azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna berserker)
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: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
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 and mouse)
Not having nor really wanting to own an iPhone so long as it's tied to AT&T in any size, shape, or form, I missed the news about an Apple employee accidentally losing a prototype of the new iPhone, and how someone else found it, tried to return it, got stonewalled by Apple (because they don't even tell their own employees everything), and then ended up selling* it to tech blog Gizmodo for $5K.

(* This is kind of disputed - keep reading.)

Until tonight, when I watched Jon Stewart's "Appholes" clip on a referral from a classmate. I didn't know it had escalated to the point where, though the phone had been returned by the Gizmodo editor who bought it (Jason Chen), Apple got San Mateo authorities to raid Chen's house on the suspicion that he had actually STOLEN the device, despite Chen's compliance with Apple's formal request to get the device back, and Gizmodo's posted (I think) reports on the device and how they acquired it.

Of course, Gizmodo's initial report DID leave some things why they paid $5K for it (supposedly this was an "exclusive access fee" and that Giz would help to return the device after their report. Still not cool, still legally gray, if not outright illegal in that it seems to be aiding in the "theft" of something that's clearly not theirs, bricked or not. Why did it take more than a month between the loss date and Gizmodo's first posting about the device? WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE MEANTIME? Or did it take weeks for Giz to even get the device, and it was the scuzball source who took so long hanging onto property that wasn't his?)

The person who found it had tried to contact Apple instead of the Apple employee whose name was so readily findable on the phone through the Facebook app, and was stonewalled due to Apple's own policies, but to go from there to trying to sell the device to tech blogs? Where the hell's the logic in that?

I can understand, at least in part, why Apple decided to call it "stolen" at that point: the employee lost it, couldn't get it back at the place where he lost it (presumably), couldn't get the contact of anyone who had found it (presumably), and was relying on that person to find him. Did they? No, apparently not, despite having access to his FACEBOOK account! (For at least a little while before the phone got bricked, anyway. But maybe not long enough to remember and find any useful contact information, but geez, there's way more to be done than that when a device like that is lost. But I guess people rightfully don't have much expectation of others being at all generous when their phone is lost or stolen, especially these days....)

So, who's in the wrong here? Well, one, for Gizmodo, for buying the phone and continuing to report on it, instead of directly contacting the guy who'd lost it or trying harder than their source to get in touch with Apple immediately. In that sense, they were handling stolen goods, rather than just something that was lost and found.

Two, the source, for not trying hard enough to contact the original Apple Engineer, for trying harder to get ahold of someone higher up at Apple, and of course, for selling the damn thing, which automatically seems to make the person less of a good samaritan and more of a profiteer. (Disclaimer: he was drunk when he found it, probably not-so-sober when he may have glanced at the Facebook app and seen the owner's real name, but not thought to write it down, and too late the next day when the phone got bricked. Could he still have done more? Yes, in my opinion. But maybe I just have high expectations/standards of people. Figure it this way: if you'd want me to go the distance for you and your property, I would: if you would for me. I don't have to know you, but I would, because to me, it's common decency.)

And yeah, Apple's in the wrong for pushing on the San Mateo authorities to the point of STORMING a journalist's home and taking his personal electronics, data, etc. (Maybe. It's possible that Apple really had nothing to do with it outside of providing them with the information that here was this guy who'd obtained a phone that they'd determined was Apple's property and he may have aided in a crime by purchasing it. Apple reports potential crimes! Good for them. Or something.) Supposedly they charged in during dinner--no knocking ahead of time, no calling on the phone. (ETA: "Dinner" being "out of the house." This wasn't made clear initially, so thanks to [ profile] azhp for clearing it up. And Chen was told he could get reimbursed for his bashed-in door. Why don't police just hire a lockpick?)

I agree with Stewart: "Appholes!" But I personally dislike them more for their partnership with AT&T than for this, because no matter what they told the SMPD, it's the police's fault for following bad information and for acting the way they did.

Gizmodo is staying silent on the issue of Chen's house more or less being raided on the iPhone posts, but they did share Chen's experience with the search online. They're also apparently promoting those blog posts/comments that agree with their POV and standing by Chen. On the one hand: good. They should stand by their reporter. Don't pretend that he's not/Gizmodo's not, because then Chen getting raided is only the result of their already dumb behavior, especially in regards to the Apple employee's identity and activity that resulted in the loss of the phone in the first place. (But the phone was bricked the day after it was lost right? Does that mean that Gizmodo's source didn't pass on the info about the Apple employee whose name was in the Facebook account?) They have a chance of fighting the SMPD's behavior toward Chen and possibly Apple if they stand by the fact that they're journalists and protect their sources with the shield law. But I don't know if their "source" deserves that kind of protection, even if Giz is otherwise a news organization.

Rival Engadget is not making a big deal out of this issue, likely because people already know that they were offered the same deal to buy the lost phone as Gizmodo was. Good for them.

Some people are thinking this was all a huge Apple PR stunt. I disagree: they're notorious for their secrecy, and I doubt that would abruptly change just to garner hype for an upcoming device. They do have controlled tests of their products, some of them going out into public in the hands of employees, and I think this was along those lines. The veil of secrecy gig works much more for them than "leaked product!1!!" does.

I'm basically confused here, because on the one hand, as a journalist, I value the shield laws more than the average person might. But I'm also an Apple fan, iPhone and AT&T opinions aside, and I know their attitude when it comes to corporate secrets. I don't always agree with it, but I know that if I trusted an employee with something, he accidentally lost it, and I tried to get it back, I'd defend him and anyone who didn't get in touch with either of us comes across as a thief.

I'm more pissed at the source that hung onto the phone than anyone else, and even as a journalist, even if I treat Gizmodo as a news organization despite THEIR poor decision-making, what benefit does it serve ANYONE to protect that source? I say: let 'em burn. He deserves whatever lawsuit is coming his way.


Mar. 24th, 2010 04:54 pm
azurite: (batman - criminal justice system)
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: (sailormoon - mars says let 'em burn)
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: (sailormoon - usagi sweater)
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!
azurite: (ygo - kaiba cry!?)
Tonight our dog Mokie (Mokee) was attacked by a neighborhood German Shepherd (I think it's a mix, but it might also be a young G.S.). Mokie was out on the front lawn just doing her business and was sniffing near a tree. It was shadowed over there, and I went to get her to make sure she wasn't in the street, and the next thing I knew, this dog comes tearing from across the street and starts attacking her.

Mokie is just a small, old toy poodle. She doesn't usually like other dogs, but she did nothing whatsoever to provoke this attack. This dog just came out and attacked her--three times, apparently, because Mokie yelped quite loudly and I kept kicking the other dog to get it away from us. Mokie was on the street, her eyes wide with shock and not moving, and I was so terrified that we'd lost her in that instant.

I picked her up while I yelled and kicked at the other dog, which didn't bite me or tried to get up on me. But it kept coming after me and Mokie, even when I ran across the lawn to get into the house. Baba and Grandpa, who were out on the front lawn with me because we'd been saying bye to Erin, Calvin, Joyce and Neal (they came over for dinner and were going to see a show afterward), saw the dog and recognized it as a neighbor's, but the neighbor was nowhere in sight. The dog had a collar, but wasn't on a leash.

We got inside and closed the door had put Mokie in her dog bed, and it was readily apparent she was very hurt--she was bleeding badly, stumbling, and only barely whimpering. Finally she collapsed in her bed and I frantically called everyone I could--Erin, Adam (who volunteers at a pet hospital), anyone. Baba opened the door again to see if the dog was still out there, and we saw the owner right in front of our house in a dark SUV. The dog was nowhere in sight, so we assumed the owner had gotten the dog back inside the car. I screamed at them, but they just sped away down the street toward Superior. Baba and I are going to where we think they are tomorrow and talk to them--hopefully they'll be honest and do something to help us. What kind of horrible human beings wouldn't?

Erin came back before Adam could call me back with an emergency-hours pet clinic, so we sped off to this place we remembered on White Oak. There was so much blood on my hands--I tried to put pressure on the one wound of Mokie's I could see, but I don't know if it helped. Erin assured me that Mokie was at least conscious and making noises, but I felt so awful that I hadn't kept a closer eye on Mokie, that I hadn't gotten that other dog off of her sooner.

Thankfully there was a vet at the clinic and we got in with no trouble, and the vet soon reported Mokie had been attacked three times--shoulder, rear, and flank, but there didn't appear to be any severe damage to internal organs, and as long as they got her on IV, she would be treatable, hopefully without surgery. She's staying there overnight now, but I want to know what to do about this other dog. I want the owner to pay somehow--if not for Mokie's hospital bill in full, then something. A vicious dog like that should not be wandering around the neighborhood at night, let alone without a leash or an owner nearby.

I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight. Please, if you can spare a moment, pray for Mokie. Thank you.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
As far as I'm concerned, anything is better than AT&T. They had such downright foul customer service and price gouging that I swore them off for life, which is why I'll never buy an iPhone so long as it's tethered to AT&T. I'm of the opinion that people should be able to pick the phone that suits their needs and then pick the service they want for the area they're in (or plan to be in), rather than be stuck picking a specific service to get a certain phone with certain features.

And then there's home cable/digital phone/Internet service. See, my grandparents wanted a convenient way to pay all their bills at once, and we switched to TWC's "All The Best" to supposedly save some money on our bills. We set up Auto-Pay, got some new cordless phones, and we were off!

Except I've noticed when we receive phone calls on the landline, I get booted off the Internet. The schmucks who installed the cable modem here put it in the same room as our TV, but not anywhere convenient for our computers, so wireless was a necessity. Of course, TWC has their own boxes and service, so if we wanted to use wireless through them (officially supported), we'd have to pay extra. Seriously, WTF? I pay a one-time fee to customize my own box with better security and a typically more stable connection--why WOULD I bother going through them?

So I've been using the AirPort Extreme Base Station, and other than these few minor glitches, it works well. But the glitches are getting annoying, and when I called TWC to find out what I could do, they had be go through this whole tech support rigamarole that involved restarting and rewiring every connection, all to no avail.

See, if I disconnect my Apple router from the cable modem, I then have to restart the modem (and sometimes the laptop) just to get it to recognize the ethernet connection. And this isn't a convenient location for the ethernet connection anyway, so it seems like a pointless exercise, even when it does connect me to the Internet "the old-fashioned way." I'm supposed to "observe" this connection for the next two hours to see if it gets interrupted by an incoming phone call, all for the sake of seeing if it really is a hardware issue like they initially told me it was (which, apparently, was a mistake, since I couldn't have been using the digital phone to talk to them if there was a hardware issue; it either ALL works or it doesn't work at all). And even if it is...uh, well, they want to charge me to replace the box, even though again, initially, they told me I could do it for free, and get it replaced at the TWC store nearby. Nope, apparently not.

So not only do they want to lock me into using their hardware, their way (I get that they'd prefer I use their hardware so they don't have to familiarize their support agents with the procedures for setting up or restarting countless third-party routers and other devices, but to CHARGE me for the privilege? WTF!?), but they want to charge me now for something that before they said I could get swapped out for free, because repeated customer service calls seemed to point in the direction of it being a genuine hardware issue. Hardware's where I fail, so I believed them, but apparently I was talking to a doesn't-know-it-all, and now I'm back to square one.

Just for fun, I looked up Verizon FiOS online, to see if they have it in the area. They advertise on the TV so incessantly (I hate the commercials, though) that I thought they would, but Verizon's own website says no (or rather, it's not sure, since it seems to think I live somewhere I don't, and even when I accept the wrong address, it asks me to enter it again). Yet, a bundle-searching service says yes-AND that they're cheaper than TWC. Of course, I don't know if those quoted prices are promotional and are really for the whole bundle of TV + Internet + Phone, but still...

The whole idea is, I should be able to get fast internet using a combination of my hardware and theirs without being price-gouged for it. I should be able to have a secure home Internet connection that doesn't disconnect when I make or receive a phone call, just because I have phone service tied into it. I should be able to put my boxes wherever I damn well please, because it's my (or rather, my grandparents') house! And if there's an issue, I should be able to either diagnose it in a relatively quick phone call (that I didn't wait 3 hours on hold to get in the first place) or get it replaced promptly and FREE.

Is this too much to ask? Am I living in "De Nile," having these expectations about home TV/Internet/Phone service? Is there such thing as a good home connectivity company!?

All this and I'm still sick. Gaah.
azurite: (gundam senshi!)
Typed the first few paragraphs last week and then procrastinated to all hell for posting this. Oooops.

Ah, back from Anime Expo. Actually, I got back late on Sunday night, but yesterday I was so exhausted that I ended up taking Monday off work and sleeping a lot. When I didn't sleep, I played my newest acquisition: Final Fantasy Anthologies, featuring FF5 and FF6, neither of which I've ever beaten. It's making me nostalgic!

I probably should have posted entries each night after I came back, but I was usually so exhausted from volunteering that I didn't. I did do some Live Tweeting though, so I'll touch on a few of the things I mentioned then.

