quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
I have to go to bed REALLY SOON so that I can get up early enough for the flight to California (which I'll go into below), and I have a bit of a headache right now, so I need to keep this short:

--Saturday night was the Okkervil River concert, and it was awesome. It was my first time at Toad's Place, and I certainly didn't mind it there; I haven't been to too many venues like that, but I did find it to be a little bit on the seedy side, given that they've been around for a long time and they're coasting on their reputation at this point. The acoustics weren't exactly the greatest either, and because I went alone and didn't know anyone else there, my social anxiety kicked in big time and I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. :/ That being said, though, the music was nothing short of excellent, and I had a great time.

Details under the cut... )

--We went to my dad's mom's house on Sunday to celebrate her birthday, which is next Saturday the 11th. We celebrated with great take-out pizza and some pretty awesome cupcakes my parents bought in a pastry shop in Wallingford which they want to take me and my sister to because it's apparently really good. XD For my birthday, she gave me shortbread cookies as a gift -- she knows what I like, LOL :B And apparently some woodpeckers built a nest in the apple tree in her backyard, so I managed to get a glimpse of some baby woodpeckers in their nest. Pretty cool, no? ~_^

--And today I got my birthday present from my parents -- a Teavana tea set. I for one am not complaining. \o/

--So as I mentioned before, I'm going to California (San Jose, to be exact) tomorrow/today with my mom and sister to visit my aunt and cousin for the weekend. My cousin is graduating high school on Thursday and will be going to college in Boston in the fall, and I'm really proud of her! I'm not that enthused about the airplane rides (6 hours from DC to San Francisco --> YUCK DNW D:), and family sometimes irritates me, but it'll be a nice change of pace and I'll try to make the most of it. Here's the itinerary as I know it right now:

Wednesday: Flight, get settled at aunt's house
Thursday: Cousin's graduation
Friday: San Francisco!
Saturday: ??????? (probably hanging out in San Jose)
Sunday: Flight back home

Unfortunately, I'm going to have limited Internet access while I'm there. I'll still try to keep up on everything as much as I can, but it won't be easy. In the meantime, if you want to get in touch with me for any reason, e-mail me (mecteol -AT- gmail -DOT- com) or contact me through Twitter or Facebook. (And if you want my cell phone number, let me know and I'll PM it to you.) So consider this a mini-pseudo-hiatus until I get back Sunday evening EDT. I hope to have some good stories when I get back. 8D

Hope everyone else is feeling well!
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Uh.......hi. Been a while since my last (real) post. Sorry about that. ^_^;

So, I've graduated from college. I'd write more about it -- about all the things I'm going to miss about Middlebury and Vermont (and everything I won't miss, because there's plenty of that too), about all the awesome things that happened to me over the past four years, about how much Middlebury became a second home for me whether I liked it or not, about how I changed and how beautiful things were there, etc. But this past week, I've had zero energy to do anything more taxing on my brain than doing some unpacking and spending all day on Tumblr. (Seriously, it's gotten to be a near-addiction at this point. I should probably ease off on it sometime soon. :PPP) I might still write about it eventually, but I have a track record of saying I'll make an entry about something and not actually doing it, and besides, if you've known me long enough I'm sure you could guess what I'd write about anyway. :B

Anyway, not much happened the day before graduation -- just eating at restaurants with my mom and sister (including dinner at American Flatbread), buying some more books for myself, and spending the rest of my time trying to relax alone. I was feeling rather disconnected from everyone else there the last few weeks of the semester, which sucked because I had grown close to lots of different people over the past year and I wanted to see them again and celebrate graduation with them, but at the same time I was extremely tired and wanted nothing more than to go home.

Graduation itself was fine -- not much to write home about, really, except that even though at least have the class was hungover, no serious shenanigans happened. Oh, and as per Middlebury tradition, we all got canes in addition to our diplomas, as a rather symbolic "souvenir," for lack of a better term. (It's a pretty badass cane, if I do say so myself. 8D) This page has some pictures and video of commencement, in case you're curious. And this page has some more information, and is totally worth looking at because of a comment left by "Pissed Off Crip" about some of the transphobic and ableist BS that went down during the ceremony.

