azurite: (back to the future - save the clock towe)
2012-12-31 12:54 pm

Last Straws

Do you remember when LiveJournal used to be cool? You had to get an invite to even get a journal there. It was not only exclusive, it was run well. It just seemed to work. You didn't have this big complicated install, where you had to understand CGI or PHP or any of that stuff. You just went to the website, logged in, and wrote. You could get comments if you wanted, attach different moods and icons to each post to express yourself. You could organize things into Memories, and later, add tags. You could customize the look of your own journal, get friends, join communities.

You can still do all of that, and more (Scrapbook! Games!) but it's bloated now. I think everything went downhill the minute the site got sold to SixApart. They didn't know what the hell they were doing, and when SixApart sold it to whatever Russian company owns it now, it got even worse.

The amount of spam I get on my various posts throughout my LiveJournal history has increased nearly exponentially over the past few years. Communities are the one and only thing that LiveJournal and similar sites (like Dreamwidth, bless its heart) have over better, spam-free, more customizable blogging software--like WordPress, which I am now using for pretty much all of my websites.

I remember trying to deal with some of the spam over the past few days while my computer was "recovering" from an Erase and Install of the OS. I was busy installing updates and such, so I couldn't do it on there. I tried accessing the LiveJournal mobile site on my iPad, and I couldn't even tap on the login boxes, because every time I did, it thought I was tapping on the LiveJournal logo, so it just took me back to the homepage. It's because the mobile site wasn't properly optimized, and the full site must have used some Java that caused the login box to move around on the main banner. The mobile site--if one can even log into it--sucks, and that's becoming an increasingly dangerous thing in this day and age. Something that's BUILT to be accessible and responsive should be a priority for websites of any kind in this day and age. It's definitely something I'm aspiring to for my sites.

It's no longer a case of LiveJournal working; it's a matter of "if" and "when" -- it's also getting hit more and more frequently with DDoS attacks or other various outages that are never fully explained. LiveJournal doesn't have any sort of reliable presence to notify us of such outages AS they happen, so people are left in the dark. Sure, LiveJournal isn't exactly a crucial service, but it's still a pain in the butt when you're trying to access something specific--or perhaps writing something important--and all of a sudden you can't access it. If you've paid for any portion of the service--which a lot of people had, including me, way back in the day when I thought a Permanent Account might be a good idea--then you're essentially losing money for every moment of downtime, which is why LiveJournal is probably bleeding out its coffers trying to pay back users for all their lost time.

I'll miss it, but honestly? Bring back the blogroll. I can import my LiveJournal into WordPress now, maybe even figure out a way to crosspost it here to Dreamwidth (because I like Dreamwidth and at least want to support its continued development via communities I run), then I can just do everything I want from one single place. That'd be nice.
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna berserker)
2011-12-10 12:15 am

NO U: The customer is not always right

Customer service is so important to me. It's why I love working for the company I do, because the company holds customer service to a higher standard than so many other organizations.

That said, we may be in the "customer service" era, and people have come to expect a lot out of customer service, but the customer is NOT always right, let alone "king."

I went to a Subway here in the San Fernando Valley tonight, about 10 minutes before closing. I always get the same thing whenever I go to a Subway, but there was a girl ahead of me--bedhead, super-tan skin, bleach blonde hair and a sliced-up sweatshirt dangling off her at a weird angle. She looked stoned. She was slowly drawling something about the different kinds of bread available, then decided on 9-Grain Wheat, and asked for "everything on it."

Now, every single Subway has a sign that shows with words AND pictures, just what "everything" means without charging you extra. So the guy starts loading up her footlong sandwich as requested, and then by the time she gets to the end of the counter, she starts complaining: more of this, NONE of that, she asked for THIS, not THAT, and on and on. The guy did his best to try and make the changes, but the girl was so out of it (or something) that she just got snotty and said "You know you're so rude!" She started going on this tirade, to which the guy responded, "I'm sorry miss," and repeated what he thought she'd asked for, but then after the whole sandwich was made, she just said "Ugh, forget it, I don't want it, you don't have what I want, anyway" and she walked out.

The guy was tired and no doubt more than a little irritated, but he never snapped at the girl. True, he didn't exactly offer to scrap the footlong and start over, either, but the girl cut him off (by insulting him repeatedly) before he could. And she didn't seem to really know what she wanted, anyway.

There are all kinds of customers--all kinds of people--in the world. Some people are ready to buy, and some people just want information. But while there's never any reason for a salesperson to ASSUME anything about a would-be customer, there's also never any reason for a customer to be rude to the person trying to assist them. If they're not helping the way you want, take a deep breath and ask for assistance from someone else. Explain what's not working for you. Don't immediately get angry, get rude, or get egotistical and start complaining.

And if service is THAT bad? Ask to speak to a manager, or simply leave and write a review on Yelp or something.
azurite: (sailormoon - pgsm senshi)
2011-07-07 04:17 pm

The Cosplay Conundrum

So I went to Anime Expo this past weekend, and I was all geared up to cosplay Sailor Saturn. I was also willing to go as Kayabuki, the Prime Minister from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, since my boyfriend David was going as the Laughing Man and his friend Liam as Gouda, but the costume is far from comfortable in the heat, and I couldn't get her short hairstyle quite right. What was supposed to be a one or two-day costume ended up being my ONLY costume (and probably not a very obvious one at that, which, to me, halfway ruins the point of cosplay), though I ended up wearing "street clothes" for the other days. It's one thing to wear a red skirtsuit that I already own, quite another to get a custom-made Sailor Saturn seifuku from an FIDM graduate on commission for $390.

Originally, the commissioner, Ashli of Loserific Commissions, told me we'd meet up sometime on Day 1. I went to the Opening Ceremonies and texted her, but got no reply. As the day wore on, I texted her a few more times, asking stuff like "Hello?" until I finally called her. I left a voicemail that basically said if I didn't hear from her, I'd have to contact Paypal (where I'd made the payments) and file a claim for goods not received. Later, I got a flood of texts from Ashli apologizing, saying that she'd just gotten her phone (why didn't she have it on her? I don't know.) and that she would do her best to get the costume done by Day 3, Sunday.

Not cool, but not horrible, either. She said we'd meet early on Sunday, leaving me with two full days of the con to cosplay.

Sunday rolls around and I still haven't heard from her about where or when to meet. When she finally does text me, she says that she hasn't been able to finish the costume, that she doesn't want to deliver something to me that isn't the quality I'm likely expecting, and that she will give me 10% off and ship it to me for free--by the end of this week (that's this Friday).

