Friday, May 29, 2009

An amazing discovery

I have made an amazing discovery. I thought I was alone as a Christian who liked to write fantasy and science fiction. There certainly wasn't anybody in my life I could talk to about it.


When leafing through the websites section at the back of my copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction, I saw a link to a website called Where the Map Ends. (I also found the link to Randy Ingermanson's site there, which I visited not long ago - I was pleasantly surprised to learn Ingermanson is a Christian). Anyway, I went to this site, and through it found a deluge of other stuff about writing Christian "speculative fiction" (the catch-all publishing category for fiction "speculating" about different worlds than ours, such as sci-fi, fantasy, and alternate history). I even joined two forums I found through this searching: The Anamoly, the official forum of Where the Map Ends, and Christian Anime Alliance, a forum about anime and manga for Christians. There was even a thread in The Anamoly about the problem of whether to use magic in Christian fantasy (which I also saw a good article about on some other site), an issue I've been struggling with myself.

Even though it wasn't the greatest day today - I hurt my foot at work and the side of my left foot is throbbing as I type this - I am happy because I feel like I have made a breakthrough. It's almost like an answer to prayer, though I don't remember specifically praying for this. I know I prayed for career guidance, but not quite like this.


In other news:

As I said, I hurt my foot. I tripped, except I didn't trip on anything or over anything - my foot just sort of tilted (it does that sometimes). My mom says it's my shoes. I'm going to go look for new work shoes tomorrow, regardless of how my foot feels (because my mother will make me go regardless).

I also have to clean my room tomorrow, although the floor is pretty much clean except for some laundry on the floor. I can't even do my laundry tomorrow because the guys currently working on our house pulled out the washer and dryer, so they're not hooked up for use right now. Because I didn't keep my end of the bargain with my parents and consistently keep my room clean, my rent got raised. I get paid tomorrow so I should have enough money to pay the higher rent for June and still have money left over, even though I made some big purchases recently (like some manga, a ridiculously high $50 for an online career test that really didn't do anything for me, and of course, my new iPod).

When I bought my manga, I also bought a book called The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference. I have been reading it through, even though you're not supposed to do that with "reference" books. But it's my first time through, so I don't know what info in it might be of use to me. Compiled by editors for Writers Digest and with a very nice introduction by fantasy fiction legend Terry Brooks, it's a pretty useful book. I don't really see anything in it of too much use to me specifically at the moment, but it's much more digestible than Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, a book considered a must-read for aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers (a book I didn't understand at all, which might be because I haven't read any of Card's novels). It is, like it sounds, a reference book. It contains a whole chapter on magic, for example, and one on witchcraft (which provides a rather thorough treatment of Wicca, more so I think than what I read in the Christian book Dewitched: What You Need to Know About the Dangers of Wicca and Witchcraft). There's also info on armor and armies, weapons, and even fantasy races (in which they blame Tolkien for the current stereotypes of many of the races listed, especially elves and dwarves).

I also came across a site when I was browsing Where the Map Ends on my iPod this morning while waiting for the bus (one of the rare places besides my house where I can get our home wifi signal) that provides a program for mapmaking. It's targeted mostly toward RPG makers, but is supposed to be useful for authors too. The site is called ProFantasy Software and its main mapmaking program is called Campaign Cartographer (the current version being Campaign Cartographer 3). They also have a bunch of add-ons to this program, including a sci-fi add-on called Cosmographer Pro that lets you create galaxies and spaceships. You have to pay for the software, I think, but they have demos you can download, so I may do this if I decide I need to. I read on some site (Holly Lisle's, I think) that it's good to draw a map of your world if you're writing fantasy, but I stink at drawing and know nothing about cartography (mapmaking).

I'm also trying to decide which I like better, fantasy or sci-fi. Fantasy is easier for me to write because I've read a lot of fantasy. But I have attempted sci-fi mainly because I like technology and computers. (I have only seen one story that combined fantasy with technology in a cool way - the game Tales of Symphonia, with its magitechnology, technologically created things that were magic because they required mana to function). You can't really introduce technology into a fantasy world because of the tradition of medieval settings for fantasy. The only way to do it is through the alternate-universe idea (à la Philip Pullman) or through fantasy steampunk, in which case the technology has to be steam-powered due to the typical Victorian or Edwardian setting of steampunk.