And I got a new digital camera as a graduation present! :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD In addition to money and some new clothes, of course. And my parents decided to decorate my bedroom as a surprise when I got home -- complete with balloons and banners and a fake tree. And some of the bunny statuettes around the house were wearing mortarboards too. SERIOUSLY U GUYZ *embarrased.gif* XD

So yeah, that's about all the interesting stuff that's happened lately. I need at least another week to rest and recuperate from everything and just........deal with the fact that I've graduated from college, holy fuck holy shit how did this happen seriously. ._., And the trip to California in mid-June will certainly help. I am going to have to look for a job pretty soon, though, considering I have student loans to pay off (even though the first bill won't come until next March), but the good news is I do have some long-term goals I want to start working toward. I'll write about said goals eventually (and I will get around to it, scout's honor!), but for now, all I'll say is that it's great to finally have some direction in my life right now.

And I'll end this rambling here. Thank you very much for all the well-wishes! And feel free to make this into a party post or whatever, since this journal certainly needs one. ;-)



quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
First off, a warm welcome to [livejournal.com profile] archy_the_roach!  Glad to meet you, and if you have any questions about me don't be afraid to ask!  ;-)

Second, thank you so, so much for all the comments you left on the "You Are Beautiful" meme a few days ago.  You guys are absolutely wonderful, and I can't thank you enough for being so awesome.  ^_^;

Third, I've started using Tumblr again recently, and it's been a major time suck, as usual.  XDDDDDDDDDDDDDD  I'm sarcasmisdead over there, so please feel free to add me if you haven't already!

And fourth -- I'M DONE WITH COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!

I wish I could be more excited, but I'm too tired to feel much excitement right now, mostly because my sleep schedule is once again out of whack -- I had been going to bed at 5 AM some nights, and last night I didn't get any sleep at all.  :PPP  The big reason was that I was working on my Japanese lit final paper all last week.  As in, the one that was due last Monday but I handed in on Saturday, almost a week late.  -_-;  After finishing my take-home exam for Politics of Virtual Realities (which I did hand in on time), I was so utterly burned out, and I so didn't want to do the other paper, that I just......lost all motivation to do it.  And the allergies and general low mood didn't help matters either.

But......it's done.  I put a lot of work into both papers, so I think they came out well regardless.  And considering I didn't study all that much for my African Politics exam on Friday, I think I did pretty well on that too.  :D

It feels weird that it's actually over, that I actually don't have any more schoolwork left to do and I'm going to be graduating on Sunday -- it feels utterly surreal, after college has been a big part of my life for the past four years.  Well, I do have a lot of ~feelings~ about the whole thing, but I think I'll write about that in separate entries later this week.

Anyway, this week is Senior Week, which means a lot of events are going on.  But unless I absolutely have to be there (like the ES department reception, the senior class photo, and of course, commencement), I don't really plan on going to most of these events; not a lot of them look all that interesting, and I don't have the energy to be all that social anyway.

Besides, I've been doing a lot of stuff over the past week or so anyway.  I've been kinda splurging in town lately; I've been going out for tea and eating out quite a bit lately, especially having dinner at American Flatbread on Saturday night (which was seriously one of the best meals I've ever had IN MY LIFE.  *_____*  Seriously, if there's an AF near you, GO THERE -- you won't be disappointed!), and buying yet more books (Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter, if you're curious).  I've also been running around doing all the errands I need to do before leaving town, like getting a haircut, closing my checking account, and picking up my sertraline prescription (I'm back up at 150mg now).  So as you could probably guess, I'm near flat broke right now.  :P  That's all right, though, I can survive a few more days.  ~_^

Other than meeting with my first-year seminar professor for the last time this afternoon, that's about it as far as things going on in my life are concerned.  This is really just a post to let everyone know that no, I'm not dead, just busy and worn out.  ^_^;  How is everyone else doing?

