azurite: (textually active)
So I'm trying to find my textbooks before classes really get underway and I'm left behind. I'm checking all the usual haunts--, eBay, Amazon, my own Matador Bookstore, etc. This time I've even added AbeBooks and the publisher's own stores to my list. I can also check out TextbookX and a few other places, but generally what I'm finding is that all my textbooks are ridiculously expensive. This is just one of those semesters, I guess.

I can buy direct from the publisher-- a digital version of my Biology book that's either online or downloadable.

* Cheapest version available, even when taking into account severely used copies, copies without the Physiology CD, and International Editions
* No need to schlep around a heavy book
* Easy to copy-paste info into my digital notes, easy to highlight sections (assuming it's a PDF or something)

* Can't be sold back anywhere, anywhen
* Is probably a huge amount of MB or even GB, considering it's a 1024 page book in digital format
* Requires computer (if not external HD) to be present, and likely another program to be in use when reading the text-- which means less memory for my digital notetaking, online research, or whatnot

So... physical copy or digital? What would you do?

I suppose in the meantime, I should look for my other textbooks.
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: (all muses are busy...)
Today was a pretty good day at work, considering it was the 4th, and I expected it to be way busier. But maybe everyone was over at Disneyland, or out seeing violent action films. (BTW, I saw "Wall-E" and loved it; haven't seen "Hancock," but want to, and of course will be getting my advance tickets for the earliest possible showing of "The Dark Knight" over at Downtown Disney as soon as I can find the time to swing by there... maybe tomorrow afternoon, before I work my first shift Southside.) I got my special Cast Exclusive 4th of July 2008 pin, and quite honestly Pin Trading can be a very expensive, addicting habit. Just getting the free cast ones is tempting me to get a lanyard, maybe eventually get of the few pretty ones I like, such as the rare Mulan ones, some of the Hidden Mickey Tink ones, etc... but no! I'm broke and can't afford it! BAD! BAD!

What I can afford to do is set aside an hour of my time -maybe not every night, but perhaps every night, and at least once a week- for what I'll call the "Ficcing Hour." I'm sick of the fact that I have so many ideas and even though I spend a good amount of time on my computer, I don't feel that it's productive time, or time well-spent. Hell, I'm behind on my FL here on LJ, and why? It's not as if I've been swamped with my Disney classes (I haven't started the Harvard track of my choice yet). I'm actually going to start on the aforementioned class (I've selected the Harvard "Creativity" track) now, but of course, stupid Disney/Harvard (I'm assuming it's more Disney than Harvard... at least, I would hope so) only likes IE. Not Safari, not Firefox, JUST IE. -_- Words cannot convey the "headdesk" I am feeling right now. But I want to be ficcing.

More importantly, I want to be getting fics DONE. It's not enough to spend an hour perusing planner files, or waxing nostalgic about old fics (which should be rightly renovated), or even writing review replies. That's not fostering any creativity, and that's not getting any of my fics "done" or "out there." So, I hereby declare that I will spend a MINIMUM of one hour each week for the duration of this summer (as humanly possible) writing fanfiction.

This fanfiction may be:
* Chaptered fanfiction
* Oneshot fanfiction
* Previously-written/completed fanfiction that needs revision (e.g. Only 16)
* Previously-started fanfiction that was not completed (that includes chapters of a story, e.g. WDKY, TJOY, PG, etc. or a rough draft that never made it to "chapter" status)
* Brand-new fanfiction (e.g. from planner files that never made it to rough draft status, challenges, prompts, or similar "on the fly" writing)

* Creating "apocrypha" like soundtracks, fanart, icons, banners, etc. It has to be writing, it has to be prose (no poetry -as if I'd ever write any- and no screenplays/scripts -see previous statement)
* Writing new or adding to existing planner files
* Time spent researching and/or distracted by other things, e.g. iTunes songs, web pages, instant messages (in fact, during the "Ficcing Hour" I will either be off my instant messenger or have an away message indicating what I'm doing and why I won't respond. You can probably gauge when I'll be back based on the "Away Since:" time that everyone probably has access to)
* Reading emails, including reviews, beta feedback, etc.
* Writing emails or review replies, LiveJournal posts, or begging messages to various people to be my beta (again)

I hereby also declare that, if I begin my hour working on one thing, but find myself "stumped" or otherwise unable to complete the portion of a particular project that I have started on (e.g. the most recent scene I've written in WDKY26), I shall:
a) write a different scene in the same chapter, if it is a chaptered story
b) write a different chapter in the same story, even if that chapter is way far away
c) work on a prequel, sequel, or other prose story that is "related to" the current project, SO LONG AS IT IS FANFICTION, and not any of the aforementioned "apocrypha"
d) work on a brand-new fanfiction, whether it comes from a planner file, ideas list, prompt, challenge community, or elsewhere
e) work on some other fanfiction, including completed work that needs to be revised

Finally, I declare that this "writing" may be done either by hand (old-fashioned paper and pen/pencil) or on a computer, using any appropriate, accessible program (most likely Dreamweaver). It shall NOT be done via instant messenger, LJ, forum/bulletin board, or any other non-text-based "word processing" program, such as a browser, etc.

Signed this day of 5 July, 1:49 A.M.
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
Wow, it's been a while, huh? I guess my excuse is just that I've been busy with work: pulling around 40 hours a week (though last week I had only 28, which SUCKS when it comes to paying the damn rent) and then dealing with slowness on the computer.

In fact, I finally shelled out a load of money to get my internal hard drive on my MacBook Pro upgraded to a 320 GB. Or maybe it's a 300 GB, because OS X can only see 297 GB of that as my drive's capacity. I know that you never really get the full usage out of any given HD, but 20+ GB seems a bit excessive to me. Anyone?

With my laptop out of commission due to an Apple Tune-Up (all the way in Newport Beach, because I'm very occasionally dumb and figure that it's better to make an appointment with a store many miles and 2 hours -by bus- away rather than use my ProCare card to go on stand-by at a store that's much closer) and then for the upgrade, I spent a ton of time playing Kingdom Hearts. I'm at the point where I have to defeat Maleficent's dragon-form, but she thrashed me pretty badly once already, so I want to level up a bit more (my characters are mostly in their mid-40s, level-wise), upgrade my Aero spell, and so on.

Problem? I can't seem to beat Herc in the Hercules Cup tournament. Sometimes I can't even get to him, because every now and again, Cloud's a bitch and I can't beat him, either. This does not bode well, as I need to beat Hercules to get the ability to use Yellow Trinity marks, so I can return to Neverland, upgrade my Aero spell to Aerora, free the poor little puppies, and possibly beat Phantom (assuming he appears prior to Hollow Bastion being sealed) to level up before kicking Maleficent's dragon rear. Anyone have any tips for beating Herc, other than the usual: throw barrels at him from close range to make him lose his invulnerability, jump/dodge roll/glide a lot to evade his attacks, and have a LOT of items on hand, since you have to fight him alone, without Donald or Goofy?

So, while I'm avoiding playing the game because "lather, rinse, repeat" is never fun when it comes to playing one boss/tournament over and over again, I've been trying to clean out my mailboxes. I made the switch from Thunderbird to Mail 3, since I want more integration with OS X, and I don't like the Lightning add-on. I've opted to switch from POP3 (downloading all my emails) to IMAP (leaving all my emails on the server, and having the same folder structure wherever I am; this also means that if I delete something, it's GONE FOR GOOD), but now I need to figure out how to sort out all those thousands of emails that are already on my computer. It seems as though the best case scenario is to sort through them, somehow, and then for whatever ones I really do want/need, move them to IMAP so I can access them from anywhere, whether or not I'm on my laptop.

And for those of you that know me in IRL, sorting computer junk is just as hard, if not harder, than sorting real-life junk. Having a messy room most certainly equates to having a messy mailbox, except I try and establish rules/filters to somewhat sort things out...

I might post an F'Locked entry a bit later about work and people-drama, but for right now, that's it. I'm alive, okay (well, broke, but that's not exactly surprising), and hopefully going to Northridge tonight. :}

azurite: (sweet dreams are made of cheese)
No matter how hard I try, I just cannot beat the Trickmaster in Wonderland (Kingdom Hearts). I've already got Sora up to Level 12, Donald at 10 or 11, and Goofy at Level 16. I've also already got the Blizzard magic, because I found all four pieces of evidence to exonerate Alice, but of course, the Queen didn't believe me anyway.

Plus, in the Lotus Forest, I can clearly see an exit-- perhaps to the Bizarre Room, perhaps to another hedge near the Queen's Castle/Court, I'm not sure. It's just above the pond (to the right from the standard entrance into the forest, via the Queen's Castle/Court), which I pushed the rock into when I was big. I jumped across the lily pads to the enclosed area, got the item and the Trinity there, but still, the lily pad and the exit themselves seem unreachable. Anyone have any ideas? Or is it a place I'm supposed to get to later on in the game, after I've got additional abilities?

I've been trying to find a Bizarre Room entrance FAQ or map, a Lotus Forest map... SOMETHING... but nothing tells me what I need. Help?
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: (fandom destroyed my social skills)
Okay, fanits, a note:

If you find a beautiful fanart on Google Images (or wherever!)and decide to use it for your FanLib story image, GIVE CREDIT TO THE ORIGINAL ARTIST. It's easier than it sounds. See, all you have to do is click on that lovely link that says "Original Webpage" and then you can see if the page says something like "My Fanart, (c) 2008 by Your Name Here" or something else, like "by Jane Doe, (c) 2007." The best thing to do is ask Jane if you can use her artwork on your story-- ask via email, if you can find one, or other contact messages left in the web page, like an IM name or a LiveJournal link where you can PM them.

If you can't find such a thing and/or you're too gung-ho and use the image anyway, at least provide the name and URL of the original page where you got it somewhere in your Author's Notes. Seriously, IT'S NOT THAT HARD.

This concept of crediting the people who originally create something is not NEW. People have been using disclaimers to supposedly fend off hoards of evil lawyers frothing at the mouth for decades. Disclaimers don't really stop lawyers from issuing C&Ds if they feel like it, but it's very nice to know that some people care that fanfiction or fanart means just that: it's FAN-created, not wholly original, and has its roots in someone else's work. It's nice to credit that someone who inspired you so, don't you think?

The same concept applies to fic and art: would you like it if someone took YOUR fic or YOUR art and put it up somewhere else. Wouldn't you like them to at least mention your name and where they got it from, even if they didn't ask you originally?

I'm not talking about out-and-out plagiarists here, who take things like art and stories and pretend that said creations are theirs. But technically, if you don't SAY something isn't yours, you're NOT claiming that it isn't. Thus, if you use someone else's art and don't credit them, you're stealing. You're "plagiarizing" their work. And not only is that not nice, it can get you seriously fucked up the ass in fandom. Especially defensive fandoms who really love their fellow fen.

I'd say Yu-Gi-Oh is definitely one of them. We may have splinter groups of people who either don't know the BNFs of one area or another (or if they do, they don't know enough to care, which is fine; it's like that in a lot of fandoms), but that doesn't mean you mess with the people who ARE close friends with one another.

I'm just hoping this (because this IS a real situation, and this is a real "letter" to someone who will probably never read it) will blow over quickly and easily, without any whining. FanLib's far from being perfect, but they do have at least a system in place for reporting people that use images or stories without authorization. They also seem to respond faster than FFnet does (which means they actually respond AT ALL).

Another note: There is no such thing as Yu-Gi-Oh Season 0. There is also no such thing as Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Shadow Games. If you spent a split second looking at the freaking ORIGINAL a.k.a. Toei series, you would realize a few things:
(1) It is based off the early manga, therefore it is much more violent, uses different wording for many things, and different colors, characters, and much, much more.
(2) It has no subtitle. It is simply "Yu-Gi-Oh." PERIOD. END OF STORY.
(3) There is no such thing as a "Season 0" for any show. There are unaired pilots, cut episodes, deleted scenes, etc., but there is no Season 0.

A completely different studio released a completely different SERIES of Yu-Gi-Oh, before the creation of the show that we all know and typically recognize as "Yu-Gi-Oh!" Said show has never been (and plans have never been announced so that it will ever be) released outside Japan. It will probably NEVER be officially licensed and dubbed into English, at least not by any of the current license holders. It has NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER to the show we call "Yu-Gi-Oh!" other than in name and via a few characters. The show that got licensed and dubbed all across the globe, the series that led to the spinoffs/sequels GX and 5D's, the show that inspired the Yu-Gi-Oh OCG and eventually the TCG is called Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. The spin-off is Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX.

The only animated show that does not have "Duel Monsters" in its title is the newest, 5D's, and that's not because they don't play Duel Monsters (they do!), but because it's been over a DECADE since the start of the second series animation, so most people have long since stopped associating Yu-Gi-Oh! (the Toei series) with the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise as a whole.