Day Zero )

Day One )

Day Two )

Day Three )

Day Four: THE FINALS )
azurite: (csi: sara survivor)
Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE Southwest Airlines? I mean LUV LUV LUV.

A few things you should know (or could probably guess) about me:
(1) I am NOT a light packer; I've tried: I've failed.
(2) I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

Keeping those in mind, it's not hard to imagine that, despite having returned to L.A. prior to Thanksgiving, the stuff I brought back with me wasn't nearly enough. On the way from LAX to SFO the first time around, I got charged $25 for an overweight suitcase.

I've taken to checking in baggage because, with my back and the fact that people simply aren't courteous ANYWHERE anymore (not that I have low expectations of others, but it's easier not to assume and make an ass out of myself by whining when no one helps short little me get my bag out of the upper baggage compartment), it's just easier.

My suitcase, when full, just barely skims the 62 total inch limit-- it's 30 inches long, 20 inches wide, and around 9 inches thick. STUFFED, it can easily surpass the 62 inches, but I've never seen anyone whip out a tape measure and check my bag for that. Weighing it, on the other hand....

Anyway, I was nervous about how much my bag weighed for the trip back to L.A. today, because even though it was mostly vacuum-sucked clothes bags, I also had all my shoes, two hard drives, random books and papers, and a bag of cosmetics.

The total? 77.5 lbs! WTF!?

So I started by taking out my Jewish cookbook (it's sitting behind my CD album in my wheelie carry-on), and that knocked it down to 73.5. I didn't want to try and take out much more that wasn't flat, but was somehow still substantial enough to knock down three pounds, if only because I'd have no place to put it. I'm already hefting my PS2 and 2 stuffed animals (ssh!) as my "personal item." Thankfully, the guy at the baggage check outside was super-nice, and let me slide for the extra 3 pounds, so he said he'd have to take me inside to pay the $25 fee.

I gave the guy my WaMu debit card, because I checked the balance last night AND this morning, and there was enough in there to cover the fee (I KNEW I was going to get some fee) and my cab once I get to the Van Nuys Flyaway. But for some reason, it wasn't going through. They suggested I go to an ATM. I got to the ATM, expecting MORE fees, but it says "Card not authorized" or some shit. Freaking out (because my Macy's Visa wasn't working either, and that didn't surprise me; I owe the most on that card at the moment, and I think they've been calling me incessantly -but never leaving messages- but my payments haven't been the full amount. They've been whatever I could manage, but apparently THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH), I called my bank.

When I finally got hold of a live person, he told me that while my checking account was still open, my debit/MasterCard had been closed since NOVEMBER!? WTF!? They didn't even notify me, not even on the site, which I check fairly regularly! So I had to be transferred to another line, explain the whole situation again, and have them "reactivate" the card (with the stipulation that the "activation" might not actually take effect until midnight).

Then, by the time I got back to the SWA counter... the guy said "It's okay, go on."



So yay to that, and yay also to the taxi ride from Van Nuys FlyAway that was cheaper than I expected. Yay to Grandpa shelling out $12 because the guy didn't want to try swiping my potentially-bad card.

NOT YAY to the fact that I may have lost my USB stick. I called Mom to see if she could spot it in the areas where I was hanging out, but she didn't see it. Then again, she was half-asleep. I'm hoping it turns up somewhere really obvious -here or there- and I can get it on my hot little hands again. I DON'T want to have somehow lost it at SFO or LAX or on the plane or in the taxi. I'll call the airports if I haven't found it within 3 days, because that particular USB drive is important, but hopefully it's extremely identifiable, WHAT WITH MY NAME PRINTED ON IT AND ALL.

Think positive, think positive.

YAY to the fact that Baba and Grandpa now have an iMac! Sure, it's a G5, but it's working pretty well! Plus Erin left all of her awesome software on it, so if for whatever reason I don't or can't use my laptop, there's this one. It's not on Leopard, but because it's a PowerPC, I can run old-school Mac programs! WHOO!

Anyway, mom's been nagging me to make sure I get enough sleep lately. My problem is that I stress too much about things (LITTLE things, both literal and figurative). I think I should just chill and be glad to be home safe and (mostly) whole. I somehow managed to scrape a piece of skin off my right hand earlier at SFO when calling WaMu. I don't know how, but it hurts. :P

Ah well. Emails to read and send, LJs to catch up on... I can only relax by feeling accomplished somehow.
azurite: (xmas - hanging pink & green ornaments)

You Are a Gingerbread House

A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

I want to participate in a holiday challenge. Is [ profile] yuugiouxmasfic still around? If not, anyone want to do a holiday challenge of some kind? I'm up for almost anything...

Three birthdays in one! )

Anyway, I've got school work that I've been procrastinating on to do, so... off I go!
azurite: (twilight - demoted from awesome)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Over 3,000 fans of the young adult vampire book series "Twilight" gathered early this morning (and that's saying something, considering it's still only 9:22 am as I'm writing this) outside San Francisco's Stonestown Galleria shopping center, vying for the chance to meet Robert Pattinson, the 22-year-old British star of the upcoming movie adaptation of the same name. After the crowds grew too unruly, police were forced to cancel the event.

Fans were reportedly crushed against mall doors until at least one nose was broken and one person nearly collapsed from asphyxiation.

The event, which was scheduled to take place at the mall's "Hot Topic" store, required fans to purchase a specific "Twilight" item (and thereby support author Stephenie Meyer in her donations to the Mormon church, which funds anti-gay rights measures like Proposition 8, recently passed in California and Arizona) before obtaining a wristband so they could return to the store to meet Pattinson at 6 p.m. Only the truly insane and hardcore were at the mall this morning, as normal folks and fun-loving Twatlighters were scheduled to show up much later in the afternoon and enjoy the LULz over fresh tortilla chips and a margarita.

Hearts have likely been broken by the event's cancellation, but in a posh hotel room somewhere within the Bay Area, Robert Pattinson is likely breathing a sigh of relief, having safely and quite deftly (vampire skillz, whut) avoided yet another encounter with fangirls who make "the sound like you hear at the gates of hell."

The lesson, ladies and gents? Never travel more than 5 miles to meet a celebrity. Never get so excited about someone or something so as to be likened to a creature squealing from the gates of hell. And for the love of God and sparkly vampires, be a Twatlighter, not a Twilighter (or Twihard, for that matter)!

Source: KCBS
azurite: (don't fuck with eagles)
I actually dared to go out today. Actually, Baba and Grandpa were supposed to go to their swimming class at CSUN, but Grandpa wasn't feeling too well, so we held off on that, and instead went out later in the day. I went to WaMu and got the money order (originally intended for Disney so I can sever my ties with them completely; after what I've been through lately, they can stand to wait a few more days!) refunded, closed my checking account, and opened up a new one. So there's no chance this guy's going to get ANY of my money beyond the measly $15 that was in my wallet. Haha, sucker. Haha.

I also put a 90-day fraud alert on my credit, notified the DMV, made an appointment for a new CA ID, and have been running around getting all my other cards replaced. I'm handling the last of them (at school and the mall) tomorrow. Already got a new Vons card (even though I never use it; I always enter the phone number to get the club discount; it's so much easier!), but Blockbuster's computers were on the fritz, so all I got was a new account number; the guy couldn't close my old account or print me a new card. -_-

I was afraid that when we came back from lunch and shopping at Vons, we'd return to the house and find it ransacked or on fire. Neither, obviously, as I'm sitting here typing at my laptop in my still-intact room. I'm glad.

On the one hand, I want to believe these guys were pathetic and petty, but the escape vehicle was (if I remember correctly), a new dark silver Lexus SUV (it may have been a Honda, which is on the opposite end of the spectrum, but something in me is saying it was a Lexus). EIther these guys are spoiled brats who think they need to commit a crime to have fun, or they jacked a car and are a lot smarter/more dangerous (not necessarily both) than we thought. I'd rather overestimate them than underestimate them, hence the complete changing of all the locks throughout the house. We're also going to get a new mailbox-- our old one is pretty crappy, anyway.

I have been a lot more wary of walking by myself; I'm more attuned to hearing what's around me. Mom thinks I should act like a crazy person so people won't come near me. (Don't I act wacky enough "normally?") Dad wants me to take a self-defense class. (Part of me wants to *legally* get a gun. Bad Mer, bad! But there's nothing illegal about pepper spray, right?)

I'm a bit paranoid of silver SUVs, of which there were a lot in the neighborhood. But none of them were the car I saw yesterday. I might use my Google-fu to see if I can find out just what model it was and then call the detectives with that info, assuming they haven't already tried that avenue; I left them a message this morning but haven't heard back from them yet. I hope that's a good sign, and it means they're doing their job.

We went driving up Donna St. where the guys made their getaway; Baba thought that maybe they went through my purse, found there was next to nothing in it and threw it out. Or maybe they didn't recognize it as a designer purse (I argued that the fact it was a D&B purse was probably what made me a target in the first place) and threw the purse out, keeping the wallet. No luck. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, it just means we didn't see the purse or wallet lying anywhere visible from the street as we drove down. Someone from the neighborhood could have found it, if that happened, but if it was just the purse, there's nothing in it to identify it as mine, and if it was the wallet... *shrug* Well, maybe they'll return it? I'm not going to get my hopes up.

My new policy is to always have pants with pockets and put whatever I need in there. If it doesn't fit, I don't need it. And I'm going to make copies of everything and write down all my memberships and numbers. And then I'll put it in my safe where NO ONE BUT ME can touch it (unless I burn to a crisp, in which case the firemen can get to it, but it won't matter anymore :P).

In the meantime, I plan on getting my endorphins up and keeping my back in shape by playing some DDR. Might as well be strengthening my legs if I want to kick anybody in the kneecap, should the occasion arise. ^_~

I want to thank everyone who responded to my past two posts/notes. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, everyone; not only has it helped me remember other lost cards, but it's made me feel a lot better and not so freaked out.

And [ profile] obabscribbler, thank you for the fic. It definitely brought a smile to my face. I wish I had a Yuugi/Yami no Yuugi and a pair of former gang members (well, Jounouchi and Honda, rather than some random Crips or Bloods) as my best buds. But I'll settle for vicarious living through Anzu-- she always makes me feel better. (BTW, I don't see metal trash cans anymore. Otherwise I totally would have grabbed a lid and flung it at that guy's head... or the SUV's windshield. HAHA!)
azurite: (csi: sara survivor)
Pictures "for posterity" of the events of 9/10/08. Read the previous post for details.

It happened, it hurt. )
azurite: (csi: sara survivor)
Just got mugged. Can't think straight, can't eat my breakfast (got a late start).

I was about 20 yards from home. I could see my backyard. Corner of Ballinger St. and Donna Ave. I had my iPod on (stupid, stupid, stupid!) listening to some Utada Hikaru. I was thinking of scenes for WDKY. I was thinking, if I were a superhero, I'd want all the awesome powers, not just one. I was thinking how it was a nice day out-- sunny but not too hot, nice breeze. I was thinking it'd be nice to take my bagel and iced tea and curl up in the rec room and watch some Ceres: Celestial Legend.

Someone tugged on my Dooney and Burke (I saved up for that purse! It was my anniversary present to myself...) purse (which I never take out; I usually take my now-crappy sparkly change purse with just one card and an ID in it; why did I choose today to take my purse AND my wallet, with all my cards in it?). I thought for a second, it was a "friend" surprising me. Someone saying "Hi Mer, so glad to have you back in the neighborhood."

The moment I turned, the guy started running. I dropped my bagel and iced tea, tore out of my flip flops, started running after the guy motherfucker. He had a fucking accomplice parked in a dark silver SUV on the corner of Donna. I heard someone in the car say "Come on man, let's go" before the door slammed and they gunned it north down the street.

I only remember the first four number/letters or so of the license plate: 5LJP or something like that. It was a new-looking SUV with a silver icon-- Honda, Toyota, Lexus, something, I can't remember. (I know it wasn't a Scion. I know it wasn't a SAAB or a BMW, with a colored icon. But it still doesn't help.)

The guy was Hispanic, wore a gray baseball cap with no logo, cargo shorts (I think they were light khaki), and a blue or gray t-shirt. I called the cops immediately. I talked to a few other "witnesses" (guys from AT&T that heard me scream bloody murder-- can't fight back, can't run, but I'll be damned if I can't scream louder than anyone on the fucking planet. I probably woke the dead) and then trudged back to my soggy bagel and broken iced tea bottle.

Got home, cried my eyes out. Called the credit card company, my bank, my mom, Kaiser. Trying to remember any other cards. But there was only $15 in cash in there, and with the two credit cards blocked, I doubt these guys will find anything worthwhile. They might try and sell the purse, but who gives a fuck about D&B anymore? I don't know why I ever cared so much about that P.O.S. I'll just get an ugly Buxton bag.

