Saturday, October 29, 2011

Depressed and need to vent

I am officially depressed. Not like diagnosed clinically depressed or anything, thank goodness, but just depressed. Enough for it to interfere with my normal functioning.

There's really no reason for me to be depressed - I mean, I'm on vacation from work, and I've gotten the two major things done I wanted to get done during this week: the French proficiency test (Test d'Évaluation du Français) at the Alliance Française and driving school through Mira Costa. I also had a very nice birthday (yesterday) and got to go to a great symphony concert with my dad on Wednesday in Mira Costa's new Concert Hall, where we heard world-premiere pieces by their composer-in-residence as well as Beethoven's Eighth Symphony. And Beethoven is my favorite classical composer. 

So why am I depressed? Well, let's just say driving school didn't go quite as smoothly as I expected. I expected that after this I'd be able to get my license very soon (after some practice with my parents, of course). But now it looks like it could be forever till that happens, because while I'm not a horrible driver, I'm not sure the instructor has very high hopes for me either. He did think I did better than he had thought I'd do on the first day, but yesterday was the first day I had to do most of the steering by myself, so I didn't do as well, and today I did things like freak out over a bag in the road that I thought I was going to run over (and stopped suddenly because of it), put my visor down at a bad time due to the sun being in my eyes (it was early morning), and accidentally changed lanes after going straight through an intersection instead of staying in the lane I was in before I crossed the intersection. Plus I have problems with maintaining speed (probably because there are a lot of speed limit changes in the area we drove in), some trouble with turns, and some issues with lane position (though I have improved with that somewhat).

The instructor doesn't want me to practice with my parents until we get his report (or until he talks with my parents, whichever he decides to do - though I asked him to send a written report anyway cause I remember things better when they're written, personally). I'm just afraid that I may drive really badly with my parents, who won't have the extra brake the driver's ed car has and thus won't be able to stop me if I confuse my pedals or something, they'll never let me drive. And then my mom will get to glorify in the fact that she was right all along and I won't be able to drive EVER. And if I can't drive a car, then I'll have to work around the bus schedule my whole life, severely limiting my job possibilities, meaning I might not be able to make more money and be able to afford to move out.

And I want to move out. Because while I love my parents, sometimes they drive me crazy. Not my dad so much. He's great. It's my mom. She constantly gets on me about my clothes and how I need to take care of myself better and you should see how she nagged me to get a physical. Granted, I know she means well, but sometimes I just don't agree with her. I like wearing jeans and a T-shirt. And I'd like to wear a dress (like I used to) but I have trouble finding them in my size. I am NOT joking - it's like impossible to find plus size dresses, though maybe I'm just not going to the right stores cause we found skirts and stuff for me before when I worked at Loaves and Fishes and had to wear dresses or skirts. Plus, like a typical Asperger's person, I am very picky about fabrics (due to a touch sensitivity - autistic people have super-sensitive senses), so I only really feel comfortable in cotton. Plus, it's hard for me to wear dresses or skirts because I have to wear something under it, like pantyhose, so my legs don't rub together, and I find pantyhose to be very formal, so they wouldn't work with a casual dress. Of course, if I lost some weight, I could probably solve that problem, because I think my legs rub together because my thighs are really big.

Another problem I have with moving out is affording it. Unfortunately, SoCal is one of the most expensive places around, and your average apartment in our area generally starts at $900/month or so, and that's just for rent. I only make around $200-$250/week (depending on my hours and how much gets deducted for taxes, health insurance, and union dues), so that's about $1,000/month, maybe more because I actually make more than $12,000 a year. I would definitely need a roommate for it to work, unless I want to live on like $100/month after rent, which I suppose I could do (considering I'd probably qualify for food stamps if I lived on my own, which would help with food costs).

The driving instructor did point out that I don't need a car to move out (yes, we did talk about this) and I guess this is true since at least some of the apartments in my area are close to a bus stop. And I suppose I could advertise for a roommate. Too bad I'm not at Cal State anymore because people were always posting signs looking for roommates there. There is this ULoop thing I keep getting e-mails from on my school account that allows you to look for roommates on it too.

I just want to move on with my life, and I feel like I'm so stuck. I mean, I am in a transition period since I just graduated from college about 6 months ago. And to be honest, finding out I had Asperger's did kind of throw a wrench in the works, since I don't understand it very well nor do I know how to deal with it. I did recently read the book Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin, a famous animal science professor at Colorado State who also has high-functioning autism (and who the HBO film Temple Grandin is about), which did help explain it somewhat. She also wrote a book about careers, Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, which I'm going to check out. Though it may be as un-helpful as the career books I found in the Career Center (Careers for Introverts and Solitary Types, Careers for Culture Lovers and Other Artsy Types, Great Jobs for English Majors, and Careers for Foreign Language Aficionados and Other Multilingual Types). We'll see.

My brother is in town and he asked me last night about how my writing was going. To be honest, it's on hold. I still haven't started revising my novel that I finished back in April, which I was going to distance myself from over the summer and pick back up in the fall. I did intend to, but then my online classes started and I got kinda busy. Plus, I've been writing content for my websites. I spent weeks - literally - writing character bios for Myu Corner. So much I practically got sick of it. I didn't even realize how many characters there are in SeraMyu. It's insane. Thankfully, PGSM doesn't have nearly as many characters, which is good because I'm writing character bios for Sparkle Moon, my PGSM site, now, though I haven't worked on it at all on my vacation cause I've been kinda busy. Now that I'm learning more web design techniques, I can hopefully make that site how I want it.

Today I watched the opening for Yes! PreCure 5, one of the seasons of Pretty Cure, a magical girl anime. In an English trailer made by Toei to promote that season (probably for the European market as Pretty Cure has never been licensed here, except for a dub of the first season in Canada), the main character, Nozomi (pink hair), is described as being "without a dream to guide her." I kinda feel like that. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but now I'm having second thoughts. I mean, I love to write, but the whole business part of getting a book published kinda scares me. For short stories or articles like one would submit to journals I might be ok on my own, but once it comes to novels I'd rather leave that stuff to my agent, assuming I have one by then (after all, I have to sell myself to the agent first).

I was just downstairs watching the most recent episode of The Office, "Spooked," with my parents. At the end of it, James Spader's character, Robert California, makes a good point about how we shouldn't let fear rule our lives, and that it's ironic that one day a year (Halloween) we dress up in costumes and celebrate fear. (That's my summary of the quote; you can read the full-on thing here). That is a very good point. I've known for a while that I was letting fear control me. Fear makes me afraid to do new things and take risks. Now, fear can be a good thing, obviously, in some situations. We all have a desire for safety, as well as an innate desire for self-preservation (there is some place in our brain that is wired for this, I forget where...although if this is true, then why do people commit suicide? You'd think the innate desire to preserve oneself would override someone's desire to kill himself or herself, since killing oneself would be the exact opposite of preserving oneself). But you can't let it rule your life. You just can't. Unfortunately, me saying this and me actually applying it are two very different things.

I think I need to take some time and really think about my life, do some soul-searching, talk to God about how my life is, and figure out a direction. Cause right now I don't feel like life is going so well. I'm not at rock bottom or anything, but I definitely don't feel satisfied with my life. Not that satisfaction is the ultimate end, of course. By Biblical standards, I should be more interested in the needs of others than in my own anyway. But I still feel very lost. I need help, though I know I hate asking for help cause I think I can do everything myself. I just don't know what to do!

Ok I think I'm going to stop here and try to cheer myself up in some other way, cause this isn't helping much. Good night.

P.S. Speaking of the Yes! PreCure 5 opening, it's apparently also featured in a cool-looking dance game for Wii called Happy Dance Collection (which seems to have only been released in Japan as far as I can tell). Check out the video below to see what I mean. You can also find out a bit about the game here:

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Summer is Here

Long time no post, again. Oh well, never was a frequent poster here. And now I have a Tumblr blog as well, so I've been posting there a lot lately and not here.

I can hardly believe it's July already (Happy July 4th btw to every American reading this!). Not a lot has happened since I've been out of school. I've mostly just been working a lot. I finally did start my summer writing practice, with mixed results. I went to Legoland for the first time. I've been attending the CWCW summer workshops on Tuesdays, though at the moment I've just been sharing old stuff. Other than that, I've mostly been vegging.

I have been thinking about the CWCW. I think I may move on from them when the summer is over. Considering I'm a CSUSM alum now, and the CWCW is a school group, I'm going to have to move on from them eventually. I do enjoy having a way to get feedback, and lately it's been my only way to hang out with my friend Jessica, who is also in the group. But eventually, I'll have to move on.

