Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back from Camping

My parents and I went camping this weekend at Onion Valley, a campground 9,200 feet up into the Inyo National Forest. My parents had been there before but I had never been. It's really pretty - there are mountains all around, lots of trees, and even three waterfalls - two of which we could see from our campsite (though only at certain angles - the trees hid them from some spots). Granted, such a rustic campsite was lacking in amenities, like showers and even running water (they had faucets to get water from, but even that water you were supposed to boil before using). It had toilets, but they did not flush. But that's a sacrifice one can make for a weekend. I do regret not being able to make it all the way on the hike we did yesterday on the Robinson Lake Trail - but even my parents admitted it was very strenuous, and they're experienced hikers (they hiked Mount Whitney, for goodness sake). The trail was flat at first, but for the most part, it's a VERY steep path straight up the mountain. I could not catch my breath for more than a minute. Just goes to show how out of shape I am!

Most of the time I read a book I was trying to finish - Negotiating Religious Faith in the Composition Classroom, edited by Elizabeth Vander Lei and Bonnie Lenore Kyburz. This was a book the WeRead app on Facebook recommended to me because I put in that I was reading the books I was reading for my Theory and Practice of K-12 Writing Instruction class. It is not light reading, and definitely will not make sense unless you are either a composition teacher or if you're like me and have taken both a class in writing instruction and a class in modern literary theory, in which case some of the theories and theorists they invoke will sound familiar. I did find the book interesting with its relatively balanced view on the subject of how to deal as a composition teacher with students whose religious faith affects the way they write. To be honest, I do not usually mention my faith in my school writing; the only essay I have done that in for university is the final essay I had to write for my Sacred Texts class, and that was comparing Islam and Christianity so it was inherently religious; however, I quoted both the Koran and the Bible to support my points. It was still interesting to see how the various authors of the different chapters had dealt with students of faith.

I did get some writing done as well for my novel, but not as much as I would've liked. Mostly that was because on the way up I did not have much room in the car so I couldn't do much. Even trying to play my DS (yes, I took my DS camping) was difficult. On the way back I had more room. I did quite a bit of writing then; in fact, it was the primary thing I did on the way back, other than talk with my parents, play a little Solitaire on my iPod, and read some of Kerry Nietz's book The Superlative Stream (the sequel to A Star Curiously Singing) via Kindle for iPhone while eating the snack I got at the gas station at Pearsonville, the one stop we made. I also did a fair amount of writing while at the campsite waiting for my parents to come back from hiking; this was after doing some reading and trying to complete the Charizard challenge in Pokémon Ranger (in my rush, I had to go and grab the harder Ranger game, the one I'm really stuck at!). I probably should've stuck to my other, easier game, Imagine: Interior Designer, which I played for the first time this weekend. That game is actually pretty fun; basically like all of the Imagine games, it's a simulation of an actual job. But unlike more general sim games like, well, The Sims, the Imagine series games are specifically targeted towards girls. Plus this game has much more of a plot than The Sims (I played the GBA version of The Sims: Bustin' Out, and half the time I didn't know what to do with myself, especially when my scooter somehow got stuck in some inaccessible place on the map). Basically, clients come to you asking for certain things. If you do them, you succeed and win various rewards, like unlocking different patterns or elements or the ability to decorate your display window. Actually, it's pretty easy to succeed since when you're doing a client's order, the game won't let you proceed if what you have doesn't match what the client wants. Plus, when a client asks for a painting, it doesn't have to be some big artistic masterpiece. (Often they just ask for a personalized painting, sometimes with certain stickers, so you're more or less free to do whatever). There is also a free workshop mode where you can create things either to display in your display window, share with friends via wi-fi, or use to decorate your own room when that option is unlocked. The workshops are Painting, Pottery (which lets you create vases and lamps), Frame (which lets you frame photos or paintings, including paintings you made in the Painting workshop; this is required if you want to put paintings in your display window or room), Furniture, Curtains, Surfaces (which lets you choose flooring, rugs, baseboards, crown molding, and colors for walls and ceilings), and Room Layout (which lets you arrange things in a room). At any rate, it was a nice switch from My World, My Way, which is taking forever to beat. I did sort of spoil myself on who the ultimate boss is and some other stuff from browsing a walkthrough. Oh well. Apparently, you have to have the darn adventurer guy reject you three times before you get to the end of the game, which means defeating three big baddies before you finally get to the last area. Almost makes you feel for this selfish brat of a princess you are playing as. Right now I am in the Snow Land, at Ice Field I think.

