Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking back on 2013

So, it's finally come... the very last day of 2013. Man, in some ways the year feels so, so short, but in other ways it seems incredibly long! The things I've done this year, the changes that have happened, the friends I've met and made, it's been a BIG year.

Haha, so considering this is an HTTYD blog, I'll just hit some of the high points that happened to me this year concerning all things Dragon related! I'm sure I'll not be able to cover them all, but it has been a pretty fun year. Click the "read more" to see the full story, but be warned that it might have some slightly frightening images.

I guess I'll go somewhat chronologically....

I graduated high-school! That was strange... really strange. I had started to grow really used to it, and I had enjoyed it! Many, many pages of history notes in my books are laced with pretty little doodles of Hiccup and Toothless, and who knows how many times I signed my math tests with "Hiccup" written in anglo-saxon runes! Still, I was stepping out of that, sort of having to grow up, and that scared me. I am very happy with where the Lord seems to have been leading me since, and I am a LOT more confident in him than I am in ME at the moment! So, yeah, he's been very kind ever since graduation, and I do have to say that my dad did the graduation service, and I admire my dad SO much, and he did sort of say that he was very proud of me (and I don't get that a lot... which is good. Don't want to get a swelled head), and that was so heartwarming. Yes, it was totally a Hiccup to Stoick at the end of the movie moment, and hearing it from my dad meant the world to me!

Well, then we got the RoB finale just before this summer started, and that was such a beautiful shocker! I mean, we knew Mildew was evil, but I didn't know he and Alvin would actually be clever. That little cliffhanger stressed me out for a full week, and then the ending was almost worse (though DoB hasn't really lived up to how threatening Alvin looked with that Whispering Death...). Anyway, you could ask AddyD or my little brother, and they would tell you that a very defining phrase this last summer for me was "Mildew is EVIL." Anyway, that was nice... I felt it was fairly good plotwriting, and seeing that Toothless could escape on his own as opposed to being a dragon-in-distress was also a big plus! Very exciting that Hiccup and Toothless will still be looking for Night Furies in the second movie because I didn't believe that they'd find any in the series. 

So then Summer started. And with the summer came a beautifully bizarre and crazy set of HTTYD events that I could NEVER have dreamed of! First off, the awesome HTTYD fan known on the wiki as AddyD bought tickets so as to come and visit me near the end of July. Still... that left me with a big ol' Summer and not a ton to do. I was doing a lot of scientific reading to prepare for college, and that was heavy enough to prevent me from seeking out a part-time job. Well, I browsed around online just a tiny, tiny bit, and what I stumbled across was, to put it simply, INCREDIBLE.

Welp, I found the web novel of inhonoredglory, and I was completely, irreversibly BLOWN AWAY. I spent a good deal of time plowing through that thing, usually getting through about three chapters a day. While doing that, I would leave comments, and by comments I mean six to seven page long commentaries on each twenty page chapter! I couldn't believe how deep, beautiful, and emotionally powerful it was! It didn't take me long to really, really want to get to know the authors, and I did XD That kickstarted a very surprising, very fun period of my life! I joined Tumblr so as to keep up with them, and I was quite surprised to discover how many amazing HTTYD fans were out there! Anyway, that is how I met Toothlesslove, Inhonoredglory, Rima, and several other fans who I now consider good friends. Funny... that one look into the depth of the webnovel almost completely changed my opinion on what good fan work was, and I suddenly really wanted to strive for what Glory was nailing so directly on the head. I started up this blog alongside my Tumblr account, and with a great deal of encouragement for Glory and Toothlesslove, I wound up making some stories of my own. Oh, wait, but I am letting the cart shoot waaaaaaaaay past the horse.

Yeah. This summer I totally caught a mental disease I like to call Skrillaphobia, and this is actually sort of how I met Glory and her sister Toothlesslove. It was SO strange, probably one of the most stressful experiences I've been in! Lots of things were buzzing around (uncertainty about school, meeting lots of new people and wondering whether I should be friends with them, a very tense plot running through my dsplash plot, and then THIS. I lost eight pounds in one week.). I read a bit of the web novel that had Hiccup abducted by a Skrill, and in the novel Hiccup feared that the dragon was planning to kill and eat him. Of course, it didn't, but the mere suggestion gave me a horrible mental image that made me shove myself back from my desk with such force that I almost fell out of the chair, AND I just happened to be in front of a large group of people (haha, didn't explain my actions to that group!). So, of course, I listed that reaction in the long comment I left on the chapter. Welp, in all our fun interactions, Glory wound up wanting to thank me for a bit of fanart I had made for her story. She decided to make my mental image into actual art (I believe to tease me), and this horror was born. Heheh... my nightmarish imagination materialized in front of me by a very talented artist. That was bad. That was just bad, bad, BAD. I went and analyzed it slightly (along with pulling off a terrifying experiment to test some feelings and emotions that would result from such an encounter) and sent the results to Glory. Apparently turnabout was fair play because suddenly the image bugged her and her sister as well, and so we all decided that something needed to be done to resolve this nightmare. I had bad dreams for two days after seeing this, and my little brother even had the cheek to make it my desktop background when I wasn't looking (I then reset my password and set my computer to auto lock, so HA!). Glory wrote up a super, super intense drabble to tell the story behind the image, and she did have Hiccup get saved by Toothless in the end. It was pretty incredible, very emotional, and possibly one of the best things she's written (in my view at least). Still... even though Hiccup was saved, I still could not shake my pathological fear of that dragon. Haha, we three really became good friends after that whole ordeal, and sometimes we have referred to it as our "fish scene". Kind of a freaky first project together, but things got better XD