Never going to listen to my iPod while out again. Never going to carry a purse worth more than $20. Always going to know just what's in my purse and wallet. No more mystery cards... "did I have this?" and "did I have that?" I still don't remember everything. Shock is a funny thing. All the stuff you think you can do, suddenly you can't. It happens too fast. (No one's told me my lips look white. But I feel... hollow inside, but also like if I have anything inside, I'm going to throw it up. It's a wonder I'm as coherent as I am.)

I still feel stupid. But I'm okay. Could have been worse. I'm okay.

I wish I knew kung-fu.

ETA: Haven't heard back from the police detectives, so I'll give them a buzz tomorrow. Question for anyone reading this (and no, Capital One has no taken over my brain): "What's in your wallet?" No, really. I'm trying to remember what I may have lost, if there's anything critical in there that I *should* be worried about that I may have forgotten or missed. My SSN wasn't in there, and everything else vital (credit cards, debit cards, IDs) I'm already on the way to replacing. I should be going to CSUN tomorrow anyway to get a new ID there. But can you guys think of anything else that I might have lost, critical or otherwise? What kinds of cards do you have in your wallet?

My list so far of cards lost and hopefully replaceable, some of which have already been processed:
* DSW Membership Card (getting a new one once their "system" is back online)
* Borders Rewards
* myISIC Student card
* CSUN Student ID
* Student Advantage card
* WaMu Debit Card
* Apple ProCare card (would you believe Apple's customer support had no idea what this was?)
* Library card
* Kaiser card
* Southwest Airlines card (printed a new one; now to laminate it or something. Hey, I could always stick it in an old Yu-Gi-Oh! card sheath, yeah?)
* JCPenney Salon Loyalty card (I was so bloody close to getting my discount! But my stylist there likes me, and maybe they can "look up my account" or something and punch in 6 holes on a new card because I'm cute and sweet -literally on that last one!- and honest)
* ???
azurite: (brain+uterus)
[ profile] a_white_rain stole all the good subject lines for this issue, so I'll just be honest and comment "this is an awfully apt song title for the context, innit?" Read on.

The Bush Administration is trying, yet again, to tie religion to government, and therefore control people's lifestyle and choices. I'm all for people being able to practice their religion how they please, so long as that doesn't mean shoving one's religion down the throats (or up the uteruses, in this case) of others, forcing them to change their lives to suit those views.

Basically, they want to let medical clinics define "abortion" willy-nilly, based on a poll where NOT EVEN THE MAJORITY of people believe that life begins at conception (vs. implantation) and where the accepted medical definitions (from across several organizations) DIFFER from this whole "at conception/fertilization" point.

As is mentioned in some of the pages AWR links to, this is going to give power to religious right medical clinics, doctors, etc. to say that abortion can take place at a point when a woman doesn't even know if she's pregnant. There is NO definite way to know that an egg has been fertilized-- no blinking red light, no incontrovertible signs. Doctors can "opt out" of assisting a woman with getting birth control and/or an abortion, and there is no legislation that provides for a woman in this scenario: no alternatives she is given to seek, no transportation should the next nearest place be hundreds of miles away, nothing.

They call this a "conscience" act, as if to imply that doctors that DO assist women with birth control and/or abortions don't HAVE a conscience. What a bunch of bullshit! (For the record, I'm on birth control and have been since I was 16. I haven't been sexually active for that long; I've just had horrible, horrible, debilitating PMS and MS cycles. But will that minor detail stop a "conscientious" doctor from denying me my medication? No. And then I'll be S.O.L. for a good week out of every month. Thanks, Bush!)

*groan* I could probably rant on this for a while, and half the things I'd say might come out wrong because it just makes me that furious. Check out AWR's links, read up on it from various sources, and then ACT. I don't care if you're a man or a woman, young or old, religious, spiritual, or anything else in-between. Hell, even if you're not a U.S. citizen, write to our government and tell them how STUPID they're looking to the rest of the world and how, for a supposed world-superpower and global leader, we're sure acting like we've just popped into existence from the Middle Ages! (Actually, that's insulting the Middle Ages.)

I already sent out emails to both friends and family, and to the government in protest of this. It's bullshit and I won't stand for it as a woman or as a U.S. citizen.

Details, links, and more:
AWR's first post, including links out
Naamah Darling's rant on the subject, very nicely worded, with more links out
AWR's second post, with some more links out
azurite: (good in bed)
In order of appearance:

FanLib's going to disappear, as everyone predicted it would when it first made its bright, shiny appearance some 15 months ago (or so). I think it improved a whole lot since the wankfest first started, which is why I bothered to sign up against it, but I'm not crying over the loss. It's not like half the stuff there is any good anyway, whether that's writers or readers/reviewers. Anyone I did bother to read there I knew from other sites, namely this one, DA, and/or

The thing that sucks is that they didn't just come out and say why they're going under, nor did they invite discussion of the topic on their homepage. Everyone on fandom_wank says it's because they're out of their $3 million (srsly!?) investment, which wouldn't surprise me, but since I haven't seen any sort of official statement regarding the "why," I'll take that with a grain of salt.

Twilight - Cause for fangirls of all ages to be bitches, mainly because the poor sap who's playing Edward in the upcoming movie is "hot." Me? I haven't heard anything good about the book series OR the upcoming movie, but my roommate (who is a few months older than me) got into the series via her (14-year-old) sister. She admits that the series is targeted toward a younger audience than even Harry Potter (thus making both her and her sister part of that oddball crowd of fangirls), but she likes it so far, as it's a "simple read." I cringed a bit when reading the back cover, but don't dare to actually explore beyond that (yet?).

Why? Well, I went to the Anaheim Public Library tonight after work and finally got myself some other books: two on the craft of writing (one's a standby favorite on the Middle Ages, which I use as a great reference for "The Rose Chronicles"), one dark rewrite of "Snow White" and other fairy tales (love those sort of stories!) and one Myst novel (because I've never read them and I thought it was high time I ought to). Oh, and a High School Musical book.

High School Musical - So, working at Disneyland means I see this High School Musical stuff every day, and I often dealt with (child) Guests who would come up to me screaming about how HOTTTTTT Troy is (If I had to pick between Zac Efron and Robert Pattinson or whatever his name is -even if he was in Harry Potter before- I'd pick Zac any day of the week. The other guys IS somewhat cute and has nice eyes/hair/smile, etc. but Zac just seems... well, more human. And this is my impression of Rob based off an interview where he WAS NOT in Vampire!Mode) and I would have NO idea what they were going on about. I took a glance at the Junior Novel and decided that it sounded fluffy enough for me to warrant getting the movie as soon as it came back into our Clubhouse rentals, so I grabbed it as soon as it did. And... it's pretty darn catchy! The acting isn't half-bad, either, which is saying something, especially when you look at some of the other Disney Channel stuff (*cough*Camp Rock*cough*) So I got the second one too, and I like it a lot! I'm really looking forward to HSM3 coming out on the silver screen in October, and I'm betting I'll get a first-hand look at some of the merchandise before it hits the shelves, too! :D

That said, I'm already half-in the fandom, but in the way a cat might be in a bathtub-- one paw in, hackles raised. At FFnet alone, the tripe level is at an all-time high; people can't seem to summarize AT ALL in the HSM section (and again, this is FFnet, so that's saying something!, and they confuse the real-life actors with their characters, so you'll often see pairing portmanteaus like Zanessa or Zashley. Uh, hello, people? Zac =/= Troy, Vanessa =/= Gabriella, and so on and so forth! Let these people have lives outside their movies, please! Besides, RPF isn't even allowed on FFnet! (If everything that was RPF got taken off there, I'm sure 75% of the section would be gone.)

But for every 100 or so horrible fics, there might just be one good fic (emphasis on the might there). I've already read a few, but usually once I do, I discover one of two things:
* I can get through the author's other good HSM fics (assuming there are any) rather rapidly, even if they're multi-chapter; I'm still left wanting more
* If the author DOES have other HSM fics, they suck, and then I'm back to square one; it's one of those "rare moments of genius" circumstances, and then I don't know what to tell the author that, moments ago, I'd been praising and now want to thwap with a Clue-By-Four

That's a dangerous place to be in, mind, because it's got me thinking "I could do better than these people!" Especially with writing challenges like those of ZAAngels (or something like that), which explore topics that Disney will NEVER EVER do, e.g. how Gabriella officially became Troy's girlfriend (because at the end of HSM1, they were just "best friends," and by HSM2, they were quite clearly in a romantic relationship, broke up, and got back together again in time for HSM3), or Troy and Gabriella's first time. ^_~
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Yesterday, I got so mad at myself that I had energy to burn, and decided to play DDR. I selected DDR Extreme, which, it turned out, I mysteriously had no PS2 memory card data for. After I tired of that (making new data by playing said game), I played Kingdom Hearts, which also had no data.

I can't remember what got me so mad at myself in the first place. It's probably a good thing, though, right-- I was mad for "no good reason," which is why I can't remember now, after a long, good day in which, for the first time in a long while, I haven't stayed indoors all day OR blown a boat-load of money? (I spent almost all day today at Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland, as a Guest, and managed to spend only $7 or so throughout the entire day-- and that was on lunch)

I can only consider lame possibilities, which (in retrospect) don't seem like enough to get me so mad I'd think "ARGH! I HAVE TO PLAY DDR TO GET RID OF THIS ANGER! STOMP STOMP STOMP!"
* I forgot to sign up for an event
* I forgot to go to an event
* Kaiser screwing me over with my prescriptions was frustrating me
* I'm spending way too much money on things I don't need, like a hand blender, and looking at my bank account statement frustrated me
* ??? (Do I really want to know!?)

Oh wait, I remember: OKCUPID DELETED MY ACCOUNT. BASTARDS! (I emailed them about this fiasco and hopefully they'll get back to me so it can be fixed.)

In real (as in "true, honest, genuine") bad news, and reason why today SUCKS (though not a lot): I lost my pretty blue jewel cell phone charm. The likelihood of it just happening to be on the floor somewhere is slim to nil. Considering all the ground I covered in both Disney parks today, and the likelihood that, if someone DID find it, they'd just pick it up and keep it (because ooh, it's a pretty blue gem!), I'm never going to see it again, and that makes me sad.

I want a pretty, STURDY cell phone charm that's not so huge that I'll sit on it if it dangles out of my pocket and then it comes undone and is never seen again, or gets horribly dirty or something. Suggestions?
azurite: (csi: gsr)
YAY, I finished with my last final! I stayed up till about 2 am chugging through those last two essays, and even though I'm prepared to accept a grade "ding" on account of them not being on time, plus not having been peer/tutor-edited, I think I did a pretty okay job with them. What surprised me was that not only did some people fail to show up for our final (which was just a series of reflective questions-- not even anything specific about what we read this semester), and that I wasn't the only one that hadn't done all the essays!

But I really liked the class, especially the service learning component where I went to Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda every Thursday, to help 10th grade Honors students with their English portfolios. It was really great, and I'd like to do something like that again, if I have the time.

It's not completely over, though-- my last day of work is tomorrow (I have no work today), and I also have to turn in the take-home part of my ENGL 313/Pop Culture final, which is a "letter" type essay regarding pop culture and power relations. Check out the class blog and the final exam prompt here. I also plan on picking up my fandom essay from Prof. Hatfield when I drop off my take-home final, just to see how I did... hopefully well. :P

Anyway, I was on my way home (stupidly not wearing sunscreen, not having water or other mode of hydration, and also lacking money with which to buy either, or even house keys to get into the house) when I saw something odd: a bunny in a cage, sitting in front of a house. Next to it was a tub with two bags of rabbit food and oat hay, but there was nothing to indicate that there was anyone nearby that had just left it outside as they ran elsewhere to get something, or that the bunny was "free" or "for sale" or anything. I was shocked. BTW, it's currently around 96 degrees outside, so this poor bunny (who had no water in his bottle, btw) was licking itself just to stay cool. And I think something was wrong with its food, because rather than eat it, it ate the newspaper lining its cage (of course, I don't know anything about rabbits, so maybe that's normal?).

I rang the doorbell of the house it was in front of, but no one answered. No one who walked by stopped and said anything, and the car the cage was in front of had no one in it, either. I'd been talking to my mom when I found the bunny, and she suggested I call animal control. I had to contact 411 to get the number, and when I finally did, it was busy. So I called Baba and Grandpa again (they'd been out getting groceries) and since Baba couldn't easily find the number for Animal Control, Grandpa came by and we just took the bunny to the nearest animal shelter. They had me write down my name and address, and where I'd found the bunny-- and surprisingly, they acted like this was totally routine (which makes me sad). There were other caged animals that had apparently been found and dropped off just like the bunny I found had-- including a hamster, a gerbil, and other small cuties. It really baffles me how stupid people are, to just LEAVE an animal outside like they would a piece of furniture with a sign taped to it saying "TAKE ME!" Hello, it's no cost, no penalty to take an unwanted animal to the shelter. At least there, there's some hope that it'll be taken care of and maybe adopted. I feel better knowing the bunny's in better hands now.

