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In The Winter of My Discontent

If our moods are affected by the weather then it explains why I’ve been so uninspired and restless the past two days. I lived in a subtropical, Southern Atlantic – coastal State for nearly 26 years. This place, if anything, was constantly changing… humid, wet, often cloudy or raining, you just got used to the fact that it could be sunny one minute, raining the next, then sunny again the following minute. I used to love that it could be raining in one place and a block away the sun is peeking through the clouds and not a drop as fallen. Upon moving to SoCal – after about 6 months of continual sunshine, I mean not one cloudy or rainy day, I felt like I was going to explode! I missed it. I missed rain. There was no break from the sun. It cooks everything here. There’s very little green. It’s dry and mostly cool where I live. Which is another contradiction; I heard of “Sunny Southern California” my entire life. Where I’m from you associate the sun with warm weather so I assumed that SoCal would be warm; it’s not. You need layers of clothing even in the summer. The evenings can get quite cool. There’s often a 30 degree temperature differential between day and night. That’s a lot! Once I got past my initial reclamation to the constant barrage of sunlight, I learned to relish it. All of these sunny days means I can ride my bike pretty much 365 days a year. In all honesty there’s perhaps a dozen days I can’t. I also learned the first time I visited the East Coast after about a year and a half in SoCal that the opposite reaction had formed regarding my initial pining for rain. Once I was in the middle of a nasty Summer torrential downpour, I was seriously missing the sun and the blue sky. For the past two days it’s been raining and I’ve not been able to ride my bike. I feel cooped up, edgy, restless, and honestly, a little depressed. Fresh cool air, sunlight, blue sky and the pavement to challenge my legs… I feel a little lost. Don’t get me wrong, SoCal is experiencing a horrible drought and I know we need the rain. But rain means very dangerous roads. See the roads here are not engineered for rain. Where I grew up, all of the roads are slanted slightly to allow the rain to run off into the shoulder where it can then be diverted into culverts. Here, because there’s so little rain on yearly basis, this added cost of engineering and construction isn’t justified and the roads are mostly flat. Which means water builds up on them. What is worse is the oils and grease from countless cars builds up and reacts with the water, making many of the roads very slippery and dangerous. As a cyclist, it’s really a dangerous task to ride roads here that don’t have bicycle lanes. There’s about 4 miles of my 15 miles daily ride where I’m riding the white line on the shoulder – with 6 inches to move and cars flying by me at 50-60mph. I have bright LED flashing lights and wear high-contrast yellow and black with white and yellow reflective strips… so it’s hard to miss me. But still, I am cautious. There are more car accidents and deaths on California’s roads during rain than any other time. I’d be practically suicidal to ride in this mess. It reminds me of the 4-5 months a year I couldn’t ride in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia , where I’ve lived. Snow, harsh rains, bitter winds, from late October to late March I might have a dozen days I can ride. I posted photos from my Thanksgiving Day this past week. I rode 55 miles on my bike that day before driving up to Santa Barbara to my good friend’s home for dinner with a dozen other artists, musicians, and writers. This is a photo from my last Thanksgiving on the East Coast, November – 2005 – on my parent’s property deep in the Highlands of North Carolina. I guess I have to do now what I did then… jump on the stationary bike and ride indoors.
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I am very weather-sensitive when it comes to mood as well. I have lived somewhere with wonderful temperate weather all year round, and places that are stormy and extreme. Actually, I found that I missed the variety and wanted a good storm to clear the air, even though the other place was nicer all year round. I think part of the reason is that creativity often flourishes in conflict - and that includes the weather! Storms, weather changes and weather extremes do so much to shake you up out of your ruts and also bring so much inspiration and mood material for stories and art.
Most people in Southern California get really excited when it rains. But I think that anyone who moved to Southern California from a region that gets tons of weather feels a little ripped off when So.Cal gets a storm. It's not supposed to rain! False advertising! (And it doesn't help that the traffic gets SO MUCH WORSE.) I'm so relieved we're back to sunshine.
@WordDoctor your right, I find stormy and extreme weather the best time for writing. I always feel so much more creative when it's raining or there's a strong wind, or even a lightning storm.
