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.