Future summer plans: at the end of July, my family is going to go stay in a cabin like 14 hours north of us for a week. That should be awesome. It'll be nice to get away. I may take this class at the church I've been going to with my parents, a class about S.H.A.P.E. (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Ability, Personality, Experiences), which starts sometime soon. And I may take a conversation class from the local Alliance Française in August -- I just took their online placement test to determine my level of French ability, and they got back to me about possibly taking classes. Since I'd said in my info (submitted with the placement test) that I wanted to work on my speaking primarily, I think that is why they suggested a conversation class. Because I can read and write French well, but my speaking and pronunciation fluency needs help because I took French in a mostly non-immersion environment. I took the test for B1 level ("I took French for anywhere between 4 and 10 years in school and managed to practice on and off until now (through reading, travels, classes, work assignments...) and/or In the recent past, I took French lessons for more than 3 years and less than 4 years with good results , then ..."), which seemed to best describe my level of knowledge. Hopefully, I can work on my fluency and get my proficiency certified, so that I can prove a certain level of proficiency on my résumé.

And - once again - I do want to work on my websites. It's just been put on the back burner at the moment. I have been thinking about it though, and this is what I'm thinking:

  • My main domain will be The homepage for this will just be a Flash interface/portal, similar to this one website I saw once that did that. I might have to figure out how to make a version that would work if you didn't have Flash (like on the iPod/iPhone), that is, if I think it's really worth it. I'll look into it. Anyway, this domain would be the one for my sites that don't really need their own domains, like fanlistings. The sites under this domain would be:
    • Capture On!, my planned fanlisting for the Pokémon Ranger video game series. Now that the series has three games, I can do a "series" fanlisting for it (that's TFL rules).
    • Liquid Mercury, the revival of my old Sailor Mercury fansite
    • Ayeka's Palace, a revival of my old Ayeka fansite, extending from the version created for my Writing to be Heard project
    • The revived LAR Productions website, which I may remake via WordPress or Joomla.
    • Any other fanlistings I decide to create or revive, such as Memory of Time, my old Fancy Lala fanlisting
    • A possible revival of, my old PotterCast Acting Troupe fansite, since a member of the Troupe recently e-mailed me mentioning how much the troupe loves the fact that there was a fansite for them. (I'm waiting to hear back from this person before I revive it).
  • My writing website will remain at the same URL but I intend to update it not only content-wise but also in terms of looks as my web design abilities improve.
  • Myu Corner will also remain at the same URL but will get overhauled in terms of site design as my abilities improve. I'm going to try to re-determine the focus I want for the site and probably try to watch all the musicals before continuing with it.
  • Sparkle Moon, my planned PGSM fansite, will continue as planned. I think I will get the transcripts - the main focus of the site - done first and then worry about the rest of the content. Since I just bought the PGSM Memorial Book off of Ruth from Miss Dream, I should have a great start in the picture department. I may also buy the new 14-disc DVD boxset of PGSM that was announced recently; I'm just not sure I can afford it, even with Amazon Japan's 27% discount on pre-orders (it comes out in September). Brad from assures me that it is a great savings compared to getting all 15 PGSM DVDs (12 regular DVDs, Special Act, Act Zero, and Kirari Super Live) individually, since each DVD individually retails for like $60 US, whereas the boxset is, with the discount, about $285 US, not including shipping and the about $70 US in import tax that I'd have to pay. So it's about $355 with import tax plus about $25 for shipping and a handling fee, so about $380. Ouch. However, the individual DVDs, which run about $60 US apiece (which is WAY too expensive for a DVD) would go for about $900 altogether. So I just don't know. It may not be worth it.
  • Anime/manga guide site - This was originally going to be under my Starry Dreamer domain, but after discussion with a couple Miss Dream people it makes more sense to give it its own domain. Also per their advice, I'm going to make it a wiki to allow for an easy community-editing setup, which is what I'd like for this site since it's impossible for one person to watch all the anime and read all the manga that is out there. I haven't come up with a name for the site yet (WindKnightFuu's Anime and Manga Guides is its temp title). All I really know is that for the anime sections there will be episode and movie guides and seiyuu information, and for the manga sections there will be series overviews and writer and illustrator info. I'm not sure whether to do chapter summaries (the equivalent of the episode summaries in the anime section) because I'm not sure how to do that without giving away spoilers. And I want the site to be as spoiler-free as possible, since I've spoiled myself many a time looking up series on Wikipedia. The idea behind the site is to provide a "one stop shop" site where people can find info on many different anime and manga series - especially newcomers to anime and manga. I've found out about many series just by browsing Wikipedia myself, so I want to provide that sort of experience to others. I'll have to come up with templates for everything as well. I'm considering getting some practice on some of the many fan wikis for different series before I start mine, to get a hang for how it works.
I've decided to start anew with my main YouTube account as well, primarily because making a new account is the only way you can change your username. My current main account, Bgirldotnet, is named for my old personal domain (, which no longer exists, so I don't want to use that name anymore. I also want to start new and get back to what got me into video-making back in 2005. I have a long list of videos lined up to make, primarily new ones though there are some re-makes on the list, like my Sailor Moon/Harry Potter fan trailers. After much agonizing, I finally came up with a new username today: LitTechGirl (from the fact that I'm a girl and I like literature and technology). According to, it's available. (Namechk is an awesome site that lets you check the availability of a username across hundreds of popular sites). I'm going to make some videos before I officially open it, though, and also utilize the strategies mentioned in an article that I randomly came across which lists 8 simple ways to improve your YouTube channel. (For instance, according to that article, you can make your own header even if you aren't a YouTube Partner). My other two accounts, my solo fandub channel WindKnightFuu and my group fandub channel imagodeidubs, will stay intact, though I will definitely follow those "8 Simple ways" with them too. I'm also going to try to learn new programs, like Sony Vegas, a popular program among YouTubers at the moment (and which thoroughly confused me when I tried to use it before), as well as put my new skills in Flash to good use. Also, I'm rather interested in trying out the programs listed at

So, it seems like I have a good game plan for my websites and such. Finally! Praise God!

In other news, I recently bought a few Sailor Moon items from my friend Ruth at Miss Dream! They arrived on Saturday. The items are: the PGSM Memorial Book (a long-time want of mine), a shitajiki (a.k.a. "pencil board" - you put it under a sheet of paper when you need something to write on or to avoid writing on the pages below), and the CD single for one of my favorite Sailor Moon songs, "Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute" (the first ending to the fourth season, SuperS). My meager Sailor Moon collection is growing! Since my initial post about my Sailor Moon collection, I've acquired a few more things. I bought six cool SuperS magnets at Animé Los Angeles, one for each senshi in SuperS (though the one I got for Chibimoon is of her and Moon transforming), as well as a couple Sailor Moon pins from an artist in the Artist's Alley (Sailors Mercury and Pluto). I bought three books off Amazon - Sailor Moon: Friends and Foes, Sailor Moon Role-Playing Guide and Resource Book and Meet Sailor Mercury: Ice - all of which are English-made and are pretty good (though the Friends and Foes book was underwhelming info-wise but has nice pictures). Last Friday, I bought a couple more pins at the county fair, from the same booth where I got the Sailor Moon pin and the 12" doll - one of Mercury and one of Chibiusa. (I think I bought other pins with the initial Moon pin - I know I got a Totoro pin and one other pin, which may have been of Sailor Venus). And now I have the stuff I bought from Ruth. I hoped to get some stuff at Comic-Con this year, but I wasn't able to get a ticket so I can't go. Pooh. I also pre-ordered all of the new Sailor Moon English manga that is available for pre-order, which I should start getting in September.

Oh yeah, did I mention that before? I don't think so. The Sailor Moon manga is getting re-released in the U.S.! Starting in September. And it's being released by Kodansha USA, the US arm of the manga's original Japanese publisher, and headed up by the person who was head of Nakayoshi, a popular Japanese manga serial magazine, when Sailor Moon was originally being serialized in it in the '90's! Plus there's going to be translation notes and lots of other good stuff. I'm looking forward to it. AND....THEY'RE ALSO RELEASING CODENAME: SAILOR V!!! That came as a huge surprise! Unlike the regular Sailor Moon manga, Codename: Sailor V, the sort of "prequel" to Sailor Moon, has never been officially released in English in ANY English-speaking country. So now I'll have 2 nice English versions (the mangas being released are the 2003 "Revision" versions, in which Sailor V was condensed from three volumes to two) to go with my 3 French volumes. Sweet.

Anyway, I've pre-ordered the four volumes of the Sailor Moon manga currently available for pre-order, so I should be set on those till March 2012. I also pre-ordered the two Sailor V volumes already. I'm SO looking forward to having them!!

Well, it's late; I better go to bed. I have today off again (I had yesterday off too this week cause of the holiday) but I want to get up early because I was thinking I'd like to go to Disneyland this week (particularly California Adventure since I barely got to see that last time) and I want to go to my union's office and buy a Park Hopper there (where I can get it cheapest). I'm enjoying having the time to make little day trips! Though there are probably better uses of my time.