Reluctantly, I agreed to this, even though I only go to two cons a year as of late (Anime Expo and Anime LA--one in January, the other in July). I commissioned Ashli back in mid-March, and I've been excitedly waiting for the costume since then. Dad and I pretty much slaved over the Silence Glaive prop that was the one component of the costume that Ashli couldn't provide, and now it's sitting, useless, at Adam's apartment.

It's Thursday evening now, and I haven't heard from Ashli about whether the costume is done, what problems she was having (did she take on too many projects? Were others that she was already working on better-paying? Due sooner?), or if she's already sent it with tracking. If she said she'll "get it to me by Friday," then shouldn't I have heard SOMETHING by now?

I don't want to give up and just ask for a refund, but I know I have to draw the line somewhere or lose my investment. I would be really disappointed if the first "major" cosplay commission I got, or a fellow Moonie, shafted me in this way. But I think if she still can't come through by tomorrow, I'm going to ask for a steeper discount (refund), and if I haven't gotten it by the middle of the month, I'll file a claim with Paypal or ask for a complete refund. It would frankly suck, but maybe I could find another SM commissioner in time for Anime LA in January.

On what makes for a good cosplay )
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2011-05-10 10:03 pm

On Stargate: Universe

Not that long ago, I finally got a DVR, which enabled me to play catch-up with some of my favorite TV shows that I have missed due to my crazy schedule. It's weird, because while I'm working only part-time and, up until this session, have been only taking one class (eight weeks) online, I feel like I don't have the time to do my usual activities--even staying up-to-date with my Feed on Facebook, let alone checking journals and other sites, working on fic/art, getting organized on my computer, etc. I'm not even playing video games or writing articles (like I should be). Where does my time go?

So when I finally do get some breather time and I can watch TV, imagine my shock to hear that the Monday evening episode of Stargate: Universe (the latest iteration in the Stargate franchise, which began with the Kurt Russell MGM movie and became Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis on the SyFy--formerly Sci-Fi--channel) was the final one! As in SERIES FINALE.

What the hell!?

The show's only been on for two seasons now, and intermittent seasons at that. Meanwhile, "SyFy" (which is a joke of a name, but it's "trademark-able!") is showing cooking shows, ridiculous ghost/urban legend/paranormal shows that everyone with a brain knows are staged, and oh yes! WRESTLING.

There are a handful of science-fiction television programs on these days. A few of them are good. Not all of them are on SyFy, and of the ones that are, not all of them even have a true sci-fi bent the way Stargate: Universe (henceforth "SGU") did. To name a few: Haven, Eureka, Sanctuary, Being Human, Doctor Who, Fringe...etc. There are also some that places will list that I honestly don't consider Sci-Fi. For example, Smallville, another favorite show of mine. It's not sci-fi. It's action, if anything, because it's based off the early years of SUPERMAN, for Pete's sake! Or call it drama, or romance, because it's like a slightly more angsty version of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, from the 90s! NOT SCI-FI.

Merlin? Also not sci-fi. In fact, anyone who likes Merlin really ought to know better: it's fantasy, pure and true. Call it myth, call it legend, call it fairy tales--it sure as hell IS NOT sci-fi.

What follows is a rant about the cancellation/ending of SGU; there will be spoilers.

Save Stargate Universe! )
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2011-04-20 09:23 pm

Android "beating" the iPhone is a joke

So May is the month for humor, apparently, because Wired's Humor Issue features not just SNL's Andy Samberg, but also the uproarious kicker "How Android Beat the iPhone." Being the curious sort (and someone who has been using Android phones for over 2 years, currently works for Apple, and just switched to her first-ever iPhone), I flipped to the article, and I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified. Is it really humor, or are they being serious?

A few points that they make as to why Android is "better" than the iPhone's iOS platform:

There are approximately 170 devices on the market that run the Android OS.

Uh, is more supposed to be better? I think it makes it more confusing! Sure, there are more carriers with Android devices, but how do you know who has the better PHONES? If the software is so awesome and the carriers vary depending on where you live and how much you pay, doesn't it really come down to the hardware, and how capable it is?

My mistake was sticking with a carrier that I loved, and that had good coverage where I lived. I heard good things about Android, but T-Mobile simply didn't have phones with hardware capable of running the software properly. I got stuck with a myTouch 3G (the HTC Magic), which SUCKED. It's hardly worthy of the moniker "smartphone," and is only a hair's breadth better than its predecessor, the G1.

Android gives the carrier 30 percent of app sales, minus credit card processing fees, while Apple keeps that 30 percent for itself.

Someone please explain to me why the carrier deserves ANY of the cut of app sales. Here's how apps work:

(1) A developer makes an app to work on the software's platform. Either Android's OS or Apple's iOS.

(2) The developer submits it to Apple for review, or Android for placement in the Android Marketplace.

(3) If/When it's accepted/posted, people can then download it. Paid apps result in the developer getting paid for their idea and hard programming work, while free apps sometimes include ads, and other times just test out if a good idea can compete. People download apps while on a wireless network (usually "free," as-in, a home Internet service, an office network, or a local wi-fi hotspot like at an Apple Store, mall, or coffee shop; sometimes "paid" as at an airport and hotels) or using their carrier's 3G service. Since most apps are fairly small, this barely takes any time at all--maybe a few minutes, maximum--on either network.

(4) People rate and review the app, it gets more attention, and the developer makes more money, yay! And normally the other developer--the one that built the code base that the entire phone runs on--would get the other chunk of the profits. This is how it is for Apple, but Google gives their code away for free, and they don't "need" the money, apparently, so they give it to the carrier...because the carrier is SOMETIMES used to download things like apps (or apps which result in heavy load on their networks, like Netflix) to offset the cost of things like network maintenance. Bwah? What if someone downloads an app that never needs any additional network access, for anything? What if it's an app that requires the faster connection of Wi-Fi, not the carrier's 3G? Or what if it's an app that connects, but only at the user's discretion (when they connect to Facebook to download friend lists, for example), or only downloads a minimum amount of content--not streaming movies or whatnot?

This is what I don't get: if your network is too shitty to handle the load, upgrade your damn network! Don't try and pass that cost off (in any form) to the end users, who already pay you for their service in the form of ridiculously-priced data packages, overage limits, roaming, etc.! I guess it's Google's prerogative to give what should be THEIR profits away to whomever, but honestly? I think if they want to give something away, it should be to the developers who bother to use their crappy system (because yes, it's crappy. I would say it's "the Windows of smartphone operating systems," except Windows HAS their own smartphone OS, and it's probably even shittier than Android)!