That is all. Move along, move along.
azurite: (Default)
Me, I'm horny don't you know, my love I want you so...
At least, that's how "Rapture" by iio sounded to me, until I bothered to check the lyrics. :P My mom has this book of misheard lyrics called "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" (the real lyrics are 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky"). Pretty funny read.

Anyway, I'd say right now, I'm about... oh, 98% done with my packing for Disney? If you don't know, I'm "moving to Disneyland" in two days-- on Monday morning (EARLY Monday morning). I'm actually moving to the dorms/apartments nearby, because I will be working there until about 3 January.

I won't be dressed up as a character; in fact, all I know about my role at the moment is that I'll be a "Store Operations Cast Member," which means I'll be selling something somewhere in the park.

Packing is a pain. On the one hand, I am moving my whole life for about 7 months. On the other hand, two humongous suitcases plus my wheeling bag seems a bit much... o_o Originally, I was going to try and cram all my clothes into my smaller suitcase, but that just can't happen. Clothes for 7 months do not fit in a weekend-sized suitcase. So I'm leaving that suitcase, packed and ready to go for Shaina's wedding on Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to try and come back here to Northridge from Anaheim via Amtrak on Friday night so I can take the shuttle to the airport with Baba and Grandpa.

The idea is that I'll visit them often enough so that when it starts to get cold, I can trade out my "summer" clothes for winter ones, thereby saving me the trouble of trying to cram three seasons' worth of clothes into one suitcase (no matter how large). The only problem is, Disney's got a "Look" which is essentially "winter" in feeling: all collared, short or long-sleeved blouses (and most of my collared blouses are long-sleeved), non-denim pants, no leggings/shorts, skirts or pantsuits, and NO t-shirts, tanktops, sundresses, etc. Goodbye, summer wardrobe!

Hopefully I'll be working indoors, where it's air conditioned, so things like jackets or long sleeves won't bother me so much. I get that I'm supposed to look professional, but it's tough when you're sweating like a stuck pig in the sort of heat we get here in SoCal. (And this is when someone from Arizona reads this line and rolls their eyes. Go on, do it.)

I went to the mall today to pick up a few things, since I had gift cards to all these stores... Plus, I got some gifts for the ChixFlix blog gals (one of them is Margeaux, who recently had her birthday, so I got her something a bit bigger), the latest Shojo Beat (I really should just subscribe already), and a bunch of hair accessories from Claire's. One of them is the Hairagami, which I cannot figure out for the life of me. It works like those old snap bracelets from elementary school. I managed to get it twisted in my hair somehow, but either my hair's too short, too layered, or I'm just too stupid to figure out how to get it to work. :P

It's hot and I'm hungry... and I already finished the last of the milk! AAAAH!
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! )
azurite: (blue flower)
So, [ profile] obabscribbler? I've decided to name Anzu x Zell "Scribbleshipping" in your honor.

...No, I'm not really going to try and submit a crossover pairing to the [ profile] shippers_club, nor am I going to start using that anywhere and everywhere, but I just think it's so cute. In my head, that's the name.

That said, I ended up moving the idea for that fic you inspired me for (which, by the way, is tentatively titled "The Aftermath of Angels") into its own planner file. Note that I only do that when it gets LOOOOONG. I can't tell you how long the planner is so far in pages, but in terms of kilobytes, it's 54K at the moment. Of course, the planner isn't complex-- there are no pictures, no fancy calendars, just boring old CSS. And yet, with all that text, it's 54K. I'm not sure whether I should be :D or D:

(And I know you didn't specify Anzu & Zell romantically in your prompt from a while ago, but it halfway ended up there with what I wrote already, and I'll be honest: the fic planner is certainly looking more Scribbleshipping than Azureshipping ATM. SHOCK!!!)

I only wish there were a way to have an Anzu x Zell icon without it looking bizarre (this is what happens when you cross anime with video games).

In other news, today's ENGL 313 - Pop Culture final wasn't so bad. I think I did pretty well, all things considered, though I may have messed up the source of one of the reading passages-- I wrote it as being de Certeau when I think it was Fiske. Oh well. :P I also didn't get my Fandom Essay back yet, because he was grading it right as I walked up and turned my Blue Book in. So I'll have to get it from him on his office hours on Wednesday. But generally speaking, I think I'll do the best in that class.

The girls and I are going to get together on Sunday (ah, my last day here in Northridge-- until January 3rd, anyway) for Margeaux's belated birthday (she's one of the girls in my ENGL 313 class that I've been working with) and just a general "YAY WE DID IT!" celebration.

I tried to sell back my textbooks-- one of them I paid over $75, and the campus bookstore doesn't want more than $8 for any ONE of them. WHAT THE HELL!? So I immediately put them on Let's hope they sell, and sell soon (so I don't have to bring them to Anaheim or ask Baba and Grandpa to mail them for me).

Work was crazy today-- I almost ran out of breath for all the calls I was taking. Thankfully tomorrow's no final, but that doesn't mean I don't have things to do-- I still have my radical revision to write by Wednesday evening, plus two essays by Thursday! YIKES!

But today I just took it easy when I got back from work-- I played some more FF8, got Doomtrain (DOOOOOOM TRAIN!), upgraded Irvine's weapon (FINALLY! Freakin' Steel Pipes are so hard to get...!), and played a BUNCH of Triple Triad. I finally got the Pandemona and Zell cards in Balamb; next is to play the Card Queen, but I don't like her Direct Rule of trading... very risky business! It's not as if she has really strong cards (from what I could tell), but still, I don't want to lose any of my GF cards... I'd rather WIN some from her! Ehehehe. Next up: playing her again (without losing any GF cards; good thing I saved before I played her), playing Piet to get Alexander, playing Caraway to get Rinoa and Martine to get Ifrit (back), and playing Laguna to get Squall. Triple Triad's a heck of a lot easier than Sphere Break or Blitz Ball, I'll tell ya that much!



May. 9th, 2008 02:07 pm
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
Today was the last day of regular class before finals. Next week, I have three days when I'm supposed to show up to a "class." I don't say, "I have three finals," because only one of them is really a final-- the other two are relatively easy (I would hope). The "real" final is the one for my ENGL 313 (Pop Culture) class, and my ENGL 355 (Writing About Literature) is a reflective final, where I mostly write short paragraphs about the class and service learning experience. Then it turns out I really do have to show up to the final hours on Wednesday, for my ENGL 408 "final," which is actually a presentation of our radical revision to our workshop story... which I haven't even started on, yet.

Procrastination has been a big deal with me this semester, but somehow I've managed to pull through on almost everything. I've done exceedingly (maybe even surprisingly?) well in my Pop Culture class, though the final does worry me. I'm glad I've been working with the same girls all semester: we worked together on our video analysis project and again for our "chix flix" blog, and we're helping each other prep for the final by splitting up the reading and terminology definitions. The essays in our textbook, the "Audience Studies Reader" are not light reading, so I'm glad we're working together.

I turned in my fandom essay on Yu-Gi-Oh! today, and it was put together with the help of a number of members of [ profile] playthedamncard. In truth, I knew I wanted to do Yu-Gi-Oh! as my fandom of study since the start of the semester when he announced the fandom essay, but again, I procrastinated... I don't much like the essay I turned in, and would like to re-do it for my own picky self, before I post it online anywhere.

I still have two (one super-late) essays due for my Writing About Literature course, which I MUST MUST MUST get in by next Thursday, so I need to work on them this weekend along with studying for the big, "real" final on Monday (ENGL 313).

I tried to file my Grad Check today (because everyone always asks when I'm going to graduate) and they wouldn't accept it, because I altered the date to Fall 2009. Assuming all the classes I need are offered when I need them, I should be graduating after that semester. Originally, I was shooting for Spring 2009, but that won't happen with me in the Disney College Program. I thought, maybe Summer 2009, but the classes I'm required to take in my senior/final semester won't be offered in the summer, or if they are (like in the case of the journalism tutorial JOUR 498), there isn't much of a selection. I'd rather "go out with a bang," as it were, and take classes I really love and enjoy than attempt to cram a full semester into summer just to graduate when it's blazing hot and sunny. Besides, it's not as if I won't be graduating with more than 120 units anyway-- I don't mind delaying my graduation necessarily, because I've always taken classes or done things with my time that I enjoyed. I like staying involved.

I am still worried about getting credit for the Disney College Program, though, because I've basically been getting the run-around from all the departments on campus. The Career Center doesn't give credit, but they were the ones that had the presentation and said that previous CSUN students had done the program and gotten credit. The Journalism department can't give internship credit for internships that are not strictly Journalism-related, and the other courses, while recommended by the American Council on Education, are not specific to Journalism enough to qualify for Independent Study. The one course that DOES seem to have a specific department --Organizational Leadership, which is recommended for credit in the Business Administration/Management area... well, I went to the College of Business and Economics, and they told me that because I'm not a Business major or minor, they can't give me internship credit either. I left my phone number and a note about the situation for the Associate Dean of the department, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet-- and it's been three days. -_-

This weekend I'm going to San Diego for Mother's Day with Baba, Grandpa, and my cousin Erin. I already sent my mom something, but she's supposed to get it this afternoon, because actual Mother's Day delivery wasn't possible, and Saturday delivery was too expensive. Of course, it's not like I'm really going for any "fun," either: not only do I have to study (and I mean it!), but I'm broke (like, really, really broke) and can't go shopping. Actually, that's a story in and of itself, about how two banks managed to screw me over at once. Supposedly they're fixing it, but it's already been six days at this point since I knew this was first happening, and nothing's changed. It really bites.

On top of all that, I still have to pack for moving to Anaheim (Erin's volunteered to drive me at an ungodly hour of the morning). I finished faxing in my paperwork just a few hours ago, but I have yet to receive a bunch of other documentation. Am I the only one that thinks fax machines ought to die!? I mean, why do we still fax?

Anyway... I've still got a lot to do:
* Presentation for RTM 330OL/Women & Leisure class One down... a shitload more to go.
* WebCT discussion on what makes for sophisticated, multi-ethnic, contemporary literature worth including in a college course
* Those essays I mentioned before
* That radical revision I mentioned above
* The study guide for my ENGL 313 final I'm doing with the other girls
* The take-home portion of the ENGL 313 final, which Prof. Hatfield posted on our class blog

Brain asplodey.
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna will fly)
So I finally decided to splurge on iTunes today, what with Joe B. having gotten me that $50 gift certificate. In honor of the fact that I'm FINALLY (after all these years!) playing Final Fantasy VIII, I decided to buy all the soundtracks for it (that are on iTunes). Alas, it seems like "Eyes on Me" isn't part of that deal, except for Nobuo's piano rendition and the other versions, like the track titled "Julia" (appropriate, since, in-game, Julia wrote the song).

Anywhoozles, so I swore I had the "Eyes on Me" track anyway, so I go digging for it, and find a song labeled as by being Faye Wong. Now, I know my FF music, so I thought, "this has to be it!" and I play it. But... it's in Chinese, and I don't recall ever hearing that she did a Chinese version of it. And... it sounds a little off from the same track I have that says it's an instrumental of "Eyes on Me," and different from the piano rendition. At first, I thought it was just me-- and besides, single-release versions tend to differ wildly from game soundtrack versions, and even then, you can sometimes get 3-5 versions of the same song! This is par for the course with Final Fantasy, right?

But no, it's really not "Eyes on Me." It was labeled (in Chinese) as being by Faye Wong, but now I'm not even so sure of that. It sounds familiar, like it could have been in a video game I played, but... I'm not sure at all. It could just be familiar because I've heard it so many times when I had my playlist on random.

Part of me thinks it might be from a drama soundtrack, like Meteor Garden or Peach Girl's Taiwanese release. In that case, who the heck knows who it could be by?

In any case, can someone please help me ID this song?

The Mysterious Song "Red Bean," by Faye Wong, from her "Eyes on Me" single (1999, Track 2/3). Thanks, [ profile] svelterose! :D :D :D

For some reason, it won't show up in iEatBrainz, my iTunes music identifier, and at this point, I have no other ideas. Please help!
azurite: (i'll be bach)
A short while ago, I posted an entry basically venting about how a get-together with my friend Rochelle hadn't gone as I intended, and, a few days after the fact, Rochelle called me and basically "put me in my place," as it were. I had acted immaturely, but hadn't wanted to acknowledge it, let alone apologize to all the people I was with (that had been so generous and, for the most part, courteous to me).

After being "lectured," I was so upset that I just got off the phone with Rochelle and went right to my laptop to write. I didn't hop on LJ with the intention of "smack-talking" one of my friends, because I'm not the sort of person that does that. I went on LJ with the same intent I always do (when it comes to posting on my own personal journal): venting, expressing MYSELF, and putting my thoughts into coherent sentences. As a writer, I often find it easier to think as I'm typing, because when I try to just think, or when I try to think and talk (and I don't mean always, just in difficult situations), the words come out wrong. At least with typing, I can go back and edit, go back and look later, or simply find a new way of saying something that wasn't "right" in my head.