Good night!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Here Comes the Rest of my Life

Dang it has been a while since I blogged here. But, as I mentioned in my last post, I was in the home stretch of school and had a LOT of work to do. The last three weeks of the semester were killer. KILLER.

Thankfully, it's all over - I just have to do Final Project critiques for my Flash class (the project was due yesterday) and I'll be done with school, at least till fall (when I'll probably continue my web design certificate classes, which I hope to have done by this time next year).

My Flash class did not go as well as I would've liked. I was late on a lot of things - including my Final Project, which I spent every spare minute doing prep work for and then was unable to get in by midnight last night - and it was hard to keep up since I had that class plus my three CSUSM classes, for which a lot of reading and writing was required. Mostly I hope I pass. I have a feeling I will probably get a C or something. If so, I may re-take it so that I can do better in it. Watching (or re-watching, in some cases) the tutorial videos for the class showed me the cool things you can do with this program - heck, you can make a whole website in it if you want. I may even take the Flash 2 class so I can learn more about ActionScript, the script that you use to make things happen in Flash.

(Ironically, tonight my parents were watching the episode of The Office where Pam fails art school, and the main class she failed was in Flash. :))

At the moment, I have taken two of my core classes for the certificate - Web Design 1 (which I took back when I was at MiraCosta originally, but which I was told I could still apply to this certificate) and Graphic Design 1. By the end of this semester, I'll have two of my emphasis courses done as well - Flash 1 (if I pass it) and CIS 191, i.e. Internet Presence for the Small and Medium Business (basically an e-commerce course), which I took last spring, at the same time as my Graphic Design class. So here are the classes I still need:

Core Courses

MAT 110/ART 247 - Digital Imaging 1: Adobe Photoshop
MAT 120 - Interactive Media Production

Emphasis Courses:

2 more classes - I've chosen:

MAT 165 - Web Design 2: Tools and Techniques
MAT 235 - Web Design 3: Site Design and Architecture

Advanced courses:

Need 1 class for this. I chose MAT 225, Dynamic Web Development.

All this plus MAT 290, the Portfolio Development class, which is needed to graduate.

It's recommended that you take MAT 290 last. Which I guess makes sense. Since I lost my old school files though (I'd moved them to a USB drive, which I was later forced to format), I don't have any work for my Graphic Design class or my e-commerce class (though my current writing website is a slightly modified version of the version I made of it for my final project for that class). Don't know how that's going to work.

As for the other classes...obviously the Photoshop one is a must in today's web design world. The other core class, MAT 120, is an introduction to developing (according to the catalog) "multimedia presentations and interactive programs" and includes learning "the basics of acquisition and digitizing video, images, and audio; an introduction to 3D modeling and animation; and a fundamental understanding of interactive program design and development." I may know some of the acquisition/digitizing stuff already, but oh well. This may be a good class to take in fall, as it's a nice leadoff from my Flash class, but the only drag is that it's pretty much never offered online, like the others are (having them online means I don't have to work my work schedule around in-person classes).

The two Web Design classes are the ones after the one I took in the summer of 2005 (Web Design 1). Web Design 2 "builds on the skills developed in MAT 125 and introduces the student to the more advanced tools and techniques for designing Web sites using industry standard web design and development tools." Now if that isn't a vague course description, I don't know what is. I suppose I'll find out what that means when I take it. Hopefully, I'll remember what I learned in 125. Most of it was stuff I already knew except for the mouse rollover stuff (which I can do in Flash now anyway) and some stuff with forms. (I still to this day don't know how to script forms in HTML). Web Design 3 focuses on "Site Design and Architecture" and teaches how to make "complex, professional level web sites."

The advanced course, Dynamic Web Development, focuses on making "database driven, dynamically generated Web applications using current database technologies." I don't know quite what that means unless it involves SQL databases, which have been the bane of my existence when attempting to work with PHP scripts like the popular fanlisting management script Enthusiast.

So, that's six classes. I could take 4 in fall and 2 in spring, or 3 in each, or some other combination. Of course, this all depends on course availability. There's always the option of getting ahead by taking a class this summer, but I have decided against that. Since my final CSUSM semester was so intense, I need a break.

Which reminds me, I GRADUATED COLLEGE!! That happened last weekend. I am very relieved that it has come and gone. People have asked me if I am excited, and I am. But at the same time, I'm a little scared. As I've been telling people, "it's like, 'Here comes the rest of my life'." No longer can I delay real life with school (well, I could if I went to grad school, but that's beside the point). I have to grow up and move on with my life. I have to get out on my own, and it would be nice to get married eventually. I mean, I'm almost 27; I only have 20-25 childbearing years left. At any rate, I need to start my career. And I am finally working on my writing career seriously. Plus I'm setting up a fallback plan (web design) just in case things don't work out. So I guess that's progressing.

It always sounds bad to me when I tell people - especially my Christian friends - that I am working on a Plan B in case my writing doesn't work out. Maybe I'm just a paranoid worrywart, but I worry whether it is practicality that is driving me to such a plan, or if I have such little faith that I don't trust that God would provide for me if I went with writing alone. I mean, is it wrong to have a backup plan? It's fine to believe God will provide, but you can't be stupid about it - it's like this joke I read about a guy who won't buy a lottery ticket but keeps asking God to help him win the lottery.


Ok I'm going to move on to less depressing things.

Today I was off so I finally cleaned my room, which had become very messy due to me being busy. It took a while though because I was watching Inuyasha on my Wii while doing it. That's right, WATCHING ANIME ON MY WII. I can do so via the free Netflix "channel" for Wii (that I heard about in a Pandora ad) and the 30-day free trial I signed up for. This grants me unlimited Instant Play of the stuff the Netflix library has, including quite a lot of anime. I already put Inuyasha in my watch queue, as well as Hetalia: Axis Powers, a series that is very popular right now (as evidenced by the number of Hetalia cosplayers at Animé Los Angeles this past January). Hetalia started as a blog comic done by Japanese mangaka Himaruya Hidekazu while he was attending school in America (the Parsons School of Design according to the Hetalia fan wiki, which is the same design school featured on Project Runway) and has now been professionally published as a manga and made into an anime series. Essentially it's a historical and political allegory, primarily of the World War II period (though according to Wikipedia most of the main plot events occur in the so-called "interwar period" between the two World Wars), in which each country is anthromorphized, i.e. represented by a single character. The main character is North Italy/Italy Romano, a.k.a. Hetalia (which means "gutless/pathetic Italy," a portmanteau of the Japanese word hetare and the word Italia, the Italian name for Italy). The other protagonists are Germany, portrayed as a typical tsundere character (a character who's cold at first but becomes nicer as time progresses), and Japan, a reclusive man unused to Western ways. (Italy Romano also has an older brother, South Italy or Italy Veneziano). There are also characters for the Allied side, of course - the main ones being America, England, France, Russia, and (surprisingly) China. There are also many other minor "country" characters, including the often-ignored Canada, whose name nobody can ever remember.

Inuyasha has been very interesting so far. I've been watching it a couple episodes at a time for a while, but today I watched it all through cleaning my room and got through episode 24, which means I'm almost to the end of the first season already! (There are 6 seasons in all, for a total of 167 episodes - and they now have a new sequel series, Inuyasha: Final Act, meant to catch the anime up with the manga). I'm interested mainly to see how this series ends, because it was created by Rumiko Takahashi, and she's infamous for series with no actual ending. The original ending song, "my will" by the band Dream (whose songs we've been doing for LAR Productions) has been replaced by a familiar song for me, "Fukai Mori" by Do as Infinity, one of my favorite j-pop bands. Actually, I got into Do as Infinity through the songs of theirs used for Inuyasha ("Fukai Mori" isn't the only one of their songs that got used for the series). Checking out the opening and ending songs for animes (usually abbreviated as OP and ED in Japan) is a great way to get into j-pop, actually, as j-pop songs are often used for anime openings and endings. Of course, there are many animes which feature openings and/or endings by the series' actors too, some of whom may be popular music idols in their own right. Inuyasha features openings and endings by famous names Do as Infinity, Day After Tomorrow (famously known for "Starry Heavens," the opening theme song to the video game Tales of Symphonia), boyband V6 (who sings my personal favorite Inuyasha opening song, "Change the World"), boyband-esque duo Tackey and Tsubasa, superidols Namie Amuro and Ayumi Hamasaki, the aforesaid Dream, the band Every Little Thing, and the Korean pop star BoA, as well as the not-so-familiar hitomi, Nanase Aikawa, and Hitomi Shimatani (not the same person as "hitomi," despite the name). So it's a good place to start.

