It's been a crazy few weeks. I aced Korean which is good, though I feel like I've forgotten everything I learnt in the past two weeks. I hope classes on Tues jog it lose since I need to be assessed for the scholarship on Thurs. Every time I try to think in Korean though, I come up with Japanese.

The moment my final was finished (and I didn't manage to discuss anything I planned in Korean *sigh*), I packed up the last of my stuff, returned my keys, got my deposit and drove back to Wisconsin. Meanwhile, my dad was driving up from Illinois. He was recovering from a cold so we just chilled until Monday when my mother and bro arrived as well. Then it was a week of doing every single thing I could think of around Madison (except oddly, we never made it to any of the museums in town) from eating at the best places to going to the House on the Rock. We got a lot of exercise each day which made up for the copious amounts of cheese, beer, and beef we were devouring and caught up on watching many things. My bro and I finally finished our summer game of Civ. 4 (we defeated the final civilization in 3 turns, we were so overpowered by that point).

I also made a Game of Thrones feast since I was given the official cookbook for my birthday. I have immortalized it here on tumblr. The beef and bacon pie was a lot of work, and so was the mulled wine, but I may make it again and soon since it was amazing and surprisingly cheap if you have the spices handy.

Then my whole family left on Monday and I discovered I had a short paper due the monday after, got a debilitating migraine and have pretty much been down for the count from Tues-Thurs. Today being the first day I really felt recovered, I've been trying desperately to get a bunch of things done that I've meant to do all summer from sending out query letters for the evil overlord book (someday I will find an agent who will tell me that it's well written (which is what they all say), and that it is what they're looking for. It will be a joyous day.), organizing my bookmarks folder, queued 60+ images of Sauron-chan in my sauron tumblr so I don't have to worry about it for a couple of months, sealed the kitchen grout, went clothes shopping for the first time since last year, etc, etc. I may actually be able to sit down and write my little assignment due Monday now (and yes, classes don't start until Tues.).
deralte: (Default)
( May. 15th, 2011 02:25 pm)
This review of Game of Thrones pretty much summarizes my love/hate affair with the books and generally describes my opinion on the show, though I don't get the weird comparison chart in the middle.

I went to a Bujinkan seminar yesterday. It was about 4 1/2 hours long so it's no surprise that I've got muscles in all parts of my body aching today. I had really good luck in training partners for once except for one of the guys when we trained in a threesome at the end who was too punchy (seriously, just let me do the technique once without you trying to punch me in the face in the middle of it, ok?) I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my first training partner, S., was Scottish and was a fellow alumni of Edinburgh uni. We had fun trading stories in between practice and he was also good at training so it was a pleasant two hours. My second training partner was from Vermont and was a phd student so we had something in common there as well. I had to do a lot more teaching with him, but it was fine cause Jack would wander by every once and awhile and teach/throw me. J. was watching after one of those times and he goes, "It's so nice to see you getting thrown." I made a face at him and responded, "I'm glad to bring you such joy in your life."

So the theme of the seminar was about making your movements as efficient as possible, staying along the line no matter what (or creating your own), and always keeping being ethical to your opponent in mind. We started off with escaping using the three basic rolls (front, back, side) and I discovered that you keep your balance better if you pull in your center, ie using your ab and hip muscles to make your stomach area centered and solid. Jack's been saying this for ages with the center and other techniques, but this is the first time where I really got the sense that it was working because pulling in my abs made the turn really tight and solid. From there, we switched to using this principle of centering and focusing using different weapons - sword, baseball bat, and rope. A lot of it was actually stuff we'd already done in training this past week but with more time to refine it than we had during the weekly classes so it was nice to focus on. The sword one was really hard since it involved being on the line, bringing your sword down to provide an opening and stepping off the line, then getting back on the line once the person attacked. Sword takes a lifetime to learn and we never do much practice with it so it's not surprise to me that I only get techniques to work one out of two or three times. I'm mostly resigned to this fact, but it's still a little frustrating especially when Jack comes over and makes it look so effortless. Baseball bat and rope were fun though. I like training to force yourself to jump in and take the space around the hand's of the person swinging the bat. It's frightening but practising it now means not freezing in a real fight.

Currently, I'm applying for assistantships at Wisc-Madison, and contemplating which of my two books I should work on. I need to finish the Uric book this summer, which isn't impossible since I'm writing the climax right now so it's more than half way done. My other book is the non-fiction about how bad so many of my holidays around the world have been. I've had two chapters written of it for ages but no time to write. It should be easy to finish writing since it's just an account of my crazy vacations , but every time I think about the bedbugs part I get all creeped out and don't want to talk about it anymore. Will maybe write all the other chapters first. Other than that, I'm now catching up on my reading which was mostly abandoned over the past several months due to the internship and classes. Still have two jobs right now, but I can often do other things in between my duties for both jobs so reading and writing are it. My hospital job finishes at the end of June and the help desk job in July/early August. So because of that, I'm working a lot of hours for the rest of May and all of June.

Is anybody on my friends list going to OtaKon btw? I'm trying to decide if I should go and if I do, if I should just drive up there for one day, or if I should actually arrange lodging (or, you know, if I should just sleep in my car).
Well, the foot swelling has mostly gone down at this point. There's about a 1 inch diameter spot where I can't put any pressure without pain and so far, wearing any sort of shoe is out of the question. Luckily, it's been sweltering out so simple sandels and flip flops were easy enough to switch too. I didn't go to bujinkan on Monday for fear of having the foot stepped on (a fairly legitimate fear considering how often it happens in class), but will brave it tomorrow and cross my fingers and pray I don't get someone clumsy enough to do so. The weirdest thing I've found about it is that even though it's still quite painful to the touch, it's not really bruised beyond a shadow of colour. I guess since the bone took the brunt of the force, there wasn't much bleeding.

I've spent the past couple of days being very lazy about studying for my finals. I'm going to have to get off my arse and do something soon. Meanwhile, Uric book writing is going well (I've decided the corollary to the Bedchel (sp?) test is to have two of your non-main characters have a conversation about something other than your main character. I passed this test in chapter 5, but I'm failing it in chapter 6 (it's all Louis' fault. He can't help trying to figure out Uric.)). Article editing wise, I've sort of been percolating it in my head, but will tackle it soon.

My South Asian history teacher was getting an award today. I attempted to go, but didn't realize the whole uni was on a weekend bus schedule which sent my usual bus between three campuses, not two and on a strangely circuitousness route. As a result, I didn't get to the expected building until 15 minutes late, only to discover that it had been moved to the other side of campus. An easy walk for me normally, but I was wearing geta which while easy enough to wear, slow me down considerably speed wise. While I was contemplating that, giant gusts of wind began hitting the trees, sending flutter leaves down, followed by huge drops of rain. I hid under a bridge for a bit until I could jump on a bus, which went around in circles for a bit before finally depositing me somewhat near my car. It was pretty much a wasted hour of my time, though I appreciated the excuse to get some air (haven't been out much cause walking hurt).

