Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas...and looking toward the new year.

And once again I have failed to post in a long time.

Merry Christmas. Or belated Christmas rather. My Christmas was good. I already described it on my Tumblr, so I'm not going to describe it again.

I have a feeling I may not post on this blog much in the future. I'm getting more into my Tumblr. I mean, I do still like this blog, and I've had it for 8 years, but at times I like the active community of Tumblr and such. I think I will still use this as a sort of semi-private journal, a place for when I just need to write down my thoughts. Like what most people use a diary for as kids. That was always the intention of this blog. I acknowledged the audience at times (you can't really ignore them) but mostly just forgot they were there.

The end of the year is a time for reflection, and thus I am reflecting on my life once more. I think I do it too much though. It's some sort of curse I have; I am extremely introspective. Might be an introvert thing, might be an Asperger's thing, I have no idea.

We (my parents, my brother, and I) had a long discussion about stuff at the dinner table after Christmas dinner, and the idea of me living in low-income housing came up. I knew this was an option, and an affordable one on my current income, which isn't enough for a regular apartment unless I had roommates. But I think pride got in the way, and I didn't want to even look into that option. But now I am thinking maybe I should look into it. I'm almost 30 and it's about time that I move out. Of course, I may have to talk to my parents about this, especially since my mom doesn't seem to think I'm ready to move out, and my dad got all weirded out the last time I attempted to move out (some school friends of mine and I were looking into getting an apartment together). I mean, I lack skills essential to living on your own, like making a budget and cooking. And if I move out, I would probably qualify for food stamps and stuff, which I'd have to apply for. Depending on what my rent situation was, I wouldn't have as much money and thus would have to budget. The food stamps/EBT would help for food, but I'd have to pay rent and utilities at least, plus the things I pay for monthly like my bus pass, cell phone, and subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, and Crunchyroll. (I might cancel the Crunchyroll one, since I haven't used that site in a while). Oh and now my Gamefly subscription. Plus I would want to tithe. And pay for internet access if I wanted it (unless it was part of the utilities). Cable TV I could do without; I did without it for about 14 years of my life. You can watch pretty much every show there is online now anyway (or through Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, etc), so it's possible to live without cable.

Just sent in a form for my bank's Financial Freedom service. It's free for all members (I belong to a credit union, so we're called "members") and is supposed to help you get your money situation sorted out. Hopefully that will help.

Then there's the job front. I got my certificate in Web Development and Design, but nothing has come of it yet because I haven't begun job hunting. The other night at work I was thinking I should try to research the industry and figure out exactly what kind of job I'm qualified for. That would give me a place to start. Currently on my web design portfolio site I list myself as a "web designer and writer," but I guess that might be kind of vague. I suppose I could try Dribbble too, since a lot of web designers are on there. There is also the issue of if I switch jobs whether I'd still qualify for low-income housing and so on, since a job like that would likely pay more than I make now. I guess for entry-level it might be ok though. I would have to check. I think my mom probably knows more about these things. (My coworker Adam has an issue with this sort of stuff; the reason he's always complaining about his hours is that if he earns too much money, he can't continue getting the Social Security Disability benefits he receives because of his Asperger's...but then that's his problem. I've gotten along just fine with my Asperger's without government help, but then Mum thinks I'm really high-functioning, to the extent that my Asperger's doesn't affect my ability to have a pretty much normal life all that much).

My spiritual life is still a mess, and I'd like to work on that in the new year. I really want to get into studying the Bible, praying, and growing in that relationship. My parents and my younger brother seem more spiritually mature than I am. But maybe because I am not sure I like people who bring God into every conversation. Or nearly every conversation. Maybe my almost 6 years in a rather un-Christian workplace are having a bad effect on me. I don't know. Agh!

So, as of right now, my resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Get my finances worked out so I can come up with a budget.

2. Begin looking into ways I might be able to move out on my own.

3. Work on getting an actual career job.

4. Strengthen my relationship with God.

5. Stop being just a consumer on my social media accounts and actually be active. This is something I wrote about on my Tumblr the other day. I realized that the reason I don't have a big following on social media is probably because on most of my accounts, I'm not that active. I just use them to consume content primarily. Maybe this is because I never really liked social media much to begin with, and only got into it in 2008 because it was something everyone was doing. I still prefer forums/message boards, which I have much more experience with and which seem to allow for more depth of conversation. Currently, between my personal, writing, and web design promotion accounts, I have Facebook (twice, one for personal and one for writing), Twitter (times three), GetGlue, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Tumblr, YouTube (times three), Scribd, StumbleUpon, Flickr (though I never use it), Dribbble, and Instagram. Not to mention minor accounts for Blogger, Crunchyroll, Photobucket, and Technorati, and my new Viggle account. Can you see why I'm in over my head?

6. Work on my writing.

7. Get my web design skills up to snuff, if necessary.


Those are the only ones I can think of right now.

Whoa it's super late. I better go to bed.

Oh one last thing. I have started a new blog. It's called TARDIS Thoughts and is a Doctor Who episode analysis blog. It's been up since October but I just recently started really promoting it. It already has an authority of 86 on Technorati, which is pretty good. I just posted an analysis yesterday of the 2012 Christmas Special, which I was really excited to see and write about. Check it out!

Ok, good night!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Website priorities

So, after my epic fail with my new Fancy Lala fanlisting (I didn't get it done in time, so it got removed from The Anime Fanlistings), I decided to focus on getting my existing websites shipshape.

The problem? I have 8 of them. That's right, EIGHT. Well, nine if you count the one-page domain hub for ( Not to mention the various projects past and present on my web design portfolio site (every piece there is live), this blog, and another Blogger blog I'm working on (and which I will reveal soon - though if you've read my Blogger profile in the last month or so, you already know about it, since it's hosted on the same Blogger account as this blog).

Two of these 8 sites are fanlistings which only need to be updated every couple months to satisfy rules. And if I can finally figure out a PHP fanlisting management script setup for those sites, that process will be easier to do. Even though I took a class in PHP, I still have trouble understanding the code for those scripts. ^_^ Anyway, these two sites are Come Fly with Me (a fanlisting for the TV show Pan Am) and Singing Soldiers (a SeraMyu fanlisting and a subdomain of my SeraMyu fansite Myu Corner). So hopefully those sites won't be much of a problem.

Most of my sites are under my personal domain, That base URL simply hosts a Flash page I made with stars featuring the various subdomains of that domain. I need to make a non-Flash version of that page for mobile. The domain is referred to as The Starry-Dreamer Galaxy. The "stars" of the Galaxy are: Come Fly With Me, Liquid Mercury, and Ayeka's Palace (which hasn't been moved to the galaxy yet).

Other than that, I have my author site, my web design portfolio, Myu Corner, and my new website Poké, a website devoted to Pokémon side and spin-off games. For a total of eight.

And, unfortunately, I am even more insane than that, because I am planning another site for a near future release. This site would be a complete redo of my planned PGSM fansite Sparkle Moon and would focus only on providing transcripts, my original intention for Sparkle Moon being that it would house PGSM transcripts, something that has been missing from the Internet since the fansite Shingetsu-PGSM went down. But now that the new anime is on its way, plus the fact that my friends at Miss Dream are almost done translating all the PGSM episodes, I have expanded this idea to include transcripts for each PGSM episode from both the TV-Nihon sub (the fansub of PGSM that most fans are familiar with) and Miss Dream's subs, as well as...*drumroll* TRANSCRIPTS OF THE NEW ANIME! Yep, I am going to attempt that. The scripts will come from the simulcast (assuming the simulcast has subs, which considering it's going to be supposedly simulcast worldwide, I'd be really surprised if it didn't) and from Miss Dream's subs (since they've already come out and said they are going to fansub the new anime). Why two sets? Well, for comparison's sake really. Plus, the site will feature transcripts of the PGSM omake segments and the Pin Spot interviews, which not even Shingetsu has!

This project is already begun; I have transcripts written up for Acts 1-3 of PGSM (which I did a while ago when I tried to make a HTML version of Sparkle Moon for a school project), for two of the Pin Spot interviews (Azama Mew and Komatsu Ayaka), and for the "Make Up!" special that aired a week before the series started. These are all based on TV-Nihon's subs though, so I still have to do the Miss Dream versions. But it's progress!

I still have to actually MAKE the site these will be on though. I suppose I could use a CMS for this (to take off the coding burden for the most part). But I am wary of using a CMS. One, because I don't know how to make a CMS look custom. Then again not a lot of people do - heck, there are people who get PAID just to create customized Wordpress blogs/sites (one of the girls in my Web Design 3 class did this for a living). And two, because I am at a stage where I would like to enter the web design industry, and thus I would like to prove my skills to potential employers. (Especially since I got a C in Portfolio Development, which means, from my teacher's POV anyway, something about my portfolio site must suck, cause I worked REALLY HARD in that class - with that and my other two classes, I literally had no life for the last 2-2 1/2 months of the semester). I suppose I could try to incorporate a JavaScript slider and stuff. And maybe a MySQL database for the transcripts themselves - well actually no, MySQL still stumps me. I was supposed to use it in my final project for my Dynamic Web Development class and it didn't work out. (Which reminds me - the video tutorials for that class, which I downloaded so I could have them for future reference, are currently trapped in Megaupload hell...I uploaded them there for backup purposes when I was rebooting my laptop, and now I can't get them back...grr). I don't know, I'll have to think about it.

