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

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

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

It sure would be nice if Will (#repomen) would show his face here in San Francisco so I could collect the $7500 bounty on his head. *sigh*
azurite: (gundam senshi!)
Typed the first few paragraphs last week and then procrastinated to all hell for posting this. Oooops.

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

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

Day Zero )

Day One )

Day Two )

Day Three )

Day Four: THE FINALS )
azurite: (all muses are busy...)
So, I'm a student at DeVry University on top of everything else now. I was looking into the possibility of getting some kind of certification in web design, since I feel like I've reached a standstill when it comes to learning from books. I wish I could take a class on it at CSUN, but on top of them freaking out about my financial aid because I have too many units (read: I took classes I didn't need because I either wanted to be full-time or because the other classes I needed weren't available), they have pre-requisites for the basic web design courses, and no way to take a competency test to get out of them. Plus, they're ART classes, which means the curricula overlaps with Journalism and I'd get no credit for it under the accreditation rule.

So anyway, I looked into online schools, and lo! DeVry got back to me. They have a campus in Sherman Oaks and a really nice advisor who's been helping me find the right program for me. I started out just looking for a certificate, but then an Associate's in Web Graphic Design. Then I wondered if an Associate's after a Bachelor's would look good on a resume. Would it even have enough classes to teach me something I need? Would enough of my CSUN units transfer over so I wouldn't have to take classes in math or public speaking?

Delaying the real world? )

So, in the meantime, I'm working on revamping my resume site, the NSLS website, hopefully seventh-star.net, the SO3 shrine...I'm also now blogging for Site of the Gaming Dead and maybe even doing tutorials for DayDream Graphics. Biting off more than I can chew for this summer? Just maybe. In-between all this I plan to write WDKY27 and participate in a few challenges. Oh, and go to AX! Go me.

I also need to learn to budget, because I'm quite sick of having to borrow money in order to stay afloat for the 15 days before my next paycheck. Any tips?
azurite: (star trek: head bop)
I'm calm now, but I wasn't on Thursday and Friday, when I had to go to Van Nuys for Jury Duty. So much for my day off, right? So I plotted my schedule using metro.net the night before, figuring out which bus lines I had to take, when I had to be at the stops, and how much it would take.

The wheels on the bus go round and round )

Anyway, I opted to go to In-N-Out for lunch, since I passed it on my way home, but I was too freaked out to take a bus line different from the one I had used to get there. I ended up on a Rapid bus again, missing the In-N-Out by several blocks, and it was no fun walking through that neighborhood! The actual restaurant was in a nice-ish shopping complex called "The Plant," and it was so close to another bus line that I was pretty sure would take me to my last transfer point that I ended up doing taking that instead of walking back to the nearest Rapid stop. I got back to my transfer point with no trouble, and caught my last bus within a few minutes. My Star Trek book was pretty fascinating, but by the time the route wound through the VA Hospital, I was exhausted! I couldn't wait to get home and go to sleep...which I did, of course. For five hours. Could I be a narcoleptic?

Last night I finished reading that Star Trek book, "Federations," and I must admit, it was EXCELLENT. I might not know a lot about the original series (it's a sort of "crossover" between TOS and TNG), but it's books like those that get me itching to watch some of the episodes, even if they are dreadfully cheesy. Some of them set the stage for some great adventures! I especially loved how everything was tied up in the end, as opposed to there being messy tidbits as a result of later movies and whatnot. For the time when it came out, it fits smoothly into the timeline, as far as I can tell, versus other Star Trek novels that contradict episodes of the shows or other media. Of course, the comic that came out prior to the new Star Trek movie might not count, since it's a prequel for an alternate universe...except that prequel was SET in our Trek universe (at least I'm 99.9% sure that it was), so now I'm even more confused!
azurite: (Default)
The sign for California State University Northridge on Plummer and Darby has mysteriously vanished (the frame is still there, though). I'm starting to worry-- we're not really going to change our name back to San Fernando Valley State College, are we? SFVSC doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "CSUN." Maybe it's a bad frat joke?

Prices have gone up at the Arbor Grill, but only 15 cents for my favorite breakfast burrito (no meat, sour cream instead of salsa). I think it's to make up for the sales tax increase from the other day. I don't mind though. While I was getting my burrito, one of the chefs and I talked shop about future breakfast options: pancakes and French toast! I suggested they try some challah or raisin bread, and he said he'd look into trying it, considering Rye's not suitable for French toast and the wheat didn't taste very good. We also talked about varieties of vanilla, but it occurred to me that even though I like the thicker Tahitian extract, I doubt they sell that in large jugs good for a school! Oh well.

I'm in San Francisco as I type this; the weather is beautiful and I still can't microwave enchiladas without fossilizing at least one corner.

I posted WDKY26 at FFnet, Dragonfayth, and MediaMiner. Dragonfayth was giving me some issues with a fatal mySQL error, but I think I resolved it. Problem is, the site is still spitting out mangled/incorrect update dates, so my fic isn't on the Recently Updated page, nor does the story in My Stories listing show the right updated date. But believe me, it is updated there. I've checked it while logged in under both my admin account and a Test (non-admin) account.

Where else to upload it to? FicWad is apparently broken, I think I need to upload more chapters at AnimeXX before I can upload this one, DeviantART sucks for fics (actually, almost anything fan-made, but that's another story) and it's much easier just to link than post it on LJ (but I will if people want me to; it's not as long as some previous chapters that I had to span across numerous posts, but that's no guarantee that I WOULDN'T have to for this chapter).

(Aside: now that I've seen the music video for this song, I'm never going to think of it the same way again. I think I'll always be grinning and imagining Workout Barbie dancing. Or something like that.)

I don't want to spend my entire Spring Break indoors. I may be broke, but I did get a 7-day MUNI pass, and I intend to use it! (I should have already used it today, but I didn't. Does anyone wanna catch a movie with me later tonight? I think I could manage that....)

Couldn't find my :CueCat. I think either I or Mom got rid of it, unaware of the intrinsic value of a barcode scanner for organizing our lives. So, a birthday wish: a good barcode scanner. Maybe another :CueCat, which I'd have to modify (eep!) to work with Delicious Library 2. Probably not a big deal, but I don't want to waste even $15 if I might screw up. Better to invest in something I don't have to play with?

It's boogie time! *dance dance*

 Call on Me by Eric Prydz from YTMND Soundtrack, Volume 1 (Rating: 0)
azurite: (ff8/kh - rinoa)
Greetings from the Oviatt Library of Cal State Northridge (where I was when I first started writing this post)! It's finally the late afternoon, and Inauguration Day is winding down at last. Of course, I was up at 7:30 a.m. for my 9:00 class, so I missed all the inauguration fun, even though Dad called me at 6:30 a.m. to bug me about watching it. He (and several other members of my family) seem to think Inauguration Day ought to be a holiday, but as for me, I've been looking forward to today as the first day of school long before I knew about who was going to be taking the Oath of Office this morning.

In any case, I've managed to catch up with play-by-plays, fashion reports, and transcripts of Obama's speech, so I don't feel as if I've missed out on much. Of course I'm excited and hopeful, but I also know I'll be able to watch it tonight if I so wish. After all, tons of stations are having Encore Presentations of every aspect of the inauguration, so....

As for classes, it was great seeing Prof. Lisagor for my Food Science Lab course again! She even hugged me! :) I was quite glad just to be remembered, but I immediately got into techie mode because some people couldn't log into the shiny cinema-screen Macs (sadly, with Windows pre-loaded on them; the Food Processor program we use for class is Windows-only. Blech!). We spent a lot of time talking about what the class is going to involve, but we moved onto our first big project: a cultural foods meal plan.

We're supposed to think of a culture other than our own and imagine that a person coming from that culture/country has come to the U.S. and has come to us in need of a dietician. Obviously, my first thought was for Japan! So I'm working with a classmate from India named Mythri (My-three), and we've both got to invent a person and come up with a meal plan for them that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2-3 snacks for two days. Four of those meals have to be cultural foods (that is, Japanese) that are prepared. Everything should be "made at home," not "fast food" or whatever.

...For some reason, the first person that came to mind was Usagi Tsukino. More specifically, the Usagi that's in a very particular fic that I read recently on Aria's Ink, where she's come to the U.S. on a study abroad program.

Besides, it's not as if I don't know all her vital stats: she's 4'11", 99 lbs., 15 years old (well, we're imagining Season 1-3 Usagi here), and leads an active lifestyle-- what she lacks in P.E. she makes up for with Sailor Senshi duty and running like a mad chicken on her way to school. Inputting all that in, I've discovered just how many calories, vitamins, and minerals she ought to be taking.

Bearing all that in mind, now I've got to come up with 4 simple recipes that are Japanese in origin that Usagi might eat if she's seeing a dietician for whatever reason. I'm tempted to watch a bunch of Sailor Moon episodes to see how food appears in it, and what Usagi's eating habits are (other than just "voracious").

After that class, I went to Yoga. A surprising amount of people were wearing jeans, which made me roll my eyes. Really, the syllabus says "wear comfortable clothing," and people think "jeans?" The teacher seems like she's strict but interesting-- she reminds me of a professor I had in Journalism in my freshman and sophomore year where you either loved her or you hated her, but if you loved her, it's because despite the strictness, you learned. I'm hoping that'll be the case here, too.

Work today was pretty cool, too. I only had a short shift, but half of it I worked at the kiosk upstairs in the library, which we've started doing the first few weeks of the semester to introduce campus technology and the IT department to the people milling about the first floor.

Tomorrow I've only got one class-- my Public Relations class. Normally I'd have my long Biology lab, except the professor's postponed the first class session until next week, which is nice, because it gives me time to get adjusted to my other classes, get my textbooks and other supplies (seriously $114 for a biology NOTEBOOK!?!) and get used to the campus life again. I'm hoping I can use the rare extra time (because normally Wednesday would be my all-day session) to work on WDKY26 more. So far, it's coming along quite well... ^_^

ARGH! - Financial aid check didn't go through YET, so I couldn't get my PSP and SO2:SE as planned today, let alone check out the mall for some **free** makeup. Meh, I didn't need it (the makeup) anyway, and I don't need the PSP and the game RIGHT NOW, either. Textbooks are more the priority, anyway. Surprisingly, the bookstore actually has the cheapest rate for some of the textbooks. Some of the other textbooks, unfortunately, simply can't be found on Half.com or Amazon or whatever-- they're those special notebook lab packs. But that doesn't mean I'm out of resources yet!

Also: new icons! Yay. But I still need more for some of my other fandoms. There are also some I can't bring myself to get rid of even though I rarely use them. But hell, I've got nearly 200 userpic slots, so what does it matter!?

Balance

Dec. 15th, 2008 08:11 pm
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna will fly)
You know, I was pretty upset earlier, but I have to put things in perspective: always look at things in balance. For everything you think makes your day awful, there are probably 5 or 10 more that should make it okay, if not better or even great. A simple change in perspective can drastically alter your mood. You have to be willing to look.

So I found out earlier that, due to the CSU budget cuts, I won't be getting my job back at the IT Help Desk at CSUN this coming semester. They just don't have the money to rehire, even though people are going to be leaving. That... REALLY sucks. I was counting on the job. Of course, my former boss did say that I'd be the first to know if anything changed, or if anything else in the department opened up. So I hope something does change, because to be honest, I need the money. But I also LIKE the job a lot, like helping people, like most of my co-workers, and don't want to be twiddling my thumbs at home when I could be helping folks out.

There's always the possibility of freelance tutoring though, so if, come January 20, I don't have a job back for sure, then I'll look into that.

Also balancing out the suck of being ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY BROKE AND JOBLESS is the fact that I just accomplished something! Getting the mojo to work on something and actually completing that goal can do wonders for one's self-esteem and mood. A user from Dragonfayth emailed me, saying she's been having problems getting her initial password for the site. I asked her to give me more detail, but I decided to look into it myself by checking the settings of the SMTP host, trying to send an email from the Contact Us form, and checking the Action Log.

Turns out something on 12/10 changed where the existing SMTP settings stopped working, so passwords weren't being sent out, and I wasn't getting Contact Us emails indicating there was a problem. I investigated on the eFiction forums and found a number of possible errors; I tried to check them out, posted a new topic there, and put up a support ticket to get an SPF record for my domain so other email services don't mark the domain as spam/spoof. And then, after all that... I figured it out. Well, maybe. Turns out the port for the SMTP host name wasn't right. My host, Surpass Hosting (♥ ♥ ♥) uses port 26 for SMTP rather than 25 (the default), so I changed it... and it worked! I sent an email to one of my GMail accounts and received it just fine!

I also redid all the passwords for the users who signed up/lost their password between 12/10 and today, so hopefully those users got those and can now log-in, delete any extra accounts, and start reading/reviewing, etc.

I have to put all my other projects on hold until I'm 100% finished with school though-- I have a few more quizzes and a single final exam (also a quiz, just a longer one) today and tomorrow. So, until then... I shouldn't be distracting myself with posting on LJ. :P

But I did want to just vent a bit, and put my hope out there in the open, that the more good we do (big or small) and the more good we feel, the more good comes back to us. At least, I hope it will for me.
azurite: (azureshipping - love to hate)
So, I haven't updated in what seems like ages (that HSM post doesn't count, because I'd written that more than a week ago and just saved it, hoping for a time when I COULD post it) because The Powers That Be were conspiring against me or something, and Murphy's law was in full effect-- all that jazz. So I decided to start doing something about it.

Keyboard Mayhem! )

Michael Moore is hard to find )

A little lost memory card and some movies )

Noconnectlink )

An HTC Dream G1 deferred )

MELTING, MELTING! and other problems )

Fics that like to f*ck with your brain )

And that, as they say, is that. For now, anyway.
azurite: (blue flower)
Another day and I'm here to tell the tale. Well, not a "tale," but at least I'd be here to tell it if there were one. At least I managed to get some sleep last night. The day before that, when I took that sleeping pill (at 7am), I ended up sleeping nearly 12 hours. That was only HALF a sleeping pill, mind you-- actually, there was more painkiller in the pill than there was sleeping aid! But when I took the other half last night, I slept and woke up within a decent amount of hours.

There were a few times when I heard noises and woke up, but generally everything's been the same as the way it was before all this mess happened. Life's moving on, I need to as well.

Last night was the first time I had a weird dream. Normally the sleeping pills mean no dreams for me, but I had a dream that CSUN was on a train (as in, the school itself was a train... or was on wheels, or something like that) and for some reason, there was a hallway from the library that had two laundry machines. They were right up against some long windows, but the windows were kind of dirty and hard to see out of. There was only one washer and one dryer-- nothing fancy, just the plain ol' white ones you see everywhere. I dreamed I put some laundry in and then went to get my basket, but got lost-- clearly it wasn't just the CSUN's main library on wheels, it was some kind of dream labyrinth. I started to feel sick and went to find the bathroom, and even though I thought I did, when I looked around, I was in a regular train seat, complete with people across the aisle in front of me! I was petrified! I had to get up and find my laundry machine! But then I woke up.

...Very strange. No doubt somehow related to last night's horrific news that two trains collided not too far from my house-- a Metrolink train and a freight train. Already 18 people are dead, over 100 are injured, some in critical condition, and the news reports are saying it's because the Metrolink engineer failed to see the red light on the track. Bzuh? Like my mom suggested when she called this morning, aren't there supposed to be back-up procedures for that sort of situation?

Anyway, since I slept almost all day yesterday, today I'm hoping to get some more card-replacement done. I'm trying to get my life back on track and normal.

If there's any good thing that's come out of this, it's that now I can channel the feeling of "uselessness," and "powerless" into WDKY26. It's bizarrely good timing, considering the chapter content. You know me, I always try inject a bit of emotional realism into my fics, and now WDKY26's going to get it.

Dad called the locksmith that charged us $1500, and they sent a digital invoice so we could clearly see what was so expensive-- each lock was $250. I certainly don't remember anyone (either the estimate agent or the actual locksmith) telling us it would cost that much, and I'm pretty sure if someone had told Grandpa that, I would have heard him yell "WHAT!?" instead of it just happening and us finding out after the fact (and Grandpa "blaming" it on me, as if I asked for the most expensive lock). Hopefully we can either get it covered by the homeowner's insurance or the company can negotiate a lower price, considering the circumstances. Even with all this extra brou-ha-ha, I don't necessarily feel safe in my own home.

I'm hungry.
azurite: (submit to the webmistress!)
I watched MSNBC's "To Catch an ID Thief" a while ago, and while the year-long investigative report uncovered just how twisted and international identity theft can be, it wasn't conclusive-- no one got "caught" or "busted," and the real person(s) behind the mass of thefts (Wendy Kenyon) never got unmasked or brought to justice, either.

Fact is, with the ability to make up any name and grab any picture from the Internet, anyone can be anyone else. Knowing that any one of millions of people could pretend to be anyone else, and that they can be anywhere in the world, and the likelihood of being extradited and prosecuted is less than 1%, the fault can't lie entirely with them.

Fact is, people are stupid. It's a sad and unfortunate truth. But it's not a bad thing to want to help others, to help them NOT get caught in "international crime rings" and have to put up with all the stress and time lost associated with identity theft. I know because I've been there.