What I hope happened was that Rochelle and her friends happened to be at a mutual friend (of Rochelle's and mine)'s house, went on her computer, and said mutual friend happened to be logged onto LJ. I don't know if the page was open already or what, but long-story short, Rochelle saw my Friends-Locked entry that had included me "venting" about all this. Said entry is going to STAY friends-locked, not because I want to exclude people, but because that's how it was meant to be originally, and that's how it's going to stay. Suffice it to say, I was both complaining about the situation and being self-deprecating, which I hate. I don't like knocking down my own self-esteem, but I do it, especially after a friend puts me in my place. I also don't like apologizing for things I don't genuinely feel sorry for, but sometimes it does take a good verbal smack-down before someone can realize they did something stupid to be sorry for. That was the case with Rochelle, so when I realized how much I'd upset her and her friends (and mom), I genuinely was sorry.

What I was not sorry for (at the time) was posting the entry after I got off the phone, because I've always felt that my LJ is my space-- a place where I can write about whatever I want (and WHOever), whenever I want. I don't write "for an audience," because this isn't a blog out to make money or become famous. It's just my personal journal. I don't always lock every entry or make every entry private because I do welcome feedback, whether it's advice, complaints, compliments, or whatever. It's another way of staying in contact with friends, too.

Now, I realize not everyone is computer-inclined, and assuming that LJ by itself is a good way of keeping in touch with my friends (venting on LJ the way I would vent to my friends, if I were still up in San Francisco) is not good. I plan on changing that, and if I have a problem with someone (friend or otherwise), I'm going to try and bring it up with them FIRST, before going on LJ about it. I'm going to try and call my friends more often, because if I can't see them in person, hearing their voice (intonations) is a heck of a lot better than trying to figure something out from someone's "current mood" or smiley faces.

I can't change the fact that I posted the entry, that I neglected to tell Rochelle these things right after she called me, days later, or even a week later. Fact was, I had no reason to think she'd see it-- I had LOCKED it, after all. I know she doesn't have an LJ, isn't on Facebook, and rarely uses the computer to begin with. My preferred mode of communication is not hers, but we've managed to ay friends otherwise. What I didn't realize was, we had mutual friends, who would, of course, have reason to be concerned about some of the things I had said in there, and want to get Rochelle's side. That's perfectly reasonable.

Part of me is having a hard time reconciling the fact that I have a Friends List for a reason. To paraphrase Yuna from Final Fantasy X, "I have only as many friends as people I can trust." I've always thought I could trust the people I genuinely call my friends, whether I know them just online or online and in "real life." Trust, for me, means not taking something I put up in a clearly-locked post and showing it to someone not on the friend's list, whether they're mentioned in said LJ post or not. The thing is, I don't know if that's what happened at all, and it's entirely possible that Rochelle and Co. just stumbled on the post by accident. I'd love to believe that, but while the possibility still exists of it being the other way, I feel like there are people I have called friends that I can't trust.

While I'm guilty of not going to Rochelle and Co. about how I felt, this person is guilty of not coming to me directly and voicing their concerns. Instead, it feels like this person went behind my back (all cloak and dagger-like? BTW, despite the whole anonymity, it didn't take me too long to figure out who it is. If you care to comment on this entry, feel free, or get ahold of me another way) and turned me into the villain of this whole scenario. There is no villain in this. Everyone messed up somehow, and everyone's a victim. I'm not trying to shunt the blame for the Stupid Thing I did, though, I'm just saying I didn't do anything with malicious intent, feel bad for what I did do that, now in retrospect, was pretty stupid, and want to move past it, and not keep dragging it out. I like to treat every experience as a chance to learn, and I'd say I've had a pretty hard lesson rammed into my head here.

I would sincerely hope that nothing like this ever happens again, with Rochelle and her friends or with any of my other friends. But if I have to vent and for whatever reason, I don't confront said person right then and there, or directly, I may elect to "vent" here on LJ. But none of you will see it. I'm resolving to take those kind of issues and make them Private entries. That way, I myself can go back and look at them a few days later, figure out if there's something more I can or should do, and do them. Then, after the fact, I can unlock the post, maybe get some feedback if others feel it's warranted, and move on with my life.

I honestly thought that THIS issue was over with, because I felt Rochelle had rightly put me in my place and, after the call, I would have to "grow up" and move on. I'm a reactive sort though, so of course it took a few days, but eventually I DID heed her advice and try and move on, while trying to be more aware of how I act around others, friends or otherwise. I had no way of knowing that I'd somehow "fouled up" by posting an entry to my LJ, let alone that she would see it and be upset and expecting a call from me. I try and move on with issues in my life silently-- it's my "how to deal" strategy. Maybe it's not the best one, but it is the easiest for me, because it's not relying on others.

Trust is a major issue with me, and I hate thinking that I'm being hypocritical when I say I expected better of my friends. Rochelle waited out of politeness for a few days, but she had no problem with telling me "to my face" (so to speak) how I'd fucked up. But then the situation got more convoluted with my locked-post getting out to people who are not on my LJ friends list (even if they are "real life" friends and are involved in said posting), and then me hearing from other mutual friends that Rochelle had heard about it-- but not from them, because she was the one that TOLD THEM! Quite the tangled web.

I wouldn't call anyone my friend if I couldn't trust them to give me their honest opinion (and that includes "I honestly think you fucked up royally, Meredith"), but that doesn't mean someone does that AFTER they've essentially betrayed my trust by taking what's meant to be something for a private audience and making it public. I'd rather someone have told me "Hey Mer, maybe you should make this entry Private," or maybe "I think you should call Rochelle and tell her what you're feeling" instead of letting this shitstorm hit me full in the face. I didn't appreciate that one bit, and now I'm very wary of what I say on here, which is unfortunate.

Anyway, I hope I've cleared the air enough and haven't offended anyone further. To Rochelle, Ryan, Adrian, and Rose: again, I do apologize for my behavior. I further apologize for not saying how I felt that night, or for calling a few days after my post. I apologize that you guys had to find out what I thought the way you did, and I hope none of you think any less of me for it. I do hope we can still be friends.

I'm off to Las Vegas. Catch you on the flip side.


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! )
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Well, it's my last evening in San Francisco, and I feel semi-accomplished. I went to the flasgship (?) Apple Store in downtown San Francisco today, intending to buy a new hard drive for use with Time Machine. I do have Apple's Backup program, but for making a "bootable clone" or something similar of my hard drive, I would need to spend far too much time specifying exactly what "folders" I want copied and to where. I've used Retrospect Express before (which comes with a number of portable hard drives), and I didn't like it-- too clunky and complicated.

Thus, my requirements for a new portable hard drive:
The Duh
* Compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.2
* USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 at the minimum

The Good
* FireWire 800
* Slim and lightweight
* Quiet
* At least 160 GB, which is enough to make a single copy of my entire HD (which is not filled to capacity, mind you) and still have some wiggle room

If only...
* Solid-state format of the HDD
* Less than $200

I'd been leaning toward the Iomega UltraMax 500 GB, which is pretty huge and pretty cheap for the size. One model even comes with FireWire 800, but reviews I've read say it craps out after a few uses, and I don't want to have to deal with that stress. I'd rather put up with something ugly that doesn't break.

The question is, should I be looking at more-expensive, larger-capacity drives, as "preparation" for the future? Or should I just stick with what I need, which is basically something to backup all my important stuff (music, photos, applications, websites, documents) quickly and easily, in case my HD needs to get reformatted?

All this pretty much came into play when I tried to play a CD (brand new), found out my Super Drive just may be crapping out on me but it's covered under warranty, which means I can send it away to get "fixed." If I do that, it'll be an agonizing X amount of time without my laptop, but it's worth it to get a better-working Super Drive. The Apple warranty explanation page says, "expect to get your HD reformatted." As if that's logical for every repair... -_- Well, I'd rather not take the chance of them doing that, as some users have said they did for a supposedly simple Super Drive replacement.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Remember: The ONE DAY CONTENT STRIKE is tomorrow. Don't post on LiveJournal. Don't comment. Don't fill out polls. Read if you must, but don't do anything else. Let them know that their removal of Basic accounts was a BAD IDEA!

I'm posting now to get my last-ditch LJ posts in. :P

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: (starwars - capt. tightpants)
So I went shopping the past two days I've been here, for clothes for the NSLS Induction Ceremony on 4/6, Las Vegas/Shaina's bachelorette party the weekend after my birthday, and then her subsequent wedding in May. It took a LOT of shopping, trying-on, and close ones that ended up being misses.

It seems the clothing industry has something against petite people, whether they have "curves" or not. I can find something that fits nice around my waist or hips, but it's too damn long around the ankles, or too tight somewhere else. I can find a gorgeous top that hugs my middle fine, but the straps or sleeves fall off my shoulder (and can't be adjusted). It sucks. I end up having to spend more money at stores like Express that actually DO have sizes made for people my size-- though what one store has a size 2, another store thinks is a 0, etc. etc.

Well, so I did get outfits for pretty much everything, which is a welcome relief. My black Arizona Jeans flats got eaten by an escalator at Macy*s yesterday, so I had to get a new pair... I wanted these Naturalistics sneaker-type flats that I saw, but they were sold out, so Mom and I went to DSW, and I ended up with these "Bare Flats" that are pretty similar. The catch is, with all new shoes, they need some breaking in, and with my pointy heels (as in, the heels on the back/underside of my feet, not heels on the shoes; there are none on the shoes), I got some terrible blisters. My feet were hurting the whole night, and even now, with two layers of thick bandages and two pairs of socks on each foot, it hurts. Plus, "breaking in" or not, now it feels like the shoes don't fit, because my toes feel all squished up against one another. I know that under normal circumstances (no bandages, one pair of socks), this probably wouldn't happening, but it sucks I have to put up with it until the shoes are suitably "worn in." I wonder if I should have just waited to get the shoes I wanted at Stonestown's Macy*s or gotten a larger size of these shoes. :( Even my feet don't seem to be the same size from brand to brand... *sigh*

azurite: (lj-cut a bitch)
Not sure how many of you keep up in communities such as [ profile] no_lj_ads, [ profile] ljspeaks, or even [ profile] news, but LJ's (new) parent company SUP has done away with Basic accounts. No more Basic accounts are available to be created, and those with Plus accounts can no longer downgrade. Supposedly, this doesn't affect those accounts which have already been created and are Basic, but who knows if SUP won't get rid of those "legacy" accounts under the Basic status and replace them with ad-filled Plus accounts.

SUP did this against the advice of their Advisory Board members, including LJ founder [ profile] brad, and without properly announcing it in [ profile] news. They claimed that removing the Basic account was to "streamline" the account creation process, and that few new users picked the Basic option in the first place (because Plus is the default!). The truth is, they think Basic accounts and their holders just "leech" off LJ's servers and money, and don't generate any revenue for them.

WRONG! I don't know about all of you, but I started out as a Basic user, back in the day of invite-codes. It was LJ promising things like "no ads" that had me willing to give them money to further extend my account. All of my communities and my single RP journal are Basic, and I want them to stay that way. And considering I've made a HUGE investment in LJ by getting a Permanent Account (which technically pays for itself in 4-5 years, and I believe we're getting close to that point), I expect to have the ability to create more Basic accounts as I see fit. I've already given them so much of my time, energy, and money- it's unfair to expect me to invest in the cost of another paid account when I'd much rather give them more money over time for smaller investments, like the features I actually WANT and USE, like Scrapbook space, extra Userpics, etc.

That said, myself and hopefully thousands to millions of other users are participating in this: ONE DAY CONTENT STRIKE

For one day, make no posts. Make no comments. Let there be NO new content added to LJ.

SUP obviously does not realize that Basic users have given something of value to them, that it is content that drives the site.

So, for one 24-hour period, from midnight GMT to midnight GMT, let's see how many people we can get to pledge to contribute NO CONTENT.

This will create a permanent downward spike in the daily-posts statistics, a permanent reminder of the power of the userbase.

The date is this Friday, March 21. Spread the word!
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: (screw it trashcan)
Some writers say "Write what you know." Sage advice, maybe, but kind of obvious. I think it's pretty impossible to write a story (or essay, poem, whatever) without a SINGLE bit of something that "you know." I mean, there's always going to be some opinion or some bit of emotion you've felt in whatever you write.