Then there is my huge project known as The Anime Guides Database. This is barely started and probably won't debut for a little while. It's essentially a wiki for spoiler-free episode guides for anime series (and eventually anime films - both those based on series and standalones - and manga series). It will, hopefully, finally satisfy the desire I've had since I first got into anime 14 years ago to make a site that really encompassed all my anime/manga interest (well, ALL my interests really, not just my anime/manga interest, but I tried personal sites for that in the past and they didn't work out). And, being a wiki, I won't have to do all the content creation work, because a wiki is, by definition, collaborative.

The reason this won't debut for a while is that I know nothing about running a wiki, let alone writing for one. I wasn't even going to make it a wiki at first; I was going to make it a site with a forum attached to it through which people could submit stuff, similar to how Miss Dream used to be set up. But when I ran this by my friends on the Miss Dream staff a while back, they said a wiki would be a better idea. So, since they seem to be more web design-savvy than I am, I am going to take their advice and do a wiki instead. Most likely I will use Wikia or MediaWiki for this, since the existing fan wikis on the net (Wikimoon, Wookiepedia, Bulbapedia, etc) usually use one of those two methods.

So what I intend to do is to join some of the anime-based fan wikis - Bulbapedia, the Precure fan wiki, etc - as well as maybe similar fan wikis like the Winx Club wiki and the Avatar the Last Airbender/Legend of Korra wiki. As just a writer/participant. So I can learn the ropes. And also possibly make friends I can then invite to be part of my wiki in the future. Besides this, I did some research and found books on the subject, which I intend to find again & re-consult.

So at some point I may have 10 sites to take care of. Am I insane? Yeah probably. And it'll only be worse if/when I get a job as a designer and have client work to do too. I read somewhere that potential employers like it if you do personal web projects because that shows them you're self-motivated or something. But it will still be a lot of work.

I have been thinking of making sites for my planned Music Land Maestress, Sailor Grimm, and Enchanted Supermarket stories too. But I may make sites for those using website builders like Wix, since they're likely to be small sites. If I feel the need to make them bigger later, I can do that and host them on my own domain. Music Land Maestress I want to do first since I've decided to make it my NaNoWriMo project this year, and NaNo is coming up pretty soon (1st of November). That is if you can put your writing up at such a place...I don't know how NaNo works exactly cause I've never actually done it before. The other two sites, therefore, will come later. Especially since I'm starting to think I should take Gina Biggs's advice and seek out an artist partner for Enchanted Supermarket (since that's intended to be a web comic). As for the Sailor Grimm story (whose actual title is "Soldier of Hameln"), I need to at least finish Grimm's profile soon (by Halloween) so whoever gets me in the Secret Santa thing I entered Grimm in on DeviantArt will have something to go off of for his/her drawing.

I wrote priority lists for my website work, based on to-do lists I wrote up back during my vacation in August, on the one day I went and hung out at the CSUSM library for several hours to fight my boredom without spending a lot of money and also get some work done. I will try to get on it tomorrow (or today I guess).

I did pray about this the other day. I just felt a prompting to do it. I don't know where it came from. So I did, and I felt less anxious. Well, until I started writing this post and realized I am probably insane. But hopefully this will be a learning experience for me to get me to trust God more. We'll see.

Well it's late. Good night!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Confirmed Cast for "Catching Fire" - So Far

There have been a lot of announcements lately about who's going to play who in the next Hunger Games film, Catching Fire (official title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). And since this is release weekend for the first film, I thought I'd post about this.

So who for sure is in the cast?

Well, one thing we know is that pretty much all the main cast from the original film is returning. This means we will once again see:

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
Liam Hensworth as Gale Hawthorne
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket
Stanley Tucci as Cesar Flickerman
Willow Shields as Primrose "Prim" Everdeen
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Donald Sutherland as President Snow
Lenny Kravitz as Cinna
Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith

The next film depicts the Quarter Quell, in which (in the case of Catching Fire) Katniss and Peeta are put into the Games once again. So of course this film will have some new faces portraying the Tributes for the Quell, all former winners of the Games, as well as any other new characters. Here's who we know the casting of so far:

Jena Malone as Johanna Mason

Johanna I think appears in Mockingjay as well, so we may see Ms. Malone in more than one Hunger Games movie as this District 7 tribute. Jena Malone's an up-and-coming actress who has already had 7 award wins and 12 nominations, including two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and a Golden Globe nod. Her wins consist of one Saturn Award (an award given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films that honors the top sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films, TV shows, and home videos of the year), a DVD Exclusive Award, a Sonoma Valley Film Festival award, three Young Artist Awards, and one YoungStar Award. Her trademark appears to be playing teenage girls with problems or from dysfunctional households (a sort of typecast Lawrence herself has complained she's been getting). Her roles so far seem to have been pretty small, though she did voice Lettie in the dub of Howl's Moving Castle and played the starring role in Saved!. The roles she's known for are her award-winning role as Young Ellie in Contact, her SAG Award-nominated role as Carine McCandless in Into the Wild, her role as Lydia Benett in the 2005 Focus Features version of Pride and Prejudice (in which Donald Sutherland also appeared as Mr. Benett), and her role as Rocket (sister of Abbie Cornish's Sweetpea and Babydoll's first friend) in Sucker Punch.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything Malone's been in, so I can't say whether she'll be good or not. District 7 is the lumber/paper-making district, and based on Katniss's POV, one of the poorer districts, so we'll see how that is portrayed in Johanna.

Alan Ritchson as Gloss

Alan Ritchson is cast as Gloss, who along with his sister Cashmere represents District 1 in Catching Fire. He's mostly done TV movies up to this point, it looks like. He's also known for his starring role as Thad Castle on the Spike TV series Blue Mountain State and a recurring role as Arthur Curry/Aquaman on Smallville. He looks pretty handsome, as one might expect from a District 1 guy. Again, haven't seen anything he's been in.

Amanda Plummer as Wiress

Amanda Plummer has been cast as Wiress, Beetee's fellow tribute from District 3 who becomes an ally of Katniss's in Catching Fire and is the one who figures out the arena is clock-shaped. She's an award-winning actress, having won multiple Emmys, as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe. She also has some stage experience, which I think is always good for a film actor. She also played the recurring role of Alice Hackett on the TV show L.A. Law. The roles she's known for are Honey Bunny/Yolanda in Pulp Fiction, Laurie in My Life Without Me, the voice of The Fates in Disney's Hercules, and Rose Michaels in So I Married an Axe Murderer. She looks promising. I did see Hercules, but it was a long time ago, and I don't remember what the Fates were like talking.

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee

Hunger Games fans have been waiting ravenously for this role to be cast, considering how big of a role Plutarch plays in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Hoffman's primarily known for his roles as Brandt from The Big Lebowski, Art Howe in Moneyball, Owen Davian in Mission: Impossible III, and Andy in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. He's also appeared in a number of other films, including Pirate Radio, Doubt, Charlie Wilson's War, Capote, the TV movie Empire Falls, Cold Mountain, Almost Famous, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patch Adams, Boogie Nights, and When a Man Loves a Woman. An impressive résumé indeed. I just hope he plays Plutarch right.

Meta Golding as Enobaria

Meta Golding is cast as Enobaria, one of the Tributes from District 2 in Catching Fire, along with Brutus. She doesn't seem to be known for anything of note. She did, however, play recurring roles in a few TV shows: as Melissa Curtis in the TNT show Dark Blue (a show about the leader of an undercover unit), Jordan Todd/Agent Jordan Todd on Criminal Minds, Jennifer Mathis on Day Break, Lt. Tali Mayfield on JAG, and Tina Brown / Rachel / Tina Brewster on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Seems like a good résumé for a Tribute who got her teeth cosmetically modified to look like fangs.

Lynn Cohen as Mags

Lynn Cohen plays the oldest Tribute in Catching Fire, Mags of District 4. Mags was a character that seemed really positively portrayed in the book, so I hope the movie does the character justice. Cohen is a busy lady, with one movie already out this year (Not Waving But Drowning), four other movies scheduled for release this year, and a movie scheduled to come out in 2014. She's known for her roles as Mrs. Wierzbowski in Eagle Eye, Golda Meir in Munich, and Patty at the Good to Go in The Station Agent. She's also known for her recurring role as Magda, nanny/housekeeper to Miranda Holmes (Cynthia Nixon's character) on Sex and the City, and reprised her role in the 2008 Sex and the City movie. Her other major TV role is the recurring role of Judge Elizabeth Mizener on Law & Order. She looks the part I think (it's been a while since I've read Catching Fire). We'll see.