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So I have 22 days, 8 classes, 2 response papers, 1 presentation, 2 12-page papers, and 1 3-hour exam before I graduate from college. I should feel like this is starting to put things in perspective, but it hasn't just yet. :P

Problem is, I've done practically nothing the past few days. No work, no socializing, nothing -- just bumming around being antisocial and wanting nothing more than to sleep for five years straight. Oh yeah, and I'm all caught up with Community, so I have no excuse but to start working on the stuff that's urgent: the two response papers (which involves a movie and lots of reading) and starting my research for the Japanese lit paper that I have to do a presentation on on Thursday. And writing something to perform at Verbal Onslaught on Thursday night, because that's the last one of the year and I've been needing to perform there at least once before I graduate.

So yeah........that's that. Gotta pull myself together for one last week-long push. Ergh. :/

The only vaguely interesting things I did recently was: a.) going to a poetry reading of an acquaintance of mine (who's graduating with me) on Thursday night; b.) being part of a meeting with some other students and next year's head of the environmental studies program on how to incorporate social and environmental justice (e.g. racism, classism, sexism, etc.) into the ES curriculum on Friday, and c.) finally getting around to seeing Marwencol, which I briefly mentioned last November and aired on PBS this week. I want to write about it more in-depth when I have the energy, because it really moved and affected me in a lot of ways, but for now I'll say that it was an amazing and brilliant movie y'all should see. ;-)

And now for the meme:

Previous days under the cut... )

DAY 20: The last song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.

65daysofstatic, "Goodbye, 2007"

DAY 21: Your favorite song.



DAY 22: A song that someone has sung to you.



Well, I admit, it wasn't sung to me, per se, but not too long ago I was hanging out somewhere and a young woman standing next to me was singing this song using ASL. That's gotta count for something, right? XD

DAY 23: A song that you cannot stand to listen to.
DAY 24: A song that you have danced to with your best friend.
DAY 25: A song you could listen to all day without getting tired.

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
The Bad:
1.


2. Ever since I went back down to 100mg of sertraline, my mood has started to destabilize big time; it's been tougher to work up the motivation to do anything lately, even getting out of bed in the morning. Right now I'm OK, though, and I'm sure things will get better in due time. I finally got around to calling the psychiatrist's office today, and he should get back to me tomorrow morning to see what to do next.

3. Missed my radio show again this week. :PPP

4. Students in my Politics of Virtual Realities class have pissed me off yet again. This time, we saw Avatar this week (the James Cameron blue aliens one), and the class discussion about it was absolutely dismissive of its racism and other problematic aspects. And when I tried to bring it up, the professor ended up telling me, "You get a gold star for working up the nerve to disagree with everyone else, but you're still wrong." She said it was a joke. Mmhmm. :/

(For the record, Avatar was mediocre to average at best. Stunning visuals, and Sigourney Weaver was actually pretty awesome, but everything else was hackneyed and predictable and cheesy. I know I'm supposed to ~~~suspend my disbelief~~~ when watching movies like this, but this was ridiculous. It was bearable, though, I'll give it that. Would've been better if Col. Quaritch had a shirtless scene, though. /shameless XD)

5. We've been getting warmer weather around here lately -- temps finally hit 80°F/27°C today. This is not a bad thing, in and of itself, but it's happened really suddenly, the humidity has been a huge shock, and I'm slowly starting to get my seasonal allergies again. Wonderful.

The Good:

1. Some of my African Politics classes were canceled this week because the professor is in Cameroon right now. So there's that, at least.

2. I'm officially done with my Social Movements class! Today I did my final project, which was a group project where we had to come up with talking points, an action plan, and a stump speech for a hypothetical new organization devoted to abolishing the death penalty. And I think we did pretty fucking well, if I do say so myself. :D We still have class next week (the last class), but I don't need to do anything for it, and we have no exams, so it's one less thing I have to worry about.

3. Speaking of Social Movements: our class recently did a compilation of all the big-ass papers we wrote earlier in the semester. My essay is on pages 54-64.