We've had directed writing in my advanced narrative writing class (ENGL 408) the past few weeks; last week I spaced because I didn't really understand the topic (even though it ended up being really easy, and I developed an idea... I just never went anywhere with it), and this week, I was completely blocked for an idea for the first part of our workshop-- just something 3-5 pages, with the potential to become more. I did START writing something (late), but I got to the third page and was disgusted. With it, with myself. The last time I'd done something like that (a few weeks prior, when all my feelings were all I could think about, so writing was the way I channeled them, and tried to deal), I remember being surprised when one of my group members talked about the protagonist as "she." It shocked me, and served as a moment of disconnect, because it occurred to me: yeah, why would they know this is a true story? Why would they know that the protagonist is ME? And isn't that kind of creepy if you tell them? Then they don't look at it as narrative anymore.

I told myself then that I wouldn't do any more of that --try and write what I was feeling, but in some fancy prose narrative format. I've written enough about it here, and I want to try moving on.

I attempted to use some of my MANY (I have soooo many) writer's tool kits and inspiration books and the like, but everything I looked at just gave me this "Blech" feeling. So now I don't know what to do, and the writing is late, and again, I'd have nothing to work with tonight if I didn't do something. Something is at least better than nothing, but my brain is on empty, stalling.

Here are my options, as I see them:
(1) Write what I know. Write something that I'm feeling or have felt, and fuck it with the weird sense of disconnect or any other bizarre feelings. Some of the world's most compelling stories are true because we can connect with them. (The question then becomes, what, of my agonizing experiences, whether recent or otherwise, is worthy of being fictionalized? RDRR!)

(2) Write something fanfiction-esque, where in my head, it's not me or anyone else I know, but characters (or archetypes, maybe?) that I feel familiar with. Change a few facts, and don't depend on outside information (like 'fic does), but make it work. (I actually did this with another story in the same class, and it came out like a cross between a mystery/thriller and a piece of WDKY. People liked it!)

(3) Write something from a prompt, just mashing shit together until it resembles a story.

Ug, ug, Mer mash story bit! You become story now! Ug, ug.

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: (ygo - bakura de niro)
Don't you hate it when 75% of a bag of cereal is actually what you paid for, and the other 25% is just crunched up crap that gets soggy the moment a drop of liquid hits it?

Yeah, me too!

Also, Episode 27 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series was quite possibly the funniest in a very long time. Props to [ profile] obabscribbler for noting in her latest fic that it'd been updated. And [ profile] littlekuriboh for updating, duh. Tee-hee, I can't wait for the ICONS inspi'TAS to come out!
azurite: (sailormoon - venus V)
I'm trying to understand this concept of block-elements in HTML vs. inline-elements. Someone made a clever analogy that block-elements are like boxes, rigid and structured, and inline-elements are like squishy things.

* Boxes can hold boxes; one shoebox can fit into a larger shoebox
* Squishy things can hold squishy things; you can fit gumdrops into those weird Jello molds
* Boxes can also hold squishy things; in order to carry that weird Jello mold cake to your Aunt Sara's, you really ought to put it in a container instead of trying to balance it on your head the whole way there.
* You CAN'T put a box into a squishy thing: the box will lose its shape.

Please, correct me if I've got all this wrong and have bent the analogy out of shape.

Now, my Sailor V x Kaitou Ace fanlisting got put on the TAFL Troubles List due to it being all out of whack in IE7 (in all honesty, I don't give a shit and wish all the folks using IE7 would just see the light and switch to Firefox or Opera, but I know not everyone HAS that luxury). So I decided to try validating it, thinking that the problem might be there.

I found all these errors based on this concept of boxes and squishy things, so I remedied them... but now my navigation isn't working.

See, originally, my navigation was like this:
(squishy)(box)(hidden squishy)Word(/hidden squishy)(/box)(/squishy)

and while it was invalid and BAD coding, it worked. I had certain parts of the code defined in CSS, so that the box itself had a particular positioning, and the first squishy defined the link.

Now that I've fixed it:

(squishy)(squishy)(hidden squishy)Word(/hidden squishy)(/squishy)(/squishy)

It doesn't work. For some reason, the hidden squishy is hiding the ENTIRE DAMN THING, and it shouldn't. The box displays just fine in my preview, but the links themselves aren't there. It's like trying to catch a Maraschino cherry at the bottom of a Shirley Temple with a straw-- nigh impossible, and I DO NOT KNOW WHY!

Some bunny help. :'(
I don't want to lose my fanlisting... I not only need to get the navigation working again, but I need to pray it works in IE7, because I can't test it myself-- I don't have IE7, or access to it-- even at school!
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: (poor bi grrl gamers)
I love it when things (even stupid little things) go my way.

I've been into all-things Egypt for... well, a long time. At least since 4th or 5th grade, when I met Amy Wong, who had an even bigger Egypt obsession than me. She really got me into it. By middle school, the idea of a civilization that thrived on concepts of life after death, a path to the heavens by way of a pyramid, and all sorts of booby-trapped and magnanimous structures... it sounded cool. And along came Yu-Gi-Oh! and made that hobby turn into an obsession. Well, mini-obsession. I don't wear my ankh anymore, but I do follow the Egyptian calendar, and today, I finally got my favorite game (yes, it's replaced Doom II as my favorite PC game), Pharaoh, working on my emulated PC here on my MacBook Pro.

See, the CD was rather scratched up, and it wasn't working on the old clunker Dell anymore, so I'd gone and bought a new two-disc set of Pharaoh/Cleopatra from the UK. Alas, it didn't run (though it DID install) on my emulated PC. But I thought I'd give the old CD a try in this MacBook Pro, since the OLD MacBook Pro is the one where it'd originally worked (I think). AND IT WORKED! The shiny new UK version didn't, but MINE DOES! Matter of fact, the combo, single-disc (which includes both the game and the Cleopatra expansion pack) version fully installs on your HD, as far as I can tell, which means I won't ever need the CD again! Hip-hip hurrah!

But a mournful sigh to Doom Collector's Edition (Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom, which really wasn't the final Doom at all), because while the game will at least LOAD, it does so in a very-pixelated, 200 x 500 long box and no sound. It sucks, because playing that game and blowing Imps into ground meat with a BFG-9000 would have made me feel SOOOO much better this weekend. Instead I settled for vicarious hunting with ostriches and hunting lodges in the ancient city of Thinis.

Next up to try: Riddle of the Sphinx. That at least installed and I DID play it on here, though I don't think I got very far. I think I made it into a large temple-like area with a winding staircase of sorts...

I'm looking forward to going through my huge binders of CDs and seeing what else I can play. :) It's a shame more games aren't made for the Mac, but... well, I'm an oldie. I was impressed to see Best Buy finally had an Apple selection, though said selection is pathetic, really. I've found more Apple-stuff in my closet, and considering I'm a broke college student who can hardly afford to buy music, let alone Mac software, that's saying something. :P

I also installed and tried out one of those cheesy cheap games "Make Your Own Family Tree" or something, but what's sucktacular is the fact that you can only display a person's ancestor or descendant chart FROM ONE SIDE. I have to make a family tree going all the way back to my great-grandparents, and it's supposed to include spouses, siblings, etc. for all the visible generations... which means if I use myself and display an ancestor chart, it'll show all of ONE side of my family, but not the other! :P Anyone have any experience in this? To give you an idea of how complicated it is: my dad is the 5th sibling on his side; besides him, three of his siblings have kids (my cousins). My mom is 6th out of NINE (!!) kids, and plenty of THEM had kids too... who had kids (and I think some of THEM had kids!). I'm just trying to figure out how the hell the chart should look so I can construct it in some program or another.

I wish I could play more, but I spent all of Saturday being depressed, Sunday going out with my grandparents and stuffing my face in excess (gotta love binge eating when you're down... but shrimp and apple pie do better for me than chocolate and/or ice cream ever will), and before you ask no, I don't have Monday off and my school sucks because of it! (I'm missing out on sales!)
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Apple finally released the long-awaited and very-much-needed 10.5.2 update to Leopard, the newest "big kitty" in Apple's line of OS X operating systems.

The only problem is, there are STILL problems. Well, it's probably impossible for any given update, on any given OS, to solve ALL the reported problems with the previous version of said operating system, but I was hoping that at least supposedly-dinky things (especially those things that had been FINE in Tiger, 10.4.x) would get resolved in Leopard.

The problems I've been experiencing with my MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 120 GB HD) include:

* Problems syncing my Motorola RAZR v3re using iSync. For some reason it keeps syncing OLD information that is not on my iCal (e.g. last semester's schedule). I'm not sure if iSync is interfering with something in the phone itself, and the phone is copying over old data (e.g. from last year), but it's really annoying not to have my alarms on my phone. I've already tried to do this, and it's STILL fucked up. In 10.5.1, I already tried deleting the device from iSync, but it's done no good. If there's a way to reset calendar data on the V3re, I don't know what it is... I don't have the manual(s) on me, and the on-phone browser help... DOESN'T help. Not surprising, frankly, but it pisses me off more because this is A NEW PHONE.

* Problems creating PDFs from Word documents (and presumably other programs); the Adobe 8.0 PDF printer simply "couldn't be located" and the only work-around I found was something that spit out the PDF but kept the PDF printer in a perpetual "paused" state.

* I have an HP 1210xi PSC (All-in-One) that I bought with my original MacBook Pro two years ago. Two years isn't that old for a printer (I feel), but HP seems to think it is, and has "no plans to release a fully-featured driver for Leopard." Fully-featured meaning I can actually DO what I paid for the printer-- printing, scanning and copying! Supposedly I can print, but from my experience, it's only with the printer directly connected into USB, not via Bonjour (using my AirPort Extreme Base Station). I can't test whether or not 10.5.2 fixed this problems; Apple says they released more drivers for compatibility with this very issue, though; they just didn't specify which drivers.

* Firefox would "hang" (not respond, crash, whatever you like to call it) a lot more in Leopard than in Tiger. Of course, Firefox has its own updates, and recently updated to, so it's entirely possible that the hangs are program-specific and not related to 10.5.x at all... but I doubt it, because I've had no such problems on any PC I've used (and I use Firefox all the time at work), and not on older Macs (like the iMac at work which uses 10.4 or 10.3 or something. In any case, it still has Sherlock). Plus, forum threads I found about the issue mention something about Leopard incompatibility with certain DNS servers...? It sounds bizarre to me.

* Dashboard has been a right BITCH since I updated-- sometimes I have widgets that won't go away, even when I click the X in the corner in Manage Widgets mode, and sometimes I have widgets that never "update" (e.g. weather, Apple Store updates, etc.) Very annoying. Sometimes a good ol' fashioned restart helps... but I'm always afraid it'll happen again during a period when I really need my widgets. People came up with odd solutions, like using the Leopard install disc to "Archive & Install," while others did some sort of Terminal command. A restart did the trick for me, so I hope 10.5.2 means I won't have to worry about those other potential solutions-- I don't want the problem to be an issue anymore. So far, so good... I've gone into Dashboard a few times and not had any issues.

* Finally, since I couldn't get my phone to work with iSync, I tried my iPod-- I didn't know it had Calendar, Address Book, etc. capability until I started playing around with iTunes one day. But it seems to have the same problem as my phone, grabbing dates that frankly ARE NOT in iCal. To make matters worse, when the alarm goes off, the iPod will stay ON, which means my battery drains a lot sooner. I'd like ONE device or another to just WORK with iSync, PLEASE? I'll have to test this when I get home, since I don't have my iPod cable with me. Maybe iPods ought to be able to sync with Bluetooth?

But I guess in the long run, all of this is stuff I was never able to do with any PC I ever owned or use, and compared to the problems I see every day in the Walk-In Center with spyware, viruses, and other B.S., the Mac is still a godsend. So for all my bitching and ranting, I still love my Mac. :)
azurite: (cat and mouse)
Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for your recent order.

We regret that, because of a pricing error, we have cancelled this order as it relates to a SimpleTech 1.5 TB Hi-Speed USB/eSata-300 Duo Pro External Hard Drive.

As you may have noticed, Dell specifically indicates on our web pages, catalogs, advertising and order-confirmation that Dell cannot be responsible for pricing or other errors, and reserves the right to cancel orders arising from such errors.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We truly value our relationship and reputation with our customers. Please be assured that we are working hard to avoid similar issues.

We invite you to visit or call 1-800-999-3355 if you wish to place an order for this product at its correct price.



[ profile] azhp, we almost had them! *cries*

For everyone else: we almost scored a huge hard drive for only $69. Both Sean and I ordered one (my Dad tried to, too, but the deal was dead by then; Dell probably realized a huge mass of customers ordering HDs was suspicious), and we even found whole forums dedicated to catching it. But it seems that their little fine-print has shafted us all... damn.
azurite: (roses are red)
H'okay. Sho.