I also am not sure about my decision to set my sci-fi novels in London; it seemed like a logical place at the time, mainly because the UFG or United Federation of Galaxies - which I am now calling the UIIC or United Interplanetary and Intersidereal Council, to avoid legal difficulties with Star Trek canon (which has a United Federation of Planets) - was going to be part of the plot, and a big city like London seemed like a logical place for it to be based. (Then again, Star Trek's United Federation of Planets is based in San Francisco).

I am somehow reluctant to write about the area in which I actually live, because to my knowledge nothing much of note has happened historically in the San Diego area, other than the city of San Diego being the site of the first mission founded by Junípero Serra, San Diego de Alcala. But then I guess I'm not writing historical fiction, am I?'s late. I should go to bed now. Good night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New iPod, website stuff, career thoughts

Well, thankfully, after my Nano broke, I had enough money to replace my iPod right away, and so I IPOD TOUCH! Yay! For around $295, I got an 8G iPod Touch, a hard case, and a set of screen protectors (I'm not taking any chances).

I got the Touch because of the ability to have apps. That was something I wish I had on my Nano. I saw the iPhone commercials that advertised the apps, and I really wanted them. I tried not to go overboard buying apps, but with some of those combined with some American Idol songs I bought, I spent about $40, according to my last iTunes receipt! So I have to be careful from now on.

They have so many apps in the App Store on iTunes (the iPod Touch itself actually comes with the App Store on it as well, but it's not identical to the one on iTunes). Some of them (especially the games) are really weird. I guess this is what happens when you let just anyone create an app.

A good number of the apps cost money, though most of them don't cost that much (they're usually in the 99¢-$2.99 range). The only expensive ones are some of the games, like Cake Mania 3 and Dance Dance Revolution S, as well as some of the higher-end productivity or business apps. There are a lot of free ones as well, though most of the free ones are "lite" versions (demos, basically) of paid apps -- although that is kind of nice in case you're not sure you want to buy an app. There are many free apps that are not demos though, such as the Facebook app (one of the first I downloaded) and the app (which lets you look up words even without wifi on -- which is really nice).

One of the coolest things about the iPod Touch though is that IT CAN GO ONLINE. It uses wi-fi to do this, and the wifi is free as far as I can tell. Granted, I can't always get a wifi signal. (I downloaded an app called "WiFi Trak" that can tell you what wifi networks are in the area, which should help, since the iPod's regular wifi settings don't always detect all the networks around). To my mother, this is the coolest thing about the device. I find it cool too, though the internet has limits compared to surfing the internet on my laptop. For one, it's sometimes hard to click links on a page because the writing is often so small (you can zoom the screen though, or turn the iPod sideways, which makes it get bigger). Also, although the iPod Touch comes with a separate little YouTube thing (separate from the iPod's default web browser, Safari), you can't do all the things you would normally do on YouTube with it (like check your inbox or anything else specific to your account). It's good for just watching clips though, if anything, and you can still search for videos.