Basically, Inuyasha is about this half-dog demon (the Inuyasha of the title) from a dimension roughly equivalent to Japan's Warring States period, but with demons and other fantasy elements, and a girl named Kagome Higurashi who is from our world (modern-day Japan for her). Kagome gets pulled into the secret well on her family's shrine grounds by a multi-limbed demon and thus brought into Inuyasha's dimension, to which the well is connected. It is discovered that within her body is the powerful Shikon no Tama, or Jewel of Four Souls, a jewel that doubles the strength of any demon who possesses even a fragment of it. The Jewel had been entrusted about 50 years prior to a Shinto priestess named Kikyo, whose spiritual powers were extremely strong, so that she could purify it of the evil it had been tainted with. But when she was dying, rather than use the Jewel so that she could live, she had it burned with her body. Kagome is shown to be Kikyo's reincarnation, hence the reason the Jewel was in her body. Inuyasha wants the Jewel so he can become a full demon, and a lot of other people want it too - humans and demons alike - especially since the country/dimension is in a state of war at the time of the series. Unfortunately, when using an arrow to take down a demon who had swallowed the Jewel, Kagome accidentially breaks it into pieces, which go soaring every which way across the world (and even into Kagome's world, as an early episode shows). So Inuyasha and Kagome begin a journey to collect all the pieces of the Jewel so they can complete it once more. Inuyasha is pretty powerful on his own, but he needs Kagome around because she can sense the presence of the Jewel and he can't, a fact he doesn't seem all that happy about. They're later joined by a child fox demon named Shippo, a lecherous monk named Miroku, and a demon slayer named Sango and her fox pet.

The major plot elements, as well as the main characters, seem to be in place just in the episodes I've seen. The main traveling party - Inuyasha, Kagome, Shippo, Miroku, and Sango - have all been introduced, as well as the antagonists, the mysterious Naraku (primary antagonist) and Inuyasha's full-demon half-brother Sesshomaru (secondary antagonist). The main plot element of searching for the jewel shards has been set up, as well as the involvement of Naraku in not only the present but in Kikyo's death and the love triangle of Inuyasha, Kikyo, and Kagome that starts when Kikyo gets revived by an ogress in the middle of Season 1. Yet there are 143 episodes to go (169 if I count Final Act). So what else is going to happen? Just development of the characters and the major plot elements, I guess. There are also subplots, of course, like Inuyasha's rivalry with Sesshomaru, personal character backgrounds, and how all this is affecting Kagome's life back in her world (which provides some humor due to the strange diseases Kagome's grandfather claims she has to cover for her absences, including many elderly-people diseases like rheumatism and gout).

Overall, I find the series very deep story-wise but also with a lot of humor, which I guess I should expect from Rumiko Takahashi. The only other series of hers that I'm super familiar with is the 1970's/'80s series Urusei Yatsura, which produced the lovely tiger's striped-bikini-clad alien oni Lum Invader, who has become something of an anime icon that most anime fans know of:

I also started to read her series Maison Ikkoku, which is about a guy studying to take his college entrance exams who lives in an apartment building with a lot of crazy characters, but got bothered by the lechery of one of the neighbors. Pity, because Maison Ikkoku is the one series Takahashi did give a proper ending to.

Each Inuyasha character so far is well-developed. The interaction between Inuyasha and Kagome is interesting to watch - though they bicker most of the time, they do have moments where they seem to genuinely care for one another. Also, in episode 2 Kikyo's sister, Kaede, put a controlling bead necklace (sort of like a rosary) on Inuyasha that lets Kagome control him with a word. The word she chooses is Osuwari (Sit!), probably chosen - I think - because Inuyasha is part dog. This power gets used as a gag in pretty much every episode.

Then there are the other characters. Sesshomaru is very much the opposite of his half-brother - he's very proper and polite-speaking (unlike the brash and rude Inuyasha), much more powerful (due to being a full demon), and pretty much emotionless ("not caring for allies or enemies in fights," as his servant Jaken - who now that I think about it, plays a rather similar role humor-wise to Iago, Jafar's pet parrot in the Aladdin movies - puts it). I've read that he becomes more caring later though, which may mean he is a tsundere character. Naraku, introduced mid-season 1 (he's first mentioned in Miroku's debut episode), is the main villain, and while we don't know everything about him yet, we do know that he is a shapeshifter and that he was born from a fully paralyzed thief who invited demons to eat him so that he could gain a movable body and possess Kikyo and the Shikon no Tama. He's also a very crafty being and doesn't truly trust anyone (not even Sesshomaru, who he "helps" in one episode). He was also involved in the tragic incident that resulted in Kikyo and Inuyasha hating each other and Kikyo's death, as well as, to a lesser extent, in Miroku and Sango's stories.

Shippo is a kid kitsune, or fox spirit, whose father was killed by the Thunder Brothers, dangerous thunder demons. He knows some minor fox magic, including fox fire, some illusion tricks, and shapeshifting. After the Thunder Brothers are destroyed, he's so enamored with Kagome that he tags along with her and Inuyasha. Miroku is a Buddhist monk, but he's not exactly holy. He's a womanizer, for one, and he sometimes lies about spiritual beings appearing in order to get into a house to perform an exorcism or some other rite so he can get a rich reward (or close to a beautiful girl). He's very polite, though (he calls Kagome "Kagome-sama") and at times Kagome prefers him to Inuyasha. He has a curse laid on his family by Naraku, whereby he has a black hole-like "Wind Tunnel" in his hand that can suck in pretty much anything but which will eventually devour Miroku. (He controls the wind tunnel with prayer beads wound around his arm). This is why he joins Inuyasha and Kagome, so that he can kill Naraku and stop the curse. Sango is a demon slayer whose father and brother were killed by demons (something with which Naraku was also involved). I don't know much about her yet though.

One thing that slightly bothers me is that a lot of people and demons got possession of shards of the Jewel in seemingly no time at all. This seems rather unrealistic. But I guess this operates under a similar concept to CLAMP's Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, where Princess Sakura's memory feathers got scattered across multiple worlds all at different points in time.

I also don't understand how Kagome fit a bicycle down the well with her, or how she thinks that will help her in Inuyasha's dimension (though it does help them travel faster, I guess).


Well, not much else to say, and it's late, so I'm going to go. Not sure what I'll do tomorrow before work. I got to work till midnight again cause they gave me the same schedule as last week. I hope that won't happen now that they know I can work whenever they need me to, since I'm on summer break. *sigh*

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Long and Difficult Home Stretch

Well, I'm in the home stretch now. Only three weeks till graduation!! That is both exciting and scary to think about. Exciting because I've been waiting for this moment for about 8 years - 5 years of junior college and 3 years of university - and scary because now after this I go out into the "real world," which is pretty frightening.

There is a LOT of work to do for school. In fact, I probably should be doing that instead of blogging. Sweatdrop_Icon But I feel like I need to blog because I am in a neurotic stress anxiety mode right now.

For LTWR 475 (The Writing Process), I am working on Writing Project 3 (which we turn in the packet for next week) and my Writing to be Heard project, which is due on May 13th (for me at least, since that's the presentation date I signed up for). I also have my Writing Portfolio due that day (because it's the last day of class), but fortunately that is made up of all the writing I've done throughout the semester -- which I've been saving all along -- so all I have to do is write a short paper to go with it, reflecting on how my writing has changed throughout the course of the class. Yay!

For LTWR 309B (U.S. Lit 2), we only have one book left, a post-apocalyptic novel called The Road. Since I wasn't that into Woman at Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros, I will probably write my 4th paper on The Road - though I think Dr. Keehn changed things so that we only had to write three essays. I'll have to double-check that.

For LTWR 460 (Cultural Studies), I just have my Writing Project to worry about, since I'm done with the reading blogs and I already did my Group Research Project presentation. (I know a few of my blogging weeks were late, though, so I should make sure I got credit for all of them). I wrote the first draft of it for last Tuesday's workshop, got feedback, and now have to write a Revision Reflection paper (due next Tuesday) and then revise the project and turn it in via the internet on May 17th (during finals week).

On top of these three, I have my Flash class (which I'm taking online on the side), which will probably last till the end of May since MiraCosta's on a different schedule than CSUSM. So far I'm caught up, but it's definitely a hard class to be taking along with my B.A. stuff. Oh well.  Sigh

But good things have happened. I finished the first draft of my novel (FINALLY), my group's presentation for Cultural Studies went well, I still have a job, I'm getting my homework in on time for the most part, and my "working draft" presentation for my Writing to be Heard project a couple weeks ago went well, even though I wasn't as prepared as I would've liked. I also went with Tara and some other people from Chi Alpha to a concert on April 17th, which was really fun. It was for the Christian band The Katinas. I bought one of their CDs, as well as a CD for the girl who opened for them, NOVA. Yesterday I went with Sigma Tau Delta (and some guys from the professional fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi) to the Center for Children and Families for the last reading of Sigma Tau Delta's main service project, which involves reading books to the kids at the Center. The kids liked the books (though my group had the younger kids, which meant they had very short attention spans) and we watched them play on the playground for a while after, until the other group finished. One of the books that were brought to us was Robert Munsch's Love You Forever, a book I really like and which my parents read to me when I was that age. It's about the growing relationship between a boy and his mom and is actually quite sad. (The guy from our group who read it teared up toward the end).