Sure, I didn't go through as much as some of the people featured on the show, but that could mean either I got lucky (my hacker wasn't as "smart" as some of the scam artists in Nigeria and Benin) or I was smarter. I don't mean to sound egotistical, but unlike them, I would never wire thousands of dollars to someone I'd never met, believe their story about being in a car accident and need money for a hand operation, or ship packages for thousands of dollars in fees to a place in Africa. Why doesn't ANY of that sound suspicious? How can someone hear all that and not have bells and whistles and alarms going off in their brain?

That's what baffles me the most, I guess.

See, I have people that I trust-- people I know in real life, that I've met, and that I think have earned my trust. There are also people online --people I've never met in real life-- that I trust, but it's a different kind of relationship there, and a different kind of trust earned. It's true that if any of them said they were in trouble and needed help, I would want to in a New York minute, but I'd want to do it in a way that I can trust-- not wiring money and not knowing where it's going, who's getting it, or what it's getting used for.

It's also surprising that people with relatively comfortable lives buy into this kind of scam, too. Whether it's single guys or guys with marriage issues, they believe that some beautiful porn-esque model has her own business that involves shipping pricey electronics to Africa? And luv luv luvs them sooooo much? Seriously, wake up and smell the manure, folks. There's nothing honest, pitiful, or reasonable about ANY of that. Women buy into it too, thinking some nice, handsome guy needs their help-- and they give their time, money, good name, credit, and who knows what else without ever bothering to MEET the damn guy. I see that as the height of gullibility. Don't buy into B.S. like this, guys AND girls.

More stuff you can do to protect yourself:
* Don't use the same password for every account you have. It should be obvious why. If you use the same account for your email that you do for your Amazon.com account, which has your credit card saved on it, and someone gets into your email account because your password was made up of words that can be found in a dictionary, with no symbols and numbers that are in a row (for example 'dogcat456'), you're more or less screwed. If you do use the same password anywhere, make it no more than 5 times, and NEVER for the same category of accounts, especially if those accounts are emails and/or sites that have bank or credit information on it (e.g. PayPal, bank accounts, shopping sites). So you can use the same password for fanfic sites, but not for email accounts, if you have more than one.

* You should change up your username, too, even if you keep some parts the same. For example, I'm the_sweet here, the-sweet on DeviantART, Azurite in a lot of places... and I have tons of other usernames elsewhere.

* It also helps to have multiple email addresses too-- not just to sort out email you want from spam, but also to vary up what information is where. Any important accounts (e.g. bank accounts, PayPal, etc.) should always have "Additional Email Addresses" on file, because should someone manage to hack into your account, you want to be notified of any changes.

* Check any accounts that have money attached to them (again, bank accounts, PayPal, shopping sites) regularly to make sure there are no suspicious charges. Even if you have complex passwords, only copy-paste them rather than type them, regularly change your usernames and/or passwords, STILL check the account. You never know when information can accidentally slip through the cracks, as a result of using a public computer, spyware, or even someone you think you can trust (e.g. a sales clerk, a server at a restaurant, etc.) CHECK REGULARLY. Cheesy as it sounds, balance your checkbook, too. Account for every transaction so that when something fishy DOES come up, you can recognize it immediately. Not all fraudulent charges are made for hundreds or thousands of dollars-- hackers and scammers may do a "test run" of a card to see if it's any good. And make sure to call your bank, PayPal, and/or your credit card company if you see something strange. "Better safe than sorry." I know some people think caution can be a pain in the ass, but if it ends up saving you thousands of dollars and days of time, isn't it worth it? Also make sure to get your annual free credit report to make sure nothing's slipped your notice.

Hope that helps!
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-- Half.com, 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.

PROS
* 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)

CONS
* 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: (believe in subtext)
I'm almost done with His Dark Materials, the trilogy by Philip Pullman including "The Golden Compass," "The Subtle Knife," and "The Amber Spyglass." I do think they read together better as an omnibus-- or at least 2 and 3 do, because the ending of 1 was "okay," while 2 just sort of... well, "cut off," pun not intended.

I've got a ton of other books to read at some point, many of them purchases from when I was in San Francisco, including Candace Bushnell's Lipstick Jungle, The Thirteenth Tale, the second In Death book, "Glory In Death," "The Historian," the rest of the "Book of the Dead," Susan Issac's "Long Time No See" (at Baba's recommendation), and "Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her," which I'm finding is a very fun, informative read on one of my favorite childhood heroines.

Today at Borders, I also picked up a bunch of manga (another one of those 5-for-4 sales), though I'm still holding off on Fullmetal Alchemist and its associated novels, since I want to wait for the whole series to be finished. Besides, I technically don't have enough bookshelf space for what I have... it's kind of embarrassing (but cool! Because who doesn't want to have their own personal library? Mine is killer! :D). I also picked up "Codebreaker," about -what else?- codes and ciphers and their history. That purchase was, of course, inspired by seeing "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." I actually love puzzles (logic puzzles are my favorite-- I'm not much one for crosswords, though I am a little good at Sudoku), and I think that's sort of come out in WDKY's Téa, because I've had her solve her father's riddles in order to unravel a family mystery (and save Seto on the side, of course). In thinking about the future of WDKY, I'm thinking, if Téa didn't become a dancer, what would she be? There could be any number of reasons why she might not dance, and I thought she might end up as a cryptanalyst or similar. It'd be a fun way of having her one-up Kaiba in many ways-- genius of one area vs. genius of... well, Kaiba's sort of an all-around guy, but hey! :D

Speaking of fanfiction, I've started revisions on an old Sailor Moon fic of mine, "Hogosha no Kokoro," or HnK for short. Originally, the title was SUPPOSED to translate to "Guardian of the Heart," but that was back before I fully understood Japanese and the function (and positioning) of noun modifiers. So technically, it translates to "Guardian's Heart," or "Heart of [the] Guardian," but I guess that's okay, too, even though the meaning is a bit different from what I intended. In any case, I explain the mixup in my Author's Notes, and add "Guardian of the Heart," as the story's subtitle. I figure I could change it to what it was meant to be (Kokoro no Hogosha), but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it, and besides, if I were to abbreviate it the way I do for my other fics (like WDKY), it would be GotH. o_o Yeah, I have a "Goth" story. Great.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I picked this one over any of my other SM fics-- heck knows they all need revising, but HnK has great possibilities as an AR Silver Millennium Fic. No, I'm not going to try and make it fit with the current theme of [livejournal.com profile] sm_monthly (which I've almost consistently had ideas for, but never gotten around to actually writing/posting).

Read more... )
azurite: (gundam senshi!)
Another successful day in the city. This was another shopping day with "the gals," this time with Crystal, Eva, and Steph; yesterday was Steph and Mom; the day before that was Rochelle, and I've had a great time on all days. With Rochelle, we covered downtown and Stonestown; with Steph, downtown, and with the girls today, Stonestown and Serramonte. In all cases, I was pretty much out all day, except with Steph, because I supposedly had to be back home for an East Bay dinner with Gary's daughter and grandson... but that fell through due to traffic. In fact, we were supposed to make up for it today by going shopping in Berkeley, but THAT fell through, too. But I was glad to go shopping with the girls-- I got Mom's gift (technically a 2-part gift from Baba & Grandpa, because they have me money to buy her something with), had a nice shrimp primavera at Olive Garden (which my stomach is now apparently revolting against and GAWD I HATE MY ORGANS SOMETIMES), and got myself a cheap "Family Fun" DVD edition of "Anastasia," one of my favorite animated movies of all time. The weird thing is, there were two different kinds of box art, but there was NO REASON for it. One wasn't a special/limited edition, one wasn't widescreen vs. full screen... it was just two different box arts, one which was weird (Anastasia looked like Celine Dion) and one was normal (Anastasia looked like she did in the movie), so I got the second one.

As for other presents (for most people besides Mom, Gary, Dad, Scott, and Special Random Someone), by the looks of things, it'll be "time well spent" and "cookies." I bought M&Ms for my special Spritz cookies that have been a tradition for years now, though I'm sure there have been some years when it wasn't always done. Tomorrow's mini-golf in the evening, so if I get the last of "my" shopping (I kinda want this coat that's at H&M downtown) done, I can bake the cookies in time to meet the girls before we go to MGL.

I've already gotten a few gifts my way, too: Mom got me the iHome dock I wanted, which lets me charge my iPod, play music from it on a nice speaker system, listen to both AM and FM radio, and use any of the sources (radio, iPod, or line-in device like CD/Cassette player) as an alarm. Very nifty. But what ruined the fun is that she was genuinely serious that she had NO CLUE what to get me for Christmas, and she kept asking me and asking me and it was awkward! I never want to feel like I'm selfish and just WANT WANT WANT... I tried to think of something I need, so the first thing I named was that coat, but Mom was already super-stressed from work when she tried to go to H&M to find it, and she had no luck. :( I feel bad for having made her do that. She felt obligated to get me something, but hates shopping downtown in crowds, especially in the holiday season.

This season moreso than a lot of others, she seems like a real Grinch, and it makes me sad. I hate to say it, but she hasn't been much fun to be around. I know she's very stressed from work and a bit sick... so I hope she'll rest and think of this as a vacation and time to rest, not time to do things (even though there ARE things to do... like, oh, clean up the living room, which is packed with the dining room's furniture, countless boxes, bikes, etc. and therefore has no room for a stocking, let alone a Christmas tree).

Yeah, we're late in all we do-- at least when it comes to the holidays.

What else? Still haven't gotten my Chase check or any word from my school, according to Baba. Chase last contacted me and said that they were waiting for some sort of certification from my school before they could disburse the money. Well, they probably tried to contact the school as it closed, and my money is "on hold" until 1/2, at least. Technically not a big deal, since the WII representative I've been with isn't back in the office till then, either BUT that obviously presents a problem with:
a) tickets to SF for Macworld (which I can technically only go to if I go to Washington because I have the loan money from Chase)
b) getting tickets to D.C. in the first place, because it's SO LAST MINUTE!

Plus, Bowen didn't get back to me on Monday like she said I would, so I have NO idea about the academic credit! While technically stuff like that CAN be arranged after the semester, that's only what happened for study abroad-- I think for this to count, I NEED to do it beforehand, because I need it to count for an internship AND an independent study. I just hope Bowen's back on campus or at least checking her CSUN email starting 1/2...

I hate relying on just one person to get things done.

And it made me think about manga )
azurite: (believe in subtext)
The "Grissom's Gone" marathon on Spike was pretty damn good. Everything I'd heard about Keppler on the 'Net made him out to be some sort of nerdy-but-badass guy that had some sort of chemistry with Catherine... and while it's not on the level of Cath/Warrick, I DID see something there. Sucks that the way he had to go was... well, bloody.

Still haven't heard back from Chase, which can be a good or a bad thing. Good if I do, because Yay! that would mean I could go to Washington, D.C. and score this possibly-really-cool internship. Bad because, well, a loan is money you have to pay back, and that sucks no matter WHAT it's for. Also bad because I neglected to use the URL for Student Advantage cardholders, which means I might have gotten a better rate or different plan options. I wonder if I hear from them again, can I mention that after the fact?

Anyway, if I don't, I've set the deadline of the 21st. If I hear from them by then, huzzah, I can go. If I don't, tough nuggets; I let the people at the WII know and I stay here and stick to my nice job, wonderful honor societies and friends, and the schedule and courses I've already picked out. It would suck if all that planning and running around (and paperwork: egads, PAPERWORK!) was for nothing but at least not for want of TRYING. And unlike Yoda, I do think the effort counts for something. Every experience is a chance to learn, and that includes those experiences where you don't succeed or get exactly what you wanted.

My aunt Sally and uncle Dan think that I ought to write the CA Congress representatives and senators (or at least the ones in my "district," which could be either Los Angeles or San Francisco, I suppose) and see if I can get them to give me any money-- do you think I ought to write an old fashioned letter (more formal, seems more appropriate) or an email (assuming I can find one for the people in question; it stands to reason they probably get a lot of junk mail, yeah?)? I *am* on a deadline; if I go, I have to be in Washington by January 16th, which doesn't leave a lot of time for actually GETTING the money, paying WII, and of course, getting plane tickets to get out there-- which will be ridiculously expensive not just this time of year, but at such short notice.

So while I've gotten a bit more accepting of the possibility that WII won't work out, and ISLP won't happen this summer, it's not like I'm HAPPY about these great possibilities just passing me by for lame reasons. So then I get this email from someone in the Tokyo American Center-- a part of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. They want to know if I'm interested in being a summer intern during the period for the G8 summit.

There's always a catch, ladies and gents: I have to respond by Tuesday, Japan time. Well, I responded already expressing my interest, and my question about housing if I come earlier than the expected start date (since apparently the G8 affects housing, so if I came "on time," which equals early July, then I'd be SOL for housing)... but I doubt this means they still have ACCEPTED me. It's more like they're pressed for time finding appropriate candidates and are weeding them down. It's great to be considered for something like that (and huzzah for Washington these days; someone out there must like me), but of course, money is an issue. Is it a paid internship? You can't really survive in Japan on a stipend. Hell, how would I get money for the plane ticket out there and back? It's not cheap!

So... we'll see who says what and what happens.

In the meantime, I've been busy with crafts (need more Fimo), fanfics (strange urge to read Nick/Sara, write "Speed of You," that Initial D/Yu-Gi-Oh crossover I thought up ages ago), reading (started on "His Dark Materials," which I got for cheap in a humungo paperback from Costco), and cleaning (finally got the rec room looking semi-passable, though there's still a huge pile of ancient bills to sort through). Also paid off my bills, which is always a refreshing feeling. It's better to get that stuff out of the way as soon as you get it, I think, so that you can always consider the amount of money you have "what you've got to work with," rather than an amount that is going to dwindle BECAUSE of bills.

Tomorrow I've got to finish cleaning and packing (and hopefully go to JoAnn's to get more Fimo and possibly to exchange my Amaco flattening machine, because the turn handle and table clamp are too loose and keep falling out), since I leave for S.F. on Tuesday afternoon, have yet to get my shuttle (I'm thinking from now on, it's better to leave by LAX, because the Van Nuys Flyaway is always cheaper to get to than the damn Super Shuttle), and when I come back, [livejournal.com profile] fountainthe is swinging by! squee!

I'm also working on clearing up [livejournal.com profile] 30kisses (apparently I need to hire a huge mod squad, because honestly? Keeping just one person on Claims List maintenance could probably considered a modern form of Internet torture... I'm so sorry, [livejournal.com profile] svelterose!).

And then there's my End-of-the-Year resolution: get Epiphany UP AND RUNNING by New Year's Day. That would be Super-Speshul-Awesome.

Actually, there are a lot of things that would be Super-Speshul-Awesome, but I can only handle so much good karma at once. I just hope it doesn't fail me anytime soon.

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] dqbunny and [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra? Keep your eyes on your mailboxes, ladies. ^_~ And I don't mean the virtual ones.
azurite: (xmas purple ornaments)
Yay, two out of three finals done! Believe it or not, my JOUR 371 (Women, Men, and Media) final didn't really feel like a final so much as a normal class session where she was lecturing and asking for discussion. I asked her after class how I did, and if I was looking at the right line of her gradebook, I got two checks, and one check-plus, which translates into a B, I'd say-- that's just for this portion of our grade, 10%; more of it is made up by the media deconstruction, the media critique (50%), 30% by other tests, and 10% by participation/performance. Overall, I'd say I'll probably get a B, which makes me happy, especially since this was a particularly difficult class.

Moving on, I also got "conditionally approved" for a Chase loan, which means I can go to Washington if I get the money on time. If that works out and I get the appropriate academic credit (hopefully 12-15 units worth; at least 6 from Journalism; it's working out just how the other 6-9 will be applied), then YAY, WASHINGTON D.C. HO!

But if not, I'm going to try not to be disappointed. I think I might be biting off more than I can chew again, even if WII and ISLP are both great opportunities for a number of different things. The great thing is, it's not like if I don't go to WII, I'll be doing nothing here at CSUN-- I got accepted into Take XX, part of the New Student Orientation Leaders team, and I'd still be working with NSLS and NSCS. I definitely don't want to stop being involved with either of them, even if I do go to Washington.

Now, if I do, there's another choice to make: to go to Macworld Expo, or not? If I do, not only can I see my friends and/or parents (most likely the latter, since... to be honest, guys, would any of you want to want to go to a Macworld Expo with me? Dad I know would, MAYBE Mom --but not together, no way, no how) again, but it's just plain fun. Plus I could always cover it as a Special Contributor to the Sundial, maybe? I applied to be a Copy Editor there, too, but I didn't officially GET the position even though the new editor-in-chief asked me. Basically, everything hinges on WII.

If I do go to WII, I'd only have Jan 14-16 to be at the Expo, since I have to check in in Washington, D.C. between 9am -5pm and be at the informal mixer by 6pm. Two days at an Expo isn't bad... but again, it's about money. Then again, if I go to WII with a loan backing me, money won't be so much of an issue anymore. It'd be icing on the cake if I managed to get a paid internship.

Speaking of icing, I really want some cupcakes... Baba said we can buy cupcakes and/or cupcake mix on the way home. I think my holiday baking spirit is getting kicked in. And crafting, too. A certain someone shall be receiving a handmade card soon (hint hint: that person is on this FL!)...

