Feature of the Week – Amber’s “Misguided Ghosts”

The man’s calloused hands smoothed over the piece of paper for what felt like the thousandth time, watching it flatten against the surface of the bedside table before creasing at the center once more. A frustrated sigh escaped Elijah’s lips, before the twenty some year old forced himself to take a step back from the letter. Did it truly matter if the letter was creased? Perhaps, he was going a little overboard — making the presence of the paper just a little too obvious — but at this point, Eli was fairly sure she would be able to recognize that the small set up he had made, was all for her. After all, Shay had never been stupid; a drama queen, eccentric, and a bit of a lunatic… definitely, but never stupid.

A soft smile crept onto the male’s face at these musings, the vibrant memories of a friendship stretching back over a decade rushing to the forefront of his mind with extraordinary ease. The shrieking laughter, the hysterical fighting, the momentous adventures, and — the man laughed at it now, their silly little teenage romance a fond part of his reminiscence — the kisses.  That last bit, of course, had been rather short-lived, but nonetheless, it was all there, present in his fondest recollections — thank God. Of course, the circumstances that had led to this sudden bout of nostalgia were anything but wonderful, but after all, that was why he was going to such trouble. Eli was not one to let his best friend go so easily, especially not when he knew for a Shay wasn’t about to let go either. She was around still, checking up on him probably, and complaining about his habits definitely. And for that Elijah was forever appreciative.

Blue eyes flickering up from his uncharacteristically elegant handwriting, the man’s vision settled on the crib along the far wall of the dimly lit room. Strands of dark hair falling into the wizard’s face as he stared, paternal instinct took over a moment later. Long strides sent him forward, towards it’s softly curved wooden structure and — with the devoted curiosity of a still new Father — Elijah made to peer down at his infant daughter. Catarina was sleeping soundly, soft breaths the only noise coming from her crib. The baby was seemingly unaffected by her mother’s absence, as if she knew Gioia would soon be back from her business trip soon enough. Or perhaps she was just unaware. At a mere seven months old, Eli was in no position to blame her.

The man stood, gaze lowered over his little doll fondly, and although Elijah was sure he could stand there and watch Catarina fondly for several hours more, he was not a machine. The man needed to let his perpetual state of fatigue seize him for the night. Ever so gently Eli leaned down over the safety bar to place a kiss on the little girl’s tiny forehead, and it was with in this action, that for a split second, an image of Annabeth flashed behind the man’s blue eyes. Elijah could recall her at the same age, snuggled up next to the softest baby blanket know to humankind, fast asleep as well. Tufts of red hair had begun to be visible upon her head, and for a long time the wizard’s eyes had not left the little girl as she napped. He had been fascinated by her, completely captivated by how small her toes were and how funny her little coos sounded. And if Eli was not mistaken, that day had been the first time he had fully acknowledged, that she was family.

Returning to full standing height, blue eyes blinked in surprise at the sudden anamenesis. Though, under the circumstances, maybe it wasn’t so surprising. The male chewed at his bottom lip for a moment, having to then physically rip his fixed stare off his daughter. Elijah turned to head back to his side of the mattress in hopes that his now racing thoughts wouldn’t be enough to keep him awake. Once more, just for good measure, the man patted at the letter on his table, before climbing into bed and slipping beneath the lightweight covers, failing to turn the lamp off as he did. Eli wanted Shay to read his letter after all, and if she wasn’t able to see it, nor turn on a light, that would defeat the whole purpose of writing in the first place.

It didn’t take long for the exhausted father to drift off, his reflection — far to profound for such a late hour – soon ripening into dreams of times past. The letter lay still.

My Dearest Shayla,

I don’t think you understand how difficult this letter is for me to write, knowing that you will read it, and you will understand it, but communicating any further than exactly this is impossible. I wish it didn’t have to be so bloody unfair, but obviously, circumstances have changed for us. Not for the better mind you, but there’s no turning back time now. Regular people communication unfortunately just isn’t going to happen, not that we were ever really regular people mind you… but you know, at least we could phone. On second thought, that first bit sounds all too egocentric, now doesn’t it? Because I’m sure you will understand how I feel right now. I know this can’t just be one sided frustration, can it? You’re just as irritated as I, if not more. You’re around this house far too often to  argue otherwise, and clearly you’re not just hanging around for my cooking, that’s for damn sure.

