Tatted Up

Readers, I forgot to mention that I got a tattoo last week! My sisters and I wanted to do something together that signified our commitment to each other. We may have been brought together by family, but we are choosing to stay together because we love each other.

Being apart from my eldest sister this past year has been really difficult for all of us. We had to get to know one another all over again during the past two weeks, but ultimately we are stronger in our relationship because of the challenges we faced together.

It took us forever to come to a consensus about what we wanted, how it would look, and where to place it. All of us had to compromise, but it was important that we all got the same thing. We decided on a lotus blossom for a number of reasons: (1) it’s the national flower of India, (2) it’s a symbol for purity, beauty, and flexibility, and (3) it’s really pretty. :)

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We went to a place called Tattoo Bills in Charlotte, NC. They were really nice and accommodating. I highly recommend them! We decided to go in age order, so I went last. Before my experience, a lot of people told me that getting a tattoo doesn’t hurt all that much. A lot of people are liers! It hurt SO MUCH. It was like getting deeply scratched by a cat with really long nails. The memory of that pain will haunt me. Luckily, it didn’t take more than 10 minutes. It’s strange that permanently altering your appearance should take that little time and be such an easy process…you know, besides the excruciating pain.

I’m kind of a badass now, cause I’m tatted up. ;)

Beck

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Life is Beautiful

Graduation

Who is in charge of speeding up and slowing down time? Whoever it is, you’re fired, because the past two weeks have sped by in a moment. When I was a kid, I remember my parents telling me that time would pass faster the older you get; they weren’t kidding. I wonder why it’s so hard to slow down and make the most out of enjoying the moment.

I graduated 12 days ago. It was a beautiful day. So much happened that weekend, it’s hard to process! I just remember smiling so much it hurt. I wanted to stretch each second out like taffy, so it would last as long as possible. When I finally drove away and realized I didn’t have any excuse to go back, it was a bittersweet feeling. That day I felt invincible, because I had accomplished something really hard, something not many others get to do.

My invincibility didn’t last long though. My car didn’t care that I had to drive to Raleigh that day; it still blew a tire. It turned out to be a nail. It was Memorial weekend though, so I had to wait until Monday to get my tire patched. A small hiccup in the day’s festivities, but a sobering one for sure. The rest of the day I spent driving 50mph on the highway for more than two hours trying get everyone where they needed to be.

The next day, my parents renewed their marriage vows and we had a celebration at church. I woke up early, got out my nicest salwar kamez, and headed to the church with my family. In our usual fashion, we were more than 30 minutes late, but what can you do when your entire family is wired for Indian Standard Time? We ate a cake with one of my parents’ cheesy wedding photos printed on it, and hung out/took naps in the afternoon. That night, we headed to an impromptu dinner at The Pit in Raleigh.

On Monday, I said goodbye to my hilarious Uncle and Mississippi friends who travelled up for the weekend. I also traveled down to Charlotte in order to spend as much time with my sister before she left for home in Seattle. I dropped her off at the airport yesterday. I miss her so much already!

What I’ve written here is basically a summary of events that I’ve participated in over the past two weeks. What I haven’t written here are the crazy ups and downs, dramatic arguments, and frustrating obstacles that my family and I have worked through in this short amount of time. The marriage vow renewel ceremony was also a family renewel ceremony. My family has been apart for so long, and we are just beginning to be knit back together. I am getting used to having my Dad around, referring to his judgement, and receiving affection from him.  At times, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s a discomfort I welcome, because I know it is good. We’re all having to relearn how to trust, rely on, and be there for each other. I may have come from a broken home, but it is no longer broken; for that, I praise God.

Beck

My Nerd is Showing

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I’m a HUGE Lord of the Rings and Tolkien nerd. I’m too big of a Lord of the Rings/Tolkien fan to not write about The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, even if it’s a bit late. I saw the premiere and…I didn’t like it very much. Sad, I know. Here’s my beef with PJ’s adaption of the story.

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The scene at the beginning of the film with Gandalf and Thorin was unnecessary as it did not tell us anything we didn’t know before except how all this started, which hardly matters in my opinion.*

Oh my Tolkien-gods. Azog and his orcs are one of the most annoying things about this movie. Their sole purpose is to move the company from one place to another as quickly as possible. They basically replace the ring wraiths from FOTR. KMN.

I did like Beorn and I wish we could have seen more of him. I liked the way Gandalf had the dwarves meet Beorn in the book better (two at a time, every five minutes) because it showed us how careful and smart Gandalf was. Oh well. I understand that the movie can’t be the book, but that doesn’t keep me from being disappointed.

Mirkwood was really cool. I like the way the dwarves get disoriented and loose the path. It was cool how it happened in the book too though with them following the lights of the elves, etc. I kind of missed the sleeping river bit with Bombur. I think that could have been really funny to see on screen.