Bruno Gunn as Brutus

Bruno Gunn plays the other District 2 Tribute, Brutus. He definitely looks menacing. Gunn has done mostly TV work before this. He's known for playing Rawley on the long-running soap Guiding Light, a police officer in Bad Teacher, a technician in Mickey Blue Eyes, and "Bald Trip Fan" in Herbie: Fully Loaded. Mostly he seems to guest star in shows as a guard or a policeman. So I guess that explains the menacing look?

Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread

St. Esprit plays Romulus Thread, the newly-appointed Head Peacekeeper of District 12 in Catching Fire. Don't know who that is? Well, he's the guy who had Gale flogged in public. Yeah, not a nice guy.

St. Esprit seems to be known for his recurring role as Elliot Oswald on the popular FX show Sons of Anarchy. He's also had recurring roles on Fox's The Chicago Code and TNT's Saving Grace and played a number of roles on Walker, Texas Ranger (a popular cable TV series starring Chuck Norris). In short, he's mostly done TV. I guess we'll see how he does.

E. Roger Mitchell as Chaff

Mitchell plays Chaff, one of the representatives of District 11, the same district Rue from the first film is from. Like Rue and Thresh, he is black. (I don't know where they got the idea that people from District 11 are black...supposedly this is actually canon though). Mitchell is known for his roles as Agent Kirkland in S.W.A.T., Fire Chief Tom in The Crazies, a Company Captain in Battle: Los Angeles, and Aaron in The Legend of Bagger Vance. He's also made appearances in the TV series The Shield and One Tree Hill. He has four movies set to come out this year: The Last Exorcism 2, Blackhats, Awakened, and Flight.

Maria Howell as Seeder

I love the plant-themed names in District 11. After all, they are essentially the Bread Basket of Panem. Anyway, Maria Howell plays Seeder, the other District 11 representative in Catching Fire. She is known for her roles as a welfare worker in The Blind Side, Jules's doctor in What to Expect When You're Expecting, a wife in Daddy's Little Girls, and Momma in the short film Reverie. She's also appeared on several TV shows, including The Vampire Diaries (as Ayanna and Mrs. Halpern), Army Wives (as a Counselor and Major Barcenilla), and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (as Goldie). She certainly looks lovely, and is more lighter-skinned like Rue.

Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere

Cashmere's role is the latest one to be cast. Cashmere is the sister of Gloss and his fellow Tribute from District 1. Schlund's list of credits is still quite small. She is known for her role as Megan Blakelee in The Last Song (in which Liam Hensworth starred - it's where he met his fiancée Miley Cyrus), an uncredited role as a waitress in We are Marshall, and an unknown role in The Survivor. She also had another uncredited waitress role in Stomp the Yard and was a model for 7 episodes of The Price is Right. Since she is so new, I'm not sure what to say about Schlund. I hope she can manage such a big role.


So that's who's been confirmed. Now on to who hasn't been cast (or announced to be cast anyway).

So far, according to the official Catching Fire cast page,  the roles still up in the air are:

  • Beetee, the other District 3 tribute. IMDB states that Tony Shaloub is being rumored as playing this role.
  • Finnick Odair, the hunk District 4 tribute. A number of actors have been considered for this role, namely Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer, Hunter Parrish, Grant Gustin, Luke Mitchell, and Garrett Hedlund. English actor Sam Claflin (William in Snow White and the Huntsman, among other roles) is the current rumored actor for this role. Robert Pattinson was also rumored to have been cast as Finnick, but THANKFULLY that rumor was debunked. I've had about enough of Pattinson, thank you very much.
  • The nameless Tributes from Districts 5, 6, 9, and 10
  • Cecelia and Woof, the Tributes from District 8.
  • Blight, Johanna Mason's fellow Tribute from District 7.
  • An unknown female character whose silhouette appears next to Jennifer Lawrence's picture and just below Chaff and Seeder's pictures on the official Catching Fire cast page's gallery of cast members. 
Thanks to IMDB and the official Casting Fire casting page for the info above (to access the casting page, you'll have to be signed into Facebook and then like the page in order for it to appear).

Even though Catching Fire's release is a ways away yet, I'm still looking forward to it. I just wish Gary Ross had stayed on to direct this one. According to the Hunger Games fan magazines I have, he is a big fan of the book series. I'm not sure why he chose not to direct this film (and I think he's not doing Mockingjay either, though that might change obviously). The new director, Francis Lawrence, is primarily known for directing music videos, and has directed music videos for the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Aerosmith, Will Smith, and Britney Spears. But he has directed regular movies as well, having directed I Am Legend, Water for Elephants, and Constantine. So at least we know he has experience in fantastical genres and in post-apocalyptic stories. He's also currently filming a fantasy drama TV movie called Gotham, about a female cop who discovers an unseen fantasy world within New York City.

So...I hope more of the cast is announced soon. I am a little worried that most of the new announced cast members have just done TV; I hope they do ok in a film. Bye for now!

(Oh, and btw, I bought the Target-exclusive 3-Disc Deluxe Edition DVD set of The Hunger Games yesterday. I have put pics of it on Instagram. Either look for user "vegastarlite17" on your Instagram app, or look up the username on Instagram viewing sites like Pingram).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trip to Little Tokyo

I took vacation this week (for reasons I am not permitted to broadcast), and I want to make the most of it! After resting all day yesterday, I decided to have some fun today and make a day trip up to Los Angeles, specifically to a district of downtown L.A. called Little Tokyo. I'd first heard of the area from a one-page article in Sunset magazine (a magazine devoted to the western US), which I later adapted for a Web Design 3 assignment. But today was my first time going there.

The last time I went to L.A. on the train was January 2011 for Anime Los Angeles. That time I took the Amtrak because I did not know any other way to get there. This time though I took the Metrolink, a commuter train line, because it was considerably cheaper ($15 each way as opposed to $27 each way on Amtrak). It turned out also that your Metrolink ticket also gets you free rides on the L.A. Metro and downtown bus lines all day (this is what I was told anyway; I never got a chance to find out for sure as they never checked my ticket on the Metro), which is great because it saved me the $5 I would've spent on a L.A. Metro day pass otherwise.

I admit I was somewhat disappointed by the place; a vibrant cultural enclave Little Tokyo is not. People at the train station where I had to switch trains on the way up (the downside to taking the Metrolink) warned me that there wasn't much culture there, and they were right in a sense. The same can be said of L.A.'s Chinatown (which I found myself in as well because I was given bad directions regarding what Metro line to take and ended up walking through Chinatown for a while before deciding walking to Little Tokyo from there didn't make much sense - they look close on the Metro map but they really aren't). Both are rather spread out areas, covering a couple streets apiece that don't look much different than your average downtown streets, except for the Chinese or Japanese signs. Chinatown was particularly uninteresting; along the main drag (Hill St.) there isn't much except for some restaurants (including one whose facade proudly proclaims it as a shooting location for the movie Rush Hour), tiny shops, a Chinese Methodist church, and a Best Western hotel. Most of the shops are in little alleys off the main street, like Chung King Road. I also found a nice bookstore there (Numing Book Co. - it's located on the edge of the main area a little way past Chung King Road), which has shelves and shelves of books in Chinese, as well as a small selection of books in English and a couple books in French. The prices are great too; I got a book of Chou En-lai's poems (in English) for $3.25.

If you do walk toward Chinatown from where I started (the Civic Center Metro Station, which has the tallest escalator I've ever seen), you do at least get to see Grant Park and the Pioneer Memorial (honoring Mormon pioneers who helped fight for the independence of the area). Also, the Cathedral of the City of the Angels is near the Civic Center station; I heard its bells as I crossed the street from the station. Supposedly the Walt Disney Concert Hall is nearby as well.

As for Little Tokyo, this is situated more in downtown (whereas Chinatown is kinda in the middle of nowhere), mostly around 1st Street (the historic center of Little Tokyo) and 2nd Street. The Metro Gold Line is the quickest way there; it's only one stop south of Union Station, the city's main public transport hub, and two stops south of the Chinatown station (located on N. Spring St). The Dash A bus also serves it. Just make sure you don't miss your stop going southbound, because otherwise you'll find yourself in East L.A., a neighborhood you don't really want to find yourself in (so I've heard). If you go too far north on the Gold Line, you'll end up in Pasadena, so watch that too. The Little Tokyo station also serves the Art District of L.A., by the way, if you want to go to an art museum like MOCA while you're there.

Right across from the Metro is one of Little Tokyo's main landmarks, the gargantuan Japanese-American National Museum. Unfortunately, it was closed today (museums like to be closed on Mondays, I guess; most of the Balboa Park museums are closed on Mondays too) so I didn't get to look around there. Across the street is a Buddhist temple, though it's so integrated into the Western-style architecture you could easily miss it.