The other books we read were Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On, Dog and Bear: Two Friends - Three Stories, Llama Llama Misses Mama, and Go, Dog, Go!: P.D. Eastman's Book of Things That Go. They have great books there!

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On
Dog and Bear (Neal Porter Books) (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner-Best Picture Book) (Awards))
Llama Llama Misses Mama

Go, Dog. Go!: P.D. Eastman's Book of Things That Go

The main thing I need right now is SLEEP. Sleep Smiley Unfortunately, I haven't been consistently taking melatonin (a vitamin my mom suggested I take because it would help calm down my mind so I could get to sleep earlier and sleep better - something she said a therapist friend of hers had successfully used with other autistic people), and that, coupled with all the work I've had to do, has caused me to not get as much sleep as I should. Yesterday was particularly weird, because I got up at 2:30 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding live with my mom (it was at 11 a.m. London time, which is 3 a.m. in California). We watched it till 5:30 a.m. our time, after which there was nothing worth watching (since the wedding was over and the long-awaited post-wedding "balcony kiss" had already happened). All the channels with live coverage only covered it till 6 am Pacific Standard Time anyway (except for Good Morning America, which was listed as being on from 1-7 a.m. PST). Then we both went back to bed for about 45 minutes until we had to get up for real - my mom for work and me for school. So my sleep was a little wonky that day. Last night, I got a full night's sleep but felt rather tired all day today at work. So I think my body's out of whack. Not to mention I feel like I have to go to the bathroom a lot more often lately, maybe because I have been carbo-loading a bit too much.

Most of April, though, has been school and work. Not much to mention there.

As I mentioned, I watched the Royal Wedding live. It was a pretty cool experience getting up early with my mom to do that. I wasn't sure about doing that, but when my mom said she'd do it with me, I was much more into it. I'd asked for the day off for school and the Sigma Tau Delta reading, and when I got that off, I agreed to watch the wedding since I wouldn't have work that day.

I got up at 2:30 a.m. PST, and for the half hour between then and the actual start of the wedding there wasn't much to watch except watching people arrive. My mom got up a bit earlier than I did, so she actually saw the groom (Prince William) and the best man (Prince Harry) arrive, which I did not see. I saw the bride's mother, Carole Middleton, arrive, as well as other members of the Royal Family (including Princess Beatrice, daughter of the Duke of York, who will perhaps live in infamy due to her rather outrageous hat - that's her on the right below, with her sister Eugenie and father), and, of course, the bride and her father Michael.

This was the first time anyone had seen Kate's wedding dress, and I thought it was very nice. It was elegant and simple, unlike Princess Diana's dress, and made by Sarah Burton, a British designer:

Kate wears dress by McQueen designer

It's not visible in this picture, but with the veil Kate wore the Cartier Scroll Tiara made in 1936 and purchased by King George VI (the king that The King's Speech is about) for his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and was given to his daughter, the current Queen, on her 18th birthday. The Queen lent it to Kate for the occasion, making it Kate's "something borrowed." She also had new diamond earrings given to her by her parents (her "something new"), had tradtional Carrickmacross lace appointments on the gown ("something old"), and a blue ribbon sown into the bodice ("something blue").

The wedding took place in Westminster Abbey, one of the oldest churches in England (and probably the oldest in London) and the site of every British coronation since 1066. Prior to the wedding yesterday, it had also been the setting for 15 royal weddings since 1100 (although there is a 537-year gap between #6 and #7 on that list). It has also served as a site for many burials and memorials, including Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. So there's a lot of history going on there.

The wedding ceremony was rather brief, only lasting about an hour, and was conducted by the Dean of Westminster (although William and Kate were actually married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England). The actual marriage part only took about 20 minutes and was conducted using the marriage service from the Book of Common Prayer, the liturgical text for the Church of England. The rest of the time was filled with lovely music from the choir, a scripture reading by Kate's brother James, a great sermon by the Bishop of London, and a brief moment where the couple disappeared into the nearby Chapel of King Edward the Confessor to sign a wedding registry, which I guess is for civil records.

After the actual wedding, the wedding party left the abbey and traveled by carriage or bus back to Buckingham Palace. They appeared briefly on the balcony, where it had been announced that Will and Kate would kiss (they don't do the "you may kiss the bride" thing in Church of England weddings). The kiss was ridiculously brief - so brief that you would've missed it if you'd been looking away from the screen at that moment. Fortunately, they kissed a second time just before the traditional military flyover, which somewhat made up for it. Then the wedding party left for a small lunch reception hosted by (and paid for by) the Queen. Shortly after this is when my mom and I stopped watching and went back to bed.

After this, I guess, the bride and groom went and got changed for the evening party hosted by Prince Charles. Here was Kate's dress for that, also made by Sarah Burton:


Well it's pretty late. I better end here. Good night!

Oh, by the way, the smileys you see in this post are from this site: I love the sweatdrop one!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


So, as I mentioned in the last post, I have been doing a lot of self-evaluation lately. This started from a half cry for help/half rant I made on the Miss Dream forums about being stuck regarding the revival of Liquid Mercury. I thought, "Ah! My friends the Sailor Moon fans can help me with this." But unfortunately, I have done this sort of plea before and the site's perhaps frustrated webmistress advised me that I should really think about why I make websites, and that because I don't know what I'm doing as far as coding I'm just shooting myself in the foot. This prompted me to think about myself for some reason and to start doing something that always seems to get my brain working: making lists.

I don't know if it's an Asperger's thing or just my personality, but I am obsessive about lists. I work best at work when I have a written list of things to do that I can cross off as I go. I think this is why I enjoyed doing the "list challenges" my friend Marina kept sending me on Facebook around New Year's this year (things like "Writers That Have Influenced Me," "Inventory of the Year 2010," and "30 Things" - where you write 30 random things about yourself). I make lists of lots of things. I have a running list of the manga I own, a running list of animes I've seen and want to see, and a few lists of what episodes I've seen of certain shows so I know when to stop recording repeats on the DVR.

So I sort of randomly decided to make a list of every book I own, going shelf-by-shelf on my huge wooden bookcase. A look at this list will show a certain organization in this list: the books on each shelf are grouped by related content - like the bottom left shelf is all fantasy books. I think this is part of the mentality which has made me so fascinated with libraries and which pushed me to try to get a library job before. (I even helped someone find a book recently at school when I was in the stacks looking for books myself). But the list is the work of an obsessive person. It has titles and authors, and sometimes ISBNs because I think I was planning to actually share this, so I wanted to be able to find cover pictures, and having the ISBN of a book is as specific as you can get (I wonder whether using book cover pictures for that purpose is fair use or not?).

I was going to stop with books, but I got into a list-making mood so I ended up cataloging my CDs, my DVDs, my VHS tapes, my video games, and even my cassettes (yes I own cassettes - quite a few actually) as well. It was kind of fun. A tedious task? Definitely. But I like tedious. Am I weird? Maybe. But reveling in details is an Asperger's trait.

This was my way of self-evaluation. Not exactly the best self-evaluation - evaluating yourself by what you possess. But I suppose it does clue you in on your interests and tastes. (And at least this list-making of my stuff will help me should I ever get robbed).

Maybe I should try a different method. Questions? A RPG-like profile? (Something Hiro Nakamura of Heroes did on his character blog, here and here...I read his blog as "research" for my second Writing Project, which is also character blogging). Just rambling? Not sure.

(Oh, speaking of RPG's, I started playing this game called Magical Starsign that I bought on a whim the same day I bought Pokémon White Version. It's got art styling very much like the old Final Fantasy games, but still up-to-date enough for the DS - kind of like the GBA versions of the old Final Fantasy games, such as Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls or Final Fantasy IV Advance, if you've ever played those. The plotline is similar to those old RPGs - venture out, create a party, journey, save the world - but with a sci-fi setting and with astrology mixed in, involving planets that move in and out of alignment with the five elements's "starsigns", which affects the strength of your magic. The drag is that the alignment stuff means nothing to you as the player character, since you get stuck with either "light" or "dark" element magic by default, based on your choice when you start the game, which is only affected by whether it's day or night out. It does affect the rest of the party though, which you do have control over. Anyway, I got a GAME OVER today in that game - wah! - while my character (who I named Laila) and this wind-controlling bunny character named Lassi were fighting this giant security robot that was guarding the prison we got thrown into for trespassing in this building, and strangely enough the security robot looked a lot like the AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) imperial walker droids from Star Wars:

Magical Starsign robot (someone else's screenshot, not mine):

The AT-ST:

Maybe it was just me).

