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!

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