With the help of [ profile] everything_lj (because with a name like that, do you expect any less?) I managed to get my lovely corkboard LJ layout (designed by [ profile] stellastars) functioning and looking the way I want to. I decided to tinker with it just to try and add a site meter, to see more about how many visits I get. But because LJ is annoying with its restrictions on embedded media (e.g. Flash, JavaScript), I couldn't use the usual tools, like the Izea Toolkit. But Sitemeter offered a JavaScript and regular HTML tracking image, which suits me just fine. I replaced the syndicated module (that'd be the one with the RSS/Atom icons) and made sure my title images were displaying, and viola! Lovely layout. :) I kinda miss the days when I used Greymatter and could design my own layout (I still have my old one featuring Emily Strange), so I might end up starting another blog (hopefully something a bit more streamlined than this... LJ is just sort of my "dump" repository, where I post about everything) on

Read more... )

Then today, Juana, her sister, some of her friends, and Melina and I all went to L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood, where we worked on Valentine's Day cards The original plan was to make Valentine's mail boxes, but they ended up too small... I think the cards were a much better idea, in the end, as more kids came and the cards offered more possibility for creativity. We stayed longer than we thought and made a HUGE mess, but we cleaned it all up in the end and had some very pleased kids. I think today was the first time in several years that I got so artistic that I actually had ink (from markers and stuff) all over my hands again. I used to be covered in colors in elementary school, so it was rather nostalgic for me.

And now, for some random lists:

* The huge variety of applications on Facebook; I'm always finding more that are cool

* Sarah Brightman's new album "Symphony," but most especially the track "Fleurs du Mal," which (oh you're gonna hate me for this) has helped inspire a new arc for "Eternal Dimension," the third and final installment in the "What Doesn't Kill You" series. FYI: it starts with WDKY (36 chapters), continues with "Circle of Seven" (not sure of the exact chapter length yet), and ends with "Eternal Dimension." And that's all tentative at the moment, because there may very well be a new Yu-Gi-Oh series coming out, called Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 5D's, though I have no idea what the 5 D's are. -_-. But GX (though I haven't really seen more than a few episodes of it, due to the cringe-factor) is most likely going to have its role to play in the WDKY-verse, so why not this new series, assuming it's halfway good and gets picked up and dubbed like GX did?

[ profile] guardian_kysra, it's all your fault, you know. I like SB so much now that I not only watched her on Martha Stewart's show the other day (she performed "Storia d'Amour"), but I actually sat through the crazy opening sequence of "Pasíon," the Spanish soap-opera that SB sang the opening theme for-- in a duet with a countertenor whose voice sounds... very feminine. Plus, I got the entire Charmed: Book of Shadows OST because it had "Free (Swiss American Federation Remix)," and then the Free EP, which includes the song I'm listening to... but I wonder, which version is the one SB performed in the music video on LAUNCH! Yahoo? Have I mentioned I love remixes?

* The 795 colors that Diana's going to be featuring in Sailor X v2.08. She's already done amazing work (and been updating like a fiend) with 2.07, having just added the skirt stripes and collar stripes again. The ideas are plentiful, the colors almost endless! It's an absolute joy to take every weird senshi idea I've ever had and plug it into Sailor X... while not every single option is available yet, they almost certainly will be soon. Going back into the nerdy realm of Sailor Moon (and Otaku Senshi) has never been so fun! BTW, if you haven't yet checked out the official Sailor Xv2 DeviantArt account (or mine, where I post some of my creations), then look-see: Sailor Xv2 - me!

* Having to send invitations to ANY amount of friends just to see my results for a quiz on Facebook

* Crappily-written quizzes, e.g ones with predictable answers, a limited set of answers (e.g. only 3 or 5), or terrible spelling/grammar (this applies to any quiz, anywhere). Actually, this applies to everything. I don't "relate" to anyone who can't be bothered to capitalize properly, use complete words (FYI, "ur" is not a word, unless you're talking about the ancient Mesopotamian city), or put apostrophes where they belong.

* Having to still be updating [ profile] 30kisses for the New Year's 2008 Purge. Even having another mod on the team doesn't seem to have helped... is everyone just always busy at the same time? I hate feeling like I'm doing everything on my own.

* Not feeling organized enough! Argh, too much paper! Too many files! Everything, too complicated! (I suppose I should consider it a blessing that I ran out of paper for my printer. At least... I think I did.)

* Still having not heard from anyone at RPGClassics about my application to make the Star Ocean 3 shrine there. Not even on the forums. Hmph.

* Figuring something out moments after you resigned yourself to having done the best job you could do and "to hell with it." I did that with my first homework assignment for RTM 330, my first online class. I missed the whole "APA requirements" for assignments (or is it only papers?). Oops! I wonder if the professor will cut some slack for the first assignment? Then again, she seemed to have mentioned somewhere that the discussion questions aren't even graded, but I can't find out what really is graded, besides projects (like a genealogy paper). It's harder than I thought, keeping up with WebCT... maybe I ought to set it as a homepage this semester?
azurite: (sailormoon - pluto P)
The reason why WikiFic's been practically dead the past... oh, very long time is because I'm always the one stuck on the backend trying to do everything. And let's be honest, a 22-year-old girl who is NOT majoring in Computer Science is probably not going to be helped as quickly as some major entity like Wikipedia on the MediaWiki-l mailing list when it comes to tech support issues and basic understanding of syntax.

Long story short, I'd love to make other people SysOps, but maintaining WikiFic goes beyond that; I'm not really sure how much my server can do, and I'm frankly not willing to shell out the amount for a dedicated server that probably CAN do all the bitchin' things that Wikipedia and/or Wikia can do. I wanted my own space so that I could control it how I wanted, and not be subject to the ads, multiple regulations, and freak cleanup squads that other Wikis have.

WikiFic has proven to be a great resource, but not too many people seem to be keen on helping out with it. Thankfully, it hasn't been vandalized recently, and there are people still adding articles, but not a whole lot of people who adhere to the rules. Wikis are monstrous projects, requiring TEAMS, not individuals.

There's always a million things on my plate when it comes to WikiFic; right now, I can't get styles working the way I want (likely because I don't understand Wiki syntax), templates love to kick my ass-- I'm missing a bunch of them-- and SVG images aren't rendering properly and I know it's not a browser issue, because Wikipedia's and such images display just fine. I don't really know how SVG images are supposed to work anyway, and while I know I have the GD library enabled, I don't know where to go from there. There should seriously be a "Wiki for Dummies" website or something...

Anyone who wants to help or can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, WikiFic will probably just sort of fester in the corner collecting dust until I check it again someday... truthfully, getting Epiphany up is my #1 priority, followed by maintaining my FLs, Dragonfayth, and my LJ communities. I'm still working on the damn [ profile] 30kisses purge, and I don't know whether the other mods are alive, dead, busy, or working.

It's frustrating both having to rely on others and to be stuck doing something yourself, and I can't seem to tap into the effective middle ground. Thus, I think I'm just going to take my leftover Chinese food and watch Sailor Moon for the rest of the evening. Ciao.

Eye see!

Jan. 16th, 2008 08:37 pm
azurite: (ygo - mokuba's 1024)
Finally got my financial aid check today, and it looks like the Chase Loan hasn't been applied, so I don't have to worry about that-- yet. But nonetheless, I went shopping with what I did get-- I bought the EyeTV 2 Hybrid TV Tuner for my Mac (a nifty USB stick with a coaxial tuner end, and a tiny sort of USB end that I can use for the Composite red, white, and yellow cables, plus... some mysterious other cord that might be for HDMI) and some books, including Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne 4, which I'd been missing. I'm glad I waited to get that before reading KKJ #5! The plot THICKENS! Oh, it's so tragic...! I mean, I cried a lot when reading and watching Full Moon o Sagashite, but KKJ is certainly power-packed with emotional turmoil! Ahh...

I kind of want to read I.O.N. too, but I don't think it's been translated yet... has it? I really like Arina Tanemura's work. But I've been avoiding Gentleman's Alliance+ because I've run out of space on my bookshelf... and I heard it has some shonen-ai in it, and that just... hm, doesn't appeal to me. I'm a sappy shoujo fan at heart. :)

Anywho, I managed to get something MAGNANIMOUS done as soon as I got back to the house with my EyeTV... I connected the composite cable from my PS2 to the female ones on the EyeTV add-on, and I got Star Ocean 3 on my Mac screen! Huzzah! So now I can record videos AND take screenshots of gameplay! Hip-hip-hurrah! I haven't actually TRIED to take said screenshots yet, though...

I also managed to get TV via the coaxial cable. Now here's the tricky part... the TV I've been fiddling with is the one in the rec room, which gets cable channels, but nothing above channel 100. Technically, nothing above channel 98, which is QVC. :P That's okay, all the good stuff is on lower channels anyway (Spike TV = 48 FTW!!!) . But here's the weird bit, and I hope someone experienced with these kind of electronics/home appliances might be able to help me out...

The rec room has always had cable TV, but not always anything else (e.g. a VCR or DVD player). Now, my PS2 acts as the DVD player, but Scott had to give me a VCR. :P Well, yay VCR for all my old-school tapes (like Ranma, the Sailor Moon movies, and Clue!) What's weird is how the wiring works. The TV is old, but not ancient-- there's something on the back that SAYS S-video, but I don't see an actual S-video port. It seems to be covered up by some sort of panel, but said panel can't be taken off too easily... there are two holes on the right and left sides that look like they have some sort of pinching prongs in the middle (as in, pinch the prongs and the plate might pop off... problem is the prongs are INTERNAL and I tried using tweezers and they didn't pinch anything), and on the bottom, some sliding things... with no room to slide!

So the coaxial cable coming from the wall (and routed through the cabinets) connects to the VCR, because there's no apparent way to connect said cable to the TV. There's another cable that connects the VCR to the TV and it looks SIMILAR to a coaxial cable, but there's no "twisting" screw-on part; it just sort of plugs in (but it has the single needle in the center like the coaxial cable does). I'd tried that second cable first with the EyeTV, but no luck; it was only with the coaxial that I actually picked up any channels.

What I want to know is... is there a way to have the TV plugged in at the same time as my computer? Is there a way to find out if that back panel of my TV can be taken off to see if there's an S-video port? Because that way, I could plug in the S-video cable to the EyeTV add-on, and still have the TV routed to the VCR via the coaxial cable... I think. I tried a similar hookup using the composite cable (e.g. the non-PS2 variety; I used the ones plugged into the TV going to the VCR, but routed the VCR end to the EyeTV)... it didn't work.

Also, do you suppose there's a way to use this EyeTV TV tuner wirelessly, somehow? Like, I don't HAVE to have it plugged in to watch TV? Or would such a set-up only work with digital (ATSC/HD TV)? Or can it, even with HD TV? We have the other TV that's HD, but we don't have an HD set-top box from Time-Warner (even though it's free)...

But we're getting one tomorrow! Now if only we had an HDTV for the rec room... because then I wouldn't have to worry about a heavy-@$$ TV with all sorts of weird blocked panels and switches and not enough ports for the cables... but then, "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" which is why I want to figure out the mystery of the labels on the back of the existing TV to see if there's some way to accommodate two things at once. After all, it's a bit of a pain to have to keep changing things around like that... Of course, nothing'll ever compare to the wired mess at my mom's house, but at least her situation is made easier by the fact that she never watches TV out there anymore (even though it's got killer surround sound) because the TV infrared is busted. :P

In short:
Help? Even if it's just with recommendations for small HDTVs (smaller than 36", the space I have in the bookcase in the rec room) or what cables to buy or something...

ALSO! I want to change my cassette tapes into digital files. Anyone know how to do that? There's a Macworld article on it, but it's not very descriptive...
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: (sailormoon - unforgotten uranepu)
LJ Year In Review: Post the subject and/or first line of the first entry for each month of 2007.

01: Yay.
02: Sometimes We Fall Apart. (FL)
03: I'm Back, I'm Bold, Maybe Even Beautiful! (FL)
04: Dollies And Other Such Things. (FL)
05: What The Duck?
06: Well, Okay
07: [SM] [smrff] [Usa Week] Born to Be
08: So, Yeah... (FL)
09: Hmmgrr.
10: Blogger's Challenge, Day One
11: Sometimes I Want To Strangle Editors
12: One Thing I Want To Do With My Life

Okay, so I don't post friends-locked entries more often, on average. I also don't post creative works very often at all, on average. That's only if you're looking at the entries from the first of every month of 2007, though.

This meme got me to post "Born to Be" on FFnet, though it's unbeta'd. It didn't have any commentary on the LJ entry, and I'm not sure if I remember any feedback one way or the other from SMRFF, but hey, at least it's out there, now. And to my re-read, it was decent-- so, to Epiphany it goes! I don't know why it took FFnet 3 tries just to upload it. Why the heck does it consider HTML a "last resort" for formatting? Uh, HAY BRAINZ!? HTML is better by far than DOC format... :P Why, you ask? Well, uh, gee, because it's UNIVERSAL? And wtf about not preserving formatting? If you can make bold in HTML, it's preserved-- PERIOD. Ugh, FFnet, you are made of FAIL.