My dad and I rewatched Radio Flyer for the first time in ages, and it was weird to see it as an adult, cause I really enjoyed that movie as a kid having been able to convince myself that the ending was a happy one (also because I spent my summers catching frogs and crawling through tunnels whenever possible). Watching it now, I'm a lot more unsettled cause I have no idea what sort of message the movie was trying to give, and I can see why so many adult reviewers utterly hate the movie since its messages about abuse, suicide, bullying etc are just... stupid. They claim it's not a kid's movie, but really, as a kid, I enjoyed it. I rewatched it a lot between the ages of ten and fifteen. (Also strange to realize that Adam Baldwin played The King, but since you almost never see his face, it's not surprising I never made the connection.)
Tags:
My allergies are killing me today despite being loaded up with allergy medicine. I sound like I've got a massive cold. Even weirder, my watch gave me a rash, so I stopped wearing it, only to discover that the rash gets worse whenever I go outside, and disappears if I spend enough time inside. (Stupid pollen *pout*).

Bento today (there was none last week cause I was at uni all day last Tuesday). My bento box also broke last week so rather than rubber band it back together, I switched to a square tupperware container for the evening. This might be the last bento of the term.



Inside the cabbage leaf is a creamy ranch pasta salad with chick peas, bacon bits, carrots and peas in it. Under the cabbage leaf and visible next to it are a lot of grapes, plus a fresh strawberry, it being the season for both of them. The yellow, sideways heart is made of sweet cornbread. The hamburger (as the Japanese would call it) is actually made of buffalo with a million spices mixed in and marinated in teriyaki. There's okonomiyaki sauce underneath it to dip into (okonomiyaki sauce tastes good on a lot of things that aren't okonomiyaki...) In the blue cup is a thin layer of rice, covered by tomato curry with quorn, bella mushrooms, cabbage, and onions. It's very spicy and was our dinner on Sunday (which is when I made the cups).

I haven't posted in awhile. Sorry about that. I've been trying to figure out what to do about phd apps in the fall and trying to find a summer job. I'm at the background check stage of one job but they take forever to do things so I'm just hoping they get back to me soon. I need to have several hundred dollars by the end of the summer if I want to keep attending Rutgers and apply for phds. I have a job at Rutgers in Sept., but it's not very helpful right now. Meanwhile, I need to do a new, comprehensive phd search with much broader parameters. I'm also going to apply for some internships and try to get an article published (though having never done that before, I don't have a lot of hope. Anybody got some advice?). It's all looking a bit daunting atm.

I skipped Bujinkan last night in order to comprehensively study for my Japanese lesson test. Due to me misunderstanding two test questions on the last one, I got an 84 on the last test (and was publicly humiliated for it to boot) and had to beg to get two points back because a kanji (that I'd written perfectly right below it on the exam) had gotten partially erased. She gave me those points back, but it only brings it up to a 85, which is still too low for my liking, so I decided that it'd be safer if I got a 90 or above on the final two lesson tests, hence the studying. The test went well (I think), despite my massive allergy attack throughout the damn thing.

Bujinkan last week was a bit meh. I trained with a new guy on Monday and he was a bit of a whiner - always making excuses for every little mistake he made. I told him at one point that I knew he was new and that he'd make mistakes. I was pointing them out to him so he'd get better, not because I actually care. He got on my nerves though by making fun of my height. First bending his legs and hunching down so he'd be at a level where he could punch me (for the record, he's not that tall so there was no need), to which I responded with a scornful look and a "Stop that." He then later tried to use our height difference (which was, as I said, less than a foot's difference) as an excuse for why something wasn't working. I said, "No. It has nothing to do with my height. Your distance is wrong." and resolved not to hurt him for idiocy. It pisses me off though cause if I were a guy, he'd never have been making those jokes/excuses about my height. Asshole. I did a good job teaching him though - when Jack came by he took a look at the guy and said new guy was 'getting it'. Maturity ftw!

Bujinkan on weds was walking/running at the boardwalk because there was a rummage sale at the building where we train. I changed into my walking clothes in the bathroom there and accidentally left my bra. I keep wondering if they sold it... Jack walked with M. and I for the first part which was, like, the longest period of time I've ever talked to Jack. M. and were both weirded out *L* We did the whole boardwalk and on the way back, M. and I had to occasionally run to keep up with the guys who were speeding up now that Jack was at the front. Afterwards, we went to the pub for a drink, which was nice, but then I had to rush home to register for fall classes.

While I was wandering this week, I ended up Borders who evilly were offering 40% off on the new Dresden Files book, Changes. I'd only intended to read a bit of it in the store, but with that much of a discount, I decided the book was worth it. Since I was, overall, dissatisfied with it, it probably wasn't, but oh well. If you've read it, my review (spoilers included) is here. Right now, I keep getting its' plot mixed up with fanfic I've read, which isn't a good sign.

The Uric novel has reached chapter 6 and 19,000 words, but I'm sort of stuck until I can think up an appropriate revenge plan for the kiddies to implement against Alexis. If I can't think of something soon, I'll skip to a later chapter and wing it so it's not the end of the world, but I would like to think of something since I write better linearly. I'm very curious as to how long the novel will actually end up since chapter 7 is the midpoint of the novel. Assuming chapter 6 ends up just as long as the earlier chapters, that puts the novel over the 40,000 estimate I started with.

I'm going to try to take a nap before my next class. Ja ne.
deralte: (bujinkan (by me))
( Feb. 23rd, 2010 01:39 pm)
Buyu: I've been under some sort of reprieve since January and Jack hasn't asked me to teach the class much. Whereas he'd gotten into the habit of making me teach at least once every class last year. I'm rather torn about teaching, I find it nerve wracking, embarrassing and it's hard to concentrate on what you're saying while you're also trying not to fuck up the move you're teaching. On the other hand, I'm proud that Jack thinks I'm good enough to keep throwing me out there - he doesn't do this to everybody after all. Regardless, I sort of approach every announcement of, "Ariana - teach!" with a sort of fatalistic, 'Maybe this'll be the time I'll mess up completely in front of everybody' grimace, and while I've stopped nervously trembling or stuttering through the whole thing (yes, I was that bad in the beginning), I still have a tendency to babble or just not organize what I'm supposed to be teaching very well (If I were given a minute's warning, I think I'd do fine, but what basically happens is I either do something Jack likes while he's watching (sometimes without me knowing he's watching), or he walks me through learning something new then yells out immediately for me to teach it.)

