Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Instagrams

I have created two new Instagram accounts this weekend, meaning I now have six - my personal, a multifandom account, and four RP accounts. I know. I am insane. In retrospect I probably could've combined Alys and Darren into one account. Too late for that now. Eh well.

My new accounts are:

-thelinguist_rp: The RP account for an OC Time Lord character whose story I've been working on for a couple months now. I finally got enough of the backup work done to feel good about opening the account. Already getting RPs in from an account for Romana (timeladyromana); need to figure out how to respond to those. (My character is a school friend of Romana's).

-mundane_elvish_timelord: My multifandom account. The name is a combo of three fandoms I am a part of: The Mortal Instruments (non-Shadowhunters are called Mundanes), Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who. Basically this is an account for me to run rampant and be all geeky about my various fandoms without worrying about filling the account with a bunch of useless, unrelated junk. It frees up my companion_alys account, where my Whovian fandom stuff was mostly getting posted, to be the RP account it was always meant to be. Ditto with my other RP accounts (companion_darren and mulan_ouat [a Once Upon a Time RP account]), though I've done much better with those in terms of only RPing. It is intended to cover as many fandoms as possible - I have listed Wholock (a combo fandom for Doctor Who and Sherlock), Lord of the Rings, anime/manga, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Once Upon a Time, Star Wars, Tron, Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra (which for some disturbing reason has the fan nickname "Avatard"), and The Mortal Instruments, my newest fandom (I started reading the first novel toward the end of our time in Maui, which was about a month ago). But I also include "+ many more" at the end to cover my bases.

Anyway, check those out!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

What to Do With My Life?

Today is one of those days when I'm really tired and also depressed, and in those times I get pensive. And when I get pensive, I think too much.

And I am thinking, yet again, of what to do with my life. I thought I knew, but now I don't know for sure. 

I have spent 10 years in the workplace (give or take) and all of that has been in low-paying part-time jobs just intended to get me through college. Now that I have my B.A. (and will be THIRTY next year *gulp*) I think it's high time I move on to an actual career, something that can support a life on my own. 

I got a web design certificate in hopes of breaking into that industry. But I found the studies harder than I thought, and as far as the design side of things go, I lack artistic skill. Sure I can code a layout, but only a simple one. And I am behind on code like you would not believe (I taught myself HTML out of a kids' book about 15 years ago and didn't keep up with the learning). It was this being behind on code that has kept me from looking for a job so far. I kept feeling I wasn't ready. It's not like I couldn't have learned, though; there's Codeacademy, which provides all sorts of coding classes for free, and tons of blogs with tutorials on pretty much anything you want to learn. 

After some thought, I have decided design is not my strong suit. Content is. So I might as well play to my strengths (seeing as I'm working in a job right now which doesn't use them at all pretty much). But how to use this strength?

I have thought of web writing. This is a very vague term, obviously. But I can definitely write. And I have some web writing credits already, albeit old ones plus my more recent error guides and Kindle guide for Miss Dream. And Elly-sempai over at MD seems interested in having me continue to write for MD. In addition to this, the popular site WhatCulture is looking for Doctor Who contributors, which sounds right up my alley. (I'm going to check them out first, though, make sure they're legit and they aren't like super liberal or something). 

Also, my hosting and domain name for my web design portfolio expired a short while ago, which will give me a chance to start fresh with promoting myself. Self-promotion is something else I suck at. Well, sometimes. With Myu Corner I got lucky in that I managed to get some of the big names in Sailor Moon fansites to link to it mostly just by sending overly respectful e-mails asking them to. Every person I asked said yes, except and The Sailor Senshi Domain Group, both of whom said I didn't have enough content (which, at the time, I didn't). 

So web writing it is I think. Cause I do love to write. I realized this anew about a week or so ago when I was engaged in one of those "mock interview" fantasies (the ones where you imagine yourself becoming famous and going on talk shows and getting interviewed...maybe I'm the only one who fantasizes about this...I guess it will help me deal with IRL interviews in the future), and I happened to say, without even thinking, that writing is my passion. And it's true, it is. I love to write; it's a way to express myself, a way to keep myself sane, essentially my therapy. I use stories often times to work out issues in my own life. 

