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!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There is Hope

Those three words best sum up my day today. Granted, it had its hiccups - I had to wait in the really hot sun for a bus that seemed awfully late (but maybe I missed the one that comes around 20 minutes till the hour), and I was late to my Cultural Studies class because I was in the cafeteria looking at stuff on my laptop and lost track of time. But overall, it was a very good day.

The day started with me sleeping in to make up for my lack of sleep the previous night, one of the luxuries I have thanks to having afternoon classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I got up, got ready, ate breakfast, and even got around to making a lunch, something I don't always feel up to doing.

I had to get to school a little earlier than I usually do because Chi Alpha - the Christian club I'm now actively a part of - was having a pizza party today and Tara, our club director, wanted me to help her set up. So I met her and we carried things to the room we were having the party in. Later, I had to go out and help carry the pizza in while one of the other girls parked her car.

The party went ok, although there wasn't much of a turnout - three new people and then all but two members of the club. At one point, Tara shared her testimony, which got my attention. It was quite a story. Her talking about God being there for us and his Spirit being in us and everything made me feel like there just might be some hope for me, even though I've lost a lot of trust in God. My testimony isn't nearly as amazing as hers is; I grew up in church and a Christian school and "prayed the prayer" at age 7. For some reason, I didn't get baptized right away; that didn't happen till I was like 13. I was pretty close to God during junior high and was going to church pretty much every week. In 8th grade I was even on the leadership team, S.A.L.T.

In 9th grade, things were still going pretty strong - my dad had overcome cancer, and my prayer, along with many other people's prayers, had helped bring healing to the dying daughter of this one leader guy in the junior high group. Then in September of my freshman year, my grandma (mom's side) died. We'd known she was sick for a long time, but her death was still kinda sudden since we'd just gone and seen her the week before. At that time, I was rather angry at God, since I'd prayed and prayed for my grandma to get better and she didn't. I'd also prayed for her salvation, but, as far as I know, she died unsaved. So that made my anger worse.

The anger - and accompanying bitterness toward God - just got worse. In 10th grade, I became friends with a guy I met at church. His name was Kyle. I was friends with his sister Rhoda and she introduced us. We pretty much just talked on the phone a lot since we went to different schools. I did go to the movies with him (and my parents) once, and we also went to my school's Sadie Hawkins Christmas Progressive Dinner together, though that was very awkward because my friend who'd convinced me to ask him and her boyfriend were supposed to be there to hang out with us, but they never showed, so Kyle and I just ended up alone most of the time. He actually put his arms around me to "warm me up" at the ice-skating rink (a stage of the "dinner"), which felt both nice and awkward at the same time. That's the first and only time I've let a guy who wasn't my dad or my brother touch me like that. I also went to his house once or twice, and one of those times he taught me how to shoot a BB gun. He also introduced me to the anime/manga Project A-ko, which is a series with a somewhat confusing plot (involving a friendly rivalry between the title character and her "friend" B-ko, a kid named C-ko who's caught in the middle, and a mostly unexplained alien invasion) and art that borders on porn.

Unfortunately, things ended up not going well with Kyle. I started developing feelings for him, but had to hold them back because at the time he already had a girlfriend. Then, after about 5 months as friends, I found out - while being the passive member of a 3-way phone call between him, me, and a friend of his - that he wasn't a Christian like I thought he was. This made things difficult after that. The fact that he denied any concern over the "Winter Formal incident" (me telling him on the phone that Winter Formal was happening at my school, only to get chewed out by his girlfriend, who thought I was asking him to the event, instead of just telling him about it) was troublesome as well. My parents finally advised me to end it. The day I was going to call him to tell him "not to call me for a while" was Valentine's Day. He actually called first, to wish me a happy Valentine's Day, and I almost lost my nerve. But I finally did it. He tried to protest, and finally I just hung up. (This might be the real reason I dislike Valentine's Day - not just being single, which is the reason I usually give people).

Nothing happened at first, until a few months later when my best friend wanted to call him to ask about Comic-Con (this was in 2001, the first time either of us went to that con). For some reason, I hadn't told her about the "breakup." I protested, but finally gave in. This gave Kyle reason to start calling again, and finally I had to tell him to stop calling me altogether.

I tried to forget Kyle, but he popped again a few times once I started school at Mira Costa, most infamously when I was at a Bible study for InterVarsity. I just told me to leave me alone. The last time I saw him he said he was going to move somewhere else in the state. I haven't seen him since.