After that, Grandpa and I headed to In-N-Out (mmm, I've been craving cheeseburger all week!), and Baba read from the TV Guide that Gary Dourdan (Warrick Brown) is leaving CSI!?!?!??!

Not again! )


Mar. 23rd, 2008 02:35 pm
azurite: (textually active)
Okay, so FFnet has decided that, along with hyphen/dash-based scene separators, they're also going to eat e-acutes, quotation marks (single and double), among other things, I'm sure.

I have to edit every single chapter of WDKY to date for changes to the display/characters that FFnet
a) did NOT say they were going to remove support for
b) that were properly encoded in the first place, in the original HTML
c) has not made easy to fix, because I have to go to the original story, export each chapter, go into Live Edit, go into HTML preview, and then paste the original HTML. Then and only then does it show up right in the Live Preview and HOPEFULLY on the reader's end, as well.


Oh wait, it gets better. I wrote to Support. AND THEY WROTE BACK! )

See icon

Mar. 20th, 2008 12:49 am
azurite: (brain+uterus)
There's someone I know whose 'tude I can't stand
It seems like she's buried her head in the sand
Her brain's on the moon,
Or maybe in deep outer space
Whenever she says it, I make a weird face:
"Why should I vote?"
Well, it makes me upset
Because voting is a privilege we've worked so hard to get.

--Adapted from Shel Silverstein

REMINDER: Don't post on LJ on Friday, March 21st!
azurite: (fandom destroyed my social skills)
So, I'm hanging out here at Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport, waiting for my 6:05 p.m. flight to San Francisco/Oakland. I've actually been here since about 4, because the shuttle service I got is all HARDCORE and said my pick-up time would be at 3:45. Actually, the guy came at 3:15. -_- On the bright side, I actually got to say bye to my grandparents before they went shopping.

I ended up going with Express Shuttle, which doesn't actually have a Ride-Share/Shared Van Service to where I live (and which they didn't inform me about), but they did send a PRIVATE SUV. To be precise, they sent a Honda Element. I hate box cars, but this one was actually pretty comfy. Despite the $25+ extra cost compared to Super Shuttle, this was nice-- not only did I make it to Burbank in record time, but the driver was SAFE (I can't STAND it when they don't buckle their seatbelts!) and very polite. It may very well have been WORTH the extra money, for that. Besides, the security line ended up being longer than I've ever seen it here at Burbank, and I hadn't had lunch, so I stopped by Chezz Burger and had one of the most *delicious* cheeseburgers (and it was rectangular!) I've ever had in my life. I'm sure if I'd taken Super Shuttle, none of that would have happened.

Moving on, an airport is a great place to see people of all sorts. Let's take a quick safari and see what we can see:

SPECIMEN A: Dirty-Pretty Flyer - This female mammal is surprisingly common in airports. They are often seen lingering in restrooms and being excessively concerned with their appearance, but failing to wash their hands thoroughly. The most recent sighting of this creature revealed a distaste for anything taking more than 15 seconds, which includes proper hand-washing. Soap was available in the vicinity, as were paper hand-towels, so the bizarre behavior of this female is quite shocking.

(Seriously ladies, it's FUCKING DISGUSTING to go into a place so public, so crowded and used as a restroom and NOT WASH YOUR HANDS. Some people can get away with not doing it at rarely-used restrooms --but how can you be the judge of that?-- and some have their own cleaning options --sanitary wipes or sanitizing gel-- in places whose sinks are more disgusting than anything else. But an airport, where everything is constantly re-stocked? What's your excuse for NOT using soap and washing your hands for a measly 20 seconds? Even if you're rushing to be on a flight, it's *20* seconds! And the moment someone says "Oh, but it wasn't that dirty" or "But I didn't touch anything," let me take my shovel and splat some BULLSHIT on your head. Because guess what? GERMS ARE NOT VISIBLE TO THE HUMAN EYE. And they don't need you to slather your hands all over a door handle/faucet knob/your nether-parts for them to spread! If a hardly-used university library bathroom has the highest E. Coli percentage in the ENTIRE university, beating out even the most-used restroom in the school, how do you think an airport, which sees TENS OF THOUSANDS of people daily, is in terms of germs? Even if you have regular cleaning, they're taking 30 minutes to pick up trash, refill soap/paper dispensers, and MAYBE mop. They do NOT sanitize every surface, which means GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE!)

SPECIMEN B: Illiterate Flyers - These mammals are also shockingly common, found sitting in areas clearly marked for "no stopping, sitting, standing, or loitering." They come in all ages, genders, sizes, and economic classes.

(Honestly people, the signs are spaced apart about every TWO feet. Not even a yard, EVERY TWO FEET. They're bright red. The area where you're NOT supposed to stop/sit/stand/loiter is about six feet wide and BRIGHT RED. Red meaning STOP BAD DO NOT WANT. And yet people still sit there. I honestly wish the airport had more cops patrolling it to kick these shmucks out of the way. For one, the area exists for emergencies, and I'm betting these illiterate lumps would just look around stupidly if alarms started to blare and people had to evacuate. Another thing is, the "Emergency Evacuation Pathway" is right next to the entryway of all stores, bathrooms, etc. So when they "make camp" they're blocking the paths of people getting in and out of these. And then they glare at you as if you've done something wrong by accidentally tripping over their stuck-out legs! WTF!?)

A subset of the Illiterate Flyers is the 2Bz2Read Flyer, who is too engrossed in their nails/cell phone/portable game system/book/gossip buddy/etc. to read the signs at the security check point, telling them:

a) have your boarding pass AND a photo ID out (not a birth certificate WITH a Photo ID, not your Bachelor's Degree with your airline card!)

b) Take off your jacket/blazer/coat

c) Remove all jewelry and any metal accessories, including those in your pockets, e.g. belts, money clips, sunglasses, possibly watches, bracelets, cell phones, spare change...

d) TAKE OFF YOUR DAMN SHOES - This is in effect in every airport I've been to in the past year or more. It hasn't changed. It probably won't change. Why are people still so baffled by this? You see everyone else in front of you doing it. The sign says to do it IN BIG RED LETTERS... I mean, how do you miss it?

e) All your liquids must be in 3 oz. containers or less. Oh, and that includes gels (like your hair gel, shampoos, conditioners), sprays (hairspray and other aerosols, including asthma inhalers), creams (facial creams), and pastes (toothpaste). They must be inside a SINGLE, 1-quart bag-- not a 1-gallon bag! Not a plastic grocery bag! A ZIP-TOP 1-QUART BAG! This is why stores sell cute little travel containers for all your makeups. I even make my own blends in these; they're very handy! And I hardly ever fill the bag to absolute capacity, because it's pretty easy to determine what I *really* need in my Carry-On. People that do tend to stuff their bags too full really ought to consider the benefits of bag check. And this is coming from someone who used to HATE checking bags, who has had bags delayed (sent on other flights) or man-handled. Oh, and said bag must be removed from your carry-on luggage, just as electronics like laptops must be removed from their cases.

IT'S NOT THAT HARD! I really hate it when people like this hold up security lines, especially wearing all sorts of bling as they walk through the metal detectors. Certain metals set off a detector, others don't. Minimize the amount of metal you wear, and you'll get through the security FASTER, no matter how long the line is!

Anyway, I'm sure people have seen all this, seen worse, seen more. But I just had to vent, because being around stupid people hurts my brain.
azurite: (trashcat is not amused)
I don't know whether it's me or just the state of American society (retail society? The industry as a whole?) today, but I've just had some pretty horrid experiences both with customer service and with just plain ol' shitty shopping.

First, my household has recently switched to Time-Warner Cable's "All The Best" package, which includes the cable service we've had for years, digital phone service, and Internet. We switched from AT&T because, frankly, they were ripping us off.

The first problem was in the install-- we have two rooms with TVs in this house, and only one of them is an HDTV with a digital HD box. For some reason, the technician that came in and did the install decided that, for whatever reason, he couldn't put the cable in to the rec room (though from phone calls to their tech support, it seems like he wouldn't have needed to; he just needed a new set-top box), and therefore the cable modem couldn't be left in there, the way it's been (or at least the broadband modem from AT&T was) for years. So it got moved to the den. Since the modem wasn't a router, I attached my $175-AirPort Extreme Base Station to it, and for a while, all was well.

But then the Internet started to cut out intermittently, even though the modem said it was still sending/receiving, and the AirPort said it was still broadcasting just fine. Tech support said I needed to get the modem replaced, but then when the technician came out, he said, if it ain't broke, he can't fix it-- and won't replace it. So it happens again after a few days of decent connectivity, and when I call and mention this, the agent says that we're not marked as a "wireless" household, and that it involves a separate installation from the first one, along with a $49.95 FEE! WTF!?

Apparently, they'd replace the modem with a modem/router combo, but I said I already had my own which I like better-- better security, more compatibility with other devices, etc. That's why I paid the price I did for the Base Station-- it's better than any of the included routers that come with Internet packages these days. But then the guy said that they can only guarantee service for their own equipment (probably because of liability issues, which I can understand... it still pisses me off, though).

To top it off, I have to wait until the cable guy comes on Wednesday to get the rec room set up like he should have the first time he came before I can request anyone to come in and change our modem out for the wireless one. I'll pay the fee myself if I have to; I'm just sick of having to reset the modem every damn day. I'm sure there'll be a workaround for using the Base Station anyway-- I want to be here for the installation so they don't jerk my grandparents around like they've done with the past two technician visits. I'm the one that knows tech, I'm the one that deals with equipment, bills, tech support calls, etc. I'm not going to be fooled into thinking these idiots get a four-hour period of time in which to come here UNPREPARED. I wish I could be here for the Wednesday install, but Wednesday is my busiest day. :(

Anyway, to add to the mayhem, Baba saw an ad for some cheap topsoil at K-Mart today. So Grandpa and I go, even though part of me is grumbling that cheaper isn't always better and that they have this terrible tendency of buying things just because they were cheap-- whether or not we actually NEED the damn things. Well, we get to the store and park near the Lawn & Garden section entrance but noooooo, not only is it unmanned, but the door is LOCKED. My grandpa's 86 years old-- he couldn't walk all the way to the other entrance! So we had to put up with the hassle of going back to the car and re-parking. Another (probably older) lady had also arrived and saw us trying to get in, and said "Well, they lost a customer" and drove off.

We went in through the whole store, but when we finally got to the L&G department, it was in TERRIBLE shape. Bags of soil were opened everywhere, everything was caked in dried mud, and maybe 1/4 of the stuff there had a price tag on it. It was no surprise there was no other customers in the area; the stock itself was horrid. We managed to find some cheap topsoil, but it was only after trying to get three or so bags that we got some that DIDN'T immediately rip open. When we finally got back into the regular area of the store, intending to tell a K-Mart person about the mess, the guy we encountered pretty much ignored what we said and tried to sell us some home "estimates" for retrofitting cabinets and the like. (I am so proud of my grandpa for playing the "I'm 86 years old young man, and I don't need your services" card.) Then, the lines (only 3 were open) were at least 10 people long EACH! Even other portions of the store were falling apart, unmanned, or were horribly messy.

Seriously, I am never shopping at K-Mart again.

We tried to pull a similar thing with TWC, telling them we'd switch back to AT&T if this was all the hassle we had to go through with them for the sake of supposed "convenience" (for having everything "All-In-One"), and Grandpa hung up on them, saying they could have a supervisor call HIM back when they got things straightened out. Needless to say, they didn't call back. Maybe I'm just a pansy or a pushover in this respect (tech), but I don't see any other way of getting around the fee, or the fact that this wasn't explained before. Just gotta live and let live, and try and use my own smarts to get around it, I guess. Doesn't make it any less stressful or less of a pain in the ass, though.

azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Ladies and Gentlemen:

* Not washing your hands after you use the toilet (whether you "touch" something or not) is gross!

* Sticking your hands under a stream of water (hot OR cold) for a few seconds is not washing your hands! YOU NEED TO USE SOAP.

* The bathroom is no place for phone calls. Don't call people. Don't answer the phone, especially if you yourself are on the can doing #1 OR #2! IT IS DISGUSTING!

* I don't care how big your hands are, you don't need more than a foot (if that) of paper towels to dry your hands!
azurite: (bad grammar. no cookie!)
I finished Star Ocean 3 the other day (and the Maze of Tribulations not long after; working on the Urssa Cave Temple now), and I decided to peruse FFnet (oh gawd, what was I thinking?!) for some good Albel x Nel or Fayt x Sophia, my preferred pairings of choice for this game (I like Cliff x Mirage, too, but Mirage hardly got any characterization, so...), and I just see the same sort of lousy things that get me clicking the "back" button.

I think these particular things, while not necessarily alone, will make a fic go "bad." How many of these do you agree with? How many do you have to add? And how many does it take to truly make... a bad FIC?

I'd like to think most of these are self-explanatory. Anyone wanting an explanation as to why I feel a particular thing makes a fic lousy, feel free to ask.