It's crazy how weather affects our mood. I caught myself moping about the rain yesterday here in Santa Barbara. I wasn't prepared for the downpour and I had no umbrella. I got soaked while walking to class and now I'm sick. Then, today, the clouds were slowly going away and I saw a glimpse of the sun and I thought, "No!! Rain, come back!" Haha, so interesting how we miss something when we don't have it anymore.
@danidee - I actually laugh at people's reaction to rain here. In Savannah, Georgia - where I lived for nearly 30 years - in the summer you can get big thunderstorms that roll in off the Atlantic Ocean - the water off the coast there is warm because it comes up from the tropics, mixed with cool high atmosphere air, the result is explosive. A summer thunderstorm can drop 2-3 inches in an hour on average and as much as 6 inches. The average yearly rainfall in LA is around 15 inches. Let's think about a city like Seattle, WA - which is supposedly known for it's rainfall. Seattle gets around 36 inches of rain per year. Savannah gets 50 inches. What is called "rain" here - is called a gentle spring shower or "sprinkles" in Savannah. LOL. I love that people here get umbrellas and rain coats and rain boots and all sorts of silliness. And I usually walk around with nothing - because truthfully, walking from your car in the parking lot of the grocery story inside - you can brush what water you get on you off. Yeah. I mean - I don't mind that it rains here from time-to-time. I just mind that everyone here seems to loose their minds. But then in Savannah - it might snow once every 10-12 years. Savannahians go nuts when it snows like Angelinos do when it rains. So it's all relative I guess. :D
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Jungkook No Longer Baby Boy (+19)
Que tal peeps! WE ARE STILL COUNTING DOWN TO JUNGKOOK'S BIRTHDAY IN THE AMS COMMUNITY. THIS IS A QUICK FANFICTION THAT CONTAINS MATURE CONTENT! Jungkook has always been like a little brother to you and you always looked after him, especially when the guys picked in him. You were planning a special birthday surprise for him with the guys. "He should be happy he gets a cake." Yoongi scuffed. "Well well now lets not be too mean Yoongi...he is the youngest." I said while writing down ideas. You and the guys came up with a plan. You and Jin would bake a cake and cook food. Hobi and Tae would clean up while Namjoon and Yoongi decorated. "Namjoon please don't break anything." Hobi laughed. Namjoon rolled his eyes and laughed. The next day it was super hot in the office and all you wanted to fo was take a shower. You rushed home and jumped into the shower. Jin would be shopping for food with Namjoon while the others bought decorations. Jungkook would be at the library volunteering so everything should be finished then. The water felt so good as you allowed it to hit your skin. You had your relaxing body wash. You inhaled the lavender scent and lathered up your body sponge. You began cleaning and singing when you seen a pair of eyes looking in the small crack of the door. You paused thinking you seen something else. You didn't know if your mind was playing tricks on you. Then you looked back and no one was there. You finisjef showering and walked down to your room. You noticed Jungkook's door was cracked. This was strange cuz he always locks his door. You pay no mind and get dressed. The crew arrived and you all get to preparing the surprise birthday for Jungkook. You were pleased how everything played out. Namjoon only broke 3 things which is good. You walked to your room to get an extra present you brought for Jungkook when you noticed your pantry drawer was opened. Your neatly arranged panties were all a mess. You picked up the present wrapped in shiny red wrapper and seen that Jungkook's door was cracked wider. You walked down the hall and heard odd noises. "Yass gosh noona..." You peeped your head in without makjng a sound and saw Jungkook with your panties in his hand. He was licking a pink pair with a red pair wrapped around his man hood. Jungkook was stroking himself. You found yourself shook for a moment. But then you began watching out of enjoyment. Your breathing goth heavier. Jungkook slowly his hand motion and grinned. "I know you are watching me noona." You covered ur mouth. But a gasp escaped ur wet lips. "Jungkook why do you have my panties? "Noona you know I want you. I made that clear last week when I spanked the hell out of you. Remember you made me promise not to tell." You walked into his room and closed the door. "Shh boy that was a mistake." "A mistake?" Jungkook said while raising his eyebrow. He smiled while looking at the gift I had. "Nice wrapping but do you know what I really want noona?" Jungkook smirked. Jungkook walked closer to be still hard as a brick and stood behind me allowing his hard on to rub between by cheeks. He let out a groan. "I know you been with all the guys nonna, they brag about it. I want you