I am still having issues with my websites as far as displaying site updates goes. I decided to create site updates blogs for them using Wordpress, but I am having trouble figuring out how to get the recent posts to display. I tried using the code in this article to do it, but it didn't work the way it was supposed to, as you can see if you go to Myu Corner and then compare it to what is shown in that article. It seems like the only way to do it is through PHP, and perhaps because my site is not coded in PHP it won't work. I don't know for sure. I can possibly make it work for my writing site using a script called Livejournal Magpie, which is a script for displaying recent LiveJournal posts that was created by the same person who created Enthusiast (the popular fanlisting management script). I found out about this script from The Oracle, a popular Sailor Moon site, since it is used there for site updates. But for the others I don't know. You'd think Wordpress would've made a plugin for this or something. Maybe they have, I don't know. I couldn't find one.

In related news, I made a fan page for Myu Corner on Facebook soon after making the updates blog. After making the fan page and playing with it, I sent a message to Elly of Miss Dream to tell her and she fanned it (and friended me as well; I had found her name in the comments on the Miss Dream Facebook page to send the message). I also invited my friends who liked Sailor Moon to fan it (such as Amy-chan and Reilia-chan, my fellow LAR "bandmates," as well as a few others). I added a couple apps to it: Extended Info (which I found useful on my writing Facebook; it lets you add more info than the default categories Facebook gives you) and NetworkedBlogs so I could publish my blog posts to the page. I also added a widget to the updates blog that lets you translate the blog into as many languages as you specify, using Google Translate. Since the Sailor Moon fan community is rather international, I figured this would be a good idea. I specified the following languages:

-Chinese Simplified
-Chinese Traditional

Basically, I tried to think of languages in which Sailor Moon aired, based on the "Sailor Moon multilanguage" videos I've seen on YouTube. I realize now that Danish and Hindi are probably unnecessary, maybe Hebrew also. The major European languages (French, German, Spanish, and Italian) were no-brainers since I know there are Sailor Moon fans who read in those languages. (Sailor Moon is particularly popular in Germany, even to this day, and they just recently got a right to redub it in Italy). Arabic is also a major language, so I included it; I don't know if there are Sailor Moon fans in Arab-speaking countries though. I put in Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish mainly because some company recently got redub rights to redub Sailor Moon in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Plus there was a Swedish dub back in the day. I believe there are Moonies (SM fans) in Russia too, or at least anime fans since I have seen several Russian anime sites. The major Asian languages - Japanese, Korean, Chinese (in both forms; Simplified is used in China proper and Traditional in Taiwan I believe), Indonesian, Filipino, and Thai - also made sense. (The Sailor Stars photo album I have was even made in Korea). Dutch was kind of an afterthought (there was a Dutch dub though) and probably Greek and Hungarian too. Catalan is a dialect of Castilian Spanish (the kind of Spanish they speak in Spain), but there was a Catalan dub of Sailor Moon so I included it. Portuguese is also a big one; its dub is often criticized on YouTube however in "multilanguage" clips. I actually accidentially offended someone the other day with my negative comments on the Portuguese dub and had to make that right. Anyway, I played around with this widget after I added it and it was actually kind of fun. Sometimes the Facebook "like" button under the posts (part of the Facebook widget I have on the blog, which is also how I display my "like box" for the Facebook page) doesn't show up, and in Hebrew (which is written right-to-left) the writing looks really different (this is also true for Arabic, for the same reason).

Well I feel kind of tired, probably because I got up early as I always do when I am camping. Maybe I'll work on my websites tomorrow, since when I called my work to get my schedule they said I was off the next two days. (Yay!) I do want to go to the San Diego County Fair before it's over, but I can't go tomorrow because they are closed. Maybe on Tuesday. You can get a $1.75 discount off admission if you take public transit and show a valid transit pass, which my Compass Card should count as although it's not explicitly stated on the fair's website. The best way I guess will be to take the Sprinter to Escondido and catch the shuttle from there. That won't take too long. I haven't been to the Fair the last couple years so I am eager to go this year. I've never been by myself either so that will be interesting. (I usually go with my parents because my dad works for a local radio station and can get tickets sometimes). If anything, I want to see the Flower and Garden Show, since that is always interesting; the Student Showcase at the Plaza de Mexico, which showcases school newspapers and yearbooks and stuff; and the Star Trek exhibit/performance thing they are having on the Sparkletts Infield. The website says you can bring your own food in, which I might do because the fair food is both expensive and fatty (stuff like funnel cake and every fried food you can think of). I also want to go on the rides since I have not gotten a chance to ever do so. You have to buy ride tickets for those though.