After that ordeal, I began to tell some people on Tumblr my Dsplash stories. It wasn't anything huge, just a roleplay I was running with my little brother and a dozen or so kids. Well, I had never seen much merit in it, but Toothlesslove in particular was bursting with questions, and she and her sister really encouraged me to write the plots out. That is how the Dsplash Chronicles began, and I've enjoyed doing them a lot, and I really do believe that writing them has improved my writing style significantly. This year in the roleplay game, my players actually wound up standing and watching as Hiccup was killed in front of them (see this Chronicle), so that was traumatic... especially for me because I was playing as Hiccup. The whole world of Dsplash had been developed and played in for three whole years, but certain facts that I had known from the beginning came to light and just blew all of the previous plots completely out of the water. I had to close the actual role-playing bit of the story this year, but I continue to write the Chronicles so as to finally bring the plot to an end. Its been hard at times, and I have even cried myself to sleep one night after realizing what Hiccup had been put through by a certain wicked character known as Sardilic (who I also did something to this year.). Anyway, people who have read and commented on the Chronicles have encouraged me SO much to keep on writing, and it has been a terrifically enjoyable pastime!

Then we got the first HTTYD2 teaser, and I (along with a whole bunch of other people) practically spazzed ourselves to death! So, fun! I actually hyperventilated waiting for the video to load on my laptop! Haha, I won't go through it all again, but you could probably find that stuff on older post of this blog or my Tumblr page. 

Then AddyD arrived, and that was such a blast! (I'm the shorter one on the left.) Anyway, I'd NEVER physically been around an HTTYD fan who was near my age, so spending a week with AddyD was incredibly fun! I was on an Dragon cloud nine for quite a while, and I think we both had a great time! I've got a whole set of posts about it you could find here.

Well, all good things have to come to an end, and Addy had to go. I continued to enjoy many friendships on Tumblr, but I eventually felt very strongly that I needed to leave for ethical reasons. I have now pretty much solidified that decision, but I am thankful that quite a few HTTYD fans still keep in very direct contact with me, so I didn't lose the friendships. They even were extremely encouraging to me as I prepared for my first day of college. I was, obviously, nervous and unsure how well I'd function, but I had a lot of support from my good friends, and it turned out to be a very good year in school! I didn't make many friends, but some people were very nice to me, and as far as the classes went, I did very well and enjoyed them a lot!

Then my birthday came around, and... just... WOW! I got far more well wishes and gifts this year than I ever had before! So many people were so kind to me, and it was so brilliant! Everything from digital paintings to fanfiction (one of which was written by Toothlesslove and is just LOVELY) to photosets to CGI captures to scavenger hunts! It was terrific. One of my best birthdays ever! I was up at five with Skrill nightmares (ironically) and stayed awake until far past one in the morning chatting with my dear friends via email. Extremely fun day. You can read about it here.

Then, on December 6th, he came... The Skrill actually made an appearance in the series, and I had two panic attacks while watching the episode! You just can't imagine how terrifying I find him, so seeing him living and breathing was sooooo surreal and harrowing! BUT the episode lived up to my somewhat HIGH expectations on them using the Skrill to his full potential, so I was very, very, VERY happy about that. I also went to see Frozen that same day, so it sort of helped me be a little less traumatized that evening. Heh, I still had nightmares.

Then the AMAZING official HTTYD2 Trailer came out, but I am sure you will be able to find my thoughts on that in other posts! I spent the ENTIRE day mailing fans and totally spazzing out! Glory and Toothlesslove had sort of stepped out of the fandom, so I had been a bit bummed by their absence, but they returned with a fury when that trailer came out, and chatting back and forth with them totally made my day! Very fun to have such great friends.

Then Christmas! That was fun, and I got an iPhone which now makes Toothless gurgles every time I get a text. That's extremely fun. Other than that I also made about four HTTYD bday gifts for other fans this year, and it is such great fun to try and make something for someone else who loves the same things you do! I even packed up a box of stuff to send to AddyD in Germany, and when he gets it, we'll celebrate Snoggletog together for the second time!

So, looking back on the year, it's been glorious! I've made AMAZING friends, friends who I really hope to keep in touch with for years and years and years to come. I have made mistakes, I've stumbled, but much to my surprise they've always been there for me. It has not necessarily been an easy year. Our church lost a very dear man, and it hurt me deeply (I can only imagine how sad his family must still be), and college was trying for me both mentally and spiritually, BUT God has been extremely kind to me this year. I have so much to be grateful for. Haha, and the great friends I've grown close to because of the movie How To Train Your Dragon are no small blessing to me! I do want to just come out and say a huge thank you to Toothlesslove, Glory, AddyD, and Rima for making this year an incredibly happy and unforgettable part of my life. I hope the Lord will be near to all of them as well as myself in this coming year.

And to anyone else who reads my blog (and especially those that comment) I hope your year has been amazing as well, and I hope you will continue to enjoy what you find here because NEXT year looks quite promising for lovers of HTTYD!

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