

"Please," Electra gulped.

Walter just whooshed away on his column of water.

Electra stared after him.  Is he really that far gone? she asked herself.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I am in a super awesome place!!

Today we celebrated my brother's birthday. After, we drove two hours and arrived at an amazing place that we're staying at for two days. It may not be as epic as our thirteen-day road trip before, but it's going to be kool because we're staying with amazing friends in an amazing cabin/house. 

When I first saw the cabin, my thoughts borderlined on, THIS PLACE IS SO KOOL! 

Our friends were already there. We eagerly anticipate an amazing time here for two days.

I'm done right now, because I'm posting on my iPod-disguised-as-iPhone and it's getting harrowing, typing so slowly and meticulously. So the rest of my post will be pictures. 

Upon arrival, we found this big boy making himself at home. :)

We've got a living room half surrounded by ceiling-to-floor windows.

We have weird, vintagey restrooms with CARPET...

For my mum and me :)

The person who's sleeping here is very lucky. 

The other carpeted restroom

Sad I'm only staying here for two days :(

Gonna have a fun time while it lasts though :) :) :) 


Thursday, July 18, 2013


Today was my third day of tennis camp.

I didn't have a post for day two because it was pretty much typically the same thing as day one, but today was super special.  It was special because I got to go to a higher-level tennis camp.

See, at my high school, there are around three camps.  One for returning girls, one for returning boys, and one for incoming students.  I was placed in the one for incoming students since I'm going to be a freshman; however, at the end of the second day, the head coach invited me to join the camp for returning players since he could tell I'd been playing for a while.

I have been playing for around a year, since last April/May.  My dad taught me the strokes on and off through the years (he was a high school player), but since I was pursuing soccer, I wasn't very interested.  Then my team (signature level) disbanded, and I found myself without a team.  

After trying out for another team, I decided it was time to quit soccer.  I'd been playing since I was really young--six years old--and it was about a year ago that I began seriously playing tennis.

It was an up and down road, and I'm definitely not crazy good yet.  I can hold my own on a court, and I have good strokes, but my feet aren't very capable of actually getting to the ball and sometimes I become a human pretzel.  I've frustrated my coach more than once on my sad excuse for a forehand, although I absolutely love my backhand.  

But after a while, your strokes get smoother and it become more automatic and better, and I think maybe I've reached that point.  At any rate, I joined the camp for players who are returning to the team--sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  Right now I'm the second girl freshman to join the returning players camp.

There was a catch, though, in joining the RC (returning camp).  

First of all, it started at 7 in the morning.

7 in the morning is no joke, even for me (my mom's the type who gets up at 5 a.m., and she makes us get up before or at 9...if we're still sleeping).  

Second of all, the coach explained to me that all the players went to the weight room at 6:15.  I've never lifted weights seriously in my life (although at one point I could crack 55 pushups in one go).  He also stated that they ran a mile every day of camp (three times a week).  I haven't seriously run since one or two summers ago.  However, I thought I could manage.

And I'm glad to say I did manage to keep up!  I think I did well enough.  I woke up at 5:30, stalled for thirty seconds, and, very, very sleepily, I dressed.  It was still dark out.  Then I ate cut-up mangos, and bread with jam, and my mom (who was perfectly awake) drove me there.  I saw a stream of girls going to the weight room, and I just followed them.  

We put our bags in the weight room and went outside.  First, we ran a warm-up run around the high school campus.  Two really nice girls narrated a "tour" as we jogged.  Then we stretched.  After we used PVC pipes and stretched, although it was more like an interpretive dance than a stretch to me.  Imagine: twenty-thirty girls in a lopsided circle, legs spread apart, holding the thin pipes horizontally, and moving them slowly in a circle.  

Then Coach got us into groups.  Since the other freshman and I were new, he put us in a group with two other girls who were also really nice.  Then we proceeded to use weights and work muscles.  I'm not used to using weights, so it was a new horizon for me.

But our conditioning wasn't over.  Instead of running a mile, we ran five sprints (with our rackets).  I wasn't the last one, so I think I did well enough.

Then came the strenuous part.  We did jumps: there were those huge stadium stairs, and we had to use our arms and legs and propel ourselves up five times.  My legs were aching by the end, and now I'm sore...

