#there were a lot of very young children in the theater and the last hour is NOT appropriate for them
there are many good reasons not to see avatar but if you DO see avatar definitely see the 3D version. the entire movie is effects. same movie as the first one just underwater now. also if you are wearing 3D glasses it is less obvious that you will cry like seven times.
15 tags, 15 mutuals
Thanks for the tag, dearest @milkybirdseed!
1. Are you named after anyone?
As in 'Francis'? Nope. Not to my knowing. My username here on Tumblr is inspired by what has to be my favorite trope to write and use (snarky AI my beloved <3) and my mom has nicknamed me 'Sawyer' after the character from LOST. Says I look like him a little, especially when my hair isn't done
2. When was the last time you cried?
I had a really bad day at the start of the month where I teared up a little on the bus, though the last time I actually cried hard, I can pinpoint with a date - 25.11 of last year. Why? I was accepted into an exchange-program I had been wanting to go on for YEARS after anxiously waiting for a response for months. I just laughed to myself like a maniac while crying happy tears. I still have my teachers official note, so I can be certian.
3. Do you have kids?
Nope! I'm too young and too AroAce for that! :) I know some people my age DO have children but like... Nah. Not exactly my cup of tea.
4. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
So much that people often can't tell when I'm being sarcastic. Fun times! :,)
5. What’s the first thing people notice about you?
I don't really know, though I think it's probably my voice. I have a very loud and distinct voice - I've been told a lot that I sound like Siri, a weatherman or a serial killer, so I think my voice must have left quiet the impression on a lot of people.
6. What’s your eye color?
Dark-ish green. I think the best way to describe it is the color of moss.
7. Scary movies or happy endings?
Why not both? I'm not a big fan of horror-movies that rely a lot on jumpscares, but I love scary media, especially books and horror games. Thoug, I will never pass on a good comedy as well - I'll consume anything as long as it sparks my interest.
8. Any special talents?
I did fencing for three years and thoug it's been a while, I still have the muscle memory for it. I can also type with a speed of 60 words per minute and read 100 pages in an hour - probably the reason why one of my friends has nicknamed me 'typewriter'.
9. Where were you born?
North of Germany, where I still live by now
10. What are your hobbies?
A lot of them. Too much even, maybe. I play the guitar, write, draw and do martial arts once a week. Also, I make short films and media stuff in general and I love to play TTRPGs, especially Call of Cthulhu and DnD, though I have been wanting to try Pathfinder for a while now.
11. Have you any pets?
I do! Two lovely asshole cats who I like to call 'the lady' (big, graceful one) and 'the duchess' (tiny gremlin who is ready to fight the world). I have been wanting to keep carnivorous plants for a while too, but they always died when I had to leave them in the care of someone else.
12. What’s sports do you play/have played?
Like I said before, I did fencing four three years or so and currently do martial arts - JuiJutsu, to be percise. In summer, I also really like inline-skating. Other than that, I'm really scrawny that not that much of a sporty person.
13. How tall are you?
5'8". I'm short. I have younger friends who are taller than me
14. Favorite subject in school?
Drama all the way! I'm a theater-kid and my drama-teacher is one of the best at my school and we end to do a lot of stuff - also, she somtimes allows us to do improv which is very cool. Other than that, probably English, History and Informatics"
15. Dream job?
Director! I would love to have my own show/movie one day, but ultimately, I'd just be cool with directing anything. I have worked on a lot of movie-projects before and it's definetly something I can imagine myself doing on a regular basis
Tagging: Open tag! Go all out on this if you like! :)
Juvenile and Family Law, is it something that a kid dreams of practicing? No, not really. Is that where the big bucks are if you’re not interested in taxes and wills? Yes, it is. College is expensive, and so is law school; gotta pay it off somehow. It takes a while to build your clientele, a lot of it is word of mouth. You work your way up, and slowly but surely, build a good reputation for yourself. And if you’re lucky, you’ll make partner.
Harry Styles is good at his job, and is on the brink of making partner at his firm. Gallagher, Hilson & Associates Family Law is a great place to work. Isaiah Gallagher and Maria Hilson are two incredible lawyers, and the other associates Harry works with aren’t too bad either. He doesn’t always love working nearly sixty hours a week, and some of the cases he handles have caused him to see the bottom of one too many bottles, but other than that, he’s happy.
Family Law means working all kinds of cases. Custody, spousal support, paternity, and divorce. All of those cases are messy, rarely are they clean cut. Harry happens to specialize in divorce, which in turn can lead to all of the other things listed above. What’s worse is that a lot of his clients will often flirt with him, so he’s started to wear a fake wedding band to ward off any and all inappropriate behavior. It doesn’t happen every time, but it was often enough that he decided to find a way to just avoid the unwanted attention.
Due to how many hours he works a week, Harry’s social life is a little lackluster. By the time he gets home work, all he wants to do is kick his shoes off, plop down on the couch with some greasy Chinese food, and catch up on some television. He lives in a nice enough building in the city. His apartment has one bedroom, and one and half baths. On Friday nights, he’ll go out with some of the other associates for a drink, so he gets a bitof social time in. He’s not lonely, he actually quite enjoys the quiet and solitude. He’s got a cat, Gerry, short for Geraldine that he takes care of. He has what he needs, and he’s perfectly content.
Whenever he dates, people always want to talk about his work. The last thing Harry wants to talk about after a long day at work, is more work. So, he sticks to meaningless hookups, and his own hand, when he needs that type of release.
He doesn’t have too much to complain about. He’s thirty, and massively successful. Some of his friends still live at home while working retail jobs, not that he’s judging. He was twenty-six when he moved out, and he’s grateful his parents let him stay rent free so he could save up for his own place. He doesn’t like to compare himself to others, but it makes him feel good to know he’s all set. He works hard, yes, but it’s all worth it.
With how quiet his personal life is, it’s hard to imagine Harry being a shark in the courtroom, but he is. He’s a master in the art of persuasion and rhetoric. Having been a communication major in his undergrad career, and all. He knows how to read a room, and how to read people. The jury is just an audience waiting to watch a live performance. His theater minor also comes in handy here. Being a lawyer is an act, a role he plays. He knows how to play the part when it’s in a large courtroom, or when it’s just a small meeting in a conference room to divide up assets. It’s not always easy, but he makes it look that way. Harry typically wins most of his cases, and when it’s something small, he’s usually able to get his client the majority of what they asked for. Every customer leaves happy.
These skills can’t all be taught and learned. Some people are born with natural talent, skills they learn to hone in on and perfect. It’s a craft that Harry has worked on for years. Again, he’s only thirty, but because he has such precision and talent, it makes him the hot commodity. The office is constantly getting calls for him. It’s why they want him to become the next partner. Having his name on the plaque as you enter would surely put people at ease. Isaiah and Maria saw potential in Harry from the beginning, and they feel lucky that he’s one of their associates.
There other very qualified associates as well, like Niall – who specializes in custody cases – he’s well on his way up. There’s Candice – who specializes in prenuptial agreements – she got into the lawyer game a little later in life, but she’s as sharp as a whip, and shouldn’t be underestimated. And lastly, there’s Byron – who specializes in paternity cases – he thinks he’s going to be the next partner because he’s a bit full of himself.
Harry and Niall are the closest in age, so they hang out more often. They both really like baseball, and will go to a game or two during the season. Candice is the surrogate mother figure. She has no children of her own, she’s the fun aunt to her nieces and nephews, but she feels oddly maternal towards Harry and Niall. The boys often call her “Ma”, instead of her actual name, and she loves it. She looks out for them, and there when they need someone to listen. She’s fifty-seven, and enjoys baking in her free time. She often brings the boys homemade muffins on Monday mornings, and they adore her for it.
Byron…well…Byron is a forty-year-old womanizer who totally clashes with Harry. Does Harry have one-night stands? Yes. Does he ever lie to his partners? No. Byron enjoys playing the game in all facets, and Harry never takes part in it. Needless to say, Harry hates when he has to partner with him on a case, and avoids it when he can.
Isaiah and Maria each have their own executive assistant, or para: Michele and Kyla. They’re both in their late twenties, and rocking it. Harry only interacts with them over email. He, Candice, Niall, and Byron all share the same administrator: Ronnie. Ronnie is twenty-six, friendly, and organized. She doesn’t have time to help everyone on their briefs, but that’s what interns are for, and there’s an abundance of them circling throughout the office.
Harry has a nice office. Plenty of natural light from the windows, he has a desk riser so he can stand up periodically, and he even has his own mini fridge. (He’s often paranoid about people taking his Bubbly, so he just brought in his own fridge.) He’s got a decent enough view of the city; he likes it best at night when the twinkling lights come through. It reminds him of how lucky he is to be where he is in life. He knows he’s more fortunate than others, so he tries to be grateful. He gives back when he’s able, donate to different scholarship funds and whatnot.
Harry is a good man.
On a particularly cloudy morning, Ronnie lets Harry know his 10AM consult has arrived. He didn’t know much about his new potential client, but he was always willing to hear someone out. He stands up from his desk, and waits for the woman to enter.
In walks a young woman wearing an expensive, red pantsuit, black heels, and a dark red lipstick. She gives a soft smile to Ronnie before she closes the door. Harry walks over to her, extending his hand.
“Hi, I’m Harry.”
“Mira.” She shakes his hand.
“Please, have a seat.” He gestures to the two seats on the other side of his desk and they both sit. “What brings you to my office today?”
“I heard you’re a pretty good divorce lawyer, and I need a divorce.”
“Is your spouse aware that you’re seeking counsel?”
“No.” She shakes her head and swallows. “I…I’d be putting myself in danger if he knew I wanted to leave him.”
“What kind of danger? If he’s physically abusive, then you need to- “
“He doesn’t put his hands on me like that. It’s…I don’t love him, and I never have. I was essentially…I was sold to him; it was an arranged marriage. I thought maybe I could learn to like him, to love him, but it’s been three years, and I can’t stand him. I need legal help.”
“What do you mean you were sold to him? Were you a child bride? Were you sex trafficked?”
“No.” She chews on her bottom lip. “He made a deal with my father. Thomas got me in exchange for…something. I can’t get into what exactly with you just yet.”
“Does he think you’re happy?”
“Yes.” She nods. “Well, for the most part. I do my thing, and he does his. His job keeps him pretty busy, and I often pretend to be asleep when he gets home. He doesn’t satisfy my needs, so to speak, and I’ve given up on trying. I want to be freed from him.” She pulls out a packet of paper from her purse, and gives it to Harry. “That’s a copy of the contract he and my father signed when they made the deal. I’m not great with legal jargon. I thought maybe if you decide to take me on you could look that over and tell me if there’s any way, I can get out of this.”
“Are you over eighteen?”
“Yes, well over.”
“And were you over eighteen when you were married?”
“Then how could your father barter you?”
“Where I come from…it can just be like that. The goods we get in exchange for my hand outweighed my happiness.”
“I’m so sorry.” Harry frowns. “My services aren’t exactly cheap.”
“I wouldn’t expect them to be. I can pay top dollar, if that’s what you require. I have money of my own.”
“Alright.” Harry sets the packet of papers onto his desk. “I’ll take a look at that soon, and give you a call.”
“Does that mean you’re taking me on?”
“I hate to see such a nice person be so unhappy.” Harry frowns. “I got into this business to help people, so I’ll help you, Mira.”
“Oh, thank you so much.” She smiles. “There are going to be some things in that contract that may shock you, so please don’t hesitate to call me directly with your questions.” She takes out a business card from her purse. “There’s all of my contact information. If anyone other than myself contacts you regarding all of this, don’t say a word.”
“Don’t worry, I’m good at keeping things confidential.”
“I heard you’re a very trustworthy attorney.” She nods, and stands to her feet. Harry does the same. “Thank you for taking the time to listen.” She extends her hand, and he takes it to shake.
“Of course, it’s what I’m here for.” He smiles and opens the door. He watches her leave, maybe for a little too long.
[DARK SIDED, COMING TO PATREON ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2ND @ 8AM EST] [Ask]
A Way to Learn a Lesson
illustrated and edited by the amazing, the one and only:
Before I publish the story id like to thank @lenle-g from the bottom of my heart for being patient with me, being nice to me the whole time, and for making my story even better and more exciting. Without her I would have stayed in my normal, not that good English story. so thank you for everything!!! <3<3
And here's my part at @tagminibang submission:)
Scott, no!!! No way! I am not going to give any lectures to anyone." John's voice comes out tight. "Especially not in front of a crowd. No way."
"Why not?" Scott raises a brow, his voice honeyed with ‘big brother wants something’. "It's not like you're gonna get executed by some children just for talking space at them, right? You love talking about space. It's all I've heard since you were, like, seven."
"No, that's not it." There's a sharp shake of the ginger’s head, "Scott, come on!" John knows for a fact that his oldest brother knows he's the most socially awkward person to have ever lived on Tracy Island (and maybe the entire planet). "You’ve lived with me long enough to know how much I hate social.... anything." John complains. "Why would you ever think I'd want to do this?""
"Well, yes, I know that," Scott shrugs, "I've seen that look you get on your face when there's a lot of people around." He’s well aware that his brother is an introvert who hates socializing with anyone, so he quickly changes the subject to try and make his younger brother feel a little more at ease. "But hey... everyone knows how much you like it when anyone talks about space or anything about astronomy. You'd be amazing at it."
"That's a different thing." John says flatly. Flattery, it seems, wont get Scott very far. "It's like, whenever you guys ask me anything about space, I like to answer them for you, but from random people…? And in huge crowds? I just simply can't." Surely he doesn’t have to explain himself much more than that?
"Oh trust me, everything is going to be fine." Scott was a flippant hand around, talking without really thinking, because all he wants is for his brother to get out of Thunderbird 5, to visit Earth for a little bit, to mingle with people a little. It can't be that bad. "If anything happens, Gordon and Alan'll be in Thunderbird Five doing Space Monitor duty, me and Virgil are gonna keep an eye on everything, and you’re in safe hands with Lady Penelope and Parker. It's all set up, so please go have some fun for once and teach the children something cool."
"My answer is still no." John says persistently, without hesitation. He's pretty sure it'd be worse than being in the middle of a hurricane, or testing one of his Grandma's new cooking experiments. It’s lucky Scott misses his involuntary shudder.
Scott, though, is so done with him at this point, that he's pretty sure there's no choice but to use plan b and hope that that works instead on his unwilling, stubborn, red haired brother. They've got to get him down from orbit and to that lecture somehow. Scott's just not going to stand for anything else.
"Are you sure that's your last answer?" Scott asks, with a heavy sigh, already planning the best way to call in the big guns.
"Yes," John scowls, arms folded. "Yes, it is."
They'll see about that.
"Is everything ready?" John adjusts his sleeves, smoothing down his vest and putting the last touches on his collar. Neat, simple, formal. Can't go wrong. "My presentation papers, laptop, and my mini simple dimple?”
"Yes, all in the bag." Scott calls back, rapidly checking everything, "But do you really need that little fidget thing of yours?" He picks his younger brother's old toy up between forefinger and thumb to examine it, remembering the day John made their Mom buy it for when he gets stressed.
"What fidge- oh, yes I need it." The look on John's face leaves no doubt about that. "I've used it ever since Mom bought it for me."
"Hey… Mom would've been proud of you, you know?” Scott tells him, in a quick flash of brotherly pride. “For, you know, going out of your safe zone for a little while and teaching the children and all that."