What else? Well, I've gotten some of my Secret Stalker gifts from Aria's Ink-- I decided to participate this year on a whim, and it's got me not only working on Epiphany, trying to revive a better version of Mare Serenitatis, but also looking over my old SM fics (let's be honest, except for maybe "24," and the beginning of "Quicksilver," they ALL suck; my writing has come SUCH a long way). I also did some fanart, but ssh! No one can know my secret stalker identity until the event is over... I might even try to resurrect an old idea and work on the 2003 Aria's Ink holiday competition contest.

Well, what with my tablet semi out-of-commission, coloring anything in Photoshop's a real bitch now (doing it with a mouse is... ugh, it's like taping my fingers together and trying to paint), so the fanart might have to wait until I get a new one, or unless I take the marker-colored version I did AFTER the scan and fiddle with that... but personally, I'd rather Photoshop the color in, as my inking process... well, let's just say it didn't go as well as I wanted. I'm not too much of an artist... ;_;

I'm feeling a bit more hopeful today than I was yesterday, so I hope I can channel that into studying a bit for my last final and then working on some creative (and possibly cleaning) endeavors tonight, whatever form they may take... there's always a lot on my plate, frosting or no. :)
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 Amazon.com 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: (csi: gsr wall)
WOW. So as if getting to hang out on the set of CSI wasn't cool enough (all right, it would have been cooler if I got to talk with Jorja Fox and George Eads, or see William Petersen), the day before yesterday I got a very nice, vaguely familiar envelope in the mail...

I got invited to the Delegation on Communication in Journalism in AUSTRALIA! AGAIN! This is the second year I've been invited, but because last year I was in Japan, I missed the deadline for turning the application in. The fact that I got invited again despite the drama that happened last semester means I'm still gold to somebody out there, and I don't want to pass this opportunity up.

Of course, there's always a catch. Just like the coolest media internship programs, this delegation costs money. It covers airfare, travel insurance, accommodations, food, and, if I want, an extra few days touring around the most exotic parts of Australia. HOW COOL IS THAT!? *squeeballs*

Anyway, it's $6789 total, which is... a lot, of course. The first deposit of $649 has to be made before December 17th, which is not a bad thing-- I mean, I could easily put that amount on my credit card and pay it back in 2-3 chunks over the next few months. But then in January, $2000 would be due, with the remainder due in February. That's the money I'm not so sure about, because my highest credit limit is on my Macy*s Visa (which I never intend to use outside of Macy*s *AS* a Visa), and I don't see any way of my job (or even my Spring Semester financial aid check, really) covering that.

But there's no way I'm just going to give up hope now. I have to look into things-- scholarships, other financial aid. My dad would probably tell me to ask the Journalism department here at CSUN to fund it so I could write some sort of story, but I doubt that they'd do that. I always doubt that sort of generosity from this department... -_- (Then again, this department seems pretty broke half the time, so...) Anyone have any ideas? It's power fundraising time-- not just for DonorsChoose and AIDS Walk, but Mer, too! :O!!!

(Did I also mention I got invited into another honor society, the Golden Key? DAMN. I feel... smart, like there's another me out there faking everyone out, and I'm basking in this. I don't feel like I deserve it, but on the flip side, I'm really excited, happy, and proud.)

Also:
* WDKY IS FOUR YEARS OLD AS OF YESTERDAY (10/9). Someone hit me upside the head with an inspiration-motivation-mallet, please. the last time I let a fanfiction fester for this long was Only 16, and that... didn't turn out so well. It wasn't even as long as WDKY!
* Updated my online portfolio/resume with my latest articles. Also added them to Facebook, including the CSI article. Headline sucks, but I didn't make it up. Read the article if you like, though, and tell me what you think!
* Damn, I feel busy all the time. I'm glad the weekend's coming up, though-- I mean, I'll be busy anyway, with the NSCS garage sale (and the weekend after that, the AIDS Walk-- squee, already raised $275!), but maybe I'll use the sale as a chance to clean my room or something. And maybe get some computer stuff done, too.

...I wanna read more CSI fic. I've read 2 60+ chapter fics (yesterday's was 81 and COUNTING) in the past week or so, and... I'm hooked! More GSR plz!
azurite: (born beneath alder)
Well, my nose isn't so stuffy and/or runny anymore, but I do have a cough, which sucks. Nothing will make people avoid you more than you hacking everywhere. At least it's not phlegmy or anything...

Today I got to work a bit early and my "usual" desk was occupied, so I decided to switch-- this area isn't so bad. Still too brightly lit, but at least there's no super-cold air conditioner above my head. I had to spend a few minutes setting everything up the way I like (Quick Launch on my taskbar, certain extensions for Firefox 2.0.0.6), and it occurred to me I might never have shared my favorite extensions. I won't link to them, since they're so easy to find, but I'll give you the proper names, a brief run-through on what they do, and why I like them. Feel free to add your own suggestions!

Extend! )

I didn't get my laptop yesterday per se... they didn't have any 15" anti-glare MBP's in stock, so I ordered it online. I figured it was a better solution than waiting for an unknown number of days for their next shipment. I got the standard MBP, but I got suckered into getting .Mac ([livejournal.com profile] dqbunny, didn't you used to have that? Was it any good? Can I return it if it ends up being a bad idea...?) I got iLife and iWorks, too, of course, and when I actually GET the thing I'll buy a shell and possibly One-to-One and/or ProCare.

Oh, and I got a black 30GB iPod engraved. I could have gotten the 80GB, but... it hit too close to my max budget, what with the tax. Besides, even if I do start to download movies or TV episodes, I'd rather watch them on a widescreen TV or something-- not on a mini iPod. Music videos, sure... full-length anything? Not so much.

Anywho, got more of my PCH packages (honey roasted mixed nuts and collapsible leather photo boxes!), expecting all of my textbooks (gotta check Half!), and have to run to the walk-in center now. Buh-bye!
azurite: (textually active)
It seems a side effect of my surgery is that I got a cold-- a nasty one, too, that has me sounding like a frog (well, I think-- Steve at work and Shawn both said I sound pretty good) and blowing my nose all the time. Thankfully I have my own personal box of tissues, and no matter how big, I'm going to start bringing my Vaseline with me to work so my nose doesn't get TOO dry and red/flaky.

But I'm taking Zyrtec for the congestion, Vicodin for the horrid headaches from hell (hey, alliteration!), and Keflex for the general antibiotic. I feel like such a pill popper... :P

Also, it seems I couldn't get my new laptop today because my check hasn't cleared YET... but it will in... 47 minutes. Not that the Apple Store's open now, but that either means a) I can get up early... which I may do, just to get used to my new schedule starting this Thursday, and take a shower and head to the mall to get the new laptop so I can actually go to school with it... or b) be a bit more patient and wait until AFTER school so I can bring both the old laptop AND get the new one, so I can hang around the mall while they transfer the data from the old laptop to the new one. I think I should do b), no matter how gung-ho I am.

A few questions of random:
What do you think is more effective at school, a binder with tabs dividing each class, or a notebook for each class? I've always gone with the notebooks as of late, but plenty of classes have paperwork, so notebooks that DON'T function like binders (which is the majority of them, except that new "Flex" note-binder I saw at Rite-Aid last week) are useless. What do you use?

What do you think are the most flattering words to be called in reference to your appearance? (Girls only, please) I got to thinking about this because after the new shopping spree and my haircut, Baba (like grandmother, like father... my dad does this too) said that all the guys would be staring down the front of my (low-cut) shirt. Well, none of the guys at work did do that, but Zack surprisingly called my new haircut "cute." And only because I was so congested and miserable-feeling did I not go "squee!" on the spot. It's always nice to be complimented. But if I had to rate my squee, then here's my Top 5:
5. cute - not as in "fluffy kitten pink cloud" cute, but cute like attractive, but without all the syllables.
4. hot - always nice to feel sexy, yeah? (applies to all derivatives thereof, such as "hottie")
3. sexy - for someone that spent years thinking she'd die a virgin spinster, this one always makes me happy.
2. gorgeous - flattering, but it can sound somewhat plastic depending on the tone.
1. beautiful - the word just makes you feel wonderful inside and out, like nothing else can. And said the right way, it can do a whole lot more!

I got my NSCS gift card today-- it wasn't as large as I hoped (just $25), but it's money I didn't have before. Maybe I'll buy that "Diner Dash: Flo on the Go" game I saw at Game Stop the other day with it. I mean, I'm already going to be spending my own money on:
* new laptop (with no extra bells and whistles though-- the new default packaging for the MBP Core 2 Duo is fine by me)
* new iPod video (what color!? And should I get a dock...? Maybe I should wait till Christmas/Hanukkah)
* iLife and iWorks '08
* Renew my ProCare membership
* Casing for the computer, so I don't have any more "accidents"
That alone might get me close to the $2000 range, and since I only get paid once a month, I want to make sure everything STAYS in great condition

Today I learned that deadline means deadline, not one minute after. Even if my EIC was trying to show he had a sense of humor (and I doubt it, if he's anything like me... which most fellow journalism students seem to be in terms of "sense of humor," a quite scary thought) by threatening to drop my grade by 10% when the semester hasn't even started... well, I'm guessing they ARE anal about deadlines. 12:00 means 12:00, not 12:06. :P Well excuse me for being sick! On the bright side, I do have my other stories mostly done-- I'm waiting to hear back from a representative from the Klotz Student Health Center for my soda health article due on the 23rd, and then I have to contact people at the Topanga Canyon/Westfield mall and an astronomy teacher for the articles due on the 29th.

Just another reason to get to bed now so I can kick this cold that much sooner...
azurite: (sam & max - max)
I'm sure if the singer of that famous "The best things in life are free/But you can keep them for the birds and bees/Give me money..." song knew about how difficult it is to manage your money, he might have changed the lyrics a bit, or not written the song at all.

The past two days I've been trying to do something "good" and "smart" by staying on top of my finances-- I balance my checkbook using Quicken 2007 for Mac, which has a bazillion features that I never take advantage of, but all I really NEED it for is keeping track of my purchases. I used to be really good about it-- collecting my receipts from a week and entering the purchases in the widget I have installed on my Dashboard. But I slacked off, and a lot of receipts entered the trash but not into my checkbook. Yeah, REAAAAL smart.

Anyway, after lots of downloading and constant window-switching, I've managed to get my accounts MOSTLY balanced, but there's still some measly issues, and I wish I could switch off the part of me that REALLY wants to be anal about my money. There's a -$8.00 difference in my Checking account, and a -$3.00 difference in my Savings, the latter of which I think is a Service Charge or a Refund of a Service Charge-- that's the only recurring $3 I can think of off the top of my head, and I don't normally touch my Savings account for anything besides large transfers. But I keep checking the statements, downloading all the files, and NOTHING matches up. It bothers me so much, but just randomly deleting things I think don't belong caused me all this strife in the first place.

I'm not really sure what to do-- just put an Adjustment in both accounts and be done with it (I mean seriously, $11... who cares, right?) or actually sit down and go through everything ONE BY ONE even if it means more window-switching. I'll just have to make sure nothing else is open so I don't get distracted, right? *shrug* I don't know if it's worth it or not, but if I "slack off," who's to say I won't end up doing that in the future with LARGER amounts of money that matter? Ugh.

What bothers me most is how I download the files DIRECTLY from my bank, but they still appear out of order (from how they are on my statement online from the exact same bank) when I get them into Quicken. I don't know how my bank compiles the files for Quicken, but you'd think if there's specific time/date data, it would reflect the same in both places. But what might be in 1 2 3 order at my bank might be 2 3 1 order or something even weirder in Quicken, and I can't move them if they're all from the same day. It's not like I can add a timestamp to any of the transactions. I doubt that would fix my problem anyway, though...

ARGH! I need a financial expert, stat!

That Thang

Aug. 14th, 2007 01:52 am
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
Blurbs of my day:

-Remembered at 7:29am when I accidentally woke up (I thought I'd heard a computer alarm go off) that today was the Sundial Orientation, which meant no Clubs & Orgs Fair and no work (well, I could have gone to work, but for one measly hour? It wouldn't have been worth the $8.45). I ended up starting work on one of my Sundial stories... (see below)

-Got pretty excited about working at the Sundial this semester-- 2 stories/week minimum might seem daunting, but it also means I'll be getting published regularly. And stories I thought might be sucky or boring AREN'T. My first ones are about the health effects of diet sodas, the upcoming meteor shower on 9/1, local restaurants offering student discounts, a possible third expansion to the Westfield Shopping Center in Topanga Canyon, and the new bookstore complex's food offerings (which, by the way, I saw today. I'll bring my camera tomorrow and take pictures, because IT LOOKS GREAT). None of that seems horrid or boring to me (unlike a CSUN student's murder or some project about mapping the wetlands). My editors so far are pretty cool-- people I know from class and just seeing around. It's a good feeling, and I hope it lasts.

-Finally got to watch "The Bourne Supremacy." It went pretty fast, I felt, and some bits went right over my head. It was also predictable in parts. I'm thinking if I'd rented "The Bourne Identity" WITH the Supremacy, everything would have made more sense, but both Shawn and I had seen Identity; he might have remembered it more than I did. In any case, we just didn't have the time tonight for multiple movies, and tomorrow we're going to some screening in West Hills for a new Owen Wilson comedy. But squee for two date nights in a row! I have no complaints about that~

-Didn't get my financial aid check. Grr. But I did get some of the things I ordered from Publisher's Clearing House (which I've become a junkie of): my new onyx and freshwater pearl necklace, bracelet, and earring set. Their jewelry is gorgeous, and I'm ordering more! Nothing pink, though... :P They wanted me to get some monthly cubic zirconia set that was PINK, and I was all "I don't care if buying this would make me part of your Elite Club, it's PINK!" So blech, no to that. I can wear rose blush and rose sweaters, but I draw the line at pink jewelry. I'm 22, not 12.

-I'm getting involved in a few more online projects too: editing a Draco x Hermione doujinshi, beta'ing for a few people here and there (if they'll have me), trying to work on my OWN fics and websites (always a challenge), and maybe even trying to tutor people (for a fee, of course) with web design-- I overheard someone in the Sundial mention that, so I KNOW there's a market for it, even if it's just a small one limited to the people that think Shapiro's Graphics class is impossible. :D

-Need to remember to call the internship people so I know who to address my cover letter to and how to write it! Good thing I have the book (and the smarts, of course), and even better that Manley (aka Prof. Witten from last semester) gave me a great idea for said cover letter! :D

-Finally reconciled my bank accounts (all four of them) after refusing to touch Quicken for a while. And now I'm relieved that it's done, because a few transactions WERE missing (big ones, too) and were driving me batty (I didn't see them in any of my statements online-- and I have a lot). There's a lesson to be learned in that: always stay on top of your finances. When it comes to money, it's better to be overzealous than lazy. It shouldn't be the touchy, sensitive subject that it is, comparable to asking a woman about her age or weight. People should be more open about their finances, and thus more comfortable dealing with them. If my parents had been comfortable about THEIR money situations when I was younger and just starting to understand it, I think I might have had a better grasp on things NOW.

-Gave the fuzzball a bath. She smells sort of like apples. Anyone want to take bets on how long THAT will last?

-Gotta swing by the optometrist tomorrow to see if they have my new glasses catalog! I "virtually" tried on a few pairs online at FramesDirect, and wrote a huge list of pairs and brands I liked. This is one time where I'm overwhelmed with choices that weren't in front of me-- I think in this case, it's paying to be picky. It's one thing to pay $5 and get an "okay" burger, but if I'm going to pay upwards of $100 for anything, it better be DAMN GOOD QUALITY. And why shouldn't it be? Especially where my health (eyesight) is concerned.

-Cleaned my room up more. Apparently I'm quite lacking in school supplies (well, dividers for my binders, at least). I mean, I have pens, erasers, white-out, pencils, lead, paper and all that jazz, but I still feel like I'm missing things. o_o I wonder if I'm becoming a hoarder! I don't want to end up like my mom in that respect (or in a few others, but I won't go into that now)... I DO need to go back-to-school shopping for clothes, though. I need new jeans and lighter-colored slacks (gray and light khaki, to be precise)! Also, in relation to the finances: throwing out old receipts is not "cleaning" unless said receipts pertain to CLEARED transactions in one's register!!!!!

-Gotta transcribe some of my old stuff from "The Eagle" (zomg) so I can POSSIBLY use it for my online writing portfolio. I'm thinking I should put them in PDF format or something and watermark them. Has anyone else ever done something like this before?

-So thrilled my jaw is feeling better. I had "real" food today-- a donut, pizza, ravioli, a plum, and iced tea! So at least this means if this trend continues:
a) I can at least eat normal for the rest of the week
b) I can recover from intense pain that fucks up my eating habits pretty quickly, given the right pain relievers in big enough doses :P
So I shouldn't be TOO worried about Friday... I hope... (but I want to make sure I get as much done before than as possible JUST TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE)

I should be asleep by now, though. I've been staying up till 2 or 2:30 am the past few days, and it does NOT help when I need to be awake around 10am. I start dropping off like I did earlier today-- even sitting in the frontmost seat isn't motivation enough. When I'm exhausted, I will pass out. I've done it even when I've known better-- and that's been in plenty of places besides college! (I will not start drinking coffee and/or Pepsi, so don't even mention it.) I have to get my Circadian clock in gear for the upcoming semester, anyway. Gotta start somewhere, right?
azurite: (poor bi grrl gamers)
You're a Window Shopper!