I wonder what other LJ-only fics have yet to make it to FFnet, for whatever reason?

I kinda want to watch Sailor Moon now...

But wait, there's more memes! )
azurite: (xmas snowflakes 2)
You Should Have a Blue Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies

All I want for Christmas
* A new hard drive (at least 100 GB, so I can backup my own regularly using Time Machine)

* Some new headphones, preferably the ear-bud kind that have "hooks" ... even better if they're somehow noise-cancelling.

* All the stuff on my wishlist (mostly books)

* Art stuff (new Prismacolor markers, because it turns out the ones I have are pretty dried out; rubber stamps + nice ink, embossing powder & gun, cardstock/scrapbook paper, punches (those metal things that make shapes from paper, kind of like a hole-punch, but huge), etc.

* A NEW TABLET MOUSE WITH PEN because my old one is dying ;_;!!!!! (unless someone knows how you can replace the mouse, which is the worst off...)

* Money. I got denied a WII scholarship, but I just don't want to give up on it. The ISLP deadline is coming up, too... that, at least, I can console myself I might be able to do next year, even if I don't end up going to graduate school (because recent undergrads are okay, too) I'm not a big spender, but for some reason I've been struggling the past two months-- not just my credit card bill and my phone bill (which I hope will go down soon, now that I have a T-Mobile phone, more limited minutes, and a cap on my messaging), but in general. Baba and Grandpa were nice enough to lend me $100, but it was too late to stop 2 overdraft fees. It happens too often (I feel... it's probably happened 4-6 times this year already), so there's no way it can be refunded or "forgiven." I barely have ANY money in my bank account, and I already know my next paycheck is going to suck... ;_; AUGH!

I applied for a Chase Private Student Loan-- enough to cover both the WII and the ISLP... but I don't know how long the approval process will take; I need to find this month's pay stub to photocopy along with my passport before the application is completely finished. I know a loan is a bad idea... the repayment plan would have me paying it back for 20 years, and that's not even including my current Stafford loan. ;_;

I've been loving college so far, but right now it's really starting to suck.
azurite: (xmas purple ornaments)
I know that I want to be an editor at a place that publishes game strategy guides. It bugs me how I have so many, and EVERY SINGLE ONE is chock full of mistakes, bad layout, poor font choice, etc. that could be SO MUCH BETTER! Plus, if game companies recruit testers to test a game before it hits the market, then strategy guide publishers could recruit a small team of gamers to beta-read and try and use the guide to see if it's well-organized and helps.

Case in point: the SO3 strategy guide from Brady Games. IT SUCKS. Almost as badly as the Prima guide for SO2! What the heck, yo!? I may have missed my chance to recruit Nel as my 8th party member (which was my plan), and I already said no to Peppita and Roger! I know there's no way to try and recruit Peppita again, and probably not Roger, either. But the way to recruit Nel was so easy to mess up on and not at all mentioned in detail or highlighted/put in a sidebar! So I might end up with 7 party members AND NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT! ;_; FYI, I only have the one save file, so it's not like if it turns out I DID do the action wrong that I can just reload the save. It's probably been re-written over ages ago. :(

Now THERE would be a cool invention-- a program and/or special memory card for the PS2 (or any other console, feasibly) that could let you "go back" and restore accidentally-overwritten or possibly deleted saves. I mean, what makes game saves so different from files saved to another sort of portable disk? You can do restorations and repairs to real computer disks, so why not memory cards? I would pay good money right now for the ability to go back to a save at a certain point in my game... like the situation above, if it turns out I missed my chance to recruit Nel just by saying the wrong thing... :P UGH!

I wanted my Albel x Nel ending... :( (Of course, if I DO bother to start another game, I'd probably have Nel as my default 7th and then just get Albel as my 8th; that way I can get more Battle Trophies, too)

Le sigh...
azurite: (xmas rainbow ornaments)
Organization. That and Math are my weak points. But somehow, whenever I need to find something (most of the time anyway), I can find it. Giving directions to my grandparents when I forget something and need them to bring it to me... well, then it makes me feel like I have the organization of a rock-thrower wrasse.

Anyway, I want to get Epiphany up soon, hopefully before Christmas and the New Year, It really frustrates me that all my fics aren't consolidated in one place, and that I've had an online presence for over a decade, but I've yet to get really organized.

For the uninformed, Epiphany is my eFiction archive for my fanfiction-- just mine, no one else's (as of this moment). As most of you know, I write a ton of things: rants, essays, articles, fanfiction... I also write for tons of fandoms: anime, manga, movies, books, television shows...

I have no idea how to organize it all! I can't do it "FFnet style" with Anime/Manga, Books, Movies, etc., because many of the fandoms I'm in have MULTIPLE versions-- anime AND manga, video games AND anime, Books AND movies... and so forth. I know some FFnet categories have a classification called "world" that lets you specify whether you're writing for the (fandom) anime/manga/video game/movie/book/musical/whatever, but that system operates on the assumption that fans know the original form of the fandom, and let's face it-- most people don't.

I want to avoid "crossposting," so I don't want to separate Anime and Manga. After all, someone might want to read a fanfic that's from an anime-based fandom, and then move onto one based in the manga. Or they might just want to read ALL fics of a given fandom, not caring what KIND of canon the fandom is. Plus, I have lots of fics that are almost fusions of anime and manga, among other things-- for example, Sailor Moon, Star Ocean, Yu-Gi-Oh.... Like, where would "What Doesn't Kill You" be posted? It could easily go into Anime AND Manga, but I don't want my stories to be posted in multiple places. It should just be organized in an easy-to-understand, quick-to-find way, PERIOD.

I thought about organizing it by "type" of posting, like Rants, Fanfiction, etc., but that wouldn't make much sense, either-- that's more of a "type" classification, and besides, what would I use for subcategories if I used those for main categories? I'd have to spend a ton of time reposting all the fandoms as subcategories if I did that.

So I need some ideas. It's clear to me now that my classifications should be as follows:
Type: rant, fanfiction, essay, etc.
Subtype: ship manifesto, shortfic, songfic, doujinfic, etc.
Genre: romance, general, adventure, drama, etc.
Warnings: sexual content, violence, crude language, etc.
Fandom: Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, etc.
World: movie, book, anime, manga, video game, musical, etc.

But so what should the MAIN categories be? And what should the SUBCATEGORIES be? I'm really lost... /.\

Plus, some fandoms might have further organization, like how Yu-Gi-Oh can be organized by Season or Arc, the same way Sailor Moon can (and was, on my Mare Serenitatis site, back in the day). I can use a practically infinite amount of subcategories, by the way. (Of course, if I want fandom-specific organization, I might need to make fandoms subcategories somehow.)

I guess what I want to do is develop a sort of "site hierarchy" or "tree" that makes sense and only has lines going up and down, not side-to-side, diagonally, in zig-zags, etc.
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna's memory)
Postspam ftw!

So about, oh, 10 minutes ago I finished my STA Travel 193 Karaoke entry. It's currently exporting from iMovie '08 (*cringe* I can explain!) into a format that everyone and their dog can view-- in other words, a format I can upload to the contest website before it closes/changes tomorrow night. It needs to be under 40 MB though... which is the hard part.

My whole plan was to use iMovie (I wanted to use iMovie HD, aka '06, but for some reason it wouldn't detect my built-in iSight. I have iChat AV, no other iSight programs were open-- and when I *DID* open things like Photo Booth or iMovie '08, they detected the camera just fine. WTF?) and record myself all gussied up as Songstress Yuna singing to, what else, Jade's version of real Emotion.

I slaved for a pretty long time just to make a passable karaoke version of Jade's real Emotion ~FFX-2 Mix~. Yes, I know there's the instrumental version of Koda Kumi's ~Original Mix~, but I didn't want to sing in Japanese (too cheesy for the contest, somewhat difficult), plus the ~Original Mix~ is nearly twice as long as the ~FFX-2 Mix~ of which there is NO karaoke or instrumental version. So I made one.

Well, lamesauce was poured all over when I recorded it- I had to play the music in iTunes and use my IR remote to play it, but then capturing the video from iSight meant a delay-- plus, I had to physically CLICK using the touchpad, which meant either the music would be off-sync or there'd be a weird amount of time where I was adjusting the video. I chose the latter, since re-syncing the music would be a pain in the ass. I could just cut the video of me leaning forward to the computer anyway.

But having it play in iTunes meant my voice over the USB mic was barely audible, and the setting for "playing audio while recording," didn't work the way I expected it to, so I ended up creating and trashing a few projects that HAD to "assemble" after I realized "Oh shit, this isn't working!" So that added time. Anyway, I read the manual and figured the tip on plugging headphones in for the audio so it wouldn't interfere with the voiceover (aka my singing) would work-- and it did, but now you can hardly hear the background music, which obviously doesn't make for good karaoke.

In any case, I've tried so many different things and all the iMovies are frustrating me to the point where I'm just happy with what I've got. It'll suck if I don't win, but come on-- it's not exactly a talent contest. I'll be happy if I do, but honestly? I don't have the energy to put forth the EFFORT to make something so satisfying even I would be impressed (were I a judge giving away a 9-day trip to Japan). That's kind of sad, really...

Anyway, Mom wants to know what I want for Christmas, and after this week's brou-ha-ha, I think I'll tell her I want the one-to-one training Apple offers. I really need to learn iMovie and GarageBand. I'd RATHER learn it from a friend or something (hint hint), so...? Anyone have any experience in this area? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours-- I'm a woman of many talents...
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna will fly)
Today was one of those days where you're dreading it, "looking forward" to it in the way Marie Antoinette looked forward to her beheading, and you're freaking out to the point where you think if you subconsciously run a hand through your hair, clumps the size of Mothra balls will come out.

That was my day.

Today was the day I was supposed to give my presentation on "Gendered Language in the Double Standard in Final Fantasy X and X-2" in my Women, Men, and Media class (JOUR 371), and needless to say, I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be. The whole time in Seattle, I'd made a lot of excuses why I couldn't go out shopping-- I had to work on my project. And work on it I did. But, as I discovered today in the library, working when I normally would have been at work (Ken gave me the day off, which probably saved my soul), I worked on the wrong parts.

I worked hard on assembling images (and I was mad because Sally's house didn't have Wi-Fi and sitting in Josh's room using an Ethernet cable was a pain in the ass), writing the script, and timing the images. I should have rehearsed the script and realized it was about three times too long (10-15 minutes); then I could have saved myself some of the grief I had today.

Well, during that woulda-been-at-work period, I did manage to get a successful recording done, but not with my mic as I thought; I ended up leaning in too close to the computer to use the built-in mic and nearly getting Carpal Tunnel from leaving hand cramped, finger on the touchpad to scroll through my script (I edited the paper one so much, it was useless). For some dumb reason, no "vocal instrument" wanted to work with my USB Mic and not cause a buttload of static, so I had to switch.

Then for some dumb reason, I thought I had to have my DVI cable (I didn't, since I planned on burning it to DVD), so I had Grandpa bring it to me (though he ended up bringing my whole shoebox of electronic gizmos). I got to class about 20 minutes prior to start time, but all of a sudden my project CRASHED. When I reopened it, a bunch of clips and timing adjustments that I'd made were gone. To make matters worse, in buying and installing Leopard yesterday, I neglected to consider the incompatibility with certain programs or add-ons, like my GeeThree Slick Effects that I was using for titles and such in iMovie '06. (I realize now, if I'd just gone to the website, I could have updated them and avoided the hassle of trying to create the titles in a still image in Photoshop.)

Well, I doubted God would strike me down on request, nor did I think any deities of Fortune would decide to randomly have Eisenstock cancel class today, so I stuck it out... and of course, class wasn't canceled and presentations went on as scheduled. At first, I thought, "I'm doomed, there's no way I can make my presentation. If she'll let me go next week, I can at least accept a grade deduction." But no, we can't next week, because it's our mock final.

Oh, and on top of all that stress, we had an exam I forgot about! I didn't study for it in the least bit, but it was all multiple choice, so I hope I did okay, anyway.

Back to the project-- everyone else but one person went ahead of me while I attempted to assemble and time the fragments of my project into something normal. And I thought I succeeded-- though I was nervous as hell, I sent it to iDVD, set myself a title screen, and then burned the DVD (which I'd bought at the bookstore only 25 minutes before class). Luckily, questions and the next presenter took long enough for it to burn, and it even worked in the DVD player without any hassle... but the timing was HORRID. Plus, the crash had removed one of the adjustments I'd made to a clip's volume, so I was completely drowned out by "real Emotion" during the second half of my presentation. Luckily, both the professor and my classmates seemed to take it in stride.