We finally started playing tennis.  I warmed up with three other girls, and failed at feeding overheads.  Then the coach had us do drills that helped us gain skills needed to play doubles.  It was a little different because every time we missed a ball, we had to run a lap.  That's one of the nitty-gritty details of being a better player--you get better workouts.

We ended at nine, and I'd been up for almost four hours.  You'd think I'd be done with tennis, but no, at two, we're "scrimmaging" doubles matches with a different high school.

Definitely going to be sore tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Toooooooday is my brother's birthday!

Today is my brother's birthday!  He's becoming a tweenager, and it's so crazy I can't believe it.  I still remember holding him when he was just born and my dad taking a picture.  Now he's a tween, and playing competitive baseball.  Dude, where did the time go?

Now, we haven't done much yet for his birthday.  We're celebrating on Friday I think, but my mom surprised my brother with a balloon.  The whole purpose of this post was to show you it, because this balloon is not any ordinary balloon.  No, it's giant, it's made of some type of aluminum sheet, it says HAPPY BIRTHDAY in cheesy, bright, big letters, and--get this--it sings happy birthday to you!  Watch the clip below:


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tennis Camp...DAY ONE

Well, today was my first day of tennis camp for public high school.  And I have to say, it was an interesting experience.

I woke up in the morning with a stomachache, so I took Tylenol while eating my peanut butter and jelly.  It was just my mom and me up--very peaceful.  

Excited, nervous, and freaking out all in one, I put on a blue Dri-Fit shirt with a Nike swoosh on it and a pair of comfortable black shorts we'd bought at an outlet mall in Vegas.  I packed my brother's racket as a backup racket and cleaned my tennis bag of junk--a couple of stray, used tissues, a pencil (which I left in there), a random piece of cardboard--and packed three bottles: one regular water bottle, one iced plastic Yellowstone-emblazoned one, and an unopened bottle of purple Gatorade.  

I forgot to add a tissue box, as I'd intended (if you read my earlier post, you'd know I have almost a chronic runny nose and a tendency to sound like a whale when blowing--see my post Thar She Blows) and so had to wait an entire two hours of the camp before blowing my nose.  I think I've got a issue with lots and lots of tissues...Terrible joke; it was from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is completely off topic.

My brothers and sister woke up.  We piled in the car and arrived five minutes before the scheduled starting time.  More kids my age arrived with us--most of them girls, a couple boys.

We started.  The head coach introduced himself, and while we were stretching he went around and tried to learn everybody's names.  After doing footwork/ladder drills, we divided ourselves into three groups: "Intense" (code word for best players), "Medium" (code word for "okay" players), and "Beginner" (code word for players just starting out).  I put myself in the Medium group--better safe than sorry--with a bunch of other girls that were nice.  However, sooner or later it was evident I was a tad bit better in terms of form and consistency, and after we finished drills on forehands and backhands, I went up to join the "Intense" group.

I accidentally confused the "Intense" group with the "Beginner" group, but after that minor and slightly humiliating discrepancy, I soon loosened up for volleys (which aren't my strong point).  I managed to achieve myself there, mostly getting the balls over the net, which the very least I could have expected myself to do.

We played games after that, which was fun despite a minor inconvenience of my runny nose.  We didn't play points, which lessened the competition, and everyone was around the same level--I was probably a little worse than the majority of the players there, but not noticeably.  Hopefully I still held my own.  I hit a down-the-middle winner :) that I'm very happy about.  

The coach announced a couple things--for example, there would be a chance to play doubles against another school--and we were done.

I was tired, and, worst of all, my stomachache had come back.  I went home, lay down with Sherlock Holmes, ate fruit, and took Tylenol again.

But looking back on the first day, I think it was a pretty kool time.  I definitely haven't made any friends yet--for me, it takes a long time to truly count someone as a friend--but there are a lot of days left, and I'm totally looking forward to my experiences in tennis, and high school in general.


P.S. Oh!  And after lunch, I made Lipton Onion Dip again, and my mom bought the greasy, oily, good kettle chips from Costco.  heaven...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Serial~ The Kuehl Kids Part 17

Ally, Tyler, and Electra all gasped simultaneously.

"What are you talking about?" Electra said.  "Charles--Almira--you're...Walter's parents?"

"So you've been letting your son turn over to the enemy?" she added.