I went into the major I did for my B.A. because of writing too. Rather than go the practical route and choose a major with a clear career objective, I ventured off into English Major Land. And a major in English (or rather, Literature and Writing Studies in my case) basically qualifies you to do everything and nothing. It's not tied to a specific career (like pre-med), hence it qualifies you to do nothing specific. But the writing and critical thinking skills such a major cultivates are valuable to just about any career. Which makes it hard to choose one. My intention was to get the web design certificate that I got in order to provide a steady job for myself until my writing caught on and I was able to just live off being an author. 

But I think in doing so I lost track of what I really wanted. And what I've really wanted, from way back when I was a kid, was to be a writer, and to use my talent for God somehow, since I assumed he gave it to me for that purpose. Therefore, I had my eyes on going into Christian fiction exclusively, but now I am open to either Christian or secular writing, probably because I have read both. Obviously, they are two very different markets, with very different expectations and standards. 

At the moment, however, I need to practice, practice, practice. Hone my craft. In a way, it's like Lyra in the His Dark Materials trilogy -- while she was still an innocent child, she could read the alethiometer by instinct, but once she "grows up," she loses this ability and has to actually learn how to read it through study and practice. For me, writing seemed to come effortlessly when I was younger, and in some moments of bliss it is still like that today. But often times now I have to work hard at it, have days where I write amazing and things just flow, and days when writing is about as hard as climbing a mountain and produces writing that's not worth much. And some days I just don't feel like writing at all, and would rather play video games or watch TV or something.

So I think I need to get back to my dream, "the vision that first inspired me," as the song from Jekyll & Hyde goes. My dream, even in my junior high years when I aspired to be things like an ambassador (to be fair, I'm not sure I knew what an ambassador really was back then; my only knowledge of ambassadors came from the Olsen Twins movie Passport to Paris), has always been to be a writer. People were always telling me I was good at it too, which helped.

One way or another, I desperately need to find another job. Because my current job is driving me CRAZY. I won't say too much cause you have to be careful about that stuff online (which is why I almost never post about work on Facebook, Twitter, etc...because that stuff can be found and used against you - it happened to my coworker Amanda recently; she got in trouble for something negative about work she posted on Facebook). But lately work has become nearly unbearable. It is not a right fit for me, never was really. I just took it because I needed something, anything. Nothing had come of the jobs I applied for that I was actually qualified for. So I just had to apply anywhere I could.

But now I am ready to move on. I just need to get myself motivated to actually start. My coworker Miyuki asked me last night how my "escape plan" was working out, and I sheepishly told her nothing had come of it yet. Which is the truth. I honestly don't know where to start. I tried the Career Center at Cal State before, but the counselor there wasn't very helpful, particularly after I told her I was autistic, at which point she seemed unsure there were jobs I could get. I suppose I can put my perks from the CSUSM Alumni Association to good use; I think the perks include some database that is supposed to help you find work. I suppose there must be other resources too. Maybe ones specifically for people with autism? Although I have Asperger's, which is more higher-functioning than classic autism, and I think even for people with Asperger's I'm more higher-functioning than most, borderline neurotypical. I can hold down a job, for one, and I can function decently in society - I vote, I've been on two juries, I can handle social interaction all right. 

I still wish there was an expert that could give me direction. My mom, although she's a therapist, can't treat me because it's a conflict of interest. And the only other autism expert around here I know of is Dr. Feder, and we went to him already. We saw him three times and he wasn't that helpful. 

But I guess I have something to work towards. But how to begin? God, guide me please!

Started on Wednesday August 14th, written both on Blogger for iPhone and in the regular Blogger.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Final Day's Reflection

Today's the last day of this so I think I can go ahead and safely confess it: for the last 40 days I have been on a fast. It's something my church has been doing, and my parents and brother have been doing it too. My parents have been more extreme about it, drinking juice and stuff. My brother has been fasting media. Me, I've been fasting snacks. And it's been hard; I've slipped four times. And now that I'm on the last day, I'm not sure whether it helped me in the way I think this sort of thing is supposed to. I went into it with the intent of seeking wisdom and guidance, like Esther did in the book of Esther, specifically on the future and my purpose and what God wants me to do regarding both. And I don't feel any more enlightened about it. Not to mention I haven't felt the spiritual euphoria Pastor Miles has said we should be experiencing. And I know what he means by euphoria, because he described what happened to him before, and plus I've read accounts by Christian mystics (Julian of Norwich, etc) where they describe the spiritual visions they had and the extreme feelings they experienced as a result. It makes me wonder if I've even been doing this right.