"Yeah, I know…" John finds him a nervous smile, "But I'm not doing this voluntarily, you've forced me with that plan b of yours."
The second John says that Scott's cheeks dimple, the corners of his eyes crinkle, and he grins victoriously, his teeth a bright white in the earliest rays of morning sun.
“All I had to do was make a call." He shrugs, "Lady Penelope did all the talking and somehow convinced you to go." Scott got a little more excited. He took a couple of steps forward, slightly standing on his toes reaching John's level asking"How did she convince you?" Clearly waiting teasingly for an answer to come out of John's lips
"Huhhhh." John exhales loudly, a little despairing. "She promised me we'd go to the Pagasa Astronomical Observatory after I finish the lecture with the children." He shrugs, keeping his eyes down, embarrassed.
"The what now?" Scott stares at him, thoroughly confused.
"The Pagasa Astronomical Observatory in the Philippines.” John says, like that was obvious, “It's equipped with a 45-cm computer-based telescope. It's so powerful that astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts can now conduct effective observations of stellar bodies and other distant space objects! Scott, it’s been my dream to go since I was, like, 17."
Scott always knew how much of an astrophile his younger brother is; he never cared about his physical appearance, nor his poor eating habits and he always used to make excuses to read his books alone, yet no one has ever interfered in his personal life.
"Okay okay space lover boy,” Scott grins at him. He'd expected Penny to be persuasive, but resigning herself to hours stuck with John in full excited-about-space mode would hardly be in his top ten. Either he's gonna owe her one, or Penny's more resilient than him. “You can go, no one is holding you back."
The short silence between them was broken by a ringing sound from a nearby table, which John answers.
“...Mhm, yes? Oh, the lecture." It must be Penelope calling, "Yeah, I'm ready, I'll head out now." John grabs his bag, wandering toward where the FAB1 must already be idling on the Tracy runway. "Time to go."
"Mhm,” Scott makes an agreeable noise, watching him go. “Please stay safe and please don't make an idiot of yourself." He's teasing… mostly.
"Yeah yeah," John waves at him over his shoulder, not even looking back. "I won't."
"Are we there yet?" Despite the consistently amazing views out of FAB1’s windows during the flight, John’s found himself mostly looking down, fidgeting with his fingers. He’s worrying, just a little, about what awaits him in the Philippines - a whole different tropical island to his own, though still in the South of the Pacific Ocean.
"Just give Parker ten more minutes, darling,” Her Ladyship smiles at him, “We'll arrive in no time."
There’s a moment of silence before, unexpectedly, it’s broken by a call flashing up from, of all places, Thunderbird Five. There’s a prickly sense of discomfort as John realises that, of course, it’s not him calling. Gordon must be trying to reach them.
"Heeeeey Lady Penelope,” The kid greets, as Penny flicks it on, seemingly a lot less bothered by the change than he is. “Oh, and Mr. Tracy.” There’s a huge smirk on his face. “How's our newest teacher holding up?"
"Firstly, my name is John.” John points out, flatly, “Second, I'm not your teacher so please don’t call me Mr. Tracy ever again. Thirdly…” He concedes, quirking an eyebrow, “Yeah, I'm good for now, but fourth… How are you holding up, up there in my Thunderbird? She’s not much like Four, is she?"
"Ooooooooo that's a good question,” Gordon looks half like he’s considering it, half like he’s really missing his own ‘bird. “I'm holding up pretty well thanks to Alan. He’s taken all the Monitor duty stuff, so all I gotta do is keep an eye on you guys." He sounds a bit… sarcastic about that. “It’s pretty boring, honestly. How do you survive up here without a pool?”
"Young Master Gordon, are you quite done talking?" Parker glances, unimpressed, at the little floating hologram of John’s brother in his rearview mirror, "Because we're about to arrive at our destination."
"Huh… oh yeah,” Gordon doesn’t seem too bothered about that, but he waves merrily at them all the same, “Okay bye and John, please have fun, you too Lady Penelope, okay bye guys."
It’s only a few moments later that Parker opens his mouth to tell them that they’ve arrived at Chino Roque Theater, pulling up out front to let them both climb out.
John's eyes widen: it’s nothing like what he saw on the internet. It was more enormous, more luminous, more spectacular than anything he’d seen or read online. All he remembers reading is that it's a sphere shaped building located in the Philippines, in Anilao Hill, but the pictures on the webpage didn’t do it justice like being there in person does.
The building was smooth and round; the auditorium shaped like a massive egg nestled in amongst the other buildings. They were early enough that the sun was just cresting the horizon, colouring the sky with reds and oranges, visible through the geometric front of the building - where giant triangles of glass intersect together to give the people inside an amazing view of the sky at night.
"M'lady, you and John can go ahead. I'll park FAB 1." Parker said, before going to the parking lot - unaware just how tiring and long his journey to find a place to park is going to be.
They both head inside the building, admiring the sweeping glass fractals of the roof high above them. It’s incredibly beautiful, really a feat of engineering. So much so, that John almost forgets why he’s even there, until he spots a couple of buses arriving on the other side of the building, and the panic sets in. He was expecting to be a little bit anxious, but this feels like his heart is going to beat right out of his chest. He presses a hand hard against it, trying to calm his racing pulse and stop the sudden shake of his fingers, and Penny must notice, because a little hand settles, ever so lightly, on his shoulder, drawing his attention to her.
"Hey John," Lady Penelope looks him steadily in the eye, projecting warmth and reassurance. "They're just a small, mixed group of children and teens. They can’t possibly hurt you, now can they? They just came to have a small lecture because all of them like space and astronomy just like you. Imagine yourself at their age, meeting a real life astronaut.” John tries very hard not to remind her who, exactly, his Father was, as she goes on - trying to visualise being a kid that didn’t get ‘take your son to work days’ at NASA’. It’s a pretty horrifying concept. “Most importantly,” Penny adds, “it's only for an hour or so, so you don't need to worry so much." She had to smile just to reassure him. “You’ll have filled their heads with space facts and be out before you know it.”
"O-okay,” John takes a deep, steadying breath, “I don't know if I'm supposed to trust you on this, or whatever, but I really don't have any other choice." He also wants to add that they forced him to go, but at the last second he remembers that they never forced him - he agreed to go because Lady Penelope promised him a trip to the observatory.
It seems like a pretty weak reason, now that he’s outside the stage door, knees shaking.
"Mhm, I think it's time to go inside.” She nudges him callously in the right direction, and John’s palms meeting the solid metal of the double doors is the only thing that keeps him from following gravity’s call and landing on his face. “Again, if anything happens, I'll be at the back of the room and I have a plan b if things get too much." John, pretty shocked by just how many plan b's the Lady Penelope might have prepared for the day, can only shake his head, bemused. “So stop worrying and get out there!”
She vanishes off into the atrium, and John can’t help the loud exhale that escapes his mouth before he musters up all the courage he can, and enters the room.
Bright lights startle him for a moment, and he’s pretty sure he does an awful, awkward impression of a blind baby giraffe as he stumbles out onto the stage and freezes as he notices the first smatterings of audience are already taking their seats.
The moment he placed his foot on the smooth wooden floor, his heart had started to beat faster, his hands began to sweat, the more steps he took forward the more he felt anxious. It was, he’ll think later, one of the toughest moments of his life, and he’s been to space. Multiple times.
Come on John. He tries to straighten up, shake off his anxiety, This can’t go worse than your first EVA.
Taking another deep breath, John waits patiently for all the attendees to take a seat inside the room. Waiting doesn’t help his anxiety levels at all, and he can feel them increasing by the second, but, determined, John doesn’t let it stop him from starting his lecture.
"H-Hello everybody,” He starts, incredibly conscious of the hushed silence that falls across his audience. “I'm John Tracy, M.Sci, PgDip, B.Lang Hons,” he rattles off his credentials, his nerves almost blurring them together, “I worked with NASA as an astronaut for three years before going… uh… solo in my astronomical studies, and I'll be your guest lecturer for the day.” He swallows around the lump in his throat, as a ripple of hushed oohhhs and ahhhs goes through the crowd. John’s pretty sure his face has gone bright red. “Thank you for having me at the Chino Roque Theater,” He goes on, before his embarrassment can bet the better of him, “I hope everyone’s had an amazing day so far. We'll be spending the next hour or so talking about astronomy and space physics, so shall we get started?" John thought it was a good opening, and yet his back was really wet from all the people's eyes on him. Glancing offstage, Penelope throws him a thumbs up, and he feels a little better.
"Um,” He blinks. “So does anyone here know how old the universe is?" John ventures, only to be surprised as almost everyone answers at once;
"Almost 13.8 billion years!"
"Yes,” The edge of a smile works its way onto John’s face. Clearly this was going to be a shout out the answer kind of lecture. He can work with that. “That's correct, now does anyone know how the universe started?"
"The Big Bang!" Most of them answer, and John feels a surge of relief. These guys really are into space.
"Okay, okay, not bad at all." He nods affirmatively at them, and the screen behind him lights up with an artist’s rendition of the Big Bang happening. "Now if I were to go and search ‘how old is the universe’ in, say, Google, the answer would be 13,772 billion years. It’d be the same thing if we looked at NASA, or even Wikipedia - so how did people get to know the age of the universe? How do you even start calculating something that old? Well I'm going to explain it for you in two ways: the good, nice way, and the kinda not that good and not that scientific way." There’s a bit of an awkward pause as John wonders whether or not he’s explained that well. When only silence greets him, he very quickly realises he needs to press on.
"So, uh, the good way.” He folds his fingers together behind his back, trying to resist the urge to fidget. “Well, in the middle of the previous century, as telescopes developed, we noticed something strange. We found that stars in very distant galaxies tend to look red… Umm, which is something that’s not supposed to happen.” A chuckle escapes John and, to his relief, the audience laughs with him. Scott never gets his space jokes. “So why’s that?” He asks, “See, if a chemical element gains or loses energy it’ll emit light in certain frequencies, thereby creating certain colors.” A small movement of his hand signals the slide to change, and a picture of the visible section of the electromagnetic spectrum appears, colouring the room with rainbow light. “For example,” John goes on, bathed in blue and violet, “Consider something like… a desk lamp, as like an element. If you give a lamp electrical energy, it’ll release that energy in the form of heat and light, yeah?" There’s a murmur of uncertain understanding in the room. “Electricity goes in, the bulb gets hot, and it gives off light. Well, we know stars do pretty much the same thing - only powered by nuclear fusion rather than a nine volt plug.”
"From studies of the sun and stars that are near Earth, we know that they’re made of helium and hydrogen, yes?” There’s another murmur of agreement in John’s crowd, “Well, hydrogen and helium can create red light, but they don't have the ability to create these shades of red that we see in deep space." The slide behind John clicks to a comparison of the two shades, on two different stars - making the difference clear.
"So, if stars are made of helium and hydrogen then why do distant stars have different colours? Are their compositions different?uh, well It’s possible, but not likely. The strongest explanation is that the color difference is due to the movement of the stars." The room gives a soft gasp at this news, and John knows he’s onto something good.
"So there's something called the redshift and blueshift phenomenon that says that if an object radiates light and approaches you, the color of the light begins to turn blue, and if the object is moving away from you, the color will turn red. This happens because the wavelength of light contracts and expands with movement meaning that something stretching equals red and contraction equals blue."
"And the strange thing is,” John adds, his audience listening raptly, “That most, if not all, stars show the same behavior, so, if we think about it, if all stars are moving away from us, that means that they were close to us at some point, and if we follow their path, we find that everything in space meets at a point named ‘singularity’."
"It was believed, in the past, that everything in the universe, or at least in the visible part that we have observed, that is to say,” John flicks to a graphic on his next slide. “All the galaxies, planets and stars, were all gathered at one point - the singularity. The theory is that this point exploded in what we call the ‘Big Bang’, and from that time onward, the universe has been in constant expansion.”
"So it’s with data from this knowledge that we can calculate the age of the universe:” With a wave of his hand, John puts a series of bullet points up on the screen behind him, then reads them aloud.
“One, the universe began as a very small, single point.” He reaffirms, “Two, the universe is constantly expanding outward from that point, and three, from these we have the ability to calculate the expansion rate of the universe, by calculating the speed of the stars that are moving away from us. If we take the furthest accelerations and enter them into this equation,” John’s board merrily does it’s thing behind him, “Then, we get the age of the universe."
"And, so we don't forget, all this talking was about the good way. There is another way to calculate the age of the universe, the, uh, not as good way, or, more specifically, the less scientific way.” A ripple of laughter goes through John’s audience - and he relaxes a little more. Maybe Scott was right. Maybe these are his kind of people. Scott’s never laughed at a space joke for sure. “There's no problem with it,” He quietens them again with a gentle gesture, “and it does support our theory and calculations, so I guess we should talk about it."
"Since ancient times, humans have been looking at the sky, watching the stars, and giving them names like Cygnus, Canis Major, Orion.” All names any young astronomer in the Southern Hemisphere would recognise, and be able to enthusiastically point out in the night sky. “In those days, there wasn't the internet so they were looking up at the stars instead.” Much like John himself, when he’d been a boy.
“As a way of calculating the age of the universe, astronomers set out to search for the oldest celestial bodies in space.” He goes on to explain, “The idea was that if we find a star whose age equals X, then the age of the universe must be greater than the number X. So we pointed our telescopes up there and started trying to find out their ages from birth, to youth, to their old age until their end."
"Can anyone guess the age of the oldest star we've found?" A lot of answers were guessed, some of them were pretty close, but some, amusingly, were way too far. "Ok, ok…” John puts his hands up to pacify his excited crowd, “Umm I see there are a lot of answers, but the oldest star people discovered was actually estimated to be 13.5 billion years old. The HD-140283, or as you might know it, the Methuselah Star. That number is very close, you’ll notice, to our estimation of the age of the universe."
"But if we found a star that is 13.5 billion years old today, then we could find an even older star next week and that would ruin all of that,” He chuckles, mostly to himself, “We also should note that this method alone isn't suitable for determining the universe’s age, but as long as we have two methods with corroborative results, we can be reassured that the estimate is correct.” He pauses for a second, “So, does anyone have questions?" A couple of hands raised, and John found himself suddenly answering a lot of questions - but he managed all of them despite his fear of the huge crowd.
He’s starting to feel more than a little overwhelmed.
"Umm… W-well that was a lot of questions,” John tries to pull it back in, his allotted lecture time ticking away on the big clock at the back of the hall. He feels a little panicky from the bombardment, and his palms have gone sweaty. “We’d better move on.” To distract himself from the people, as much as anything, “Our next topic is the theory of relativity, so l-let's get started on that."
Lady Penelope, from her fold-out seat at the back of the room, frowns. It’s clear John’s terrified and she wants to use plan b, but as long as he’s still standing on his feet, and giving the lecture, he's probably fine for now. If anything, it’d cause more of a disruption to drag him away now.