I'm so sick of carriers whining about how they have all this work to do because people are flinging their money at them, making contracts and getting plans and then wanting to use the networks the way normal, connected people do nowadays. Get with the program! The hardware (network and phone) needs to be able to handle what the software (Android or iOS) throws at it. Apple's devices never seem to have a problem with this; why do the Android's partner manufacturers?

You could argue that Android runs on AT&T and Verizon, but also on Sprint, T-Mobile, and heck-knows-how-many other carriers out there, and this is true, but bad software--whether it's the apps themselves or the Android OS--will have more of a ping on an unstable, outdated network in small numbers than great software running on the best hardware currently available on the two largest, fastest 3G networks in the country. And if Android's marketshare is growing, that's even worse--all these carriers will have to upgrade to keep up, because people are going to demand BETTER networks, networks they deserved to have from the beginning. How is it the end user's fault if the carriers underestimated the phone's capabilities, even though the hardware manufacturers and software developers (well, the OS developers, anyway) should have known better?

I guess what makes it all the more humorous is that the article pretty much concludes by acquiescing that Android has all these failings--too many crappy apps in the open Marketplace, no guarantee that any given app will work on a phone, even if it has the latest Android OS available--all because carriers muck things up in their own way. It says that the Android OS doesn't have the largest marketshare of smartphones now, even though the growth is pretty amazing, and sales did, at one point, surpass sales of the iPhone. But then again, if you're only looking at iPhone sales vs. Android on ALL its devices (smartphones and tablets), that's not really a fair comparison, is it? Better to compare the sales of all iOS devices to the sales of all Android-powered devices in the same period, and then see who comes out on top. And yes, since Android is on more devices in general, on more carriers, it may very well win...but is that marketshare the same six months down the line? Has it increased or plateaued? How long do users put up with Android's bullshit? I know I did--for too long, and now I'm happy to have finally switched.

If Android has "beaten" the iPhone, it's by pulling one of those hitting-over-the-head-with-a-chair moves like in the WWE. And the iPhone may stagger a little bit, but it's far from out for the count.
azurite: (sailormoon - usagi sweater)
2011-03-07 12:56 pm

Timelines and Titles

Sometimes my devotion to canon irritates me. It's a like a mole I can't remove without surgery. In the spirit of my new class in Instructional Design, here are a few facts:

Given a birthday of June 30 for the character of Usagi Tsukino/Serena from Sailor Moon
AND
Given a typical start month for new school in the month of April in Japan (with the exception of university, which starts in September)
AND
Given the need for high school entrance exams that typically take place in February or March (presumably right before the April when high school would start, but I'm not sure...would they be taken the February/March the year before? That would imply that Year 3 junior high students already know what high schools they've gotten into!)

How is it even remotely feasible for Usagi to be age 16 and still in junior high?

I don't think it is.

The Japanese school system generally follows this numbering: 6, 3, 3, 4. There are six years of primary school (elementary grades 1-6), three years of junior high (grades 7-9), three years of high school (grades 10-12), and four years of university.

If Usagi was 14 years old, as she stated in the first season's early episodes, and in the eighth grade, in 1992, that would give her a birth year of 1978. If eighth grade is her second year of junior high, she still has a year left.

Thus:

Age Range/Year Grade Sailor Moon Anime Season Equivalent Only 16 Universe Date Range for Usagi/Serena
12-13 7 (Year 1) N/A; only Code Name: Sailor V manga N/A; only Code Name: Sailor V manga June 1990-June 1991
13-14 8 (Year 2) Season 1/Classic, part 1 of Season 2/Returns Season 1/Classic July 1991-June 1992
14-15 9 (Year 3) part 2 of Season 2/Romance Season 1/Classic, part 1 of Season 2/Returns July 1992-June 1993 (high school entrance exams in Feb/March 1993 for
the O16 universe)
15-16 10 (Year 1/HS) Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon SuperS part 2 of Season 2/Romance July 1993-June 1994
16-17 11 (Year 2/HS) Sailor Moon Sailor Stars part 2 of Season 2/Romance, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon SuperS, Sailor
Moon Sailor Stars
July 1994-June 1995 (high school entrance exams in Feb/Mar 1995 or SuperS
season in the regular SM universe)
17-18 12 (Year 3/HS) N/A N/A July 1995-June 1996


...So, if I've got all this right, even if Usagi is a bit older than her classmates, being born the June before, and for whatever reason, she wasn't a younger student in an OLDER class (e.g. the year before Ami, Makoto, Minako, and Rei at their schools), there's still no way she'd be 16 and still in junior high.

If she's 16, it's past June 30, 1994. If it's past June 30, 1994, but the other girls are still in junior high, then it's not yet February/March of the year they take their high school entrance exams. So how...? Or do I just have to "screw it" and:

a) Make Usagi 15
b) Remind people that the Silver Crystal "reset" time-space, and the year or more that was filled with the Dark Kingdom's activities essentially got "done over"
c) Have Usagi be older because she flunked a grade or had something wrong with her as a child that kept her from going to school on time
d) use a different school system--one that starts in August/September or so, instead of April.
e) Change the title

How do I handle this? I really don't want to change the title, but I don't want it to be a "pointless" title, either. At some point in the story, Usagi's got to be 16, but if she's 16, then the exams would have happened and she (and the other girls) would be in high school! But the high school entrance exams are a huge thing in Japan (where the story DOES take place, even if I do use dub names...or have used them in the past, I'm still undecided on whether I want to use them for the "Only 16" revision), and I don't want to add that kind of stress onto Usagi, or handwave it and make it non-existent.

The only other option I can think of is for Usagi to NOT go to high school, or, if it's possible, to go to high school late. Somehow with all her friends and everyone, I can't see THAT happening either, but I don't see how else to make the timeline work.

I think I've painted myself into a corner. Help!
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2010-09-09 12:15 am

Sick of this B.S.

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

--attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller

Why is this quotation relevant today, decades after the Nazis? Because the problem highlighted by the Pastor here is still present: we keep our mouths shut about the unfair treatment of people who aren't "Us," but by the time that treatment becomes unfair to "Us," there's no one left to speak on our behalf.

So I'm speaking up. I think it's bullshit that people are saying a mosque shouldn't be built near Ground Zero (or anywhere else in the U.S., for that matter). This country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion (among other core values), and that includes the religion of Islam (any argument trying to cite that Islam is not a religion is null and void. Don't even waste your bytes).

Some people have generalized all Muslims as extremists that want to see the fall of capitalism, the destruction of America, etc. etc. and that's ridiculous. It's just as ridiculous as previous notions of Protestants or Catholics being more sinful than the other, or Jews causing entire nations to go bankrupt. It's STUPID. You really don't need to rub two brain cells together to realize this.