So, back to high school. So the Kyle thing was a fiasco, and I was mad at God again for not stopping me before I developed feelings for Kyle, so that I could've avoided a broken heart. I also realized I became too easily emotionally attached to boys and decided to try to remedy this before having a relationship again.

My junior year was a tough year school-wise - probably my toughest - and of course, 9/11 happened that year too. I'm not sure if I had a faith crisis then but I might've. During my senior year, my grandmother (father's side) passed away, after having not fully recovered from a stroke.

Somehow I have survived 8 years of college and the loss of both of my grandfathers and an uncle since then. But while I still believe God exists and all that stuff, it seems all mental - like there's no heart to my relationship with God. And I'm not sure how to apply his Word, which I still read regularly, to my life -- especially the parts which seem to have no application, like the laws in Leviticus or the genealogies in the history books. And, perhaps due to my history with unanswered prayers, I've stopped praying regularly. And I can't grasp the idea of praying for seemingly "normal" things - like how my mom prayed when she couldn't find one of her boots. I'm also scared to trust God with every aspect of my life, including my future and especially my finances. I even worried that me coming up with a "Plan B" in case my writing doesn't work out (i.e., taking web design classes) was a sign that I wasn't willing to trust God to provide for me, though Mum said that what I was doing was ok.

So my testimony's nothing amazing, like some of the ones you hear. Just a long-time Christian with problems. And unlike most people who give their testimony (including Tara today), I can't bring myself to tell people my story publicly and especially to tell people that my story proves there is hope for humanity. Granted, evangelism isn't one of my top spiritual gifts (according to the tests I've taken) but Missionary is, and isn't that kind of the same thing? And aren't all Christians supposed to witness? It's a constant worry for me, that.

But anyway, now I'm getting all bummed, and I said this was a GOOD day!

Another good thing is that I got caught up on my homework - even my Flash class, which I was having trouble keeping up in - which means I can take a bit of a breather. Yay!

Today, I was thinking again about reviving my old sites Liquid Mercury and Ayeka's Palace. The Ayeka one is particularly on my mind, since the roots of its Ayeka-POV blog is the focus of the project I'm currently working on for LTWR 475. I'd also put out a desperate plea for help on the Miss Dream forums regarding Liquid Mercury the other day, so it was on my mind too.

I decided that it was worth looking at some examples of Sailor Moon character shrines - after all, a lot has changed since 2000 or whenever it was I had that site up last. So I looked at examples from the Deep Submerge Directory (now known as Ten(sen)shi), the most well-known Sailor Moon website directory (Myu Corner's listed there!), and The Worst Sailormoon Pages Ever, a site known and respected throughout the Moonie fandom for pointing out the best and the worst Sailor Moon websites. (It used to be a big deal if you won one of their awards. They haven't been actually active since 2004, though). And I found a lot of good examples! That gave me hope that even though character shrines aren't as popular as they used to be, it can still be done.

Unfortunately, shrines specifically to Mercury are a bit hard to find. Based on the links I found on sites that were still up, there were quite a lot of them at one point, but many of the ones that stayed up were hosted on GeoCities, a service which has since been shut down. I did find a few good ones though - Into the Water, Rainstorm (a site which seemed rather familiar to me), Second Ripple, and The Sailormercury Shrine of Water (which I think may be where I got all the old screenshots of Ami-chan no Hatsukoi that I found in an old folder I'd copied onto a CD-R).

There being a lack of Mercury shrines, I decided to look at shrines for other characters. I was particularly impressed by Emerald Star, a Sailor Jupiter shrine made by someone named "Kotono." The depth of that site was amazing, and the layout was nice and clean. I particularly liked the "Always, Makoto" section, which featured a fanfic done by Kotono where she imagined the girls' lives after Stars in a series of letters written by Makoto to different characters (including her mysterious sempai). The letters looked like real letters too! It was awesome. Having been impressed by this site, I was pleased to later discover that the same webmistress was responsible for Crimson Mysteria, an equally deep and well-laid out shrine for Sailor Pluto (one of my personal favorite senshi).