I like that Bilbo could understand the spiders when he put his ring on. This was done really well. The only thing I sort of have a problem with is when Bilbo lost the ring and kills a baby spider to get it back. Although it was interesting to see this part of him and I think it was done well, I feel that his relationship with the ring is developing too fast. In the book, the ring is used when needed but Bilbo doesn’t feel such strong attachment to it, not to the point when he would kill for it. He’s already killing for it and he’s only had it for a few weeks at most. It takes Frodo at least a few months before he gets to that point in LOTR.

Wood elves provide a lot of opportunity for spiffy action fighting sequences. I’m not opposed to this. The scene between Thorin and Thranduil is also interesting, although I’m wondering what the deal was with Thranduil’s face. I hope that is explained more in the third film. What can I say about the barrels out of bond escape sequence? It was different from the book, obviously, and I can’t say I liked it more. The orcs are as relentless as they are pointless. I’m so tired of them showing up everywhere.  Also, there is another video game scene with Bombur knocking over orcs in his barrel. It was funny but, SMH, PJ.

The whole Legolas-Taurial-Kili love triangle is a cheap way to bring romance into the films and is completely unnecessary. This plot element is what made my initial reaction to the film a bad one. (Also, eww to Evangeline Lily’s acting.) If I wanted a love story, I wouldn’t watch an LOTR film. First of all, Tauriel and Kili “fall in love” after two scenes together, which is very unrealistic to me because dwarves and elves HATE each other. Legolas doesn’t need a new reason (i.e. Tauriel and Kili together) to hate dwarves, he already does. Second, making a dwarf-elf pair undermines the significance of the Legolas and Gimli friendship in LOTR. Legolas and Gimili are the two that are supposed to bring the races together and give hope for reconciliation. Third, I’m not opposed to Legolas having a love interest, but it is a bit pointless considering we all know he sails to the Undying Lands with Gimli after the war of the ring. Overall, anytime there is anything remotely romantic happening in the film, I have to fight the urge to vomit and/or slit my wrists.

I like Bard. (He looks exactly like Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean!) His family is super annoying though, especially his daughters, who are only good for screaming. If you’re going to add this many new unnecessary characters, at least make me care about them. The family may as well be made of cardboard. Also, why is Esgaroth and everyone in it so dirty/poor? Is there no sanitation department? I couldn’t live there with that mess. Speaking of Esgaroth, it didn’t quite feel like Middle Earth. It felt very much like a part of our world, just from an earlier period. Perhaps this was on purpose, but it was distracting. I didn’t like Lake Town very much. I was expecting it to feel more Bree-like because it’s mostly a human dwelling. Did anyone else notice that Alfrid, the Master’s henchman, is basically Wormtongue?

Did anyone catch the two black people strategically placed in the background of Lake Town?!?  I guess PJ and co. got tired of hearing the criticism about not hiring minorities in LOTR. Haha

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The scene of Gandalf in Dol Guldur and the subsequent fight between Gandalf and the Necromance/Sauron was one of the most amazing scenes in the film. Gandalf was in full cool wizard mode and Sauron was super scary. Even though the Tolkien purist in me was screaming in frustration, I really like this addition to the story. (It kills me to admit it.) How is Gandalf going to get out of prison? I’m excited to find out.

Am I the only one who thinks the dwarves give up WAY too easily after they apparently fail to find the key hole? They came all that way, spent five hours of film getting there, and are ready to give up and go home after two minutes of searching? That’s unrealistic to me. Of course, it gives Bilbo a great opportunity to show his quality. By the way, I think he does steal the Arkenstone, although the movie doesn’t make that point clear. It’s necessary for the third film, although who knows what PJ is doing to the rest of the original story line.

I absolutely love Smaug. He was beautiful and Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job. I also think Martin Freeman did a fantastic job, although I wish Bilbo had waited longer before taking off his ring. He seemed a bit too frightened. The Bilbo in the book was wittier and more confident I think. Smaug also was extremely perceptive when it came to the one ring and guessing that a “darkness” was coming, etc. How would he know about that if he had been sleeping for so long?

Although I appreciate that the dwarves tried to fight/trap Smaug, there was no way using molten gold was going to work. Gold is too soft a metal to really trap him and dragons are impervious to fire, so the temperature wasn’t going to do anything either. It looked cool, but that’s about it. One of the numerous pointless things PJ added to the film/story.

I liked the movie more the second time, but I’m not ready to say it was awesome. I never thought I would be neutral about a LOTR film, but so it is. Overall, I think it borrows way too many plot elements/lines from LOTR. (“We’re part of this world.”) I really can’t wait for the fan cut where they take all the Taurial mess out.

Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” is a great song. I love it.

*All of this is my opinion and hardly matters, so don’t get up in arms about what I have to say. This is my blog!