"Umm,” John takes a breath, trying to centre himself in the science of it all. “Let's start with a supposition, a hypothesis if you like, and consider it together. Okay, you’ll have to bear with me on this one, but let us suppose that we were all asleep, and the universe suddenly inflated by a thousand times.” There’s a murmur in the crowd at how odd everything abruptly getting that much bigger sounds, “Your bed, your pillow, your desk,” John extrapolates, “even the meter we measure stuff with. If humans became a thousand times bigger, when we woke up would we feel something strange? Would we even notice anything had changed? You’d think so, but no.” John’s settling back into his rhythm now, “So why is that? Because the bed and everything became a thousand times more inflated and our bodies also inflated a thousand times, with everything scaling in parallel relation to each other so that this percentage, this scale, was preserved throughout the room. You’d never know the difference."
"Henri Poincaré, the well known mathematician and theoretical physicist, says that we will never be able to discover that something like this has happened, even if we use all the mathematics and calculations ever invented.” John drives the point home with another illustrated slide, “This hypothesis is called the Poincaré hypothesis, and simply, because the meter with which we measure things will have also expanded a thousand times, there’s never going to be any equation or calculation or any analysis possible that could lead us to the truth, because the ratio is preserved in all parts."
"Now, this is important, because the same thing also happens with time. If everything suddenly got a thousand times faster, we’d still never feel anything different. Why’s that?” He asks, rhetorically, “Because time is also a thousand times faster, your heartbeat is also a thousand times faster, your body would function a thousand times faster to keep up with it all. As long as everything is increased by the same amount, the ratio is preserved, and none of us will be able to detect any change."
"So Poincaré asked the scientific community; is there no way to know that time increased or that things inflated?" John tells the room, "Well, it was Albert Einstein who answered him, deciding that the one and only way to tell, would be to have someone observing what happened to the world from another galaxy, from another world, lightyears away. For someone to point a telescope in our direction, and look through it at us, and say what happened to the Earth? Why are humans walking a thousand times faster than in the past? But this person who realized the situation,” The astronaut waves a flippant hand, starting to feel much more confident again, “would have to be a person standing on a fixed external platform in a different world, so that what happened to us was not also happening to him."
"But, as Einstein commented, this hypothesis is impossible for a simple reason and it's that there is no fixed platform in the universe - the entirety of it is in constant, turbulent motion. For example, the Earth rotates at a speed of 460 meters per second, revolving around the sun at 30 kilometers per second, and at the same time, the sun and it’s planets and dwarf planets and moons and asteroids, all revolve around our galaxy, The Milky Way, at a speed of 300 kilometres per second, and so the whole universe revolves. That's,” John takes a deep breath, finding himself out of air after so much explaining, “why it's impossible for us humans to completely accurately judge the motion of any astral body."
"Because there is no fixed berth, we can only offer relativity. This is the first part of the theory that Einstein came up with, in summary; it cannot be said that the monotony of a body is absolute motion."
"Another thing he said was that, because of the vastness of the universe, it’s impossible to synchronize, what does that mean? Well, I will give you an example.” He flicks his slide, “Say I’m a person in the Philippines, and I'm talking to someone from the United States. We synchronize, and hear each other in real time, because we have a method of fast communication. I can hold my device and say; hello, how are you?” John holds up the slim, sliver slice of his phone to show the audience, “How’s the weather there? And they’d answer me with something like; I’m fine thank you, it's night here so it’s a bit hard to tell what the weather’s doing! What’s the weather like there? And I’d answer them; it's daytime, and maybe ask them something like, what are you eating? They’d answer me; a burger, and then I’d tell them that I'm eating kaldereta, and it’s much better than a burger."
In the audience Penny quietly hopes that Gordon, who's probably listening in with the rest of his brother’s, missed the fact John was making jokes on stage. The poor little bugger’ll never live it down otherwise.
"These two events, each person talking to the other, are compatible.” John goes on, absolutely oblivious, “It’s possible because the two wireless devices, be they mobile phones or more sophisticated comms systems, are on the same globe, creating a fast means of communication.”
"But,” John postulates, “If I was talking to someone from another galaxy and I used the same means of communication to make a call, do you know how long it would take to get to them? It would be about five to six thousand years until my signal reaches the phone of our friend, and they’ll have married, had children and died, and their children would have married and had children and died, and so on, for thousands of years before then."
"And that's why it's impossible to synchronize between the ends of the universe,” John balances his palms like he’s weighing two invisible ends, “It rather puts a damper on our chances of finding and communicating with extraterrestrial life, for sure, but at least it’s possible to synchronize within one system, like the system of the Earth. "
"This is a thing that also applies to light, for example: any star you could look up and see now, the light emanating from it may be coming from thousands of years ago. This means that it’s possible that the star you see shining could have exploded and disappeared, and hasn't existed for a long time. Why? Because it takes a couple of thousand years for the light from that explosion to reach us."
"There isn’t any proof for the hypothesis that the universe is linked by time, but the thing that happens that we’re sure of is that the universe is made up of, sort of, separate islands of different times that have no connection between them. The connection between movement and time in space is something we all know about, for example, a day on Earth equals twenty-four hours, yes?” There’s a chorus of agreement from the audience, “But on Saturn, a day is ten hours because it rotates faster. Astonishingly, a day on Mercury is the same as fifty-eight whole Earth days, which, infact, is also a Mercurian year, because the planet revolves around the sun for the exact same period as it revolves around itself."
"Okay, so, to what extent is movement related to time?” John asks, well and truly into this whole teaching thing now, “Well, Einstein was the first person to discover the connection between them and suggested that; suppose you’re on board a very fast rocket, 100,000 miles per hour for example. The mechanical watch on your wrist would be delayed over the flight, but you wouldn’t feel like time is being delayed. Why’s that? It’s because the rhythm of your heart would slow down - all of the vital processes in your body that are inside the rocket will slow down."
"As you move more, something called the dilation of time will happen.” He steps to the side, as if to illustrate the point, only to find himself stumbling a little, like if the ground beneath his feet had moved. “T-Time slows down,” John tries to recover it smoothly, but everything’s starting to feel, weirdly, like it’s shaking, and he doesn’t think it’s the anxiety anymore, “and that's-"
John doesn’t get to finish his sentence because there’s an abrupt shift and a loud cracking from under him, and getting off the stage suddenly seems like a good idea. Someone screams outside, and the volume in the room skyrockets as the children start panicking. John’s one hundred percent sure this wasn't anything planned.
He knew he shouldn't have come.
Earthquake? He wonders first, then; Tsunami? Ground slip? Hurricane? Whichever it is, John has to prioritise calming the people and evacuating them out of the building. The giant glass panels above them are trembling with the force of the shaking, and, as a professional at this sort of thing, Thunderbird Five’s Space Monitor doesn’t like the look of it one bit.
"Everyone calm down,” He has to shout to make himself heard over the roar of people, even with the microphones pointed his way, “This is a normal thing. All we have to do is evacuate immediately, as calmly. as. possible. I don't want anyone crowding the exits, do you all understand what I just said?" The front rows, white faced with fear, nod encouragingly at him, and he watches as they begin to lead the way toward the glowing green signs that signal the emergency exits. Immediately after making sure the crowd is moving, John pulls up his comm to contact Gordon.
"Gordon, are you on the line?” John’s a little breathless and he climbs down from the precarious stage, into the throng of terrified bodies, “We have a situation in here."
"Let me guess, you caused it?" Gordon seems so excited to hear something other than his brother's boring lecture that humour has outweighed his professionalism.
"Gordon,” John grits his teeth, “I'm being serious right now, there was a huge movement in the ground beneath the Chino Roque Theater, and it's still ongoing. Tell Alan to do a check on what's happening beneath us using the Ground Penetrating Radar." He orders.
"F.A.B." Comes the far more serious response, before Gordon clicks off the line to do just that. Squashing down any fear he’d about the now swelling, shuffling crowd, John opens his arms wide and walks toward them, the motion sort of like he’s trying to herd sheep, as he tries to evacuate the people safely out of the building.
He’s not exactly an expert at being on the scene during rescues.
"John, there's a landslide going on right now,” Alan’s worried little voice comes ringing out of his comm speakers, “Right next to the theatre. You’d better get out of there. I’m monitoring the situation, but it’s looking like you’re going to need International Rescue to get you and the people out of there. The debris field is spreading fast." John would do almost anything to be up there instead, at his own screens. “I've contacted Virgil and Scott, I’m patching them through now.” Alan clicks Scott and Virgil, both clearly just finishing their suit up sequences, into the conversation. It seems important to keep them up to date with John's developing situation.
"Hey Mr. Tracy, how are you holding up?" Scott jokes over the roar of his launching Thunderbird, the sound filling the background of the call with white-noise, "Oh, and how was your lecture?" John thinks he sounds far too casual in contrast to the impending danger all around him.
"Oh my God, Scott, is now really the time?” John groans, and a kid with mousey blond hair not dissimilar to Alan’s looks up at him, very confused, before the astronaut waves him on, “You are an adult person,” He reminds his big brother, “Please don't be like Gordon right now. He’s practically still a child."
"Hey!” Gordon had clearly overheard the conversation between his brothers, and springs up to defend himself. “I'm only two or three years younger than you!" He complains, not about to do the math.
"Gordon, we don't have time for arguing about that now,” John frowns, “and Scott, I'm holding up alright at the moment. Please don't ask me anything about the lecture until I get back home." If his voice cracks a little on that last bit, he’ll never admit it.
"Okay, okay I won't ask anything about that,” Scott reassures him, his amused, big brother grin very much in place, “Keep on evacuating the people safely until we arrive John, you’re doing great. It won’t take us that long. ETA at 15,000 mph is sixteen minutes.” He reassures, “We’ll be there before you know it."
"F.A.B. Scott." He reluctantly signs off. Now that he’s finished talking with Scott, John’s pleased to see that a lot of people have already made their way out of the atrium’s three sets of double doors, evacuating the building to get as far away from the landslide as possible. His fingers itch to pull up the schematics from Thunderbird Five on his comm, no matter what the people around him might think. He quickly caves, and it feels worth it to be able to see the incoming tide of slipping land.
They don’t have much time.
“Let’s go!” He shouts, chivvying. He’s a little breathless with the tension, so he keeps things short. “Come on! Let’s move guys!”
From his vantage near the crumbling stage, John can make out Lady Penelope and Parker by the main doors, ushering people through, and the sight of them fills him instantly with immense relief.
“Okay, that's a good amount of people out.” John has to jog to catch up with them, skirting around a little old lady with a zimmer frame and taking a second to correct her course, “Lady Penelope, Parker, I think you should go and check on the people who’re out. They could have minor injuries from the stampede, and International Rescue are still ten minutes out. I'll make sure the last few stragglers exit safely."
Penelope just nods, pale and worried. Her blond brows are all pinched in together, nervous and Parker looks practically haggard as he claps a reassuring hand on John’s shoulder, her faithful old companion following her pink shape dutifully out the doors. Hopefully they’ll go make sure that no one was badly injured in any way.
Turning back to the slow cascade of cracking rubble behind him, John finds the stage area has been all but obliterated, and his heart aches for the patrons of the Chino Roque Theater who’ll have to rebuild from scratch when this is over. He imagines the Tracy fund can contribute a significant amount toward that though. They often do for worthy causes.
John pushes the damp curl of his slightly sweaty bangs out of his eyes and climbs over what looks like a twisted piece of ceiling girder toward the sound of people, possibly trapped stragglers, who are calling for help.
"I miss Thunderbird 5 so much,” John mutters, keeping it under his breath so that no one hears him, as his palms are scraped raw against the concrete he’s trying to clamber around. There’s a rippp of fabric on a jagged piece of metal and the knee of his previous pristine brown jeans meets much the same fate as his poor, scuffed hands. “Oh, come on!” He’s having no luck today, “I'd so rather be assisting the situation from space. I can’t believe I’m stuck here." John grumbles, to no one in particular. He’s just not built for this kind of thing. Heavy labour and getting sweaty pulling people out of scrap heaps is what his other brothers do. At least rescues in space don’t have all this… gravity to contend with.
"John?” The crackle of a comm cut’s across his complaints, “What’re you still doing in there?” Gordon’s voice breaks him from his thoughts, little brother’s tone heavy with concern. “The building could fall any moment! You're so lucky the landslide isn't moving very fast, but it’s not gonna stay that way forever." Gordon was really worried about the fact that his older brother was still inside. “It could engulf the building! You need to hurry it up, bro.”
"I'm evacuating the people as fast as I can,” John gets both hands under the armpits of a boy who couldn’t be older than seven, and swings him above a pile of rubble toward safety, “I'll be out in no ti- Ah!"
John’s voice gets cut off with a startled cry, and it takes Gordon a second or two, time John might not have, to remember how to breathe so that he can yell in any way coherently into his comm. His eyes are wide, his anxiety levels through the roof as he tries, and fails, to rouse his brother on the other end.
"SCOTT! You need to get there now.” Gordon’s aware that he’s totally losing his cool, panic creeping in over his weak layer of professionalism, “I just lost contact with John.” He gasps, “He was evacuating people and I heard him yell and now he’s not responding! And- and it's not just him. There were other people he was trying to get out."
"Hey Gordon,” Scott tries to keep his voice steady to inject some kind of stability into the conversation, “Don't lose your cool yet. I'm sure nothing that bad happened to John. Just stay your positive self, okay? I’m arriving right now and Virgil isn’t far behind me."
Thunderbird One is panning over the city, low enough to ruffle the hair of people looking up, but it’s not a problem until the usually so sure and steady pilot finds his hands nearly slipping off her controls as Scott catches his first, horrific glimpse of the building that he knows his younger brother is inside.
The Chino Roque Theater is almost flat.
"Virgil,” Scott swallows hard to try and remove any of the tremor from his voice, “A-Are you seeing what I'm seeing right now?" He almost succeeds.
"Scott this isn't a joke, it looks like half of the building has come down with the landslide! John’s in there!" Virgil sounds more terrified than Scott thinks he’s ever heard him. What scares him the most is that the exit was on the side that has fallen in, which means that a lot of people are trapped under it, their John included. "Scott, we need to help them right now.
"Okay, here's the plan,” Scott’s hands tighten white-knuckled on the steering yoke, “You wear your exo-suit and go clear the debris out of the way so that we can save them, and I'll get rid of that roof with Thunderbird One and check for life signs. Remember that saving lives is our top priority, got it? No matter what’s happened to John."
"F.A.B." Virgil sounds incredibly tense. He lands Thunderbird Two as fast as he can in the crowded, limited space. Local people are beginning to make their way out of their houses to see what all the commotion is about, and the cramped city streets aren’t ideal for International Rescue’s four hundred and six ton workhorse.
Two’s pilot struggles into his exo-suit, rushing to get the Jaws of Life prepared despite Scott’s insistence that he focus and take things slow and sensible. It’s not long until he finds himself digging among the debris looking for buried people and, in the white rush of it all, Virgil’s not even sure how he got there.
"Scott,” he presses on his comm, “Please tell me you’ve got something?"
"Fortunately and thankfully yes,” It’s hard to find the hopefulness in big brother’s clipped Mobile Control voice, but it’s there to Virgil’s expert ear, drizzled in nervous relief. “I've got a whole cluster of life signs,” Scott reports, “BPM signalling in the green. "I think they’re just trapped under the debris." Alan’s echolocation report came back suggesting that there’s a big space under what could be folded sheet metal from the ceiling, that they’ve huddled in. I'm really sure there's nothing that bad, but still we have to continue otherwise it will take a bad turn for us and the people in there."
“I can use the grappling cables in Thunderbird One to take the strain off the roof,” Scott adds, “But I need you in there to get those people out.”