now." Jungkook said. "Jungkook...look those days are behind me. I'm no longer group banging trash." "Okay I will just spread the word at work." Jungkook laughed. "Fine Jungkook." I hissed. Jungkook pushed me on my stomach while sliding my shorts to the side. He was happy to see I had in no panties. He stuffed a pair or my panties he had in my mouth and plunged deep inside me without mercy. The pink wet panties muffled my scream of pleasure. Jungkook pounded me hard and fast. "Noona you were all wet from watching me?" Jungkook smacked my butt hard. "ANSWER me. You like watching me wack off?" I nodded as he pulled me hard into him. He switched so we were facing the mirror and began pounding me hard hitting all my spots. "Look at that little face. You love it noona. Yoongi said you like it rough." I surprised Jungkook and pusjed him back on his butt. I climbed on top of him. "You gotta do more to get me off little baby boy." I said while grinning. I began riding him hard and fast while pulling his hair. He began sucking my right breast as I rode him. "Yass that's a good baby boy." I moaned. I could see he was coming to the edge and so was I. The room echoed of slapping skin. "Noona yasss! Oh shit!" Jungkook moaned while exploded in me. The explosion made me go over the edge. My vision was so blurry. Suddenly the crew busted in "Happy Birthday Jungkook!" "Shit looks like we got to the party late." Yoongi blurted. 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I Went To The Most Haunted University In The USA
When we think of ghost stories we think of bumps in the night, voices, shifting objects and light flickers. When I think of ghost stories, I think of Ohio University. OU is the oldest University in Ohio, and is home to several terrifying legends. Athens, Ohio houses The Ridges (a formerly bonkers insane asylum where they practiced the art form of "Ice Pick" lobotomies EEK), five cemeteries that form a perfect pentagram around the center of campus, and Wilson Hall (a haunted classroom building that used to be a dormitory. Many students heard the screams of a student who committed suicide there in the 1970's). The paranormal activity touches every person that attends OU. It doesn't matter if you're a teacher or student. Somehow, the ghost stories become real. I remember checking in to Ewing Hall on Ohio University's glorious South Green as a lowly freshman. It's the perfect college setting, full of bustling students going to class, people playing Frisbee and catch on the green. A few months into college I remember waking up in the middle of the night to a loud thumping noise above me. I turned over and forgot about it, because it was probably the person above me. Then, I remembered I lived on the 4th floor. [Here I am in my haunted room, Freshman year of college] That was my first encounter with a ghost my friends and I later named Chester. I ended up moving out of that room later in the semester because one opened up next to my friends on the other side of the floor. Chester ended up slamming doors and knocking things over, groaning in the night loud enough for everyone to hear, but he never did anything too spooky. When I moved across the floor to the other side, I thought I had rid myself of Chester the ghost. People on the other side of the floor heard furniture moving around...things being knocked over, screaming from inside my now empty room. We ended up unlocking it with our R.A. and noticed that things had been moved around. The matress was off the bed and the desk had been flung three feet from where I had left it. Chester wasn't happy that I had left. A few days passed and I hadn't heard from my ghost friend. I guess he didn't want to make the trek across the floor to visit me. And that was a good thing. Sophomore year I was in the building next to Ewing...Wray Hall. Herman returned, moving things, flickering lights and stomping violently on the ceiling. I remember yelling "Chester STOP!" and he would. He wasn't exactly friendly, but didn't hurt me any either. Though my personal ghost story might not scare you, these legends from OU's campus definitely will. Let's start with The Ridges. I mentioned that it was a mental hospital, insane asylum not unlike what you saw in the second season of American Horror Story. Some of the Ridges campus is used as a Kennedy Center for Art, but most of it lies abandoned. Though the grounds are lush and green there is something wicked in the air. You have to drive up a steep-ass hill to get to The Ridges. It sits atop an appalachian giant overlooking the busy Ohio University campus. You can see it from almost anywhere. It's a hulking structure, mostly post-victorian with bars all over the windows. As soon as you set foot anywhere near it, you can feel the haunting presence of its ghosts. Trust me. After the great mental health collapse of the early 1900's The Ridges turned into a nightmarish place where patients were treated with electro-shock therapy, ice