Across the street is where the true district begins. If you get lost, pretty purple signs (topped with a fan and the words "Little Tokyo") will direct you to the main landmarks. I relied on these a lot. On the main street there are pretty much just small shops and LOTS of restaurants featuring Japanese food such as udon and sushi. Along this street you can find the anime DVD/manga/CD part of the famous Jungle Collectors' Shop (which at the moment is in three parts; they're going to be combining at the end of August, an occasion that will be marked by a Hatsune Miku-themed event) - whose selection of items is not bad, particularly of Studio Ghibli stuff (they also play anime openings on the TV there; I was delighted to hear/see the "xxxHolic" opening "19sai" play while I was there) - Fugetsu-do Sweet Shop (a long-standing establishment that sells Japanese sweets, including several flavors of mochi), the Visitor Center for the area, and the Koyasan Buddhist Temple (which turns 100 this year; I had trouble finding it without directions as it's not listed on the purple is accessible via an alley just past the Miyako Hotel - look for the obelisk that says "Koyasan Buddhist Temple" on its base). There are also little shops selling various things; I found some nice things at a store here called Bunka-do ("Bunka" means "culture" in Japanese, and true to its name, the shop has a lot of cultural stuff, including books on Japanese culture and on learning the Japanese language. I even saw the new Sailor Moon manga there, and a picture of Haruka and Michiru from one of the original Sailor Moon S DVD covers hung by the stairs leading upstairs).

Little Tokyo has three major shopping areas: Weller Court (near 2nd Street), Japanese Village Plaza (near the entrance to the district), and Little Tokyo Mall (just behind Japanese Village Plaza). Weller Court is home primarily to restaurants (including a coffee place called Demitasse that boasts a sign saying "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks," which is somewhat ironic as there is a Starbucks on the other side of Weller Court) but does boast a large market, Marukai Market (small grocery store-type "markets" seem to be popular here), a store called Marukai Kawaii (which mostly has Hello Kitty stuff) and a branch of the popular bookstore chain Kinokuniya, which has tons of books, mostly in Japanese, though their selection of English books is quite good too. Their manga selection is quite massive, featuring manga both in English and Japanese (the Japanese manga being arranged into sections by publisher - Kodansha, Shogakukan, etc - which is helpful for non-Japanese-speakers) as well as manga magazines and artbooks. Their kids' section is pretty decent too. Weller Court is also home to a monument honoring Ellison Onizuka, the first NASA astronaut of Japanese descent, who died in the Challenger disaster.

Japanese Village Plaza is like your typical outdoor mall, except mostly with restaurants serving everything from mochi ice cream to shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot), as well as a small market (like I said, they're popular). It also has a Sanrio store (with a UFO Catcher machine outside) and a couple stores that felt like they were targeted to tourists IMO but which had a lot of interesting things like various Japanese cooking utensils, Hello Kitty stuff (also popular here), and some anime stuff. One of the stores, Maneki Neko, has some nice cultural stuff (including a number of figurines of the famous Japanese "lucky cat" the store is named for).

Little Tokyo Mall is right behind Japanese Village Plaza. It only has a few shops, as well as a fusion restaurant upstairs. Here is where you will find the other two thirds of Jungle Collectors Shop. One of them is right as you come in and boasts nothing but several purikura machines (fancy Japanese photobooths). For $5/person, you can rent cosplay outfits, wigs, and accessories such as headbands to wear while you pose in the photobooths (which cost $10 just by themselves); however, be warned - they only have size medium in the outfits. You might also need some help from the attendant with working the machines as they're in Japanese (translations are provided next to the screen for when you print out your stickers at the end, but I didn't find them very helpful). That being said, the machines are fun and feature many cute backgrounds (at least mine did). You can also add little hearts and stuff to the pics at the end. And even if you're like me and the provided costumes don't fit you, you can still cosplay! I rented a wig and a bow headband and did just fine.

The other third of the Jungle Collectors Shop is mostly figurines and knick-knacks like keychains, cell phone charms, pins, notebooks, etc., with both new and used items on sale. They also seem to be rather paranoid there; I wasn't allowed to hold on to anything I picked up to buy more than a few seconds before some guy came up and offered to hold it for me up front. I'm curious what Jungle will be like when the three separate stores get combined.

Another highlight of Little Tokyo is the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, located on San Pedro Street (near where Little Tokyo meets the Civic Center district). Nothing was going on there when I went there, but this place is also home to the James Irvine Japanese Garden, accessible from the center's basement level. It's a seiryu-en, or Japanese walking garden, and though small is very quiet and peaceful (amazing for being in the middle of downtown L.A.!). I also saw dragonflies there - and I don't think I've ever seen dragonflies in person before! (I tried to get a picture of one, but they were too fast).

In short, I spent a good ~5 hours in this place, which was plenty of time to look around (though if the museum had been open I might not have had as much time to do so). What the place lacks in culture it makes up for in shopping and restaurants; just be careful and don't spend TOO much money (which I ended up doing). Also keep some cash handy; stuff is pretty cheap here (except at Kinokuniya) but pretty much every shop has a $10 or $15 minimum for you to use your credit or debit card. Also get it out on the way; there aren't many ATMs in Little Tokyo, and the ones that are there have steep fees ($3!). Also, if you know some Japanese, use it; many of the shops, especially the smaller ones, are run by Japanese people. They will usually know English, but in one store I thanked the people in Japanese and they seemed delighted). And look into other places to go ( has a good list); the Little Tokyo branch of the L.A. city library is supposed to be great, for instance). Most of all, have fun. And try not to go on a really hot day (like I did; though you may not be able to control this). Oh and also, while you may want to snap a pic of everything you see in a store here, BE CAREFUL - most of the stores here (Kinokuniya included, unfortunately - I really wanted to take pictures in there) have "no photography" policies. You MAY be able to sneak a pic or two though, particularly if you use your iPod or phone, but if you do don't use a flash (which will give you away) and do it in a place where the employees are not as likely to see you. (I did this for one picture I took at Kinokuniya; I took it in the kids' section, which was pretty far from the register). Though it's probably best to just follow the rules and not take any pictures at all.

That's all I can think of to say. Despite my gripes, I did enjoy myself. I also apologize for the less subjective nature of this post - I didn't intend for it to sound like a school report or travel magazine article, but I wasn't sure how else to approach this. Will have pics up soon - both regular camera photos and Instagram ones. At least writing this post gave me something to do on the way home (my Blogger app is usable offline).

Good night!

Posted via Blogger for iPhone

Sunday, July 08, 2012

[FANMADE] New Sailor Moon Anime Opening

Big news Sailor Moon fans!! There was a big Sailor Moon event on July 6th in Japan to coincide with the Japan Expo going on in Paris this last weekend (through today) and the series' 20th anniversary. And in promoting the event, a big announcement was promised.

And the big announcement is....A NEW SAILOR MOON ANIME!! Not a continuation or a film, but a full-on reboot of the series! Animation quality in Japan has improved dramatically since 1992 when the show first aired, so I'm expecting big things from this new show. You can visit this page at to get all the scoop on what's confirmed, what's still speculation, and all that good stuff:

One of the things that is confirmed is that Momoiro Clover Z, a popular girl j-pop group, will sing the series' opening theme (and I think the closing theme too). What song that will be is not 100% confirmed, but many think it will be "Z Otome Senso," one of their new singles that was just released last week (the single's B-side is "PUSH," which seems to be Olympics-related based on the music video; the single also features their song "Mite Mite Kochi Kochi," which is being used as the latest closing theme for Pokémon Best Wishes [known as Pokémon Black & White in the U.S.] in Japan. So I made a little fanmade Sailor Moon opening featuring "Z Otome Senso," which you can view above. Please enjoy it!

Here are videos of those other singles of Momoiro Clover Z that I mentioned:


Mite Mite Kochi Kochi:

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Addicted to Being Popular

I have a problem. I am addicted to trying to be popular. I have never truly been popular in my entire life (though I was friends with a popular girl for about a semester in eighth grade and thus became friends with her friends). Initially, this was very frustrating because I just could not understand why I couldn't make friends easily. Now I know that this difficulty is due to me having Asperger Syndrome, the #1 symptom of which is "significant difficulties in social interaction" (quote from the Asperger's Wikipedia article, which is actually very well written), a symptom which is pretty much true of any type of autism anyway. But still, I cannot shake the fact that I have never been able to unlock the secret to being popular.

My lack of success in this IRL is just as bad online. I've been making websites for over 10 years and not one of them has become popular. Ditto for YouTube videos, with the notable exception of a video I made where I took the attack and transformation clips from PGSM and replaced their audio with audio from the Sailor Moon English dub anime, which got 18,000 hits over two years' time. Not viral by any means, but significant. (Actually, some of my Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project videos have gotten over 1,000 views, but again that's over at least 2 years). As for social media, the results are pretty sad - my follower counts are all very low on all my accounts, my Tumblr being the lowest with 19 followers. (The only exception is my writing Facebook profile, where I got 100 friends on the first day, but this was thanks to a couple of friends of mine from a writers' forum who, upon reading my announcement on the forum that I'd created a profile for my writing persona, inundated me with friend suggestions, almost all of which I accepted).

I think my addiction comes down to my desire to be a people pleaser and my fears of failure and rejection. I want to feel accepted and recognized, even online. I want to feel like I have worth. Now, of course, I know that I shouldn't let what others think of me be the source of my worth. I'm not stupid. I know well enough that I need to turn to God to find my worth as a person. But I just can't do it. I can't give up enough control of my life to God to let him help me get out of this.