Now, part of the reason Jack makes me teach so often is cause he likes me either figuring out or being shown variations on the move which are more useful for short people (fighting someone tall is a lot easier when you're short - think of all the vulnerable areas you're closer to...). His other reasons? Who knows. I do know that my 3rd and 4th dan certificates finally arrived from Japan last week, and I think they possibly reminded Jack of my level (my other theory is that we had a class with only a few people in it due to the snow so he had to focus attention somewhere, and I was it). Either way, the being forced to teach each class is back in full force. I had to teach twice on Weds, and once today - even after I chose the train with the newbie girl. I figured that would keep me safe since I was going over really basic stuff with her, but I was wrong. I had to teach a particular throw and since the poor girl was my training partner, I dragged her up there and gently put her through it, trying to keep upbeat when she couldn't even roll out of it (I'd have died of mortification if it had been me, but played it down for her.) M. hates teaching the class as well, and her advice was to make an annoyed face and complain loudly whenever it happened - after 14 years, Jack finally got the hint. Though really, I've seen him make her teach before, and I do make a grimace every time it happens, so I'm not really optimistic about a 14 year campaign to get him to stop *L* I'm pretty resigned to it now anyway. I just felt like whinging on here:P

Training last weds was with C. who I haven't trained with for ages due to the newbies. We had a good time, though what I remember the most is we were doing jumping back when someone takes a wild swing at you with a stick/bat etc, then coming quickly in, and in my case, stopping them at their wrist or letting the next swing follow through then going in, then out at a weak direction (taking their stick). It's pretty scary training when someone's swinging something full speed at your head (which C. does). He even managed to psych me out once by changing up the swing style and his actions before it. Still a lot of fun and very good training. Monday wasn't all that interesting with lots of variations on stuff we've done before. I did like when he switched to sword - the main weapon this year in Japan is daitou apparently which is a big, curved sword used long before the Edo era for slicing through armour and stuff. We just pretended our bokken were daitou and held them one handed (using your wrist to support the end of it, so that if you let go of the sword with your thumb, it would rest in your four fingers and brace up against your forearm) to the side, then you leant in to give them somewhere to attack, leant back when the blow came and stepped back along the line while bringing the sword in a shallow upward curve (ending along the line with the point of the sword aiming at your opponent's face). I've done similar things to this before and never got them, but this time it finally seemed to click. It seems last year's sword training is finally beginning to pay off. Our second move with the sword was to fake attack the person who is defending along the line, then when they move to block, strike them elsewhere. It worked really well and even the newbie got it so yay!

Bento this evening is rather simple. The rice is leftovers from dinner last night which was made with a Japanese mix of flavouring and vegetables/proteins like fried tofu, konyaku, carrot, lotus root etc. I always add a bit more soy sauce to it to make it more flavourful. The yellow section is a mini cauliflower casserole with cheese, parmigiana bread crumbs, garlic and a little paprika. On either side of it are grape tomatoes and, well, grapes. Simple and healthy tonight (though I will spoil it with a cookie which I will pack separately *ssshhh*).



Have worked on Uric every day since I last posted about it. Yay!
Just watched the Korean or 'kimchee' western The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Korean cut), and it was a lot of fun. There were quite a few little things in it that were never explained, but having a coherent plot seemed a lot less important to having lots of shoot outs, explosions, and violence. That's probably why I enjoyed it so much:D There was actually a lot of humour as well (that was actually funny) so bravo. Also, more variety of weapons than I'm used to seeing in a Western. Kang-ho Song, the guy playing the Weird, totally stole the show acting wise (though the plot twist at the end was rather predictable). Byung-hun Lee was such a handsome Bad (and there was a shirtless scene. score!). Also, it has an amazing score (perfectly fitting each action scene), and some beautiful cinematography. Very nicely done.

I'm very proud of myself today since I finally talked myself into working on the Uric book again. I've been getting bogged down thinking that my first priority should be finding a job, and that I can't write until then. But obviously, the job isn't coming, and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not starving or homeless though - I just don't have any money. And if I get into the phd program I want, I'm going to look back on this time and go, "Gee. I had so much time to work on my book those days." So, since I have so much free time (outside of the hours and hours I'm putting into homework), it's stupid not to spend it working on my book. Once I'd talked myself into writing again, I took a long shower and ran through things in my mind from what the next chapter should be about (I plot out major plot arcs, but always leave details to the day of writing), to what I want from Uric in this story which is a hard question, cause the big problem with modifying a character who was originally in the HP universe is that the real world isn't supposed to have magic. So you either get rid of the magic, limiting Uric by a large degree, or you keep it, but know that other characters, especially Louis and Mena aren't going to be so blasé about it. Though at this point, I've got it so that Mena is actually rather blasé about it, just because she's seen it proven to work enough that she doesn't care that it's crazy (so long as Uric doesn't embarrass her with it in public, at least). I don't think she consciously thinks of it as magic though - just that it's Uric. Louis, on the other hand, is going to spend most of the book trying to figure Uric out. Which is fine, since that's what happened behind the scenes in the original Uric fic. It's just going to be a lot harder to keep it balanced. My other problem is that my writing style has really evolved since those early days and I'm left wondering if I'm doing Uric the same justice comedy wise now that my writing style is so different. I have passed 11,000 words at this point, which isn't bad considering I'm working on chapter 4 and this is meant to be a young adult's book.

I want to keep writing, but I've got 10 pages of Japanese homework and 60 pages to read on the history of India. Dammit.
Tags:
I had the first migraine of my life on the evening before new years. It started with an aura, which is sort of a visual hallucination which shimmered in a jagged circle in front of my eyes for quite awhile before expanding outwards and leaving me with a pounding headache. Only 30 or so percent of people get migraines with auras, so yay! I went to sleep soon afterwards since painkillers had no effect, and slept for 10 hours before getting up on New Year's eve (I had very light nausea for which I am very grateful). [livejournal.com profile] rinzei and [livejournal.com profile] havenward were coming over for our usual celebration so I took another nap in the afternoon (and had this awesome dream where I was joining Methos on an archaeological dig in the rainforests of South America... pity I woke up after we'd just met) in the hopes of feeling a little less dead. It amazed me how much the migraine took out of you. It's actually messed up my sleeping habits since then so I finally gave in and started setting an alarm, and that combined with bujinkan tonight will hopefully be enough to get me back on my usual circadian rhythm.

New years itself was spent drinking alcohol (less for me due to the migraine), catching up on each others lives, and watching things, as usual. We had a delicious dinner at Red Robin's then snacked copiously at home. They hadn't seen Wonderfalls before so we watched about eight eps of that, then we switched to Mendol which is a jdrama about three girls who want to become idols and get their dream, but only by becoming a boy band instead. It was a lot more... raunchy then I expected it to be, though just about as cracktastic. Not a show for everyone, as witnessed by the fact that [livejournal.com profile] havenward refused to watch it while even remotely sober;) We called it a fairly early night (you know, around 3am) which was good for me since I was still exhausted and slept until noon. We hung out and watched more Wonderfalls before calling it a day.