Almira sighed.  "Electra, Walter is not biologically our son.  We recently adopted him, but...well, we hadn't gotten around to telling him."

Electra's mind was a swirl of emotions.

"Who were his real parents, then?" Ally asked.  

"My brother," said Almira.

Electra, Tyler, and Ally all gaped.  "You have a brother?" they said in unison.  "Who?"

Almira looked very, very sad.  

"Jasper," she replied simply.

It seemed like Electra's world was falling apart.  "What?!" she screeched, so loud that everyone stared at her.

"Jasper is my brother," said Almira.  "He abandoned his child, put him in foster care, and now he is Charles' and my adopted son.  Walter."

"We had to keep Walter hidden from Jasper," Charles put in.  "He didn't know Walter existed until right before he left the SC.  Walter was the reason why he attempted kidnapping all the formula babies--you eight.  He tried to grab Walter and Quake, but we managed to fight him off.  He got away with Quake and everyone else."

"Mmmm!  Mmmm!" Quake no longer had murder in his eyes.  Electra noticed there was pain--and confusion--etched on his face.

"Yes, Quake?" Charles said delicately.  With a swift motion, Charles had Quake ungagged.

Quake lay there, panting.  "Jasper told us that he found us abandoned in an orphanage."  He spat the words out.  "That wasn't true?"

The Professor spoke for the first time in a while.  "Quake."  He sat the boy up in the chair and spun him around to face a set of people Electra noticed for the first time.

There were three people, total.  A tall, curly-haired man had his arm around a woman with dark bouncy hair.  A girl with a pair of glasses that made her eyes seem huge sat in a wheelchair laden with pillows.

They all bore a remarkable resemblance to Quake.

As the people in the room watched, the woman knelt down so her face was eye level to Quake.  "Antonio Mercurio Lopez," she said.  "I am your mother."

Quake's face was frozen, seemingly in a mask.  Quake's father shakily sat by Mrs. Lopez.  "Hi, Quake," he said huskily.

Quake's face was still set in stone.

The girl with the wheelchair rolled up.  She was perhaps a few years younger than Quake himself, and her eyes were satin-brown and magnified by large lenses.  "Your sister," she said, simply.  "Catherine."

At the sight of his sister, Quake's face crumpled, and the reunion of these long-estranged people brought tears to Electra's eyes.

Her vision brightened by the sparkling moisture, Electra turned to Ally and Tyler.  A tear rolled down Ally's cheek, and Tyler's eyes looked wet.  

As she looked around, she caught several features.  She saw Swifte's eyes on a very old-looking, silvery-haired couple, grandparents.  She saw Fier's build in a man that sat in a corner, head in his hands.  She saw Invisa's mother, fleeting and pale and pretty.  

"We aren't going to win by force," she whispered to Ally and Tyler.

"We're going to win by love."

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Possible Ideas for Future Sunday Serials

As you may well suspect, the Kuehl Kids Sunday Serial is coming to a close.

I have the end already written out, and I'm thinking about ideas for a new serial.  I'm going to list a couple below, and if you want, comment or input a personal idea in the comment form to the right.  

Piper Peters, Pop Star
About a shy girl who suddenly finds herself the center of everyone's attention because of her newfound ability to sing.  Would be written in first person (I, me, my, etc.) with plenty of fresh-faced humor.

The Unpredictables
About a gang of wannabe superheroes with the powers--but without the ability to control their powers.  Would be written in first person from each of the gang members' POVs.

C U L8er: My Life in Texts
About a girl and her life, illustrated through her various texts.

Kidnapped by Koolness
Unpopular nerds Brian Kettler and Kasey Braglyn are kidnapped by people who seem to have the ability to disappear.  It's then that they find out that they've been chosen to be the faces of the new KSA--Kids' Spying Association--and that it's going to take more than just charm to succeed.  Written in third person (they, them, he, her, etc.)

Chefs of Steel
The Teen Bakers' Association of America is holding a contest--Chefs of Steel--and the four members of the Cooking Club at Brigh High want to compete.  However, there's a problem--only two people from each REGION can compete in the televised nationwide event.  Whose cuisine will reign supreme?  Written in the POVs of the different club members.