“Already on my way,” Virgil ducks under some rebar, skirting around the rubble and pulling away loose debris as he goes. His heart is loud in his own ears, and Virgil hopes the creak and groan of metal and concrete above him is Scott lifting the weight off the roof, keeping it from collapsing any further onto the people below, and not anything more sinister. Virgil gets peppered by a slide of small stones, but the roof holds steady.
He presses on until he catches sight of the cluster of around forty people, all huddled together around a tall, central figure with a shocking amount of rubble dust smeared over his face, and powdered through his ginger hair.
“John!” Two’s pilot makes a beeline for his brother, despite the fact three of the people are stuck under rubble. Clearly John’s in control of the situation here, and he’s never wanted a mission update from their Space Monitor so much in his life. He can’t help but hone in on the fact John's left arm is crudely wrapped in a piece of cloth from his sleeve, which he must’ve ripped off in order to tie it.
"You have to tell me exactly what happened,” Virgil drops the controls for the Jaws of Life, and grasps his brother’s biceps in both hands instead, resisting the very strong temptation to pull the spaceman in for a hug. “And what happened to your arm?!?" There’s a river of blood seeping from beneath the make-shift bandage, but John, it seems, isn’t bothered by it in the slightest.
"Not now Virgil.” His concerns get thoroughly dismissed, “We’ve got to get these people out of here, and then I'll tell you everything." Virgil didn't like the idea that something happened to his brother and he's silent about it, but after all John was right about saving the people first since his arm is under control for now.
John crouches by the nearest injured person; a pale, skinny teen with a sizable piece of rebar keeping him pinned.
“You’re gonna be out of there in just a second, Lito.” Virgil watches him reassuring the young man for a long moment, “Uh, Virgil?” John prompts. “Any time?”
“What?” He blinks, “Oh, yeah!” His brother is clearly waiting expectantly for him to use the Jaws of Life to get the poor kid out. "I’m on it, but you better tell me everything after we're done saving them." Virgil demands. “But, uh, Scott’s kind of holding the roof up right now, so you’re probably right.”
"Okay,” John literally rolls his eyes, busy stealing a pair of blue rubber gloves from the Med Kit Virgil brought with him, and snapping them on to protect his hands and the fine cuts he’d gotten from climbing over rubble. “I promise I'll tell you everything, but can we start actually rescuing them now?" Rolling his eyes right back, the bigger man uses his exosuit to heft the rubble off Lito, before John swoops in to apply pressure to his injuries.
“Give me the fold out stretcher from your sash.” He orders, hands bloodied “Then go get the next person out. Efifania, Sergio?” John beckons a pair of nearby dad’s in closer, clearly having singled them out as capable stretcher bearers. “Think you can manage Lito here for me?”
As Virgil starts removing the rubble from above the other two trapped people, a middle aged man and a younger woman, it becomes immediately obvious that both of them have more severe wounds than young Lito. They both need medical treatment immediately.
“I’ll carry one of them.” Without the three extra sets of hands he’d need, Virgil has to leave a couple of crowd members applying pressure to their wounds, as he moves back to where John is helping Lito unsteadily to his feet. “Think you can walk, young man? We’re gonna need that stretcher for the big guy.”
“I won’t let you fall.” John promises, and Virgil feels a real swell of pride at how well his brother is handling the situation whilst being outside of both his space station and his comfort zone. It looks like having a rescue and a job to do really gives him no time for anxiety. "I agree that that's our best plan.” He adds, nodding, short and sharp, to confirm it, then John turns, an arm around Lito’s waist and the kid’s arm slung over his shoulder, to address the crowd.
“Anyone not so severely hurt needs to help get the injured out of here.” John instructs, the small crowd listening raptly. The look on the faces of these scared people is one Virgil is all too familiar with, but he knows John has far less experience of in person. They’re really looking to him as their saviour. “Virgil here is going to lead us through the path he just made.” Which is news to Virgil, but does seem like the best plan. “International Rescue will then be able to take us all to the hospital to get checked out, and then I’m sure you’ll be released to go home to your families before you know it. Got it everyone?"
In that moment Virgil finds himself struck with amazement at how John seems to have become almost as fearless as Scott, as they started carrying the two injured people out to safety. It was really a new side to him that Virgil doesn’t think he’s ever seen before.
"Virgil… I need you to check on Lady Penelope and Parker.” John’s keeping pace at his side, helping the boy they’d dug out along as he goes, “I told them to check to see if anyone was hurt."
"Hmm, yeah you're right.” Virgil frowns. If Penny and Parker have any more injured party members, even minor ones that just need a check up, Thunderbird Two will need to evacuate them to the hospital as well. “Have you got any idea where they might be?"
"Well, I told them to get somewhere away from the landslide,” John frowns, as their limping, shocky party stumbles out into the bright light of day, to be greeted by the roar of Thunderbird One’s engines high above them. “They should be near here.” He yells over the sound of it.
As usual, it turns out that John is completely right. Penny and Parker are waiting for them, but neither John nor Virgil find the look on Lady Penelope's face all that reassuring.
"JOHN!” She rushes toward the battered, bloodied spaceman, her arms outstretched. Virgil very quickly and carefully finagles poor Lito out of the way as his brother gets ambushed. “Are you okay?!?” Penelope demands, frantic, “What happened to your arm?” She reaches for the bloodied bandage, and John winces, “I'm so sorry,” All of John’s carefully constructed rules around personal space are shattered as she cups his cheek, inspecting his face for injury. It’s lucky that John is by far the most patient of the Tracy boys. “I shouldn't have left you there.
"She’d been so terrified, perhaps more than anyone else here. The horrific view she’d seen with her own eyes is going to haunt her for a long time yet. One second she was getting out of the building to reassure and check up on the people, and the next she was watching half the structure collapse completely, with John under the side that fell. She still feels a little sick.
"I'm so, so, so sorry John,” She repeats, before he can get a word in edgeways to reassure her, “Please, you must tell me if there's any way I can make it up to you. Ask me anything and I'll do it."
"Okay guys,” Virgil chuckles, “while you talk things out I'll go to get the injured people aboard Thunderbird 2. Make it quick though, we’ve still got people who need immediate medical treatment, got it?"
"F.A.B. Virgil.” John nods, “We'll be quick. Penny, I..."
“I’m so sorry.” She repeats again, and pulls his good arm over her shoulder as if to steady him as they make their way at the back of the crowd toward the big green Thunderbird.
"No no no, Penny, please stop apologising.” John’s fingers tighten for a quick moment on her shoulder, in brief reassurance, “I'm not going to ask you for anything because it was never your fault.” He insists, “It was just some bad luck, that's all. Fortunately I, and most people, got out safe with no severe wounds. These things happen.”
“Your arm.” She points out softly, hoping that all that blood looks worse than it is, “John I can’t believe you stayed behind like that, it’s so...”
“Tracy?” He grins, amused but very weary.
“Scott Tracy.” She corrects, scowling a little as she holds on just that little bit tighter around his waist as his adrenaline from the rescue starts to flag. “I thought you had more common sense.”
“Hate to disappoint.” She feels the warmth of him chuckling, “I’m lucky it was nothing worse than his cut from some shattered glass that fell on my arm while I was helping one of the guys who got stuck. I don’t think any arteries or anything have been damaged, but it is... kinda deep." And he might be getting a little lightheaded from the blood loss. Still, he really wants to reassure her, just like she had reassured him before he’d gone in to give the lecture.
"Hate to interrupt your moment, but are you guys done?" Scott pops up from who-knows-where amongst the crowd to yell at them. He’s clearly joined the relief effort. "Virgil’s just finished getting everyone aboard Thunderbird 2, and he's ready to launch." He adds, squinting at the pale, wobbly mess of his brother. "And you really do need to check your arm. That looks nasty.”
"Yeah Scott,” John wipes a tired hand over his dirty face, dislodging dust, “We're done. Don’t let Thunderbird Two wait for me, I'll hitch a ride with Lady Penelope, uh,” He turns to her, bashful, to check, “If that’s okay?"
“Of course,” Her Ladyship concedes, “Scott?” She is mildly concerned that big brother might want to have the injured member of his flock under his wing so he can smother him.
"Yeah sure, ride whatever you want.” Scott flip flops a dismissive hand at them, “You can ride a pod, I won't care as long as your destination is the hospital."
"How about you, Gordon?” John knows his little brother is still on the line, probably sulking. “Is it okay if I take the ride with Lady P?"
"W-what do you mean by that?” Gordon sounds confused and maybe a little embarrassed, like he’s been caught out. “Scott already said you should go, why’re you asking me?"
"Well, she's your girlfriend.” John grins, teasing, as Penny helps him into the back of FAB1. “Of course I have to get permission from her boyfriend.
"Penny swats at him for that, amused, but careful not to hit his injured arm. She doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do anything, but it is fun to see Gordon squirm - especially as Scott and Virgil both crack up, and even Alan in space starts teasing him.
"What?!?” Gordon’s face, bless that darling young man, has gone bright red. “J-Just go already." He ducks off the comm screen to try and hide his embarrassment, but it’s far too late for that.
He’s lucky that Penelope finds it incredibly endearing.
"John,” She nudges him, as the Tracy’s all click off the line to go do their actual jobs. She’s a little concerned that he’s looking a bit spaced out, if you’ll excuse the pun, and it’s probably a good idea to keep him talking. “You know we're still going to The Pagasa Observatory, just like I promised you, right?"
"Wait really?” John’s head tilts, a little floppy, towards her from where it had been sinking into FAB1’s luxurious headrests. He’s looking a little grey, but it’s good to see his eyes open. “After all that happened?” A ginger eyebrow quirks, “Are you sure there's time for that?"
"Well, we’re on our way to the hospital now, but there’ll be plenty of time this afternoon.” As long as the medics give him a clean bill of health. “You can change your clothes after we're done checking your arm then there should be time for you to go see that big telescope you've been dreaming of visiting. After all, I did promise you we’d go there after we're done."
"Well, that sounds good to me!” John smiles like there’s a supanova fuling him, “Penny you’re the best."
They reach the hospital a little after International Rescue has dropped off the fourty or so injured people, and so there’s quite a wait for a Doctor to be free so that they can have a look at John’s poor, sliced arm. Penny seems to be doing a worried hover at his side, while he waits, shaky from blood loss, and though he’s not used to having so much company, John has to admit it’s nice to have a chance to catch up with his old friend with no rescue alarms blaring.
Alan reports in that the two worst injured in the landslide have been hospitalized as fast as possible, that they were stable - the doctors have said their prognosis looked good. He also tells him that Lito’s family had been asking after the redheaded lecturer who’d helped him out of the rubble, and that John Tracy, M.Sci, PgDip, B.Lang Hons, should probably expect a gift basket in the mail quite soon.
John gets quite flustered about that. He’d just been doing his job.
The spaceman's arm was eventually treated, and Scott calls in to ask what actually happened to his arm. It still hurts, a properly bandaged throb just under his elbow, but not like before. The painkilling injection and little bit of morphine they’d given him when they stitched it up had probably helped with that.
Alan’s reports dug up that the landslide had been caused by a water main leaking under the building, and destabilizing the soil. Over time, water can do a lot of damage, washing away vital infrastructure if it’s not been properly reinforced during construction.
As the Chino Roque Theater was a new build, there must have been a mistake in the installation of the pipes during construction.
Someone was getting a big lawsuit heading their way, and Tracy Enterprises will be more than happy to fund the lawyers for the theatre.
As Lady Penelope promised him, they found John a change of clothes and went to the Pagasa Observatory. Penny’s quite sure she’s never seen anything as wholesome as the moment John sees the telescope - his eyes went all shiny, and the smile on his face was massive.
"Lady Penelope, Parker come take a look at the stars!!!” He calls, over his shoulder, with the enthusiasm of a boy half his age, “They’re really beautiful from here!" With such a high-powered lens pointed up at the cosmos, it rivals even his view from Thunderbird Five.
"Indeed, they are." Lady Penelope and Parker both step up to take turns, but John was the one to look through the telescope the most. With all the stealth her years as a secret agent offered her, Lady Penelope took a picture of him.
"Parker, come take a look." She whispers, beckoning her old companion gleefully over. "He looks so happy and innocent in this picture. Wouldn’t it be lovely to see his face like this always?"
"We still have some time before they close,” Parker points out, a sly grin creeping onto his nosey old face. “How h’bout we leave him like this for a little longer?"
"That, Parker.” she smiles, “Is an excellent idea.”
An actress by vocation.
Clarice Alves has an interpretation in her blood since she was a little girl. She started acting in the theater when she was only 12 years old and dreamed of entering the world of cinema. Her final film as the main character was "Urubu" by Alejandro Ibanez Nauta, which premiered just a year ago and is now available on Amazon Prime. The pandemic, as in many other cases, delayed another project, but in the meantime : graduated the "Studio Escola de Atores" in Brazil and Personal Image Consulting, she has accumulated hours of study of dramatic arts, languages, and anything else that helps her grow in her work. Her husband Marcelo Vieira, a Real Madrid defender was also born in Rio de Janeiro. They married in 2008 and have two sons. It's hard to imagine them juggling to combine the two professions that make them travel almost all the time. We talked about all of this with Clarice Alves in this interview.
As a young girl, at the age of 12, you joined a theater company. We can say that you are an actress by vocation.
Yes, the truth is, since I was little, I've had this little bug in me. I loved going to the theater, watching soap operas. I also really enjoyed watching 'making of' the films, how they were made, I was very curious. It awakens a passion in you that keeps you active and leads to more curiosity and doing things with enthusiasm.
And, despite the possibilities, you haven't stopped preparing yourself all these years, with a lot of courses and studies. How much is natural talent and how much preparation?
I believe that it's a natural talent that fuels this fire, passion for work. Because I believe that regardless of many life and family factors, and the pace I have, I love my job. And I think it's something very professional, something that I have inside me, that I wear where I am. I want to go to the cinema, go to the theater. This vocation is important. And training keeps you active, especially with languages and moving. I think that keeps you safe.
Urubu is the last movie that was recorded with you in the lead role. Tell us what it is about.
This is a very interesting film that Alejandro Ibanez Naut, son of Chicho, submitted to his father. A thriller that we shot in the Amazon jungle, in a peculiar environment. We lived there for two months, the whole team, which was very small, like 12 or 13, came from Spain, with a wooden house built, we slept in hammocks. We had a real adventure. I loved making this movie because I had the opportunity to shoot in my country speaking Portuguese, Spanish, in an action movie that was a gift to me.
And in what project are you currently involved?
I recently finished shooting for a Brazilian TV series, but with all the COVID problem it was very hard to finish. It's in post-production now.
You live with your family in Madrid, although you keep going to Brazil, what more would you like to work as an actress in Spain and Europe or try in Hollywood?
I have lived in Spain since I was 15 and it's like my home. The truth is, I love European cinema. Magic, a festival tradition, is something that excites me very much and that I enjoy as a child. I am particularly excited about Spanish cinema. And the United States is a place that I visit a lot with my children, to which I am looking forward to spending a greater season there in the future. Well, being in both places.
Which actresses do you admire the most?
I love Angelina Jolie, I love action movies as well as the dramas she shot. I also like Meryl Streep and Jeniffer very much. I really like all three.
How do you manage to combine family life with two careers, based on trips and stays away from home?