* Use things like "flashback" and "Character A's POV" in your text

* Inserting author's notes into your story text

* Random Capitalization

* "Author's Choice" of spellings, especially for names (e.g. Fayt spelled as Fate or Fayte)

* Poor grammar: this includes bad spelling, lack of punctuation (or overuse, which even I've been guilty of at times), and "wrong word" syndrome, where people can't seem to figure out the difference between where/were, they're/there/their, your/you're, and so forth. Also, misspelling "summary" as "summery." Guess what, brainiacs?! Two DIFFERENT WORDS MEANING TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

* Rampant OOC or disregard for canon without explanation (and no, "I was on a sugar high!" or similar does not count; if you can write a story where the character names can be fill-in-the-blank, then what's the point of calling it fanfiction and posting it to a place where people expect to be able to recognize the characters and, at least sometimes, the situations they're in!?)

* Summaries that don't tell you anything about what the story is about (e.g. filled with R&R, no flames, rated E for Everyone, I suck at summaries, etc. etc.)

Anything else? I wonder what might be an indicator of bad fic right away for people-- for any fandom, any genre-- all across the board. What could get you to click YOUR back button within ten minutes of reading a fic?
azurite: (fandom destroyed my social skills)
It sucks when you get into a new pairing (this is the second in so many months) and you might find ONE or TWO fics that have a decent plot and spelling and grammar that doesn't make you cringe. Maybe the copy-editor in me has set standards too high, because I went through ALL of the M-rated fics in a C2 community devoted to Albel x Nel from Star Ocean 3 (TTEOT) and I was lucky to find anything halfway readable. Nothing worth reviewing, though, and thus, nothing to "write home about."

Why is it I keep seeing the same carelessness in fics? Whatever happened to showing your love of canon, your pride regarding your pairing (crack or not), and basic rules for clarity? I mean, even if you write just to get a plotbunny out of your head, you're still posting for the public- everyone knows there's the potential for reviews, or why else post it online in the first place, especially at a place like FFnet? Why else say things like "R&R" or "No flames!"? (And frankly, I find the last one stupid. Unless you've written something you know will "warrant" flames, why say it? You're basically asking for it when you say "Don't flame me!" because it really translates to: "Don't say anything if it's not mindless praise and useless drivel! I can't take constructive criticism and will tell you of all my illnesses and tragedies if you accuse me of forgetting to spell-check!")

It bugs me to no end when I see not just some simple, scattered spelling and grammar errors, but constant, repeated things within the first few paragraphs. In what I've seen lately with AlNel fics, it's stuff that's not specific to the fandom in any way, and could affect anyone, any time:

* Tense shifts. It's really, really jarring. I honestly think a simple proofread would solve this. Why don't people ever re-read their fics before they post? I do that many times over with my fics; it's how I catch most of my errors before I send the chapter off to a beta!

* Wrong word, wrong spelling, bad grammar. I saw "hallowed" instead of "hollowed." Yes, I know it's just a letter of difference, and from context, I understood the proper meaning, but still, since it's so easily FIXABLE, why not? A spell-checker won't catch it; you need to be diligent as a writer or have a beta who knows English! Why? Because something with an empty inside is much different from something that is considered sacred and respected. And of course, mixed up words like your, you're, their, they're, there always piss me off. GET THEM RIGHT! I also hate seeing it's or its used improperly. I'm just glad I have yet to see anyone use its'. And people who mix up words that should just LOOK wrong automatically like in this phrase: "They where sitting down next to the grapebind tree." What's wrong with that phrase? If you can't tell me, you fail. (And no, it's not the "grapebind," part, that's actually the name of a variety of tree in SO3. This is obviously something grammatical.)

* OOC. It bugs me when people say "yeah, they're a little OOC," and then they apologize, bitch about it, or say "fuck off" to the readers in some form or fashion. With most pairings, OOC means they're not the characters we're reading FOR anymore. Albel Nox and Nel Zelpher have such distinct personalities, to make them OOC in the slightest detracts from any quality the story may have had in its plot, writing style, etc. It's like cheapening a fine wine with seltzer water.

For those unfamiliar with the pairing, Albel Nox is the captain of a military power's infantry branch, known as the Black Brigade. He's a feared, ruthless killer with an incredible prowess with the katana and an ego that matches his reputation. But he's got a dark past and a thirst for bloodshed that are his weaknesses.

Nel Zelpher works for the country on the other side of the war, a country called Aquaria. She's a loyal woman, hard-working and strong, but she can occasionally come off as cold. She's also got a biting attitude sometimes. Her father died (technically without her knowing), so she, too, has a bit of a sad past. Unlike Albel, she's not missing any limbs or anything, but her ego's not as huge, even though she is well known as a spy and as the fierce edge of the renowned "Crimson Blade."

To take any of that away from them is to lose what makes them unique, tough characters, and then what's the point of writing fanfiction about them (or people with their names, at least) at all?

* "Guide to my writing." I used to do this when I was younger. But seriously, why the hell do people feel the need to mention that speech will be in "double quotes," thoughts will be 'italicized and in single quotes,' and things like lyrics, other languages, text messages, etc. will be bold/enclosed in brackets/marked off with asterisks, etc.? Ninety percent of the time, it's understood from context! I don't need someone instructing me on basic writing/English! (And for the record, I've written and even enjoy some songfics, but nowadays I'm seeing very little need to include lyrics --or at least huge chunks of them-- in fics. It's much easier to say "This fic was inspired by/has a scene inspired by XYZ by Artist A." Plus, you're not breaking copyright infringement by reprinting lyrics, then. And as an added bonus, there are no extra parts to bold/italicize/whatever to mark them off as lyrics (assuming your reader was too dumb to figure it out otherwise).

* High School fics/Movie or TV-based fics - I really wish this would end. When you take characters from a sword-and-sorcery-based world and try and dump them into a modern high school, modern hospital, or any other "modern" situation, it just ruins their characters. Albel Nox IS WHO HE IS because of WHERE HE WAS BORN, HOW HE WAS RAISED, AND WHAT HE HAS GONE THROUGH. You can't call him "Albel the Wicked" if he's pretending to be House, M.D. Nel wouldn't be who she is if she were years younger and some floozy at Aquios High. Parodies, yes, I can understand that, but... a real fic? It's one thing to dump the characters in a universe that the characters can still somewhat be fit into, but for a game like SO3, it's just not possible with these. Yet I've seen House, M.D., Cast Away, high school fics... ugh.

* Earth-based... - Okay, there's off-worlders like Fayt, Cliff, et. al. in SO3, but that doesn't mean that they're going to introduce a holiday like Valentine's Day/Christmas/etc. to Elicoor. And even if they did introduce it to Nel, Albel, or a city/a country, there's no telling if it would take, or if there wasn't already some sort of similar holiday in place! Consider the circumstances under which holidays developed on Earth. Without the same meaning on Elicoor, what's the point? Why would anyone place any significance to them, or care? Why would anyone ACT on them? It's stupid. It's MUCH easier, if you must have an excuse to write seasonal romance or whatnot, to invent a brand-new holiday. You can take elements of Valentine's Day, for example, and modify it to make something brand new. Even around the world, holidays aren't the same. So why not start with bits and pieces of one holiday and how it's celebrated around the world, and mush them all together? Or take multiple holiday traditions and mush them together? What if people on Elicoor celebrate a day of love in their coldest month, and partake of a chocolate treat after lighting candles on a tree? And what if it's called Eyun, or Rashul Day? It doesn't have to be "Valentine's" or "Christmas," or anything like that. (BTW, remember that Earth in SO3 is several centuries ahead of "modern time" anyway, so who's to say that holidays like those are even celebrated anymore, or if they are, that they're celebrated in even the remotely same way? Christmas now isn't celebrated like it was originally, that's for damn sure.)

* "Bad at summary's. Read." Er, no, I'll pass. Seriously, all a summary is: a single sentence briefly describing the plot of your story. And you know what? It can come in different forms. I know one summary that was a line from the story, but it was so unusual, it drew me in. It can be one of those standard "questions," where you put a character in a situation and then ask if they can get out of it somehow. BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE: a string of pairing names, emoticons, ellipses, references to friends/inside jokes, re-hashed information from canon, song lyrics, or a single word/short phrase having nothing to do with your story (again, such as the pairing name). Same goes for the title, too. MAKE IT RELEVANT. It's not hard.

Summaries also don't need to include irrelevant details (unless it's what makes your story unique, and frankly I DOUBT IT) like whose POV the story is written in, what there are spoilers for (seriously, that's what author notes are for), why it's rated the way it is, etc. It CAN include things like the fact that a chapter is new or revised, if the story is on hiatus or will never be finished, and so on. But it should basically give the reader a reason to read, a reason why your story should be picked out of the trash that is FFnet these days.

There are a ton of other things, too, like eLiTE caps, Random Capitals in the Middle of a Phrase or sentence!, misspellings of canonical things (Airyglyph, not Airigliph, Airygliph, etc.; Fayt, not Fate, Elicoor, not Elicloor, etc.), lack of/bad punctuation (thats, well for we'll, etc.), too much punctuation (*!*!*!xxStoryTitlexx*!*!*!)

I hate to say it, but it's not that much better on most private archives I found. That makes me sad that either writers of this pairing are so lazy, the good writers are so few and far between, and/or the moderators of outside archives aren't stringent. This is why I have an approval queue for Dragonfayth, and why I beta things that are on the verge of being good, but just need some (hopefully minor) changes. Sometimes I'm too nice and I really overhaul a story rather than rejecting it-- I've done it multiple times now with an author who apparently doesn't read the explanations I make an effort to include in my rejection letters.

I'm thinking that contribution to fandom is multi-fold:
* How-To articles on what makes the best fanfiction for X pairing or Y fandom-- just the basics, like what I mentioned above, not things like "The plot must be Z!" or "Character A should act exactly like THIS, all the time!"

* Contribution of your own work.

* Recognition and recommendation of others' work, because it can't be all that bad.

All of the above makes me want to get Epiphany up that much faster, because all of that can be in place with Epiphany. If only I didn't feel so damn tired and busy all the time. Playing SO3 lately has been my only relief, even though I know I tend to procrastinate when I play (e.g. sorting B&G's bills, working on my J371 project which is due next week, etc.)

*SIGH!* This entry has too many asterisks in it.
azurite: (hp - harry & draco sound fx)
When I was younger, I wanted to be a fashion designer. Throughout high school, I came to love Journalism so much (but hated the program at my school) so much that I wanted to go to college to become a teacher. Now, I might still consider teaching, but probably not at the primary education (elementary through high school) level. I'm considering going to graduate school for my Master's or even my Ph.D so I can teach at a higher education institution someday.

As of right now though, my dream job would be to work as an editor of some sort (e.g. copy editor, features editor) at a magazine, especially one like Glamour or similar. I'd love to edit work that I love to read-- whether it's magazine journalism, which is my major and emphasis, or literature (like chick lit).

The Dumbledore article that I've been working on (read: slaving over) the past week finally got published today, but some WHACK JOB editor changed the critical nut-graf (a.k.a. the lead, for those who know journalism jargon). The current lead reads:

I have to admit, I was surprised at first. I came back from the AIDS Walk on Oct. 21 only to discover that both a good chunk of southern California and Albus Dumbledore, the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from J.K. Rowling's best-selling "Harry Potter" series were gay. The two were mutually exclusive events, by the way.

Now, what's wrong with that lead? Well, obviously, it makes it sound like I'm surprised that "a good chunk" of Southern California is gay. (The final sentence also doesn't make any sense.)

Anyone that knows me would know, very little surprises me, especially when it comes to homosexuality. I'm not claiming I have hyperactive gaydar or anything, but I was raised in San Francisco: gayness doesn't scare me. I have good friends who are gay. Hell, I'm bi! I get along well with the LGBTA people on campus-- they're fun. And while Northern California might have more gays per square mile (I don't even know that for a fact, but I certainly imagine it could be true), Southern California having any/a lot of gays WOULD NOT surprise me.

The original nut graf read: I have to admit, I was surprised at first. I came back from the AIDS Walk on Oct. 21 only to discover that both a good chunk of southern California and Albus Dumbledore, the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from J.K. Rowling's best-selling "Harry Potter" series were flaming. The two were mutually exclusive events, by the way.

See the difference? (It's the word "flaming," for those who didn't know.) It was meant to be a witty pun -a double entendre, if you will, referring to the Southern California fires. Someone who is gay might be called any number of things; one of them is "flaming." AFAIK, that's not a BAD thing. It's not negative or insulting, the way "faggot" et. al. are.

I don't know which editor changed it or why, though the wire editor, David, who's here with me in my Investigative Journalism class, told me that it's because "flaming" would get the LGBTA club on campus up in arms and mad at us. Paul, the editor-in-chief, told me it doesn't matter WHO we piss off, because the Daily Sundial pisses off almost everyone (people, organizations, etc.) on campus. Danielle doesn't know who edited it, either. NONE of that makes me feel better.