You know that shopping's a blast, but you prefer to save your money
You hardly ever give into an impulse buy, unless it's a total steal
You've always got the most money of your friends - and you never have to borrow
And you've got a nice wardrobe too ... of classic pieces that last years!


I guess this is why reading about Becky Brandon neé Bloomwood in "Shopaholic and Baby" irks me every now and again-- she's not the worst protagonist I've ever read (not by a longshot), but sometimes I want to reach through the pages and strangle her for her absolute airheadedness. But then again, maybe if I had a rich husband I'd want to buy stylist prams too. :P

I left work early today because I was feeling nauseous-- but I hardly ate anything. In fact in all of today, I've had a single Oatmeal Raisin breakfast bar and a pair of waffles with maple syrup. The thought of stomaching anything else makes me queasy, though I could go for some juice right about now. I hate getting sick in the summer.

I'm feeling better than I was earlier, but I'd still rather be lying back and either reading or playing video games. Speaking of the latter, I think I'll make use of those Ultimania maps I got for FFX and try and get Kimahri's Saturn Sigil. If I can't do it by 9:30, I'll save it for another day.

At least the computer's not UNGODLY slow atm, but I'm going to have Erin's friend Eriq look at it (whenever I can get to Westside, that is) and then hopefully get my FinAid check soon enough to get a new one (because I'm all for taking the easy route when I can).

Dark Purple

To others, you seem a bit dark, mysterious, and moody.
In truth, you are just a very unique person who doesn't care what others think.
And you really enjoy your offbeat interests and friends.
You've decided that life is about living for yourself - simple as that.


I want to see "The Bourne Ultimatum" this weekend. With Shawn. But I haven't seen the second one yet. Will that screw me over (probably the wrong wording, but who cares)?

...I've become addicted to ordering things from the Publisher's Clearing House, by the way. Smack me.
azurite: (sailormoon - galaxia sun)
So I called Amtrak today, and indeed, the North American Rail Pass (the one that's good for 30 days and has unlimited travel) is $899.10 student discounted (that's as low as it can get). The easiest way to buy it is over the phone, but you have to have AT LEAST the first segment of the trip planned. And for me, that means knowing I have the money available, places where I can stay (and reservations, if necessary), and so on. I've got a lot more planning to do, and I've got to see if I get that NSCS credit card-- if not, I might end up getting a WaMu one. I don't LIKE the idea of being in debt -I mean, moreso than I already am just for being a college student with loans- but I don't want to just shove this great idea aside. I can and I will make it possible-- somehow.

In the meantime, I got my ticket to Philadelphia with the rest of the NSCS; the unfortunate thing is that they didn't have enough Rewards Points to cover my hotel/convention registration. I'm hoping I win this Geico essay competition that will pay for it. Even those that are getting some portion reimbursed are only getting $50 out of the $314 round trip tickets. It's on Delta, which is "meh" in terms of airlines in my book, but we could have taken a cheaper flight if only everyone's schedules weren't so restrictive. Unlike a lot of other members, I'm not taking summer school, and my work's fairly flexible about taking time off.

...Still haven't heard from Apple one way or another, which frankly doesn't surprise me. It's kind of sad that it worked out that way, though...

Ooh, and Erin said she's getting my CS3 *today*! I hope I see her soon so I can get it. That would be cause for much yayness.

In the meantime, I've got enough to keep me occupied, so I'm glad for that.

ETA: Just one teeny tiny software/journaling question )
azurite: (gundam senshi!)
Uno - I have another mysterious mark on me that I don't know where it's from. This time it's a quarter-sized red welt on my left leg, just below my knee. WTF, mate?

Dos - Okay, so Adobe CS3 is out. Looks like I need the "Design Premium" package, which is $600 for InDesign, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Acrobat Professional, Bridge, Version Cue, Connect, Stock Photos, and Flash. Considering that's a savings of $1200, I guess it's not too bad, but thankfully I'm not in a rush to get it. If it goes on sale this summer, all the better-- because it's not #1 on my list of priorities. It's just up there.

Tres - Speaking of "lists," I want to add Office 2007 for Mac on my list, even though it's so much weirder looking than Office 2003 or any of the previous versions of Office:MAC. I just want legit, up-to-date software. Thankfully it looks to only be about $80 with tax. But, like CS3, it can wait.

Quatre (I mean QUATTRO! Damn you, Gundam Senshi!) - Today there's a guy from the LA Times coming to speak after Media Law class... then Thursday there's the last NSCS meeting, where I'll find out if I got an officer position and what we're all going to do for the NSCS Convention airfare. Then from THERE I can figure out where my summer travel plans stand. I need more ideas for locations to visit. So far I've only got:
* New York, NY - visit family/be a dumb tourist/go crazy shopping/visit my favorite magazines?
* Washington, D.C. - It's the Capitol. Do I need to say more?
* New Orleans area - [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra and good food!
* Somewhere in the Mid-West - The place where Bobby Flay went to challenge the owner of the Paradise Cafe? They sound like they have good breakfasts! :D~~
* Somewhere in Canada - [livejournal.com profile] mklutz? (There's someone else, and I am ashamed to admit I think I have forgotten. [livejournal.com profile] escaperoot? Was it you?) Or the giant mall? Or the pretty park? Or, or, or...?
* Tuscon, AZ - [livejournal.com profile] atlantian_magic, possibly my cousin David if he's not off fraternizing like the frat boy he is, and maybe the Grand Canyon and that overpriced scary escalator?
* Portland, OR? - Heard it's pretty and they have good food.

Cinco - Got my bookcase yesterday. There's parts on the larger sideboards that have patches of holes-- like, pin-hole size, but a lot of them (and they're in no particular pattern or shape). Grandpa said it was probably from their lifting tools in the factory. It bothers me because the holes are pretty prominent (they're black on finished pine) and they're on the OUTSIDE of what is going to be my bookcase. I don't know, should I be bothered? I can always call Dad and ask what he thinks.

Seis - Went to Physical Therapy again today for my shoulder-- can't wait to get my wheeled leather bag now, because my backpack + purse (even though I don't feel like they're that heavy) are completely pwning me. The place was abandoned except for me and the woman, who it turns out is the Physical Therapy professor, and the students (including Jeff) that I saw last week are GRAD students, and they got excused from work today because they have their major exam this Thursday and Friday, and then they GRADUATE. >_< I have all the luck, don't I? Ah well. :P

Browsin'

May. 2nd, 2007 09:47 pm
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
I found [livejournal.com profile] diaphanus's (aka Ian) LJ through a search of DIES GAUDII, the "famous" site that explains some of the interesting naming schemes, myths, and mix-ups throughout the Sailor Moon universe. I decided to check out some of the things Ian wrote, and I found this interesting video from 1967 about what they predicted kitchens in 1999 would be like.

They weren't TOO far off, but I wish more people had computers (or fridges, etc.) that could watch their calorie /mineral/etc. intake to better take care of their health. It's already 2007, and anything remotely like that (if it even exists) would probably cost a fortune. I'm not promoting being obsessive about that sort of thing, but if there were a way to be both proactive (not lazy) and have an easy way of understanding what you're putting into your body when you eat that cheeseburger or drink that soda, I don't think America would have quite the obesity epidemic that it does. Or maybe it would, what do I know?

I'm also thinking I probably shouldn't dig too intensely into summer internships since I *will* be working, at the very least, at the Call Center/Walk-In Center, and possibly also with Apple as a Campus Rep (though I have yet to receive some package from the agency, Volt). But I still have a MonsterTRAK search agent set up, and I can do the same at Yahoo! HotJobs. I didn't find the Yahoo! internship article I was looking for, but Yahoo! does have some other good resources on the subject, including Yahoo! Answers and their directory of Internships.

That said, another thing I found via Ian: Argh, it's L-U-T-H-O-R you dimwits! Which reminds me, I need to get S4 of "Lois and Clark." I actually "need" a lot of things lately. It's good I haven't gone and bought them all yet; I'm not broke, but there are so many things, and prioritizing them in order of real "need"/importance is actually pretty hard.

Opinions? What should be #s 1, 2, and 3?
eBags.com Kensington wheeled leather laptop case - $71.99
Japanimation.com Sailor Moon Memorial Music Box (10 CD Set) - $75.99
Amazon.com (or cheaper) Lois and Clark, Season 4 Boxed Set - $36.52-$41.99
Adobe Creative Suite 3 (Universal Binary) for Web - $499.00
Amtrak North America Rail Pass - $899.10 for 30 days of unlimited travel throughout the US, including a leg in Canada on VIA Rail
Something else...?

Thing is, if I'm saving up for the Rail Pass, I have to save up for where I'm going to stay, necessities like food, and souvenirs, too. Who knows how much that'll add up to? I know I can stay at hostels, and Mom might even hook me up for at least one location (hopefully Washington D.C), and if I visited New York, I might be able to stay with a relative (though staying at the Essex House again would kick ASS, especially if I weren't SICK this time around!). I'd probably need to budget at least $1000 just for that, which brings up the possibility of getting a credit card to fund it, rather than just let that idea slip away based on my current funding. Getting paid once monthly isn't fun, and this month, because I missed a few days of work due to doctor's appointments, I didn't get paid as much as usual. :( Or I won't get paid as much as usual, I should say. I haven't gotten paid yet; I just filled out the time sheets. Feels kind of old-fashioned.

Still waiting for my bookcase in the mail. Need to clean my room. And this weekend I wanted to go to Topanga Canyon to look into more pantsuits (and jackets), but James (cousin, son of Jill) is having his birthday party (Pirate-themed! Wahaha!) which I should probably go to (and what could I get James that he probably doesn't already have? I mean, all the games I know he likes are ones he already owns! Unless I get him Katamari or a GameStop gift card...). And now Apple ProCare members also get this One on One training, so I can sit down with an "Expert" and find out all there is to know about iPhoto and GarageBand without waiting for a workshop with a good time to show up on the Northridge store calendar. They have sucky dates for this weekend though-- nothing on Sunday, only Friday and Saturday evening, which is cutting it close if I have other plans at Jill's. But that can wait, I guess.

I don't know, I guess I just feel kind of busy and addled lately, but I don't want to get stressed. I want massages more often. And appointments with cute physical therapists at school. *impish grin* Alas, I don't get to see said cute guy at my next appointment on Tuesday. :P But maybe someday... Hehe.
azurite: (Default)
Attention all college-age students, former students, and... young, fabulous, and broke people! (At least 18 or older)

What's your favorite credit card?
I'm 22 now, and I've yet to have a "real" credit card. My credit is already partially established by my student loans, my open bank accounts (including PayPal), and my contracts with T-Mobile and similar organizations. But it's not fantastic, and it's looking more like I'll need a credit card if I want to have my dream summer and travel around and see my friends.

I checked out BankRate.com and checked out some cards with low, fixed-rate APRs (the lowest was from Sovereign Bank, at 9.7 or so), low intro APRs, good rewards programs, etc... but I'm still not sure. What is your experience with credit cards?

I was contemplating the Citi mtvU Visa, which rewards students for a good GPA, paying off more than the minimum amount and regularly, and not having debt at the end of the year. Sounds pretty good to me. The new AmEx Clear sounded good too --no fees-- except the APR after the intro period is variable and can jump as high as 35%! So despite AmEx coming highly recommended for international use and protection, I don't know if I'd want it now. Besides, AmEx Blue for Students is supposed to be better for students. That's got the same variable interest rate, and my grandpa says banks are a better choice than credit card agencies.

What's your take?
azurite: (deadlines whoosh)
I'm considering going to the NSCS Convention 2007 in Philadelphia, PA. I asked my Mom a few weeks ago to check into a possible discount at the hosting hotel, which is a Starwood property, but none of her contacts have gotten back to her, so she recommended I just make the reservation for the Convention + Summit All-Inclusive (Jul. 18-21, four nights in a 4 person bedroom). At first, I was just looking at plane fares, but most are $350-$400 round-trip, and those are for flights a) on airlines I don't like or b) at ungodly hours of the morning, or c) on airlines with a 50% probability of being on time, when being on time is CRITICAL.

So I started to look at Amtrak, and I thought, it might be kind of cool to start out 3 days early and see the whole country via train. I would make it by 2:50pm on the day I need to be there, having spent the last 2 days (the first day having been partial and leaving in the evening) touring around. I might not be able to actually STAY in any of those cities, but I'm pretty sure there'd be some decent stop-overs in many places.

With a 42-hour stretch between Los Angeles and Chicago, I'd definitely need a room, but that tacks on an additional $421 to the $206 seat price, for a grand total (with my new Student Advantage discount) of around $648. Round trip would be around $1200, which is pretty much out of the question, since it doesn't even include the cost of the convention/registration, let alone food, etc. But train + plane might be viable; it'd be around $800, plus another $329 for the convention + summit all inclusive.

The catch is, I'd have to register for the convention before April 30th, and who knows how long plane or train ticket rates are any good. So I'm kind of in a quandary here, wondering what the best way to get from here to there might be. Any ideas?

I have the money to do it either way (and possibly any other methods people might know of), but I'd actually like to SAVE my money for more permanent, useful things, such as Adobe Creative Suite CS3. Or visiting Scott in Japan, assuming he ends up enjoying his time there and sticks around.

He's leaving tomorrow. He's supposed to be calling me soon. I have to say, I'm somewhat surprised with myself over it all. I'm not upset. In fact, I'm really, genuinely happy for him. I hope he enjoys it a lot (despite the cold or the humidity) and he both learns a lot and teaches many kids. I hope he stays in touch and shares his experiences with me. People keep asking "So are you guys together?" and my answer's pretty much been "Well, whenever he's here..." and I'm fine with that. I want to focus more on my school work now, anyway. I've got so much on my plate, and again, I hardly feel like I have enough time to do it all in.

Tomorrow, for example, is my busiest day. I haven't caught up with my Japanese, done my Narrative Writing assignment for Thursday, or found the font for Graphics in the evening. But I'm so exhausted from today (which went by insanely fast) that I plan on going to sleep soon and just waking up early.

I'm considering asking Baba and Grandpa to replace my shades/curtains in my room, because I hate how they hardly keep out any light, and I think that's really what they're supposed to do. If it were as simple as just needing privacy, I could cover my windows with stickers.

I've also been getting distracted by WikiFic, which I've been adding tons of articles to. I recently rolled out the Card Article Creators, so people can easily generate articles (complete with templates) about cards found in the TCG, Anime, Manga, or Video Games. I've already tested it out with Magician's Valkyria, and it's working well, though I still need to add a few more graphics for the Levels, what Counterfeit Cards look like (makes me wish I *had* bought some YGO cards in Hong Kong, just for shits and giggles), and of course, the thousands of card images out there. I need to establish an Image Policy, as well. Obviously, help in ANY area of writing for WikiFic would be much appreciated. :)

Well, Scott hasn't called yet, so I might as well get ready for bed and just talk to him in bed whenever he does call... and I hope he does call. :(
azurite: (dancing 2k-tan)
Well, I did it. I spent ¥11,920 on my hair-- more expensive than I thought, because according to the stylist (who was a super-nice, gentle guy with nice style), a "C-Curl" (the kind I was hoping for) wouldn't produce the effect I wanted (something that I saw in Mina magazine-- sort of loose curls on the bottom half of my hair, with the rest being semi-wavy). What I ended up doing was paying ¥9000 in cash and putting the rest on my card, and I was hoping it didn't hit yet, but my account is already showing the deduction as on hold. To make matters "worse," the Skype payment that usually takes more than 2 weeks to go through went through, as did the charge for a taxi ride I took MONTHS ago. I still have enough for the extra suitcase on the way back, BUT ONLY ONE. I will raise holy hell if I have to if they even THINK about making me check my stupid blanket-and-cat in a bag, or if they say any of my bags are "overweight" (even though I do want to try and stuff the contents of some of my mailing boxes in my suitcase; I'm going to do my laundry tomorrow and put all my clothes in except for the Mon/Tues ones and my pajamas, and I hope there'll be enough room leftover for the stuff in the box so I can save ¥6000 that way).

I also made chocolate chip cookies, and they turned out pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I don't have to guilt over not giving Chisato or Hiromi a present from Hong Kong; I'll give them handmade chocolate chip cookies! Also, Holly's advice on using pancake mix to substitute for the baking powder (because why buy such a giant can when no recipe ever calls for more than a few teaspoons) worked quite well!

That said, my hair is SO DARK now, I wonder if it's even darker than my natural color. It's all ONE color, so I'm glad-- I'm done with all those crazy highlights and streaks and such. But as Holly said, from behind, you probably couldn't tell me apart from a Japanese person. And Baba will throw a fit, because she thinks I should be blonde. :P But I like it. It's a little frizzy and not as nicely curled as I hoped the perm would be, but I think if I buy some Product (mousse or wax or something), I can keep up the curls. I'm sure none of the pretty Japanese girls get those dos without ANY work involved... maintenance is key for all things beauty, no? Maybe on Monday I can use my bun-maker thing to roll up my hair so it'll curl overnight. :) I want to be pretty when Scott sees me, even though I'll be on an 11-hour flight...