I've been catching up on my reading and watching over the holiday (unfortunately, not my writing. I haven't written a thing in weeks. Stupid apathy.). I finally got to see Zombieland which I watched last night with my dad. It wasn't as good as Shawn of the Dead, but it was a lot of fun, and strangely relaxing to watch. I noticed I spent all of my drive today picking out which car I'd want for a zombie apocalypse though... I actually sat down and read an entire book on Sunday. Our heating went out (again) so I huddled on the couch in front of our new fake fireplace space heater (it's adorable and almost as satisfying as a real fire) and read the book from cover to cover, stopping only for hot chocolate and cashews. It was Enchanted, Inc. which wasn't bad, though apparently the rest of the series goes down hill.

The hardest thing I've done on this holiday is go to bujinkan tonight. For some reason it always feels like you haven't trained in a month rather than the week we had off between christmas and new years, and therefore, it's hard to motivate yourself to go back to that first class after the new year, especially since January is devoted to reviewing the basics. Be that as it may, I went and was glad I did. Jack was bored or something cause he spent a lot of time watching and helping me and even made me teach. Part of the theme for the year is 'lower' ie, bending your knees a lot, so I know I'll be limping tomorrow, though it's not as bad for me as for some. I think an individual theme for myself is going to be 'waiting' ie, not moving in, but instead letting your opponent run into your fist or foot or whatever. This requires holding back and waiting to strike until that perfect moment (ie timing) and I tend to get anxious and jump the gun. We did front rolls with a little jump before them which was a lot more fun than the slow rolls from last year. Then we did punching, ending in a low position (the key is to twist your spine towards the leading leg just slightly before you move), then blocks (which eventually bruised my left knuckles. pads hurt.), then kicks. All started with the pads, then we did a practical application. I had a good partner, and Jack's criticisms balanced out his praise (I even surprised a 'good!' out of him with a side roll *L*) so it was a pretty good start to the new year and I appreciated getting my adrenaline flowing again.
Dad and I stumbled upon a ridiculously good deal on Friday - two huge london broil steaks for $4.50 each. Even then, they were so big that Dad and I could only eat a quarter of them each, so we chowed down on london broil last night which cost a little over a dollar! So yummy.

Tv show wise: Merlin's latest ep annoyed me with all the false romance. I'd also find the Gwen/Arthur a lot more cute if they hadn't reset Merlin and Arthur's relationship back to near zero at the beginning of the season. I had better get a few eps of bromance (or, you know, subtext that will make me laugh) to make up for watching all this romantic crap.
Dexter is being very stupid this season, and there's a lot of little plot holes that annoy me (like, if Dexter is the one getting up every night for the baby, how can Rita say he's not doing anything for her? Does Rita still have a job? Why can Dexter only blend into society when the writers say he can? etc.)
House: I had hoped for something a bit less cliched dealing with House's hallucinations (which oddly enough, when they're caused by drug use, don't make you crazy, o writers, nor would you check into a mental hospital for them). Like most, I suffered through the crap in order to see House back at work. The verdict is still out on whether it caused any lasting change. Also, really don't care about the ducklings any more, much to my surprise.
Flash Forward: Dropped it. Much as I like John Cho, I disliked nearly everyone else in the show, especially the main character (so pretty, so hypocritical) and I've never seen such an interesting premise handled so boringly. Oh well.

Moviewise:
My Dad and I discovered Grosse Point Blanke which is quirky little movie about an assassin attending his high school reunion. It has some pretty funny moments, which carry you through any duller bits. Not bad.
We also saw Surrogates which I expected to be a bit more typical of Bruce Willis in the scifi genre (peers at The Fifth Element), but was actually a pretty good, serious scifi film that'd appeal to any old school scifi fan. I was pleasantly surprised. (though I could have done without spoiler ))

Reading wise, I've been dropping books left and right. I gave up on Steven Brust and his Vlad Taltos series, though I may be able to convince myself to read the other two books in my collection at a later date for politeness sake. I tried to read The Witches of Eastwick, but after slogging through the first twenty pages of weird similies and metaphors about boring characters, I decided I didn't care enough to finish. I feel vaguely guilty about this because it's supposed to be a great novel with fantastic writing, but it's obviously not my cup of tea.

What I did read that was amazing recently is a manga called Ooku. It's got a premise I really adore and had only seen in fanfic before now - namely, in the early years of the Tokugawa era, a fatal disease targets and wipes out 80% of the male population in Japan. It continues to do so, so women take over all the jobs men had from rice farmer to merchant to shogun, while any men who survive are cosseted and kept because even though they are still stronger physically, they have weak constitutions. Most women can't afford to marry so they pay men in brothels to impregnate them, and women sell nights with their sons for money. The story is set 80 years afterwards, and perhaps my only problem with it is that not only have the common people forgotten what it was like before the plague (which is somewhat understandable in a non-literary society) but so have the shogun and the high ranking samurai. While I'm sure there was a bit of a disconnect, I find it weird that they can't remember 80 years before, though I suppose they don't want to considering an old man is mentioned as being crazy and talking about days when men were in charge. If the first female shogun made a concerted effort to consolidate her reign by saying women had always been shoguns... On the other hand, if you know your history, discovering that men used to be in charge makes a very good parallel for the shogun and various high ranking people (plus the nobles and even the emperor) discovering that the emperor used to have power (which happened in real life around this time period and laid the seeds for the bakumatsu a century later).

You've got the female version of various historical people. Yoshimune was one of the most famous shoguns, and well known for his financial reforms and frugality which still shows up here, but is more awesome coming from a kick-ass woman *L* (to be fair, the reforms weren't enough in the end, but that's another story). Her advisor, Kano Hisamichi is a plain, humble looking woman, but wow is she cunning. She's great to watch.

These are, of course, all incidental details since the main story deals with a young man joining the inner court (ie, becoming a concubine to the shogun). It's well written and fascinating (god, I want to see a version of this set in the bakumatsu where the Shinsengumi are all female!) The extra chapter at the end is about the shogun herself, and provides a side splitting foreign account about meeting her. There are more volumes coming out, and considering how many awards this manga has already won, I highly recommend them all.

Anyway, I must go. I have a Japanese midterm to study for, and for some reason, I thought up an original scifi story plot last night and I'm trying to get it all down on paper today. Also have to work up the courage to email more people at post graduate places. Ja ne!
Tags:
It's such a gorgeous day outside. The wind is blowing in strong gusts, sending the trees and leaves flying, and thick, white clouds scuttling across the blue sky. It really feels like autumn even if the leaves are only just turning. I was so entranced by the weather that I decided to walk the couple of miles from the campus where I park to the campus where I have classes, and I didn't regret it. The view out over the Raritan river was gorgeous, though I got a lot of weird looks from bikers who'd apparently never seen anyone walking the paths (I don't see why. it's not that long a walk).