We've been living like this for a long time, so it's natural for us, but it's complicated, so just the two of us wouldn't be able to do it. When I was in the jungle, my mother had to come from Brazil to help my husband with the kids for two months. It would be impossible without help. I have a nanny who helps me when I have to travel a lot or not be at home and my husband has his duties or is absent. She has been with us for 11 years. We have a person who helps us with the children, and I am not nervous to know that she is with them. Since we both travel a lot without set dates because of our careers, we must have trustworthy people who become our right hand and help us a lot. It's very important to have trustworthy people and the truth is, we were lucky to have a team to help us.
Like so many people in your profession, do you live on the phone? How do you carry those waits between work and work?
Yes, the actor's profession is a bit like this: the project comes, then there is time without having another, and then they emerge one by one. Since I go to Brazil a lot, I also always hope that things will come up there. Yes, we are waiting for a call. When there is a casting it's a joy, I am always in contact with my agent from Brazil and the one from here.
And how is your day to day during that time, when you are not working?
I am a homebody. I really like being with my dogs in the garden, taking them for walks, in the mountains. Walking with my children on Sundays to Retiro Park, walking in the center, going for dinner. I like going to the cinemas alone and buying the biggest popcorn! And yes, I try to focus on the kids when I'm home. I also love traveling, when I have the opportunity, I go to Brazil to see my family.
It seems that traveling is one of the best ways to share time with your family. Are you a family traveler? What places do you like to visit?
Yes definitely. My eldest son is also like me and Marcelo agrees to everything. He goes with us wherever we want. We like nature very much, especially the beach and the sea. We are both from Rio de Janeiro and we grew up since we played every weekend at the beach with friends and others with kids. We are especially excited when we can go to an island that is closer. When there is nature, we enjoy twice as much.
How is your relationship with the world of fashion? Do you like it? Do you follow it?
Yes, I like fashion. I'm not a fanatic, so to speak, of wearing anything fashionable, but I love it. When I have the opportunity to go to fashion shows, I am very happy to see the designers I like, and I am very happy to choose clothes that I feel comfortable in.
A future look: where and how do you see yourself in 10 years?
Doing the same but maybe not so much in Spain, maybe I'll see myself working a lot in my country. And maybe living one season in another country, trying other places, but always coming to Spain of course. Having more time for my profession and enjoying my family.
Infinity Train Headcanon part 2
I'm back with more Infinity Train headcanons this time with the denizens! Like the first one I’m only doing five per character so it won’t too long. Here's a link to the first one , enjoy!
The Snow Car is his favorite car because he met Tulip there (also he was stuck there for 30 years). But from the evidence from the Snow Car clip he maybe slowly forgetting events only for small things (like the rock) to remind him of said events.
One-One can't eat, but if he did his favorite foods would be popcorn & soda (Movie Theater Car) and chocolate bars ( Minecart Car), but he would hate coconut (again Minecart Car).
One-One will slowly realize that denizens have their own desires besides helping passengers (ex. Lake) and if they desire to leave the train he will assist them.
When he was One, he was very cold and didn't bother explaining how the train worked to passengers (luckily denizens like, Kez, explained how things went). After, Tulip left he made the videos to help explain what the passengers must do to get home. This both got passengers off the train quicker and saved many lives.
The reason he was stuck in the Snow Car for so long was because: both passengers and denizens didn't notice him in the snow or on the snowman (woman or person) body, he was out exploring the car, or he was to busy collecting junk for his secret stash. Bonus: Amelia purposely put him on the snowman (woman or person) body to humiliate One!
As great a business woman she is The Cat doesn't think things through ex: turning Ryan, Min-Gi and Kez to the bug police, never going back for Simon, and trying to trap Tulip in her memories. She did help Kez after realizing the Old West Car denizens were going to execute Min-Gi and Ryan for something so stupid as a tea stain, she believed that the ghom killed Simon and never looked back (she deeply regrets that now), the Conductor just wanted One-One not Tulip, after Tulip escaped and the Conductor wanted her as well The Cat realized how badly she messed up.
I doubt she's one of the first, but The Cat is one of the oldest denizens on the train ex: knew there was another conductor before Amelia came, hasn't taken a vacation in 150, said the Chat Chalet Car has been dry for centuries.
The Cat owns many businesses and cars ex: The Cat's Car, Le Chat Chalet Car, The Lucky Cat Car, the doughnut-holer business, the tea shoppe in the Old West Car, the list goes on!
I don't think The Cat knew the Apex were wheeling denizens. She knew they were ruining cars ( especially hers), but had no clue about the deaths.
The Cat's hoarding is to cope with her insecurities and failures. When, she finds out about Simon's death her collection will only get worse.
Randall makes a fortune out of the doughnut-holers, but the fortune is mainly trash. His main types of payment are flowers and gum.
I think Randall is unable to be killed. From what was shown in Le Chat Chalet Car he can be frozen or boiled (and eaten) and still be alive. The dude's immortal!
The Cat always brings Randall with her just incase she needs a hand in one of her money making schemes. Mainly, because she knows good and well that both passengers and denizens are indifferent towards her due to past schemes, but everyone loves Randall.
When, The Cat and Frank leave Le Chat Chalet Car, Randall (or a part of him) askes to stay because of his love of the snow. The Cat allows it, but tells Randall to make sure if passengers or denizens come to the chalet they have to pay to stay. too bad the payments are usually gum, flowers, rocks, and other useless things. But, ever once and awhile Randall gets paid money, CDs, jewelry, and other shiny trinkets.
Continuing with the last headcanon - Randall takes good care of the chalet when The Cat is away! He makes sure the pantry is stocked with food and non-Randall water, invites guest to snowball fights, and gives them doughnut- holers as guest gifts. Because of Randall the Car becomes popular, and why The Cat allows him to keep it open.
After hearing the news of what the Apex did to the Unfinished Car, Atticus has reached out to other cars to stop the Apex so they wouldn't damage passenger/denizen relationships.
Atticus was the runt of his litter and abandoned at a young age. Atticus becoming king is the classic orphan-becomes-king story.
Atticus does check-up on One-One when he gets the chance. The two do talk about Tulip and how they miss her.
Atticus created a tulip field (mainly orange and yellow) in honor of Tulip for saving Corginina and returning One-One as conductor.
Stops calling Irwin, 'Ugly Irwin', and encourages the other corgis to stop it too. Because, it's rude to make fun of someone's appearance.
One created Alan Dracula to be unpredictable on purpose. For passengers who expect something to happen to realize nothing is set in stone. Now, One-One can't even predict what Alan Dracula will do next.
Alan Dracula was in The Party Car with Min-Gi, Ryan, and Kez (based on the deleted scene) and was the only partygoer to hear Ryan and Min's song.
Alan Dracula still has the sunglasses Jesse gave him.
Seeing as Alan Dracula was born before Amelia took over the train he is most likely 30+ years old at best.
Lake and Jesse were the only passengers that stayed with Alan Dracula the longest since few understood him and his love of grass.
All of Tuba's children are named after brass instruments. We know about Bugle, but I think the others would be named: Trumpet, French Horn, and Trombone.
Tuba's satchel was a gift from her late husband.
Tuba's favorite food is pineapple since she ate a lot in the Jungle Car episode.
Tuba sang a ton of lullabies for her children and Hazel. The most popular one was the one sung in the show.
Once, Hazel comes to Earth she'll make a grave for Tuba to remember her by. The rest of the Infinity Train passengers (Tulip, Lake, Jesse, Grace, Min-Gi, Ryan, Amelia, One-One- I'm gonna end it here, but it's the rest of the denizens) come to show their support.
After what happened in the Art Gallery Car, Kez leaves signs and directions to allow the passengers and denizens to solve the puzzle easily. But each time she returns the signs go missing or destroyed!
After, making things up to the denizens she'd angered Kez became friends with them minus Judge Morpho. Kez doesn't focus on that really since she has friends now.
Sometime after Ryan and Min-Gi left, Kez and Morgan decided to make a lounge area that dedicates Jeremy, Ryan, and Min-Gi.
Kez spent a year away from Morgan after what happened to Jeremy. That gave her enough time to travel other cars, and (accidently) caused a lot of damage.
Kez rarely leaves Morgan now since they made up, the two really missed each other. When, Kez does leave it's usual for a couple of hours at best.
In order, my responses to comments in Reply of my COVID19 era post that was my answer to my question “My answer to my questions: Has the era of COVID19 changed your photography? How? And perhaps also, why?“ I am so confused now...
Algy thinks you are lucky and - certainly if compared with Europeans - perhaps quite unusual in not having experienced a more profound effect on your creative outlets and expression. Many of Algy's creative friends have experienced wide-ranging and often severe impacts on their creativity and associated motivation - and therefore on their mental health as well.
As @adventuresofalgy Jenny said.... you are lucky...
I am indeed very lucky, or as I think of it, blessed. However, it is no way a US thing, nor even a California thing. I add California, because I know many in the US and around the world think of the Golden State as a haven, a progressive, hippie filled state that is all about peace and love and marijuana. However, that is far from the truth. California is like Germany in the 1920s and 30s. There was Berlin, where there was a wildness in the city that was not shared, and was often looked-down on, by those in the majority of the country, who lived in more conservative areas and who, often, economically could not afford the grand life of partying Berliners. In California it is the same. Except for a few urban areas, the state is full of very conservative folks, and for them, like for those in the cities (and in the rest of the world) this COVID19 era has been devastating. Well, and the fires for Californians have been too.
Even in this cool college town where I live, which is lovely and quiet and inspiring, the painfully empty streets, movie theaters, restaurants, shops (think of all those unemployed people) is (still) staggering. In mid-March last year, right after lockdown, I took several phone videos of the deserted street in our town and the campus, but I could not bring myself to share them, since I knew that so many others here on Tumblr were experiencing the same desolation in many different ways. (I figured: “Why add to the sorrow we are living, almost globally?”) I was overwhelmed by the emptiness of the major (well, major for a small town of around 65,000 people) street where I live and the empty bicycle trails and street on campus. And by empty, I mean that even now, I see maybe 3 cyclists per hour, and very little car traffic. Remember, this is a bicycle town; I do not own a car, doing most all my errands on my bike with its 2 fordable baskets in the rear.
And now, over a year later, that same heavy, oppressive emptiness persists. And no, I am not used to it. And yes, I traveled over the last year, but I found the same suffocating blanket of emptiness in each city I visited, even in Las Vegas. It was unnerving. As a matter of fact, last year when I drove to San Francisco 2 months after lockdown for my birthday, I wound up getting depressed and disoriented, in a city where I lived for almost 7 years. Driving back home across the Golden Gate Bridge with tears of sadness in my eyes on my birthday was not what I expected. However, I did get some solid photos of the malaise that hung thick in the air, a malaise that physically took up the space that once was taken up by crowds of people.
Now, I am also very aware that my situation is unique. (Not a fan of the word exceptional, since it can mean both unique and special, and I do not see my situation as special.) My life situation is very unique in that I have a job I love and I work with a great team of characters. We get work done and we have fun, share about our lives. My job is often, especially since COVID19 first got noticed in early 2020, stressful and demands my colleagues and I learn (and sometimes then teach) lots of new technology and that we adapt to the vagaries of the technology gods, which are sometimes unfriendly and unresponsive. And a big part of my job is trying to figure out how to get the technology gods to like us again and grace us with their gifts. (I never realized, until now, with this discussion, that the troubleshooting that is a big part of my job is creative and probably fuels my photographic creativity. Who knew?) Yet, as a group, my colleagues and I support each other. And I am fortunate to count my closest colleague, Steve, as a friend. We have been a great emotional support to each other over the years and now through this COVID19 era. And I recently was reminded (as if I needed reminding) just how unique my work situation is because I participated in a committee that was going over responses to a UC Davis-wide survey exploring levels of employee satisfaction. My 2 colleagues who were also on that committee and I did not have the complaints that others from other departments shared. We work well together, have supportive management that share what is going on and include us (as mush as possible) in the decision making process. And as a department, we get stuff done.
Possibly the best example of how blessedly unique my situation is is what happened this morning when I was talking (yes, on ZOOM) with my immediate supervisor. We discussed the work related stuff, including how at around 10:30 pm the night before I figured something out about an online tool integration I had never done before that I knew was easy but I did not see as easy until I reread the overly complicated instructions a couple of times and just figured out how and where to cut and paste the lines of code (it was that easy, just fucking cut and paste some lines of JSON code) that got the fucking thing to work. Then we talked about his dealing with his young children returning to school and how “normal” now is not “normal” from before and how disruptive the whole thing has been, yet since we work in a supportive atmosphere (and are both salaried), he was able to deal and keep living.
Then, and you are gonna love this, I shared about my original COVID19 question post and the responses and pretty much said to him what I am sharing here.
We talked for a little over an hour. That kind of rapport is rare, for any job, anywhere.
And then there is another way my situation is unique. In some ways, previous “bad things” were actually a preparation for this era of physical distance and uncertainty. In mid-2019, from July to August, first because of my work related bowling concussion and then an antibiotic resistant infection, I was bedridden for about 5 weeks and then had several absences because of concussion issues, like sudden and extreme anger flare ups, nausea, headaches. But however bad I thought that concussion and infection were, the concussion induced forgetfulness and my desire to sharpen my mind and nurture and nourish it have lead me to become, in my old age, organized. I now often take notes of important stuff, add work and personal dates and notes to my Outlook calendar, and even know what day it is, which bugs my colleagues who often find they have no idea what day and/or date it is. Yep, unique, but the bad concussion shit got me to be organized in ways that I was never able to be before, no matter what I tried. This time, I just fucking get organized, without thinking about it too much. And if I fuck up with my being organized, like I did the other day for work, I admit it, fix it, and move on.
Preparation for isolation (and unexpected natural threats) came by way of the 2018 Northern California (the region where I live) fires that year, which caused the campus to shut down for about a week. (As my friend Steve called it, the smoking break.) And for work, my colleagues and I faced a couple of long term, emergency technical outages that impacted all of the UC Davis faculty, one of them for over a month. Pretty much on a professional and personal level, I was, if not ready, at least getting used to the WTF of whatever life decides to surprise me with. (And lets not forget the really bad fire last September, seen in this video I posted of ash “snow” falling. We did not have to shut down the campus because there was no one there anyway.)
Another aspect of this last year, and one that has been present in my life for a few years now, is the BLM movement and the brutal police violence against Black people in this country. As someone who was a teaching assistant and taught in African American Studies and worked closely with students of color on campus in a student run organization, I was and am still devastated, in part because I know, from hearing so many personal accounts, the pain many of my friends, former colleagues, and former students, are still facing and how overwhelmed they felt and still feel. I understand, if as an outsider, their emotional exhaustion. This has been going on for a while, plus add the years of anti-immigrant hate against the Latinx in the US and the rising tide of violent hate against Asians, and yes, it has been sorrowful. Heartbreaking. And I have, in several ways, including my photography, tried to capture the sorrow and resilience of US people of color. It hurts, almost physically, that many people of color are just tired of talking and dealing with the hate.
So, yes, my situation is unique, but with its own emotionally draining weight. And yes, I am extremely grateful. This leads to the other 2 comments in Reply:
Thank you for sharing, Fern. Very interesting. Like you, I would say my output hasn’t changed much. However, I have sought locations deeper in the wilderness. This has been fulfilling.