This is what I get for wanting someone to "look over" my work. Admittedly, I'm a bit concerned about my grade, but not to the point where I want someone to edit my work where it can get horribly misconstrued and get ME in trouble with strangers OR people I'm normally on good terms with.

I tried to nip this in the bud by mentioning the original context and apologizing to anyone that might be offended by either version in the comments section of the Sundial's website, but there still might be angry people that write or email in and again, I won't get told about it in time to make a response.

What this boils down to is a life lesson: I want to be an editor, but not the kind of editors I have or have had. I wanted to be a teacher, but not like the ones I had in high school. I want to edit to help people and to clarify messages, but I want to WORK with the writer-- which means I'm not going to be in the newspaper industry, because apparently deadline trumps over intent.

This is why I like having Dragonfayth as a moderated archive-- while it pisses me off that some people are "repeat offenders" who constantly need simply spelling and grammar checks, I appreciate the final product for being that much more readable. When I ask betas to look over my own fanfiction, they catch things that I couldn't, whether I read over my work once or ten times, whether it was just on-screen or printed out. I recognize the importance of editors (or betas, or pre-readers, or whatever you call them) not just because I AM one, and because I want to BE one professionally, but also because I need one-- and so do you. Really, everyone does at some point or another, for one thing or another.

Maybe I care too much about what people think. But honestly, I'm always aware that whatever I put out there -my own writing or someone else's- is for public consumption. It should be clear. It should retain the intent of the writer. And an editor's name is NOT the one on the byline; they're not the ones whose reputations are at stake. As someone who WANTS to be an editor but has just gotten screwed by one, it's a harsh reality.

I only hope it doesn't bite me in the ass.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
If I had an angry Frank icon right now, I'd use it. But I settle for my usual amazed cat icon.

So, the Army is out on the Oviatt lawn today, recruiting and the like. Today they're going all-out like they never have before, with 3 trucks, including a rock-climbing wall, a motion simulator, and free dog tags. They're also giving away (or gave away, I think the drawing was from 12-1pm) Army-emblazoned iPods. The ROTC of CSUN (which is partnered with UCLA's branch) is here, but they don't call themselves the "ROTC Club" or anything (not anymore, anyway); they're "Modern Warriors."

All well and good; anyone that knows me knows this sort of stuff makes me grin, not cringe. But what DOES make me cringe are the crowds of students who gather together in some sort of dumb rally to protest the Army recruiting. They screamed stuff like "Education, not militarization!" or some B.S. like that. Let me explain why I think what they're doing is pointless and foul:

(1) The recruiters are not stopping anyone. They are not blocking the pathways (that wouldn't be allowed, anyway), they are not accosting people walking by. People that want to come up and win an iPod, get a dog tag, or go in the motion simulator CAN. If they don't want to hear a brief schpiel about the Army, then they shouldn't go up to the booths. That's what the booths are there for, and the Army *is* sponsoring the event.

(2) People that want to enlist in the military do so of their own free will. There is no brainwashing involved. I didn't enroll in JROTC back in high school because there was some underground machine sending out Super Sekrit waves to muddle my brain. So if people walk up to the recruiters and give them their info, it's their prerogative!

(3) The rally cry is really stupid. By having a presence on the campus, the Army isn't "militarizing" CSUN. Again, people that want to be in ROTC, that want to enlist, etc. are not doing so because of brainwashing. And you do LEARN in the class, or else
a) it wouldn't be accredited/for credit
b) people wouldn't take it, semester after semester, year after year
c) the people in it wouldn't STAY in it, and then hope to recruit MORE people into it, like they are now

I will state this for the record: I learned a hell of a lot when I was in JROTC back in high school. And that's HIGH school, not college, not seeking-a-degree! I imagine SROTC can teach a hell of a lot more. You learn more than what's on the syllabus or in the textbook, and I honestly wish I hadn't dropped out of the class. Yeah, I bitched and whined about the class and the unfair AI and SAI like the rest of them, but hindsight is 20/20, yeah? Looking back, JROTC was my chance to really learn how to be a leader, but I didn't feel like handling the responsibility. I slacked off, I stressed, and I figured I had to drop something in order to get back on track.

Now, I did learn my lesson-- I hated flunking two classes, taking Night School for them, and surviving off McDonald's for practically every night (that's pretty damn disgusting). But part of me looks back on that and wonders why it was so easy to give up instead of keeping on going, which is a big chunk of what ROTC is about.

I think people that bitch/whine/moan/complain about something but don't do anything about it, or haven't experienced it have no right to b/w/m/c. Those ralliers who haven't sat down in an ROTC class should put up or shut up. If they don't have friends in the military to talk to about the experience, then they ought to shut their traps. I'm not saying I'm the best voice or a total advocate of all things Army or ROTC, but I've BEEN in the class, I HAVE friends in the military. While I don't support the war, I do support the troops-- those guys are my friends, classmates, and schoolmates. I do have pride in my country (most of the time), and I REALLY got a lot out of ROTC.

And for those that bring up the whole concept of demographic profiling or whatnot? Again, people sign up for the military IF THEY WANT TO. If a particular demographic isn't represented in the military, well, that sucks. The military can try to recruit them, but it can't MAKE them enlist, show up to training, or go ANYWHERE.



Sep. 11th, 2007 03:20 pm
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
I'm in POLS 355 (American National, State, and Local Government) right now, and the professor, whom I'll call Mr. Seaweed-Brows, is quite obviously THE MOST disorganized teacher I can remember EVER having. First, he gave us the wrong syllabus (for a two day/week class, which we're NOT) and has yet to update it, even 3 weeks later; second, he changed his mind on what our major project is supposed to be about-- from California counties to states. Okay, not bad, but what does he do? Distribute one piece of blank paper to the person in the front of each row, then choose a random person with "good handwriting" (though, as previously mentioned, at least 7 other people have papers, too) to write down the state assignments. What ends up happening is everyone in a region of the class writes down their name and state on the paper, but there are at least 5 other papers that have no names on them. The people clear across the room have no idea what we've claimed or even who we are.

So after about 5 minutes of confusing hand-raising, shouting out, and other assorted arguments, I offered to go up to the board and write down all the claims to make sure no one was doubled up, and to find out what states were still free. Okay, so my handwriting wasn't the best, but no one else was doing it, and it was frustrating me with how pathetically disorganized this prof. was. Another student figured out what states were FREE based on the ones I was writing down. After about 15 minutes, we got all the claimed states (including New Jersey, which oddly has 2 people claiming it, despite other states being free) and the split state (California; I'm doing Northern). So everyone was satisfied and there was no more confusion on THAT end.

...We still don't have a syllabus. We need to know due-dates, project expectations... so we just had to ask a flurry of questions. Regarding this project, he had to tell us what he wanted, and he often repeated things, over and over again. Total lack of clarification. And when it came to due dates, he had no idea, and there was MORE confusion regarding the first exam and religious holidays! Uuuugh!

There's a mixed bag of opinions for him on, which is probably why I chanced taking this professor-- some people said he was easy, others said (like I think) he's disorganized. Some people thought that was a good thing: all you have to do is study from the book, not really show up for class unless you WANT to (which means when I have Sundial stuff, I guess I can skip this one without too much consequence). Still, just 3 weeks into the semester, I'm more prone to agreeing that the professor being disorganized is pretty bad; sure, I might still get an A out of the class because I read the textbook, but if I didn't ENJOY the time I spent in class? Pointless.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Normally, I would not be awake at this hour on a Saturday, save for what has become par for the course: another weird dream. What does this say about me? )

If you're wondering about the whole LiveJournal relation to the dream, LJ's parent company, SixApart, is doing a wonderfully CRAPPY job at keeping up its image and maintaining a site that used to be a great place to network, communicate with others about your shared interests, or just journal.

And now I'm really starting to regret paying for a Permanent Account (I don't think it will have achieved its value for another couple of years), because so many debacles in such a short period of time really speaks volumes about LJ, its staff, and its volunteers. Speaking of the volunteers, I don't know if anyone on my FL is one of them, and I'm sorry for this, but I really think SA should trash them. The volunteer-based Abuse team has such fragmentary points of view and double-standards that it makes LJ/6A look stupid whenever they respond to any sort of abuse request. They need to hire appropriate people to act as an Abuse team FROM WITHIN-- paid people that work with the rest of LJ in their offices in San Francisco. They need proper training, too, because so many of the people that do work for LJ-- whether real staffers or volunteer Abuse team members-- don't seem to have the tact or intelligence to be responding to issues the way they have been. [ profile] coffeechica, I'm looking at you! (Even though I doubt s/he will read this)

[ profile] a_white_rain knows what's recently gotten me angered-- the existence of [ profile] proanorexia. Just one look at that community makes me sick to my stomach (but thankfully not in the ED way), and even though Abuse reports have been filed about it, it's been ignored, sidestepped, swept under the rug... you get the picture. It's really pathetic, especially LJ's "official" response to it.

How do they get so damn worked up over FICTIONAL children and the possible offense that a sexual situation with them may cause as opposed to a community of REAL people endangering their lives by starving themselves to "get skinny"? I mean, way to get your priorities misaligned, LJ! (For the record, I don't think smut fic or art involving characters -for example, any of the Harry Potter crew- can or should be labeled as offensive and/or without artistic merit SIMPLY because it features characters that CAN, or WERE, at some point in the original canon, minors. THEY'RE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!) (<-- This relates to the latest "Strikethrough 2.0" that resulted in two well-known HP slasher fic/artists getting their journals permanently removed because they featured fic and/or art with the HP characters in it in sexual situations. I don't know all the details, like whether the characters were aged-up in the fic/art --I do know that LJ doesn't abide by that idea anymore, which is downright RIDICULOUS-- or whether the posts were posted in inappropriate communities, or if they were friends-locked, if they were given a warning, etc.)

But that's a rant for another post, and possibly another day when my jaw isn't hurting so damn early.

...I shouldn't use this icon twice in a row, but it's SO APPROPRIATE, and that makes me sad.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Meet Adam

No, that's not a silly sweater he's wearing, they are bandages. Adam is a three month old kitten that was locked in a cage and set on fire by two teenage girls in Santa Rosa. He lost his ears, his tail and over 40% of his skin.

California has some of the most lenient animal abuse laws in the country. The absolute maximum punishment for an animal cruelty case like this is 3 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, if the offenders are charged with a felony. In most cases the charges will be plead down to a misdemeanor, and the offenders will spend less than 2 years in jail. In contrast, in Oklahoma and Louisiana the maximum sentence is 10 years and $5,000-$25,000 in fines.

What can you do about it? You can sign the petition and make sure that animal abusers are charged with felonies, not just misdemeanors. Signing the petition will also help to make laws that double the maximum jail time for animal abuse charges. Six years may not seem like much, but it's a lot better than three.


Click here to add Adam to your myspace friend's page!

Help spread the word about Adam and post this in your LJ! You may need to change the MySpace and Petition links, though.

Yes, this is a C&P job, but hearing about this just made me... "flame...flames...flames on the side of my face..."

I swear, if I ever found out who those two teenage girls from Santa Rosa were, I would SMACK THEM INTO HIGH HEAVEN HELL. What kind of sick girls light a poor KITTEN on fire!? I mean I've had some sick tendencies too (I lit a tissue paper ball on fire and tried to juggle it, okay?) but a CAT!? A POOR DEFENSELESS KITTEN!? Freaking... argh, there are no words.
azurite: (lj-cut a bitch)
Well I just recently got back to the house from the Pier 39 fireworks show, which was pretty good-- the weather was nice, no fog, and I wasn't freezing. Plus I got to hang with a few of my friends-- [ profile] psyjoe_dilandau, [ profile] hikaru_jan, [ profile] azhp, [ profile] schmollieollie, Crystal, Nora, and Sean's girlfriend Anni. Plus on the way to the Pier, the girls and I ran into a semi-lost girl named Xocci whose friend ended up abandoning her before even coming to the pier, so she hung out with us. :)

The girls and I had supper (well, I had French Toast and eggs, so it was more like breakfast) at Mel's near the Metreon, where I saw a BUNCH of books I wanted at the Chronicle bookstore... ;_; Ah! Can't wait till I get paid. I should have written all the titles down, though. I should never go out without a pen and small notepad. What kind of a good journalist does that?

The only negative thing about tonight was how this one grumpy ol' blonde cow at the Pier made a not-so-subtle remark to our small group, saying (regarding our cheering and comments during the show) saying "I can understand [that behavior] when you're 11, but at this age?"

(1) How does she know how old we are? She doesn't-- she just thinks we have to act "our age"-- whatever that means in her book.
(2) It's a freakin' holiday, you old bag, I'm not supposed to be dressed to the nines with my ankles crossed just so. If I want to go "Ooh! Aah!" and "SMILEY FACE!" when fireworks blow up, I damn well can. Of course, I made some other (somewhat lewd) comments, too, but only once or twice. Anni and I had a tendency of saying how many of the fireworks (which exploded right next to one another) looked like breasts. So we said "BOOBS!" a lot.