That's the list.  If any of you have ideas, comment on this post or contact me using the form on the right (no personal information will be revealed).  So far, I'm leaning towards something that's NOT on the action-adventure side because the Kuehl Kids filled that space in nicely and I think it's time for something a little different.  I'm leaning towards the "Chefs of Steel" idea because I think it'll be fun--I was inspired by a Food Network Chopped episode that had teens cooking instead of adults.

So, what say?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Choose The Song

I'm a huge fan of CCM.

tobyMac, Britt Nicole, Capital Kings, 1 Girl Nation, and a bunch of other bright poppy singers.  

But I've been researching different secular artists/songs on Spotify.  I don't want to be totally out of the loop.  Sometimes people say they like a certain song by so-and-so, and I'd say, "Oh, I don't know that song," and then I'd hear the actual song and say, "Oh, I know that song!"  

I want to be able to identify a song by its sound.  Which is why I've been researching them on Spotify.  I go to a certain secular artist, click on their most popular song, and identify.  That's one method; it's probably the most effective.

My next method is the Kidz Bop method.  Don't make fun of me for this; I've done it before.  I go to the Kidz Bop page, click on a song, recognize it, search the song, and find the original artist.  Although people may make fun of the Kidz Bop kids, I think it's helpful for identifying songs.  

Once I find a song, I look at the lyrics to see if I want it.  It's hard passing my test: I dislike love songs, and that's what most secular songs are, so a lot of the time, it doesn't "pass the test."  If the song's slow, then it's out.  My standards are very high.

So far, secular songs that have passed the test are:

Keep Your Head Up, by Andy Grammer 
It's not a love song, and it's very catchy, so it's a good song.

Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield
Again, this isn't a love song, and it's got a decent message, although it could have been expanded, and might not be strictly true.

Good Time, by Owl City/Carly Rae Jepsen
It's not a love song, and it's very upbeat.  I like it.  Matthew Thiessen, Relient K's lead singer, helped write this song (according to Wikipedia).

Live Like We're Dying, by Kris Allen
It's not a love song, and it's got a decent message as well, although it could be interpreted as "YOLO"-esque.

Love Song, by Sara Bareilles
It's catchy.

Home, by Phillip Phillips
It's classic and not annoying, like a lot of the other love songs are.

Becky from the Block, by Becky G
From an up-and-coming Hispanic rapper, this song is neat because the whole message of the song is that she's still the girl next door.

22, by Taylor Swift
The catchiness of this song tilted in its favor.  It's a little bit more toned down, love-song wise, as long as you don't take the lyrics too seriously and literally.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, by Taylor Swift
Again, this song is super catchy.  You have to listen with a guarded heart, because this song isn't exactly the most Biblical one out there.

Brave, by Sara Bareilles
From the singer of "Love Song," this song 1) isn't a love song, and 2) speaks how you have to speak up.  Can possibly be taken the wrong way, but overall has a good point.

What a Song Can Do, by Rachel Crow
Not really a love song, and speaks how a song can build you up, which is true.

My brothers added Radioactive, by Imagine Dragons, which is a super popular song right now.  I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it doesn't seem too harmful.

Just remember, when choosing secular songs, don't just choose what's popular.  Look at the lyrics, listen to the music, and remember what you like and what you don't.  

Monday, July 8, 2013


The different humors.

Let me apologize.  I need to clarify what my humor types are.  Slapstick humor is the rude humor type (I somehow thought slapstick and rude were different types of humor).  It's when the characters do dumb things (it's the type of I Love Lucy humor).  

I like Bill Cosby's humor, which I'll define as family-friendly.  

I changed the articles to fit this profile (slapstick is the same as rude humor), and sorry about the confusion.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Serial~The Kuehl Kids Part 16

Electra couldn't believe her ears. 

"Surrender?" she asked, her eyes popping open.  "Not fighting?"

Ally sighed.  "Remember the thingy that sapped our powers?" she said.  "We haven't gotten our powers back yet."

"So we're normal."  The word tasted bitter in Electra's mouth. 

There was a short silence.
Then Tyler poked his head in the doorway.  "It's time to brief Electra on what's been happening."  He gave her a cocky grin, but his eyes weren't smiling.  They seemed almost haunted, sad.

The two led Electra into a huge room that was nonetheless the lobby of the abandoned hospital.