Anyway, hmm. Questions might work. Let's try.

What is your name? Misty. Well, that's not my real name. But I've gone for about 6 1/2 years without revealing my name on here, so I'm not going to start now.

How old are you? I am 26. So I am in that weird mid-twenties spot where I should be out doing real work in the real world, except that I'm not. That's because it took me twice as long to finish college as some people, and all because I spent 5 years in junior college trying to get all my IGETC classes. Trust me, 5 years in junior college is WAY too long. I mean, I was only taking 4 classes at a time most of the time, which is as much as the average student can usually manage without going nuts. But still, I should've been able to finish sooner than that. I think part of it was that I wasn't quite sure what I was going to major in - up till near the end I was still debating between English and History, and I took classes at junior college that would count for the lower division requirements for both majors at CSUSM. Finally, I chose English for the practical reason that it was probably going to be easier getting a job after college with an English degree (although you can go to law school with a History degree; one of my history teachers told me this).

Then once I got into CSUSM (after getting an A.A. in University Studies - basically a "transfer A.A." - so I'd at least have some degree just in case CSUSM didn't accept me right away), it's taken me three years to finish all my upper division stuff. I had hoped it would only take two years, but due to the difficulty of getting into classes in CSUSM's Literature and Writing Studies department, and also probably due to the fact that I also had upper division GE to take as well as classes for my minor (French), it took an extra year. Along the way, I took a couple history classes I didn't need but which I added when I couldn't get a class I did need. (Strangely enough, you can find a History class at CSUSM on pretty much every day of the week at any time. And they have a lot of interesting classes to choose from, too. It's like the perfect major for someone like me. But I didn't pick it. Oh well, too late now). One of these classes that I took was History of U.S. Foreign Policy, which was interesting but got really political at the end. We had to watch this horrible clip from a Palestinian kids' show where a guy dressed up as Mickey Mouse was saying horrible things about Israel and the U.S. I think it was this one: The other I took was Interwar Europe, which was about Europe between the two World Wars. I learned a lot in that class. I have some of the books still. My favorite history class though was Society and Culture of Early Modern Europe, which I took as a course replacement for the elective required for my minor. The books were great for that class, and I kept most of them.

Where do you live? I live in sunny Southern California, near San Diego. I'd rather not say more than that. As such, I love the beach, though I don't go there much anymore because it's no fun going to the beach by yourself (unless you're a surfer like my brother, I guess). I seem to have inherited my grandparents' love of shells, though, because I like to pick those up at the beach.

Would I ever live anywhere else? I don't know. I haven't traveled much, so I don't know much about life outside California. I do know that sometime in my life I'd like to live in a place that gets real snow, because the icy slush stuff we get in some parts of California (like by Big Bear) is SO not that. Some sort of New England place, like Cape Cod or something, I might like. Living abroad would be interesting - like in Europe, though probably not in a major city since the cost of living in some big European cities is pretty high. Paris is particularly bad - the best places are close to the center of town, but they're also the most expensive. Someone like me could never afford anything in the first five arrondisements (city districts) or so. At least not on the amount of money I'm making now! I'd probably have to settle for the Quartier Latin  (a district on the Left Bank that's popular with students, due to its proximity to the Sorbonne, one of France's top schools) or Montmartre (a nice artsy area on the outskirts of Paris). But even a city like Boulogne-Billancourt (where the factory and boarding school are located that Code Lyoko's factory and boarding school are based on) might be nice.

Who are your heroes? I always say Joan of Arc in answer to this question. She fascinates me, and I gave a speech on her trial at least four times in high school. Plus I am amazed by her courage and strength. But I also have people that I respect that I guess are heroes, though I'm not sure. I respect former Cabinet members Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell even though I know very little about them. I also am starting to have respect for Aung San Suu Kyi, the well-known resistance leader in Burma/Myanmar.

What are your hobbies and why are they your hobbies? I always have difficulty distinguishing "hobbies" from "interests" because to me they seem so similar. But I guess "hobby" has more to do with action. defines "hobby" as: "an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation." Wikipedia even has a list of hobbies, as if that were something one could make a list of (which I find odd).

Anyway, my hobbies would be:

  • Reading. I learned to read very early on (at age 3 1/2), thanks to my parents teaching me. Since then, I have never stopped loving to read. I read everything - books, magazines, stuff on the internet, the backs of cereal boxes, stuff on the bulletin boards at work (mostly corporate memos), blog goes on and on. Bookstores and libraries are among my favorite places to be. Just walking through the stacks of a very large library is like heaven to me. It gives me that happy feeling, an almost transcendent feeling I guess, an immersive feeling. The kind of feeling you feel in every part of your body - from your mind to the depths of your soul. (Come to think of it, according to Star Wars Episode II, the Jedi have a library. Wouldn't it be awesome to work in that library? If I were a Jedi, I might actually want that job. And according to Wookiepedia - the main Star Wars fan wiki - the Jedi once had a much bigger library, but it was destroyed during the Great Sith War, which was about 4,000 years BBY. BBY means Before the Battle of Yavin-4, which is the battle that takes place at the end of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). I think this was why I enjoyed working in a bookstore when I did, even if I didn't do as well in other areas of the job.

  • Writing. Writing has always been one of my top hobbies. I write a lot more now than I did when I was a kid, but I did write some back then. I started writing seriously shortly before I turned 12. At first, I mostly wrote poetry, but I did attempt some novels back then. They weren't the greatest. I also wrote some short stories, including one written in relation to a picture of a staircase leading to a cottage when I was in eighth grade and we had to write a story about some object in the classroom. I did also write some fanfiction when I first got into anime, but, except for my "Ayeka's Choice" ones, they weren't that great. My triple crossover fanfic (crossing over Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and Tenchi Muyo) was particularly bad.
Since I started high school I've mainly focused on novels, but I have written short stories and poems since then, and I tried to write a comic but abandoned it when I realized I couldn't actually draw the comic (though I had a script written). I also got super concerned about how Christians would react to the idea of a Christian writing about superheroes and magic (some Christians are super anti-magic). Finally, I shredded everything relating to that story, and moved on. Nowadays, I have gotten better at writing, though I still have issues, primarily doing too much showing and not enough telling. I've even gotten better at fanfiction - I wrote three very good Code Lyoko fanfics (one of which, a Jeremie/Aelita fanfic centered around a song, is lost because I wrote it for a forum and didn't have a backup of it to rely on when the forum closed; I still have the other two, one called "Electric Shock" which was written for a 500-word challenge on Fiction Express, and the other a 4-chapter fic called "William's Escape," a fic I started writing one day in Biological Anthropology class, right after the Code Lyoko season 3 finale aired on Cartoon Network). I have good and bad days when I write, but when I have a good day it gets to my soul just like reading. I saw a quote from Isaac Asimov in my writing Twitter feed the other day: "I write for the same reason I breathe--because if I didn't, I would die." I totally echo that thought.

  • Listening to music. This may not seem like much of a hobby, but I do it a lot. Now I'm not what Wikipedia calls an audiophile hobbyist, the kind of person who's so into music I try to produce my own and stuffI just like to chill and listen to music, to, as Corinne Bailey Rae would say, "put your records on, tell me your favourite song." Apparently I'm not the only one who has this hobby - there's actually a fanlisting for it, called Like Oxygen. Yeah, a fanlisting for the act of listening to music. Sound weird? I think it's cool. It's unusual, that listing, that and the one I once belonged to that was for fans of the simple act of "looking out the window." I also remember songs really well - if it turned out that I was a autistic savant (which I don't think I am), that would probably be my savant area. It takes me only a few times listening to a song, for instance, in a YouTube video and singing along before I have the song memorized.

  • Playing on the computer. This is my blanket term for my computer-related hobbies of web design, making videos, surfing the net, and (on rare occasions) playing computer games. I guess surfing the net isn't a hobby per se (though I guess it can be, since according to all the stuff on blogging I've been reading, the earliest blogs started out as annotated lists of links people found on the internet). But there are times I find a thread and I follow where it leads. This manifests most often as video-hopping on YouTube (starting with one video and clicking on various "related videos," following a trail until I get tired of it) or Wikipedia article-hopping, something I find myself doing often when I'm tired. (To someone who loves details and research, wikis are like a godsend, though of course they aren't guaranteed accurate, and some articles are better written than others - for instance, the Wikipedia articles on the Sailor Senshi are actually longer and more detailed than the ones on Wikimoon, the main Sailor Moon fan wiki).
I used to play computer games a lot more when we had games like the historical city-building games Pharaoh (and its expansion Cleopatra) and Caesar III or the educational game Carmen Sandiego Math Detective. I also tried to play Myst ages ago, but never figured it out (ditto with another RPG game I bought for PC, a multi-disc one that cost ~$30). Back on my first desktop, the one that ran Windows 3.1 and had Claris Works as a word processor (because the Office suite didn't exist yet), I had two preferred games: Taipei (a mahjong game, and the main reason why I now love computer mahjong) and a European geography game where you had to identify countries, capitals, and the countries' major exports. Also, my brother and I played this game called Pickle Wars, where you had to save the world from these pickle aliens, using a salad shooter as your primary weapon. It was a pretty silly game but I still remember it. Anyway, the only computer games I've played recently are the Christian PC game Light Rangers: Mending the Maniac Madness and a couple MMORPGs, Free Realms (which wasn't a bad game; it just got too addicting so I stopped playing it) and Fiesta (a game I couldn't quite figure out how to play, but which has a cool character job setup). I've also played some basic online games, like the Flash game on the official W.I.T.C.H. website, which I got really good at.