I get that we're at war with Muslim nations. I get that not all Muslims like the United States of America, want to be American, or share the same ideals that many Americans do. But that doesn't mean that we have to mistreat the Muslims that are here in America, those Americans who HAPPEN to be Muslim, etc. The more you oppress any party, the stronger they will get, especially if it's here in a country that prides itself on the whole "rags to riches, phoenix from the ashes" concept, where the strong survive even the toughest of scenarios.

Yes, some Muslims may be extremists, and they may be in America right now, or will be in the future. They may have some unsavory plans for us, the same way that the terrorists behind 9/11 did. But can we stop them by being racist, by being hypocritical, or by being narrow-minded? No. America's strength lies in its diversity, in its acceptance of others, and of the country's ability to make a "melting pot" of even wildly divergent cultures and ideals and somehow turn them into something stronger, more beautiful, and better than before.

We can't just take everything that we've learned from all the wars that have come before and toss it out the proverbial window just because it's convenient.

And yes, we're not always going to agree with what every culture does. Sometimes it won't be "fair" by our standards, how they treat others, but who are we to be judge, jury, and executioner? Why is it so hard to respect differences? What happened to the drive to LEARN about the unknown, to explore it, instead of just fearing it outright?

Burning Qurans is wrong (flat-out, always). Depicting the prophet Mohammed is wrong (to Muslims). You can disagree with me, and that's fine: I respect your opinion. I would hope you would do the same for me. We can agree to disagree, and I feel that no one has to "come to arms" because of that kind of a disagreement. It seems so petty to get worked up over things that seem like basic politeness to me: you don't burn a book to make a statement (any book, any statement). You don't intentionally do something offensive to prove a point, especially when you can do something less offensive that will have a more positive, lasting impact.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2010-09-07 09:57 pm
Entry tags:

Stupid Commercials and Why I Hate Them

1. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch blog girl
While blogging about just about everything these days is popular, I don't know about a video blog (vlog) on a cereal. Parodying the idea would be one thing, except it's a stupid parody: the girl is a stereotypical geek and a klutz, too. (Maybe that's why it bothers me?!)

2. The Target "Hat" girl
A typical commercial that's way too blatant with its underlying message: "Buy our products and get the life you want!" Except it's ridiculous to fantasize about a HAT causing you to find a hot boyfriend, have a beautiful property with an orchard, and have perfect, well-behaved children. There's a fine line with the idea of a product enhancing your life in some way, and this commercial just crosses it and shoots off into outer space somewhere. This doesn't have even the tiniest idea that it could be a parody of commercials that do this more subtly (like car commercials), so I don't know wtf Target's ad agency was thinking.

3. Capital One with the actor who played George Costanza's father on Seinfeld
Capital One has funny commercials, especially their latest spate with the Vikings. Of course, my sense of humor is known to be very different from others, so who knows? But the idea of some old guy yelling at me about my credit card choice isn't very appetizing. He's not even very funny while employing the whole "loud old man with big opinions" schtick

Anyone have any commercials they just can't stand? I really wish I had DVR so I could just skip them, but I tend to watch a lot of shows randomly, too, and you can't really fast-forward through THOSE commercials, can you? It's too bad the quality that people strive for during the Super Bowl isn't something ad agencies attempt all year round.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2010-03-27 08:14 pm
Entry tags:

An educational joke?

I'm starting to think my "education" with DeVry is a bit of a joke. It's probably misplaced frustration from over a week without a laptop, and, now that I've got a new one, trying to play catch-up in two classes that overwhelm me.

For starters, in my Information Design class, I feel like it's a re-hash of my last class where the teacher is just doing things "according to guidelines/rules." We have a textbook that I feel reads as horribly outdated (especially the part about justifying why a restaurant finder application should be delivered on CD-ROM versus a Web application--this book was written in 2005, which is like centuries in Internet time), assignments that don't seem very clear, and quizzes with even more trick questions (dependent wholly on the textbook too, which is the polar opposite of what my CSUN professors did: they actually wanted you to read/listen to the LECTURE and DISCUSSION).

Then there's my Flash class. The professor's cool, but the fact that DeVry is still using CS3 when they don't even SELL CS3 anymore is pretty frustrating. I think the fact that CS3 is no longer supported by Adobe should be a big clue for them to, at the very least, provide the CS4 methods of doing things for assignments, labs, etc. IN CONJUNCTION with the CS3 methods, if not use it primarily.

Flash intimidates the heck out of me. Even though it's a Macromedia/Adobe product, it looks and acts different from all the other programs I'm used to, and things just don't work the way I expect them to. My stuff doesn't look nearly as awesome as some of my classmates', and certainly is not anything I'm wild crazy about putting in a portfolio. It's nowhere near on par with the basic Flash you see on websites everywhere these days. Of course, that would be expecting a miracle, right? Going from 0 to 60 in just four to five weeks: I can't expect my understanding of Flash to hit me like an epiphany and I just start GETTING IT. It'd be nice, but it doesn't work that way. I don't work that way.

So I'm going to do my best and muddle through it, and hopefully not end up as part of the disappointingly-large statistic of people that don't graduate from DeVry. It has a miserable graduation rate, from what I found: about 34%. And here I thought California state schools were pretty bad.

I really wish they offered these classes in-person at the Daly City campus. I just don't think I do well in an online environment, odd as that is for both me and the program I'm in (Multimedia Design and Development).

I wonder if it also has to do with my environment here: lacking a job and the money to really buy something like a Fast Pass (monthly transportation pass), I don't go out unless I can spare the change or I really need to (or someone's driving me). Otherwise, I think going to the library with my laptop might be a good idea. I wonder if getting a Fast Pass for April might be a good investment, considering I actually do have some cash now? I really don't want to spend it on things I don't NEED though, since I should be paying my bills and such more than anything else. Still, a Fast Pass is probably a better investment than a bag of bagels (much as I want those bagels).

Plus, I have to treat all of this--getting a job, taking these online classes--like I were at a full-time job and still taking classes in a real university environment. If I can do this, maybe they won't worry and frustrate me so much. That's the hope, anyway.

Any advice from folks that know this sort of stuff--interface design with wireframes, Visio, Flash, etc.--would be totally appreciated.
azurite: (batman - criminal justice system)
2010-03-24 04:54 pm

Trash

I just came home from Downtown. After an allergy test (which I "passed" by being allergic to lots of things, especially dust mites), I met Mom at the St. Francis and hung there for an hour before Mom and I headed homeward. Or at least I did; Mom had an appointment, so we parted ways at Fillmore.