Really interesting thoughts. We live in strange times, but creativity and motivation comes and goes for so many different reasons. My photography has changed a lot. I used to work as a photographer at events and took portraits for fun... Now I'm officially a portrait photographer.
Both of these comments point to another unique aspect of my life situation: For some of us, our photography and how we do it, has not changed much, and if it has, that has been a part of our overall experience with this art form we love so much.
For me, because of my depressive tendencies, the Zen of photography, at least the way I do it, is therapeutic. And I do not use the term “Zen” lightly here, because my spiritual life has helped me come to terms with the WTF surprises that are pretty much life, if at times the WTF of it is more impactful, as it is during this COVID19 era. And that is part of what I was trying to share with my original post: Before this period of isolation and disorientation, I was already coming to grips with the gospel truth that “creativity and motivation comes and goes for so many different reasons.” as @schwarzkaeppchen said. In no way do I diminish the anguish flared up by these bleak times that impact so many around the world. And really, when you think about it, bleak times have been a norm, at least here in the US, since late 2016, though, of course, lockdowns and physical distance make it all worse. But, at least for me, I try to learn from the bleak times, even if I abhor going through them. And when dealing with the highs and lows of creative energy, at least for me, I have a calm certainty that photography is part of my life and I do not have to worry, since I only love it more each day. And the other side to my certainty is that if someday my love of photography fades, some other treasure of creativity will replace it.
Let’s be real, because of photography. I think about stuff like this and get to have discussions with so many great Tumblr original photographers.
And I am grateful for it, and no, this is not unique to my life situation. I know many of us love being here and sharing the good, the bad, the confounding.
Please think about joining @tvoom and me for InConverversation this month. It has been a long time since we talked, and this COVID19 era will be our topic.
I am grateful for all y’all.
Daisies and Daffodolls Day 17: Book Series
Sorry I've been MIA a lot. I've been busy doing sewing stuff (next photo challenge I'll prepare a few weeks in advance). But anyways, I took a pic of Celestina in what would be her meet outfit. Celestina's story is different in many ways than other AG characters. For one thing, she's my Gorillaz OC as well, so her story involves some Gorillaz lore as well, and her story starts at age 11 in middle school in 2016 and goes to at least 2020 when she's 15. Basic outline, Celestina is a cheerful creative girl living in Orbitz Ohio. She was raised by her mom Sharon and her stepmom Mia, (they got married in 2015 when gay marriage became legal in the US), and her dad is Stuart "2-D" Pot, the lead singer of the British band Gorillaz. In her story, Celestina faces many changes, such as her Mom starting a new paramedic job, her dad returning to England to reunite with the rest of Gorillaz to record Humanz, as well as starting her first year in middle school. I'm actually planning to write a whole book, maybe more, about Celestina, and post the chapters here on tumblr. I think I'll go ahead and post the first chapter here as a preview, but I'll post the full story later, maybe with illustrations.
Summary - It's the year 2016, and Celestina is starting her first year of middle school. While she's excited for a fresh start of the new year, she's also nervous. School uniforms, more classes, more teachers, and new classmates. Unfortunately, the school year starts out on a sour note, she barely shares any classes with her best friend, and in homeroom class, she gets paired up with Lucy Phillips, a cold, aloof, yet mysterious, new girl from Britain. Meanwhile, things aren't easier at home either, her dad ends up returning to the UK to reunite with his fellow band members to record their next album, and her mom begins work at her new paramedic job. But when Celestina begins to get close with Lucy, the new girl's iciness starts to melt, and they both learn they have more in common than they thought.
Celestina's Family and Friends
Celestina Damon - An excitable 11 year old girl starting her first year of middle school in the year 2016.
Sharon Damon - Celestina's mother, a practical, but cheerful, lady. She starts working a new job as a paramedic.
Mia Lucci - Sharon's wife and Celestina's stepmother, a funny and kind woman, she's always there when Celestina needs advice. She runs and works at The Leaning Tower of Pizza pizzeria with her twin sister Gina.
Stuart "2-D" Pot - Celestina's father, and lead singer of the British band Gorillaz. He isn't quite wired like other people, but in his own 2-D way, he's very deep, and he's also got a big heart. Despite the troubles that come with being a long distance parent, he loves Celestina immensely and tries to be in her life as much as possible.
Kailey Green - Celestina's next door neighbor and best friend since childhood. A smart and sweet girl, if a little awkward. A self proclaimed theater nerd. Often gives Celestina the nickname "Lessie".
Lucy Phillips - A new girl in Celestina's homeroom, who's family arrived from Britain. She seems mysterious and comes off as cool and guarded, but in reality, she's a little shy, and becomes much kinder and sweeter once you get to know her.
New Year, New School, New Hope
The alarm clock on the bedside table chirped on and on as Celestina Damon slept in, nestled in her soft, pastel colored, blankets. She was dreaming a wonderful dream; Celestina, rocking a sparkly, purple, galaxy print dress, was singing in front of a sold out crowd on her first performance. Fans in the crowd were holding handmade signs and cheering her name. Here she is posing for pictures with fans! There she is signing autographs! She finishes her last song of the show, wishing the audience a good night. The crowd erupted into a thunderous roar of applause, fans shouting her name "Celestina! Celestina! Celestina! -"
"CELESTINA!!! WAKE UP!!!"
That did it! At the sound of her mom's voice, the young girl jolted up from her bed with a start. "Gah!" she exclaimed. Her wavy blue hair was messy and needed brushing, and she was no longer clad in galaxy print, but rather, blue and white pajamas with panda bears printed all over. Celestina ground the sleep out of her eyes and smashed the "stop" button on her alarm.
"Okay, I'm awake Mom!" said Celestina, slightly irritated. Her mom chuckled.
"Hey, if I let you have your way, you'd be asleep until lunchtime." laughed Mom. "I told you not to stay up too late."
"I didn't stay up late!" Celestina protested, "I'm just, not used to waking up this early." She was kinda right. Today was the first day of the new school year, after three months of staying up and sleeping in later than usual, it can be hard to get back on a schedule.
"Fair enough," said Mom, "but I can't always be around to make you wake up, especially now, you understand?" Celestina nodded. What her mom had meant was that she just got hired to work as a paramedic at a new ambulance company, which meant that some days she had to go in early. Unfortunately, it also means that she would come home later after working many hours, some nights possibly after when Celestina was supposed to go to bed. Luckily, today was only her orientation, which wouldn't start for a few hours, so her Mom could drop her off on her first day of school, but she was still dressed in her work uniform, black boots, navy blue pants with lots of pockets, and a wine red shirt with the ambulance's logo embolized on the left breast, and her curly blonde hair was tied up in a long ponytail.
Speaking of uniforms. Not only was Celestina starting her first day of school, but it's the first day of a new school, specifically, middle school. Okay, so technically this school is a combo middle and high school, so not only does she have to deal with the 7th and 8th graders, but also all the high schoolers as well. And all the students have to wear uniforms. Actually, the uniform itself wasn't that bad, it was pretty cute, the top was a rich shade of purple with a white collar and ribbon, and a white pleated skirt that fell below the knees, had a "sailor suit" sorta look to it, kinda like what an anime character would wear. All the same, Celestina couldn't understand why she just couldn't just wear her regular clothes to school, you know, like everyone did in elementary school. Sigh, another change to have to get used to. Mom caught Celestina eyeing her uniform.
"Well get dressed, hon." said Mom, "And come downstairs for breakfast. I think Mia made some chocolate chip pancakes!" Mmm, just the thought of those pancakes made Celestina's mouth water.
"Okay, you win." laughed Celestina, giving her mom a hug. "I'll be down in a few." After Mom had left the room, Celestina got dressed, brushed and pulled her long wavy blue hair into a ponytail, using a hairband with two pink poofballs on it. Before she left to go downstairs, she looked toward the corner of her room, and saw Scratchy, her fluffy gray bunny, stirring around in her cage.
"Hey there Scratchy!" she cooed, giving the bunny little pats. She then slipped a little chew treat for her to play with. "Be good while I'm at school, okay?"
The young girl grabbed her backpack, filled to the brim with school supplies, and headed downstairs to the kitchen. The aroma of chocolate chip pancakes and maple syrup filled the room. Mom had seated herself at the kitchen table, eating her small stack of pancakes, and Mia, Celestina's stepmom, was busy flipping the pancakes at the stove. Her mother, Sharon, and Mia have only been married for less than a year, but Mia has lived with Celestina and her Mom her whole life. They probably would have married sooner had it been allowed before last year! Mia is a pretty lady, tall, tan skin, and shiny dark brown hair, and she's a great cook. Her and her sister Gina (Aunt Gina to Celestina), run a pizza place called Leaning Tower of Pizza.
"Pancakes, comin' up!" shouted Mia to Celestina. Mia still spoke with a New York accent, despite the fact that she's been living in Ohio for at least 15 years. She served the girl her pancakes before sliding her own onto a plate. Celestina took her breakfast to the table and poured on the sweet maple syrup. She cut a piece and took a bite, mmmm, was so good. Her smile fell slightly looking around the room. She couldn't get used to the empty space at the table.
"What's wrong?" asked Mia, noticing Celestina's frown, "Don't you like chocolate pancakes?"
"I LOVE them!" exclaimed Celestina. "I just wish Dad was here to have some." Mia and Susan exchanged a look of understanding.
"You miss him don't you." said Mia. Celestina nodded.
"Yup!" said Celestina. It was actually more than that. She paused a bit, trying to think of how to put it into words, "I mean, I dunno, I guess I'm also a bit worried, you know, about him leaving again." Celestina's eyes looked down at her pancakes. Talking about stuff like that always made her uneasy.
Celestina's dad, her whole family life in general really, was, well, unusual to say the least. For one thing, her parents weren't married when her mom had her, in fact, they split up shortly before Sharon found out she was pregnant. Whatever, no biggie, there are lots of kids whose parents are like that, people who have children before they got married, or had kids and didn't stay together. However, it was even more complicated in Celestina's case, because her mom is American and her dad is British, meaning it's harder for her to see her dad on a regular basis because he lives so far away. Also, her dad is famous. Celestina's father is none other than Stuart Pot, better known as 2-D, the lead singer of Gorillaz. Yes, that 2-D! It's been awhile since the band did any songs together though, the last album, Plastic Beach, was released when Celestina was 5, but a couple years before that, something else happened, and that's what worried Celestina. For a short while after Celestina was born, 2-D would often call the house to say hi, sometimes even visit. But after a visit that Dad made sometime when she was 3, he had gone on a trip somewhere, and suddenly vanished. Her mom tried to keep calm around her when she asked where Dad was, but even as a kid, Celestina could kinda tell that her Mom was worried about him. The sudden release of a new Gorillaz album didn't help either. At one point, her Mom told her stories that 2-D and Murdoc Niccals, the band's foul mouthed, green skinned, bassist, were taken by pirates and trapped on an island called Plastic Beach, an island in the middle of the ocean made of garbage and spray painted pink. Looking back, Celestina wasn't sure if this all really happened or if this was something Mom was making up, but she knew something happened that made her dad unable to contact her for awhile. Shortly before Celestina was 8, her dad had called her on the phone for the first time in years.
"Celestina, is that you?" said 2-D in his thick Londoner accent, "You sound so big! How old are you now?"
"I'm gonna be 8, Dad!" answered Celestina proudly, "I'm a big kid!"
"8!? Wow! You really grew up!" exclaimed 2-D, Celestina could hear the tears caught in his throat. "I've missed you so much!"
After a brief vacation, or "holiday" as her dad called it, in Guadalupe, he visited Celestina and the family for the first time in a while, right in time for her 8th birthday. And since then, he had been able to keep in better contact, and came to visit Celestina in person more often these last few years, as if to make up for missing out for those last 5 years. She even got to fly with him to England one time and met her grandparents, David and Rachel Pot, for the first time at the amusement park that Grandpop had owned. This year, 2-D stayed in the guest room for a few months, he was able to keep Celestina company during the summer while Sharon was taking paramedic classes, and Mia was working at Leaning Tower. 2-D had been helping Celestina with her budding interest in music, teaching her how to play her new blue Melodica, a small keyboard with a flute-like pipe in it. When they weren't practicing, the father daughter duo would watch scary zombie movies, or listen to some older Gorillaz songs on Celestina's old CD player. On June 23rd, the whole family, and a few of Celestina's friends from school, celebrated her 11th birthday with a bonfire cookout in the backyard. It was a wonderful summer.
But all this fun and excitement of summer had to come to an end. It was now time for school, and just as well, Dad left to go back to England, rather suddenly at that. Somehow, one of his old band mates, Noodle, the guitarist and the only girl in the band, (and Celestina's favorite band member, next to Dad of course), ended up getting back in contact with him. Apparently, the band was getting back together to make a new album called Humanz, which would be released sometime next year. Like always, Celestina was sad to see him leave, but she was also worried too, maybe because a part of her is scared he would go missing again.
Sharon put a comforting hand on Celestina's shoulder. "It'll be okay," she reassured her daughter, "He said he's gonna text us when he arrives to meet the others. Plus, he said you can visit him during spring break."
"I know," nodded Celestina. She finishes up her pancakes, thinking about everything going on. Mom's starting a new job, Dad's going back to England, I'm starting a new year in a new school, and we have to wear uniforms! So far so good, she thought sarcastically. She rinsed her dirty plate in the sink and slipped on her black flats to meet Mom out in the car.
"Are we taking Kailey today?" asked Mom. Kailey Green is Celestina's best friend and next door neighbor.
"No, Mrs. Green wanted to take her this morning," answered Celestina, "but she's picking both of us up after school."
"Okay, good," said Mom, "let's get going, you don't wanna be late," she checks her watch "and neither do I!" she laughed. Celestina gave Mia a hug goodbye.
"Have a good day at school, rockstar." said Mia lovingly. "I'm coming home from Leaning Tower about an hour after you get home from school, okay girlie."
"'Kay 'kay, I got it." smiled Celestina. She gives Mia a fist bump, complete with a little explosion sound effect.
"You have a good day at school," then she turns to Mom "And good luck with orientation Sharon." Mom gives Mia a loving kiss on the cheek.
"Bye honey," said Mom grabbing her keys. "I should be home by dinner tonight." Celestina and her mother wave goodbye to Mia before getting in the car. As Sharon drove on to the school, Celestina sat in her seat nervously, her breakfast doing flip flops in her stomach.
"Are you doing okay back there?" asked Sharon, looking at her daughter in the rearview mirror.
"I dunno," she answered. "Honestly, I'm pretty nervous. Middle school sounds kinda scary. All these classes, new teachers, ugh, no recess, school uniforms," she grimaced. She had so many thoughts, so many "what-if's", that they started coming out one after another. "What if I don't like my teachers? What if me and Kailey don't have any classes together? What if all the classes are too hard? What if I get bullied by the older kids? What if -"
"Celestina!" said Mom suddenly, "sweetie, sweetie, it's alright." She took a deep breath before continuing, "I know this isn't something you want to hear, but I kinda know how you feel. I was nervous starting middle school when I was your age. And, if I'll be fully honest, I can relate to how you're feeling right now. I'm a bit nervous starting this new job."
Celestina looked up in surprise, "You are?" she wondered. "But you said you were excited." Mom gave Celestina a loving smile.