Making videos I talked about in the last post when talking about YouTube. I'm not sure what got me into making them, but I know that the first AMV I saw was this Card Captor Sakura one, set to "There She Goes" by Sixpence None the Richer:

From there, I decided to make videos. I use Windows Movie Maker primarily, though I've tried out Ulead and Sony Vegas, which were really popular among YouTubers once upon a time. I found them too complex though. I'm particularly intrigued by these new video-making apps YouTube is promoting now: They all look pretty sweet.

As for web design, oy. One of my fave computer hobbies but also one of my least developed. If I had been really doing it consistently since I first started way back in 8th grade, I'd be REALLY good right now. But I didn't keep it up, and now I'm years behind on coding knowledge and have nothing to show it except many short-lived websites.

It's late and I'm really tired, so I'm going to go to bed and continue this tomorrow (or today, rather; I have no school cause it's Cesar Chavez Day). Good night!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Experience With Social Networks and Other Related Sites

[started on 3/27/11]

Since I've been doing so much reading about blogging lately due to my second Writing Project being blog posts, and also since I've been doing some self-evaluation after a post from a friend on Miss Dream challenged me to think about why I make websites, I decided to write up a little post about my experience with social networks and other related sites (such as Blogger). I don't usually write essay-like posts, though, so bear with me.

My Experience With Social Networks
and Other Related Sites

I have not actually been involved with social networks for that long. The first site I joined that is properly known as a "social network" was Facebook, and according to my blog archive I only joined that in January 2008 (January 25, 2008, to be exact, based on the upload date of my first profile picture). And even then I actually operated on Facebook under a pseudonym (Lara Larame, a pseudonym I have used for many sites for the last 10+ years, ever since Amy told me it was the Pokémon character she thought I was the most like; Lara Larame is a one-off character who appears in episode 33 of the Pokémon anime, "The Flame Pokémon-athon!", and in the 5th chapter of the anime-based manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu...technically her last name is Laramie though, something we didn't know then) until February 17, 2009 (according to my Facebook feed), using a picture of Fujiwara Zakuro from Tokyo Mew Mew as my profile picture. Why would I be on Facebook under a pseudonym for the first year and 22 days? Well, back then - and still to some extent today - I was nervous about revealing too much personal info online. So I tended to use pseudonyms, usually Misty Waterflower (after Misty from Pokémon; her last name is never given in the dubbed anime - in Japanese I think it's Yawa - but Waterflower is one fans have come up with, based on episode 7, "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City") or Lara Larame. (Ever wondered why this is called "Misty's Blog"? Well, now you know...well, actually you could've just read my first post to figure that out). I ended up switching to my real name because I realized that pretty much all my Facebook friends were people I knew in real life anyway. I've used Facebook as my primary social network ever since. Most of my early posts are pretty short; early on I insisted on making all my status posts be "[Name] is" followed by a status, a practice I have since abandoned. Most of my Facebook posts to this day are links to articles I have found (since it is quite easy to share articles on Facebook now), though I've been posting regular status posts more often since I got my iPod touch and Facebook for iPhone. A lot of my posts have also been posts via WeRead (a fun and useful Facebook app for sharing what you are reading) and a ton of quizzes.

Before joining the world of social media, I interacted with the Internet in other ways. I think we've had internet at home at least since 1998, because my mom says I've been making web pages since I was in 8th grade, and I think I put up sites very soon after learning how to code. We had AOL at first (I know this because my first e-mail address was an AOL one) and my first sites were on Angelfire. Forums were my earliest mode of interaction. I don't remember which ones I was in except for the forums, a forum for writers which disappeared, without any warning to its members, in early 2005. (Fortunately, Dotfiction, one of the members of that forum, very quickly started his own forum, Fiction Express, and invited his fellow FA members, including me, to join...sadly this forum has also disappeared). Also, when I was around 16 or so, we switched from AOL to our current ISP and I went into a chat room for the first time. But some guy in there tried to hit on me, so I left (which may be partially why, to this day, I dislike chat rooms...I also dislike them because usually you enter and no one notices).

My online life, therefore, was pretty minimal all through high school, pretty much limited to forums and maybe some IMing. This is probably because I graduated high school in 2003, and all the popular social networking sites, except LiveJournal and DeviantArt, came out after that. Plus, I was more focused on school then because I didn't have a job, and also I didn't have my own computer.

Sometime in 2004, I apparently decided to start a blog. I don't know what prompted this decision. I had kept a diary before -- first a lockable Hello Kitty diary that I kept from age 8 to around age 11, and then various diary entries I kept in files on my computer, as well as a short-lived dream diary. And for some reason I decided to go with Blogger, maybe because it was one of the big blogging sites then (WordPress was still pretty new and not the big deal it is now). Still nervous about using my real name, I opted for the pseudonym of Misty. On December 14, 2004, the blog you are now reading, Misty's Blog, was born. And though I haven't posted in it every day (though I tried to for a while...but I've only published 275 posts in about 6 1/2 years, so obviously I failed at that), it has been good to me. Therapeutic almost, in a sense. It is a diary, basically, and always has been. Yes, it's public, but I haven't shared the link very widely (though until I purchased a personal domain I listed my blog as my website) and, while the blog has been indexed like crazy by Google (probably because I've been posting so long, for one, and also because Blogger is now owned by Google), I'm pretty sure very few people actually read it. That's why I feel safe blogging about very private matters here. Occasionally, I do make "break the fourth wall" sort of comments, where I acknowledge whatever readers there may be, but most of the time I just ignore them. Since I tend to be able to express myself better in writing anyway, having this blog helps me to work out ideas I'm processing, talk about things I can't talk to others about (either because they're too personal to talk about or because they relate to those geeky interests of mine that I don't share with anyone I know in real life), or vent. I do try to be careful, though, especially since my blog is so well indexed. When I talk about work, for instance, I try not to mention my workplaces by name too much (since if your work finds out you've been saying bad things about the company, it can get you in big trouble). That hasn't been a problem though, since no one at work knows I blog and even if they did find it, I blog under a pseudonym after all.

Between joining Blogger and joining Facebook, I still didn't have much experience with social media sites or even with similar sites. In October 2005, I started making videos and put them on Putfile, a video hosting site (which no longer exists). Later, I grew dissatisfied with my inability to change the look of my Putfile profile and decided to move to YouTube (according to my blog archive - via which I can pinpoint the date of almost every major event that has happened to me since December 14, 2004 - this happened on May 24, 2006), which has been my video host ever since. My first account was under the username Writer4Christ. Unfortunately, this account only lasted until December 2006, when it was suspended due to copyright violations on three of my videos - a Katharine McPhee video, an Inuyasha video, and a video about May from Pokémon (which I think was to "Mountain of God" by Third Day, since the song reminded me of her) - even though I was not trying to deliberately infringe copyright with those videos. The first two videos had clips I'd gotten from fansites. I forget which Inuyasha fansite I got clips from, or what song that video was set to. The Katharine McPhee one I think was set to her performance of "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." Those I got from a Katharine McPhee fansite (this was before American Idol partnered with iTunes to release audio and video of the contestants' performances, so back then the only way to get audio and video of the performances was through YouTube or through fansites such as this one; in fact, I highly suspect American Idol did the deal with iTunes specifically to prevent such piracy). The May one had a couple clips from an opening sequence and a bunch of stills. Nevertheless, these videos were tagged and I moved back to Putfile. I didn't put up videos very often though, because for a long time I couldn't get past my home page on my laptop, so I was only able to post videos when I had access to a school computer.

I continued to be active in forums. I joined the forum at, but eventually left it because it had a ton of members and frequently suffered server crashes as a result. I eventually moved to a smaller Code Lyoko forum called Tech Links (which sadly no longer exists; it shut down after the last episode of season 4 aired in 2007), where I became an active member. I think those were the only forums I was active in, aside from Fiction Express.