But hey, there’s a point to bring up right there. The fact that I know when you’re around, Shay. I don’t know how to explain how I know, but I just feel it in my bones, constantly. Maybe it’s because we’ve been friends for so long or something? I really don’t know how it happens, but it does. Sometimes I can smell your perfume, sometimes objects have been moved slightly… sometimes I can even feel your eyes on me, but when I turn around you’re not there. It’s bloody exasperating! You know what, I wasn’t planning on mentioning this, but to hell with it. I’ve even heard your voice before, and I definitely heard you laugh once too. It was when I opened the dishwasher too early and practically flooded the kitchen. I was panicking, you watched it all, and you were laughing… just like old times. C’mon Shayla, just because we have similar dishwasher difficulties doesn’t mean you have to laugh at me in my own house.

Anyways, I’m thinking as a ghost, or whatever it is you prefer to be called, (A spirit maybe? Does that sound nicer? More politically correct? I don’t know.) you probably hold most of the control in your own apparitions. Perhaps with a little bit of practice you’ll actually be able to make yourself visible. Wouldn’t that be cool? I think it would, but maybe that’s just the optimistic believer in me making a spontaneous appearance. I just thought it might be nice for Catarina to grow up with a guardian angel aunty she can actually talk to. Is that really cheesy? Shit man, this is why I need you here. I’m getting syrupy with age.

By the way, in case you haven’t heard it in English yet, which is entirely plausible, that baby over there in the crib is who I’m talking about. My baby girl, Catarina Faye Mulkins. She’s seven months old now and without question, is the best thing I have ever done. Having a daughter is exhausting, Shayla. Exhausting, and amazing… but mostly exhausting. Though obviously you of all people knew that. Hell, even I knew that, I just kind of… forgot for a bit. Funny how quickly that happens. You know that I considered Annabeth my daughter right, Shay? It’s not like I never explicitly said it outloud, would have seemed strange at the time you know, but I did entirely, and still do in fact. I thought maybe when I heard the news, that Annabeth was at daycare, or at nursery school or something like that. Anything like that. It would be terrible, horrific even, but she would come live with me and Gioia in the end. We would all recover, never forget per se, but recover and heal together as a family. I would have two daughters, Anna and Cat would be the best of friends, it would have been remarkable, I would have been able to live up to my godfather duties.

But I guess that wasn’t what fate had planned for us. It’s okay, Shayla. Sweetheart, please don’t blame yourself, I know how much you loved her and how much she loved you. I miss her more than I can express but it’s a good thing she’s with you. Our Annie is just a little girl still, and she needs her mummy. Tell her that Uncle Eli still loves his baby girl, even though he can’t visit anymore. Okay?

Seriously, please do not let her forget me.

And Shay, I need you to know this, so please, keep reading. I miss you so much it physically hurts me sometimes. So much that I can feel pain shooting through my chest like that nasty little rust dagger we found behind the bar at the Lions Head. So much that somedays all I want to do is curl up in my bed and cry. I have my wife and my daughter, but you, Shay, you were a special lady. You are special. You are my best friend, you are my rock, you were there for me even when I lost it. We have so many memories… so many fucking beautiful memories, and it is that, my dear, that keeps me going even though you are elsewhere now. The memories, and the hope that I will see you again someday, because we all have to go, right? I will see you again. We will hug it out for an entire minute or two and reminisce for ages after that. We’ll talk about our antics in school, and our life as roommates, and everything else that happened in between. There certainly was a lot of in between. It’ll be good, I look forward to that day, though I don’t think it should happen too soon. I still have some unfinished business here.

You taught me so much, Shayla. You made what would have been a completely shit childhood, pretty damn good. More often than I’d like to admit I’ll look up from the living room and expect you to come sauntering into the flat ranting about some imbecile at the market. I would love for that to happen, but it’s just not going to. However you are around, you are still keeping an eye on me, (as you should be) and I can honestly say it puts me at ease. Thank you, darling, for sticking around.

I love you so much and I’m missing you always, please do not ever forget that.

Eternal love and gratitude,

Eli

—–

Houses are not haunted. We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.

DEAN KOONTZ

WEEKLY FEATURED BLOG POST

This is Abdullah’s Grade 11 Psychology writing project.  For the link to this on his blog click HERE.

A Day In The Life Of…

Anti-social personality disorder

Dear Fawn,

January 21st, 11:30 p.m.