Ok I'm tired. I think I may have a light dinner and then go to bed (since I took a shower earlier, because I needed one after not having taken one Friday or Saturday night). Maybe there is something wholesome I can watch after watching Sailor Moon Abridged and some of Tamao108's dubbing, both of which I always feel a little bad about watching since they're noticeably dirty. Good night.

Oh P.S. I meant to say this last post but I forgot. You probably noticed I changed my blog theme! After 6 years, I did away with the old theme at last. This theme is called "Storyteller." I like it a lot!

P.P.S. [Post-Postscript] The day before we left for Onion Valley I got off work at 1pm since I switched shifts with my coworker Kim because she had school, and I missed the 1:30 bus so to pass the hour till the next one I went and looked at GameStop. And what should I find, preowned for $19.99 and in excellent condition, but: SAKURA WARS ~SO LONG, MY LOVE~! Sweet~! I bought it, naturally, even getting a couple bucks off by using my Edge card (which they told me expires next month...I guess I can't renew it without also renewing my "subscription" to Game Informer magazine, which is a pity since I don't really care for the magazine but do want the benefits of the card, like 10% off used games). So while I wasn't able to get the special artbook you were supposed to get if you preordered it from this site (since I tried three times but couldn't get the order to actually process any of those times), I have the game now.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, June 21, 2010


I think deep down I have a desperate desire to be famous. Or maybe not that. I guess it's more a desire to be noticed and/or accepted. I used not to care as much, I think. Sure, I wanted friends and all as a kid, but I just sort of accepted that I wasn't popular and hung around mostly with the same people, like my best friend Amy and my other friends like Que and Nichelle. It's sort of like with my weight. I didn't worry about it until high school when Que bluntly pointed out that I needed to lose weight (probably because she was on Slim-Fast herself because of the muscle weight she had; but as a member of the tennis team she got a lot more exercise than me).

Even as far as fads go, I didn't care what other people thought about me not pursuing them. The only fad I fell for was Sanrio (aka Hello Kitty), which was popular when I was in fifth grade, aka the 1995-1996 school year. That was back when they had those cool pencil boxes with the things that would pop out the side (like pencil sharpeners). Sadly, I don't think Sanrio has those anymore.

But nowadays I think I am becoming more concerned about what people think of me. I don't know what triggered it. I guess it must be part of that awkward identity crisis that usually hits you in adolescence that waited till after high school to hit me. (My dad says we're both late bloomers). The birth order experts say firstborns are perfectionists, and that I definitely am. I think perfectionism might also be a trait of Scorpio (my zodiac sign) or of my Asperger Syndrome. So that trait is very dominant. I think my mom's kind of a perfectionist too, so maybe I get it from her (although generally I take after my dad).

Nowadays also I find myself going after things other people do to become known, on the net mainly. You would be surprised how many articles I've been reading on writing, SEO, web design, and Twitter lately. I've also tried to become popular on YouTube, without much success (except for one video that got over 18k views). Unfortunately, I've figured out there are only three ways to get popular on YouTube: vlogging, to already have a big online presence outside YouTube (which the big companies, people like Marriland and groups like the PotterCasters have), or upload clips of anime - either full episodes or short clips. Sailor Moon transformation and attack clips, either official or fan-made, are particularly popular (my 18k-view video was of the PGSM transformations and attacks with the audio from the English anime dub). But my lack of a video camera or webcam makes vlogging impossible, I don't have a big online presence (and haven't figured out how to get one), and YouTube's copyright things make the last difficult (and I've had four accounts get suspended due to unintentional copyright infringement, so I know the risks).

Yet all of that shouldn't matter, right? There are more important things to worry about in life. Yet I find myself vying for popularity online and daydreaming about being on Jeopardy and American Idol, even though my chances of getting on either are slim - for AI I'd more likely wait for 14 hours to sing in front of producers for 30 seconds, like what happened to my former coworker Alex at the San Diego auditions a couple years ago. I could possibly do Jeopardy though, or Wheel of Fortune.

Maybe Dr. Feder was right. Maybe I do need cognitive behavior therapy. Because if I am going to beat this, I'm going to have to change how I think, and that's very hard to do.

I'm going to go now and blow off some steam playing my DS before work.

Finished at 12:25 pm iPod time

-- Posted from BlogPress

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Period & frustration

Finished at 11:22 am 6/18/10

My period started today. I always hate when it starts on a work day because I would much rather stay at home, since on my first day I feel very restless. Since I don't get debilitating cramps like some people -- just discomfort which a single ibuprofen can usually deal with -- I can't call in sick, and I am not one of those people who calls in sick when I'm not sick. Even if my allergies are bad and I'm all sneezy and sniffly, I go to work if I am scheduled. The only times I call in sick are if I have a fever or the stomach flu or something like that. (I do get the stomach flu sometimes, though very randomly. The last time it was really bad...but I'll spare you that story).