"And I am," answered Sharon, "But I have so many mixed feelings. I'm worried I won't be good enough, I'm worried the boss could be a jerk, or that I won't like my co-workers. So many things can go wrong. But," she paused before continuing, "There are also good things I'm looking forward to as well. I'll be able to use the skills I worked hard learning in all these classes, I'll be able to help people, I'll be bringing home a little more money, which means we will be able to go out more often." she said with a smile. "It's normal to be scared and nervous, it's okay in fact. But you also have so many good things to look forward to. Yes you have more classes, but you get to have more classes you enjoy, like music and art. And even if you don't have any classes with Kailey, you'll always be able to see her because we're neighbors. If you're having a problem, whether it's classes, mean kids, or even a mean teacher, you can always come to me or Mia. I just want you to know, even if the bad things do happen, there are also a lot of good thing to come, I want you to remember that." Celestina thought over what her mom had said. She did have a few good points.
"I did hear that the music department puts on a school musical every year," said Celestina, feeling a bit more hopeful, "And there's all these fun clubs". Sharon's eyes lit up.
"See, there you go!" said Mom.
"It just seems like so many things are changing at the same time." Celestina admitted, "it just feels so fast, I feel like I can barely take a breath."
"I know, it sucks, it really does." said Sharon in an understanding tone. "The funny thing is, is that the only thing that never changes, is that everything changes."
"That's so confusing to think about!" said Celestina laughing.
"Ah, but that's the truth," said Sharon with a chuckle. "But you know what else will never change?"
"No what?" asked Celestina.
"I'll always love you," Mom answered warmly, "The same goes for Mia, and for your dad, we will never stop loving you. You are our child, and nothing will ever change that."
"Aw mom, I love you too!" she exclaimed. At that moment, Celestina's cell phone chirped with a new message. Oops, better silence it before class, she thought, making a mental note. But seeing who the message was from made her smile.
"Ooh I got a text from Dad!" shouted Celestina in excitement. The text read "i made it to studio 13 in london. about to start recording for the new album. I miss you already, but i'm happy to be home again. russ, noodle and murdoc say hi. say hi to your mum for me. love you little panda bear." Celestina smiled at the mention of the special nickname her dad gave her. Attached with the message was a picture. It was a group photo of the whole band in what looked like the inside of a recording studio. Celestina had yet to meet the other band members in person, but she knew who they were from the music videos and interview clips on YouTube, and from a few stories from her dad. There was Murdoc Niccals, the band's bassist, and probably the biggest troublemaker of the band. He has an odd scrunched up nose, and green skin and black hair, sorta made Celestina think of the Gangreen Gang from The PowerPuff Girls. Then there was Russel Hobbs, the drummer, a heavyset black man from New York, with bright white eyes lacking pupils, a result of being possessed by a demon when he was young. He seemed to be the voice of reason in the band, and when he speaks in interviews, he has a gentle voice. Then there was Noodle, the guitarist, and the only girl in the band. Celestina almost didn't recognize her at first, she's so used to seeing her in the music videos back when she was a kid or a young teen, and now she's a beautiful grown up woman! Noodle was not much older than Celestina is now when the band released their first album, and according to her dad, when they were first looking for a guitarist, Noodle traveled from Japan all the way to England, in a FedEx delivery crate, and gave such an epic explosive guitar solo, that the band ended up giving her the part on the spot. Celestina likes to imagine that if they were the same age, she and Noodle would be great friends. And in the middle of the pic was her dad, 2-D himself. He's tall and wiry, the tallest of all the band members in fact, he has spikey blue hair, and due to two separate car accidents (which were Murdoc's fault), he lost his front tooth, and his eyes were injured, they now look like blank black circles. Murdoc gave him the nickname 2-D because his black eyes made it look like he had "two dents'' in his head. Surprisingly, her dad liked that nickname, at this point, the only people who really call him Stu anymore would be Nana and Grandpop, as well as Sharon and Mia. People would often describe her dad as, well, not very bright, sometimes saying he's thick and calling him names like "space cadet", but Celestina doesn't like any comments like that. To Celestina, her dad has his own 2-D way of thinking, and his creativity with making music is where he shines the best, and he's got a kind heart. In the attached picture, all four band mates were smiling (even Murdoc), and that made Celestina happy, seeing her dad and his old friends all back together.
"That's great!" said Mom, "What does the message say?"
"Dad said he got to England safely, he's excited to work on songs again, and that he loves and misses me, plus he sent a pic of him and the rest of the band." said Celestina. "Oh yeah, Dad says hi, and so does Russ, Noodle, and Murdoc."
"Aw that's awesome!" replied Mom, "See, I figured he would make it there okay. How do the other three look?"
"Murdoc is as green as ever," Celestina replied with a laugh, "Russel pretty much looks the same, but Noodle looks so different! She's a grown up lady!"
"Yup, I believe it," said mom with a chuckle. "Oh man, I haven't seen her since you were a baby, she was still a teenager then. Grown up so fast, both of you." she said with a sigh. "It's good they seem to be doing well." She paused, thinking, "I got an idea. We're almost there, why don't we take a few back-to-school pictures of you when we get there, and you can text them back to your dad?"
"Ooh I'd love that!" said a delighted Celestina. She was quiet for a bit before continuing. "Hey, I know I was sad before with Dad leaving, but, well, it's also really cool that the whole band is back together and they'll make more songs again."
"I know, I can't wait to hear them," agreed Mom, "but like I said earlier, it's okay to feel sad about missing him. Just don't forget that there are also a lot of good things to look forward to."
"I understand," answered Celestina. Mom had just pulled up to the school. There it was, Orbitz Public School. Mom was lining up to park at the entrance where the middle school classes were. While Celestina had seen the school many times when going on errands with her mom's around town, today the building somehow seemed larger and more intimidating. Her breath slowed down and her hands grew sweaty the closer they got to the entrance. Mom had found a parking spot and Celestina nervously left the car, carrying her backpack.
"This place is way bigger than South Lincoln," remarked Celestina, referring to her elementary school. Sharon gave Celestina's hand a comforting squeeze.
"I know it's scary," said Mom. "But you got this." Even though Celestina was still nervous, she somehow felt a bit better with her Mom hyping her up.
"I got this!" repeated Celestina.
"You're the star of your own stage," encouraged Sharon, "You knock 'em dead!"
"I'll knock 'em dead!" repeated Celestina, feeling pumped. "Oh yeah, let's get that picture taken to send to Dad" she remembered. Celestina and Sharon walked around to find a spot with good lighting in the courtyard.
"Ooh, we can take one here," said Celestina, handing the phone to her mom. She struck an adorable Sailor Moon style peace sign pose in her new uniform with the school in view in the back. After the picture got taken, she felt a gentle tap on her shoulder.
"Huh," said Celestina, before turning around to see her best friend, "Oh hey there Kailey!"
"Hi Lessie!" greeted Kailey, using the nickname she used for Celestina since they were little. Kailey was wearing the same purple and white school uniform that Celestina was wearing. She kept her short brown hair in her natural curls, and her red square glasses framed her blue eyes. The giggly girls greeted each other with a hug, before realizing that both their moms were standing by with their phones.
"Smile you two," said Mrs. Green. Both girls smiled for the camera with their arms around each other.
"Perfect!" exclaimed Sharon before handing Celestina her phone back. Celestina then quickly sent both the pics to her dad with a special message.
"So glad you made it home safely Dad. Mom and Mia say hi back. Today is me and Kailey's first day of school. Can't wait to see you again, and maybe meet the rest of the band (even Murdoc lol). Have fun recording. Love you lots! We got this!"
Shortly after she sent it, her dad replied with another quick "I love you", and Kailey got Celestina's attention.
"C'mon Lessie," said Kailey, "We still need to get our schedules."
"Oh my, that's right!" exclaimed Celestina. "We gotta get going!"
The girls gave their Moms a quick hug and said goodbye, and headed into the school. Celestina still felt a bit nervous, but she felt a lot better than this morning. She headed inside the front doors of the school with Kailey, walking through the purple and white crowd of students, feeling determined to take on the day no matter what happens.
"Celestina, you're on!"
June 25, 1967
ON CAMERA, LUCILLE BALL is the funniest female in America. They gave her a second Emmy early this month to attest to the fact.
With the cameras turned off, she is an interesting combination of several people - hard-headed business woman, mother concerned and even outraged at some of the things being done to today's children, and talented actress who, happily, does not feel a need to keep reminding everyone around her she is a talented actress.
The last is an attribute rare among Hollywood's distaff division.
It was in Hollywood this writer met Miss Ball recently and talked with her at Desilu Productions, formerly the old RKO movie studios. Lucille once worked for RKO for $50 a week; now she is president of Desilu and in the process of selling it - for 17 million dollars.
I let a tape recorder run while we talked. So, take the stand, Miss Ball.
Q. You've sold Desilu to Gulf & Western Industries for all those millions. Have you turned over control yet?
A. No, not yet. We haven't signed, or had the stockholders meeting, but it's coming up, and to all intents and purposes the deal is going thru.
Q. What are you going to do then? What about next year will there be a Lucy Show on television in 1968-69? [The coming 1967-68 season is the sixth for the program, never out of the Top Ten.]
A. I don't know. I never know about a next year until it comes. They [CBS-TV officials] always start asking me in December, and I tell them in March, April, or May.
Q. Then you don't know whether you'll do another year of Lucy Shows after 1967-68, or some other series, or what?
A. O, I wouldn't do any other series, ever. I may do the Lucy Show again, and I may not. I may just do movies. I really have no idea, not now.
Q. Don't you ever reach a point where you'd like to put your feet up and not do anything, just loaf, with all that money?
A. Sure I have a wish to put my feet up, but only because I've earned it and have something to go back to. To put them up forever wouldn't interest me. I can enjoy a vacation because it has an end.
Q. What is there to stories about you being peeved because CBS is planning to build a show around Doris Day next year? There were reports in gossip columns.
A. They didn't come from Doris Day or from me, and both of us are embarrassed. The story is true they have asked her to do something, and there apparently was an assumption by someone they were asking her to be available in case I stop.
Q. But the story is you were angry because they were planning to put so much money into this Doris Day thing, to make it so big?
A. Those are just lines people put in. I haven't any reason to be peeved, no reason to be anything but embarrassed. It doesn't matter to me, one way or the other, what they do.
Q. In your biography, provided by your publicity agent, it says that when you were a 15-year-old you enrolled in the John Murray Anderson dramatic school in New York City, and that the first lines you read caused the instructor to "close his eyes in disbelief." Did that happen, and what were the lines?
A. [Laughing] Something about water and horses, and I said "warter" and "horrrses," and he imitated me and then kind of gave up in disgust.
Q. After that, you were a chorus girl on Broadway?
A. [More laughter] Nope, never got in a chorus. I had several jobs, but always got fired before a show opened.
A. I just didn't measure up. I was tall enough and young enough to be a show girl, but I guess I just didn't make any impression.
A switch in the interview came about here. Lucille asked a question - How far from Chicago is Northwestern University?
"My daughter Lucie [15 years old] is interested in the drama school there," she explained. "A lot of great people have come from it, so it evidently has a fine way of teaching. I suggested it to Lucie, in fact, so she could be thinking about it, because she is interested in acting."
WHAT, we wanted to know, did Miss Ball think of the practice of "aiming" shows at the younger generation, of trying to capture such viewers thru sensationalism and sex.
She had thoughts on the subject, angry ones. Yes, it's being done, she said, and deliberately, in TV.
"But they are doing it in movies even more, and in books even more, more, more," she said. "I see motion pictures my children have seen, and I tell them, You went to THAT movie - They let you in THAT theater - I don't believe it.'
"Further, I can't believe kids can walk up to a rack in a store and buy the books they can buy today. I just can't believe it, but there the books and magazines are, in any stand all over the country."
Lucille Ball has been "Lucy" on television for 11 years now, from 1951 to 1957 in the I Love Lucy series, and since 1962 in the Lucy Show.
Who is Lucy and what is she like? We asked because characters on the home screens seem to develop real personalities of their own. Lucille Ball recognized this in her answer; she talked as tho of a living person, not an image on celluloid.
"Lucy is very much like I am, I've found, in her sincerity and her enthusiasm, almost childish enthusiasm, and in her exaggerations and disappointments," Lucille said. "And these are the things we play on in the show.
"We've found thru the years people love Lucy because she gets into predicaments they can understand. And we've found out something else that any man or woman playing opposite Lucy must be careful never to show what looks like real anger towards Lucy, because that will bring the audience down upon them.
"They must be long suffering in enduring the troubles Lucy causes. If they seem really impatient with our gal, viewers will say - in hundreds of letters - 'My gosh, don't you know Lucy didn't really mean to do that to you?"
Maybe it's just that Lucille, herself, attracts such sympathy from audiences. Because, back when she was playing the wife on radio's My Favorite Husband, the husband [Richard Denning] also had to be careful not to sound really angry at her on the air.
"If he did," she giggled, "letters poured in. The ones to him would say, 'How can you treat her that way?' And those to me would announce, 'You should have a more understanding husband.' Poor Richard, he couldn't win."
It seems possible. We felt mighty friendly, ourself, towards this Lucy, just from talking with her for an hour.
# # #
FOOTNOTES FROM THE FUTURE
The sale of Desilu went through as anticipated at the end of 1968. Lucy chose to re-invent “The Lucy Show” as “Here’s Lucy” renting space from Paramount and creating her own production company, Lucille Ball Productions.
The photo included with the article is from “Lucy the Stunt Man” (TLS S4;E5) aired on October 18, 1965.
CBS created a sitcom for Doris Day titled “The Doris Day Show”. Like Lucy Carmichael and Lucy Carter, Day played a widow with two children living in California. Like Ball, Day used her own first name for her character, Doris Martin. After one season on Tuesday nights, “The Doris Day Show” moved to Monday’s at 9:30pm, right after “Here’s Lucy” where ratings instantly improved.
Both shows had a very recognizable cast member in common - Nelson, the sheep dog. Other cast connected to “Lucy” were Kaye Ballard, Jackie Joseph (Ken Berry’s wife), Strother Martin, and Van Johnson. Other actors recognizable to Lucy fans were Mary Wickes, Barbara Pepper, Charles Lane, Jerry Hausner, Ross Elliott, Bobby Jellison, Lou Krugman, Shirley Mitchell, Parley Baer, Madge Blake, and many, many others.