What's left?
-Mail the Yahoo! modem back on Monday
-Mail some postcards and 2 packages, one to each parent (hence the reason why I'm hoping I can avoid paying the ¥6000 SLOW METHOD for the larger package)
-Finish every last shred of packing (that would include the random toiletries, a few pieces of dishware, and my bears which I could probably shove in the bag with Toro-kun)
-Pay the current Yahoo! BB bill (it seems as if my roommates were able to find out SOMETHING, but they couldn't take the faulty BBTV charge off, because I *DID* leave the set sitting around for a week, even though I never could connect it and take advantage of the most expensive thing on my last bill-- the Basic Channel Pack. But whatever, water under the bridge. They also couldn't find out what the next month's bill will be, but I have to arrange things with the Intl. Center and send THEM the money-- an International Postal Order, probably.)

I also updated Epiphany to eFiction 3.1 soon, but I have yet to finish deciding all the categories I want, creating ANY custom pages, creating a FAQ, or making the category images I want. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

And I got to see "Firewall" at last-- does Paul Bettany *EVER* play a good guy? I mean, he's so good at being evil. I wonder if that's just the way he looks-- something about his eyes, he just looks like the perpetual bad guy. Not that I think any actor should be consistently typecast-- they always manage to surprise us-- but from what I know of him, he's always playing some sort of bad guy.

Meanwhile, I still love Harrison Ford, even if he gets his ass handed to him more in "Firewall" than he ever did in any given "Indiana Jones" movie. I respect the guy a lot, and I enjoyed the movie. :)

And now... I'm actually pretty damn tired. I fell asleep a few times while I was getting my hair done, but it'll certainly be nice to sleep in FOR REAL tonight. Except ugh, I think the cookie dough's catching up with me...

ONLY 3 MORE DAYS!
azurite: (double trouble minako & usagi)
Ah, okay. Having a good sleep, not having classes (or packing, or grades, or papers, or money) to worry about (so much) is good. Plus I got to talk to Scott, and I think he's my good luck charm, because shortly after I talked to him, I decided to give my search for the lost bus tickets one last try, AND I FOUND THEM! In the big trash bag, thank goodness. I didn't pack them away into a tiny crevice or crumple them up and throw them somewhere nasty, like with the compost. Good thing the tickets are PINK, too, else I wouldn't have spotted them.

I also finished (I think) work on Dragonfayth's Site Map. It's not officially live on the site yet (that is, I have yet to alter the skins so that it appears in the menus), but as far as I can tell, it includes all the relevant links. Can a few people check out the Map and tell me if they think anything important's missing? I want to make sure people have a "one stop resource" for finding things on the site, regardless of which skin they like best.

I've also updated the Rules and the FAQs to reflect some new issues: inappropriate "tags" in summaries, and how to include a profile image. Also, how to upload images for your stories! (Yes, that means you can include fanart, "promos" and other similar things-- as long as they relate directly to your fic, aren't explicit or otherwise inappropriate, and don't take up 75%+ of the screen space.)

I've also been submitting a few discussion topics to WikiMoon. I admit, when I first saw their list of acceptable common character names, I was a bit surprised-- I wasn't aware Sailor Moon was so rife with controversy over nomenclature. But I can understand where it comes from, and the topic makes me all the more eager to get Epiphany up and running so I can start ranting fandom-style and including interesting articles from my point of view. (If you want to know my personal opinion on certain names, I think that Naoko may have intentionally picked the foreign/loan-words for certain things/names-- i.e. Diamante for Diamond, Seiren for Siren, and so on. But what it boils down to is that THE WORD MEANS THE SAME THING. It would only be tacky if you had one standout character-- that is, Prince Diamante, but Emerald, Rubeus, and Sapphire. That would look strange. Naoko intentionally chose her names in sets: that goes for the Shitennou, the Black Moon Family, the Amazon Quartet, and so on. But if fic writers choose to "translate" those terms to actual English, or to more "commonly accepted" terms, I think that's fine, and nothing to whine about. To be honest, I see more "Prince Demando" (the Japanese pronunciation in the anime) and "Prince Diamond" (dub-verse) than I do "Prince Diamante" or "Prince Demand".)

I think I should close up shop here and head downstairs-- I'm supposed to go bowling with my tutors and Kevin today. Kevin owes me ¥1300 for the bike license and using my 'Net when he's never paid me before (grr), but at least I don't have to worry about that money being used for things where I previously had money/savings, like my bus passes. I think I'm getting a bit better with this budgeting thing, since I've figured out how much to set aside for the next NTT bill, but the next two Yahoo! bills still need working out.

Ja!
azurite: (tokyo map)
First, I updated WDKY on Dragonfayth to the latest chapter. I guess because some chapters were longer than others and contained those 'ye old alphanumeric character codes' I had to c&p the HTML from Dreamweaver into the story text box (with the TinyMCE checkbox turned off). I know at least some of the slow, "unresponsive" script errors were because of the world "curl" in my stories, but I wonder if the script mangling the alphanumeric codes is something fixable...

I'm also considering including my logs and things up at Dragonfayth too, making it a fully-fledged series with notes and such. If not Dragonfayth, then definitely at Epiphany. But I think the Review Replies will stay here on LJ, just to make things easier (that's subject to change...) Speaking of RRs, I still have to post them for Chapters 23-24 of WDKY, so look for those soon-ish.

I say "ish" because I DID pack two of my bags today, leaving only one left, but I still have to cram a lot of clothes (the rest until Tuesday) and some other random things in there. I'm honestly hoping that crappy United will let me get away with my carry-on (backpack), my personal item (purse) and a shopping bag with just my blanket and Toro-kun (the stuffed cat). And yes, crappy United. Would you believe that for my ONE extra bag, it's $167 USD!? Because of that wholly unexpected amount (which is about 75% of my paycheck), I had to ask Mom for money *AGAIN*. I felt rotten doing it, but she was quick and okay with it. And as it turns out, I owe her less than I thought-- I found a copy of my super-expensive T-Mobile bill (luckily I printed it out; apparently T-Mobile only keeps your last 2 bill statements online) and calculated out what she paid and what I'd paid, and what I owe her for that is less than I thought. So that plus another $400... it's still a lot of money, but I have to do it.

What's left to pack:
-toiletries (stuff I use in the bathroom, though I might decide to leave the Dove Body Soap behind, much as I love the stuff... plus lotion, anti-bacterial, meds, brush)
-clothes
-some papers
-cat mug, cat plate, yellow bowl, striped glass (?), deco plate, forks, chopsticks, knife, spoon
-leftover oatmeal, cream of wheat, cocoa (make cookies with everything else)

? - Wish I could take my plastic cat trash can, but I don't know if it would fit... 'sides, it's smaller than my Purple one back in the states, so maybe I should just give it to my roommates? I'm doing that with many hangers and such. Should I even bother trying to take my lighter? I bought it for my incense, but my incense is almost gone... and short of the common kitchen downstairs, no one has a gas range here, which is the only thing I can think of using it for (since no one else is an incense queen like I am. Holly said it smelled like hippies in my room!). But I don't want everything in my bag catching on fire, either!

Scott was telling me that parents still want to feel needed and help out whenever they can, but I feel selfish for asking so much of my mom. This trip -for me, at least- was supposed to prove how I could survive being independent and on my own, even for just a little while (and still with perks-- a well-paying job and no rent, basically). It's not that I'm not going to pay my mom back in full, but I guess I shouldn't feel so guilty over it (and I do, to an extreme degree. I don't even wanna talk about it anymore).

But in the end, I can't go to the sleepover/party thing tomorrow, anyway. And I guess I don't really care, because that'll save me more money for mailing things back home, doing my hair (possibly) on Saturday at the Access Moon salon in Akatsuka, going food shopping, etc. And on Friday I'm supposed to go bowling with my tutors, so I want to save up a bit for that, too. I want to finish packing bit by bit though, as each day goes by, so I don't feel stressed the day before I leave. I still feel like I have so much stuff to pack, even though earlier today I was relieved that I'd have the money for my 3rd suitcase-- the biggest one, too. Now it feels like I'm back to not being able to decide what to keep and what to ditch, or how to pack, because it seems almost full and I still have so much to pack IMHO. But my backpack and purse still aren't so filled up yet, so maybe that'll help ease it up somewhat.

I'm still confused about where I put some of my CDs/DVDs though, if I put them anywhere... I thought I had NANA anime eps. 20-25 (that would be 2 CDs), but I couldn't find them amongst the box I intended to send (too expensive, so I crammed them into my 2nd suitcase), and they weren't in my CD case. I wonder if I deleted all those files to save HD space? I'd hate it if I did, but unless they're in the box that I've already taped up, I have no idea if I even burned them to CD. In any case, they're not on my HD anymore... though I do have the latest episode (33) and Yu-Gi-Oh! (Toei), eps 16-18. Yay for TV-Nihon getting down to the grind on that!

I should go to bed soon... we don't have class, really (well, I do for 3rd and 5th), but we do have a feedback session during 2nd period, from 10:30 to 11:30, and I have to wake up early enough to call the SF Office of JTB travel to get them to add my United Mileage Plus number to my account... and maybe then I can officially switch my seat on the plane. Kekekeke.
azurite: (rena)
For the first time in probably two or three weeks, I can honestly say I feel relaxed. Not "pressure-free" (I still have papers for 3 classes to write; two are due next week, one is due Feb. 1... I also have my scholarship paper to work on and my Japanese test to prepare for), but I'm doing okay. I finished my Mass Media paper after some more edits (including a font size/face change to make it look shorter!), and with the help of Yuta, I actually got down to Level 11 in the Cave of Trials in Star Ocean and beat the boss Dragon! Every time we've tried to make that trek again, we always die somewhere in level 10 or 11, but I'm sure if I keep a good watch on Rena (you have to battle in a party of two for Level 12, so getting there is a pain in the ass), I can make it.

It's funny how a game can give me this great sense of accomplishment, even if I have yet to beat it... even if I was playing it in the cold... even if we died no less than 7 times... even if I should have been working on my Japanese homework while I was playing. I had fun. Yuta and I spoke in Japanese, and we talked about the differences between the game he remembers playing back when he was in high school, and this game (my favorite, even above FFX-2).

I also went out to Coco's with some of the gang-- even though I've been trying to save my money, I had a very delicious and filling dinner for only ¥700 or so, so it's okay. I've also got enough food and laundry money to last me until next Thursday when we get paid, so I should be okay. Next up on the list (besides all the studying, I mean) is packing.

I even finished the SDSU application today... I'm thrilled that I got that done, even if I a) don't get accepted or b) do get accepted and don't end up going. We'll see how that turns out. It was actually easier to fill out than I expected, but calculating my GPA was a bitch: the classes I'm taking here in Japan (5) are supposed to count for at least 16 units back home, 13 of which will be equivalent classes (that is a Japanese class counts for a class I could have taken at CSUN, had I not done the study abroad). Assuming all the paperwork goes through without a hitch (my only concern is the one I left with the G.E. department), all should be well-- I'm hoping I get 4 As and maybe 1 B, which would translate to 61-62 total grade points (apparently you get 4 points for each A IN ONE UNIT... So a 3-unit class where you earn an A is worth 12 grade points). Divide that by the total units I took this semester, and I've still got my 3.0+ GPA, so I'm glad. My cumulative GPA including all my CSUN semesters and such would be around 3.27, which is acceptable. There are some classes for G.E. and my Journalism major that I have yet to take, so I hope SDSU doesn't auto-reject me based o n the fact that I haven't taken those 3-4 classes (a science, a matching lab, a history course, and economics).

The past few days have been really hellish on my body-- many times I feel like I'm having a constant asthma attack with "an elephant sitting on my chest," while other times it feels like the elephant's marching on my back. Sleeping's been difficult, too, but I think if I can relax and genuinely "let go" of these pressures and really start taking the good along with the bad, and seeing all of this as an experience, then I can survive these last 12 days. That's not to say I plan on slacking off, but... well, I better get to bed soon anyway, since I have Japanese homework to do in about 6 and a half hours.

Tonight, I pray for no nightmares, creative stimulation that will not leave me in the morning, and a Muse who can hold her thoughts until I have time to type them, rather than waking me up by doomsaying that I'll forget The Next Great Idea if I don't type them out NOW.

Tadaima!

Jan. 2nd, 2007 11:40 pm
azurite: (rikku samurai)
Yay, I'm back "home" in Mito, and while I've yet to get fully unpacked and everything (especially considering I should actually START packing a little to go to my REAL home in the States), I'm in a decent enough mood. For starters, though, a question: how the heck do you change foreign coins? When I left Hong Kong, I had some Hong Kong dollars leftover-- not much, just about $12 (a little under $2 USD, maybe), but the exchanger at Narita airport wouldn't take them. And I just visited Holly to give her an omiyage, and she told me that they don't take coins as a rule, because it would cost too much to ship them (presumably back to their country of origin, where they can re-enter circulation). So what the heck do I do with these coins!? I need the money...

Next up:
* Scanning Nana, Ch. 65 for the Nana Takoyakis group
--does anyone know how to get of "scanner burns" on the side of pages, short of re-scanning something over and over? I've tried using the Dodge tool, Levels, and all sorts of other things, but certain parts still look weird...

* Translating some of "The Legend of Mythica," the soundtrack CD to the Tokyo DisneySea water event that I *LOVED* to bits
--The initial prologue (as told by Mickey and the Diamond Goddess) in Part 3 introduces the "Spirits" of various things that, when harmonized, summon the five Crystal Goddesses (Violet, Green, Blue, Red, and Gold). The first one sounded like the "Spirit of Comic Songs." o_O; What? (I'm not sure which Disney character that was during the actual event; I know that Pluto and Goofy switched places -on the CD, Pluto is Violet and Goofy is Green, but during the event, it was the other way around. Then there's the "Spirit of Friendship," the "Spirit of Sincerity/Honesty/Faith", the "Spirit of Adventure," and finally, the "Spirit of Love" (I know that one is Minnie, without a doubt). Mickey is technically the "Spirit of Imagination." The other characters (besides the ones already mentioned) are Donald Duck, and Chip & Dale. Which do you think is which? I'm trying to remember...

I think tomorrow when I'm back and somewhat settled in (and with an organized list of what to do), I'll do a recap of everything that happened the past 10 days or so. It's certainly been an adventure.

By the way, is there any sort of patron god or goddess of transportation? My Muse really needs a name, and as has been happening for the past 6 years or so, I got inspired while traveling-- this time on the Joban-sen while heading back home. Alas, the idea is for "Eternal Dimension" in the later chapters-- a fic which I have not even begun to write, because it's the third and final installment in the "What Doesn't Kill You" series, and I'd like to get PART 1 finished before I even think about Part 3. My Muse loves to torture me so. ;_;

I also posted a bit about the logic of Seto x Anzu on Pearl of a Dark Age's FFnet forum on fanon pairings; check it out and add to the list!

Sakura Mae

Dec. 27th, 2006 10:49 pm
azurite: (tokyo map)
Greetings from the lobby/lounge area of the Sakura Hostel in Asakusa, Tokyo. Today was a challenge, being that we had to be up around 4:30am to get a bus to the Hong Kong airport only to wait around for a few hours and sit on a mostly-empty plane back here to Japan. But we made it! And I got to see "The Lake House," which, while horribly predictably and totally paradoxical, was romantic-squishy-fun for me.

Also, I am screwed for money (again). I'm honestly trying to figure out exactly where I went wrong, and the only thing I can genuinely think of is: food. Plus country-hopping does horrid things to my money, because you're stuck using an exchange rate and the buy-sell rate of various banks in airports. And today, Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ at Narita refused to take my coin money (all of $12.40 HKD, which isn't much), so I have to try and change it somewhere else or be stuck with Monopoly money that I can't spend (pretty much).

I think part of it is also that I ended up getting gifts where I initially didn't budget for them: I got more things for my Mom and Dad, even though I had already bought (and sent, for a lot of money, because EMS is expensive!) because I found things that "fit," and I also ended up getting omiyage for my tutors and roommates. And I also bought myself a few things here and there --a Mulan picture frame, some nice Disney Princess stickers, a Space Mountain photo, and a few random other things... some gifts for other people, too, but every time I calculated it out in my head, it never seemed much (in USD, anyway). But after paying for the hostel (I did it all at once, so as to not be broke and have to ask Bonnie for money), I have something like ¥2000 left. I am making a transfer from my PayPal (the money from the PayPerPost entries), and I transferred funds between Savings and Checking to help out... what's killing me is the $108 bill I have to pay on 1/10. I don't think the Exchange Students are getting paid on the 5th, the next Friday after we get back, which WOULD be our payday if we hadn't had vacation and that wasn't the first day back after the break. Hopefully the 12th, since we'll have another week of EC plus the pre-break EC sessions to get paid for. But until the 23rd when I leave, that's it.