My search continued, from sites I knew like the famous Memoirs of a Fish (a shrine to Fish Eye from the Amazon Trio), to ones I'd never seen before, like the clever wedding-themed Usagi shrine A Soldier's Policy and three good Sailor Saturn shrines, Eventide being the most visually interesting. (That there are several Saturn shrines kind of surprised me - I thought she was kind of a forgotten character in the world of character shrines, being upstaged by all the Uranus/Neptune shrines and even perhaps by the several Pluto shrines).

Well, I got to go to bed because I have an early appointment with Dr. Wilson, my Writing Process teacher, tomorrow morning. (I had to change to an earlier time because of work). More on this stuff later!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Oscar results, blogging, Mercury shrine

Hi again everyone!

So I forgot to post the results of my Oscar picks yesterday, so I better start with that. (You can read more about that in the last post).

Here's how I did:

Best Actor: Chose right! Colin Firth did indeed win Best Actor. I bet Eisenberg was shocked he didn't win. Ha ha.

Best Supporting Actor: Chose wrong. I guess my passion for The King's Speech didn't go as far as I'd like. My pick, Geoffrey Rush, lost this award to Christian Bale for The Fighter, which I guess makes sense as he was a fave pick for the award anyway.

Best Actress: Chose wrong. Poor Annette Bening is award-less again, losing this award to Natalie Portman for Black Swan, just as many others were predicting.

Best Supporting Actress: Chose wrong (on both counts). I had a tie between Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech). Best Supporting Actress went to Melissa Leo for The Fighter, but nobody cares because she botched her speech by accidentially dropping the f-bomb, an Oscars no-no. Though my mom thinks she did it on purpose.

Best Animated Feature Film: Chose wrong. I chose How to Train Your Dragon. But Pixar (and Toy Story 3) won. Of course. They always win. Darn Pixar.

Best Art Direction: Chose right! I kinda knew that would happen; with Alice in Wonderland's amazing sets, there was no way the other nominees had a chance (except maybe Deathly Hallows).

Best Costume Design: Chose right! Again, not surprised. The costume design in Alice in Wonderland was award-worthy all along.

Best Director: Chose right! Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) won. I am very happy about this, especially since David Fincher (director of The Social Network) was the favorite for this award. I'm so glad Tom Hooper won.

Best Film Editing: Chose wrong. I picked The King's Speech. But The Social Network won this one, one of only three Oscars it won. It's a pity, because I thought the editing in The King's Speech was quite good. Eh well.

Best Foreign Language Film: Chose right! In a Better World (a Danish film) did seem like the most interesting one.

Best Original Score: Chose wrong. The Social Network won this one. I am scratching my head as to why it did. (My pick: How to Train Your Dragon).

Best Original Song: Chose right! As I said in the previous post, animated films do well here, and since Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature Film, this award was probably expected.

Best Short Film (Animated): Chose wrong. This went to The Lost Thing. Not sure why as I haven't seen that one. The Academy must've just liked it better. (My pick: Pixar's Day & Night).

Best Sound Editing: Chose wrong. This went to Inception, which also won three other Oscars. (My pick: Tron: Legacy, since I didn't notice any great sound editing in Toy Story 3, the one Sound Editing nominee I had seen).

Best Sound Mixing: Chose wrong. Also went to Inception. That movie dominated the sound category, apparently. (My pick: The King's Speech).

Best Visual Effects: Chose wrong. This also went to Inception. I was very surprised that Alice in Wonderland (my pick) didn't win here, but my mom (who has seen Inception) said the visual effects are REALLY impressive in that movie.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chose wrong. This went to The Social Network, and was the only one of the "Big Five" (Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Writing/Screenplay) that it won. Seeing as it didn't have The King's Speech to contend with in this category, I guess it was pretty clear that it would win there against its competitors, though 127 Hours would've been a possible contender. (I picked Toy Story 3 for this because the only two films in this category that I'd seen were that one and The Social Network, and I didn't like The Social Network).

Best Original Screenplay: Chose right! This was one of the four awards that The King's Speech won, the most for any one film. Again, not much chance for the competition here imo, except maybe Inception, which did beat out The King's Speech for the Sound Mixing award.

Best Picture: TOTALLY Chose right! While it lost 8 of its nominations, The King's Speech (my pick for this award) won the biggest prize of the night - Best Picture - and that's what matters.The main competition here was between The King's Speech and The Social Network anyway. I am SO glad The Social Network didn't win. That would've just been wrong. And, the Best Picture/Best Director trend I mentioned in the last post was proven once again, since The King's Speech won Best Picture and its director, Tom Hooper, won Best Director. (This generally happens 9 times out of 10).