            It is near the end of today, and beginning of tomorrow and yet again, I have killed. I don’t regret the act, nor do I intend to never do such a thing ever again. I feel dominant, euphoric, and enjoyed. It’s amazing how one simple act can immediately transform ones day from angry to elated. Despite the righteousness of the act itself, I have realized there are some people who do understand, and some people who don’t. Those who don’t: believe I’m addicted to the blood. The killing itself. The sounds of muffling screams, enveloped by the handkerchief, I veil their face with. The tingling sensation in my hand as the knife tenderly slices into the victims skin, fraying it, causing blood to pool. And sometimes if you lacerate deep enough, you get showered by a geyser like spout, forcibly pushing the blood to the surface, which causes the admirable redness to taint my tanned face, turning to crimson as it dries. Sometimes, if I’m lucky enough, it splatters my goggles to the point in which my eyes are shrouded by the very liquid that quenches my wellbeing in the same way a human is quenched by water. Like a mosquito, I too live off blood to live, difference is; I need it in order to feel, to allow my anger to subside, to not be lonely.

Then there are those who do understand, other Anti-Socials, and the therapists who claim they do. Understand that the act itself is meaningless, worthless, and if there was any other way I could attain such feelings that were associated with the kill itself; I would. I do it to avoid loneliness and feel superior. The misconceptions that really aggravate me on a daily basis is when people mistaken Anti-Socials for the Avoidants, we are able to socialize -in fact, many of the individuals like me are charming- just not in such a way that is established as norm. Though, according to therapists I had seen as a child before I made an oath to refusing treatment, I am of the 3-5 percent of males who possess such conduct and narcissistic behavior. In fact, the therapists I had seen as a child diagnosed me with conduct personality disorder and severe oppositional defiant disorder due to my prevalent acts in displaying such delinquent behavior.  Supposedly these two disorders, especially that of conduct personality disorder, can lead into antisocial behavioral tendencies as an adult. The therapists themselves are nothing but misguided. They, amongst the rest of society believe that what I do is wrong despite the fact that neither the acts I commit, the beliefs I have, nor the person I am is wrong. It is they who are misguided, hence the decision of why I refuse and don’t require therapy.

Despite my incapability as a child to veer from getting caught for delinquent acts I committed, I was smart. I had heard on the news of children being institutionalized for torturing animals’ -coincidently after I had killed my first- and promised myself I wouldn’t do such a thing to get caught for that specifically. As much as I wanted to prove my alcoholic abusive father I was great, I couldn’t control my emotions to the point to where I could completely disguise myself as the ideal child. Eventually as my anger proceeded, I made an amazing discovery; killing a human-being would give me a higher sense of self-worth, lessened loneliness, and the ability to manipulate the emotions that others feel in order to pursue my own. Not only does the murder and blood quench the burning, vexed fire within me, but a snarky, elevated feeling responds to the elation that occurs when I get away with the murderous crime I commit. That amazing discovery I made some years ago is what motivated me to commit all the jubilant murders spanning from years ago to today.

On a daily basis, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I decide to go to sleep, I feel disdain and a thirst for superiority. Often people hate what they can’t understand, and for me that means humans. A simple walk down the street can lead to a sight of affection between a man and a woman, and because I can’t grasp the emotions other feel, I gather great disdain and an automatic trigger to kill. The lack of self-conscience emotions such as guilt helps me to transform from apathy to dominantly kill without a fear of turning back. Yet as a wake up, I feel completely superior. It’s when the day proceeds on and I begin to see more people and their interactions with one another, I feel more alone, unable to respond and understand. That is the moment when I want to kill.  Though, I do not understand why killing is wrong, or why not killing is right. The question I ask myself daily lies on the same premises of ‘Why can’t I kill her, manipulate her, use her to my advantage?’ I ask myself why because I do not understand. Killing isn’t wrong; you can make anything wrong if you have enough people believe in it. Killing allows for one to feel emotions that can’t usually be felt. To say I’m emotionless is understatement. Sure I don’t feel fear, love, empathy, and guilt, but I do feel anger, frustration, glee, and contempt. People don’t feel the same way I experience emotions and that pisses me off. It’s not only the matter of me not understanding their minds, but them not realizing that my way of life is the true norm.

The hardest part is at work. Especially on a day like today. Susan, the secretary at the office I work at, is the biggest coward I’ve ever seen in my life. She cries when someone get hurt, when she gets hurt, when you get sad, when she gets sad, she loves too much, talks in an empathetic tone to anyone in need, she even over emphasizes her anxiety when she claims for a situation to be too stressful. I was right when I guessed that her emotion would be at its all time peak when I decided to rid of the living emotional burden. Though, I do admit, I felt a great deal of euphoria when my superiority had her tied down to the table, cutting her open, watching tears stream down her face in abundance like the falls of Niagara, listening to the screams trying to screech beyond the cloth that muffled it. The thickening of her blood and is viscosity as it poured out of her wounds as I made more and more incisions. I felt even a greater deal of delight knowing that the authorities amongst everyone else would know nothing more besides that fact that she was murdered. They wouldn’t know of the place, the time, and best of all the person who murdered her. It was all in my power, I could reveal as I please, and disguise as I please. I am of superiority, and not only do I know it, but they do as well.