4. I started watching Community recently, and I really really really REALLY REALLY like it! I don't normally go for these kinds of shows, but god-DAMN I love this one! The jokes are absolutely spot on, and it's so funny the outlandishness of the situations don't really matter. Now I'm going to be on the lookout for fic and icons and fandom and all that good stuff. [personal profile] radiovolume and [personal profile] ninasafiri, YOU ARE TOTALLY AT FAULT FOR THIS. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

5. The new episode of Pioneer One is coming out tomorrow/today! Can't wait! ^_^;

*****************************************************************************

And now for the meme:

Previous songs under the cut... )

Today's songs under the cut because there's quite a bit under here. ^_^; )

DAY 20: The last song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.
DAY 21: Your favorite song.
DAY 22: A song that someone has sung to you.
DAY 23: A song that you cannot stand to listen to.
DAY 24: A song that you have danced to with your best friend.
DAY 25: A song you could listen to all day without getting tired.

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So I managed to finish the entirety of Ender's Game in about eight hours. It was for my Politics of Virtual Realities class; I didn't have to have the whole thing read until Wednesday, but apparently I got so caught up in it that I just had to finish it as soon as I could. At least some of my work is getting finished ahead of time. XD Anyway, it was certainly a compelling read, and it's going to stick with me for a while, but I wouldn't say it was a great book, per se. I think there are a couple of things about it that bother me, but I can't quite put my finger on them just yet. In any case, it's made me curious about the whole Enderverse (even though the author is a homophobic bigot, UGH :PPP) -- does anyone know if the other books and stories are any good?

I also finished Yoko Ogawa's The Diving Pool recently for another class, and I enjoyed that as well! If you enjoy (or think you'd enjoy) subtly twisted psychological horror, I highly recommend it. ;-) And speaking of horror, today I managed to watch Nosferatu, the 1922 silent German Expressionist film that's essentially a retelling of the Dracula story. It was certainly a good movie, especially for what it managed to do for its time and what it influenced in later decades.

Anyway, I'm beginning to suspect the insomnia I've been experiencing the past few days has to do with the sertraline. I went up to a 150mg dose a little over a week ago, and the sleeping problems started a few days after that. Today I went back down to 100mg to see if that helps, though I think it's going to take a little bit for my body to adjust before I notice anything. Right now I feel restless, overtired, a little dizzy, and very slightly nauseous all at the same time (though thankfully, not to the point where I'm all "OMG I'm going to throw up!").

Not much else has been going on IRL -- aside from a few things I'll mention later, it was a rather boring week. And yet, many things happened at the same time. If that makes any sense. ^_^; For obvious reasons, I can't explain it any further right now, but I will soon.

So before I go to bed tonight, here's the meme. Hope everyone out there is feeling better than I am right now. :/

Previous days behind the cut... )

DAY 13: A song that reminds you of a former friend.



This reminds me of an Internet fandom friend I knew about 3-4 years ago, since I'm pretty sure she introduced me to this song. The friendship ended rather messily, but I've made my peace with it, especially since I realized it was with very good reason. Sometimes I still feel the urge to get back in touch with her, though, just to see how she's doing.

DAY 14: A song that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Again, since I've never had a Significant Other (at least not just yet), this one must be skipped as well. (This is getting to be a bit sad, isn't it? 8D)

DAY 15: A song you love singing along to.
DAY 16: A song that has made you cry.
DAY 17: A song that makes you want to dance.
DAY 18: A song you love but rarely listen to.
DAY 19: The first song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.
DAY 20: The last song alphabetically in your iPod/iTunes.
DAY 21: Your favorite song.
DAY 22: A song that someone has sung to you.
DAY 23: A song that you cannot stand to listen to.
DAY 24: A song that you have danced to with your best friend.
DAY 25: A song you could listen to all day without getting tired.

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. So I've just been made one of the new maintainers for [livejournal.com profile] durarara, which is very exciting! Even though I'm a total lurker and not exactly the most active guy in the fandom. (OH GOD WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:) Anyway, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, or if there are any not-so-funny shenanigans I don't already know about, feel free to PM me, e-mail me (mecteol@gmail.com), or leave a comment in my latest public entry on this journal. I do try to keep tabs on everything as much as possible, so I'll definitely try to respond ASAP. (And while we're at it, here are the rules in case you need a refresher.)

Between that and [livejournal.com profile] drrr_bigbang seriously tempting me, I just might get more involved in the fandom after all. I still haven't finished rewatching the series, and I haven't yet gotten a chance to look at episodes 12.5 and 25 and the light novels, so I should probably get on that when I have the chance.