I am pretty satisfied with the apps I have downloaded, though I've deleted some I realized weren't useful. I also deleted the DDR game because it was too hard (I'm not good at regular DDR anyway). I have yet to find a good app for blogging on this blog on the go (I'm trying a lite version of an app right now that supports Blogger, but I can't quite figure out how it works). At present, the apps I have on my iPod are:
  • Facebook - Like the YouTube thing, this app doesn't let you do every single thing you can do on the regular Facebook. It does let you see your news feed, profile, friends, and inbox, as well as chat and change your status and photo on the go, though, so it's pretty decent. (Half the time all I do on Facebook is change my status once and a while and check my inbox and fan pages). Plus, it's free!
  • AIM - There are two apps for AIM, the paid version and the free version. The free version has ads, otherwise it's exactly the same as the paid version. I went ahead and paid the $2.99 needed for the paid version because I didn't want ads. It basically lets you IM on the go (I haven't IM'd anybody from it yet though).
  • Yahoo! Messenger - I only started using Yahoo! Messenger because I had a friend who had an MSN account and couldn't use AIM. This is a free app, unlike AIM, and pretty much has the usual features of YIM.
  • LinkedIn - I couldn't believe this app was free! Basically, this app works similar to the Facebook app in that it simulates a social networking site, in this case LinkedIn, a social network for those looking for work to connect with employers. It's pretty cool.
  • BlogWriter Lite - This is that Blogger-supporting app I was telling you about. I haven't quite figured out how it works (for one, it says this blog has 0 posts, which is far from true!). This app also lets you subscribe to RSS feeds, though I may end up doing that with this free app called Daisy Feed I'm thinking of downloading later.
  • YouSave! Lite - A "lite" version of a paid app that I'm trying out. This app allows you to put in the regular price of something that's marked down, then its discount percentage. When you do, the app will tell you how much the discounted price of the item will be! Nifty, huh? I'm a bargain person, so it's a great thing to have.
  • Mobile News and Video - Basically what it sounds like. I know my dad would want this app - he's a big fan of Consumer Reports. It's useful if you want to buy something but you're not sure what brand or something like that.
  • Now Playing - Basically lets you find movie times and such, also lets you see movie releases on DVD. Pretty cool.
  • Library - A cool app with a cute icon (a little teddy bear with books - go here to see it). Using your current location, it helps you find libraries near you. It's from a developer called DoubleTapApps, all of whose apps are targeted to families with young kids. I tried it, it basically puts pins in a map for the libraries near you based on your current location (apparently the iPod Touch has limited GPS capabilities -- not as much capability as the iPhone though). And like I said, the icon is really cute.
  • Pedometer - This is one of the first apps I downloaded, and it's really useful. It counts your steps, like a pedometer usually does, and counts the calories burned. You can also keep a log of your daily totals. The first day I used it, I walked over 4,000 steps!
  • MyGrades Lite - I'm going to try this out with my summer class to see if I want to get the full version for fall. Basically, you put in your assignments and what you got on them, and the app calculates your grade in the class. It's really nice to know where you're at, especially around test time.
  • iHomework - Basically an app that acts as a school planner. It got really good reviews on iTunes. It was only 99¢ too. If it works out, I won't have to buy a planner for school, meaning one less thing to carry in my backpack.
  • Classics - This 99¢ app was rated high in the Books section of the App Store. It was also featured in the "Read" iPhone commercial. Basically, it lets you read classic books. It comes with a preloaded selection of books that I assume can be updated as they update the app. The books appear as covers on a bookshelf, then you can open them and read them like a real book, à la Kindle. (There's actually a real Kindle app in the App Store too - and it's free, so I may try it).
  • Pollen Journal Lite - The lite version of an app that lets you know the pollen count near you and keep track of your allergy symptoms. This is a nice app for me because I am allergic to pollen. Supposedly, using the journal function helps the app to determine which types of pollen allergens you are very allergic to. Pretty cool.
  • French-English Dictionary - Yay! I am so happy there is an app for this. I use all the time, especially for looking up French words. And it was free too, amazingly enough. It will be nice to have this on the go, especially since both of the French teachers I've had so far at CSUSM don't like you to use laptops in class.
  • - Basically an app version of the famous dictionary website. It also features thesaurus capabilities. As I said before, you can search for words without having wifi on; some of the capabilities, like Word of the Day, do require wifi though. Still, pretty cool, and FREE.
  • WiFiTrak - A really decent app for finding a wifi signal wherever you are. This is nice because the default wifi settings on the iPod Touch don't always detect all nearby networks.
  • IndieBound - This is a quirky little free app developed by the American Booksellers Association. It basically gives you book recommendations from indie bookstores (and if you like a book, the app will link you to the site of an indie bookstore where you can get it), as well as providing a book search and a location-based indie business finder (it can find more than just indie bookstores). That's pretty neat. As a former employee of an indie bookstore, I'm definitely all for supporting indie businesses.
  • Urbanspoon is an app I read about in Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine. Basically, based on your location and info you give it (like that you want an Italian restaurant), it finds restaurants for you. Pretty cool, no?
  • Tennis ATP/WTA is an app that provides pro tennis scores, which I find interesting only because tennis is the only pro sport I ever watch by myself (I'll watch baseball if my dad or brother is watching it and I'm eating dinner or something), and not even that often.
  • France24 Live - This is an interesting app. It lets you watch live news video in English, French, or Arabic in a variety of categories. When I first tried it, I watched a report from the Cannes Film Festival. I figure watching this will help with my French (I know that watching subtitled anime helped my Japanese pronunciation, so hopefully this will help my French pronunciation).
  • Newsdesk - A pretty basic app that gives you the top headlines in a nice skim-able format. Nice way to keep up on what's going on in the world. You can skim world news, Science and Technology news, and Entertainment news with this app. It's viewable without wi-fi on, but you need wi-fi on to update it.
  • - A news app for the French newspaper Le Monde. Again, like NewsDesk, you can view it without wifi on, but you need wifi to update it. I figured I should read news in French to keep my skills up.
  • K-WAVE - An app that lets you listen to K-WAVE, a Christian station based around here.
  • Y! Music - An app for Yahoo! Music and its radio thing, Launch.
  • Pandora - A free (!?) app for the famous internet radio site Pandora.
  • Pinball - The most basic pinball game I could find. I don't need fancy stuff, I just wanted to play pinball, so I got this.
  • iMahjong Premium - I'm a big fan of computer mahjong, and have been since way back when I had the PC game Taipei on my Windows 3.1-running computer (which was in the early '90's). This game has really nice graphics and is pretty easy to play. It does also have a hint system if you get stuck, which is really nice.
  • MiniShogi - I have decided I want to try to learn shogi, or Japanese chess. I haven't played this game yet but it looks interesting.
  • SmartGo - Aside from shogi, I've also decided I want to learn to play the Asian board game go. I read the tutorial and it sounds easy and hard at the same time. It's sort of like checkers or chess in that there's white and black pieces and you try to capture your opponents' pieces, but other than that, it's unlike any board game I've ever played.
  • Solitaire - You can't go wrong with Solitaire. This is always a nice game to play if you need to kill time.
  • Jeopardy! - Basically an iPod version of the classic game show.
  • EvilOverlord - An app created by Thomas Cherry that displays "rules" from the famous Evil Overlord List. The app also allows you to create a to-do list of evil schemes and send an "emergency beacon" (basically a location-based thing showing where you are) to alert your henchmen of your current location. I'm a big fan of the Evil Overlord List, so I definitely wanted to get this.
I am working on websites at present. I decided to make my personal and writing sites separate. I also made a simple website for nalyd1996's Sailor Stars fandub. I got some work on my personal site done last night, since they sent me home early from work (probably because it was a holiday and they couldn't afford to pay everyone the extra money they get on holidays). It was frustrating because I kept thinking the site looked too plain. But I want to link to the fanlistings I want to make using this site, and one of the rules at is that you must prove you have HTML and graphics experience by making a website that is entirely your own work and providing them with the URL before you can apply for a fanlisting. So no pre-made layouts, basically. Plus, I like to do the sites entirely myself. (Granted, for the DIV layers, I used code my best friend showed me and which I still had in a Notepad document on my computer, since I'm not good at DIV layers yet). I'm not sure how I'm going to show graphics experience. I could make a banner, I guess, but I don't know how to make those big top banners people use now. I tried to do a big image like has, but it didn't work. I'll try to make something.