She asked the standard question of "Which analytical framework applies to the issue you presented," so I went on for a bit about how the reflection hypothesis theory applies, since video games don't accurately reflect the variety of women in society today-- only docile, demure women and provocative, sexy, powerful women. Hey, some of us can fall in-between, you know!

She also accepted my (true) excuse about my printer running out of ink, so I have until tonight to email her my media packet (unfortunately, I just remembered I have an NSLS meeting at 7pm, which means I'll have to take the meeting minutes and not work on this during then) and until the end of this week to put a hard copy in her Journalism department inbox. Whew... I think. I think she's also cutting slack for the Media Critique, because people couldn't download an evaluation form necessary for analyzing the websites that this week's critique was supposed to be about.

Anyway, with all this madness, I neglected to eat at all today-- until just a bit ago, when I sat down with a full El Pollo Loco meal. I wolfed the whole thing down-- burrito, salad, drink and all-- except the flan, that's dessert. I'm considerably less stressed (even if I have work ahead of me-- ugh, four, possibly five or even SIX more articles for the Sundial within the next 7 days!), and I hope to stay that way through December, make it through my winter break, and somehow end up in Washington, D.C. for my internship.

...And sometime this week I have to see Financial Aid and Prof. Bowen about that, too. Ugh. Always stuff to do!

I blame this all on Alaska Airlines.


Nov. 22nd, 2007 11:08 pm
azurite: (autumn kitty)
Greetings from FREEZING Seattle, WA... er, technically, Bellevue, I guess. Getting here wasn't so bad, but the schmucks at Alaska Airlines somehow managed to not put my checked bag (only the one, not even that big or heavy) on my flight, so I had to wait until about a half hour ago for it to be delivered to Sally's house.

Right now, we're (meaning me, my dad & Kathleen, and a few of the other cousins and aunts/uncles) are staying at a friend of Sally's house; I guess her family's out elsewhere for the holidays. It's a bit awkward to be in the home of someone I don't even know, but they did say it's okay...

And frankly, even if Sam (cousin) did say that it's "shady," at least THEY have free Wi-Fi. Seriously, I'm not the first person to point out to Sally and the boys that NOT having Wi-Fi at their house is equivalent to living in the Stone Age. (For those of you with Dial-Up, you're prehistoric.)

The Thanksgiving dinner was DELICIOUS, even though I got a stomachache after the fact-- actually though, based on the human digestive system, there's no way anything I ate at Thanksgiving could have made me sick, even if it was something I'm mysteriously allergic to. I think it was that muffin I picked up at Sea-Tac while waiting for Dan and my bag (which never came while I was there). It was one of those Costco muffins-- delicious, humongous, and bad for you, but you eat it anyway.

Pre and slightly-post dinner, I managed to work on the DIVs for "Ace of Hearts," the Sailor V x Kaitou Ace fanlisting I just started. It's about due, and I'm glad Michael (aka Honus, aka cousin-in-law, husband of Brooke) helped me out with it. Now I understand better how DIVs and CSS can work in tandem! So far it looks great, but I need to write the About, Rules, and Extras pages, make some Codes, and then, of course, Join! And promote... kinda like I am now. Pre-promoting, anyway.

I also managed to watch CSI-- I'm glad Sara got mentioned at least a little. The way the previews made it sound, the game was overtaking the lab and no one thought twice about Sara, which would have infuriated me. I liked how the lesser-seen lab techs got more time in the limelight in this episode (and Hodges had HIMSELF killed in a scenario? Wow, talk about his ego finally having been knocked down a few pegs).

I've also made headway on my portfolio for Journalism; I need access to a printer to print everything out, though. An aesthetic question of sorts: if I have these newspaper articles mounted on papers inside a 3-ring binder, what arrangement is easiest to read; with the headline closest to the rings (and you read the columns going AWAY from the binder) or the headlines closest to the edge of the page, and you read TOWARD the rings?

Had to buy a new phone, too-- just another RAZR. The 3G phone I bought for Japan finally died. The past few days, it was getting hard to open, and then on Wednesday, the screen started to flicker until it finally died and I couldn't turn it back on, even when I adjusted the battery. While I don't consider myself a hardcore phone user, I do USE it everyday for at least one phone call... but still, a little over a year strikes me as a pretty pathetic life not just for a battery, but for a phone's casing and everything in general..

The new phone is a bit different-- mine, while still a RAZR, was a different model (the V3x, from Europe). It takes some getting used to, but because syncing is so easy on the Mac, I've already got all my old contacts back, along with my calendar. I've also set the first four of my "Fave Five," though to be honest, I have no idea who #5 should be. The rest are Mom, Dad, Jill, and Baba & Grandpa. In any case, I hope by having a branded phone now, things'll be easier for me-- I can now access T-Zones, and there's no worries about incompatible phones on the website, weird text messages, etc. (Of course, I stopped getting those mysterious text messages on my old RAZR ages ago, when they finally updated their support-- I think.) I hope it also helps bring my bill down, since I was paying extra for minutes I didn't use and unlimited text messages WITHOUT myFaves. I still have the T-Mobile Hot Spot access though, which means I can go to any Starbucks or Borders and just type my heart out. That might be a nice way to spend the afternoon, especially since I won't really be able to do any "Black Friday" shopping-- unless someone else buys for me. I have to pay for my WII deposit (though it turns out I have 10 more days, since the forms I've been stressing over filling out were the digital copies, but they just sent the paper copies today).

I didn't get to announce about being accepted into the Washington Internship Institute at dinner, like I hoped-- Dad must have heard about it from Baba & Grandpa, and then it filtered through the family grapevine. When I told Dad about the costs, he started to think it wasn't legit-- and for a minute, he really had ME worried, too. Sometimes I wonder how gullible I really am; when something really sounds great to (or for) me, I probably don't stop to consider the consequences or other possibilities out there.

But it does look legit-- I mean, it's a sponsored program from Golden Key, one of my honor societies. But what I think is a good idea is trying to contact some people who supposedly were interns in the program before and find out what they thought.

What else? I'm exhausted and still have a stomachache-- so even though I'm on a couch in a room with curtains that won't close, I think I'll go to bed. This isn't really a vacation, after all...
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: (so2:bluesphere - rena)
What a weekend! Part of me doesn't think it should end yet. It wasn't exactly exciting, but there was certainly a lot going on. For starters, I finally got inducted into the NSCS (National Society of Collegiate Scholars) after about two years of actually being a member, and nearly a semester of being an officer... I'm really happy! Not only have I made friends and expanded my network, but I've gotten the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and be challenged in lots of ways. Even the little projects I undertake (like my current one, creating a postcard for the upcoming Hunger Banquet on 11/27) teach me a lot about preparedness and reading the fine print!

I was especially thrilled that Mom and Jill came out to the induction... yes, MOM from San Francisco. Dad didn't come, and there was all that drama revolving around that, but as per usual, when he called tonight, he didn't mention the ceremony at all (other than "so what's up with you lately?") and didn't mention his not coming. I'm a bit disappointed, but working is a good reason not to be able to go to places 500 miles away even if it is a once-in-a-lifetime event for your only daughter and all that jazz.

After the induction, I hung out at Jill's and had a delicious dinner of pasta and carrot cake, played "Cooking Mama" for the first time with some of my second cousins (my god, Wii games are tough... you really have to have arm strength for some of those!), and played around with their soon-to-be-fixed puppy, a Chihuahua mix named Rocky.

The next morning, Jill dropped Mom off at the house and we (along with Baba and Grandpa, of course) went to brunch at Abe's. We tried to go to Brent's, but it was a 30-45 minute wait for just 4 people, and it was already after 11 a.m. by then. :( Though the service at Abe's left a lot to be desired, the food was pretty good. Mom got the grand tour of the house when we got back, and then we headed back to Jill's so she could get ready to take the Van Nuys Flyaway bus back to LAX.

I'm thinking of trying to do that for my flight from LAX to SEA-TAC, since it's so much cheaper than a shuttle, but I'll need a way of getting from here to the Flyaway. Maybe I can ask Jill to drop me off? A taxi would be too much money, and the bus would force me to transfer (not fun with luggage) and wake up soooo early... X_X

So there's that to do, along with trying to help Baba & Grandpa figure out a way to get from here to the Westin LAX, where they'll be staying (courtesy of Mom) before their flight to SEA-TAC.

I've also got to buckle down on my project for 371. I bought two new books on video games today-- I mean serious research books. I'm just glad they were in-stock at Borders! I didn't want to have to wait to special order anything, and I already checked the school library's (pitiful) stock of books in that category...

Speaking of school, the University Student Union's website is lacking something critical: a map. Somehow last week I'd found one when I was working on the Hunger Banquet postcard, but it was a PDF file, and I deleted the original. I didn't properly optimize it for a high-res postcard though, so when I tried to find it again, every possible search came up nil. Even the maps I did find are hopelessly outdated. -_-; So I need to get the names of TWO measly rooms I don't remember off-hand, and then I can submit the postcard for printing.

I also noticed that the Golden Key (International Honour Society)'s website is also lacking-- despite many states being classified into "regions," I failed to find anything that indicated which states are in which regions. Finally, a UCLA site gave me a clue: CA is in Region 9, along with Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Texas. So I guess that means "Southwestern" states. I joined the new myGK, which is semi-social networking-- it's pretty easy to use. It'll be nice when both it and the new websites get up and running.

Speaking of NSCS again, my postcard that I worked on so laboriously is in the running for the official NSCS holiday postcard! I'm up against some pretty beautiful designs (the kind that make you go "Now why didn't I think of that!?"... I had another one of those moments today at Borders when I spotted their cute polar bear-and-fairy pair for their new ads... so cute!), but I was in the top 5 when I last checked! I told all the members at the induction to vote for me, so hopefully that'll swing some more votes my way. :)

I've also registered for my classes for next semester. They are:
* SCENE Magazine (FINALLY!)
* Women and Leisure (online!)
* Advanced Narrative Writing
* Pop Culture (not with the professor I wanted, but supposedly a really good one)
* Writing About Literature

I'm still hoping to get an internship (gotta get my rec letter back from Mel for the Washington Internship Institute, due by the 16th!), but it might end up being a summer internship, and depending on where it is and whom it's sponsored by, it might not count for Journalism credit. If that doesn't work out, I've applied to be a copy editor at the Sundial. It's only one unit, and copy editors don't have to meet in the early mornings twice a week like the other editors do. (I'm more of a correction-editor than an assignment-editor, anyway.) So we'll see how that works out. Even if it can't count for Journalism credit, part of me is hoping to get the Target internship, because it sounds fun, good experience, and of course, pays really well.

Lastly and not leastly, I've gotten addicted to a new semi-crack-worthy pairing-- this time from Star Ocean 3: Till The End of Time. Anyone like some Albel Nox x Nel Zelpher? Because yeah, for some reason I really started to like them together, and now I've started reading fic for them and I joined their fanlisting. :P Gah, and I have yet to build the Sailor V x Kaitou Ace fanlisting! I gotta get on that...


Nov. 3rd, 2007 12:13 am
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)

No, not the computer kind. The kind that's ugly and pink and in my room and prevents me from hanging any posters. The few times I have had posters up, it's either been because I liberally damaged them (and the wallpaper) with push-pins and nails, or because I used permanent mounting strips which ripped the wallpaper off the wall.

Well, I bought this special roll of adhesive poster tape and ONE single poster has about five strips of this stuff on it and it's STILL falling off the wall! I even taped down the corners... no luck.

If I ever have my own house, I swear to DOG it is not going to have wallpaper! I HATE 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.

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

I've wanted to take JOUR 371 "Women, Men, and Media" for a while, and now that I'm in it, I can really say I'm looking at my "usual media" in a different light. Like most people, I'm not the hugest fan of commercials, but occasionally I'll pay attention to one if it's funny (the Doritos Superbowl commercial), the first time for an annoyingly stupid one (the Geico cavemen commercials...), interesting (the Halo 3 commercial) or trendy... you get the idea.

But tonight I'm watching Voyager or CSI or something on Spike and I see a commercial for a new Sega Rally video game. It's got these two girls, the driver who lends her friend in the passenger seat her lipgloss. The passenger girl raves about the color-- meanwhile, you're seeing the car skid, slide, go every which-way... basically, like a rally car on a track.

The tag line? "Drive like a man."


Srsly, WTF?

I'm not sure if I should be offended or not. After all, it's basically saying that guys drive like complete schmucks and get into accidents. But it's also saying that that sort of behavior is admirable, like women should WANT to drive like that (and don't). Then again, maybe it's supposed to be "women are cool-- they can put makeup on in any situation, bumpy or not!" But I doubt that very much.