I have been feeling very restless lately. All I've wanted to do is use my laptop in mindless zombie mode (where I do nothing but mindlessly watch YouTube clips or scroll through forum posts without posting anything myself) or play my DS. I did get some writing done, and on my days off (Monday and Tuesday) I managed to go places -- to The Wave (a local waterpark) on Monday and to Balboa Park (a park in San Diego where they have lots of museums, gardens, and a zoo known worldwide for its pandas) on Tuesday. But the energy I had to work on my websites last week has gone bye-bye. All my workdays for the past two weeks I've come home tired but with somehow enough energy to stay up till midnight. I did manage to go to bed at 10 the night before last, but I was still tired. Where has my energy gone?

I also have decided to try learning to draw manga. I bought a sketchbook from work and got a couple books on drawing manga from the library to supplement the two I already have. I had an idea to do a story called "Enchanted Supermarket" about a supermarket whose employees all have magic powers. I was going to set it in Japan because it was manga and their supermarkets aren't that different from ours, but Elly from Miss Dream (who knows about the manga because I posted asking for help about what "enchanted" would be in Japanese) said she wouldn't mind seeing a American manga set in America that didn't try to be Japanese. That made me think that maybe I would set it in America after all. After all, I think Tomo (a Christian manga) is set in San Francisco. And the manga I got an omnibus of from Comic-Con last year, Amazing Agent Luna, was Western-set too (and by a Western author). I suppose I could look into some of the Rising Stars of Manga winners' work, like Peach Fuzz and Sorcerers and Secretaries.

I hope I can get over this malaise. It's driving me crazy. Maybe I need to exercise-- play Wii Fit, take a walk, or go swim in the neighborhood pool. I felt good after going to The Wave and to Balboa Park, and one involved swimming and the other a lot of walking. It might help.

Well bye for now. I'm going to read A Wizard of Earthsea, continue the adventures of Elise in my DS game My World, My Way, or talk to my coworker Adam while I wait for the bus to work.

-- Posted from BlogPress

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Releasing nervous energy

I'm having another of those days where I have a lot of nervous energy that needs to be channeled in some way. I tried playing the seemingly endless game My World, My Way (whose initial storyline is 10 gameplay hours long -- the rest is basically a repeat of the initial storyline). I tried to work on my novel but drew a blank. I read more of Suite Scarlett, one of the books I got from the library. But it's not holding my interest, maybe because it reminds me a lot of The Devil Wears Prada, a book (and movie) that I didn't care that much for.

But then I haven't started work yet. Maybe once I do I'll calm down. I didn't really have time to chill this morning like I have had these last two weeks where I've had 1-6 shifts, because today was election day for the state primaries, so I got up early to go vote before work. Then, since it was still early, I went to school to pick up the books I requested over the Circuit (a library borrowing system that links the major local university libraries as well as the county library system in one big network, allowing you to request books from any of the libraries in the network). Then I sat down for a few moments and checked my e-mail and stuff on my iPod. Then I went to the computer lab to search the catalog for books on drawing, a skill I've decided to improve. This ended with me going to the San Marcos Library (one train stop away) and picking up two books on drawing manga, even though I actually own two books on this already.

Why do I want to learn to draw all the sudden? Probably to blow off steam about my disastrous Graphic Design class (where, despite the teacher thinking my final project seemed "half-done," I somehow managed to get a B). More likely, it's just because I'm bored. Since I'm not taking classes this summer, all I'm doing is working pretty much. And honestly, that gets boring after a while, even if I am only working 5-hour shifts right now. These 1-6 shifts aren't ideal, since that's right about the time whatever energy I had in the morning is ebbing away.

I had planned to work on my websites this summer, but I'm not as motivated to do that as I was. Maybe that's because I've been pretty tired lately.

I did put in to get the last weekend in June off to go camping with my family. Hopefully I'll get it and get a break, since my vacation (which I also put in for yesterday) isn't till the end of July. Plus I found out I get two weeks of vacation this year so I need to figure out what to do with the second week. Plus I'd like to get a hotel at least for the Comic-Con days, but it might be too late, and I can't afford the official ones. But it would be easier than taking the train up each day and having to get a ride back.

Ok I'm going to go. I've got to clock in in 15 minutes.

(finished at 12:45pm)

-- Posted from BlogPress