My personal site is going to be called Still Waters, after Psalms 23:2-3, which says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." It has a blue theme.

My writing site (which I may use a pre-made layout on to make it look more professional, at least till I can get more web design skills) will be called Forest of Light, after the elves' home in my Walden stories. It's also got a verse tied to it: "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel" (Isaiah 44:23). This makes me think of how things must've been after the Great War (the name of which I may change). It will have a forest theme, and to this effect I took several pictures of trees on my cell phone to use in the design.

I made a banner for Still Waters just now using my trial of Paint Shop Pro 7 (which I prefer to the new Paint Shop Pro; I have the CD for 7 but I can never get it to install right on my laptop) and it actually looks pretty good. I picked a color that fits into my color scheme, and by choosing certain stroke and fill colors and a texture, ended up with text that has a faded look, which is pretty cool. I made one the size of a blog header, which is big enough for me. I did have to move my other layers (my links, iframe, and a layer I put the Psalms 23 verse in) down a few pixels so they wouldn't be too close to the banner. But it looks fine.

I thought last night that maybe I should consider a career in web design, since I like making websites. MiraCosta has a certificate program in Web Design. But I don't know if my current major would work for that sort of job. I guess it would since I'm emphasizing in writing. I may need to talk to a career counselor about this. Because if I need to change my major, it would be better to do it now while it's still early.

Well, I want to go out and do some stuff today, since I'm off of work and some guys are working on our house anyway. Bye!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

OMG I can't believe that this happened!!

When I went to get ready to go to church today, I wasn't sure where my iPod was. Finally, I found it in the pocket of my jeans. It looked like the backlight was on. No problem, I thought. Sometimes the buttons get pushed in my pocket when I don't lock them. But then there was more.

A dark spot with a tiny spider crack in it, with a dark blotchy line running from it, all of this under the glass.