I gave two weeks notice on my job on Monday, pointing out that spending 4 hours commuting (plus extra hours sleeping to make up for my early shift on monday) for only 6 hours of work was not time efficient especially now that I have to start phd applications. It was accepted and I think he appreciated that I gave him notice and didn't just quit without warning. I'm counting down the hours, but first have to suffer through waking up at 5am on Monday cause the shift has been changed to 6:20am from 7 (gah!). I'm glad this is the only time I'm ever going to have to do it. Meanwhile, I've been trying to figure out how to get a paycheck for the work I've done, and will hopefully get a check on Fri. *fingers crossed*

Currently, my Spanish 101 grade is 100% cause I aced the quizzes and tests. I'm trying not to let it make me cocky since I'm sure the tests will eventually get harder (it helps that he forgives a few grammar/spelling mistakes whereas I get penalized for every one in Japanese). Japanese, I've been working on drilling te form into my head since that seems to be the root of about half of my spelling problems. I'm using online quizzes to constantly drill them in the hopes that it will just become automatic. Can't do anything about the dyslexia or the katakana words I don't know, but I can fix the te form problem. I was so tired for the lesson test on Tuesday that I just wrote nearly everything in hiragana (the teacher doesn't care, but I try to write all the kanji I know whenever possible), then went home and took a nap. Monday was really tiring for me even if I didn't go to bujinkan. I had a one time class on how to learn accents for stage and theatre. She taught us the tools, ie, what to listen and feel for if you wanted to learn or imitate an accent. It was really interesting and the time just flew by, but that was probably because I'd given in and had a cup of tea with caffeine earlier (and suffered the headache for it later). The teacher said she rarely met anyone who pronounces all their 't's like I do. Belly dancing is also going well, but I'm going to have to skip it next week if I want to survive since the earlier wake up time that day will kill me. We've already learnt every basic and quite a few advanced steps in belly dancing anyway since we learn a lot faster than the teacher's adult classes. I can't say I look all that good belly dancing, but it's damn good exercise. It's a pity it really seems to put a strain on my already strained knee ligament *sigh*

My book got rejected by an agent again. Same story really. The writing's fine, but they didn't fall in love with it. This one in particular didn't think it was that funny, but considering how subjective that is and that he's american, it doesn't really surprise me. I wish there were a way of checking what sort of sense of humour an agent has before you send something cause I don't think I'm going to get evil overlord accepted by anyone who doesn't have a British/morbid sense of humour. Looks like it's time to start submitting the book in the UK. You guys wouldn't happen to have any suggestions for agents or agencies in the UK, would you?

Meanwhile, I finally finished the third chapter of Uric, and all the main characters have been introduced and are tentative friends at this point. The next couple of chapters deal with bullying, classes, Uric being weird, and subtle killing/kidnapping attempts. I'm just not sure in which order I should throw them all together. I'm being rather free form at this point.

Reading wise, I'm reading Daemons are Forever (the sequel to The Man with the Golden Torc) by Simon R. Green, though it reads less like a Bond fantasy novel and more like a Hellblazer/Lovecraft story that drags on a bit. What it's really done is driven me to consider rereading the Dresden Files. It's a pity I don't own all the books though cause reading them on my comp isn't half as much fun as taking them with me places.

And that's it for this update. I'm going to enjoy my pumpkin spice creme (courtesy of a gift card to starbucks from a grateful mother of a kid I taught over the summer) and do the million other things I need to do before I leave for bujinkan. Ja ne!
Tags:
Well, the nausea from the heat exhaustion finally went away around 4pm yesterday and I drank far too much gatorade (god, I hate the stuff). I did discover that frozen strawberry drinks really settle my stomach for some reason (I had to go out to get more gatorade) and that heat exhaustion takes a very long time for me to get over for some reason. According to the internet most people get better in an hour or two, but it usually takes me several if not more.

I ordered the first Mouse Guard book the other day and it was labelled as new but came with a big crease across the cover. When I complained to the seller, I was refunded and told to keep the book so yay! I read it and the second Mouse Guard book last night. I love how beautifully drawn the whole series is and the wonderful characterizations. My only complaint would be how the author skips scenes he doesn't want to draw by putting in narration instead, but eh.

I went in to work today despite it being cloudy and cold (well, 70 degrees) since I figured my boss would tell me to come in anyway since it wasn't raining. Only, there was a special carnival going on that I was supposed to psychically divine the existence of and they didn't expect me to come in. Not that it was a problem since once I did all my lessons, and vacuumed the pool it was lunch time and I got free cotton candy and went home to relax. Despite how cool it was outside the pool was quite warm and I had fun playing marco polo and sharks and minnows with the kids.

I am finally seriously working on the Uric book again. I wrote a whole page last night and I should finish Louis' actual introduction to Uric soon. Then there's bullying and kidnapping attempts, so yay!
Tags:
deralte: (sanji cool (by me))
( Aug. 9th, 2009 08:44 pm)
[Poll #1441864]

I used up most of our pots and pans and all of our knives today to cook, in no particular order, buffalo burgers, macaroni and cheese (for my lunch tomorrow), banana bread, and the creamed new potatoes my dad remembers my grandmother making. Using a very old cookbook since my dad couldn't remember anything about it other than that the sauce was creamy, I actually recreated it perfectly (probably because that was a similar recipe to what my grandmother used). I'm very proud of myself. Also it was quite tasty.

I've wasted the day away reading Star Trek 09 fic, but at least I've worked on Uric a bit.
The tree removal trucks are circling the neighbourhood, hunting for that rogue tree limb that needs removal. Meanwhile, I'm off work due to the fact that it's only 70 degrees and rainy. This is actually a bit of a shame because I'm totally energized atm, even though I just finished a long walk. See, yesterday, I had the usual 6 1/2 hours of lifeguarding, plus bujinkan. And bujinkan ended up being an hour and a half of heavy aerobic exercise (combination punches) in 90 degree heat with humidity on top of that. The sweat was pouring off of us, and it's telling that our conversation over ice cream afterwards was how not to succumb to heat exhaustion on Saturday during the five hour seminar. All that exercise in one day (and a busy day the two days before) left my body thinking it needs to give that much energy every day (and I also got to sleep in) so I'm still vibrating. If it hadn't been for the heat, bujinkan would have been rather nice since combo punches and elbowing are fairly similar to all the kickboxing practice I did in Japan. I was bruised and battered last night though with skinned knuckles and a bruise on top of my lower ribs. I never thought I'd miss taping up my hands *L*

Dad and I managed to get all the walnut tree off of the house and yard after I came home from work on Tuesday since the chainsaw broke on Monday and left me chopping up wood with an axe which bruised my palm and left me exhausted for Tuesday. To be honest, this is the first day this week I haven't felt knackered.

My little brother was here this week so whenever I wasn't nodding off or sitting in a exhausted haze, I was watching things with him. These included True Blood, Leverage and a cute anime called Kamichu about a middle school girl who becomes a god one day. It reminds us of a cross between Natsume Yuujinchou and Okami. Meanwhile, I've addicted him to 1/2 Prince and he's passing on the love, so we spent most of our free conversation discussing it and Civ. 4.