But, at the same time, I know there's no way I can live the abundant life God promises unless I let go of this. So, it's either hold tight to my control and be miserable, or take the risk of letting go and letting God step in. I don't like either option; it's a choix cornélien (a choice whether neither outcome is favorable).

So,which is the better option? Continually strive after being popular, even though I know it's likely a pipe dream? Or forget about being popular and embrace my inner quirkiness? I'd like to say I'm mature enough to do the latter, but I know I'm more likely to pursue the former. I suppose this might be because, as my mom has said, I am developmentally behind others my age, even though I often feel and act mature and did so even in high school.

Perhaps it's the pressure. Social media sites in particular place an emphasis on gaining as many friends/followers/likes as possible. Some, like GetGlue or Foursquare, particularly encourage this behavior by rewarding the user with stickers/badges for certain achievements, similar to the "give the kid a gold star for good behavior" idea from childhood. But it's hard enough for people with Asperger's to deal with IRL social pressures, but to then add online ones -- that's overwhelming.

Gah, that previous paragraph just feels like an excuse. Let's face it, I can't explain away this problem. I had issues with being popular long before social media came on the scene or I found out I had Asperger's. And as I've never been good with patience, that makes the waiting for results that much harder.

I need help. Good God, I need help. Everyone reading this, please help me, pray for me, whatever you feel comfortable doing. Because I need it, and I'm not sure I have the courage to ask God for help myself.

And I'm at an age where I need to get on with my life and be mature. Because, as I saw with my coworker Alma (who was very suddenly taken from us through breast cancer a few weeks ago) and my coworker Esther's dad (who died recently after a long battle with bone cancer), we never know when we're going to die. So we have to make the most of the time we have.

I'll end with some words from Dante's The Divine Comedy:

Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.

("Here must all distrust be left behind;
all cowardice must be ended"
- Inferno canto 3, lines 14-15).

 Non è il mondan romore altro ch'un fiato di vento, 
ch'or vien quinci e or vien quindi,
 e muta nome perché muta lato.

("Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind,
which now comes this way and now comes that,
and changes name because it changes quarter."
- Purgatorio canto 11, lines 100-102)

Lo maggior don che Dio per sua larghezza fesse creando, 
e a la sua bontate più conformato, 
e quel ch'e' più apprezza,
fu de la volontà la libertate;
di che le creature intelligenti,
e tutte e sole, fuore e son dotate.

("The greatest gift that God in His bounty made in creation,
and the most conformable to His goodness,
and that which He prizes the most,
was the freedom of will,
with which the creatures with intelligence,
they all and they alone, were and are endowed."
-Paradiso, Canto 5, lines 19-24)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Learning Summer

Well, summer is here at last. And now that I'm FINALLY out of school for good after nearly 9 years, I can actually relax this summer - well, as much as my work schedule will allow, anyway.

But as much as I will be trying to relax this summer - lounge at home, go to the beach, etc - this is also going to be a learning summer. Now that I've completed my Web Development and Design certificate (unless I have issues with my grades, I should be able to get it no problem), I want to start looking for work. But I know I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of code and stuff if I want to be a web designer. Not to mention my writing career has been sadly neglected since last summer.

So I'm delaying the job search till fall, and this is going to be a learning summer. I might even keep a physical record of it, like those scrapbooks my mom had my brother and I keep one summer. Maybe a journal or diary? I'm definitely going to be taking notes at least. Maybe I'll document it here and/or on my Tumblr.

How am I going to learn? Well, first off, I'm going to finally start that Code Year thing I signed up for so I could learn JavaScript. Then there are the many blogs on the subject, particularly the e-zine Smashing Magazine. has a lot of good tutorials also. There are also the certificates from W3 Schools, but they're kinda pricey at $95 apiece (by comparison, W3 Schools' regular tutorials are all free), though it might be a worthwhile investment to get at least the HTML and CSS ones, and maybe the PHP one too, if for no other reason then to put them on my résumé.

Besides these specific ones, I will definitely make use of the free podcasts on iTunes, and especially the large catalog of courses (all free) available on iTunes U. Plus, I'm sure there's a crudload of other sites, including the huge list of ones I have in my 2 OneNote notebooks of design resources. So I'll find ways to learn.

Other than design, I hope I can learn other stuff this summer. Learning to drive is kind of a priority. Maybe I can get my parents to finally teach me (especially if I can't afford the MiraCosta course again).

Let's hope this summer is a success!

Originally posted via Blogger for iPhone, edited on desktop Blogger

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Interest List Analysis

Recently on my Tumblr, I posted about finding out that someone had beaten me to the punch of making a Pokémon Ranger series fanlisting. At the end of this post, I proposed the idea of making a list of my interests and determining which ones I might want to make a site or a fanlisting about.

And so I have done. But the analysis, determining which ones I like enough to make a site and/or fanlisting about, is another matter. So here goes.

I ranked my main interest categories from 1 to 12, 1 being the most liked, 12 the least.

1. Literature
2. History
3. Anime/manga
4. Technology
5. Music
6. Languages
7. Mythology
8. Video Games
9. Film
10. Trivia
11. Art
12. Astronomy

Let the analysis begin!

1. Literature

Since I love reading and writing stories, I'm not surprised I ranked this one first. My "sub-interests" under this category are British literature, non-modern poetry, kids' books and some YA, fairy tales/folk tales, my favorite fiction genres (fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, Christian fiction), and my favorite non-fiction genres (history, technology, travel, culture, and some literary commentary, i.e. books like The Hunger Games Companion, Finding God in the Land of Narnia, and The Keys to the Chronicles, and essays that are NOT those dry theory essays I had to read in school).

As much as I love literature, I don't think I could make a whole site about it. It's too broad an interest. I think I tried with my previous personal websites (even doing book reviews on one of them) but failed. The closest I have in this category is my author website. I can certainly join fanlistings and communities on literary subjects. (Which reminds me: POTTERMORE! STILL WAITING FOR MY INVITE!) The only such groups I have joined are The Anomaly for writing, that one Yahoo! Group run by the guy from the Anomaly, and The Leaky Cauldron's MyLeaky, a pseudo-social network which I quickly grew tired of.

(I signed up LAST JULY for Pottermore btw. And STILL NO INVITE. What the heck is going on?!).


2. History

History is, like literature, something else I've been interested in for as long as I can remember. I am essentially interested in any and all history, but my "specialty" areas seem to be Chinese history, Japanese history, and the Holocaust/World War II period. The Holocaust interest sprung out of reading books like Anne Frank's diary and Johanna Reiss's The Upstairs Room as a kid. The Chinese and Japanese history came later, mostly in college through a World History class (and a great textbook that was the only World History textbook I've ever had that wasn't totally West-centric) and an Asian Philosophy and Religion class I took as an elective, though I've been interested in Japanese history really since I got into anime and manga in 1998.

Springing out of this is a minor interest in archaeology. Though I don't think I'd ever be an Indiana Jones type, I do enjoy hearing about archaeological discoveries and so on.

Again, my interest in history is one I've tried to integrate into my personal sites in the past and failed at doing. And I think it might be too broad to make a site about, plus lots of sites about history exist. I guess I could create some fanlistings related to it. It might be a subject worth making a Tumblr about actually, as there is a pretty healthy tag group on Tumblr associated with history. (I follow three history Tumblelogs myself: Today's Document, run by the U.S. National Archives; The Ancient World; and Forgotten Antiquities). I suppose there might be a market for it when I do web design too, especially locally with all the museums at Balboa Park and elsewhere downtown.

3. Anime/manga

I first got into anime in 1998, and manga around the same time, though I didn't become serious about manga until 2003. And, to be honest, I've been trying to make a website about my anime/manga obsession since I've been making websites. My best friend Amy got ahead of me on this, with her site Everything Anime (for which I wrote the Sailor Moon character profiles). These have ranged from really basic sites to ambitious projects like a database of every water-type Pokémon.

The anime/manga website idea is finally coming together, however, with my still-in-the-works wiki project, the Anime Guide Database. This site would be a database of spoiler-free episode guides for animes, along with guides for related movies and for manga series. I was inspired to do it after spoiling myself one too many times on the plots of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHolic when reading Wikipedia articles on them. (Knowing big plot reveals ahead of time spoils the suspense. Trust me. And especially for series like those two, with so many plot twists). I initially thought it would be a site supported by a forum where people could contribute stuff (because not even us really crazy otaku can watch/read every anime/manga series known to man), but some helpful fellow Miss Dream staff members steered me away from that idea, saying that what I really wanted was a wiki. So that's what I've decided to do. But it still needs a lot of content just based on the series I myself have seen/read. So I'm not ready to debut it yet. And I think I may try joining the staffs of other anime fan wikis, such as Bulbapedia (Pokémon), Wikimoon (Sailor Moon), and Cure Wiki (Pretty Cure), first to get a feel for how this whole fan wiki thing works. I also did a search on some library databases and found quite a lot of books on wiki making.