I was reading "Eat, Pray, Love" because I'm not the type to get "carsick" (or "bus-sick," as it were) and because I feel a strange resonation with Elizabeth Gilbert, the book's author. She could be me in a few years, though I don't know whether that's a good thing or not. I'm not done with the book quite yet, but the interesting thoughts that have crossed my mind while reading the book are not the subject of this entry.

As the bus neared the avenues, an older man in the single seat in front of mine saw the back door across from us open at a stop. He chucked a Coke bottle out and then turned back to face the front.

I was disgusted. To the point of wanting to throw up disgusted, which is a pretty severe reaction for someone who's just witnessed littering. It shouldn't such a big deal, but I was mad. I shot a disgusted look at the guy, who didn't see me, of course, but the girl across from me, an African-American girl with a pretty headscarf, a hoodie that didn't match, and an ever-present yellow lighter, did. Neither of us said anything, not to the man, not to anyone.

I couldn't concentrate on the book anymore because I felt this rage, this fire in me. But I kept trying to temper it down with questions like "Why do you care?" and "Why is it a big deal?" Some people litter on the bus, and frankly trash could be a lot worse than a Coke bottle. The guy could have hung onto it, could have tossed it out when he got off the bus, or he could have dropped it on the bus and let it roll around hitting people's feet and get caught behind the doors.

I contemplated throwing trash on him, but I didn't have any. I somehow managed to lose my transfer between the allergist's and the hotel, and the other transfer I intend to keep until it's expired--just in case. Besides, a transfer isn't really "trashy" enough to teach a litterbug a lesson. I needed some expired chop suey or something, but that would be pushing it, right?

I thought about just calling him a pig as I walked out of the bus, but what if the guy was really some violent Mafia felon (I blame the Mafia train of thought on the book, because I had just finished reading the final portion about Italy and Sicily and the cheap concrete filled with bones of people who displeased the Mafia)? I thought about saying it in another language, but my stop was coming up and the word for "pig" in Japanese escaped me.

So I got off the bus without saying or doing anything, and I felt wretched as a result. What kind of world is it that we live in where we can just throw things away like they're nothing, like the Earth is nothing and we don't even expend a little bit of effort to do the right thing, like "recycle," as if we're really making SOME impact? I try and tell myself even a little bit helps, that even an individual can start something, but I bit my lip and kept my mouth shut because sometimes you can't make an example out of others without making an example of yourself first--and not in a good way.

Did I miss out on a chance to teach someone a lesson, or is it even my place? I did make eye contact with that guy as I got off the bus. Turns out he wasn't some ferocious Mafia guy, just an old Asian guy with flip-flops and crusty white feet. I wonder if he saw the exhaustion in my own eyes, the "sick of the world/sick of you" attitude I felt at that moment, because I'd already swallowed the disgust and anger and decided it wasn't worth it. He looked tired too, or maybe just ambivalent, uncaring, apart from the world. Not his problem.

Thinking about it makes me angry again, but like a wave, it recedes away into exhaustion. I can't change people: they have to want to change, they have to be provoked into desiring to change. Can I be a provocateur? Maybe, but only if I stop fearing the consequences. And maybe opening my big mouth, even if it's to reprimand someone "politely" ("Excuse me, but you could have thrown that in a trash can." / "So? What am I going to do about it now?") or to dare to insult a stranger, even if it's in a foreign language, or to just GLARE at someone, hoping that my anger is clear will get me in big trouble one day, but you don't know if you don't try, right? And I'll keep being angry at the world, at others, and most of all, myself, if I don't even TRY to make a difference, small as it is.

Is it weird, wanting to be an example, standing up for what I believe is right? Shouldn't it come naturally, for the things I care about most? It's not like recycling is my big champion cause, but I've just grown up with the habit that you don't toss Coke bottles out of the back doors of buses onto the street.

All I'm left with is a sigh. I don't know what to do with myself, let alone others who piss me off.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
2010-03-18 10:43 pm
Entry tags:

The Story So Far

So. I went to the Apple Store and to PowerBook Guy (third-party Apple product repair) today. I picked up my MacBook Pro from the Apple Store, where they reiterated what the guy told me on the phone: it's Tier 4 damage, must be sent out, and will cost $1240 flat for all repairs, which would include the keyboard, logic board (most expensive part), connection cables, CD drive, hard drive, etc. Apple has to replace anything they see damaged: there's no part/parcel replacement, and heck, even if there were, it would probably cost more.

The guy even showed me the internal damage: chocolate milk and dried-up sugar (?) in small splotches throughout the entire thing (so much for my prompt and level-headed clean-up and reaction). I went to PBG and told the guy this, but for him to open it and give me a different diagnosis would have cost me $125. Based on what I told him, he estimated $1025 for repairs, and even had to ask me to plug in, because the power cable internally and the port for it on the outside had chocolate milk damage.

The next computer shall be named Chocomac (or something like it) )

It sure would be nice if Will (#repomen) would show his face here in San Francisco so I could collect the $7500 bounty on his head. *sigh*
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
2010-03-06 12:33 am
Entry tags:

Only stupid answers?

I have a class assignment to create a website. This usually isn't an issue; for the last assignment I had like this, I made a resume website. But this time we've got to have the usuals (information, feedback, contact info) but ALSO a shopping cart capability.

I've worked with and seen plenty of sites that have shopping cart abilities, but what about one FOR ME? I don't want to be lazy/uncreative and just pick from the two samples (a non-profit equestrian society site, or a home business for baby-ware), but I'm not sure what I could do.

...Any tips?
azurite: (Default)
2010-02-21 02:14 pm

Well, that didn't go well

Bad News: Yesterday I bought The Sims 3 at $20 off MSRP from Target. I opened it up this afternoon with the intent of installing it only to discover...no DVD! I thought at first that maybe that's why they give you the "plumbob" USB drive, but nope: nothing but music, wallpapers, and other such extras on that. I also didn't get the green carabiner as shown on the box.

I wonder if I have to go back to the exact same Target to switch it out? I know I'll have to open the new copy in-store, since I don't want to go home and end up gypped again.... yeesh.