All this college drama (there have been another two crises since last I posted about them) means I haven't been writing anything cause I have trouble writing when I'm frustrated and pissed off. I'm working on convincing myself to start work on Uric again since there really was no reason for me to stop. I'm also just disappointed in myself that I haven't written a lot of good short stories I can send to magazines. I write okay ones at times, but I've only written one that I'm really proud of and that one's off at a mag for consideration so there's nothing I can do with my short stories atm except maybe find the time to find lower level mags to publish them in (which isn't likely since they're all going under or not open to submissions atm). Meanwhile, I don't think I mentioned it, but I blocked out my anti-travel book about all my bad travel experiences and wrote random chapters of it. I really should work on it more cause it's something I could finish quite easily and then get published, but, like I said, I haven't been writing anything. *sigh*
deralte: (english (by the funky icon))
( Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:42 am)
Meme from [livejournal.com profile] infiniteviking take the first line of your last 20 stories and see what this says about your writing.

I've included fanfic and original writings here.

1. It was an interesting time to live in Paris.

2. ‘In a few years,’ Namikaze Minato thought, ‘it’s going to be impossible to sneak up on him.’

3. “Why do you think Aizen-sama put in a sun?” asked Nnoitra, shading his eye from the unaccustomed light.

Cut for length )

In general, it seems I default to starting stories with factual statements. The rest are pretty varied though it proves I'll use dialogue if I can get away with it. Anything else you guys notice?
Tags:
deralte: (bujinkan (by me))
( Jul. 1st, 2009 12:16 am)
Been working on various writing projects, jumping between one or another. This works except I have far too many word documents open at once.

Bujinkan last night was fun (excepting the fact that it's now hot enough to seriously dehydrate yourself from water lost to sweat during training so you're thirsty and sweaty and so is everyone else). My training partner wasn't exactly new, but he was, perhaps, rusty and partially new, so I spent a lot of time explaining various things. He appreciated this at first, then got frustrated, and started doubting my every word. Then Jack would stop the class to point out the exact same thing I was trying to tell my partner, and he'd sheepishly agree that I had a point. It could have been annoying, but I found it more amusing. We were doing various things to do when someone attacked you with a sword, mostly first using one hand to create an illusion of you being cut-able, or moving to the side. The hand kept the sword from swinging around and cutting you, plus meant you could control the hand, or grab the sword handle or a bunch of other things. Your right arm was always in the person's space and both hands had to be working together to widen the space between your opponent and his sword. It was a difficult concept in some variations, and surprisingly easy in others. One variation was using your right elbow on the person's chest to widen the space, and my training partner was pushing his elbow into my breasts and it was all I could do not to laugh at him cause while it does hurt to be hit there with a small enough weapon (epee points from when I did fencing hurt... a lot), the sheer size of my breasts combined with my sports bra pushing them together meant I barely felt it. I politely didn't laugh and pointed out that he'd have to aim higher since I had too much padding for the elbow to be effective. This explains why I have a bruise a few inches below my collar bone, but oh well. It was sword vs barehanded all class, though occasionally Jack would show us how the 'technique' wouldn't change much if you were up against a bayonet instead. I was told to keep up the good work at the end of class.
You know, someone could have addicted me to Gintama a lot sooner by a) not showing me the first two eps of the anime and b) telling me the Shinsengumi were major characters. I was uncertain about it at first, reading the manga, but the obscure bakumatsu references and hilarious characterizations of the Shinsengumi have won me over (strong female characters are also appreciated). Now to see if it develops an actual plot...

Dad and I saw Up yesterday and it was excellent, which is basically what you expect from a Pixar movie. I liked that it was very multicultural and featured some non-typical characters. It even made me cry. Good stuff.

Writing wise, for some reason I've started writing a short scifi story which is good in terms of "if I finish it I can sell it easier" (mags are always looking for scifi because they get too much fantasy it seems), but bad in a "write your book, dammit Ariana!" sort of way. I need to research some agents in Britain and send my evil overlord queries to them (this is based on the idea that Randall, my main character, could be Blackadder's bastard cousin). Only real thing I've accomplished is sending 'The Mountain and the Sea' off to another mag. since I've lost all confidence in all my other short stories. *sigh*
Tags:
I had a dream last night where I was the leader of a samurai troop that lived beneath a dojo in a big city. It was a labyrinth under the dojo and I had a lot of battles in full samurai armour (all in unfurnished rooms with white painted walls and wooden or carpeted floors), until I finally got everyone under there on my side. We were settled and fairly happy until up above, the dojo owner had a visitor, and said visitor convinced him to betray us. They raided us below ground and I was shouting at the dojo owner for betraying us while I fought the invaders when I woke up.

Dad and I are still watching Bones. It annoys me how lucky they are with their cases. There are so few diseases that show up on the skeleton, and yet they always seem to find one. It's really unrealistic (though there stupid holographic imagizer thing is even more unrealistic *shrugs*). I also dislike that they believe so firmly in racial profiling. Other than that, I like the show, ne?

Went to the dentist today to get a filling put in. It's depressing that brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day ever since you can remember still doesn't keep you from getting cavities.

Just finished watching the last ep of the Hakaba Kitaro series and I was kinda confused by the later eps. I'm assuming they skipped along in the timeline of the manga series, but it was weird to skip from Kitaro's birth to him being a sneaky death insurance salesman. I was amused by the manga-ka's cameo in the episode before though. I also watched Kara no Kyoukai which I was told was amazing and wasn't all that impressed by. It had decent art and the short fight scene was very well done, but I was just bored through most of it. *shrugs*

I finished reading the fourth Percy Jackson book, The Battle of the Labyrinth yesterday. It was even better than the earlier books, with the usual action adventure and character development, but paced better than the earlier stories imo. I can't wait to read the final book in the series.

Finally got a story rejection from a magazine that had been holding my story hostage since Feb. Am disappointed, but glad I'm finally free to shop it around. It's a pity half the magazines out there are closed for submissions *headdesk*
Tags:
I had a dream last night where I was the leader of a samurai troop that lived beneath a dojo in a big city. It was a labyrinth under the dojo and I had a lot of battles in full samurai armour (all in unfurnished rooms with white painted walls and wooden or carpeted floors), until I finally got everyone under there on my side. We were settled and fairly happy until up above, the dojo owner had a visitor, and said visitor convinced him to betray us. They raided us below ground and I was shouting at the dojo owner for betraying us while I fought the invaders when I woke up.

Dad and I are still watching Bones. It annoys me how lucky they are with their cases. There are so few diseases that show up on the skeleton, and yet they always seem to find one. It's really unrealistic (though there stupid holographic imagizer thing is even more unrealistic *shrugs*). I also dislike that they believe so firmly in racial profiling. Other than that, I like the show, ne?