baths and ice-pick lobotomies (you know, that thing that happens to McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). Essentially they jammed an ice pick through your eye socket and into your brain to "alleviate pressure" and make you a "normal" person. It ended up killing lots of people and leaving the ones that survived totally brain dead. Several freaky things happened at The Ridges before its doors were shut forever. December 1st of 1978, a patient named Margaret Schilling vanished. According to legend she was playing hide and seek with some nurses. They got distracted and stopped looking for her. She was gone for over a month, until her body was found in her room by a maintenance worker in January of 1979. The fact that someone died at the Ridges isn't too creepy, considering it was a primitive mental hospital, but this is: A stain was left on the floor of her room. And after countless bleachings and cleaning attempts the stain would re-appear. The Journal of Forensic Sciences studied the stain and revealed that it was indeed the result of human decomposition. Margaret was left there for 5 weeks. And every time someone tried to remove the mark, it came back, furthering the proof that she was haunting the grounds of the place she was left to die in. The asylum has a cemetery attached to it as well to act as the burial grounds for the patients that were admitted through the court system who had no friends or family to cover burial costs. My senior year of college I shot a short film with some Film studies graduate students in this cemetery. It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. There was definitely bad energy all around. Walking through the cemetery, you can see the unmarked graves. People who died without a name...nobody to mourn them. The cemetery in this picture above is elevated, hidden above the grounds. Some of the stones are marked with flags for veterans who came from the Athens area, but most of them are unmarked. Blank. Nothing. [A tour of the TB ward at The Ridges.] The Tuburculosis Ward at The Ridges is by far the scariest part. This was where the most violent and disturbed people would be quarantined. Most of the They ended up tearing it down my Sophomore year of high school due to a number of things, but I think it's because it was too haunted to be kept standing. There was lead based paint everywhere, broken windows and people kept breaking into it and hurting themselves. It's like Pet Sematary up in there...if you go in, you're cursed forever. [The staff of Brick Beats Magazine at OU in front of the TB ward, hey...I'm in the middle!] So of course, I went there. Being the idiot that I've always been, I was intrigued by the antique structure and the haunted, terrifying lore attached to it. I took some of my friends, who were all working for this music magazine I had become the co-Editor-In-Chief of freshman year. We took some pictures for an issue up there. And man...just looking up at that building...the memory of it gives me the chills. This was shortly before it was torn down. On the way up, one of our cars got stuck, we ended up hearing a lot of screeching and rattling and yes...there were open windows covering us in paranormal fear. I never went back. While i could go on for years about how scary The Ridges is, I'd better move the final tale I'll tell. The most haunted point on campus is Wilson hall. It lies in the center of a "pentagram" created by five cemeteries surrounding the campus. See that star in the middle? That's West Green, a major spot for dormitories and a hub for kids on campus. [Wilson Hall was featured on SyFy's "Scariest Places on Earth". Room 428 is referred to as "Satan's Dormitory"] Room 428 of Wilson hall is the most haunted place in all of Athens. A young man died there in the 1970's, his death was never ruled a suicide or a murder. It was just left unsolved. A young female student died in room 428 later, after allegedly practicing some occult rituals there. She used the room's "dark energy" to practice some kind of witchcraft that enabled her to leave her body through her spirit. People call it "astral projection". She also contacted the dead. According to legend, the girl died violently in the room, smearing her own blood on the walls. Apparently all of the dark spirits in room 428 drove her her to kill herself, but we'll never know. Wilson Hall was built on an Indian Burial ground...that may be the reason for all of the paranormal activity and deaths. School officials closed it off and turned it into a boiler room, but screams and horrific sounds could still be heard. The building is still a dormitory. Athens, Ohio was voted the 13th most haunted place in the world. THE WORLD. I haven't thought about these legends, these hauntings that occured at my alma matter in a while. And with Halloween coming up it's no surprise that they're on my mind. You may not believe in ghosts, but if you ask any Ohio University Bobcat? I'm sure they do.