On the other hand, I have heard it said that God doesn't always (or maybe ever) show you the big picture. He just gives you enough for the next step, and you have to trust him for the rest. So maybe I have been looking at this from the wrong perspective, or asking God for the wrong thing. Not sure.

I did get something interesting today which might have been part of God's methods for getting through to me. You see, my coworker Tasi, a Meat Cutter, is also a Christian, and lately he's been writing Scripture on scraps of paper and passing them out to people randomly, including me. And the one he gave me today says this:

"Proveb 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

Somehow I felt like that verse was just what I needed today. It was a good feeling.

Today I was reviewing my results from the last two spiritual gifts tests I've taken - the one I took for the "Discover Your Spiritual Gifts" class at North Coast and the one for The Rock, the church I currently attend. Though taken some time apart, I think there is some correlation.

On the North Coast test, my top three gifts (what the teacher called a "gift mix") were Knowledge, Missionary, and Service. Rounding out the top 5 were Administration (#4) and Helps (#5, and somehow different than service). On the test from The Rock, my results were:

1. Teacher
2. Prophet/Perceiver
3. Mercy/Compassion
4. (tie) Leader/Administrator & Server
6. Exhorter/Encourager
7. Giver

So some correlation, though the categories are different. A Teacher is defined as "the God-given ability to study, research, explain and communicate truth (e.g. Paul and Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2)." A Prophet/Perceiver is someone who has "the God-given ability to communicate God's message in relation to the truth already revealed (Jude 3)...It is done for the purposes of encouraging, strengthening and comforting (1 Cor. 14:3). These have the ability to perceive the spiritual needs of others and meet those needs through Scripture." Mercy/Compassion is "the God-given ability to have immediate compassion for those who are suffering combined with great joy in meeting their needs (E.g., the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37)." Leadership/administration is "the God-given ability to lead others in meaningful endeavors which demonstrates personal care and concern in order to meet the needs of others and encourage their growth (E.g., fathers in 1 Tim. 3:4-5, 12)." A Server is someone who "has the God-given ability to recognize a need and administer assistance to others" which allows other Christians to use their gifts effectively as a result. As for the last two gifts, I think they're probably self-explanatory.

I can see traits of all of these gifts I just mentioned in me. I admit on that first test, getting Missionary kind of scared me, because although I'm very interested in both travel and in learning about other cultures, the idea of giving up the rest of my life to go witness in some jungle somewhere (the stereotypical missionary example; I offer it as an example of my thought processes only) frightens me. And I fear a little that I would go on missions trips more out of wanderlust than out of any noble spiritual purpose, which I don't want (I used this excuse - because I realize now it was an excuse - to talk myself out of a North Coast missions trip to Romania to teach English and witness). Maybe I always thought I'd end up like Robin Jones Gunn (author of the Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series), who I read tried to get a missionary job abroad but couldn't and ended up becoming a writer instead, that becoming her missions field.

I also re-read the pages people linked me to when I asked on Google+ for lists of the various jobs available in web design. Cause I want to figure out where I fit. Cause gosh dangit I've spent almost 11 years paying my dues, and now I want an actual career. One I might actually enjoy for once. Plus I want to make sure I'm promoting myself right on my web design portfolio site.

These didn't help clarify things much. Other than that I definitely am not going for a graphic designer job, which I knew already. My graphic design skills are improving, I think, but artistically gifted - in a visual art sense - I have never been. Despite the fact that there must be some of it in my genes since my dad is always doodling and is actually not that bad at it. I do have some sense of what colors look good or don't, though, and I watch HGTV all the time. I think any artistic ability I possess is primarily in my ability to act, which I think I had naturally but which has since been augmented by my drama classes. And maybe dance since I do like to dance and have a rather flexible body. (My liking of dancing is really the only reason I'm even considering taking a Zumba class - well that and the fact that my friend Marina took it and really liked it).

Well, ok, let's be fair: every time I've committed myself to reading these articles, I've been tired and not paid a whole lot of attention to them. So maybe I will do that now. Because I want this post to be complete and also to kill time, since I am considering having a snack as soon as the day turns, since I actually had my "dinner" on my lunch period at work, which was SEVEN HOURS AGO, and haven't eaten since.