Also, Frustrating News: still no solution on getting my bookmarks OFF my Android myTouch 3G phone. All kinds of ways to get my bazillions of computer bookmarks ON THERE, but that's not the point. I don't care about that. I want my bookmarks OFF, and I can't even do it when I plug in my phone to my laptop, because of all the data recognized when I mount it, none of it seems to be "bookmarks." Maybe it's hidden, or under a weird name or strange file type...any suggestions? My Google-fu has failed me in this regard. It's no good if I have to get another phone browser, unless it can IMPORT the bookmarks from the default phone browser and then allow me to export them elsewhere. There are bookmark apps, but none I've seen with export. Does this mean I just have to wait for Android 2.0 or a Bookmark Sync feature from Google? *le sigh*

Good News: I did finally get a gel skin, a wrist strap, and a new protective screen. I still intend on switching out my ZAGG screen that got fuzz-covered for a new one, but maybe AFTER I've gotten more settled here. Hopefully this means the back of my phone won't keep coming off and letting the battery pop out.

More Frustrating News: Still no solution as of yet for how to edit my custom Layer Style on LiveJournal that I use for getting an RSS feed of my Friends' Page, even the authenticated entries. NetNewsWire is the only RSS reader I know that lets me log in and stay logged in, and while it's been working mysteriously good for the past few weeks, it's annoying trying to decipher entry subject lines among HTML. Other RSS readers convert it to actual links; I don't care either way. I posted to [profile] everything_lj, but no response yet. :( I'd try figuring it out myself, except I don't want to break the layer altogether, especially not when it's actually working!

Good News: I started reading a new Egyptian historical fiction, Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen." So far, so good. I'm actually getting somewhat inspired for CO7, which is better than nothing. I'm starting to develop the opinion that to write something--anything--is better than to write nothing at all and be stuck in this rut of "have to write in order!" At least if I have some scenes down, I can work with a beta or someone to fill in the blanks.

Eh News: I've got a few ideas for some GD articles, but they're comparable to the form of clouds: light and wispy. I'll need time to get them solidified, and in the meantime, there's homework!

Oh! News: Turns out my DeVry professor was right about the whole Photoshop slice badge thing in my last quiz. It was a trick question; the slice badges CAN display whether or not a slice is linked, but only in the optimization process, not with normal slices (although the question probably should have specified that, using "normal slices" instead of just "slices" in general), and rollover effect badges aren't seen since ImageReady went the way of the dodo. So...yeah, layer-based. Whoop-de-doo, it's only 2 points. I'm still getting an A. And it feels good to at least have clarified and asked, because otherwise I would still be confused and a little angry.
azurite: (cat and mouse)
2010-01-20 06:13 pm
Entry tags:

The Next Step

CS4 finally arrived. I attempted to install it yesterday (which took a while) and was told that it was done BUT it needed me to reinstall anyway, because some components or whatnot were missing. Made sense, considering I'd had the CS4 trial on here and the CS3 Clean Script the "wonderful" folks at Adobe had me run removed some vital CS4 components, too. So I restarted, turned off all the extra bells and whistles running in the background, and reinstalled.

It said done! Successful! Hurrah!

And then I ran Photoshop.

I waited.

It crashed.

AGAIN.

Also, because it crashed, I thought I wouldn't be able to register the applications in-program, so I did so online, at Adobe.com. Apparently that means I don't get my free benefit!? But I tried opening Dreamweaver CS4 and registering through there, and that seemed to go smoothly, except I still didn't get my benefit email. I want that damn benefit, especially after all the BS I've been through with this.

Dreamweaver isn't crashing at all. It's sitting pretty, which is nice and a bit of a relief. But I still need Photoshop. I need it soon, for my class. And because Corel and the Citrix plug-in were both crashing with the same (looked the same, anyway; an error that long, I'm not exactly going to read it line-by-line, although I could always compare them using TextWrangler...hmmm...) SIGTRAP error too, I've determined this is a system error and I need to do something about it.

LIKE, YESTERDAY.

So, I'm going to do an Erase and Install. But not on my own, no. Because much as I love software and think I'm pretty spiffy with it, something as large as this requires the "delicate" hand of a so-called Genius (a.k.a. someone to walk me through this whole mess). I'm going to go there, at my appointed time, bring my Time Machine drive, tell them the last schmuck at the downtown store told me to do something that's not possible with my OS version and he should have known that, and I want them to FIX the issue however they can (and for free, because dammit, it wasn't doing this before, I haven't changed anything, and this isn't fair!).

I pray that this will:
a) fix the problem with the crashing, because it's caused by occasionally corrupt files that can't be repaired the usual way
b) allow me to restore all my applications, or at least the ones I really, really need and paid money for
c) not take more than one to two days, because frankly, I have homework to do and trying to do it on a PC is nearly as agonizing as thinking this is fixed and then finding out it's not

*pray pray pray*
azurite: (sailormoon - mars says let 'em burn)
2010-01-20 03:10 am

The only good thief is Aladdin

I really, really hate thieves, of pretty much any kind. Except MAYBE the fictional ones, and those only rarely.

Several talented Sailor Moon fanartists have had their work stolen by this person on DeviantART. I've already begun reporting the Deviations, but I could use your help locating the original artists of many more of these works--I honestly don't believe very many of this user's deviations are theirs at all, and if you happen to recognize another artist's work in this person's gallery, I'd appreciate you either reporting the deviation or supplying me with a link to the original art so I can.

One such artist is Alan Guiterrez (stardriv on DA), and what I find especially laughable is that some of the "Artist's Comments" for the stolen paintings (which Alan did as a commission and charged $2400 for the whole series, so some diehard fan is considerably less wealthy after getting these paintings and deserves to have them indicated as FOR HER BY HIM on HIS terms) try to "credit" Alan by a) spelling his name wrong and b) not even bothering to link to a site where his work can be found, such as...uh, his DeviantART account?

Now, I'm not the biggest DA fan in the world, since they've got a pretty lousy policy on fanart as it is, and don't tend to consider Senshi edits as anything but "Scraps," but that's a post for a whole other day and time.

Your help is appreciated, Sailor Moon fans and artists!
azurite: (azureshipping - love to hate)
2010-01-11 03:54 am
Entry tags:

Makes me want to scream

I've uninstalled Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium. Not just Photoshop, which was really the only application giving me issues, but all of it. I have the trial of CS4 and should be getting the CS4 backpack that is my graduation present soon-ish (it's on backorder from JourneyEd.com), but the problems...they aren't going away.

I uninstalled CS3 using the uninstaller in the Applications/Utilities folder. Everything was a success. Then I ran the CS3 Clean Script from Adobe's Support Center--twice. Everything seemed to go smoothly there, except it also apparently removed Shockwave Flash (Safari is now protesting I don't have the right plugin for some websites) and InDesign CS4. I re-installed CS4 and then Photoshop said it was missing components. So I reinstalled Photoshop. And everything seemed to be fine (again) for a few minutes. I opened some documents and prepared to get to work.