I'm sorry, I'd much rather be applying makeup and driving slow and steady than be getting highs off testosterone and racing when and where it's unnecessary, spinning, rolling, and crashing like some foolish street racers (FYI, I can admire Initial D as a piece of fiction, but there was recently a bunch of street racers here in the San Fernando Valley that were responsible for the death of a mother and two children. I don't consider *real* street racers in high regard, and think they're a bunch of fucktwits).


This is

Sep. 12th, 2007 01:32 pm
azurite: (Bunninated!)
I've been addicted to this song for a while, and I blame it on Subway, where it's always playing whenever I go there for lunch. :P Plus it happens to make a pretty good theme for Téa in WDKY. :D Isn't it odd that this song seems so much more of a hit than Glamourous and Fergalicious, when those are the two major songs people raved about when Fergie first debuted solo? (Furthermore, I heard some idiot DJ say "Fer-jee" on the radio the other day, instead of "Fer-gee," which is what it's supposed to be.)

I'm exhausted. Yesterday after getting home from work, I played FFX-2 for hours longer than I intended (but I managed to oversoul a BUNCH more monsters, including the ass-wipe Concherer... the Miracle Drink SAVES MY HIDE), but for a good chunk of the time, I was actually just sitting in the rec room talking to Mom about various things-- my wanting to fix my bike, my wondering if I should invest $44 in the MyPoliSciLab for POLS 355 (because the teacher's lectures SUCK), me trying to come up with ideas for my Investigative Reporting class, and me juggling everything else-- the Sundial, NSCS, NSLS, work, "me" time, and time for my grandparents, above almost ell else.

It's really hard prioritizing and organizing. It's like I can do a brief burst for a while, but then I get too caught up in everything else. Then, when I want to take "me" time or a breather, it ends up doing me more harm than good, because I end up staying up too late just "relaxing," forgetting homework or other assignments and then berating myself for things left undone.

For example, my current story on the Metro Orange Line. I blame it on how most of the sources I've called (Pam O'Connor, Santa Monica city councilwoman and chair of the Metro Board of Directors; someone from CSUN's Transportation Services) have yet to get back to me. Okay, so I can talk to the Media Relations guy, but I wanted to avoid that primarily because journalists are told to never just take whatever PR gives them. And PR has many names and faces... I need time to hang out by the local Orange Line bus stop and talk to some students, time to possibly go to the terminal in North Hollywood with Kaori, the photographer for the story, and see who else I might be able to get ahold of. I've never been much of a phone person, but I've got to become one-- and an incessant one, at that, because for this class, three live sources per story are required, with a minimum of 20 stories throughout the semester. I was doing well initially, but now it feels like I'm getting lost in the tide. Thankfully, I'm not the only one, but that doesn't improve my habits, work ethic, or grade any.

I got another story regarding the resignation of the school's director of public relations and strategic communications, but I don't think it'll turn out to be much, based on what I've found out already. At least it's local (CSUN community), like I requested of the city editor. To be honest, I don't even want to do hard news like this, but I know it's important-- for the paper and the community, and also my own portfolio. But I'd rather be doing A&E, features, opinion... SOMETHING closer to what I want to do with my real life after this. Though technically, I want to be an editor, not a reporter/writer anymore...

The one bright spot is that after talking to mom last night, I might have a good idea for my first proposal for my Investigative Journalism class. It was partially based off something Melina mentioned on the NSCS retreat, and furthered by what Manley said today in the Sundial class. Hopefully I can actually pull it off, because it'll definitely require digging. Good thing I've never cared much about getting my hands dirty.

So now, the interactive part of this post:
(1) How do you juggle your time? How do you successfully (if at all) balance work, fun for yourself, romance (if any), family, and school?

The Sundial is more like a job than a class, though. I asked the city editor what she does-- she works 30 hours a week and has 8 units (less than full time), but she said she did have full-time status when she was a reporter like I am.

So I'm wondering, if this is another example of early-semester stress getting to me, what should I do to nip this in the bud? Limit my hours at work? That'll mean making less money, though. It's true I don't need to worry about rent or car payments like other people, but I *DO* have bills to pay (like credit cards...) Of course, I can always limit my shopping-- it's not like I really go crazy that often (maybe once a month or so). Or is there another solution? I can't drop classes.

(2) How do you prioritize? I always have a to-do list, and I can pretty easily recognize the things I can put off, but then when the things I can't/shouldn't put off start to pile up, that's when the stress mounts. I'm never sure how to be productive and "smart" with my time so that I can do as much as I can and feel satisfied about it. I don't want to be the type that only gets 3-5 hours of sleep a night (if that)-- I don't think I physically can! Getting up this early for my classes this semester has been enough of a biological change-- I'm not about to start drinking coffee or energy drinks, shortening my sleeping schedule (my personal minimum is 6-8, with a preference toward 10 for feeling well-rested).

I feel bad about using work-time to do homework or make calls for the Sundial. I also hate being late to work because I was running around campus-- getting things at the bookstore, walking to the health center, etc. What to do?

*snore* It sucks that I'm this tired already, so early in the day, when my afternoon class (which usually exhausts me by 3-4pm) hasn't even begun yet. I'm also more than halfway through a bottle of my usual "awakening elixir," Brisk iced tea, and it doesn't seem to be doing much. I'm not doing much more than holding my head up so it doesn't crash onto the keyboard.

...I often contemplate just not going to school/work/whatever when I'm this sleepy, but I have a loud conscience that wouldn't permit such a flimsy excuse. Mentally, I feel like I'm using up time or hours or something, and then if and when something important/big really did happen-- whether it was me genuinely sick with something BAD or something else, I'd "need" to go into work/school. I fought the urge today and I'm here now, but part of me wants to say "screw it!" to my next class and just go home. But why, when it's a GREAT class, only 3 or so hours long (with a 15-30 minute break)? It would seem pointless, especially how it takes me 30 minutes to walk home, and I usually never do what I say I'll do (sleep) when I get home. I get distracted so easily...

(3) Would you invest $44 in a textbook supplement if the teacher's lectures sucked, but you really wanted to learn? I've never been a straight read-to-learn person. I need discussion, activity, and interaction for things to really stick with me. The MyPoliSciLab thing sounds interesting, but I'm still not sure... Baba says "eh," Grandpa says "Hell no," and Mom is as indecisive as ever. What do you think? So far, I haven't spent more than $250 or so on textbooks (I've spent as much as $521 in previous semesters, so I consider this semester a bit of a bargain, especially since I'll likely be keeping at least a few of the textbooks for personal reasons). So it's not like it's adding hugely on top of my other textbook prices. Besides, this is an academic purchase, vs. say, a bunch of makeup or manga. :P


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: (autumn kitty)
Ugh, I'm back to drinking Brisk iced tea, and now Wild Cherry Pepsi (haven't had THAT since high school) to keep myself awake T-Th when I have classes that last 2-3 hours at a time with short breaks. It sucks because I thought I'd been getting enough sleep and eating somewhat healthier, to the point where I wouldn't need boosts that also rot my teeth. Urgh.

I don't want to get crazy-stressed, but the past few days haven't helped-- there's always so much to do. I've got to finish raking off the garage roof, clean my bathtub, clean my room, put my laundry away, do my handwashing, figure out a system for a clothesline in my tile tub, send my glasses prescription to school, get new glasses, see if I can vacuum the house (I bet Dad forgot to take the giant vacuum Baba wanted him to have, and waited months to give him) and... figure out wtf is wrong with the wireless on my NEW LAPTOP!

Last night as soon as I came home I set it up and transferred all the data from my old MBP, but while the old one connected to the home network just fine, the new one wouldn't. I tried changing the router settings-- the SSID and the password encryption, but that just screwed things up further. This morning I called AT&T tech support (gawd, I want to switch to Time-Warner Cable), and I had to change the SSID back, the encryption back to WEP-Open, and the channel back from 11 to 10. That fixed it for my old MBP, but not the new one... and I have no idea why. It's not like there are any proxies, AppleTalk, or other weird settings... I hope it's not the AirPort being half-malfunctional or anything. I've got an appt. at the Apple store today, and if all works out well, I'll also renew my ProCare and get Diner Dash. :) What's weird is that it works here on campus, and it SORT of picked up someone else's network near home for a bit, but not for long enough (to get the updates for the AirPort Express). I wonder if the updates (which I managed to get here at school) will help?

On the bright side, the new computer DOES mean I'll be able to play with my .Mac sooner, check out all the goodies iLife '08 offers, and see what's new with iWork '08. I'll also hopefully be able to work on WDKY and the BSSM Another Story novelization. But, speaking of other writing projects, all the weird dreams I've been having lately (a lot of apocalyptic stuff, for some reason) got me revising "Prophecy Girl," and the extended ideas (which will involve revising the first two chapters a bit) make the story a LOT more solid. I might end up switching between it and WDKY (since PG was around first, anyway) in times of blockage.

During all the stress last night, I played some FFX-2 while the data was being transferred. I forgot why I was where I was (I'd already beaten the Ruin Depths), so I headed around to get more Oversouls (I have about 20 left, including the dreaded Concherer). I only managed to get 1 so far, due to the randomness of battles, so later I hope to get more... :P it's my way of de-stressing. I'm planning on figuring out more Mix strategies to beat the tougher Oversouls, though.

Right now I'm in my JOUR 410 (Investigative Journalism) class, and I need to come up with 3 story ideas for our upcoming proposal. As with so many other things, I'm dry out of ideas. Help?

Oh, as for the BEST NEWS OF THE DAY (even though I'll be busy until late and busy even tomorrow and this weekend with an NSCS retreat in Malibu where I'm responsible for figuring out dinner for 10 for only $40?)...
I GOT A RAISE! Nearly 30 cents, too! Not a ton, but way better than my last raise. :)
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.


Aug. 10th, 2007 01:03 am
azurite: (escaflowne - destiny)
Jaw still hurts like a bitch, and it's a pain to eat practically anything (that includes soft foods like yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, btw), but at least I didn't make a fool of myself while brushing my teeth tonight. Grandpa switched the medication he was giving me from a light narcotic (which made me loopy but killed the pain) to this other stuff that works a bit, but not completely... I still feel like I have lockjaw.

I joined this other organization Joe B. mentioned at the Clubs & Orgs Fair the other day-- the NSLS, which is the National Society of Leadership and Success. Sounds a lot like NSCS, for all intents and purposes, but it's smaller, was founded more recently, and offers things a bit differently. Either way, I figured it's an opportunity, so I joined up-- for the $65 lifetime membership. This time I didn't have to waste time researching whether it was a scam or not, since I *KNOW* the chapter founder.

Speaking of NSCS though, apparently I won some sort of American Express prize (I don't know what, though) for participating in the post-convention survey. They even mentioned my name in the post-convention update email-- huzzah! I hope it's a hefty gift card, what with my recent plane ticket purchase up to Seattle... I mean, Baba offered to pay for it, but for some reason that made me feel awkward. Besides, she already paid for my clothes at H&M the other time, and I never paid her back (and if I tried she'd bop me upside the head).

I've managed to clean my room a LOT these past few days, which is weird but gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I've been shredding lots of useless papers, sorting things out into specific bags and boxes, and trying to figure out what I need/don't need, what itches to the point of me never wanting to wear it again (which is unfortunately a lot of things lately... am I becoming allergic to some sort of fabric?), and what I'll need for the upcoming semester (vs. what I already have which is, of course, a lot).

Today I got the Hercules Hooks in the mail from PCH, and... sorry Billie Mays, they're not as cool as they seem on TV. Maybe it's just me with my wallpapered 1.5" thick (and I know that's thick, but STILL it's not like it says "limited to 1/4" thick walls and less" on the packaging or anything) walls, but it took a good half hour of twisting and pushing to get ONE pin into the wall, and even when it did, the hole it made was not "pin-sized" by any stretch of the imagination. True, I did manage to get my photo collage and Happy Bunny whiteboard hung up without too much of a problem, but I can't see myself devoting any further hours to getting those things through the wall, even though I *DID* use the stud finder to help me find the "thinner" areas of the wall without studs, just plaster. It makes a mess and wastes my time, so I'll stick with nails and a hammer, thankyouverymuch. I've decided at this point that if Baba and Grandpa DO end up selling this house once I graduate, they'll have to re-wallpaper more than just THIS room, anyway. I never TRY to damage it, it just happens. And I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, so nyah! :P

Shawn came over tonight and helped me put the sliders on the rec room couches and adjust my bookcase (which I'd moved in desperate search for one of my hairpin's dislocated rhinestones), and then we watched "The Prestige" together. He said it was very good, and I wisely kept my mouth shut during the whole thing-- and because of that, I was able to "get it" more than I had the first time I watched. At least... I think so!

Anyway, I'm back to being loopy-tired, which is finally appropriate given the time (I'd been tired like hell earlier, but I resisted and cleaned instead, since I didn't want to screw up my sleep schedule MORE). So I'm off to bed!
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.

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