Besides this, there are a few minor anime sites I have up or are working on: Myu Corner, my revived Sailor Mercury and Ayeka shrines, Sparkle Moon, and my revived fanlisting Memory of Time (Fancy Lala). (Still debating whether to bring back my Kusaka Hina and Hina x Mamoru fanlistings - I could host them on Sparkle Moon's thinking of even adding a SeraMyu fanlisting to Myu Corner; there was one on The Fanlistings Network, but the link was dead so I reported it. If it becomes open for application after my report, I'm going to snag it ASAP).


4. Technology

I've been interested in technology for a while, though very minorly until recently, when I began following the tech blogs Mashable and Smashing Magazine as an attempt to become more informed on the topic after deciding to go for the web design certificate I'm currently finishing. (I also started following Wired and TechCrunch - two big tech sites - on Twitter, as well as the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, a group called Social Media Trend Reports, and a feed for talk updates for the Technology, Entertainment, and Design [TED] conference).

My sub-interests in this category are web design, tech devices, social media trends, tech & science (or, as I wrote, "how things work"), and "possible tech in the future (sci-fi stuff)." Web design I'm obviously pursuing, and reading about through Smashing Magazine and Mashable's "Development and Design" feed. My interest in tech devices and social media trends is shown in the fact that I follow Mashable's "Mobile Tech," "Gadgets," and "Social Media" feeds. The other two come from my interest in sci-fi films and animes, combined with a lifelong passion to know how things worked. The interest in future tech stuff, combined with minor interests in space and world-building, are what inspired me to write science fiction. Whether they're enough, though, remains to be seen. I have enjoyed science programs about futuristic tech, like the recent Discovery Channel/Curiosity special Can You Live Forever? (hosted by Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage). I also like the Discovery Channel/Science Channel show How It's Made, which, as its title implies, is about how different items are made. (I need to catch up on that show!)

I listed my hobbies of web design and making videos under this topic, though making videos would also work under film.

As for websites...again, such a broad topic. And many sites on them, and Tumblelogs too (I follow some - Little Big Details, Journo-Geekery, Nerdology, and Science Tumbled). I suppose once I make my web design portfolio I'll be showing my tech knowledge in a way.

I'd have to think about this one.


5. Music

My interests in music and in art are similar - I'm a great appreciator, but not so good at the practice. I was in some school programs as a kid and did recorder and choir in elementary school. I've been on at least one church choir (for Easter) and was involved in some choir with my friend Amy I think. I also took a piano class in college, but have probably forgotten that now. I've been told I have a good singing voice, but it "needs training." Which I know is true. I have difficulty staying on key at times and tend to sing from my throat rather than my diaphragm (probably because I breathe through my mouth, due to having a frequently clogged nose as a child), which tires out my voice quickly. Lately, though, I've begun to wonder if I actually have talent or if I'm just good at imitation, since the times I sing best are when I'm trying to really sing like the original singer. (But then this is probably just one of those irrational worries, born out of me thinking too deeply about stuff).

I've liked music for a long, long time, and enjoy going to concerts. I am a CD-buying fiend, even buying those inexpensive Lifescapes CD's from Target. I have less CD's now as I've given away some lately due to lack of storage space. I also had a lot of music on my computer, but I need to recover that now that I rebooted my computer.

Since I got an iPod particularly I've been listening to music like crazy. Not having my iPod for the first couple weeks of school (due to it getting repaired by iResQ in Kansas) nearly drove me insane. I had to resort to a not-quite-so-portable portable CD player, which had the main issue of being too big to fit in my pocket.

My main favorite genres are classical music, Celtic music, and Christian music. I also like jazz, swing, and "standards" (think Sinatra) a lot. Really, I'll listen to anything, except rap, hip-hop, heavy metal, hard rock, and most country. I do have a couple rap artists' songs (TobyMAC, MC Solaar) though, and I like country artists Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Beethoven is my favorite classical composer. For Celtic music, I'll listen to any of it really, no matter who it's by. Christian music I'm pretty impartial with as well, though I do have fave artists/bands: Third Day, Jars of Clay, Relient K, BarlowGirl, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Michael W. Smith. Rebecca St. James used to be my fave Christian artist, but now I'm not so sure anymore. I gave away all my CD's of hers because I had the music on my computer anyway, but that's not the case now with the reboot. I might just buy her compilations, which have pretty much every song she's done on them, to save money. (I used to have The Ultimate Collection, her 2-disc compilation album; I have the mass-produced autographed portrait that came with the pre-ordered CD to prove it).

I also LOVE soundtracks. I own several soundtracks, both for movies and for TV shows that I like, such as Pokémon, Code Lyoko, and iCarly (they recently released a new iCarly soundtrack actually, iSoundtrack 2, which has some good songs including a GREAT song called "Generation Love" by Sam's actress Jeannette McCurdy and a cool acoustic version of Miranda Cosgrove's song "Shakespeare"). I'm hoping with the new Nick version of Winx Club they'll release a Winx Club soundtrack. Maybe not though.

The secular artists I like are a mixed bag. Charlotte Church, a classical vocalist from Wales who my grandparents actually introduced me to (my grandmother's family was from Wales so that's why they were interested in her), I really liked - until she turned pop. From one of her songs, "The Prayer," I found out about another classical vocalist, Josh Groban. Now I am a true Grobanite (what they call Josh Groban fans) and own all of his CD's, except for the live ones (Josh Groban in Concert, Live at the Greek, and Awake Live); I figured since the live ones had all the songs I had on the non-live albums minus one song apiece there wasn't any point in buying them. (I bought the single songs exclusive to the live CD's individually through iTunes). For his latest album, Illuminations, I ordered the rare Fan Folio Edition, which I got a heads-up on through following Josh on Facebook I think. It was only available through his official website's store at the time, I believe. (Though, as the link in the last sentence shows, it's also on Amazon now). It comes with the CD, a "making of" DVD, a cool book with photos and all the lyrics, exclusive access to some streaming concert (though I think I might've missed that part) and an exclusive black-and-white photo of Josh, all packaged in a very nice linen folio case. (The only drag is that it doesn't fit in my CD tower). I also own the Polar Express soundtrack, which has one song by Josh ("Believe"), and bought his song "Remember" (from the Troy soundtrack) on iTunes.

Other secular artists I like: Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Aly & AJ, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Michael Bublé. As you can see, very across the board. Taylor and the Jonas boys I got into because I initially liked one or two songs by them ("S.O.S." for the Jonases; "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Today was a Fairytale" for Taylor) and then decided to check them out further. (This is also how I got into Hilary Duff and Kelly Clarkson). Same with Aly & AJ (or 78Violet, as they're currently known) I think. Taylor is awesome for being so young, and she writes her own songs, which I admire so much in an artist. (By the way, if you haven't seen the video for "Safe and Sound," her new single with The Civil Wars for the Hunger Games soundtrack, WATCH IT). The Jonas Brothers also have some good songs, and I don't mind them even though they're a boyband. (I went to high school during the big boom of boybands in the late '90's, when Hanson, Backstreet Boys, Blink 182, 98 Degrees, and N*SYNC were all trying to nab that generation's equivalent of Bieber fans. So believe me, I know what boybands are like).

The Beatles and The Beach Boys are my old-school staples. I have loved "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys for ages; only recently did I discover they had other songs. And I don't know how I found out about The Beatles, but seriously, they are something, and they deserve all the praise they get. Sure, they had their issues with drugs and whatnot. But their songs are great; "Let it Be" is my personal favorite. (Thankfully, iTunes FINALLY struck a deal with whoever it is who owns the rights to The Beatles' songs, meaning you can get a lot of their songs on iTunes now, which is nice).

Michael Bublé I just got into recently. They play a few songs of his at my work. He's considered pop, but he's got that old "Rat Pack Crooner" vibe going for him, which is what makes me like him.

I don't know how you do a website about music exactly. You can do a download site, like Sailor Music or Gendou, but there's always the issue of copyright folks cracking down on you (look what happened to Napster and more recently to Megaupload). Other than that, I don't know what else you can do. I guess I could always join music communities like or Spotify to share my music love.


6. Languages

I think I've been into languages since I was little and knew my name was French. Since I first took French in high school (and a quarter of Conversational Spanish before that), I've noticed that I have a knack for picking up languages. My paternal great-grandmother Anastasia knew 7 languages when she came here from Latvia, so I suppose I get it from my dad's side of the family. In the last 3 years or so I've noticed I like to talk about language families/linguistics as well.

Nowadays I know French on an intermediate level and have some minor competency with Spanish (picked up from working with Spanish-speakers) and Japanese (picked up from watching subtitled anime). I also can speak smatterings of German, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, and Chinese - pretty much just phrasebook sort of stuff (I only know "hello" and "goodbye" in Russian and "hello" and "thank you" in Chinese). Russian and Hebrew I was trying to learn through podcasts, via One Minute Russian and Learn Hebrew Pod respectively. I may continue with One Minute Russian, but with Learn Hebrew Pod, you need a subscription to their website to get a lot of their content, and it's NOT cheap.

Being interest #6 of 12, languages might not be important enough to do a site about. The primary community/social network for languages is Livemocha, but I got very overwhelmed at that site due to all the people sending me work of theirs to check. And I'm not qualified to be doing a podcast or anything on how to learn a language. Maybe in the future I will do a site relating to this stuff. I'd like to practice more first. (Having this extremely expensive but supposedly extremely helpful software would be nice!)