...Big deal. When I'm around my friends, I can be immature. It's fun, because *I* have fun. I'm not always Miss Prim-and-proper like I have to be in CSUN (because I work, because I'm a senior, because this that and the other thing), and it makes my nights more memorable-- because I'm not some uptight stick-in-the-mud with a firecracker jammed up my ass.

People really shouldn't be so anal on a national holiday, for Pete's sake-- when I tried to go to the bathroom, some people did not move even when I said "excuse me," and some even told me to "go the other way" when I wanted to head down the small staircase to "the box" where everyone was sitting (Sean, Anni, Crystal, PsyJoe, Jen and I all sat on the railing above the box benches, and Crystal and I had the unfortunate pleasure of dangling just over some people's heads, so the guy kept giving us dirty looks. Look jackass, our friends saved those seats, you didn't have to sit there!).

I'll probably forget about it sooner or later, but I felt like ranting for now.

After the show, Steph, Nora, and Xocci parted ways with us, and the rest of us went to hang at RTA for a while-- nostalgic as I was, I controlled my temptation to play any games, so after a while, we left. We ended up walking all the way up to Van Ness and North Point, and then up to Chestnut, because the 47 wasn't running all the way down to Aquatic Park/Fort Mason, and then we walked FURTHER because there were no empty 47s to catch until we got to Filbert. Then, when we got off at Geary, there were no 38s, so we walked all the way up to Filmore, where Joe and Jen parted ways, and then Sean, Anni, Crystal and I rode home in Sean's car-- listening to Basshunter the whole way. :}

So, good holiday, even if I didn't have barbecue or tons of money to blow on books and/or video games. My throat is sore from all the happy yelling, and I had some delicious mini-donuts from Trish's that I didn't mind sharing. All in all, a successful night.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
George Takei, Wil Wheaton and writer Andre Bormanis, along with FanLib, the company who specialize in "people powered entertainment," will be joining forces with CBS Interactive and the Star Trek franchise for a collaborative storytelling event that uses fan-submitted content to fashion a new online story. This event marks the first time that CBS has officially sanctioned use of the popular Star Trek characters by fans writing stories online. Bormanis, long-time writer from the famed science fiction series, will moderate and serve as the creative guru for the event. Takei and Wheaton will serve as online video "hosts." To find out more information about this amazing event, please click here!
--From the Star newsletter

Man, media companies are completely getting suckered by these idiots at FanLib, and it looks like real fans might too... after all, who bothers to read the TOS until they're in trouble or might get in trouble (because other people have been)? It's sad. And it makes me angry.

Freakin' FanLib.
azurite: (Default)
If you have anything to do with fandom (and a majority of my FList does in some size, shape, or form), head on over to [ profile] fandom_counts and join so your journal can be counted as one of the many -MORE THAN A DOZEN- journals that represent fandom and its voice.

The community has no posts and no posting access; it exists as a "body count" for any and all fandom journals. Unfortunately, there is no way for fandom-related communities to be added, but all other fandom journals (including icon journals, fiction journals, layout journals, and roleplaying journals) can and should join.

LiveJournal's released a statement of sorts to CNet. Still nothing official in the [ profile] news community, though. And traffic to fandom_wank's post on the subject has overloaded JournalFen's servers FOUR times in the past day and a half. While JF may not be as robust as LJ, that should be enough of a wake-up call to realize that fandom has a strong voice. LJ's own servers have been going off and on intermittently, especially the one where the the original news post is located. If you get the chance, read some of the comments. Add your own. Realize why this is important not just to ordinary LJ users who SHOULD NOT be afraid of censorship, but fandom journals of all flavors, because this affects us more directly than anything ever has before.

We are NOT pedophiles or monsters -we are people creatively trying to express our interests. I may not use rape in my fics, talk about shota in discussion comms, or like Loli very much, but that doesn't mean that those that do discuss those things intelligently should be persecuted for no reason. For the journals that were unfairly deleted WITHOUT TRUE CAUSE and INVESTIGATION, I'm standing up and letting MY voice be heard.

I do not think that WFI was genuinely seeking out real pedophile's blogs and reporting them the way I would report something that I was positive broke the law or a site's TOS. They have a clear political agenda, and plenty of communities and users that were not approving, endorsing, or at all encouraging the things that have become so hot-button to WFI. That said, just because I'm fighting for the suspended journals doesn't mean I don't believe we should protect our children. If I had a child, I would be monitoring their Internet usage, using filters and blockers whenever and wherever I could. While I don't think a parent or a child can take all of the blame for what they see on the Internet, trying to expunge journals for mere mentions of things that might raise questions is going FAR OVER THE LINE.

There is a modicum of responsibility that EVERY party must bear, and when it comes to journal content, it is the journal owner's responsibility. Thus, said journal owner should be contacted if there is anything questionable or illegal ABOUT that content. But so many journals were suspended WITHOUT prior notice, which goes against LJ's own policies, from what I've heard. And when it comes to determining who is a pedophile and who's not, LJ should not rely on the word of WFI or its bloggers; they should see for themselves, on a CASE-BY-CASE basis (because you CANNOT lump individuals together, and I thought LJ was about expressing one's individuality, if nothing else!). I don't care if they don't have the staff or manpower for it-- if they can reject other abuse reports about this same subject on the basis of "lack of evidence that is contributory to an actual crime," then this should sure as hell fall within those same boundaries. At least looking at a HANDFUL of the journals thoroughly before deletion might have prevented this in the first place. But it doesn't sound like they were.

Mass-deletion of anything never SOLVED anything-- this whole incident proves that even if some things were deleted in error, it's getting a lot of people riled up. It's a big deal, and it SHOULD be. LJ should take the people that are so upset seriously, and give ALL LJ users an open, honest, and thorough explanation beyond "we thought what WFI said was right, and we wanted to establish community rules" or whatever. Talking about Nabokov's "Lolita" isn't trying to inspire child molestation. Cosplayers wanting to dress up like Lolis aren't trying to appeal to pedophiles.

I'll be going to San Francisco on June 4th as planned; if this hasn't somehow been resolved or otherwise discussed WITH USERS by then, I plan on seeing if I can stop by SixApart's offices. I encourage all my San Francisco friends and fellow LJ-users to come with me. At the very least, I'll get an interview with someone, since I'll be working for the Sundial in the fall and can squeeze a story out of that. Otherwise, it's good practice. At the most, we can just stage a rally of Bay Area LJ users-- and I know there are a hell of a lot of us. I don't have a set date or time for going; you'll hear from me again as we get closer to the date; I'll be posting updates that are relevant here.

For more information on this, I highly recommend checking out Fandom Wank's entry on it, which includes extensive links to resources, discussions, and analyses of the TOS and "mission statements" involved.

If you're feeling dangerous (and have good spyware/malware protection on your computer), check out the site that seems to have started this all: WarriorsForInnocence.Org. Be warned; they track IP referrals, so you might want to make use of an anonymizer, such as NoRefer.

I think [ profile] innocence_jihad might be a bit much (declaring "war" on WFI), but the community is actually quite informative, with links to sites that are blogging about Strikethrough '07, news articles on it, and more.

If you want some banners, check out this post on I_J with some nice ones.

Also, this is something particularly interesting I found from F_W: WFI is not what it seems. As usual, politics play a large role in this. "Sue" the woman who emailed LJ about all the "bad" people's journals, has a blog which is connected to a number of neo-Confederate, militia-sympathizing, super-far-right-wing dominionists. I didn't even know what a "dominionist" was until this wank broke out. It's really shocking. Read the post there for yourself. It's enough to warrant the use of a new mood: gobsmacked, just like the OP did on F_W.

If LJ becomes so censored that my Mokuba "The Internet is for Porn" joke icon becomes "illegal," my $150 can burn; I'll go back to hosting my own private LJ if it comes to that. In the meantime, even if you don't think your journal may be at risk, BACK IT UP.
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Whatever happened to the good ol' days on MLs when the most basic of rules was "no top-posting"? Why is it so hard for people to delete the messages that came before when they're responding to an email on a mailing list? I mean, if you think people will be confused (because you're making direct reference to a specific statement), go ahead and snip so they can understand from context, but at least put your reply JUST above or JUST below that particular statement-- not above an entire email or digest of the previous emails, and not below it, either. It just clogs up my inbox and makes the new things so much harder to find and read.


Jan. 10th, 2007 12:57 pm
azurite: (darwin power!)
Did you ever get one of those Nigerian email scams, claiming that someone was stuck in a dire situation somewhere in/around Nigeria, and they had cases full of money to share with you, if only you could help them out somehow? Like, provide your personal credit information so they can wire you $2.7 million, so you can "keep it in safety" until the person can get out of their sticky situation?

Well apparently the creative folks behind those good ol' fashioned schemes (which people still fall for... goes to show the world is full of stupid people) have come up with something new for the patriotic American:

Dear Friend

I am Captain Brian James of the US Marine Force on Monitoring and Peace
keeping mission in Baghdad-Iraq. On the 8th day of Jan 2007, we were
alerted on the sudden presence of some Terrorists camping in a suburb not
too far from Karbala here in Iraq . After Immediate intervention, we
captured three (3) of the Terrorists, twenty-six (26) were killed

leaving seven (7) injured.In the process of torture they confessed being
rebels for late Ayman al-Zawahiri and took us to a cave in Karbala which
served as their

camp. Here we recovered several guns, bombs and other Ammunitions including
some boxes among which two contains nuclear weapons, one filled with hard
drugs(cocaine) and the other four to my amazement contain some US Dollars
amounting to $7.2M after I and two of my junior telligent officers counted
them. I however instructed them to keep this in high secrecy.

I am in keen need of a Reliable and ustworthy person like you who would
receive, secure and protect these boxes containing the US Dollars for me
up on till my assignment elapses in here in Iraq. I assure and promise to
give you 14% of this fund, however feel free to negotiate what you wish to
have as your percentage in this business..

Please assure me of your keeping this topmost secret to protect my job with
the US Monitoring and Peace-Keeping mission.

Sincere regards,

Capt.Brian James.

Oops, was I not supposed to post this on the World Wide Web? Dear me, dear me...

It made me laugh. Mainly because of the Totally random Caps which May have some Significance but as to What, I do not KNOW.
azurite: (bakura de niro)
Well, the past few days have been HELL. Where to begin? Well, I have a nasty sore throat and cough-- it keeps me awake at night, and it makes eating/drinking anything rather difficult. And I thought it was bad when I just didn't EAT anything, now, if I *want* to eat, I can't!

On a lighter note, it's going away-- I've been taking so much acetaminophen and cough drops (cough sweets in England, my friend tells me) that I've either lost feeling in my throat, or I can't remember what it feels like... to have feeling.

I hope this goes away before school starts, since I'm supposed to be in choir. I mean, it's still about 3 weeks away, but...

I got my senior proofs, too. @_@ My hair looks so FRIZZY! And of course, with the stupid blue background, you can totally tell-- and what's worse, in most of the pictures, you can see how one of my front teeth sticks out more than the other. I know I need braces, but finances are so tight in my family that I've been able to go without them. I've never taken incredible care of my teeth to begin with, but these pictures -the most important ones of my high school career, my mom tells me-just seem to highlight my flaws! what's worse, I don't know how much retouching will cost... and if I don't pick soon, then they'll send an even uglier picture of me to be used by the school in the yearbook!

But of course, there's icing on this cake. The most frustrating thing of the past few days is a simple file. A zip file called It's in my layouts folder, and since I was on a Sailormoon website layouts downloading spree, I imagine that it's a SM layout. Sadly, wherever I got it from seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. I've tried unzipping the file, but it's password protected... and even though I have a record of the files inside, I can't access them to find out what they're of!

So now I have left.html, b1.jpg, b2.jpg, b3.jpg, blank.html, bottom.html, c1.jpg , c1_blank.jpg, index.html, a1.jpg, main.html, right.html and top.html... but I can't do anything with them. As you can see, the filenames are VERY generic, and doing a google search or whatnot doesn't help.

I've tried rummaging through all of my favorites and finding out which sites have frames anime layouts, but for the life of me, I can't figure out which one it is! Between emptying my over-stuffed mailboxes and redesigning an ML's webpage, I can't sort all my favorites!! AUGH! HELP!!

ETA:I'm adding to this because someone left a rather snotty note to me that had nothing to do with what I said in here. I'm sorry if I come across as self-absorbed or conceited in this, but I was really buggered when I wrote this. It was hard to think because it felt like someone poured kerosene down my throat and lit it on fire. What's more, my computer's been giving me such a hassle as of late that I just wanted to sort through everything and start to get organized.