I feel horrible, because Dad, Baba & Grandpa all pooled together and gave me that great and generous Hanukkah gift, and here I am wondering wtf it all went. I can blame part of it on being responsible-- paying bills and not just going crazy and buying totally POINTLESS things... mostly. :( Also, there are fees for every damn thing-- part of the reason why my bill is so high. I just hope I don't have any issues with the next NTT/Yahoo! BB bills I'm going to get. I don't know what I'll do if I can't scrounge up the money. I HATE (and I use that word SPARINGLY, to give you an idea of how much I don't usually "hate") asking people for money, especially if they've been exceedingly generous in the past.

I can't wait to get back to the States where there'll be a job and a big, fat financial aid check waiting for me. I do have to pay Mom back immediately (for helping me out with the phone bill, not to mention all the packages she sent), and there is no way in hell I'm just going to slack off and not EARN that damn scholarship; if anything, this is the wake-up call not to spend so much money. The Seishun 18 Kippu will help with transportation money (so it's good I planned out what days to use it and what days to not), but generally I think I'm going to have to be very wise and cautious. I'll use the time I might normally spend shopping working on my paper instead. I don't want to disappoint anyone.

I can deal. :)

...I hope. I suppose later on, I'll post a whole "trip retrospective" and give more details on everything, but other than the fundage issue, I'm well, Bonnie's well, and so far I'm having fun. I hope I get to see the Dali exhibit tomorrow, because it's the one thing I DO want to see, regardless of funds. I already bought the Disney tickets, so I can't get out of that, but I can make sure I minimalize for everything else possible without being a stinking cheat.
azurite: (tokyo map)
In less than 10 hours, I will be on my way to Tokyo/Narita to go to Hong Kong with [livejournal.com profile] baine! I'm actually pretty excited. :) Today went by really fast toward the end, but I'm glad I got so much done-- I did my laundry, cleaned up my room, finished planning the budget sheet, printed out maps and generally walked away with a feeling of accomplishment. I also ended up buying both the tickets for the Disney Tokyo resorts (Sea and Land) and Hong Kong; Bonnie'll pay me back for them, but at least we can both be confident that we won't have any problems getting into the park-- we have TICKETS, dammit. (At least, I hope that's the case that they don't oversell and expect people to be able to come back whenever; I'm sure we'll try and go to the parks at opening, so we don't have to worry about that.) Truthfully, both parks seemed pretty cheap compared to the original down in Anaheim. :P It was only $45 for the Hong Kong park, and only $80 for both Disney Sea and Disney Tokyo on the 2-Day Passport. Unfortunately, I didn't know the passport could only be used for consecutive days, so I had to change our plans from Disney on the 28th and 31st to the 30th and 31st. We're still sticking with our original plan for Hong Kong Disney on Christmas Day, though. :)

I managed to pack enough clothes for all 10 days in my duffle-wheelie, and I'm bringing my big black purse and my backpack for carry-ons. I'm also going to bring the laptop-- not that I'll have Internet access (that I know of), but I do want to try and work on all my papers... I have to at least get started on my paper for Mass Media, and of course, keep working (if possible) on my scholarship paper. Kerhoff from Criminology finally gave us (the exchange students) an assignment to determine our grade, but it's not due until 2/1... still, I'd rather get it over with sooner while the information is fresh and I'm more likely to have free time that I *should* dedicate to school (rather than websites or fanfics). And then there's culture and pop culture, both of which have papers due, but with no specific date set as of yet (as far as I know). I missed both those classes this week because I wasn't feeling well. Ironically, that wasn't the day after the party, when I had something akin to a hangover (yes, I'm pathetic).

What else? My back still hurts from all the hunching-over New Year's Cards I did, but at least I got everything mailed out- tomorrow I'll mail Scott's present + letter, but I mailed everything else (Joyce's package, Dad's package, postcard to Gary, New Year's cards to my Japanese tutors and roommates, and a card for Scott's mom) today. I'm going to look around for the game [livejournal.com profile] staplerx wanted, and the doujinshi at Comiket that [livejournal.com profile] richlikesmaids mentioned, plus presents for Holly, Grandpa, another, slightly-more-significant gift for Scott, doujinshi for [livejournal.com profile] atlantian_magic and [livejournal.com profile] guardian_kysra, and perhaps my tutors/roommates as well. After budgeting everything out, it looks like I can afford to do that, even if I weren't feeling guilty (because many of the other exchange students gave gifts to their tutors today; I didn't GET anything from my tutors except some cute cookies from Misato, but that's to be at least partly expected; people don't really do the gift-giving thing en masse here in Japan, which is VERY surprising given the amount of attention and hype Christmas gets).

I should get to bed soon so I can wake up early enough to make a hearty breakfast (gotta finish off all my milk; I already gave Holly all my eggs, but I want to drink all the milk and OJ; everything else I can freeze) and call both Mom and Scott. :)
azurite: (tokyo map)
Okay, so today was essentially a good day. Holly made me silver dollar pancakes topped with a cute strawberry, as promised, and we took the earliest bus/train possible from Akatsuka to Nippori, and then the Yamanote Line trains in Tokyo to Shinjuku first, then Hamamatsucho (to the Ryutsu Center via the monorail), and then back to Shibuya. We accidentally took the "long route" to Shinjuku, so we got our time messed up a little, but we had fun-- as soon as we exited the station, we looked for a place to eat, so we decided on this small cafe/restaurant that had apparently JUST opened that day (it was pretty busy, and there was a "GRAND OPEN!" flyer on the cashier) called "Ducky Duck." I had a Foccacia pizza and a blueberry bagel (with blueberry cream cheese), the latter of which I got at the train station because I was so ravenous, and the former with a thoroughly lemon-soaked Coke.

After that, we wandered around Marui Young looking at the Gothic Lolita clothes; we'd gone there for a few minutes before Ducky Duck, but I was so hungry I convinced Holly to get grub so we could do some power shopping. While I find the various Lolita styles interesting, I can't really see myself wearing anything except maybe the most tasteful and plain (i.e. as few bows and hearts as possible) dresses. I saw one gorgeous Santa-inspired red coat with white fur trim, but it was over $315! Yeah, WAY out of my budget. But Holly found lots of things she liked, and we found out that if you spend over 10,000 or so yen at Marui Young and are a foreign visitor, you can get the consumption tax (5%) back! So we did that, and then went to look for Okadaya, a craft store.

We finally found it after some wandering, but it was a bit of a disappointment to me-- floors 4-6 were mostly about sewing, with things like rick-rack, buttons, small bolts of fabric, yarn, and the like everywhere. Not my cup of tea, to be honest. Floor 7 had some magazines and books, but they were all over-priced; floor 3 had some cool makeup and wigs, so I bought some nice cheap nail polish and some Victorian-style scrapbook stickers. I also bought some things from the other floors for Baba and Joyce. Floors 1 and 2 were all about beading, and while I was totally tempted to get some things, they were way expensive, too. I might have been reading the signs wrong, but I'm pretty sure the signs had a price "per bead."

Next up we headed to Hamamatsucho; the monorail was a very interesting ride, and it took us through Tennozu Isle, the same place that inspired Infinity Island in Sailor Moon S. I even saw the building that inspired Infinity Academy! :D I just read about it the other day in one of my new books: Warriors of Legend: Reflections of Japan in Sailor Moon, so it was pretty cool actually seeing it in person, even if it was just for a few moments.

The antique fair was pretty easy to find, and it was nice that it was all indoors (I thought it might be outdoors based on the description and warnings from the PaperLantern.net page). But everything was so expensive! I was hoping I would find things for both my Dad and Scott (and maybe Grandpa), but of all the incredible things I saw, only one thing "called" to me as being perfect, and that was a present I snagged for Dad. The guy I bought it from even gave me a small discount! I think he was just surprised that I was being so picky and interested in what he had to offer. I thought about getting Scott a Buddha statuette, or maybe some Japanese ukiyoe art, but with prices running in the low thousands for STAINED stuff, I said no. Besides, nothing "called" to me as being perfect for him. I'm hoping I think of something soon, or see something in Hong Kong. I feel kind of guilty having not gotten him anything for his birthday or Christmas yet, save the one small-ish, kind of silly thing I already bought (which I hope to mail this week, along with the other boxes and cards).

Holly and I split up through most of the fair, and even though the exhibition hall was large, we found our way through the whole place pretty quickly. It was mostly housewares (plates) and genuinely antique-y stuff like samurai armor, swords, prints, toys, and things like that. EVERYTHING was very expensive. One Buddha statuette I looked at was 10,300 yen (over $90 USD, about)! And it was barely the size of my palm!

We ended up leaving before the fair actually ended, and we headed back to the monorail to go to Shibuya. I wanted to go to the NANA 2 museum and cafe "Lotus and Strawberry," but we didn't have a whole lot of time; we were also hungry, so we stopped at a Royal Host and had dinner (I had Mexican tacos along with some honey & wild berry ice cream). After that, we tried to find our way to the Jewish Community Center, but because we weren't coming directly from the station, the directions we had (and the lousy map) weren't very useful. We asked for directions at a koban (police box), and managed to make our way there, but only after TONS of walking. And according to the hours, they were closed on Saturdays! I found that hard to believe, given that synagogues and the like are usually OPEN on the high holidays, and the front door was open, too. Another guy came up and asked us if we were there to see the movie; we said no, we just wanted to see the place, we'd come from Mito, etc., and sooner than later, a guy working for the JCC came and let us in. I saw they had a table of goodies set up-- alas, the dreidels (glass) were too expensive, so I ended up buying matzoh and coconut macaroons instead. YAY! :D :D :D MATZOH! IN JAPAN! :D :D

But all that walking took so much time, so we had to run to catch a bus (flat rate of 170 yen, how cheap!) and get back to Shibuya so we could take our train to Nippori and then back to Mito. But my stomach started hurting on the bus, so at Nippori I found a bathroom and stayed sick for a good half hour. :( My stomach was still finicky when we finally boarded a train, but thankfully it was a Rapid train, so there was a bathroom (which was surprisingly clean). I'd taken a Pepto from Holly back at Nippori, so my stomach started to feel a bit better... but I think the fake Mexican tacos did that to me. :( I'm still feeling kind of queasy.

The guys at the JCC told me about a Hanukkah party going on tomorrow at some Otani Hotel, but there are LOTS of Otani Hotels in Tokyo, and I can't remember which one/where they said it was! I want to go, since the whole point of me trying to find the JCC was to do something Hanukkah-y, and plus you get free food and a free menorah! But since I'm not feeling well *AND* since it costs extra money (plus even if I use another day from my Seishun 18 ticket, I'd have to buy another one for use with Bonnie when we're in Tokyo! It's totally worth it, since it pays for itself if you spend more than 2500 yen or so in a single day, which I do just coming from Mito, though), I might not go. I'm waiting to see if anyone emails me back with the exact address, or there's no point.

I also want to try and start writing more for my scholarship paper/the book. It occurred to me that there are LOTS of books on anime, but not very many on manga, it seems. Mine wouldn't be the first, and perhaps not even the first to explore the connections and dissimilarities between manga and Japanese novel writing, but I'd like to give it a shot.

Anyway, since my tongue is brown and my head is achey, I think I'll get to sleep now.
azurite: (sam & max - max)
Okay, so I went to the post office right after Japanese class to try and pay for the rest of my HK trip. The postal savings ATM wouldn't let me withdraw 63,000 yen; it said "You have exceeded your credit limit." I freaked out, because I didn't know whether that meant that
a) The Postal Savings ATM only lets you make X number of withdrawals, or withdrawals up to X yen (if you're a visitor to Japan/using a foriegn bank card).
b) I had much less money than I thought (or the exchange rate made what I thought was enough money "less")
or c) WaMu put a limit on the amount of withdrawals I was allowed to make from abroad

Turns out it was the latter, as I vaguely remembered someone from WaMu telling me I had a limit of $500/day to withdraw. Now, at the time, I obviously thought "Why would I want to have $500 on me IN CASH, anyway?" Well, so I couldn't do it, but I did withdraw 32,000 yen successfully. I said bye to Holly, who was inside the post office mailing packages (turned out we'd been on the same bus on the way there), and headed toward Tokyo-Mitsubishi bank a few blocks down. It was actually a lot closer than I thought, so I don't think I'll take the bus the next time I have to go there from the post office (and I would have to go to the post office, because I already know the bank can't make withdrawals from my bank account... there's no CIRRUS symbol on the back!)

I decided I would try and remember the order/process of making a deposit (o-furikomi), but I kept encountering all these options and I had NO idea what they were or what they meant. The security guard tried to help, but he couldn't translate anything into English. One lady DID help me read the correct branch name in kanji, and eventually one of the clerks helped me through the whole process. She also helped me get a card that will expedite the process (I don't have to enter all the account information again) for the next time I go on, probably on Monday.

And I emailed Fumi, the IACE Travel representative, and she'll probably get back to me and tell me everything's fine with the transfer today, and that'll be it! As for the phone bill, I called Dad and he said I was going to get a SIZABLE Hanukkah present of cash deposited into my bank account TOMORROW. *YAY.* This will probably negate the need for me to deposit any of my future paychecks into my U.S. account, which will save money (because those kind of transfers always cost money. I didn't try to do it today at the bank, though WaMu has some sort of hook-up with Wells Fargo and Tokyo-Mitsubishi. I wonder if transferring through a bank is cheaper than through the post office? I know Golloyds or whatever is supposed to be the cheapest remittance, but I don't think I can use it or something.) So I'll be able to pay my phone bill on time, save my next two paychecks for HK and Tokyo (I need SOME money for the hostels, and of course, transportation and food in HK).

...So now I just need to build up the courage to eat FISH.

Because apparently if you don't eat pork here in Japan, or in Hong Kong, you MUST eat fish. I wonder what the percentage of vegetarians or vegans is in Asia... Probably extremely low.

I refuse to eat grasshoppers (or horse meat, or other varieties of bug), though. I don't care how delicious Kawashima-sensei says they are when they're covered in chocolate.

Also on the bright side, I might just be able to swing getting some presents for people online. I found this site that has a ton of coupon codes for all sorts of stores and websites (i.e. Amazon.com, Best Buy, etc.), but I don't want to get all excited over it until I look through it some more. So if you see another post on it soon, it's because I've approved of it and it's cool enough for me to want to tell everyone and their dog (or cat) about! So far it's looking good, what with coupons for 1-800 Flowers (which I use often) and even some CLOTHING stores, which might help for presents for a Certain Someone Who Shall Not Be Named. I still have to mail out packages and things like that, but generally I think I'm good. Mom'll be sending me macaroni and hot chocolate, and I'm hoarding my Kasumi discount cards and buying the cheap stuff late at night to save money. Yay for 9pm Late Night Sales! Now if only I could get a Suica card to save me time and money when buying train tickets. Maybe when I get paid this Friday, I'll buy a JR Seishun 18 Kippu so on the days [livejournal.com profile] baine and I are in Asakusa, I can get around easily. Unlimited travel on 5 days (doesn't need to be consecutive) during the travel period on all JR lines (shinkansen and super-express excepted), for only 11,500 yen! Not too bad, I'd say, especially considering you can spend 1/10 of that just on ONE-WAY to Tokyo from Mito (on the slow train).

Dilemma!

Dec. 1st, 2006 08:32 am
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Okay, so I've been religiously checking my WaMu account back in the States everyday for the past week, to see if that transfer I made from my last paycheck cleared. Well it did today, as promised by the girl at the post office. And of course, WaMu took $10 from it as a fee (and I'd paid something like $23 just to MAKE the damn transfer in the first place. Geez, how useless!). But hey, the money's in there, and it's enough to pay for the rest of Hong Kong.

Here's my pickle.
(1) If I go to the post office today, withdraw the money I need (about 63,000 yen) and pay for the trip today, I will have something like $40 left in my bank account. I have $25 in Savings. That's it. But I have to pay for the trip by 12/5 (Tuesday), or lose it all.
(2) I have a $121 phone bill to pay by 12/10.

BUT!
(1) I do get paid on the 8th. If I go to the post office and make a transfer again, I *MIGHT* be able to pull something off... this time I actually know the Bank Code, so theoretically I could do a wire transfer. But wire transfers STILL might take up to 5 days, and even if American and Japanese banks/post offices are open on Saturdays (for a limited time compared to weekdays, aka "business days"), the money might not get there in time for me to pay my phone bill.

(2) Dad said he'd help me out after I emailed him, but he didn't say when or how much he'd put in. And while I could easily ask Mom, I've ALREADY DONE THAT, and for a SHITLOAD of money, and I DO NOT WANNA DO IT AGAIN.

The bright side is that any leftover money I have from the next 2 paychecks I'm going to get, I'm saving for the actual trip to Hong Kong (food, transportation, etc). Of course I also have to save some for my December (and possibly portion of January) bill for Yahoo! BB, since I only get the first two months (October and November) free. I don't expect it to be much, but that doesn't mean I can go out and buy Louis Vuitton purses and Prada key holders.

GAAAH, WHAT DO I DO!?

Well PHOO!