7. Mythology

I don't know how or when I got into mythology. Definitely by high school, because I have Norse mythology-related poems I wrote then to prove it. I think this is almost more a sub-interest of my interest in reading, combined with a desire to know how things worked. It's a minor but ardent interest. My main loves are Greco-Roman mythology (sometimes also called classical mythology) and Norse mythology. A while back, I bought a book of Egyptian myths and liked them a lot, and I am also interested in Celtic myths such as the Arthurian legend and the myths in books like this one.

I have considered making a website about mythology, though there are several including the popular Encyclopedia Mythica and the extensive Norse mythology and Arthurian legend both bring up a lot less hits on Google than Greco-Roman mythology, so there's some possibility there. I would imagine there'd be an interest in Norse mythology right now thanks to the recent movie Thor (and its in-development sequel) and Thor's upcoming appearance in The Avengers. Something else to possibly do a Tumblr about (though I follow a great one already, By the Gods!).

Will have to think about this one too.


8. Video Games

I've been interested in video games for a long time, back when my brother played them in the early '90's on his brick of a Game Boy and later on his Nintendo 64. I initially just watched, but once we got the N64 I started getting & playing games of my own, like Pokémon Puzzle League, Jeopardy!, Pokémon Snap, and both Pokémon Stadium games. We both became fans of the Super Smash Bros. series as well through the N64.

The first video game I remember playing by myself was Pokémon Blue, which I had to play on my computer through an emulator because I didn't have a Game Boy Color. And then there were the N64 games I just mentioned. And at some point I must've played Pokémon Silver, since I remember liking that game.

I didn't really play games for a while after that, not until I bought myself a GBA in 2004. That was my re-entry into gaming, and I have gotten a GameCube, a DS Lite (I originally had a regular DS but it broke), and a Wii since then (I know, I'm a Nintendo nerd).

I am kinda picky with genres. Like the typical female gamer I read about when doing research for my final paper for Cultural Studies, I'm drawn to strategy and puzzle games, as well as RPGs. But I also like fighting games like Street Fighter, Soul Calibur II, and Super Smash Bros., typically a male genre. And I enjoy racing games like Mario Kart, Star Wars Episode I: Racer (one of my fave N64 games) and Cruisin' World, even though I'm horrible at them. Then there are the other genre games I like, such as Cooking Mama, iCarly, and Wii Sports Resort. (Ironically, even though I like Cooking Mama, a simulation game, I don't care much for The Sims).

Most of the games I have are for the DS. About half are Pokémon games - all three Pokémon Ranger games (I just bought Guardian Signs the other day, so I have all 3 now!), plus Pearl, Platinum, SoulSilver, and White from the main series. The rest of my collection consists of two Phoenix Wright games (game 1 and Trials and Tribulations), two Professor Layton games (the first game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village and the latest one, Professor Layton and the Last Specter), a "rhythm otome" game (kind of a mix between a rhythm game like Elite Beat Agents and a dating sim) called Princess Debut, an RPG called Magical Starsign that reminds me of the early Final Fantasy games, a quirky RPG about a spoiled princess called My World, My Way, and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, my first foray into the odd Final Fantasy/Disney mashup that is Kingdom Hearts (a joint project between Square Enix and Disney). (To be honest, I'm not that into it). So those are a mixed bag.

My other games are a mixed bag too. For GameCube, I have Tales of Symphonia, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. For Wii I have Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, Puzzle Kingdoms, Summer Sports: Paradise Island, iCarly, and Wii Sports Resort. I think we also own a Jillian Michaels game that came with Wii Fit Plus when my mom bought that game for us, but I don't consider either to be mine really.

Video games I could make fanlistings about certainly. It would be hard to make a whole site about, for pretty much the same reason as I said under music. There aren't many fansites for games. It's really all about official game sites and big news sites like IGN and GameSpot. Will need to see which ones are available.


9. Film

I've loved movies since I was a kid; we didn't have cable so we watched a lot of movies. It wasn't until I took FILM 101 in college that I got really interested in how movies were made. So I am really into watching the special features on DVDs now.

I watch a wide variety of movies, pretty much anything that isn't horror or porn. I also dislike movies with a lot of violence, language, gore, or sex - which essentially rules out most, if not all, movies rated R. I have only seen a handful of R-rated movies in my life; I don't like to go see them because I figure they're rated R for a reason. There are some movies, of course, that are good but due to their content need to be rated R, such as Kingdom of Heaven or Schindler's List. Oh and I also dislike those comedies that rely on stupid humor/sexual innuendo. They bother me.

I like sci-fi movies (especially Star Wars), fantasy movies, some Disney films, Studio Ghibli's films, some anime movies, and some foreign films. I also like indie films to a point (depends on the story).

With film, as with video games, there are very few fansites that I know of - it's mostly the official sites and sites like IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Cinematical (now part of Moviefone apparently). So not sure how I'd make websites about it. And it's a pretty minor interest anyway.


The Bottom 3: Trivia, Art, and Astronomy

Might as well lump these together, like American Idol does during result shows. Not much to say for these, I don't think.

My interest in trivia comes through reading trivia books and watching Jeopardy!. I think it was just born of a natural hunger for knowledge. Not to mention it gives me something to talk about in those awkward social moments. :)

Art, as I mentioned with music, is something I do better appreciating than doing. I do not possess artistic talent. Every time I've taken classes having to do with making art, I've ended up frustrated and jealous of my more artistically-gifted peers. So of course, it doesn't help that I have a best friend who's an awesome artist. (But then, she has trouble with English and writing, which I'm good at, so I guess we balance each other out). Even my recent attempt to learn to draw manga-style seems to have fallen by the wayside. Maybe I'll have to stick with programs like ComiPo and Manga Studio to start after all (even though I could not for the life of me figure out how to use Manga Studio's animation counterpart, Anime Studio), or maybe Adobe Illustrator, depending on how easy it is to learn Illustrator. Either that or I'll have to give up and assume I don't have an artistic bone in my body (but I must, since my dad can draw pretty well - though he pretty much just doodles).

Astronomy I only have a small interest in; science was neither my best or my worst subject, and not my favorite. Mostly I just like constellations and the supposed stories behind them (which differ in different cultures) as well as the research going on to find new Earth-like planets and found space colonies on other planets. I guess that last bit could go under technology, since technology would be part of that, and the constellation part under mythology.

Being that these are minor interests, I don't think I would make a website about them, though my planned site Senshi & Supermarkets is intended to feature a webcomic, Enchanted Supermarket, the creation of which my learning to draw manga-style was supposed to help accomplish. But, as Gina Biggs mentioned at her panel at Animé Los Angeles last year in response to my question, I could always get someone else to do the art. I think I wanted to learn to draw myself though because I'm a little possessive of my characters. I suppose it's still worth a shot. Maybe I shouldn't try to force myself to do it every day though, as my plan was. When I feel forced into something, I tend to not do so well.


Well, that's the analysis I guess.

I also wrote down the books, tv shows, movies, websites, and actors I like. But I don't know whether that info will help me in this after all. Here are the lists, though, if you're curious:

TV Shows I Like
The Amazing Race
Income Property
Pan Am
Once Upon a Time
HGTV Design Star
Secrets from a Stylist
The Antonio Treatment
Code Lyoko
Totally Spies
Winx Club
Kim Possible
How It’s Made

Books I Like – Faves
Jane Eyre
Ella Enchanted
Sarah’s Key
A Tale of Two Cities
Inheritance Cycle
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Hunger Games trilogy
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
The Secret Garden
Anne of Green Gables series
The Pilgrim’s Progress
Quest for Celestia
The Horse and His Boy

Fave Movies

Star Wars Episode I
The Illusionist
Just Like Heaven
Super 8
Meet the Robinsons
LOTR Trilogy
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Tenchi Muyo in Love
(La Vie en Rose?)
(Raise the Red Lantern?)

Favorite websites

Forums/message boards

Actors I Like

-Alicia Silverstone
-Drew Barrymore
-Zhang Ziyi
-Kenneth Branagh
-Nathan Lane

The actors I wouldn't consider doing websites for, since I'm not sure I like them that much, though I think I did make one for Alicia once, back when I was really into her. The I said, hard thing to make a website about. Movies ditto. TV shows maybe, though certainly not on every show on that list. (I can only handle so many sites). The websites, no, though a fanlisting for forums/message boards might be fun.

I also made a brief list of stuff I like that doesn't fit in the other categories - namely collecting trading cards, research, and watching interior design shows.

Ok, I have spent all day and last night typing up this analysis (part of it using my Blogger app for iPod touch/iPhone), and so I'll close here. I will probably give all this further thought.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Social Media Involvement - An Assessment

Happy belated 2012 to everyone (and Happy New Year to those celebrating Chinese New Year). Sorry I haven't posted. Been kinda busy I guess.
One big announcement - as those who may be keeping an eye on the Blogaversary icon will have noted, 40 days ago my blog celebrated its 7th anniversary. Happy birthday, dear blog!