First off though, the advice that someone gave me in a text comment in response to one of my posts asking for lists of jobs in web design:

Hi, I am new in the field as well...what I did was to take stock of what my strengths are and what training I had. Then I sought out a local Web Design house near me, setup a meeting with the owner of the small business and asked him roughly the same ?'s you have. When in doubt, go to the horses mouth, some he told me there are generally 2 categories--1. Front end designers--graphic/layout/photoshop/overall look of site 2. Back end developers--essentially all or most of the programming--JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and other software linking a site to e-commerce servers, etc. In summary, with that info, I decided that I can do it all on my own, that I don't want to be an employee and be labeled or tasked with 1 or the other. I seek to be my own boss...I feel I have equal strengths in graphic design and the nuts and bolts--HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. Hope this helps??? Good Luck!

So basically there are the front-end people and the back-end people. The designers and the developers, essentially, to use the proper parlance. I technically have training in both areas, though I suppose I would be stronger on the developer side because my coding knowledge is quite good (though it needs improving) whereas my graphic design skills are, as I said, meh. I kind of like doing the whole package with my sites, personally -- and more or less fought for this tooth and nail during my Web Design 3 team project, insisting that we all 4 send wireframes to the client because I was convinced that if we didn't, I would be the one left out because I was the weakest on the team in terms of graphic design skill. I managed to convince Carmelina (our de facto team leader) to see it my way and we all four sent wireframes. I forget which one we went with in the end.

As for the article from Practicalecommerce, I think I am mostly Role 2 (Copywriter) and Role 5 (Site Promoter) personality-wise, even though I kinda suck at website promotion. With Myu Corner, I got lucky that my politely-worded e-mails asking sites in my subject to affiliate with me all worked out, that a URL in an e-mail signature about sending Magic Knight Rayearth scans scored links to the site from Manga-Style and (both run by the same person), and that I got accepted for listing at The Deep Submerge Directory/Ten(sen)shi very soon after launching the site (my friend Elly said she was very surprised at this as the owner of that directory is usually very discriminating about what sites she adds). Elly, as I recall, suggested not even to start advertising till you have a steady update schedule for six months, and to not expect a huge fan following till 5 years in. I, unfortunately, am not that patient and usually put the cart before the horse in terms of promotion, going all willy-nilly about it and then wondering why it doesn't work. I'm an insecure person with poor self-image who desperately wants to be an internet star, preferably a viral one, but has yet to accomplish it. And for about 15 years (give-or-take), I have been on that fruitless mission. Maybe I should give that up already and just admit that I will probably never be famous for anything on the internet, and that's ok.

In terms of skills, I'm probably a little of 1/6 (Web Strategist) and 4 (Technical Programmer).

And now for the list from The following positions on the list appeal to me:

  • Content Strategist
  • Digital Strategist/Planner
  • Digital Strategist/Planner (2)
  • Flash Developer
  • Flash Programmer/Designer
  • Front End Developer
  • Front End Developer (2)
  • Information Architect
  • Interactive Copywriter/Content Writer
  • Web Architect
  • Web Designer
On closer examination, I'd narrow that list down to:

  • Flash Developer
  • Front End Developer
  • Information Architect
  • Interactive Copywriter/Content Writer
  • Web Designer

I have an unexplained fascination with Flash. Maybe because it was the first Adobe program I ever really learned how to use. (Photoshop, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver came later).

Then there's the article from DesignShack, which is actually about graphic design jobs (which makes sense, as DesignShack, despite its about page claiming it's about web design, always struck me as a graphic design-oriented site). Since I'm not trying to become a graphic designer, most of the article doesn't help me. It does give some job examples for digital design, however, and I can see myself as a Front End Web Designer or a Designer/Developer based on their descriptions.

(6 minutes left till midnight...)

And finally, I saved the big fancy one for last: the slideshow at, which really lays it out there, even quoting salary ranges for various positions. In this case, I see myself mostly in the "5 Build the Site" category, as a front-end developer, though the idea of being a Social Media Expert is also something I could probably do.

Whoa, one minute left till the end of the night. Gonna go ahead and publish this and continue later.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Resolutions...from last year

I was poking around the folders of stuff on my computer and found my list of resolutions for 2012. Which, ironically, was made in April 2012 rather than January. Let's see if I met any of them, shall we?


Personal Life Resolutions

1. Grow closer to God through increased Bible study & prayer.

2. Be independent or closer to it by the end of the year.

3. Do something about my weight.

I don't think I fulfilled any of these last year. Maybe #1, but I'm not sure.

