This has felt like a rather long week. Maybe it's because last week I had spring break, which felt way too short. Since I have school Tuesday and Thursday (my other days off), I find myself looking forward to Sunday, when my only commitment is church and the rest of the day is mine to do as I please. Saturday is also technically the only day I can stay up really late and not have to worry because I can sleep in (especially since I go to a later church service now...my parents have to take me now since the off-site venue I was going to moved and isn't within walking distance anymore, and having me go to the later service works better for them because their service starts at 10 and mine at 10:50, so they can drop me off on the way to their church).
There's only about a month of school left before summer. I can hardly believe it. The time until spring break feels like it takes forever, and then after spring break is over, everything goes so fast. But then again, ever since I got the job at Stater Bros in January '07, it seems like time has been escaping me faster than usual. Maybe because I worked a lot at first. I can hardly believe I've been at Stater Bros. for 3 years already.
I tried to plan out my remaining classes the other day, again. It looks like I should be able to finish my B.A. by next spring as planned, unless I can't get a class for some reason. I also hope there isn't an issue with my French minor elective -- the class I took to substitute for the normal requirement -- which isn't showing up on my degree progress (the degree progress also says I didn't meet the requirement for French 101, but I should have from taking French in high school...I've e-mailed Dr. Anover about both of these issues). So the plan right now is to take my last two elective classes in fall (especially since one of them, my genre class in Fiction, is only offered in fall) along with the first half of the Lit Theory class and the first half of British Lit. Then next spring, I'll take the second halves of British Lit and American Lit, along with a 400-level Cultural Studies class that's part of the core but requires that you take both of the Lit Theory classes first before taking it (I've taken the second half already).
As for my web design certificate, since I just started it I have a ways to go. Assuming I pass my Graphic Design class and the school accepts that I've taken Web Design 1 already, I'll have two core classes and one emphasis class (my Internet Presence class) out of the way by the end of this semester. Then I have one core class, three more emphasis classes, one advanced course, and a portfolio development class left to take. I'm planning to save the portfolio class till the end (for obvious reasons). I think I may have to take a class in the summer if I want to get this certificate done at the same time as my B.A. I'd rather not take a summer class, but I don't see any other way, since realistically I can't take more than 2 classes for this per semester in addition to my CSUSM load (and even the 2 classes were hard to handle). I'm trying to figure out which class I'd be ok spending a shorter amount of time taking (since the summer semester's shorter than the regular semester). Definitely not the Photoshop or Flash classes, since those are program-based and I want as much time to learn those as possible. That leaves the two Web Design courses, Interactive Media Production, or Dynamic Web Development (my advanced class). It's advised that you take MAT 165 (Web Design 2) before taking the Dynamic Web Development class though so I may save that one for the end.
Ok I got the bright idea to actually see if MiraCosta's Summer schedule was up. It was. The only MAT classes offered this summer are the Photoshop class, Web Design 1, Web Design 2, and a class in Adobe Illustrator (the sequel to the Photoshop class). So unless I want to take Web Design 2 as a night class (the only way it's offered) that's out. So I might not be able to finish it at the same time, especially since my final semester at CSUSM I will probably be super busy - all the people I've met at CSUSM who are seniors seem to be really busy in their last year.
In other news, I put in an application to join Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society that has a chapter at my school. I'm still awaiting confirmation one way or another as to whether I've been accepted. At any rate, if I am, I won't be formally inducted until the induction ceremony later in the semester. If I get in, it provides lots of opportunities for scholarships, awards, and publication, as well as apparently volunteering. I already put my name down to read to preschoolers in a couple weeks, assuming my work schedule stays the same as it has been on Wednesdays.
Also, a big news thing I didn't have the time to share last time...I AM NOW A MISS DREAM STAFFER! Yes it's true. I have been added to their staff to do French to English translations and vice versa. My current project is scanning and translating the French Sailor V manga, which will then be Photoshopped (or "shooped") by Jen, another of the staff members. I've also been asked by Jen to translate the French words in the songs from the CD Sailor Moon SuperS in Paris, which contains all "Frenchified" songs. (Or I guess "Frenanese" or "Japrench" or some odd portmanteau like that works too). Since I love the songs on that CD, and since lyrics of them aren't available anywhere (even on sailormusic.net), I'm more than happy to help. The version of "Moon Revenge" on there is uber cool.
I feel slightly overwhelmed right now though...I have school and work, which should be more than enough to deal with for anybody. But then there is my writing - and the marketing that comes with it - to worry about, as well as my spiritual life. Plus trying to keep up with the song requests my friend AmyMizunoPGSM sends me for our YouTube singing group LAR Productions, trying to figure out stuff for my websites, writing my articles for The Pallet Tribune (my latest one still isn't up...what the heck, Ducky-von-Karma?), trying to keep up with my forums and social networks, and now doing this gig with Miss Dream. In a way, I can see why one of my YouTube friends said he was taking a break from YouTube and stuff. I feel like I need that too. I could pull it off too if not for Amy-chan, the 16-year-old leader and founder of LAR Productions. I said in my LAR vlog that she's "keeping us on task," and she is definitely doing that. I've had three song requests (one a re-do) just in the last week or so from her. The fact that I've been tired a lot this week, have had homework, and had my allergies flare up hasn't helped this. I think that Amy-chan forgets that some people have lives. Considering how often she posts on Facebook, posting mostly seemingly pointless, arbitrary status updates with the occasional dash of "I miss [insert boyfriend's name here], woe is me" sort of messages, I'm guessing she has a lot of free time on her hands. (Actually, she has some boyfriend right now, because he helped her write the lyrics to the LAR parody she did recently). She actually used to post a lot more of the second kind for a while, after her dad found out about her boyfriend and got angry. She kind of reminds me of Que a little bit, minus Que's sob story about being born out of wedlock as the 6th kid of her mother and being given up for adoption to people who later divorced and remarried. Que never had a relationship longer than 3 months long in the time I knew her. And based on the few things I've heard about her since she was expelled from Tri-City for her bad grades - that she became a teen mom herself and has taken up smoking - Amy-chan might be headed down a bad way. Now you may wonder why I would worry so much about a girl I've never met who lives in Puerto Rico and posts too much on Facebook. Technically, I have no reason to care. But she considers me her friend and oneesan (older sister), so I kind of feel obliged to care.