As I amputated her limbs, joint-by-joint, in preparation for her disposal, I felt nothing but a final peace of mind for rest of the day. Although I knew at that moment and still know now that tomorrow would harbor the same emotions as today, I still felt a peace of mind. The steady calmness fluctuated through my electric body, fueled by nothing but the draining of emotion through the blood of others.  I knew that the steady calmness would be soon replaced by recurring emotions of anger and longing contempt, day after day, but unfortunately not every day would result in such a murder as the one today. I enjoy the feeling of getting away with their deaths and overpowering the authorities, but in order to continue to do so, I’m aware that I can’t kill every single day. As difficult as it is, I have to refrain from flaunting my superiority over my victims and in the media. I can’t kill when the authorities are on high alert. I also can’t keep from killing to long. It’s impossible.

I ridded of her remains and proceeded on with my evening. I relived the experience over and over again in my mind, pleasured by the sights reeling within me. Savoring every moment as long as it would fulfill me, before I felt a compulsion to do it again. A compulsion greater than the one I feel right now. I always want to kill, and I always want to get away with it. The thrill engrosses me and I thoroughly enjoy the pleasure it presents me with. Though, I do admit, the reliving of the moment is enjoyable as well. The night is a shadow enveloping me in its secretive disguise, harboring an endangered safety that I have control over and power to control. I do not know when I shall kill again, but I do know it will happen soon.

 

My Thoughts:

As mentioned through the character I chose to put my shoes into and live a day in their life, I am amongst the people who don’t understand. I can’t begin to fully comprehend how it would feel to not feel love, guilt, or conscience emotions, and instead feel manipulative, thorough anger, and a lust for superiority. Being in the state of mind that I am right now, I’d venture to believe that living with such psychotic disorder would be saddening and willingness to change. But based on the definition of psychosis (believing what you are is right, and your reality is the true reality) and the research of the thoughts of one with severe Anti-Social behavior living with it would be a struggle between thrill of the kill and anger due to other peoples emotions. Living with such disorder would lead to a continuous suffering of intense anger that can quickly subside or progress into a brutal killing. The ‘high’ of feeling euphoric and superior after the kill would be rewarding, but that would soon fade into a compulsion of having to kill again. My thought of having emotions and living with the psychosis would be extremely tough. Despite the fact that they believe what they are doing is right, I believe that living with the disorder would be extremely difficult. The short period of time in which you feel euphoria and the lack of comprehension of other people emotions are difficult due to the huge amounts of frustration that occurs. The anger that one would feel as a result of not being able to have empathy and emotion the same way as everyone else would be difficult but seemingly fixable through murder as well.  Living with Anti-Social Personality Disorder would feel like living in emptiness, unwillingness to feel lonely, and desensitized. It would feel empty because the emotions you would feel if somebody directly affected you would be deprived and only lead to anger and lust for dominance when others around you are reacting in a uniform way. It would feel desensitized because living with the disorder would mean not feeling bad or remorse for anything you have done in your life. Showing only brutality and nothing else. Living with the emotion wouldn’t mean avoiding social situations and not feeling anything at all, but instead living with the psychosis would result in a tendency of attractive lying and charming behavior which would lead to leading a very different social life. It would also lead to feeling the same emotions differently and to a different extent while at the same time not feeling some of the same emotions society feels at all. In conclusion, living with such psychosis would be extremely difficult and would harbor a short-term elation due to the criminal acts that would be continually committed. It would feel as if desensitization is dominant and superiority is a lust and needs to be attained. Living with the psychosis would feel completely normal and as if nothing is wrong, though right rom wrong wouldn’t be normally established. Living with Anti-Social Personality disorder, especially severely, would be an ongoing struggle in pursuit for a happiness that is short-lived.

Student Blogging Challenge – Week 4

https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2013/03/24/challenge-4-using-images-in-posts/

Even though this is a week of freedom, I feel we need a post about using images.

Can you use any image on the internet?

No you can’t.