Having seen this before (including with my laptop), I knew exactly what was wrong. My iPod screen had cracked. How exactly, I don't know. But it did. It apparently happened sometime between when I turned my iPod off last night about 7:30 p.m. so I could watch my fully-downloaded torrent of Mew and the Wave-Guiding Hero Lucario (the Japanese version of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew) and this morning.

I tried plugging my iPod into my laptop in hopes that I could restore it, but it didn't pop up in iTunes or as a drive on my computer (as it does sometimes). I did a diagnostic through iTunes and it said my iPod was not found.

I can't get it fixed cause it's been more than a year since I bought this iPod, meaning my warranty with Apple has run out.

So the verdict is: MY IPOD IS BROKEN!!!

I can't believe this happened!!

I have figured out that all that can be done is to buy a new iPod. After all, iTunes still works, and I want to still be able to listen to my podcasts, if anything (especially since I listen to my church's sermons as podcasts for the days I miss church because of work). I don't like the new Nanos that much. I may get an iPod Touch, since I keep saying that I want to be able to have apps, and I don't need an iPhone because I have a perfectly good cell phone. I have enough money in my checking account to buy a new iPod (and I just got paid on Friday too, come to think of it). I will buy some sort of case for it that covers the screen or some sort of screen protector so that this screen thing doesn't happen again.

A friend of mine from the bus has a Zune, iPod's direct competitor, so maybe I'll look into that too. Not sure though.

I'm going to eat lunch now, since I have to be at work at 5. Just thought I'd report that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finally, a break...but there's still much to think about

FINALLY! Finals are over, and I can get some rest. Well, I'll be working still this summer, and I start a summer class on July 9th. But still.

Finals were killer. I had to finish my author paper, which I had to reprint half of at the last minute because I'd forgotten some citations in my bibliography (I had to reprint more than just the bibliography because adding stuff pushes everything down). I had to do my take-home history final at the last minute because of all the other stuff, and the essay was a pain in the butt, even with some prep work done beforehand. I also forgot to say in the "terms/short answer" section that Saddam Hussein "was" the former leader of Iraq instead of "is" (I should've said "was" because he's dead). And based on a map I checked my answers on afterwards, I missed all but one of the countries on the outline Middle East map we were supposed to fill out (I got Syria right, but missed on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan...I only remembered where Syria should be because I know it's right above Israel).

My French final was easy, as expected. My American Lit final (not the paper, but the actual final itself) was easier because we could use the study guide on both parts, as opposed to just one. The first part gives you 13 passages, 10 of which you must do. You must identify each passage by the work it's from and the work's author, state a theme the passage illustrates, and show how the passage illustrates the theme. I'm not sure how I did on the themes. I'm sure they were right themes (not totally out of left field) but maybe not what she's looking for. I did good identifying the works and authors because I only pick passages that I can recognize that information for. Some are more obvious than others. The second part is based on the study guide itself. She gives us a big long study guide of around 50 questions or so, 20 or 25 of which are actually on the test. But you don't know which ones will be on the test, so it's good to fill out the whole study guide. I did this, and pretty much copied my answers off of my study guide, with a few alterations in some cases.

As I said, I am starting a summer class on July 9th. This in the second summer intersession or "block," which begins July 8th (which is a Wednesday; the scheduling is a little odd because of having to accomodate the 4th of July holiday in the first summer block). Because my class is a Tuesday/Thursday class, it begins on July 9th. I verified this with the people who make the academic calendars. The class is Lit & Writing 320, a class called "Sacred Texts." I am taking it for my last upper division G.E. class, which has to be in Arts & Humanities. The catalog description for the class basically says that it looks at different sacred texts from a literary standpoint. The detailed description on the Lit & Writing department website (which looks a lot better than the other department websites I've seen, if I may say so, even the French one) says that the particular class I'm taking will study Islam in comparison with Judaism and Christianity by exploring how their sacred texts "characterize and sometimes define common concepts and issues such as life, death, marriage, social decorum, government, economics, art, and architecture." It sounds interesting. It's like when I took Asian Philosophy and Religion at MiraCosta and the teacher said she was going to teach about Islam (which is not an Asian religion, of course) because she felt it was misunderstood.