Writing Resolutions

1. Finally revise Darkly Bound

2. Update my writing website

3. Work on my craft in general.

4. Work on networking & possibly submission

I definitely did NOT do number 1. Darkly Bound remains unrevised. I hope to remedy that in March by doing National Novel Editing Month. 4 I didn't really fulfill either. 2 I sort of fulfilled; I did update my site minorly, but not the way I know I was thinking of when I wrote this list. 3 is the only one I truly fulfilled, since I did NaNoWriMo and stuff.

Web Design Resolutions

1. Finish my Web Design & Development certificate

2. Become more well-versed in CSS & PHP.

3. Launch Sparkle Moon on the web

4. Finish missing sections of Myu Corner

5. Change Myu Corner layout, blog theme & incorporate blog RSS feed

6. Work on Anime Guide Database

7. Work on Starry-Dreamer Galaxy (Liquid Mercury, Ayeka's Palace, etc)

8. Learn more graphic design

2012 was the year I finished my web design certificate and was hoping to find a job in web design, which is why this list is longer than the others. So obviously I fulfilled #1. #3 I planned on doing but ultimately gave up on as a lost cause. #4 did not get completely done in 2012, though I am working on it to this day. #5 didn't happen; I had to re-start the blog and have not yet incorporated its RSS feed into the site (I'm still trying to figure out how to do that), and I haven't changed the layout from the original one, a very pink one with an iframe - one that was ok for what code I knew in 2009, but which is no longer acceptable to me (or probably to any web design-savvy person).

#8 did not happen on any consistent basis. #7 did happen to an extent; like Sparkle Moon, I ultimately gave the resurrection of Ayeka's Palace up as a lost cause, but Liquid Mercury and Come Fly With Me (a fanlisting for the TV show Pan Am), the other two sites planned at the time for "The Starry-Dreamer Galaxy" (my name for the collective umbrella of my subdomains), did happen. Eventually I closed Come Fly With Me due to lack of interest from the net and declining interest from myself. But Liquid Mercury is still up: I need to edit the home page for the Galaxy to reflect these changes (and make it visible in mobile browsers; it's not fully visible now in mobile browsers cause the main part was done in Flash).

#6 refers to an ongoing anime/manga episode guide wiki project I am working on. I did not get much work done on that in 2012, other than starting guides for two shows I was watching in early 2012: Futari wa Pretty Cure MAX HEART and Inuyasha. My intent was to finish some guides to start the database off with, and then add guides as necessary. I still haven't tried "working" for some wikis to learn the ropes of them yet, though, like I'd planned, so the wiki is far from prime time yet.

#2 didn't really happen either, but then it was a pretty vague goal. Although in 2012 I launched my first full-blown site that included PHP elements (PokéSideGames).

Other Resolutions

1. Learn to draw manga-style.

2. Improve my French.

3. Explore other video-making programs.

4. Explore careers at Career Center & pin down one.

#1 refers to a challenge where I was going to go through the "learn to draw manga" books I have and post my drawings from them every day on my Tumblr. Yeah, that didn't happen. But I have done drawings from those books, and you can see some of them on my DeviantArt, which I launched in July 2012. I have more drawn than are posted on there; I just need to scan them.

#2 didn't happen. At least not in an active way.

#3 was another sort of vague goal. I did learn a little of Final Cut Pro in my Interactive Media Production class in Spring 2012, but unfortunately, I can't use it on my laptop because it's a Mac-only program and I have Windows. I tried to install Adobe Premiere (the closest Windows equivalent) on my computer, but it requires a 64-bit OS, which I don't have, so it didn't work. Actually I haven't made videos for a long time; I've actually been more or less boycotting YouTube since their one update that made it impossible for you to delete videos from your subscriptions after watching them (you used to be able to click a little x in the corner of the preview image for the video in your feed, but you can't do this anymore, and despite how many people have complained about this, Google has not provided any help or tried to fix the problem).

I'm not sure what #4 was about. I've done career research before at MiraCosta, and as an Alumni Association member I think I still have access to the career resources at Cal State's Career Center. So I'm not sure what I was thinking with that one.

As for my resolutions for this year, they're in the previous post.

Good night!

P.S. I fiddled around with my template to make the blog title and description prettier and more readable. Enjoy!