Went to the dentist today to get a filling put in. It's depressing that brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every day ever since you can remember still doesn't keep you from getting cavities.

Just finished watching the last ep of the Hakaba Kitaro series and I was kinda confused by the later eps. I'm assuming they skipped along in the timeline of the manga series, but it was weird to skip from Kitaro's birth to him being a sneaky death insurance salesman. I was amused by the manga-ka's cameo in the episode before though. I also watched Kara no Kyoukai which I was told was amazing and wasn't all that impressed by. It had decent art and the short fight scene was very well done, but I was just bored through most of it. *shrugs*

I finished reading the fourth Percy Jackson book, The Battle of the Labyrinth yesterday. It was even better than the earlier books, with the usual action adventure and character development, but paced better than the earlier stories imo. I can't wait to read the final book in the series.

Finally got a story rejection from a magazine that had been holding my story hostage since Feb. Am disappointed, but glad I'm finally free to shop it around. It's a pity half the magazines out there are closed for submissions *headdesk*
Tags:
It's been a crazy trip that's mostly been marked by how bad my allergies were each day. They were bloody awful down in Kentucky, bearable in St. Louis, a little better in Louisville, then descended into the sinus headache from hell that wouldn't go away, and is still lingering now. I'm hoping now that I'm back in NJ it will go away *sigh*

Notable things from the last few days:


  • On a day when my allergies weren't too bad, I took a walk in Bee Tree Park right along the Mississippi River. It was pretty and relaxing, though rather hot. I saw a beautiful lavender bush and only sneezed a few times.

  • It never fails that we're driving home and run into ridiculous amounts of traffic in Penn. Not just construction traffic either, but there was a truck on fire on 78 so they closed down the whole highway and getting off and around it took over an hour. It seems no matter what time we leave Cincinnati we're destined to get home after 11pm.

  • I never realized how badly I was sleeping at my brother R.'s house until I slept like a baby at my brother J.'s, and that's despite being on cough syrup and allergy medicine.

  • I really like Bob Evans menu these days with the section for people who don't want a lot to eat. I like paying less for portions I can actually consume in one go and not feel guilty about. I also like how our waitress urged us into seconds of hot chocolate then gave us a third cup to go. Pity there's no actual Bob Evans in NJ.

  • Being knocked out by the allergies meant I spent most of my time at R,'s house curled up on their sofas and/or watching my youngest niece who is 1 1/2 and adorable. By the end of my stay, she'd gotten into the habit of handing me tissues for the gobs of phlegm I was hacking up *L* She also decided that my name was 'shiss' despite repeated attempts to get her to use my actual name *L* No idea where she got 'shiss' from though.

  • I had a great time at my brother B.'s (I have four brothers, three older who live in the midwest, in case all these initials are confusing you.) sci fi book group in Louisville. I hadn't actually read their book for the month but I knew the author and half of the time they talked about scifi tv shows and comic books so it was entertaining.

  • Through visiting every single used book store we passed and had time to stop in, I managed to narrow my books to read/buy list down to one page of 38 books. Particularly useful was the bookstore we found in Louisville, who not only had a good book selection, but as a bonus, had a good manga section which I was forced to raid. *whistles innocently*

  • I finished my research on Romania, and so have begun planning the third chapter of Uric in my head, though I'm currently coming up with and discarding ways to open the chapter.

  • I've been voted funniest aunt by my brother R.'s kids. This is mostly because I'm their only aunt who indulges in massive tickle fights and can discuss Spider-man with them...

  • We watched the new Red Dwarf (9:1-3) with my brother B. who is a huge fan and hadn't heard they were out, so he was nicely surprised when I had them:) With him around to point out the massive parody of Blade Runner, I think I enjoyed it a bit more (I'm not sure if I'd have caught it watching it on my own in the wrong move). The ending wasn't all that great, but I wasn't expecting much from it so eh.

  • I played MarioKart with my nephew E. (J.'s son) for awhile, and I'm depressed at how bad I am at it now. I used to be able to at least beat my little brother Kirk occasionally. *sigh*

  • I had some really good rum (mixed with caffeine free coke) from the Bahamas that my bro. J. brought back from his last vacation. Must get some of my own, methinks.

  • B. and I also had fun watching Jurassic Park for the millionth time and making up a very long list of recommendations for opening your own dangerous theme park. Later, we invented our own alien demolition ammunition, Zud.

  • I read Tam Lin (okay, but not what I expected) and The Well of Yearning (fairly awful). Started Jack of Kirowan, which I like so far.

Tags:
It's been a crazy trip that's mostly been marked by how bad my allergies were each day. They were bloody awful down in Kentucky, bearable in St. Louis, a little better in Louisville, then descended into the sinus headache from hell that wouldn't go away, and is still lingering now. I'm hoping now that I'm back in NJ it will go away *sigh*

Notable things from the last few days:


  • On a day when my allergies weren't too bad, I took a walk in Bee Tree Park right along the Mississippi River. It was pretty and relaxing, though rather hot. I saw a beautiful lavender bush and only sneezed a few times.

  • It never fails that we're driving home and run into ridiculous amounts of traffic in Penn. Not just construction traffic either, but there was a truck on fire on 78 so they closed down the whole highway and getting off and around it took over an hour. It seems no matter what time we leave Cincinnati we're destined to get home after 11pm.

  • I never realized how badly I was sleeping at my brother R.'s house until I slept like a baby at my brother J.'s, and that's despite being on cough syrup and allergy medicine.

  • I really like Bob Evans menu these days with the section for people who don't want a lot to eat. I like paying less for portions I can actually consume in one go and not feel guilty about. I also like how our waitress urged us into seconds of hot chocolate then gave us a third cup to go. Pity there's no actual Bob Evans in NJ.

  • Being knocked out by the allergies meant I spent most of my time at R,'s house curled up on their sofas and/or watching my youngest niece who is 1 1/2 and adorable. By the end of my stay, she'd gotten into the habit of handing me tissues for the gobs of phlegm I was hacking up *L* She also decided that my name was 'shiss' despite repeated attempts to get her to use my actual name *L* No idea where she got 'shiss' from though.

  • I had a great time at my brother B.'s (I have four brothers, three older who live in the midwest, in case all these initials are confusing you.) sci fi book group in Louisville. I hadn't actually read their book for the month but I knew the author and half of the time they talked about scifi tv shows and comic books so it was entertaining.

  • Through visiting every single used book store we passed and had time to stop in, I managed to narrow my books to read/buy list down to one page of 38 books. Particularly useful was the bookstore we found in Louisville, who not only had a good book selection, but as a bonus, had a good manga section which I was forced to raid. *whistles innocently*

  • I finished my research on Romania, and so have begun planning the third chapter of Uric in my head, though I'm currently coming up with and discarding ways to open the chapter.

  • I've been voted funniest aunt by my brother R.'s kids. This is mostly because I'm their only aunt who indulges in massive tickle fights and can discuss Spider-man with them...

