Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jury duty, wanting to be a paralegal

Today I had to report to the court to do jury duty, and my name got called for a trial. I had been hoping my name wouldn't get called, but it did, and I ended up getting selected for the jury, meaning I have to go back tomorrow. Fortunately, the trial is supposed to end by tomorrow (I think) so that's good. But if I get out before the usual end time (4:30) I still have to go into work - Augie told me this when I called work to let them know I'd been put on a jury and had to serve tomorrow. So I have to dress for work tomorrow.

Due to the regulations jurors must follow, I can't talk about the details of the case right now. Afterwards, I'll likely blog about it, though.

For some reason, this sort of thing makes me really nervous. I'm not sure if it's just my extreme introverted nature or if it's the gravity of having to decide someone's fate with 11 total strangers. I did get really nervous during the jury selection questions.


On a related note, I saw a TV commercial the other day for some school with vocational degrees. The one featured was for paralegals. This is an occupation that came up in the top 10 occupations for me on the Strong Inventory, and one that I've had some interest in for awhile since I took a class in legal transcription and liked it.

After today, though, I am not sure I want to be a paralegal or in any law-related profession. Maybe I was spooked by the jury selection process, I don't know.

I keep telling myself - or my conscience does - to trust God with this whole career thing, but I just can't resist the need to plan ahead what field I want to go in after college as a fallback plan if my writing doesn't work out. I mean, it's good to plan ahead - I even asked my mom if this was the right thing, since I felt that maybe it meant I didn't trust God, and she said it was the right thing.

I'm hoping that the class I'm taking through church - called "Discover Your Spiritual Gifts" - will help give me direction. I may want to take some career inventories again (though I may end up with the same results as I did 3 years ago).

I just started re-reading the book Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey, a book I got about 3/4 of the way through before the powers that be at Loaves and Fishes wouldn't let me read while watching the front counter anymore. In it, Yancey talks about his study of Exodus and Leviticus and concludes that if God were to directly reveal his will to us to the same extent as he did to the Israelites back then, our following of him would be based more on obedience than faith. As Galatians 2:21 says, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (ESV). Or as the New Living Translation (a translation that the Bible I had in junior high was in) puts it: "I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die."

I am someone who tries to follow all the rules - at work, at school, in life. Since I am as falliable as everyone else, I fail often at this. It bugs the heck out of me.

When doing the spiritual gifts test for my class, though I didn't have the scoring sheet (the teacher has that, and he's going to help us score it next class meeting), I saw somewhat of a pattern emerging. I think that, as with the previous paper test I took, my #1 gift might be missionary. Now, I do enjoy learning about other cultures and I do well with languages. But I don't do well socially, and my school life going to a private Christian school that was predominantly white makes me rather ignorant in how to interact with those of different races and religions.

This semester, when they had a job fair at school, I went around the tables and picked up some flyers. One of the "businesses" there was the Peace Corps. I was looking at one of their flyers the other day and it said that one way to make you stand out as a candidate is to learn one year of French or two years of Spanish. This was followed by a comment stating "Currently, there is a much greater need for French speakers than for Spanish speakers."

That stood out to me because I am a French minor. So I have taken more than 1 year of French. The only one of their programs that I was interested in though was English Teaching, and you need tutoring experience for that. I got recommended as a tutor twice at MiraCosta and the one time I did apply I didn't get a tutoring job.

They also have a program that combines Peace Corps volunteering with grad school. Either you can do the Master's International program, where you go to school first and then volunteer, or Fellows/USA, where you volunteer first and then go to school.

I just don't know though - the volunteering alone is a 27 month commitment, which is a long time. Granted, three of those months you're in training, but still. I'd have to quit my current job to do it, since you can't get any other employment while on a leave of absence from Stater Bros.

Dang, career stuff is so dang difficult!!!!

Since leaving the courthouse, I haven't been able to relax. I don't know if it's the can of Coke I drank during the lunch break (Coke makes me a little ADD for some reason...yet I still drink it) or something else.

I think all this free time is driving me crazy, which may seem odd to anyone reading this. When I was in school, I felt there wasn't enough free time, but now that I have free time, I don't know what to do with myself.

I have been listening to the talks for Randy Ingermanson's Fiction 101 course (although I gave it a few days off, and then got frustrated with it because the tracks were playing in random order). I also am doing research for my current novel-in-progress, Darkly Bound. Today, I took some handwritten notes from a book called The Nomadic Alternative, which I got from the Cal State library. I got this book so I could research nomadic life as a basis for my witch-siren characters. It's interesting, but it was hard to find what would apply to me, so I went through the table of contents and marked the parts I thought might be relevant. I also did this for the other book I had with me, a book called The Gypsies, which is also for witch-siren research (the odd thing is, all I want to research is them and their culture, but books on this have been ridiculously hard to find). In the Gypsies book though, I marked certain pages of the bibliography (so I could find more and hopefully more relevant books) as well as a page in the index.