Awards I didn't make a clear pick on or choose at all:

Best Cinematography: Went to Inception. Inception and The King's Speech were the only films that won four Oscars, but The King's Speech is the one they said "dominated the night" because it won four of the "Big Five" awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay - the one it didn't get was Best Actress, which it wasn't nominated for anyway).

Best Documentary, Feature-Length: Went to Inside Job, the documentary about the recession. Not much of a surprise, I guess.

Best Documentary, Short-Subject: Went to Strangers No More, the film I liked about the school in Israel. Yay!

Best Short Film (Live-Action): Went to God of Love, about the guy who gets the love darts. Not that happy about that.

Best Makeup: A.k.a., the category I didn't care about. It went to The Wolfman.

So I got 7 right and 10 wrong (I counted the tie for Best Supporting Actress as 1 rather than 2), as well as 5 I didn't pick a winner for. Not too bad, I guess.

Total number of awards per movie for the major contenders (aka the Best Picture nominees, because those are the ones people care about, as well as non-Best Picture nominee Alice in Wonderland).

  • The King's Speech: 4 (nominated for 12) 
    • Won: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay.
    • Lost: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing.
  • Inception: 4 (nominated for 8)
    • Won: Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography.
    • Lost: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score.
  • The Social Network: 3 (nominated for 8)
    • Won: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score.
    • Lost: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound Mixing, Best Cinematography.
  • Alice in Wonderland: 2 (nominated for 3)
    • Won: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design.
    • Lost: Best Visual Effects 
  • The Fighter: 2 (nominated for 7)
    • Note: Despite its disappointing number of wins, The Fighter is the first film to win Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in one year since 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters
    • Won: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress for Melissa Leo.
    • Lost: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams.
    • As strange as it may seem for The Fighter to have two nominees for Best Supporting Actress, this is actually not unheard of; "double" nominations for Best Supporting Actress (i.e., two actresses from the same film) have occurred 22 other times in the history of the Oscars, the earliest instance being in 1939, when both Hattie McDaniel and Olivia de Havilland were nominated for Gone With the Wind. (McDaniel won the award, actually. She played Mammy, the O'Haras' black housemaid in Gone With the Wind, and was the first African-American to win an Academy Award. de Havilland played Melanie Hamilton).
  • Toy Story 3: 2 (nominated for 5)
    • One of the 2 awards Toy Story 3 won was for Best Original Song, for the song "We Belong Together." It was only the third animated film to be nominated for Best Picture (after Beauty and the Beast and Up) and is the first sequel to win Best Animated Feature Film.
    • Won: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Song
    • Lost: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Editing
  • Black Swan: 1 (nominated for 5)
    • Won: Best Actress (Natalie Portman)
    • Lost: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Director
  • Films nominated but with no wins: True Grit (10 nominations), 127 Hours (6 nominations), The Kids Are All Right (4 nominations), Winter's Bone (4 nominations).
So the obvious upset is True Grit, which got 10 nominations but didn't win any awards. Black Swan, which only won 1 of the 5 awards it got nominated for, is also a surprise, considering it was a favorite all awards season. The Fighter and The Social Network also did a lot more poorly than anticipated.


Ok, moving on. That's why I don't do those sorts of posts normally. Not here anyway. They're majorly tiring!

I don't know why I did the post on my Oscar picks. I think, in a fit of temporary insanity, I posted on something I thought would bring all these people to my blog, since I was just reading a book on blogging as part of my "research" for my second Writing Project for Dr. Wilson, where I am writing fictional blog posts from the point-of-view of Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo. (I just finished the book today - it was Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro by Tris Hussey. It's very good; I highly recommend it). I realize now it was kinda stupid to do that post. Oh well.

Finding books to "consult" on blogging was not as easy as it sounds; while many books have been written on the subject of blogging, most of them were published in 2006, when blogging really went mainstream. And when it comes to researching tech topics, you want to find a book that's as new as possible, since things change constantly in the world of technology. So I'm going with books published within the last couple years (Hussey's book came out in '09), since that's as current as I could find. Fortunately, I was able to find almost all the books I wanted to look at in Kindle format, which made it much more convenient for me to get them and read them. (The exceptions are a few books my school has full electronic access to and one book I got from the school library, The Rough Guide to Blogging, which is circa 2006 but which was highly recommended on Amazon; I looked through it though and there didn't seem to be anything useful in there that I hadn't already read in Tris Hussey's book).