Ringo starr today
Q: Oh, good! No weird side effects or anything? Starr: I've got both jabs and I'm feeling groovy. That (concert) is seven or eight minutes long in the original (film) – it's now 43 minutes. It's beautiful and it's joyful and we play live on the roof. So I love Peter and I love what he's doing. And every time he came to LA, he'd come over with his iPad and say, "Look at this." And I'd say, "Yes! There's laughter and there's joy," and (footage) of the band being the band: digging each other, fooling around. And we found 56 hours of unused film, so we gave (Jackson) that. I remember lots of humor, lots of laughter. We had lots of those moments, but we had a lot of loving, too, and that was never shown. It was based on a couple of seconds of what two guys (McCartney and George Harrison) went through. Starr: Yeah, I'm always moaning that the Michael Lindsay-Hogg (documentary) was miserable and it was. 27) is a recut of the 1970 film "Let It Be" about the making of the band's final album. Q: Peter Jackson's new documentary "The Beatles: Get Back" (in theaters Aug. 'Let It Be' at 50: Why the Beatles' last album is a 'mess,' but still spawned a masterpiece But I never know where they're coming from. I can't sit there like, "I'm going to write now." I write a lot of lines down that I feel could be good songs later. Rex frontman) Marc Bolan came over for dinner one night and that's how he talked: "Hey, back off! Ah, boogaloo!" Then I go to bed at night and I can hear (the chorus), "Back off boogaloo." I ran downstairs trying to put it on tape but none of my machines worked, so I was stealing batteries from my children's toys. It came out of the blue like "Back Off Boogaloo." (T. I thought I was writing a big blues number. Q: "Don't Pass Me By" is a personal favorite of mine. It was great because they were all joining in. Starr: Well, "With A Little Help from My Friends," that gave me a whole career, really. Q: Do you have a favorite Beatles song you sang lead on? I was a rock star and they made me a balladeer! (Laughs.) Then they started writing for me and ruined my whole career. They're records I love, so we did my versions. Starr: No, they'd always say, "We've got a song for you." When they couldn't be bothered writing for me, I started by doing Carl Perkins ( "Honey Don't," which the Beatles covered in 1964) or "Boys" (by The Shirelles, recorded by the Beatles in 1963). Did you ask Paul McCartney to write you a song or how did you wind up singing "Yellow Submarine?" Q: The Beatles' "Revolver" album turns 55 later this year. I mix it myself with salad and fruits and put it all in the spinner. Every morning it's berries, no matter what else is on the plate. It's always with berries. I have a protein drink (during) the day and a protein bar. The two B's, baby! I don't know if it's good for everybody, but I set my palate on what I want. Starr: Yeah, I'm telling you: blueberries and broccoli. Is it really just the broccoli, blueberries and vegetarian diet that keep you so young? I had two tours I had to let go of, and I've already canceled the May/June one this year because I don't think it'll be safe. six times? You've got to help protect yourself if you can, but I was really pissed off. I have a beautiful box here (on Zoom), but I've been in it a lot. So there's "zooming in" in that way, and I think we are all zooming in a little emotionally. When you see the (cover of) the EP, it's a big camera lens behind me. Question: Your EP is titled "Zoom In," which is a very apt title for right now. Review: Paul McCartney's experimental 'McCartney III' is a welcome return The jovial Starr, 80, who just released the new book "Ringo Rocks: 30 Years of the All Starrs," recently caught up with USA TODAY for a wide-ranging chat over – what else? – Zoom: Starr recorded the five-track effort over Zoom with famous pals including Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl, who feature on the wistful "Here's to the Nights." He also invited some musicians into his Los Angeles home studio, which "was a lifesaver for me, to be able to hang out with another musician with a mask on, at least 10 feet or 6 feet away." "There's not a lot of hugging and I'm a big hugger, but you've got to stop all that lately," says the legendary Beatles drummer, whose new solo EP, "Zoom In," is out Friday. If there's one thing Ringo Starr misses most about pre-pandemic life, it's probably the hugs.
I went to a wedding recently. It was beautiful. I always get emotionnal at weddings. When the bride entered the church, I couldn't hold back my tears. The pride and happiness on the groom's face! I felt that's what love should be like. How it looks like. And I got envious. Of their happiness, of their friendship, of their love. To have someone you can always count on. Someone who'll always be there for you, no matter what. Someone who loves you unconditionnally. I wish I had someone like that too in my life.
Love comes with responsability though. You're accountable for the other's happiness and well-being. You have to give your other-half everything you have, everything you are. And it scares me. I wish I had someone to give it all, but would I be able to? Someone told me once that being my boyfriend would be awesome because I'd take great care of them and would give them the world if I could. Would I though? I think I know myself better than that person. Or do I?
Whenever I think of that, I wonder if I'd be able to make someone happy. I don't feel like I have it in me. Sure, I'm a nice person and I like to help if I can. But being in a relationship means you're not as free as you'd think. And I don't know if I want to lose that part of my freedom. Or maybe it's because I've never been in a relationship before? Maybe that's why I don't trust myself with someone else's happiness? You never know until you've tried after all. And as one of my favorite artist says, love is a gamble, You never know if it'll be a happy or sad ending. What if I make someone feel miserable? Would I even have such power over someone? Will I be able to put my fears aside and feel it someday?
I don't even know whether I want to try or not. Sometimes I feel lonely, sometimes I feel all fine on my own. Sometimes, I feel like I'd become a better person if I was in a relationship. Sometimes, I wonder what's so good about it. And then I start imagining myself with someone. It feels so weird. So strange. Most people learn about relationships in their teens or as young adults. I'm an adult and I've never been in a relationship before. Ain't I too late for that? Can I still learn it at my age?
All my friends have children and here I am, talking about the prospect of being in a relationship for the first time. I feel so out of place. Especially when I'm with them. They talk a lot about their relationship with their husband and their children and I can only listen to them. They always ask me when they'll meet my boyfriend but I can never bring myself to tell them I'm afraid to get one.
My family even got as far as asking my mom whether I was lesbian or not. Not surprising at all. I remember I told my mom I wished I was. Because that would mean I knew what I wanted (and also because it would bother my family ha!)
I just wish I could meet someone nice who would take the time to get to know me and not try jumping on me on the first date.
Yes, I went on a few dates before. I always have great expectations and it always ends the same: the guy trying to kiss me at the end of the date. It might sound ridiculous to you all. But to me, kissing is a big deal. I can't bring myself to kiss someone I don't love. And love comes with trust. And trust comes with time. But nowadays, guys (and people in general) are not interested in taking their time. They want the whole thing as fast as possible. Nowadays, people don't court anymore. It's more like 'I find you pretty, you find me handsome, let's date'. People date and have sex first. Learning to know each other always comes last.
One of the guy I was on a date with once told me I didn't want to kiss him because I didn't find him attractive. I tried to tell him it's because kissing meant a lot to me and I just don't go around kissing random guys I barely know. But he told me he already knew me so well (we met in a club two days before and overall, we'd just been talking to each other for like 2 hours) and said he knew I didn't like him. I didn't even know it myself by then. I was still trying to figure out how I felt when I was with him. Sure, physically, he wasn't my type. But he was nice. I didn't really find his jokes funny, but overall he was a nice guy. No more, no less. It doesn't mean I'd never have been able to fall in love with him.
But seeing as he didn't want to listen to me, thought he already knew me and was kind of trying to guilt trip me, I said stop. How could I want to meet someone who wouldn't take my feelings into account again? I was already feeling awkward because he took my hand while walking and I didn't know how to tell him I wasn't okay with this. Then, he tried to kiss me and acted offended when I told him it was too early for me. He even offered to go to the theater after I rejected him. I told him I didn't like the kind of movie he was suggesting and he said people didn't go to the theaters to actually watch the movie. I don't know what he had in mind and I didn't ask. But I was disgusted. Because I didn't feel like he was really seeing me. He wasn't even listening to me. He just wanted a girl to fool around with. And I'm not such a girl.
I went out of my comforting zone on that day. Everything in me screamed not to go but still, I wanted to give it a try. Because that's what most people do when they meet someone nice. But to me, that day was a disaster and it proved me once again that I wasn't normal. Because I wasn't comfortable during that date. Because it was going too fast for me, but to him, it was nothing special. Because I don't kiss people I'm not in love with on the first date. Because I didn't feel attracted to him. He was attracted to me, I could tell but he surely wasn't in love with me. But he still told me he knew exactly what kind of person I am and that our relationship could last a very long time. Who says that on a first date? I doubted him, I doubted myself. I didn't trust him and he made me uncomfortable. Obviously, I never saw him again. But I will never forget that day.
And whenever I think of dating or meeting someone, I always think of him and that other guy who implicitly asked me to have sex with him on our first encounter.
All the men I met in my life were complete jerks. The one I thought I was dating ghosted me and I found him a week later kissing another girl. One guy wanted to date me after my two cousins rejected him. A guy I liked literally asked my best friend out in front of me just before asking me out after she rejected him. One of my colleague tried to kiss me all of a sudden when we were alone in the office (I never found myself alone with him ever again).
I just want to meet someone nice who'd be okay with taking things slow. Someone who would try to understand me and not judge me. Someone who wouldn't try to jump on me at the first opportunity. Is it too much to ask? Does this kind of person actually exist? Or am I really the weird one?
In any case, I've never been in a relationship before, but I love myself...
Crazy Bus is a short scary story about a boy who takes a ride on a strange bus and gets the fright of his life.
For years, my parents had told me about the crazy bus crash that happened near our house years ago. One morning, just days before I was born, my mother had been out in the garden, plucking weeds, when she heard a horrible noise. It was a series of high pitched screams, then a screeching of tires, followed by a tremendous crash. All of the people in the area rushed out of their houses to see what was going on.
Down at the bottom of the old coach road, they found black tire marks leading to a nearby cliff. When they rushed to the cliff edge, they saw the wreckage of a bus down below. It had apparently driven straight off the cliff and crashed on the jagged rocks at the bottom. The people ran down to where the smoking wreckage was lying strewn about, in an effort to help the survivors. They were horrified when they discovered that it was the local school bus and all of the passengers on board were their own children.
The bodies of the dead kids lay tangled in the twisted metal. Some had been thrown out of the bus as it fell and their bodies had smashed against the rocks, killing them on impact. Others had been decapitated by flying glass and shards of metal inside the bus. The parents were screaming and crying as they found the mangled remains of their sons and daughters in the charred wreckage.
When the ambulance and fire department arrived, they found no survivors. Every single child on the bus had been killed in the crash. It was the most horrific disaster the area had ever experienced. In one horrible moment, an entire generation had been wiped out. The parents of the dead children were inconsolable.
A few days later, a huge funeral was held for all of the kids who had perished. People came from miles around to pay their respects and share in the grief. Almost every family in the area had lost a child in the accident. Some had even lost two or three. Almost 40 small coffins were lowered into the ground that day.
An inquest was held shortly afterwards, and police got to the bottom of what had happened and finally determined who was to blame for causing the terrible crash. It seems that a mental patient from the local insane asylum had escaped the night before. He had broken into the bus station and stolen a driver’s uniform. That night, he lay in wait until the doors of the bus station were unlocked. Then, he crept aboard the school bus and drove out through the gates without alerting anyone.
That morning, he drove the school bus around the countryside, picking up all the unsuspecting kids who were waiting by the roadside, on their way to school. He was dressed in a bus driver’s uniform, so nobody suspected a thing. Once he had collected every kid on the route, the mental patient floored the accelerator and drove at high speed off the cliff.
The people in our area never forgot the terrible accident that escaped mental patient caused. When I was growing up, there were not very many other children to play with. Most had been killed in the crazy bus crash. The only kids that survived were those who had been too young to attend school at the time.
The story I am about to tell happened when I was thirteen years old. My parents allowed me to go to the movies at the theater in town. I met a bunch of friends there and we had a great time watching the movie. Afterwards, we lost track of time and it was very late by the time we decided to go home.
I must have been waiting at the bus stop for half an hour before I realized that I had missed the last bus. Cursing myself for being so careless, I wondered how I would manage to get home. It wasn’t all that far to walk, perhaps a mile or two. But the roads were treacherous at night because, in our area, there were no street lamps to light the way. A lot of people had been hit by cars as they walked in the darkness.
I found a payphone and called home. My mom answered and I told her I’d missed the last bus home. She began to panic, telling me that my father was out and had taken the car with him. She wouldn’t be able to pick me up. I told her I’d just walk home, but she begged me not to, saying that the roads were much too dangerous at that time of night. Even worse, it was beginning to snow, which meant that even if a car did manage to see me in the dark, it probably wouldn’t have time to brake before it hit me.
She said she would try to contact our neighbors and see if they would be able to drive into town to pick me up. After I hung up the phone, I began to get impatient. Eventually, I decided that the only thing I could do was walk home by myself, so I set off and hoped for the best.
I was walking along the lonely country road in complete darkness, trying not to trip over a pothole or fall into a ditch, when I saw headlights coming up over the hill behind me. Whether it was a car or a bus, it was coming up very fast, and quite noiselessly through the snow-covered road.
As it drew nearer, I could make out the outlines of the vehicle. It appeared to be a bus and my only hope was that the driver would be able to see me in the dark and stop for me. It came round the bend of the road, and bathed me in bright white light. The headlights blazed through the darkness like a pair of fiery meteors.
I jumped to the side of the road and waved my handbut the bus passed me at full speed and for a moment I feared that I had missed it. But then I heard the screech of brakes and the bus stopped dead a short distance ahead of me. I ran as fast as I could and came up to it just as the door swung open.
As soon as I stepped in, the door shut behind me and the driver took off again at full speed. The bus was dark inside but as my eyes began to adjust, I could see that it was almost full, despite the fact that it was late at night. I found a vacant seat and sat down, resting my weary legs.
The atmosphere of the coach seemed cold. Colder, if possible, than outside, and there was a strange and disagreeable smell. I looked round at the other passengers. They were all silent. They did not seem to be asleep, but each of them stared straight ahead. The deathly quiet was unsettling and the smell was quickly becoming unbearable.
I felt much too ill to say anything at all. The icy coldness inside the bus chilled me to the bone and the strange smell was making me sick. Shivering from head to foot, I turned to the young boy beside me and asked if I could open the window.
He didn’t answer. He didn’t even blink.
I repeated the question more loudly, but still got no answer. When I could no longer stand the stench, I reached across and tried to open the window myself but the latch broke off in my hand. It was then that I realized the window was covered in cobwebs and mildew. In fact, every part of the bus seemed to be in a terrible state of disrepair. Almost decay. The leather seats were crusted with mould, and the floor was literally rotting and breaking away beneath my feet.
I turned to the boy beside me again and asked “What is wrong with this bus?”
Without saying a word, he turned his head slowly and looked me in the face. I will never forget that look as long as I live. My heart turned cold and all the blood drained from my face. His eyes were wide and seemed as if they were popping out of his head. His face was as pale and leathery as a corpse. His bloodless lips were drawn back, showing big yellow teeth.
The words that I was about to utter died upon my lips, and a dreadful feeling of horror came over me. I became aware that everyone on the bus was staring straight at me with the same ghastly look on their faces. Their awful faces were covered in rotting flesh and their clothes were covered in dirt. Only their eyes, their terrible eyes, were living; and those eyes were all staring menacingly at me.
A shriek of terror burst from my lips as I ran down the aisle, threw myself against the door, and tried to open it. In that single instant, as the bus door swung open, I heard a mighty crash and the bus rocked to and fro like a ship in a storm at sea. Then, I heard many voices, children’s voices, all screaming in unison and I felt a crushing pain before everything went black.
It seemed as if I had been unconcious for days when I woke up and found my mom was by my bedside. She told me I had fallen over a cliff, near the old coach-road. The only reason I hadn’t been killed was that I had landed on a deep snowdrift that had accumulated on the rocks beneath. I was discovered at daybreak by a local farmer, who carried me to the nearest hospital. The surgeon found me in a state of raving delirium, with two broken legs, a broken arm and a deep cut on my forehead.
The place where I fell, my mom told me, was the same exact spot where the horrible school bus accident had happened, thirteen years before. Now, you can believe what you want. Some people may call me a liar and others may say I’m just crazy, but I know that thirteen years ago, days before I was born, I was a passenger in that crazy bus crash.