So far in my research I have researched London, mythology, and theater/drama terms (my main character is a stage manager at a theater). Aside from those and the nomad and Gypsies books, I found two great books on the behind-the-scenes workings of theaters: Theatrical Design and Production and a gem I hadn't found in my catalog searches, The Stage Management Handbook (which, though from 1992, should still provide some basic information).

I haven't decided what play the theater's last-ditch play will be. I'm tempted to do Macbeth, since many theaters in financial trouble will produce it to try to make revenue (yet another suggestive aspect of the "Macbeth curse"). But for the sake of my story I think it would be cool to do a play that sort of mirrors Avalon's own journey. I may have to make one up for the sake of the story. Just so I don't try to write my story to fit a theme (Randy Ingermanson says in his Theme talk that if you do that, you'll come off sounding preachy).

Randy Ingermanson also talks about your main character having a goal, and makes it sound like there should only be one. But right now my main character has three goals: break her curse, find her father, and keep the theater from going under. I can think of a good motivation for all three: a motivation of stability/order. I guess I can figure that out later though. (The first draft is meant to be chaotic, says Randy Ingermanson).

Gah!! I can't take this thinking anymore. It's making me worry too much. I'm going to go now. I don't want to stay up too late since I have court tomorrow. Good night!

Monday, June 29, 2009

I got a Wii!

Well, I have finally entered the new console generation. I traded in my GameCube for a Wii!

Here's some pics of the Wii (reduced in size):

The Box (though mine is preowned, it was in the original box)


The Wii itself


I hold up the Wiimote and Nunchuk


Ok, so the Wii isn't cordless.


With my dad's help, I got my TV, VCR, and the Wii all hooked up. I had problems setting up the internet on the Wii and getting it to read discs, but I solved those. The trouble was that the SSID for the internet connection was wrong, and I was putting the discs in the wrong way. It still won't read the first disc of Tales of Symphonia though. I just cleaned it with a soft cotton cloth and water, like Nintendo recommends, and we'll see what happens.

I didn't end up buying the Wii game I thought I would, because when I asked the guy at the video game store which was better, Wii Fit or EA Sports Active, he said Wii Fit, but Wii Fit costs $90 (since it comes with the Balance Board). There's a new Wii Fit game coming out in a few months though, Wii Fit Plus, so I may just wait for that. I checked out the used Wii games, and ended up getting one I'd read about in Nintendo Power and thought was interesting: Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors. It was cheap ($22.49 used, after the savings from the GameStop EDGE card they persuaded me to get), plus I like RPG's.

Here's a picture:


With the $10 from my GameCube trade-in and money saved from the GameStop EDGE card, the grand total was (after our city's ridiculously high sales tax of 9.25%, raised from the general state rate of 8.25%, due to our city needing revenue for a new City Hall) $248.05, less than the retail price of a new Wii system alone. Sometimes buying used pays off.

Recently, I subscribed to a site called Blogger Link Up which was recommended on a writing blog I read. I figured I could promote myself as a writer by doing some guest blogging, and Blogger Link Up - designed to link bloggers to other bloggers or to link bloggers to those who want to get bloggers' attention - helps one do that. I already got two guest blogging requests. One is for a upcoming satellite TV station called Punch TV. I'm not sure what I'd be blogging on for them though, since I said in my guest blogging request that I would be willing to blog about Christianity, Christian writing, or fiction writing. We also don't have satellite TV at home (we have digital cable).

The other was for a blog called Catholic Charismatic Prophecies, which asked me to do a book review. I don't have much experience doing reviews, though, and I'm neither Catholic nor Charismatic.

I sent polite e-mails to both these requests, not flat-out rejecting them, but to ask some questions to help determine whether I should blog for them or not.

I have to go do jury duty tomorrow, so I'm going to try not to stay up too late tonight. I also need to be sure I have my summons handy. So, good night!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I beat the first Phoenix Wright game!

Yessss!! After what seems like forever of playing this game off and on, I finally beat it just moments ago!

For a while I didn't play it because I was stuck on the part of the DS-exclusive 5th case ("Rise from the Ashes") where you have to prove that the supposed "Blue Badger shadow" Ema Skye saw was actually the "unstable jar" you have in the Court Record. But, thankfully, I found a diagram online (as well as a screenshot) showing how to turn the jar so it proves that fact, and was able to move on and beat the game!