On February 28, 2007 (according to my blog archive), one of my friends from Tech Links, Gilbert (who I knew better under his forum username Kakeru), helped me get my laptop internet working again, via a VoIP program called TeamSpeak which he, I, and Wartonchan (the admin of Tech Links) had been using to plan a Code Lyoko podcast (a plan which never came to fruition). One of the first things I did after getting my internet working again was to create a new YouTube account, this time under the username AleraofRavenclaw (a name based on Alera Gynne, a character I'd created for a Harry Potter RPG on the forums who was a transfer student from Beauxbatons; I later tried to write a fanfic about her but never finished it). I first started doing fandubs under this username, since this was the time of the PGSM fan boom on YouTube. You can still find fandubs done by me from that era on the YouTube channel for Fire and Light Productions, the YouTube group I did the fandubbing for. I got a bit of a reputation for playing Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen and Kuroki Mio from these fandubs; I was able to do Mamoru because I have a low voice, though I admit, in retrospect, some of my scenes as him are better than others. I also sort of developed this really over-the-top voice for Mio, trying very hard to imitate the way Alisa Durbrow (Mio's actress) said "Mamoru-kun." It was also under this account that I started the first fandub I've ever run, a fandub of the Dark Mercury arc of PGSM called the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project. (This project remains unfinished to this day, though I still have all the recorded lines, except for my characters and the ones for my YouTube friend AmyMizunoPGSM, who now plays Usagi in that project, and I do intend to finish it). Unfortunately, this account was also suspended, again due to copyright infringement that wasn't my fault, later in 2007 (probably October or early November based on my blog archive).

Shortly after losing the AleraofRavenclaw account, I opened two new YouTube accounts: OwlPostMistress, my primary one, and BibliophileGirl, a backup to fall back on should my primary one get deleted. Also, as an extra cushion, I created an account on Veoh, a video-sharing site that's kind of a combination of YouTube and Hulu, but smaller and with less restrictions. I continued fandubbing on these two accounts, primarily on my backup account, which I used for solo fandubs. These accounts survived the longest of any of my accounts so far, lasting till sometime in 2009 before both being suspended at the same time, pretty unexpectedly. I think it did have to do with copyright again, this time for the songs since YouTube has started cracking down on that real hard in the last few years. The Veoh account (under the name CYAAgentAshela, after a character in the "CYA story" as it existed at that time) I ended up closing on my own.

Also in 2007, I was involved with the Christian anime/manga e-zine Anime Angels, which had a Yahoo group for members of its staff.

This brings us back to 2008, when I joined Facebook. Joining Facebook was a major step, since as I've said, I primarily just did forums and YouTube before. Coincidentially, I joined Facebook shortly before I transferred to CSUSM, and I am now Facebook friends with a number of my CSUSM friends. My first friends on Facebook, though, were old high school classmates, as is most people's experience on that site, I think.

In April 2009, I ventured into the area of business networking and created a profile on the business social networking site LinkedIn and a similar site, ZoomInfo, after reading a Fortune article reprinted on Yahoo that recommended doing so. ZoomInfo didn't work out, but I still have my LinkedIn profile. I originally started it to make professional connections in my normal life (putting my résumé up and everything), but now I primarily use it as networking for my writing.

In June 2009, I began branching out in terms of social media as a way of promoting myself as a writer. I joined Twitter, creating a personal account under the name Bgirldotnet (originally to refer to my personal website domain name,, since I deleted that domain I've changed my username to Larabooklover, the username I use for AIM) and a writing account under the name waldenwriter. Soon after, I put up my writing website, created a writing blog on LiveJournal (I chose LJ because I had become familiar with it during the Spring '09 semester when I was secretary of the French Club at CSUSM and as such had to post meeting minutes on the club's LiveJournal; probably I should've chosen WordPress or Blogger like most authors do), and set up a MySpace account (I didn't do a Facebook account because I didn't want to mix my personal and writing personas more than was necessary). I quickly learned though that MySpace wasn't going to work (though I liked their blogging setup a lot, which let you set a mood like with LJ but also let you list what book you were reading, what movie you were watching, what music you were listening to, or what video game you were playing - whereas LJ only lets you set a mood and what music you're listening to). In October 2009, I joined Scribd, a document-sharing social site I'd heard about, and started putting writing samples up there. Then finally, on May 17, 2010, I moved my writing persona to Facebook (after going through the not exactly painless process of deleting my MySpace account - they make it rather hard to do). Thankfully, I'd told people on The Anomaly, a new Christian speculative writing forum I had joined in May 2009, that I was going to do this, and two of them - William Hayes and Grace Bridges - showered me like crazy with friend recommendations, resulting in me gaining 100 friends on the first day.

Also, in early 2010, I became friends with Elly and Jen of Miss Dream (as a result of this post about Miss Dream's debacle with and in February of that year I appeared on episode 4 of their site's podcast to advertise my new site Myu Corner, and then shortly after I joined Miss Dream's forums under the username Mizusenshi. A few months later, after volunteering to do some French translation for them, I got added to the staff. My work for the site has been sporadic, though, and I'm now just a contributor to the site (though still staff), which suits me just fine.

In August 2010, I got made a blogger for the Sailor Moon fan blog Family of Moonlight, after sending them pics from Comic-Con 2010. That was pretty cool, as it is my first guest blogging stint since my job writing Pokémon TCG articles for The Pallet Tribune (which you can read here; look for the ones marked "by WaterRangerLara") went on a sort of hiatus due to me having difficulty communicating with the Features Editor. Oh yeah, I'd joined the Pallet Tribune forum in December 2008, shortly after it opened as part of version 2.0 of the site, after listening to the site's podcast, WTPT, for a while. However, partially because of the difficulties with my feature and also because I felt the forum was becoming too large, unmanageable, and full of hard-core Pokémon players (which I am not), I stopped participating in it.

So, here's how things stand with me and social media (and similar sites). I have:
  • a Blogger blog
  • three YouTube accounts (one primary, one backup, one for group fandubs)
  • a LinkedIn account
  • two Facebook accounts
  • two Twitter accounts
  • a LiveJournal
  • a WordPress blog (for Myu Corner)
  • Scribd account
  • Two accounts on the blog listing site Technorati (one regular, one for writing; an account is required to add your blog to the listings there)
  • a pretty much ignored Flickr account I created to enter a contest being put on by the local transit district
  • my new account on the link-sharing site StumbleUpon

I'm also an active member of two forums, The Anomaly and the Miss Dream forums. And aside from my own YouTube accounts (my primary account Bgirldotnet - which like my personal Twitter was meant to refer to my domain which I later deleted; I don't have any way of changing my YouTube username though - my backup account WindKnightFuu, and my group fandubs account imagodeidubs, all founded in December 2009), I have access to two more accounts - ReiliaAmyLara, the YouTube channel for LAR Productions, a YouTube singing group I'm a part of (and now, according to founder Amy-chan, the leader of), and tsukifamily, the YouTube channel for Family of Moonlight. I also operate the LAR social media, which consist of a Twitter, a MySpace Music profile, and an iLike account, all in desperate need of updating, as well as a Facebook fan page Amy-chan created and more or less runs (although both I and the last member of our group, Reilia, also have admin access to the page).

So what do I think of social media? It's too early to truly tell, I think, but nearly 2 1/2 years of Facebook status posts and 600+ tweets later (on my personal account), I'm liking Facebook and Twitter a lot (although I don't like the "new Twitter" setup, or Twitter for iPhone, which I anxiously awaited only to feel underwhelmed by it). Both are useful for sharing articles and other online finds - in fact, links to articles and retweets of other people's tweets make up the bulk of those 600+ tweets. (I haven't done as much of that with my writing Twitter, which has a better follow/followed ratio than my personal account and only a little over 200 tweets). StumbleUpon I just recently signed up for, and have found tons of interesting stuff as a result (basically how that site works is that you tell the system what topics you're interested in, and then you "stumble," either using the site or a button you can download for your browser, and it brings up random Internet content related to those topics, which you can rate with a thumbs up or thumbs down to help better tailor the system to your preferences).

I will say briefly something about social media and their mobile apps. Some are better than others. I've tried various iPhone ones on my iPod touch, with mixed results. Facebook for iPhone is really well done; it was one of the first social media iPhone apps and it is made very well for the platform. Twitter for iPhone, as I said, is underwhelming; you're better off using third-party apps like Echofon (which I use now; I used to use Twitterrific, but it stopped working). LiveJournal has a very good iPhone app - their original one ("") was very good, but their new expanded one (called just "Livejournal") is better because it lets you see posts from your friends and communities and send messages as well as post to your own journal, whereas just let you write a new post. MySpace Mobile for iPhone is pretty well done too.

In short, that is my personal experience with social networks and other related sites.


Well, it's really late, and I literally spent all day writing this because I got distracted. Good night!