I admit being in LAR with Amy-chan is a tough thing. I like being in such a group, and have fully supported it by creating the group's website and trying to maintain our Facebook page. I also try to keep updating with videos on our YouTube channel - I was in fact the only one to post all five of the Christmas singles Amy-chan requested of us. But aside from the thing about the song requests, I almost can't stand to hear her sing. She may or may not know this, but she is a really bad singer. Everytime I listen to/watch one of her solos, I almost cringe because she sounds really bad in general (and also out of tune). It's too bad, because she's a great fandubber (as I learned because she's in one of mine). I don't think any of the three of us have had singing lessons though so I probably shouldn't be too hard on her. But I can't help it.
As for my spritual life, I do feel like God is speaking to me through the sermons at church, and I'm reading the Bible every day. But I haven't really taken time to reflect on it. I was just re-reading On My Own, the 4th of the Caitlin books in the Diary of a Teenage Girl series by Melody Carlson, today and it's amazing how Caitlin just talks to God about anything and trusts him a lot too. One of the sermons on prayer - I think the one on the Lord's Prayer - mentioned how nothing is too trivial to bring before God. But I have met really on-fire people who seem to bring up God no matter what they're talking about and involve God in every decision - probably even over whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast - and they bug me. I mean, yes, God should be my #1 and I am supposed to surrender everything to him. I understand this. But I have some issues. First, applying the Bible. Obviously, it's one thing to read it or even study it, but you have to put it into practice or reading it is useless (as James says "faith without works is dead"). I have difficulty doing this. I think this because of what I just mentioned - how much of our lives is ours and how much is God's? Well, I guess all of our lives ought to be God's, because he died for us and bought us for a price, as the Bible says. But he gave us free will, right? That's how we got into sin in the first place. There are some decisions I'd like to make without having to shoot a prayer up first - like what shirt I'm going to wear, what I'm going to have for breakfast, what time to go to bed, that sort of thing. Those sorts of things seem like stuff we shouldn't have to pray about, right?
Second is trust. Ever since high school, with family deaths and the whole Kyle debacle, I've found it hard to trust anybody, let alone God. I know I should trust him, and I want to, but I don't know how.
Third is uncertainty. I have had moments where I feel like I have spiritual insight, but since the insights don't result in change or action on my part, I've begun to doubt whether the insight moments even occurred, or they were just wishful thinking, figments of my imagination created to make myself feel better.
Fourth is fear. Well, fear and worry...they sort of go together. Just recently on American Idol when they talked about what a worrywart Lee Dewyze is, I could totally relate. I have intense fears of failure and rejection (well, and heights too - I actually get anxious in high places, but don't go so far as to suffer vertigo). This added to intense perfectionism (which may be because I'm the firstborn, or just a character trait) makes for not a very pleasant life. I dislike taking risks because I cannot control the outcome. I try to be everything to everyone, because I desperately want to be accepted rather than rejected by people. I have difficulties saying no and care a lot about what others think of me. My current job has been hampered quite a bit by worry that if I did one too many things wrong, I'd get fired (much the way I was let go from my previous job partly for behaviorial reasons). My clumsiness and social difficulties, both symptoms of my Asperger's Syndrome, don't help matters. Thus my fears and my tendency to worry are closely linked.
I think part of my problem is that I don't fully understand myself. I'm still in an identity crisis right now, which is why I think it is hard for me to brand myself as a writer as well. I'm still dealing with the more-or-less confirmation that I have Asperger's, a condition I don't understand very well. Plus, often times it is only the small measure of self-control I seem to possess that keeps me from lashing out when I get frustrated or angry -- like a typical Scorpio, I am intensity hidden behind a placid exterior (I don't regularly read horoscopes, but I have read about my own sign). I know I need some help if I'm ever going to live on my own. I definitely need help learning to budget my money and stuff and probably also help with social relations. Dr. Feder suggested cognitive behavioral therapy, which according to the Wikipedia article on Asperger's, is supposed to help "to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions, and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines." And I know Dr. Feder thinks I have anxiety as well, as in an anxiety disorder (though which one I'm not sure; the term "anxiety disorder" is really a blanket term for many other conditions; in the summary he e-mailed us he is rather vague on the subject).
I'm listening to samples at the moment of a CD by Ōe Hikari, a Japanese musician who was born with brain problems and is also autistic. He's never spoken more than a few words, but he has become able to express himself through music. The music is quite amazing. I might buy his CD's (he has two).
Ok, I think I'm going to take a shower. Good night!