I am also enrolled for fall already. I am taking two Lit & Writing classes - a core class, LTWR 300B, called "History of Literary Commentary II," and an elective class, LTWR 318, called "Small Press Publishing." The first class basically studies "current trends in critical theory." My friend Stephanie said I should take the A section first, but the A section is a night class this fall, which doesn't work with my schedule (with the bus and all). Plus, Dr. Cucinella (my lit teacher these last two semesters) is teaching it, and I need a break from her. Plus, there's no rule saying that you have to take them in order. The major worksheet just says LTWR 300A is a recommended prerequisite.

The second class is described as "practical training in manuscript soliciting, editing, publishing, and distributing." As an unpublished author, I could really use this. As a "small press" class, it probably won't look at dealing with big publishers, but it's something. Plus it's being taught by Sandra Doller, the faculty advisor for the Creative Writing Community I've been hearing about through the "ltwrundergrad" mailing list (e-mail mailing lists can be annoying as heck, but this one is actually useful). It's a group of creative writers on campus who recently got recognized as an official club. Now that French Club is going to meet bimonthly rather than every week, I should be able to get involved in this club too. I went to one of their writing workshops this semester and read my short story "The Tale of Lady Victoria." The people there thought it was really good and said it would work as part of a larger book (which is my intention; I intend to create some sort of "tales" anthology with this and my other "Walden stories") or, with some editing, as a standalone piece.

The two other classes I am taking are related to my minor, French. I am taking French 312, French Composition and Advanced Oral Practice. Technically, I should take French 311 (Advanced French) next, but the way the courses are being offered schedule-wise I have to take them backwards. Dr. Anover said there wouldn't be a problem as far as what we need to know for the class. I am also taking History 318, a class called Society and Culture in Early Modern Europe. This is for a course substitution for my minor elective, since the French classes listed on the minor worksheet for that requirement are getting cut. Dr. Anover already said it would count (I sent her an e-mail with the catalog description). I'm a little worried because when I enrolled it said it had to be counted as a upper-division G.E. course for arts and humanities, so I wasn't sure we'd able to use it for my minor. But I'm already taking my course for that requirement this summer, so hopefully it will work out. I may e-mail Dr. Anover about it just in case. Okay, I just did that.

There was also an e-mail from my history teacher from the 13th asking if I'd be on campus later in the week to return this book called A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America that I'd lent to her. I e-mailed her back telling her she could keep it. I wasn't too into the book anyway, and I don't have much bookshelf space as it is.

With school out of the way for now, I am thinking about other things. One of those things is my career. A few things prompted this. One was thinking about what to do with my free time this summer, and the thing that jumped to my mind was to work on the personal/writing website that I had been working on in small increments as I had time but was now stuck on. I looked up some stuff on what to include in a writing website and decided I'd have to make two separate websites, one personal and one professional. I have to make some website to prove my skill in order to apply for the fanlistings I want to make anyway, so I will make my personal site for that. This will also give me a site to link to my personal Blogger blog from, since I don't want to link to that blog from my professional site since I am very candid about things on there, including frustrations about work. Although, I just realized that if I link to my Alera Gynne fanfic from my professional site, they might look at my personal blog anyway, since they're under the same account and thus share the same profile.

There. I fixed that. I deleted the blog from my personal blog account and set it up under a new account under the e-mail I intend to use for my "professional" site and am already using for my job-related profiles on the social networks LinkedIn and ZoomInfo, networks I found out about from a Fortune article I found online. I don't want to give it out here, but basically it's an e-mail with my full real first and last name and my middle initial. I created it as an alternate e-mail when we couldn't get into our regular Yahoo accounts.

I'm really hungry, so I'll write more later.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Catching up on stuff

Wow! I don't know how I haven't written in so long. All I can say is that there has been really nothing to write about, plus school has kept me busy. Work too.

First a couple blog-related announcements. First, I have claimed this blog on the blog search site Technorati. You can see a link in my "Links" section in the blog sidebar that will allow you to add the blog to your "favorites" on that site. I had a lot of trouble claiming it and then it turned out the only problem was that I was putting "www" in the URL, and I didn't need to. Doi! Anyway, the second announcement is that I now have a second blog on this account! Entitled Le Journal Intime d'Alera Gynne, it's the home of my Harry Potter-based fanfic about my character Alera Gynne. It's written in French, however, so you'll need to know it (preferably at my level, which is intermediate) to understand it. You can check it out through the link in the sidebar or at this link:

School will be out on the 14th. I can't believe the time is already here. The stress is mounting with finals and papers and stuff. Thank heavens my history teacher changed the due date on our second essay or I would've been freaking out on Wednesday night having that paper and the PowerPoint for my Lit class. I managed to finish the history paper today (after having to totally rethink it after looking over the prompt again and breaking it down into smaller elements like I did with the last essay for this class - this really helps when you get super long essay prompts) and a few days ago, after bringing my author paper to my Theory and Practice of K-12 Writing Instruction class (where we were learning about teaching revision and were asked to bring in our own papers), got my paper down to size there too.