Nov. 25th, 2006 04:35 am
azurite: (skip*beat kyouko)
So it's 3:37am on Saturday here, and I'm only awake because I went to bed EARLY (I was exhausted by 8:30pm) and didn't eat dinner. Later today (which feels "technically" like tomorrow), I have to go to both the Hyaku-En (aka Daiso) and Kasumi (aka Supermarket) and get some necessities, but generally speaking I'm still yen pinching. Thankfully I only have to deposit 30,000 yen by November 27, and the rest by December 5. I think I can manage that, even if (alas), there's no payday in-between now and then. I got paid today, and I went to the post office and did a transfer, but because I had no idea if a "bank code" was my routing number (which I put) or not, they have to do the slow, probably-by-mail transfer. -_- It takes a week. But I can just go to the post office again, withdraw cash from my bank account, and then fork it over to them with the IACE invoice saying "here you go, can you make this transfer for me?" No harm, no foul.

I do have a question though: for all you Mac users, is there a BitTorrent client that lets you choose WHICH files from inside a torrent that you want to download? I'm actually trying to catch up with the NANA anime, and two currently-seeding groups are doing batch downloads. Alas, my HD ran out of space at episode 10, and Tomato Torrent didn't seem to want to let me choose which files I wanted to finish downloading (11, 12, and 13). But I don't want to re-download 1-10 again (after I burned them to DVD and then deleted them from my HD)! Maybe there's something I can do in AppleScript, or should I just look for a better client? Or will that disrupt the hash, and I would have to re-download ALL of 11-13 again, even though I already have the majority of the episodes? I tried looking for individual episode downloads from the trackers, but they don't offer them anymore-- and honestly, I am a bit picky about my subtitle standards. I'd prefer Live-eviL or Ureshii, especially since they have the most seeders, too.

Does anyone want to help me with [livejournal.com profile] weekly_ygo? I feel silly for asking this again, but those that volunteered before I left for Japan now have other commitments, and while I DO have regular internet access, I'm also pretty damn busy with teaching English, writing papers for all my classes, applying to SDSU, and so on. So I could use a helping hand, even if it's just someone who browses [livejournal.com profile] playthedamncard for updates and emails them to me. I MIGHT be able to handle the rest, but I thought I would ask anyone who has a free hour or two each week if they can help out. I will also be out of town (i.e. out of Japan/away from Internet) from Dec. 23-Jan. 2, which means I'll ESPECIALLY need help during that time, unless I put the community on suspension and resume when I have time. Demoerin said she can return in February, which is most likely true for me as well... but if anyone can help, please, please speak up!
azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
Okay, I *JUST* woke up from a set of really weird dreams. It's 6 in the morning here on Labor Thanksgiving Day here in Japan. No classes or EC, so yay to that, but it's cold and I have lots to do, anyway.

So, let's see, here are the snippets of dreams I remember:
-Going to see a movie with someone (Scott?) and watching a movie about dragons. Not Eragon, which I know is/was out in the States and is coming soon here to Japan, but something similar. I just know it wasn't Eragon. And there was a preview for a new Quentin Tarantino movie which I remember distinctly, for a "Kill Bill" sequel of sorts-- only more like a prequel, because it was all about Lucy Liu's character, and when the big red words "LUCY" and then "LIU" appeared, everyone freaked out and the crowd in the theatre went wild. And then JET LI was in it "as himself," but really as Lucy Liu's boyfriend/lover, only something had happened to him while he was separated from Lucy, so he was bald but had a scar on the upper right of his head... where a THIRD EYE popped out when he willed it. And when this eye opened all the way, it was the size of a sand-dollar (and I mean that LITERALLY, not in that figurative sense) and very snake-like looking. I remember there being some sort of "vortex" scene transition effect, and the viewers all got sucked into the eye as Jet Li told Lucy Liu his story. Either part of the preview or part of the movie itself ("sometime in the not so distant future..."), Uma Thurman was back and shooting the hell out of Lucy Liu's apartment. Apparently this was when she was trying to live a semi-normal-looking life-- not Miss Queen of the Japanese Underworld. And Uma had to retreat, leaving Lucy to both clean up the mess of her apartment (before her little ol' landlady, a mean bitch in her own right, found out) and explain things to Jet Li. And Jet Li apparently got Uma to run away by throwing a full-sized vacuum at her. o_O;

-I also had a dream involving me talking to my dad, which isn't that far from what I sort-of planned; I was going to either email him or call him today/tomorrow and ask him for a bit of financial help, since, well... he's not helping me out directly here in Japan. I did tell him how Mom helped me with the cell phone bill, but not to guilt-trip him or anything; I told him because a) I do not lie and b) he asked what was up, and at the time I called, that particular situation had been stressing me out. (Of note is the fact that dad CLAIMED he called my Skype number numerous times and left voicemails, but I never saw them. Skype WAS buggy, but even when I missed calls or got new VMs, it notified me. I don't know if he's tried to call since --I called him a few days ago-- but I have never seen any calls/VMs from Dad.) Anyway, the dream oddly took place back at 523B Webster back in Petaluma (*sniffles* I was getting a bit nostalgic about it during yesterday's EC in 4th period. We were talking about fruits, and I mentioned how my backyard there had a blackberry hedge, a plum tree, AND a strawberry box. We also had an avocado tree, tomatoes, and some hot peppers), I remember being in the bathroom pacing and telling Dad all these reasons why I needed him to be a bit more of a presence in my life. I remembered that "Why a Daughter Needs a Dad" book (on my Amazon wishlist :P) and then thinking "I should probably shut up and not say things that I don't know for sure," such as "I want to get married soon, and if you're not part of my life, who will give me away?" because yeah, presumptuous much? (But like I said, I don't lie... I have been thinking about it. A little.)

Maybe it's not so unusual after all, but it was enough to get me up and typing here, so... yeah. (Well that plus it was FREAKING COLD in here -maybe 13 C/55F?- and my roommates mysteriously left ALL the kitchen lights on AGAIN...)

Anyway, I wanna go back to sleep. :P My stomach doesn't hurt as much anymore, but I do want to rest as much as I can today, so that later on when I *DO* have to be awake, I can be gung-ho about all that I have left to do... which, frankly, IS A LOT.

I do hope I can get ahold of Joyce and family (I wanna know if my flowers made it already) and also Scott and family, if possible (because I sent his mother flowers, too). I would feel guilty about not having arranged to have sent Mom something, except she had the most expensive Christmas present out of everyone, and I already sent it to her. And yeah, I'm BROKE now, so it's not like I could have afforded it, anyway.
azurite: (she must have been drunk and horny)
I've only eaten a bowl of cereal (Frosties with bananas) and had some toast with scrambled eggs today, but I'm feeling strangely sick. Or I have been for the past hour or so, and I have no idea why. It sucks.

Moving on, I wonder if anyone would be nice enough to get me things I like/need from Amazon.com? It's one of the few places where shopping online is safe/secure, relatively cheap, easy, and THEY SHIP ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. There's also Amazon.co.jp. :) Long story short, I need a few books from there (on my wishlist), and since I'm saving up for Hong Kong AND have to pay that new phone bill (le sigh, it's legit. Basically a bunch of 2 and 3 minute calls REALLY ADDED UP... to 26 minutes, at $2/minute = $56 tacked onto my $60 regular bill and all the other surcharges), I'm kind of broke at the moment.

However, as promised, I will (and have been already, actually) shopping for gifts for people, and I do believe in "fair trade." So, you scratch my back, I scratch yours. I can try and buy you a gift online and have it shipped to you, I can buy a gift here in Japan and ship it to you, or I can buy something for you and I can give it to you in person, depending on when [next] we meet. :) I actually need these books for my scholarship... a lot more than I need a pretty blue 1GB+ USB stick with some cool engraving on it. (I want that, but I don't NEED it, unfortunately). And as I mentioned before, I don't want to ask my mom for money.

...My dad, on the other hand, is way overdue for a "hit me up for some cash" call. :P

So in summary, please buy me some of the anime and/or manga-related books (that is, reference books. Not stuff like an actual VOLUME of manga or a DVD of anime, shocked as I am to hear myself say it) from my Amazon Wishlist and have it shipped to me here in Japan (need my address? email me or comment... though it IS on my Amazon account, I don't know if you can "see" it if you buy something from my list), and I will
a) love you forever
and
b) get you a cool present in return

Yes, I'm aware that I'm groveling, but it turns out that legit sources of a wealth of info that I need for my scholarship ARE NOT online, and books in English are extremely hard to find here in Japan (which makes perfect sense, really, and I'm quite the dunderhead for not considering it sooner).

...And since I feel sickly right now, I think I'll lie down, and maybe play some Star Ocean 2. If I feel up to it later, I'll have dinner.

*sniff* I miss everybody.
azurite: (anzu's problems)
You can't spell "distressed" without "stressed." And I was just as equally tempted to pick "depressed" for my mood, because I'm not HAPPY, that's for damn sure.

Yesterday I thought I'd gotten the whole SDSU application out of my way, but Scott (he did a good thing) went to SDSU and talked to a bunch of people, and they said that I might not even need to "transfer," per se, so much as "visit" SDSU, while still taking classes as if they were from/at CSUN. That means my degree would still say "CSUN" on it. Regardless though, I have to get access to and fill out the Supplementary Application re: my grades, even though my grades won't be official until several weeks into the Spring 2007 semester (at least), because I don't get back until A WEEK before that new semester starts. Plus, I would have to clear with various department chairs about whether the classes they offer at SDSU could be considered equivalent to the ones at CSUN for my major/minors, so as not having to take classes OVER again at SDSU, because SDSU doesn't "officially" consider them equivalent. They have ECON 161 and POLS 155 as pre-reqs for even ENTERING the journalism program at SDSU, but because they're lower div and I've taken so many other journalism classes at CSUN, Scott and I are hoping that I won't need to take those, and I can still get into SDSU's IMPACTED Journalism program with the classes I have.

Oh yea, and then there's the FAFSA. -_- Seriously, I'm beginning to HATE January.

I suppose my day's Tarot is kind of ironic, then... The Seven of Chalices )

My horoscope for today: You're in pursuit of excitement and fresh adventure. Try a different path to get your life going in a whole new direction. Daring sports and physical activities get your blood racing and stimulate your mind, too.

Then it makes sense that I went to the gym during 4th period. I even tried out some machines I thought I would never use, and even if I'm the only girl in the group that would be there (assuming I would ever go with the guys; since we have such different schedules, it's actually kind of unlikely; the gym also closes at 7pm), I think it would be good for me... I don't need to get into testosterone comparison contests like the boys. It's very different from an American gym, but it'll give me something to do, and I can "stay fit" and shape up... and if the endorphins really do perk me up and inspire me, all the better.

The main portion of today's concern was about the trip (to Hong Kong) that [livejournal.com profile] baine and I are taking on 23 Dec. The best things in life are free... but you can keep them for the birds and bees, give me MONEY! )

But that's okay, I don't eat much, anyway! It's better to cut back on my daily Coca-Cola, and spend more time here at the dorms getting things cleaned up and done. Like my scholarship paper. *sigh* Or my paper for Pop Culture. Or my Religious Studies test. (and before I leave, a Mass Media paper, a Modern Culture paper, and a Popular Culture/Image of the Japanese in American Media paper. Oy VEY!)

If it's not one thing, it's always another.

Like my new $121 phone bill. I'm going to wait to hear from T-Mobile about what the hell's up with that THIS time, to see if the charges are legit. Even if they are, I don't have to pay until December 10th, which gives me enough time to get paid (3x) and deposit said money by wire into my bank account, and pay that way. I refuse to have mom pay for my phone bill any more than she has already. But I'm probably going to cancel my $14.99 Unlimited Text Messages (I would have to send 150 text messages a month for that to pay for itself, anyway, and I haven't even sent 85 since I've been in Japan), my Web Access (useless, anyway), and whatever other useless things I might be paying for.

Money stresses me out quite easily, and my brain deals with it by having dreams about Christian Bale doing my dishes (the night before last) or going to strange reunions/graduations where friend's boyfriends are suddenly gay and dating angry, fat white guys and where conveyer belts look like they're made of stone and have water bubbling up from the cracks.

Yeah, I think I need to sleep now, too.
azurite: (indiana ed (fma))
Well, no one can say that my last few days have been uneventful, because frankly, they've been anything but. Some of them aren't exactly EXCITING!! but "stuff happened" nonetheless.

First off, I went shopping in Uchihara yesterday, which is always nice-- even when I'm on a self-imposed budget because of all the bills I had to pay earlier this month. I still ended up buying two new pairs of shoes (oh my god) and some scrapbooking stickers, along with a Christmas card for Mom. The Christmas/holiday/New Year's cards here are gorgeous! For a while there, I thought I could make a deposit at the postal service ATM in the mall, but I doubt it. I didn't actually try it because I had no money TO deposit, but I might go back there after payday just to see. Still, I don't think I can, and my best bet is *sigh* to pay for a wire transfer to my bank account in the States. I don't understand what PayPal's linkup is with Japanese banks, but I know that I don't have a Japanese bank account and don't intend to get one (even if I could; I'm pretty sure student =/= resident). Why do I need to bother with that when I get paid in cash? Simple-- for when I want to buy things online, like books, food, gifts, or travel. :P

I also found out that Gina Reams (zOMG, remember her?) is here in Japan too, going to Temple University. Her winter break is a little bit longer than mine, but they overlap, so hopefully if we both have some time, we can see each other. That would be fun.

I've been having some weird dreams lately, too (this morning's latest dream was undoubtedly influenced by [livejournal.com profile] baine's "The Temptress" and "Star Trek," the original series), but I guess that's to be expected when your brain just says 'You have had a WACKY day, and I am going to try and organize all this...' and does that in the form of some very strange dreams.

Ah, I'd love to find another pair of my old Oxford (Low-Cut) Purple Satin Chuck Taylors (Converse), but it appears they were a special series from 2004, and the likelihood of me being able to find them again in my size is pretty slim to none. Technically I already replaced them with the rainbow-colored hi-tops I bought at Shoe Plaza, but nothing quite replaces a pair of shoes that have seen me almost everywhere, doing all sorts of things, and in my favorite color, no less! You can make a custom pair of shoes at Converse's website, but the fabric isn't really an option, much less the pattern ON said fabric, as far as I've been able to see. I HAVE to make myself get rid of these old shoes! ;_; But it's so difficult...

For anyone curious, the new shoes I bought are downright GIRLY. I got a pair of slip-on wannabe-ballet flats in shiny vinyl red, complete with two knit cherries on the left corner of each opening, along with a pair of fuzzy violet and gold low-heels, with a strap just over the toe (but a closed toe). The great thing is, both of them would look great with jeans OR a fancy dress! I'd much rather have a shoe fetish than a purse fetish, like my mom!

WaMu is idiotic. They're either powered by robots or by people that don't speak English, because when I sent them an email yesterday asking them the SIMPLE question of "how can I make a deposit from Japan?" they kept responding with "you can go to a WaMu branch!" and I'm like "THERE ARE NONE HERE!" Even the Citibanks are all the way in Tokyo. I just wanted to know what the rules were regarding wire transfers, but even though I *KNOW* you can do them (for example, from any place that DOES wire transfers, such as Western Union and its ilk), WaMu didn't mention them as an option at all. Seriously, STUPID!

Also, that thought: how come there aren't any "purikura" programs for PCs or Macs? I mean something that takes your existing pictures (or if you have an iSight/Photo Booth like I do, one that lets you TAKE snapshots) and then lets you decorate them with a wide variety of frames, text, and other decorations? The only thing I can think of that would come close would be a range of Photoshop filters. It wouldn't be hard to make them, necessarily, but not everyone has Photoshop. On top of that, determining a size would be a pain, because I know I would like to "print my own" purikura (you can buy sticky photo paper at most office supply stores). My favorite sizes are the 2.5cm x 2cm ones, or the smaller, 1.5 cm x 1cm ones (roughly). I don't know, has anyone heard of anything?
azurite: (cat and mouse)
ETA (2/18/07): This was formerly a paid post sponsored by PayPerPost. However, because such entries are forbidden by the LiveJournal TOS, I've decided to remove all sponsorship notices, links, trackers, etc. However, because the entry itself is my own (thoughts and opinions), I will leave this entry up. I highly recommend that people visit the site mentioned, FAFSA Online dot Com (which is not the same as fafsa.ed.gov, the official site for filing your FAFSA).

I suppose I'm one of those overzealous types that likes to be over-prepared when it comes to things like college. I like to know what classes I'm going to take, where they will be, what I will need, and what the professor will be like. But all of that's for moot if I don't get financial aid. THANK GOODNESS FOR FINANCIAL AID. Seriously, I would not be where I am (w00t, Japan!) if it weren't for financial aid. And it baffles me to hear from so many of my friends, classmates, etc. that they didn't qualify for/get financial aid. It always surprises me.

So I guess this post is my answer to them-- and anyone else on my FL that might need/want financial aid. But since it strictly applies to the U.S. government, sorry anyone from elsewhere... :P Maybe you can learn something interesting about the American system by reading this.

I know I'm one of maybe MILLIONS of students that knows about FastWeb.com, but even if scholarship-hunting isn't your thing, the U.S. government actually hands out millions (maybe even billions?) of dollars a year to "needy students." And believe you me, you probably are needy. Aren't you? Wouldn't you like some free money from the government? (That's a rhetorical question.) So the first step to getting the government to recognize you as a needy student is to fill out that loverly form, the FAFSA (note: not the FASFA. I suppose acronyms are easier to remember if you know the words they stand for. FAFSA stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid." There's no such thing as the FASFA -and any site offering to help you with it probably shouldn't be trusted- but if you misspell it, Google will kindly point you in the right direction).