2. All right, RL update! This past Friday was the Spring Student Symposium, where students talk about the independent work they've done this past year, whether it's thesis work, senior essays, or anything else they've been researching on their own time. It's very cool because you get to talk to your friends about all the interesting stuff they've done, all in a pretty relaxed atmosphere. Some of the presentations I went to included ones on post-apocalyptic fiction, why the Taliban have gotten stronger in Afghanistan over the past few years, factors that affect how long insurgencies last, a sociological analysis of a campus celebrity, Jerry Springer, prospects for Korean reunification, honor killings in Turkey, the English-only movement in the U.S. and why it's completely and utterly stupid, how hard it is to translate fiction, attitudes toward beach littering in Chile, and ecopsychology. If some of them sound boring, trust me, they weren't -- the kinds of larger themes people talked about were fascinating, and I learned a ton. A perfect event for eggheads like me. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

(Oh, and there was an impromptu Improv Everywhere-style dance-off in the main area of the science building during the reception at the end of the day. And it was pretty fucking awesome, if I do say so myself! ^_^;)

3. Before I forget, I'd like to mention HELA, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help Afghan women, primarily through building schools, developing other education programs for women, and building and maintaining wells, among other things. What's really good about this group is that they work with the Afghan government and existing structures and systems in order to make sure these projects can stick around for the long term (something I know [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight can appreciate). The president of HELA is a senior at my college originally from Afghanistan, and she's also the executive director of the Afghan Youth Initiative. Here's some more info about her, and here's an interview she did on NBC's Today show back in September. Please spread the word; this is a great cause that more people should know about!

4. Last Friday I also went to Playing at War, a one-man play put on by a senior Theatre/History double-major about British theatre -- especially plays put on by British soldiers -- during the American Revolution. The student played William Dunlap, a playwright who wrote the first history of American theatre in 1832; he was also a British Loyalist who wasn't a big fan of Washington and his ilk, and it showed. (Like how he mentioned how the Sons of Liberty wanted to ban theatre because it was a "foreign influence" and "un-American," even to the point of burning one down in New York City after it was known that the controversial Stamp Act had been repealed. Nevermind that the theatre had an important role to play for the people living in the colonies at the time. Sound familiar?) It was a fascinating alternate look at history, especially something that's often ignored, and it was interesting to hear about the British military's appreciation of theatre, which is something you wouldn't expect. I definitely don't regret going. (Especially since I got in for free! :B)

5. I finally got around to finishing Kafka on the Shore, and it was EXCELLENT. I had been meaning to read that one for a while now, and I'm glad I did! Highly recommended. ;-)

6. Has anyone seen the first episode of A Game of Thrones yet? It's gotten a lot of hype lately, but I'm wondering what people thought of it if they saw it, or if they've read the books. I won't have a lot of time in the next few days, so I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Well, that's about it for me right now. How is everyone else doing?
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Life has been going relatively well these past few days; nothing too exciting has been going on lately, but I did get a 99 on my Japanese lit exam and an A- on my latest African Politics paper, the weather's been getting better, and I finally got to check out the new student-run cafe on campus. Belgian waffle with maple syrup, bananas, and dark chocolate = DELICIOUS. XD

Also, this meme is still going if you're interested. ;-)

Anyway, I've fallen behind on the music meme, so here goes nothing:

DAY 01: A song from your childhood.

DAY 02: A song that reminds you of your most recent ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

Since I've never had an ex, this question doesn't exactly apply. (I know, I suck, but that's life I suppose. :PPP) Next!

DAY 03: A song that reminds you of one/both of your parents.



Yeah, this is a Beatles song, but I'm putting up Low's cover version just because I absolutely adore Mimi Parker's voice. ^_^; And yeah, as much as I love my parents, this just about sums them up. >_>

DAY 04: A song that calms you down.



This song is actually split into two videos, just because it's 17 minutes long and YouTube has a 15-minute limit on uploads from normal users -- fortunately, I've set it up so the second video should play after the first is done without you having to do anything.