So don't judge me by one entry if you haven't read the rest-- this journal is up here for ME, not for someone else's reading entertainment. I like getting advice and feedback every now and then, but I don't need it. I just vent here. And I'm venting now. I'm not, as this reader put it, a "d!ck sucking" person, or any of that $#!t. So I close once more by saying, if you don't have anything nice to say, click the f*c& off. =)
azurite: (anger of angels - kisara)
Anger can be a very positive thing. So can stress. But sometimes, you can't just stop those little gremlins in your head that whisper about THROTTLING that certain annoying mother's boyfriend... hehe...

Anyway, I went to my friend's play on Saturday night. He was very good, though he didn't show up till the end of the first act. But he did have the lead male role, so he made up for it all in the second act. I did feel guilty that I didn't get him any kind of congratulatory present (it was the closing night) or a belated present (been broke) but he was sooo good, I forgot about it.

Anyway, as stated by the title of this entry, I mention the evil know-it-all boyfriend from hell. I asked my mom to come with me to this play, because my friend likes my mother a lot, and they have a lot in common, media-appreciation wise. And I wanted to do something, even something as silly as seeing a school play, with JUST my mom for once, right before my birthday. What does she go and do? You guessed it-- she invites the boyfriend! To top it off, she explains that if I'm going to be at a convention all the weekend of the 26th to the 28th, she'll need company-- on the last day of the convention, when there's practically nothing to do, and I wanted her to come to Great America with me, as a belated B-day celebration, but she AGAIN invited the boyfriend-- and his daughter, whom I can loudly say I DO NOT LIKE VERY MUCH!

Anyway, at this play, all he did was criticize the cast members-- except my friend, which I was thankful for, otherwise I would have just changed seats entirely. And even though I'd wanted to try out for the lead, I heard from some girl in my history class that the [white] teacher was looking for people of a minority to play the lead... which made no sense to me considering whites ARE a minority in my school! Regardless, the part went to an acting vet (who probably made 88% of her parts because she's a tall blonde with a figure) who's been in drama since she started. She's got acting talent, but singing is out of her league. Still, I know she's good, because I've auditioned with her before. Still, all mom's evil BF could do was complain about how she was never on key, missed seven notes... there was a scene when some people applauded after a particular singing act of hers, but I figured they didn't all clap because they were SMART enough to know the scene wasn't over right after she sang. There were some technical difficulties anyway that made it harder for her to sing loudly and project, and even when she did, sometimes the orchestra overpowered her.

His daughter is an opera singer at a prestigious, opt-in school, and is probably going to be attending some expensive, conservatory of music and theater or what not. -_- She's nice and all, but spoiled rotten. Anyway, so I figured he was comparing my school's lack of talent to his precious daughter's school, and that made me mad, even if he was right on some level. But he was insulting the school-- which he graduated from! I know my school doesn't have the best resources, students, or teachers, but we try, and people DID enjoy the performance.

I ended up taking out all my stress on DOOM II, firing rockets like crazy. Maybe after today's stress with school I'll do the same in DOOM II's secret levels, where I can blast some Nazis to high heaven... hehehe... ^^
azurite: (anger of angels - kisara)
In a conversation with my friend and her boyfriend (he was on the phone with her) we commented that guys didn't even know what PMS was. Her boyfriend said that because my friend was mad, she must be PMSing, and I quote, "Call if you want to talk to me, don't if you don't want to waste your time..." Guys have this thing for redundancy.

Anyway, I'm thinking, why do all guys assume that when a girl is in a bad mood, she's "PMSing?" I swear, every guy on this planet forgets whatever they learned in Sex Ed promptly after they excel to the next grade level. So, for the uninformed, here goes-- PMS stands for Pre Menstrual Syndrome. It's what happens just BEFORE a girl gets the bloods, and slightly after she ovulates. Mood swings are just one common "side-effect" of PMS. But it has been proven (sorry, guys) that girls have more active brains than guys-- especially in the emotional centers of the brain.

Now that I think about it, this is probably why women suffer from road rage more than guys...
Anyway, guys just want a reason to either make girls angrier or to find some way to take the blame (of a girl being mad at him) off himself. PMS is the most common excuse-- it's short, easy to remember, and it applies to all girls at one time or another.

But that doesn't make it right or fair to pin three stupid letters on a girl when she's feeling upset, depressed, or angry. I've had my share of emotional times, some when I'm "PMSing" and some when I'm not. I hate it when guys don't even bother to ask what's wrong. Or say they do, maybe out of curiosity, maybe out of embarrassment-- I have also been known to cover what I feel up. I don't LIKE getting others involved where they don't have to, and I guess in the long run that's a bad thing for me.

But guys, please-- if you really WANT to know... if you even care about what a girl feels, don't ask her if she's PMSing. Don't accuse her of it, either. It's not nice, and it's stereotypical. The best response you'll get back is "Grow a pair!" because it shows guys are too cowardly to be even a little sensitive.
azurite: (double trouble minako & usagi)
This is another one of those entries about the aftermath of something, "and then..." It's a total rip-off of all those lines in Japanese anime where they go (something really pivotal) "and then..." which, in Japanese, is (the something), soshite... It's really corny, but... eh. Never mind.

Okay, so I re-dyed my hair over spring break. I told people I was coming back blonde, and here I am. Only some people have this thing with insisting it's not blonde. To me, it looks strawberry blonde or honey blonde... but some people say it looks orange (NO!) or red (WHAT?). In fact, the one bitch (I swear, one of these days I will post my bitch list, names, dates and all to show people what I intend to do to these pathetic wretches that have made my life miserable) I hate the most in my classes (she's in my English AND History) says, "NO, it's red." I look at her as if she has bug-eyes and ignore her. It's not, I swear.

The first time around, when I let my friend dye it, she left half the solution in the bottle without even knowing it... and we waited an hour and a half for my hair to change, but it never did. Now, I left the stuff on for twice as long as I was supposed to.

It worked-- I guess. My roots, however, which I applied the solution to 90 minutes after I did the rest of my hair, are still brighter than the rest of my head-- hence the orange comments. The top of my head is bright blonde with a scant few brownish patches, and the rest of my hair is a dirty-honey blonde, almost a light rust color.

I was just hoping for a little change-- anything to stop being the girl that EVERYONE recognizes on the street. And today, I've gotten the attention I wanted... but some of it's not so good. Someone in my chem class muttered none-too-softly that I was trying to be Asian. *cough* Excuse me? No offense to any Asians out there, but I've never seen one single born-blonde Asian! Not even PART Asians have natural blonde (and I mean BLONDE, not dirty blonde, not brassy) hair. No. Just doesn't happen. Me, my family has blondes in it. I wanted the look, but I didn't want to dish out the salon price. I'm going as an assassin to a convention at the end of the month, and even if my hair isn't "blonde" it'll do. I'm sick of people judging me by my looks; just because I changed didn't mean I wanted people to treat me as less of a person... I did it because I wanted a CHANGE, and the best way to express change is physically, right? Besides, mental change is so much harder to undertake as a challenge and a task over a single spring break.

So, that's what I did. People have called me weird, stared, grinned, patted me on the head and on the back, and some have just stared silently, looking like my goldfish.

Oh well. Change is good. At least they aren't drooling now. ^.~
azurite: (mars says let 'em burn)
There's someone I know whom I simply can't stand. I wish he'd bury his head in the sand-- or move to the moon or deep outer space. Whenever I see him I make a weird face. But today during recess, outside in the yard, he suddenly gave me a Valentine's card. I wish that he hadn't, it made me upset; it's the prettiest card I could possibly get. -From some random poem in my room. -_-

I wish. *sigh* People can be so annoying (as demonstrated above) but so perplexing (again, see above.) Some people are just plain annoying.

1) This girl in my history class (and English) does whatever she can, whenever she can, to annoy me. When mt teacher lost a pen I had, I asked him to try and find it, and she was all like "Huh, it's your fault for leaving it in here in the first place and nyahahaha..." *cough* GRRRRRRRRRRRR!! Was it any of her business in the first place?

2) Players-- and I don't mean people who can't stay committed. I have a few so-called friends who totally bluffed me on the Internet into thinking something that wasn't true-- yes, I'm the gullible one (despite the fact that my motto is "trust no one, they'll stab you in the back.") and I took it, hook, line, and sinker. What's more, the friend who was supposed to be IMing me said it was another friend (who I don't talk to that much anymore-- she's mostly interested in boys or something else...) and... argh! I was so mad. Pranks are so preschool.

3) BF-minded-- those people (okay, girls) who think that their boyfriend is god, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I'm somewhat jealous; YES, I've said I'll die a spinster (or a stripper O.o); and YES I have a tendency to MAKE "mankind" (boykind?) hate me. -_- But I'm just waiting for someone who can match me wit for wit. I'm the type that craves challenges, but doesn't want to put forth an arm and an eyeball to achieve them. Plus, there's some that are so protective or whatnot, and when they fight with their BF, it's like the end of the world. Excuse my cynicism, but -- THEY'RE JUST BOYS, GET OVER IT! >_<

With that said, I am retiring to kill some aliens in Doom95. ^^
azurite: (darwin power!)
What's the weirdest conversation you've ever had with someone? Was it because of the person, or the topic at hand? I mean, would you go around discussing nightclothes for no reason, or maybe why no two zebras look alike?

Recently, I've had some *very* weird conversations with people online-- not anyone I know in person, but people who just have common interests.

This one person, who I didn't remember in the slightest, IMd me when I went on a screen name I hadn't used in a while.

He said something about having a weird dream, and then waking up as a girl, and then staying like that for a week. I thought the last part had something to do with the dream, so I passed it off, but the conversation deluded into something about what "he" wore to bed-- and he liked nighties better; it was more comfortable to sleep as a girl.

Insert my reaction: WHA!? Yeah, that about covers it. I mean, what he was saying was like something out of Ranma 1/2 where the the guy turns into a girl because of some twisted curse. This, on the other hand, was a real person.

All I found out was that this person *enjoyed* "being" a girl, was 21 years old, and... that's it. For a while, s/he said something about going shopping, and while trying to be discreet, I ducked the question and said any place with manga was okay. I don't think "whatever it is" even knows where I am, let alone who I am.
I tried to look up his/her/its email, or any other directory info, but nothing was filed. I don't want to warn/block the person because he hasn't done anything particularly wrong or harassing... but I am a little freaked out.

*Sigh* Never underestimate the power of weird people.
azurite: (skip*beat kyouko)
Yes, rated P, P for PARODY! Run back now if you don't like a diary entry twisted with song.

Okay, so there's this guy. Skinny, full of himself and his pride (of what, I wonder?), and loves his hair. Thinks he can break dance. THINKS being the keyword. Over all, he's pretty nice, and relatively okay-looking (my friend would die if she heard me say this more than once). He managed to get into choir too-- while I'm in Advanced Girls-Only, he's in Advanced Co-Ed with my friend. He's actually quite good: a deep, deep baritone. Sorta like an Asian Barry White (how weird is that?). So, I'm talking to my friend at the bus stop, and he comes up (seeing as we had just hung out with him and his friends at the rec center). Out of nowhere, I ask her how weird it would be if we did a duet from Anastasia (At The Beginning). My other friend earlier had mentioned, "Oh, the *romantic* song!" and my other friend had simply gagged. When someone acts immaturely for a long time, you tend to act bitchy to them fo rno reason. Or at least I do. I'm not a very people-person to begin with. Or maybe I should say guy-person. Guys bug me. I like them, but most bug me.

So then, at the bust stop later, my friend remarks, 'Oh, how weird it would be if you guys sang "A Whole New World"? You guys'd be kicking each other the whole time!' No, I told her, I'd paraphrase the song so it'd fit us. Here it goes-- subject to revision. (Underlines lyrics are him, Italics are me)

I can show you a world/Peaceful, Quiet, Relax-ing/Tell me Bratness, now when did you last leave us all alone?/I can open your eyes/Take you hell by hell/Over, sideways and through my hair gel/On a roller coaster ride/A whole new world/A new fantastic world without you/No one to tell me no/Or where to go/Or say that I'm Shin-ji
A whole new world/A brand new place I never knew/But when I'm far from you/It's just so cool/That now I'm in a whole new world without you
Now I'm in a whole new world without you
Unbelievable sights/people not using hair gel/baldies, crew cuts, and afros/In an endless sea of hair/A whole new world
Don't you dare come back now
Some people who can really break-dance
I think not-I'm better
I'm like a movie star/I've come so far/I can't go back to a world where you exist
A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new hairdos to try
Every moment gets better
I'll chase you far away/But just today/I've got a whole new world to explore without you
A whole new world/That's where we'll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
Without you...

Yeah, I coulda done better. I mean, I don't hate him as much as the song implies: like I said, I think he's kinda cute. Just immature, full of himself and his hair.

-_- Suggestions? You don't want to see me write songs when I get depressed. Heh.

Oh yes, before I get sued, the above song is (c) me, Azurite, but the actual melody and lyrics are (c) by the writers from Disney, etc. etc. I ain't got no money, and it's only being used for entertainment purposes. So nyeh.

Bai peeps!

January 2016

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