And then it crashed.

AGAIN.

Same error as before EXC_BREAKPOINT (SIGTRAP).

I have tried everything at this point short of fully uninstalling Intego (but you'd think if that was really behind it, the error messages would say something relating to Intego, right?) and wiping the OS and reinstalling. I have NEVER had to do this with a Mac OS, so I'm obviously a) very worried and b) very reluctant.

This has happened with Photoshop, while I got another Initializing Extension Data... hang with Dreamweaver CS3. It only happened sporadically, though, and hasn't happened with Dreamweaver CS4. Only Photoshop seems to hate me, and I don't know why. (Why, Photoshop, why!? Was it something I said?)

Oh, and then there's Firefox. So after I couldn't get into my Photoshop for class, I thought I could use DeVry's iLab environment, which is run by Citrix. Blah blah, got the latest extension, went into Firefox because supposedly it's more compatible with Firefox than Safari (lamesauce, Citrix, LAMESAUCE!). Firefox didn't even seem to recognize it. So I uninstalled and re-installed (after a bit of a scuffle with a crappy beta). I let it be shiny-new, as is, for a while. Citrix seemed to be there (though not in the Add-Ons list, the way 1Password is despite being an external install), but the second it tried to launch Photoshop via Citrix, CRASH! The Citrix online plug-in, that is--not Firefox. Actually, it happened with ANY of the Adobe suite programs I tried to launch via Citrix (didn't bother trying Microsoft gunk--should I?), so it doesn't seem to be just Photoshop-related.

However, since that fresh install of Firefox, the app itself has crashed--repeatedly. It looks like the same error message as the Photoshop one, which is to say: not helpful at all. This tells me that whatever Adobe tells me to do to "fix" Photoshop won't actually help, because this is starting to look more and more like a system issue. I disabled XMarks, since that would cause freezes that would force me to quit Firefox, but the problem isn't really solved: Firefox takes around three "clicks" to get it to start. I can launch it from the Dock or via Quicksilver, but either way, it'll be in the Dock for a split second, even have the "running app" indicator below it, but it'll still just vanish without a word. No error, no crash reporter, nothing. And I'll try again. And again. And again.

And then it works, acting like nothing's wrong. It doesn't APPEAR to be as slow as it used to (which is why I switched to Safari in the first place), but it may depend on the website. And I still do have a lot of extensions, because to be frank: if there's going to be a limit on Firefox's number of extensions, then TELL ME SO from the outset. Give me a suggested number, or tell me how much memory each extension will hog up, or whatever. Because most of them I got because they're actually USEFUL and I need them in some fashion.

I think I'm going to have to make another appointment at the Apple Store. Hopefully I'll get someone who actually knows that Snow Leopard doesn't have Archive & Install as an option anymore, and that dust can't creep into your computer and make your hard drive explode (Yes, it's been said).

Another thing to add to The List of Mer's Computer Woes? My Time Machine is definitely on its last legs. My lovely new-ish Western Digital MyBook Studio has begun ticking, a bit like a soft clock. It doesn't always mount, and even when I do the whole unplug-to-power-cycle thing and re-plug, it doesn't always work. And I'll hear a soft tick-tick-tick...like a clock, only not as regular. Maybe every few seconds. This one might still be under warranty, but what's the use if I'd just end up replacing it with another WD drive? WD doesn't seem to be nearly as reliable as I thought. :( What are the HDs the "Geniuses" use at the Bar, I wonder? They look pretty compact and sturdy...
azurite: (sailormoon - double trouble minako & usa)
2010-01-08 01:34 pm
Entry tags:

Crash, crash, crash - "Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

So, my Photoshop has been crashing left and right whenever I try to use it lately. Now that I have to use it for my DeVry class, I'm in a pickle, so I thought I could use the Citrix client, which lets you load external applications. Turns out the one I had was outdated, and when I tried to get the new one, I got a 404 Page Not Found. Gee. So I call up the tech support at DeVry out in freezing Chicago and get a new client. At first, it seems to go okay: installs fine, but mysteriously doesn't show up in Firefox or Safari.

A few crashes, restarts, and re-installs of Firefox later (I'm using 3.5.7 now, as opposed to 3.6 beta 5), the Citrix client actually appears to BE there in Firefox (that is, when I go to the DeVry lab and click on Photoshop, it prompts me to allow the Citrix client to open), but then it immediately crashes with the same error (it looks like) as Photoshop.

This has also caused (perhaps by indirect association) crashes with iTunes, Finder, Dreamweaver (something about "initializing extension data," even though I have no extensions for Dreamweaver) and maybe others I'm not remembering.

I have:
* Repaired disk permissions
* Booted in safe mode
* Tried loading from a Guest account
* Cleared the RAM cache by doing a Shift-Restart
* Checked for major font incompatibilities with Photoshop
* Removed various Login Items (and yet somehow Intego is running in the background, and I don't know how, which REALLY bothers me--I might end up removing it after all.)
* Tried turning off File Sharing (it was never on in the first place, but I turned off Bluetooth Sharing just to be sure)
* Tried doing an Archive and Install (supposedly not even an option in SL; I didn't see the "Options" button to find it, though apparently another Genius told someone that it's "Automatic," which I wouldn't believe if my data's at stake)

Adobe wants me to uninstall and reinstall Photoshop CS3--maybe the whole Creative Suite. I don't have the DVDs on me, so it looks like I'm going to be getting that CS4 bundle pack a lot sooner than I planned, because CS3 just looks like one big disaster for Snow Leopard, anyway. Supposedly it's compatible with Snow Leopard and I have been using it for a while on SL with no problems, but once the problems start, there's no way out of them, it looks like.

I REALLY want to believe that CS4 will fix the issue, except Citrix crashing and this error (which is in the Apple main thread?) make it seem like it's a SYSTEM issue, and I'm one of MANY people having this error, and there doesn't appear to be any one fix that works for everyone. So I'm at a loss as to what to do, because the Geniuses AREN'T.

Where's Mizuno Ami when you need her!? If you have any thoughts/ideas/other solutions, please let me know.

Here's the crash log: Read more... )
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
2010-01-02 01:30 am
Entry tags:

Is it Intego? Or is it...a mystery?

My Photoshop CS3 (not any of the other Creative Suite 3 apps that I use) has been crashing upon open for the past week or more. I have been around the block and back trying to figure out what to do, and I've tried almost everything. I searched Adobe's KnowledgeBase for potential solutions and went through almost all 22-23 short of re-installing Photoshop, mainly because I don't have the discs on me here in San Francisco.