You can use images that are creative commons where the owner has given you permission to use the image as long as you include attribution. Here is a chart about the different licenses for images. There are many websites and search tools on the web for finding images that are creative commons. Some of these give you the attribution in an easy format as well. The one I have found easiest to use is compfight.

If using images from Wikimedia, here is a post about their licensing and what is acceptable by them. Here is their post about using wikimedia commons outside of wikimedia.

If you are administrator on an Edublogs or campus Edublogs platform blog, check out the plugins in your dashboard. Do you have one there called Compfight? If yes then activate it and look at the settings. These are the settings I use.

Once you have activated and checked your settings, the icon next to the word Compfight will now appear in your post dashboard next to the other insert/upload icons. To add a creative commons image to your blog post is now only one click away. You also have attribution  included.

How to add the image and attribution.

  • 1. Write your complete post.
  • 2. At the end of your post on a new line, click on the compfight icon.
  • 3. Put in your search term and find a small image that you want to use.
  • 4. Click on the S under the image.
  • 5. Now the image you chose and the attribution is at the bottom of your post.

Moving and aligning your image

You will notice most images I use are in the top right corner of my post with writing to the left of that image. How do I do that?

  • 1. Click on the image and drag it so the cursor is at the beginning of the first line on my post.
  • 2. Click on the image and click on the first icon you see. This will take you to an area where you can align the image to the right.
  • 3. Click on the advanced settings tab of this page and put 10 in both the vertical and horizontal boxes. This will now give me a space around the image so my writing doesn’t run right into the image.
  • 4. Now update.

For those who don’t have the compfight plugin

You can still find images easily at the Compfight website.

  • 1. Put in your search term.
  • 2. Once the images are shown, on the left sidebar make sure these words are in black – tags only, creative commons, show originals, safe and pop up on
  • 3. Choose an image below the dotted line – these are free and creative commons now
  • 4. Save the small version of the image to your computer – change the filename to something relating to the image instead of the numbers
  • 5. Copy the code in the box
  • 6. Back to your blog post which you have already written – at the bottom on a new line paste in the code using Ctrl V – change the tab from visual to HTML before pasting the code – then change back to visual to add your image.
  • 7. Click at the beginning of the line where you want your image to appear.
  • 8. Use the insert image icon at the top of your post, to find and download the image you have now saved on your computer drive.
  • 9. Once the image has been crunched and downloaded, you can align the image to the right.
  • 10. Click on the advanced settings tab of this page and put 10 in both the vertical and horizontal boxes. This will now give you a space around the image so your writing doesn’t run right into the image. Now update.

If using a blogging platform other than Edublogs, check out the help sites linked below.

Blogger or blogspot or kidblog

Other websites or tools for images, clip art etc

You will need to work out how to get the attribution to put on your posts.

Morguefile – a great post explaining how to use including attribution

Open ClipArt

Flickrcc – Here is a post I have written about using flickrcc

Pics4learning – A post I have written about using this website.

Activities relating to images

  • If you have used images in previous posts, go back and give attribution for the images. If they are not creative commons, GNU or fair play, then you will need to take the images out of your posts.
  • Write a post about your passions and find an appropriate image to include. Remember attribution needed.
  • Find a great image and write a post about it.

 Activity relating to the number 10

Put together an animoto, slideshow, poster or collage on a theme using 10 images you have found eg Animals at the zoo. Remember to add attribution as an image at the end of the animoto or slideshow. Include attribution with each image on your collage or poster.

Do you have any other great sites for finding images, clipart, music, sounds etc?

Please leave a comment on this post so other readers can share your knowledge.

Student Blogging Challenge Week 3

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2013/09/22/week-3-a-week-in-the-life-of/

Answer some of these questions by writing one or more posts or present using a variety of tools mentioned in the sidebar:

  1. What time do you normally get up to go to school?
  2. What do you normally have for breakfast, recess, lunch, tea (dinner, supper)?
  3. How do you get to school?
  4. How long does it take to get to or from school?
  5. A typical lunch at school
  6. Subjects you have to do – remember to explain abbreviations like LOTE and ELA
  7. Specialist subjects or electives, options
  8. Technology in your school
  9. A typical schoolday with timetable and breaks
  10. What do you do at break times? Games, activities etc
  11. School bell has gone for end of day – what happens now?
  12. Do you have to wear uniform?
  13. How many days per year are you at school? How is this arranged – terms etc?
  14. What do you enjoy most about school?
  15. If you could improve your school, what would you do?

You might like to run some surveys in your school re questions 1,3,4 and 10