This being the month of beginnings and the beginning of a new year, I decided to do an assessment of my involvement in social networks, somewhat like what I did in this post. So here goes.

My Social Media Involvement - An Assessment

Unlike some people, I am not uber-obsessed with social media. Well, ok maybe I am. But the ones I'm involved in, I'm involved really more nominally in than I think most people are. Like, for example, I use Facebook to keep up with friends and family, follow some brands, and share things I find on the internet (articles, etc). I do not use it to, say, play Farmville. Frankly, I'm not enthralled with the idea of social gaming. It's just sort of the next step up from those annoying Facebook quiz apps people used to send to me.
I think the reason this is so is because I grew up without social media. As I pointed out in this post, the major social networks, except LiveJournal and DeviantArt, all came out after I graduated high school. And even after they came out I avoided them in favor of forums/message boards. I prefer forums/message boards because of their structure and because they allow for deeper and more varied discussion. Sure, they can have their problems (the forum had so much user activity it frequently crashed, and the one I tried at, which is part of the site's Totally Spies Club, wasn't the most user-friendly thing in the world). But I like them. (In fact, I wish YouTube had message boards, the way its equivalent SplashFace on iCarly does, because I think it would allow so much more discussion than can happen just in comments). My first involvement with social media, therefore, was when I joined Facebook on January 25, 2008. (Which means I'll have been involved with it for four years as of!)

I made a list of all the social networking sites I am involved with or have been in the past, and was kinda surprised at how large it is. But how much am I involved with them? Well, let's see.


Facebook is the social network I've been with the longest, as aforesaid. I used it for the first year and 22 days under a pseudonym (Lara Larame). I then realized that all of my friends were actually people I knew IRL, so I switched to using my real name. I now have 40 friends, all but one of whom are people I know IRL now or people I went to high school with who I no longer see. I have also "liked" a lot of fan pages for brands and the like and follow those as well. And I have a couple fan pages I admin - the Facebook fan page for LAR Productions, the on-again-off-again YouTube band I'm a part of (which band founder Amy/Maria founded and which I co-admin with her and our other, currently inactive member Reilia), and the fan page for my website Myu Corner. My main profile is here.

On May 18, 2010, I started a separate Facebook profile for my writing persona, having not had much success with my Goodreads and MySpace accounts for that persona. Thanks to mentioning my intention to found that account on The Anomaly, a writing forum I'm a part of, I managed to gain 100 friends on the first day, due to two fellow Anomaly members showering me with friend recommendations. I now have 185 friends on that account, but I don't check it as often as I do my regular Facebook account, because I do most of my Facebook-checking using Facebook for iPhone on my iPod touch, and that app doesn't support multiple accounts (like most Twitter apps do), which I guess makes sense because most people only have one Facebook account.


I joined Twitter in 2009, when I began to try to create an author platform for myself. I had avoided it before then. Nowadays, I mostly use it for the same purpose I use Facebook for - to follow people and keep on what is going on. Often times I have found out some news item on Twitter before I found it out elsewhere!

My personal Twitter account is Larabooklover. It was originally named Bgirldotnet, like my old YouTube account, but I changed it when I deleted, my personal website domain to which the name referred. (Larabooklover is also my AIM name). I have a fairly healthy follower/followed ratio (83 followed/68 followers) and as of today over 3,000 tweets. Most of these are auto-posts from Tumblr and GetGlue though, as well as articles I've shared and replies to and retweets of other people. There are also times where I had some thought that I wanted to express but it took several tweets to get it out. (I should probably just use Twitlonger for that - the Twitter app on my phone [MoTweets] does that automatically if you post a tweet that's too long, but the Twitter app I use on my iPod [Echofon for iPhone; I'm not a fan of Twitter's official app] doesn't).

I have a writing Twitter as well, waldenwriter. As with my writing Facebook, I don't update this much. In fact, probably 90% of my 587 tweets on that account are retweets of other people. People seem to be ok with that though, because I have a good follower/followed ratio (32 following/39 followers).  And many of the tweets that aren't retweets are auto-posts of my writing blog posts from LiveJournal. Thankfully, no one has called me a spam bot yet!

Lastly, I also created a Twitter account for LAR Productions, since I'm the creator of the band's website (currently down) and have thus appointed myself as our social media manager. There aren't very many tweets on that account yet; most of them are auto-tweets from our Facebook page. The account is at:


As mentioned in this post, I have had a long and turbulent history with YouTube, with four suspended accounts in the 5 years and almost 8 months I've been with them. (Technically, I have 5 deleted accounts, because I just deleted Bgirldotnet myself). This is one of the few social networks where I am actively involved, rather than just using it nominally or passively. I have three accounts - my new main account LitTechGirl, my solo fandub account WindKnightFuu, and my group fandub account imagodeidubs (created primarily to house my Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project, the group fandub project I started back in 2007 that is still unfinished, but which I intend to finish this year for sure - and which some people like but quite a few people dislike, it seems). I'm not uber-popular on any of these accounts - I have only 13 subscribers and 5 friends on my imagodeidubs account (as well as, it seems, a lot of copyright notices - which means my channel could disappear at any time...maybe I should just give up on the Dark Mercury Arc Fandub Project?) and 10 subscribers on my WindKnightFuu channel. But I do have a lot of views on those two channels (25,963 on imagodeidubs and 6,753 on WindKnightFuu), so I guess that's good. (I'm not counting LitTechGirl in all this, because it's still so new; I just started it earlier this month).

Other Writing Social Media

Besides my writing Facebook and Twitter, I also have a presence on a few other social media sites as part of my still growing author platform.

My writing blog/journal is on LiveJournal, here. I went with LJ because I had enjoyed keeping up the LJ for my school's French club. It also allows for a lot of community forming, which will be good when I get more of an audience for my writing, and also as a way of promoting my writing. Currently, I mostly use it to write about my writing and to follow communities about my interests, such as Sailor Moon, manga, and Hello Kitty, and some writing communities.

I also have an account on LinkedIn at I initially started it just as a general personal account to help me get a job, but then switched it to being focused on my writing. I may still use it for professional networking in general eventually though.

I also have an account over at the document-sharing site Scribd: I use Scribd to post samples of my writing for promotion purposes, as well as to provide a link to longer pieces for review on The Anomaly.

I used to have a writing-related account with GoodReads, but then decided it wasn't working for me and closed it down.

Other Personal Social Media

Besides these major social networks, I also have accounts on a number of more minor sites.


First of all, for blogging. I have this blog, of course, on Blogger, and have had it since before Blogger was bought by Google. I also have another blog here that I kept for my MAT 165 class last semester, and used to host Myu Corner and my site-in-progress Sparkle Moon on Blogger as well, but didn't like the lack of control I had over the look of it (this was before the Template Designer came along).

I now also have a blog on Tumblr, at I started it on June 2, 2011. I mostly just use it for reblogging or commenting on things, which is what I think a lot of people use Tumblr for. I also use it to follow other Tumblrs, much like I follow brands on Facebook.

I also have a personal account and a writing account on the blog rating/directory site Technorati.


I have a few media-related accounts as well.

Probably my oldest of these is on Photobucket, under the name of Dani17 (also an old forum username of mine). Technically, Photobucket isn't a social network, but now that is focusing more on community, I think it will become one. I use Photobucket mainly for image hosting for my blog and for forums, the way some people use ImageShack.

I also have a rarely used Flickr account: I actually started it so I could participate in a photo contest the local transit district was running. I don't know what I'll use it for now (though it's definitely easier to log into now that it's tied to Yahoo).

I now have a GetGlue account, which I am enjoying a lot.

Lastly, I have an account at the anime/J-drama viewing site Crunchyroll. I started this because I got tired of seeing ads when I watched Futari wa Pretty Cure on there. I haven't even fully filled out my profile.

Other Accounts

Then there are some accounts I have or have had that are neither blogging or media-related. Two of these are Livemocha and weRead, but I closed my accounts with those sites (Livemocha because I couldn't deal with all the requests from people for me to check their assignments for them, and weRead because I stopped using my weRead Facebook app).

I also have used Meetup and Ning. Meetup I joined because an Asperger Activity Group I'm a part of uses it to announce their events. Ning I've used a few times for school, and also to join the Nerdfighters community, though I haven't gone there in ages.

I have a StumbleUpon account, which is kinda fun because I've found some pretty cool stuff through it.

Last of these is MySpace. I created a profile there for LAR Productions (since, though it isn't as popular as it used to be, MySpace is still good for bands), which, like all our social media, is in desperate need of updating.

Conclusion: My Future in Social Media

I'd like to update my social media accounts more often. And with real statuses, not just auto-posts. I'll probably need to read some stuff on how best to do this. Or at least think about it more.

I may search out even more networks, such as Google+ and Pinterest. (Though the funny video below is making me think I shouldn't join Google+. Actually, it pretty much lays out my exact attitude about social networking in general).

I'll have to think about it for sure. For now, I will leave this post alone, sit back and "use my little gray cells," as Hercule Poirot would say. Then I will confront it.


Hope you guys liked that. Bye now!