I have a teaching philosophy paper due on the 7th for my Theory and Practice of K-12 Writing Instruction class that I need to start. I was going to work on it this last week since there was no other homework in that class, but the history paper (which was originally due on April 30th) preoccupied me. In this paper, we had to compare the Vietnam War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's HARD. Trust me. I think I did a good job though (although my paper was 6 pages when she wanted 5), considering I had to cite in Chicago style, which I'm not very familiar with.

For my author paper, I need to write the last two parts and edit the major works and themes section. It's a lot. This is on top of the aforesaid teaching philosophy paper and tons of history reading (there are these three books on the syllabus that for some reason our teacher tacked on to the reading schedule at the END of the semester) And then finals too. Gah!!

I also had a computer issue. My backspace key, space bar, and enter key all stopped working. Fortunately, I called Dell and got a new keyboard overnighted to me via FedEx, which they assured me I could install myself (my warranty doesn't cover having someone come out to do it for me). Unfortunately, they did not include the tech sheet they said they would and I had to find instructions on the Net. I spent about an hour just getting the key cover off using a flat-head screwdriver, and then I couldn't unscrew the keyboard, so I gave up. Mum helped me with the keyboard today though, and it turned out that the reason I couldn't unscrew the keyboard was because I had the wrong kind of screwdriver (I was using the flat-head one from my eyeglasses repair kit, and I needed a Phillips-head).

Work is stressful right now; I didn't have time to do everything on Wednesday night this week and so yesterday Shelly (my boss) was hopping mad with me. I am distraught about what to do, especially since Juan apparently gets away with just doing basic cleaning (the basic closing stuff, that is) while I do everything on the list -- even the extra cleaning Shelly asks for -- which takes longer and thus sometimes causes me to not finish my work, and I get in trouble. It's not fair! I did the best I could last night, although I didn't have time to do the floors. I had to go to lunch late because I had to wait for Alma from service deli to get back from her lunch. Plus I lost some time after 10pm (I worked till 11 last night) having to go to the office to hear Jeff (the assistant manager) read a memo about swine flu to me and two other employees that I had already read myself when it was posted on the office door upstairs.

Oh yes, as I'm sure you people reading this know, THERE'S AN EPIDEMIC GOING ON. It's of a strain of influenza said to come from pigs, hence the name "swine flu" (although I've heard some people are calling it "H1 N1 Influenza" now because farmers are complaining that they'll lose profits from it being called "swine flu," due to the common misconception that it is foodborne and thus you can get it from eating or handling pork, which is NOT TRUE). Anyway, the epidemic started in Mexico. The first cases in the U.S. were some New York college students who went down to Mexico for spring break (despite the State Department travel warning already in place advising people not to travel to Mexico because of the drug cartel-related violence going on). It's now spreading around the world. I don't think there's been any person-to-person cases yet; I think it's all just people who have been to Mexico recently at this point.

It's pretty late, and I want to go to church today (Sunday; I started this just before midnight on Saturday) since I don't have to work till 5. I stayed up a little later than usual because I was doing laundry. So I think I'm going to go.

Oh one more thing. Today while going through a Yahoo! Games list of 10 free games, I came across an online game called Free Realms. It's basically a free, kid-friendly fantasy MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). You can still pay for premium content (either with a credit card or with gift card-style cards you buy at places like Target or Wal-Mart, similar to how you buy cards for Zwinky or Gaia Online), but the bulk of the game is free. You can read more about it here. I played it for a little bit. It's fun, but the controls take some getting used to. (I've never played an MMO). Their in-game tutorials are very helpful. You also get to try a bunch of different jobs, something not always possible in highly job-based fantasy RPG's (like many of the Final Fantasy games). I've learned how to be a Chef, a Pet Trainer, and a Brawler (the basic combat category) so far. The graphics are also really good considering it streams straight from the site's server to your computer (no disc or any such thing required).

Ok I really ought to go. It's nearly 1am and I still want to take a shower before bed. Good night!