Here's the diagram:
And the screenshot:

Now, I confess, I did actually use a walkthrough on this game. The walkthrough said what statements to press in cross-examination and what evidence to present and when. It also said where to go, who to talk to, and what to do during investigation. But then, isn't that the same info that is included in official players' guides? I don't feel that I cheated. Some games - especially fantasy games - you can't get through very well without a little help. Players' guides are also useful for dungeon maps and to determine you've got all the items you need from a place (especially dungeons). They also often give advice on how to defeat bosses (very useful with the myriad of element-based bosses in Tales of Symphonia). The Tales of Symphonia players' guide also provides a full bestiary - useful in completing the Monster List.

Anyway, I was putting off playing the other Phoenix Wright game I own, Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, until I beat this game, so now I can play that one. That game's the third in the series, though, so I might want to get the second one (Phoenix Wright: Justice for All) and play it first. I don't know if it matters plot-wise or not. Then there's the newest game in the US, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, and the new Miles Edgeworth-themed spin-off (Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth) that was just recently released in Japan.

I am also considering getting a Wii. The game store by the movie theatre has preowned ones for $200 (about $50 cheaper than a new one, which would be a big savings if I bought a game also). It can play my GameCube games, so I wouldn't have to get rid of those. I would have to keep the GameCube memory cards I have, though, since GameCube games played on the Wii need GameCube memory cards to save, and since I'm not likely to find any for sale anymore, I might as well hold on to the ones I have, if they're usable. (I had one that got so messed up, I couldn't use it anymore, even though physically speaking it was fine). The trouble is, if the ones I have get messed up, I'm in a pickle.

Another benefit of a Wii is the fact that it is wireless - no cords! Since I can't even quite figure out how to plug my TV and VCR in to the nearest plug right now (since the plug's covered by my bookcase, which I had moved there when the carpet was replaced recently), I most certainly don't want a game system with lots of wires. I guess maybe I should figure out how to plug the TV in first, although I could just plug it in somewhere else in the room for a bit until I am able to plug it in behind the bookcase.

If I buy a Wii, I may buy a Wii game with it. I'm thinking something simple to start - Wii Fit, Wii Music, or EA Sports Active. Although Wii Fit requires that you buy that heavy, humongous Balance Board too (which can also be used to help simulate a drum kit in Wii Music). EA Sports Active is usable right out of the box, with the extra equipment (leg bands and a resistance band) packaged with the game. So I may get that one. I need the exercise.

Well that was pretty much all I was going to say. Bye!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I need to slow down, but I can't

The last few days I have been very restless. My mind can't stay on one thing very long - even when I'm working on focused work like I did last night making the last part of Act 25 of the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project, my mind feels like it's going in all directions at once. It's like ADD, except that I can actually sit still and still have this happen.

I tried going to bed earlier last night, since I was really tired and figured I needed a good night's sleep. I went to bed about 10:30 p.m. and got up at 8 a.m. But I am still restless today.

It could be my period; I'm always really restless on the first day of it and sometimes before.

I do admit I have been having trouble getting more sleep since school let out; even on days I'm off or when I get off work early in the day (as has been happening now that they're splitting me between bakery and grocery), I have found myself staying up till 1am.

I also paid for access to a download site so I could get this torrent of the Wedding Peach omake (since the person whose Veoh channel I was watching that series on doesn't have the second part of the first omake or the second omake uploaded) and then I had to install this program and I still couldn't get to the file. I regret dropping $35 on this stupid thing, but I don't think I can take it back.

I've also been working on my websites. My personal site is up. Its URL is My author site is almost ready; I just need to decide what content the "unpublished works" section will have. I also need to figure out how to make my contact and newsletter forms work. I'm very inexperienced with more complex HTML such as forms. In fact, I had a hard enough time with the DIV layout I made (and it only looks good in Internet Explorer; I tested it in Firefox, Opera, and Safari, and it looks bad in those...I don't think Firefox can read CSS). The contact form (the HTML for which I got from a book) has to be linked to a CGI file, which I don't know how to make. The newsletter one is linked to, the site I am sending my newsletter through (I was beginning to think I wouldn't be able to because the "e-mail broadcasting" option was disabled under my free trial, but then I called their tech support and the guy helped me out and upgraded my account for me so the broadcasting would work. I still have to pay $29.99 a month or something like that for the service, but it does have a very nicely made service, and Randy Ingermanson recommends it).

I also used the free Google External Keyword Tool that Randy Ingermanson recommended to generate META tag keywords for both my sites, which helped a lot. Though my hosting site ( sells a product that can submit your site to a bunch of search engines, it's an expensive thing (comes to $86.28 for the year!) so I think I will handle that myself. If I can get my sites listed through the Open Directory Project that will help (although it took them forever to list me last time, so maybe not).

I've got to leave for work now, but I'll post more later.