At any rate, though, this "research" should help me as a blogger on any blogs I start in the future and maybe even on this blog. Technically, this is the only real blog I have on the net; my only other one is the updates blog for Myu Corner. I can't figure out how to integrate that blog into the site itself, or how to do that with any site, actually. In Tris Hussey's book, it sounds like you can do it with a self-hosted Wordpress installation, which is what I have through GoDaddy. But I still don't know how to actually do it. Before the Myu Corner blog, I did have a couple "blog sites," like my lame attempt to do a blog-within-a-blog for my personal site, and a couple small Wordpress sites I had - one a personal site called The Walden Chronicler's Tower and the other a fansite for the PotterCast Acting Troupe. But they're all gone now.

This blog, though, was my first and is my preferred one, even if the "Edit HTML" function isn't the best (it tends to do annoying things like add DIV tags where they don't need to be and stuff). Since December 2004, this blog has been my place to turn to when I need to get something off my chest that I can't talk about with other people for some reason, even my parents. It's like a replacement for the diary I once kept, first in that little Hello Kitty diary I wrote in from age 8 to around age 11, and then in some isolated Word documents. Sure, it's public, but my blog is so unknown that I don't think privacy is a huge issue, and plus I blog under a pseudonym. Up until I revealed my real name on Facebook, I pretty much always used an alias online, generally Lara Larame or Misty Waterflower, because I was uncomfortable using my real name online. In fact, when I first signed up for Facebook, it was under the name "Lara Larame." I only changed to my real name when I realized that my friends list was made up entirely of people who knew me or had known me in real life. To this day, I use an alias a lot online, or if I use my real name I use my first name only. (The exception to this is my writing site, which uses my first and last name, but that is because the site is for promoting my writing). In fact, many people who know me via social media such as YouTube only learn my real name when they have to e-mail me for some reason (since e-mails from my main address show my first and last name...I must have it set up that way). Weird, I know. But it makes me feel more comfortable, and I'm sure it makes my parents feel more comfortable too.

Anyway, these books will likely inspire me to create other blogs - and not just ones to show site updates. Many people have topical blogs, such as Brad from, who has a blog devoted to his Starbucks mug collection, or my friend Elly, who started a cooking blog. I'm not sure what I'd do a blog about, technology maybe.

Oh duh I do have a writing blog too. But that's for my writing, a persona I try to keep separate from my everyday persona.

Man I'm tired. School has been tiring lately, and I've had to get up early pretty much every day for work or school, especially school now that I'm meeting Tara from Chi Alpha (Christian group on campus) on Tuesday mornings to do this Bible study called Springboard, a Bible study developed by Chi Alpha that's specifically for graduating seniors about to move from college to the "real world." At least I don't have to work before school this week.

My schoolwork - mostly lots of reading, including dry, rather boring theory articles for Cultural Studies -doesn't leave much time for things I want to do, like work on my websites. I either spend my free time doing schoolwork or I'm so tired when I get home that I don't feel like doing fun things like website stuff. I either sit around restless or end up watching TV, either by myself or with my parents - in which case I end up watching one of their shows, like Pretty Little Liars or Say Yes to the Dress. I don't quite understand why my parents are interested in a teen-Desperate Housewives show like Pretty Little Liars, but the show is strangely enticing to me, maybe because it's a mystery story. I find myself following it - a little sidebar interview in TV Guide (a magazine I often look at while waiting to clock in at work) with Ian Harding, who plays this teacher named Ezra in Pretty Little Liars that main character Aria is romantically involved with, even caught my eye - and with each episode I see I find myself hating "A" more and more (and yet, also been impressed by A's cleverness). I have no idea who "A" is myself, though I like to think it's Alison, except that she's dead. The interview with Harding suggested the possibility that Ezra might be "A," which would be an interesting twist. (Harding himself thought it was an interesting idea). It could be that blind girl Jenna too, an idea that's been toyed with in recent episodes (and the episode preview for the next episode revealed that Caleb, Hanna's love interest, was paid by Jenna to spy on her).

Ok, my eyes are burning. I should go to bed. I was going to write about reviving my Sailor Mercury shrine, but I'm too tired. Good night.