I tried doing Disk Utility checkups and got some weird errors that I couldn't fix, and at the time, I'd been without my Snow Leopard DVD either, so I took it to the Apple Store. They couldn't fix it and the "genius" recommended an Archive and Install...which is apparently not an option for Snow Leopard. Never mind that I spent a good 20+ minutes trying to find a button that just wasn't there, if only the guy had told me--oh yeah, it's no longer an option for your OS!

I tried fixing the same errors with TechTool Pro before just Googling them--hah! Turns out they're generic errors that can be "safely ignored" and have nothing to do with Photoshop's crashing. I tried using Time Machine to restore Photoshop to the earliest date I had--the 15th of December, but no dice.

So then I tried rebooting in Safe Boot mode, and THAT miraculously worked. So apparently the issue is with Photoshop and one of my login items...but which one? The ones I think I have (and I don't know if I know all of them) are: Synergy, Quicksilver, Hyperspaces, some Intego software, and XMarks for Safari. Of those, I updated Intego and Hyperspaces recently. I've used Synergy and Quicksilver for so long, I'm sure they're not the issue. To check, I closed each of them one by one...except Intego, WHICH I CAN'T CLOSE. AT ALL.

I think I have to uninstall the damn thing to test out this theory. And why do I have Intego ContentBarrier, NetBarrier, Personal Antispam, Personal Backup, and VirusBarrier, anyway? Simply put, it was part of a security bundle I'd gotten a while ago, and my boss back at CSUN said it was part of the policy to have antivirus software, even on a Mac (which doesn't need it--not because there are no viruses because of Apple's "small market share," but because it's Just That Damn Good). And I thought all was well--it caught a few infected emails that could have damaged my Windows VM or passed on the virus using my email address, but maybe it's interfering with Photoshop after all.

I'm waiting to hear back from Adobe and see what they say--maybe there will be login items I missed, that the lengthy crash report reveals, or they can tell me something specific about my installed, mentioned login items and incompatibilities with Photoshop. And then there's always trying to figure out how the hell to temporarily disable the Intego software just to test whether or not it crashes Photoshop after all.

I've searched for tips and tricks, but none apply to my situation here, so I'm sort of at a loss until Adobe gets back to me. My options at this point are:
* Uninstall Intego -- and I don't even know if it's really the issue
* Get Baba and Grandpa to send me the CS3 DVDs so I can reinstall Photoshop
* Have my mom buy me the CS4 backpack I've been saving up for myself, as a "graduation present," just to fix the damn issue and have new everything that's up-to-date and be done with it.

I'm not a big fan of any of those, because none are really simple and easy. Any tips would be appreciated.
azurite: (sailormoon - usagi sweater)
2009-12-26 12:58 am

The Basics Still Elude Them

How is it that nearly 15 years after the CONCLUSION of Sailor Moon, people still fail to do the basic things that would make for a good fic? I'm sure this could be translated to almost any fandom, but as I was perusing through the Sailor Moon section on the new "Archive of Our Own", I noticed several things happen again and again.

Maybe it's just my bad luck, picking fics that sound interesting without paying attention to whether the author's different each time. Usually, if an author writes something that causes me to click the "Back" button, I won't give that author a second chance unless the summary sounds really good. Which means if an author "sux at summeries," then they're screwed trying to get me back as a reader. Boo, I'm sure they'll find some less-discerning n00b who doesn't have my standards.

But it's kind of sad, how the fandom doesn't improve with age, as a great fandom like Sailor Moon ought to.

How is that people are still writing fics where:
* The Japanese character names are used, but the dub attack names are, too?

* Regardless of original vs. dub, the wrong season's attacks are used? (I get that the other Senshi, like Mars, Mercury, and so on might reuse their old attacks, but SAILOR MOON NEVER DOES. Especially not her wand-based attacks. In other words, she can't do "Moon Healing Activation" (dub) with the "Cutie Moon Rod," a.k.a. that thing she's got in Sailor Moon R.

* There's the still use the tried-and-trite cliché of the Senshi lambasting Usagi, not noticing she's actually hurt or something? It was made canonically clear in the anime (the one version of the series where they really ganged up on her, and where the whole Rei vs. Usagi thing is a bit of a recurring joke) that the only time they've ever fought is to get the attention of the bad guys--not because they actually believe any of it. They all know without Usagi, they'd be screwed. The planet would be screwed. Telling her she's klutzy, useless in battle, etc. is sort of useless--even if any of them actually had the stupidity to believe it for a split second because Sailor Moon was "late" to a battle for whatever reason.

* No one can take an ill/amnesiac/stuck-in-her-transformed-state Usagi in except Mamoru (who recently broke up with her but MINOR DETAIL)? Ami lives with her mother, a doctor, who knows and likes Usagi, though she's hardly ever home because she's a workaholic at the hospital. Makoto doesn't live with anyone, though it's very possible she's got an anal-retentive landlord that disallows visitors. It happens. But what about Rei? The girls have had plenty of meetings or sleepovers at the temple! And Minako's parents might be bitchy (in the manga, she made it sound like she really disliked them), but I think in an emergency, they might be fine...assuming they're even home.

* Basic Japanese words are not translated. I admit I was guilty of it when I first started out, but with the Internet being so damn prevalent and so many hundreds of thousands of SM fics in existence (lots of "best of" and "top 10" lists to refer to for quality fiction), it seems silly that people still do this. Stop using "Nani" and "onegai" and "konnichiwa!" and stuff. The only Japanese people can honestly get away with are: a) words with ambiguous translations; b) words with no English equivalent; c) words that are culturally significant, like honorifics. I don't see a point in using "Onii~san" and stuff when "Big Brother" or "Older Brother" or "Mister" (assuming you, the author, know who is talking to whom and whether or not they have a real familial relationship, let alone a respectful one) work just as well.

* Mixing up of manga facts and anime canon. Mamoru breaks up with Usagi only in the anime. Evil!Endymion is in both the anime and the manga, but the way he acts and who he is seen with differentiates the two. Ice prison, senshi death, and black-eyed Endymion? All manga, all the time. Don't mix them up!

I'm sure there are others, but yeesh, to have so many in a few minutes of one fic should give me reason enough to click "Back" and really swear off this author once and for all, right? Forget "Transformative Works," a crappy fanfic is still a crappy fanfic. Plus, the more clichés that serve as plot devices, the more that sour taste in my mouth intensifies...really now, some excuse to revert Usagi into Serenity just so Mamoru can have a flowery guilt complex over his breakup and then Serenity can somehow "connect" or turn back into Usagi and everything is explained and all are happy? Baaaah!