It used to be the bane of my existence, because I consistently got rejected for California's state financial aid program, the Cal Grant. But luckily CSUN gave its own financial aid for student that didn't qualify for the Cal Grant, and through that grant, I've been able to go to college. :) It took several tries and many years of filling out the FAFSA before it became second nature to me, but that doesn't mean I skim through it each year. I make sure I'm prepared with every piece of paperwork I need, with my mom on the phone or sitting nearby, and a calculator at the ready. No mistakes, this is my educational future!

And then of course, I discover (through the wonders of the Internet) FAFSA online, which is not the site where you fill out the FAFSA, but where you get all sorts of advice and tips on it. I wish this site had been around when I was filling out the FAFSA for the first time! But of course, as a college student, I have to fill it out every year, or risk losing all my government-based aid. So I'm certainly going to take advantage of it, especially now that I'm in Japan and everything that I do will be through the Internet.

Being a supposed "FAFSA veteran," the first thing I did was check out their 9 secrets to the FAFSA. I treated it a bit like a quiz, to see how many of them I knew. 9 Is A Very Magical Number )

The FAFSA online site's got a lot more than secrets to the FAFSA though; they also have a handy podcast-style MP3 you can download, videos, and a breakdown of the FAFSA and what it looks at (and when). For any of you first-time FAFSA applicants (be it because you're a new college student or because you never applied for financial aid before), it's really helpful!

The MP3 is a bit fast-paced, but the good thing is you can pause it and rewind it! You can't do that with the financial aid or college counselors at school! So if they intimidate you or overwhelm you with facts, numbers, and paperwork, then this site is the way to go. You can take it at your own pace and double-check all your facts-- and being that it's just November, you can be ULTRA PREPARED for the 2007 FAFSA come January 1!

I know I'm going to see what I need soon, and make sure to plan everything with my mom. This is definitely one of those cases when preparation pays off!
azurite: (purple nails jewels)
I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma, I wish I were Ranma!

In other news, apparently WaMu is charging me $6 for an international withdrawl of my money, when previously, it was an 85 cent fee per foreign transaction. I think I'll call them on their collect line to find out what's up with that. I also noticed that the Sheer Cover foundation I got charged for on 9/6 (which I didn't get before I left on the 10th) has been partially refunded- who knows why. I never got an August shipment, and was going to cancel Sheer Cover after said shipment was paid for and arrived... I don't know if the one that I was charged for in September was simply the delayed August shipment, or an early September shipment, or what. Unlike Cosmetique, I can't login to the Sheer Cover home page and look at my account status. I don't think they even have that option, even if I did have my account number with me. So basically, they charged me for something I never got, refunded part of it (probably the same shipment, less shipping and handling), and... yeah.

I need to get back to my dorms to take a shower and eat some lunch before EC during 4th period... and then again at 6th period, both here at the university. I'd also like to get Tobli into the freakin' elevator (yes, I'm playing FFX-2 I+LM), and apparently that involves mashing him into the wall and dragging him to the elevator. I already have 2 save files set up because I know that getting the Enterprise accessory messes with the 100% completion, so in the other save file, I will do the Chapter 1 Moonflow mission (and thereby open up the possibility of getting the Key to Success in Chapter 5, so long as I don't do the Ch 3 Gagazet mission; trying to do any of the missions involving TALKING TO PEOPLE is so freakin' hard in Japanese! If I had my English guide, I'd at least know what NUMBER option to pick, even if the answers themselves are completely unreadable to me)!

Uuuuuuuuuuugh.
azurite: (Default)
The verb is up to you, but come July 1st, 2006, all student loans will have their current interest rate kicked up to a new minimum of over 6%. To all the "broke" college students out there, I highly recommend you consolidate NOW! You have only 14 days left...

Yes, consolidation means you waive your 6 month after-graduation grace period, but depending on your lender, you may still get a short grace period. You may also be deferred due to unemployment, financial hardship, or other reasons (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps), but don't count on it (kind of like getting out of jury duty, really...).

My lender has some great benefits for consolidating while I'm still in school -after 30 consecutive on-time payments (after-graduation; I can still make sporadic payments while I'm in school with no penalty or change to my incentives) my principal will be reduced by 3.33%! Taking care of the process electronically also means I can have the money automatically deducted from a bank account of choice, so I don't have to worry about things lost in the mail, signed, or sent to the right address.

Lock in the low interest rate NOW if you have any federal student loans!
azurite: (indiana ed (fma))
[livejournal.com profile] ceruleansan, I hope you know this is ALL YOUR FAULT. YOU STARTED IT!
And if I get plotbunnied and start writing Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction, I KNOW WHO I'M COMING AFTER TO BETA MY FICS! *angry stare*

Yeah, so I've kind of gotten, er... well, let's use a light form of "obsessed," shall we? Interested in the FMA series. CeruleanSan had me downloading scanlations from StopTazmo, and I've managed to get up to Chapter 20 or thereabouts. She wanted a new convert to the whole Ed x Winry pairing, and I'm so far inclined to agree with her-- a bit. There really isn't a whole ton of romance or innuendo, or backstory beyond how Ed and Al got to where they are.

I admit- parts of the manga are extremely funny, but I don't think ANY manga has ever had me crying so much within a few chapters. Yu-Gi-Oh only brought me to tears when I realized IT WAS OVER, not at any point during the first arc. Even Sailormoon, with the DEATH! and the TRAGIC!OMG etc... even in the live-action, it was always toward the END that I was sobbing like a baby. And okay, FMA didn't have me sobbing like a baby, but the sad parts (people getting murdered, kittens being dead, etc.) had me sniffling and wishing I could click away-- but I couldn't. :P

So I download about 3 chapters at a time while doing something else online. I read them all once they've finished downloading, and once I get 700 MB worth (which may take awhile; I've got something like 97 MB now, and that's *20* chapters!), I'll burn it to CD.

Sucky thing is that the quality really went down around Ch. 18. I don't mean the manga or even the scans- just the translating. All of a sudden, words were horribly misspelled, apostrophes and commas were left out, and chapter titles weren't translated at all anymore. Some omake bits and cover scans were left out altogether! It was kinda sad. If anyone knows where the HQ scans are, I'll wait longer-- just so I can read scanlations in REAL English, not that kindergarten crap that passes for English these days. (I like "Engrish," but there's no humor in stuff that's halfway between Engrish and English. It's called LAZINESS.)

UGH! One more week until I get paid, two more weeks until "finals" (I actually don't have finals for all of my classes. I do have tons of WORK to get done, especially by the end of this week, so I better get cracking.), and three weeks until FANIME! I still haven't reserved a shuttle to the airport and back again though, and Mom hasn't paid me or covered any portion of the hotel room yet. I should call her about that (well, she DID offer! It'll shave some off the money she still owes me, at any rate). At least I'll have April's paycheck (or will it be May's?) to cover Fanime and the like, and I'll be making MORE money in the summer, assuming I get more hours (which I hope I do).

Ooh, and for Mother's Day weekend, I'm going to San Diego on the choo-choo! :D I'm going to make Scott's mom a card, because even if I don't see her, she's been way nice to me. I know I'm going to see Scott at least on Friday night/Saturday morning, so he can pass the card on. I think I'll be at Joyce's for Sunday, but I don't know what exactly we're doing. (I hope Joyce wins her court case today against the insurance guys, because it'd be sucky for her and Baba to try and celebrate Mother's Day if she DIDN'T win.)

More FFX-2 and Da Vinci Code Quest schtuff )

Meme ga aru! )

Ugh, still need a new LJ layout (got sick of the Lisa Frank kitties). DAMN YOU MUSE! Where ARE you!?
azurite: (absolut wank)
Ah, I've been suckered. Suckered like a fish. A seersucker fish!

I've been caught in the wave of Da Vinci Code movie madness, and now I'm on Level 2 of the challenges. I just finished the Sudoku-like symbol challenge #2, and it took me a while... but I did it without hints or resetting the puzzle! I did draw a diagram with highlighted regions in my notebook, though. :D I feel smart! Tee hee hee!

I have a test coming up in Japanese in about a half hour... but as always, I think I'll do okay on it. I usually get a low A or a high B on my tests. (The thing that always gets me is stoke order of kanji.) I also "skipped" English class last night (I had a really bad headache and what felt like the onset of an ear infection. I took some painkillers and antibiotics, and was out from 4:15pm to 8pm.) and now I have to do my paper OR ELSE! I actually DID finish reading Kate Chopin's "The Storm," but as my coworker is so fond of pointing out, I procrastinated to the last minute, so I didn't have any portion of the paper done.

Same goes for my WWA paper, but I'm DEFINITELY going to get going on that tonight, if possible (hey, why not start re-reading Yoshimoto and/or Battle Royale while I'm waiting for eFiction to upgrade? The upload will probably take a while for both sites...). There's 2 books that I referenced in my proposal though, and I can't check them out from the library. :P

And then there's my profile, where my lousy teacher thinks the lengthy email I got from Kysra wasn't nearly enough, and I need MORE MORE MORE! (So Kysra, ready yourself for MORE MORE MORE!)

Money isn't coming fast enough. ;_; It's not that I'm buying things unnecessarily (though I could have waited to buy the Indiana Jones trilogy), but payments! Yicky payments! $6/mo. for the domain is chicken-scratch, but I paid $35 for my Hawaii pictures to get developed, and I'll be damned if I just let them sit around and collect dust. I have two major projects this summer:
* WEBSITES! Get them up and running and fabulous!
* SCRAPBOOK! because it's long overdue.
Also FANFIC WRITING, GET READY FOR JAPAN, WORK BUTT OFF, SEE SCOTT, GO TO FANIME, GO TO SAN FRANCISCO JUL 17, etc. etc. These all involve little sub projects, like cleaning my room, giving my wardrobe and overhaul, buying a laptop, buying plane tickets to and from San Francisco (and if Scott comes, tix for him too- though I certainly wouldn't object to him paying for his own tix. But I don't want him to take Greyhound again! :P), blah blah, things I'm forgetting, blah.

Oh, and what am I going to do about medical insurance, my prescriptions while I'm in Japan, my cell phone, etc.? It's one thing to maintain my bank account, but I don't want to be stuck with surcharges for international withdrawls (Traveler's Cheques, maybe?), and carrying around 10,000 yen bills is like asking to lose it ("it" being the money or my sanity, take your pick) or go on a spontaneous shopping spree.

BLAH! I should head to class now, squeeze in the extra study time, and then pray for the test to end quickly so I can get lunch before work.
azurite: (Default)
I had a weird dream last night/this morning. I get the feeling I've had the dream before, but I don't know from when or where. I should have written it down when I woke up, and it was more vivid, but I stupidly dismissed it as too weird. I remember there being a gang of people on motorcycles/scooters, but instead of the "leader" being in the front of the group, s/he was in the back (there might have been 2 leaders, one male, one female). They all had one intensely bright headlight on their motorcycles as they drove past -during what looked like overcast daylight- a rest stop of some sorts, like the kinds right off a highway.

For whatever reason, I (whoever "I" was) was coming out of the wooden building, and I got shot in the leg. I remember stumbling around and screaming profanities at the idiots, something like they'd ruined something and they didn't understand (or was that the female leader yelling that at ME?) and then I wasn't in a rural rest stop any more, but in a police station. o_o; There's something important that I'm forgetting too...

I tried to close my original PayPal account yesterday, which spells the end of a long time (3+ years, I think) of account history, my Verified status and good Buyer reputation... but it needs to be done. They can't change the name on the account from my mom's (I opened it under her name when I first bought something off eBay when I was 16-17) to mine. But I had both my anzu.kaiba email and my account/routing info already attached to that account, so before I can add that info to my NEW account (under my name), I have to wait for this measly $1 transaction (to AnimeMusicVideos.org) to go through from my bank account, and THEN close the original account. Then I can add my bank account to my NEW account, which so far has only my new gold MasterCard (WaMu switched from Visa. I guess if the cards DO the same thing, essentially, I have no reason to complain, except that I have to set up Auto-Pay for the new card number) and my anzu.kaiba email.

To Do List:
1 - WalMart. Yes, spawn of evil, seat of darkness... also a good place to get cheap home fixings, such as compressed air, electronic dusting spray, switch and socket faceplates, and possibly frames and nails for the pictures and mirror we need to re-hang in the rec room bathroom.

2 - Clean room. Ever since I moved the computer up there (Did I not mention it? I did it the other night! Aside from some insanity with the wireless adapter last night -which I hope does NOT continue- everything works out great) my room's been a mess, because I had to clear off my desk to make room for the Mega-Monitor. I'd save up to get a flat screen LCD monitor, but why? I'll be leaving in September anyway, and if Grandpa gets himself a laptop -or if *I* get one, what's the point?

3 - Custom air filter. I don't know what was wrong with the one we had, but Dad knows more about it than I do. Now I have to find a place that MAKES them!

4 - Papers! That is, English paper (on Kate Chopin's "The Storm"), Women Writers of Asia paper (on Banana Yoshimoto, Naoko Takeuchi, Kazuki Takahashi, and Novala Takemoto/some other male Japanese contemporary fiction writer), and a Journalism editorial... of which I have a few ideas, ranging from the rudeness/disgusting habits of students these days to complaints "from the other side of the desk," i.e. from the people like me that spend all day helping people fix THEIR computer problems. There's also the profile that's due by the end of May, which I hope to do on Kysra. I think I'll formulate some questions now and email them to her... er, if I can remember her email. o_o

What else? Ah, yes, I'd love to actually WRITE MY DAMN FICS, GET SOME ICONS MADE (need inspiration! Styles! Trends!), PLAY SOME VIDEO GAMES, take a bath surrounded by incense, candles, and pikake bath crystals, work on my webpages, and probably a ton of other things I'm forgetting. *brain massage*
azurite: (yuna's memory)




Find your Celestial Choir

Go to Wikipedia. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year). List three events that happened on your birthday. List two important birthdays, two interesting deaths, and one intriguing holiday or observance. Post this in your journal.

Events
1471 - In England, the Yorkists under Edward IV defeated the Lancastrians under Warwick at the battle of Barnet; the Earl of Warwick was killed and Edward IV resumed the throne.
I find this interesting because I've come to greatly enjoy this bit of history because of the Rose Chronicles fanfic that I've been languishing on.

1828 - Noah Webster copyrights the first edition of his dictionary.
And thank GOODNESS for that!

1915 - The Turks invaded Armenia.
Yes, it happened.

Births
1336 - Emperor Go-Kogon of Japan (d. 1374)
1977 - Sarah Michelle Gellar, American actress

Deaths
1995 - Burl Ives, American singer and actor (b. 1909)
2001 - Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japanese director (b. 1927)

Holiday
Black Day - informal celebration day for single people in South Korea

I'm back in black (read: I have money)! Thank goodness for generous grandparents and upcoming birthdays. I might even get to go to the first West Valley Witches Meetup tonight at the Denny's in Woodland Hills, but because Zack would have to go out of his way to take me there, he's being particularly devilish in coming up with a "fee." I wish my 'feminine wiles' (a pout, a certain stance, whatever) worked on him... or maybe not. That'd be bad.

I'm excited about Sunday~! I finished packing already, but I have to do a lot of homework, since I'm going to be gone the whole time. Unless I manage to do phone or email interviews, I don't know how I'm going to get my Feature #2 done. I hate stupid Prof. Brown. If I'd had this idea and resources a while ago, I might have had a head start on it, but there's nothing more than I hate than a teacher that doesn't understand the concept of a SPRING BREAK. We're not supposed to DO anything having ANYTHING to do with school! ;_; I'm going to try and finish my Japanese tonight. There's no Geography (thank god), but my biggest worry is, of course, for Journalism. There might also be a paper for English, so there's that to worry about, and I have to get my research paper started for WWA.

I'll most likely be focusing on Naoko Takeuchi as a contemporary female manga-ka, contrasting her with Kazuki Takahashi for the male. I'll write for Banana Yoshimoto as the female writer, and likely Novala Takemoto (author of Kamikaze Girls) for the male. I'm most definitely open to more suggestions for the expansion of the research paper -my "book" which I hope to write with Prof. Hirota as part of my Presidential Scholarship award stipulation. :D

Oh, and as a note to all the females out there - when some strange guy looking suspiciously like Napolean Dynamite asks you to sign a petition to END Women's Suffrage, JUST SAY NO. Otherwise you are a Dumb Female and do not deserve to have a Vagina. Go away, shoo, shoo.

Whee, Hawaii! Whee, birthday! Beaches and Mai Tais... and I hope it doesn't rain!
azurite: (screw it trashcan)
Shit, I'm in the red again. Grandpa saved me yesterday with a quick $20 spot, but a new charge from school that I must have forgotten about hit today for $4.25, so coupled with my already-low fundages and a $25 overdraft charge (I thought it was $10! WTF!?), I'm not $21.05 in the red (or something like that). And I have a sinking sensation that there'll be another $1.40 (damn you, Iced Tea!) charge coming soon, so I really need to get around $40 in there so I can save my ass from overdraft fees, else this'll get reported to the credit bureaus.

ARGH!

I NEED MY PAYCHECK ALREADY!!!

January 2016

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