  • We watched the new Red Dwarf (9:1-3) with my brother B. who is a huge fan and hadn't heard they were out, so he was nicely surprised when I had them:) With him around to point out the massive parody of Blade Runner, I think I enjoyed it a bit more (I'm not sure if I'd have caught it watching it on my own in the wrong move). The ending wasn't all that great, but I wasn't expecting much from it so eh.

  • I played MarioKart with my nephew E. (J.'s son) for awhile, and I'm depressed at how bad I am at it now. I used to be able to at least beat my little brother Kirk occasionally. *sigh*

  • I had some really good rum (mixed with caffeine free coke) from the Bahamas that my bro. J. brought back from his last vacation. Must get some of my own, methinks.

  • B. and I also had fun watching Jurassic Park for the millionth time and making up a very long list of recommendations for opening your own dangerous theme park. Later, we invented our own alien demolition ammunition, Zud.

  • I read Tam Lin (okay, but not what I expected) and The Well of Yearning (fairly awful). Started Jack of Kirowan, which I like so far.

Tags:
I really am getting a bit lazy about updating, aren't I? And msn messenger won't work any more so I've been pretty cut off. Oops. Uh, I spent the last ten days or so suffering from sinusitis, and doing fun things like coughing up great green gobs of phlegm every hour or so, getting splitting headaches, and losing my voice and sleep from all the coughing. Fun. I only started to get better around Thursday, and today was my first cough free day.

Bujinkan tonight was nice. We had a visitor from Ecuador so Jack was showing off a bit, which meant we got to do a bit more stuff than usual. I also had a good partner which considering I haven't trained in nearly two weeks due to my ongoing sinusitis, was a welcome relief. For the first half hour we did full nelsons - how to avoid having them put on, and what do do if they were put on etc. That was fun though my neck will be sore tomorrow... Also, my partner was a lot taller than me so it looks kinda ridiculous for me to try to put a full nelson on him (key word try, cause my arms don't even reach that far *L*). Next, we did hung bo, first with full nelsons, and after our necks were aching with someone trying to punch you. The key was to never let your opponent have any space and to not use the hung bo to force them to do anything (though you could if you wanted to cause people tend to respond when you crush their throat...). And after that, for the last half hour, we did guns. I was so very happy that my partner had a smooth, non-realistic gun since I still bear the scars from the last realistic plastic one I used for training. Also, every time we do gun training I end up with the same bruise on the top of my right hand, weird. We did various responses to someone grabbing your gun while you're holding it, while it's holstered, and what to do if they did grab it. If they have the butt of the gun while it's holstered, it's surprisingly easy to get them to let go by turning to the side and simply walking away. What to do when you have the gun but they're preventing you from drawing it is harder since you have to place your left arm under their arms and leave it there, while pushing the rest of your body down without moving your arm. Very counter intuitive and not always successful.

I heard back from Hawai'i this past week and I didn't get a postgrad place. They had a lot more applicants than usual this year apparently. I'm not actually as disappointed as I thought I would be. I'd been annoyed because not knowing if I was going to uni was messing with me making permanent plans beyond early summer, so now I know for certain that my year is free and if something comes up, I can do that something (whatever it will be). Meanwhile, I have 1-3 more universities that I can apply to in autumn, whose applications I can now devote a lot of time to. My job search options are now a little more open since I can commit to something for over a year, though I'm not holding my breath for finding one. On the other hand, I'm not going to starve or be homeless if I don't get one, and right now, I can work on my books and short stories, keep trying to get published, and finally read/watch all those books and shows I've put aside over the years. My new goal is to get Uric finished and have queried a few agents by the summer after next - a prospect that wouldn't have been possible if I were doing a postgrad degree.

In the world of short stories and magazines, two of my stories are being held hostage in slush pile hell and/or recession of doom shenanigans. Hopefully they will be released before I have to mount a rescue mission. Uric wise, I realized that I had to research Romania before I could write Louis' part which led to the library, which led to a lot more books then I meant to take out *sigh* and also, liberal abuse of the inter-library loan system.

My list of books to read which I don't own is up to 38. This is completely the fault of [livejournal.com profile] siriaeve once again:P Who through librarything, somehow got me to goodreads which, since it's free and slightly easier to add books to than librarything, I've been using to record, uh, every single book I've ever read in my life (as opposed to librarything which I use to record the books I own). This is a bit of a daunting prospect since I think of new books I haven't added to the list every day, but so far I'm at 1775 books read in my lifetime, and that's without adding in my star trek collection (which will have to be done by hand after they get entered onto librarything since they take up a whole bookshelf and are double stacked) or the countless other books I've read then forgotten (made all the harder by the fact that I don't remember acquaintances names half the time much less author's or book titles). The hardest thing so far has been remembering all the obscure Christian lit I read during the hyper religious phase of my preteens. I'm surprised at how good I am at remembering covers, but titles really do escape me. Also, sorting 1775 books onto shelves (tags, basically) is exhausting, but kinda mesmerizing. And I keep finding interesting new books to read which get added to my to-read list *sigh*

I don't suppose anyone remembers the name/author of a small little book, filled with lots of photographs, on sacrificial/ritual sites in Gaul? I loved that book so much, and reading it meant I got a first on my Gallia in the 3rd century bc exam. I want to add it to goodreads, but I can't remember its title or author. I'm fairly certain it was in English and its author was French, but it could have been in French too.

Watching status update: Finally finished off True Blood, which I had been watching in fits and starts for awhile since watching Jason make an idiot of himself was painful. Enjoyed it enough to look forward to the next season. I miss watching Natsume Yuujinchou and so have switched to trying to finish off Mushi-shi which is similar in tone though not as cute and heart-warming. Also watching, in no particular order, Murder Princess, The Penguins of Madagascar, Being Human, Kuroshitsuji, BokuKano, and various movies I haven't seen or wished to rewatch. This is in addition to our usual shows of House, Chuck, Supernatural (that last ep was very meta), Breaking Bad, and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Oh, and random eps of Top Gear and Dirty Jobs. Also, I've been rewatching Wonderfalls with [livejournal.com profile] ozmaz and enjoyed it even more the second time. (I kinda wish I had a tv version of myanimelist.net so I could discover how many days of my life I've spent watching television.)

And, in other news, my brother Ron is moving house back to Louisville due to his job. (He currently lives many hours into rural Kentucky.) So my father and I are heading out there this weekend to help them pack/fix things/watch the kids etc. We'll be doing the usual rounds of the rest of the family out there, and will probably be gone for a week or two. Anyone who is around and wants to meet up, let me know. Dad and I leave at 4am on Sunday because we're driving through the night to get to Pittsburgh at 10am when the Grand Concourse opens for its Sunday brunch buffet. It's something we used to do every few years when I was younger and we went out to visit, but we haven't been there for awhile, and I'm craving eating banana's foster while listening to harp music and watching freight trains go by.
.