There were people in it.  More people than Electra was accustomed to.  Besides Tyler, Ally, Almira, the Professor, and Quake, there were a number of people who bore remarkable likenesses to Tyler and Ally.  And there were others who did not introduce themselves, but merely stood and nodded.

A tall, gray-haired man with wire-rimmed glasses and a blotchy lab coat stuck his hand out.  "I'm Timothy, Tyler's uncle," he said to Electra.

Electra, eyes widening, shook it.

Various other people introduced themselves.  Ally's parents, Sarah and Keith, were present.  Still others had connections to all of the kids' parents and the Superhero Club. 

"So what's been happening?" Electra finally asked, when all the buzz had died down.

The Professor looked even more tired than everyone else.  Almira handed him a cup of coffee.

He took a long sip, wiped his mouth, and sighed.  "Well, I'd better start from the beginning," he said.  "There's still a lot of unfinished business I need to tell you about."

He took another long drag from the coffee mug, then set it down and licked his lips.  "We have put together a plan that will possibly bring peace to every one of us and destruction to Jalling's plans," he said.  "The plan is not foolproof by any means.  It requires a great deal of things to go right, and many of the components can go wrong.  It requires a huge amount of trust, and secrecy.  And yes, we are going to surrender."

He paused before saying, "There are many things that remain unfinished.  Hopefully this plan will solve it, but first, I need to inform everyone of a few basic background facts.  First, we have an advantage over Jalling.  He has Walter, but we have Quake."

Two burly men entered, carrying a bound Quake.  Quake was not struggling, but every now and then a muscle twitched, and Electra saw him mouth a few words that were not complimentary.  The men laid him on two chairs. 

There was murder in Quake's eyes.

"I know from previous acquaintance with Jalling that he has a plan that will bring ruination to the whole earth," the Professor went on.  "In order to carry out his plan, he needs the two main superheroes together.

"You see, the Superhero Club existed solely on the basis of two or three main superheroes and a various number of sidekicks.  The two or three superheroes would be able to control two of the main elements of earth; namely, land and water."

Here, the Professor looked at Quake, who was evidently surprised.  Quake had stopped struggling, and for a moment, Electra thought she saw something other than hostility in his face.  Interest, maybe.  Surprise. 

"Jalling got Quake, the land leader, but we got Walter, the water boy.  That's why, when Walter was kidnapped, we took Quake."

"Why didn't we just focus on retrieving Walter?" Electra blurted out.

She felt eyes on her back, but she kept her focus on the Professor.

The Professor looked sad.  "Walter is a good person," he said.  "He needed answers.  He chose his way.  Ultimately, Electra, he will not find answers with Jalling.  He has been cultivated too long, I believe, on a ground of good to be fully ruined by the farmer of evil.  I sincerely hope and believe that he will come back to us.  One never finds answers with evil, but always with good.  All that to say, is, Walter has tasted good.  He will never be satisfied with evil, because he already knows what good feels like.  I let him go because I know he will come back to us a better and wiser person."

There was still a struggle in Electra.  But she kept her lips pursed as the Professor nodded slightly in her direction, then resumed speaking.

"So Jalling's plan is foiled," the Professor said.  "But he will stop at nothing.  We still need to stop him.  And the plan is to surrender.  To let us be taken, to fool them into thinking we are a bunch of weakminded goody-two-shoes scalawags.  And from the middle, we will penetrate.  We will strike home."

"Um, Professor?" Ally raised her hand.

"Yes, Ally?"

"How do we strike home?" Ally cocked her head respectfully.  "I mean, threatening to harm Quake won't work."

"Ah."  The Professor's eyes lit up, and Electra thought maybe he was just a tad bit excited for this plan.  She still had doubts, but she trusted him enough.  Enough.

"We still have their parents," the Professor said.  "There, we will penetrate the kids' hearts.  With love.  Their parents."  He nodded to a group of people, the group that hadn't introduced themselves to Electra.  Peering at them closely, Electra noted that they all bore some resemblance to their children.

All was silent for a moment. 

Then Electra remembered something.

"Is Jalling really Walter's dad?" she asked.  "Or was he lying?"

The Professor looked like he was a swirl of emotions.  Sadness, anger, love, hope all poured out from his well-worn face.

"He was lying," he said simply.  "Walter's parents are Charles and Almira."