Anyway, it's worth listening to the whole thing, because then you can see just how good this song is at calming anyone down, not just me. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Upcoming days under the cut... )

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
I just finished reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and I really enjoyed it! So while I'm letting it sink in, here's a multi-day music meme I got from [livejournal.com profile] hairspray -- hope you enjoy it!

DAY 01: A song from your childhood.



There's not much I can really say about this song, just that I remember loving it when I was really young and it was playing on VH1 a lot (I used to watch a lot of VH1 when I was little, back when it still played music videos). My 5-year-old self really liked the lead singer in the video with his whole don't-give-a-fuck aura, so I always danced with him whenever it came on. XD

Upcoming days under the cut... )

**************************************************

So because this month is National Poetry Month, some people on my f-list (like [livejournal.com profile] dreams_of_all and [livejournal.com profile] eska_rina) have been posting one poem a day for the month. While I don't plan on doing that, I'll try to post some poems I like and have enjoyed every so often, when I remember. For now, here's some Pablo Neruda and Khalil Gibran:

Pablo Neruda -- A Dog Has Died )


Pablo Neruda -- Un perro ha muerto (original Spanish version of A Dog Has Died) )


Khalil Gibran -- On Children )


Khalil Gibran -- Tears and Laughter )

**************************************************

I have a lot of other things I'd like to post, but for now I'll leave you with this: oneword.com. I was recently reminded of the existence of this site recently, since I used to use it a lot back in high school; basically you're given a one-word prompt, and you have 60 seconds to write about it (though I'm sure you could get away with writing for longer than a minute if you got really into it). It might be a good way to get you writers out there out of a writing slump, so feel free to try it out! Hope you like it. ;-)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Ugh, this week was a total bust. I hardly got any of my work done -- especially the activist stuff for Social Movements -- I didn't get a chance to do most of the things I wanted to do, I didn't look for any jobs or things like that, I'm still angsting over the summer job I wanted that won't work out, the pictures for my class yearbook all came out horrible, a bunch of other little things I won't mention here, and I've just been lethargic and unmotivated the whole time, doing nothing but sitting at the computer all day. And I go back to college tomorrow. And I have an hour-long exam on Monday morning that I barely studied for. Wonderful. :PPP

I mean, I suppose none of this is really all that bad, since none of my assignments for classes were all that urgent, and some of these other things can be fixed rather easily. Besides, I've decided that it's probably a good idea to wait to get a job until I get my driver's license, because it would be really hard for me to get a job otherwise, considering my parents' work schedules and the piss-poor public transportation around here. Not to mention my mom wants us to go on a family vacation sometime this summer, so there's that too. >_>; Things could always be worse, I suppose, but even though things aren't bad, per se, they're just......blah. Let's just hope life picks up once I get back; after the exam on Monday, I won't have any major assignments due for another month, and I plan on skipping all the schoolwork I can afford to skip, making sure I enjoy and make the most out of the last few weeks of college in the meantime.

The only things of note I did this week was start rewatching A:tLA yet again, and seeing two movies, the Italian movie The Right Distance, which was awesome, and the Korean film A Frozen Flower, which sucked horribly. I've been meaning to write a long-winded rant on A Frozen Flower (yes, I hate it that much), but I'll have to get around to it later. Maybe. ^_^;  (Oh yes, and the latest episode of Pioneer One, which was awesome as always.  :D)

Here are the only two plans I have for summer so far:
--June 4: Okkervil River will be playing at Toad's Place. It's close by, it's on a Saturday night, and I really want to go!
--June 8-12: Trip to California for my cousin's high school graduation. I'm definitely looking forward to this, especially since I love the Bay Area and I've wanted to go back since I visited three years ago. (Yes, this means spending a good portion of my 22nd birthday on an airplane, but it's all good. XD)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] queer_fest has released its list of prompts! Here are some that really caught my attention, and hope someone gets around to fill:

Cool prompts and ramblings on them behind the cut.... )

Finally, so that this post isn't completely pointless, here are some links:

--Ten adverts that shocked the world -- This is why I won't go into advertising, and you shouldn't either.
--Creepy app warns of an end to privacy
--Behind the Scenes: How Do You Get Into Amherst? -- Warning: Likely to be very disheartening and rage-inducing
--How Americans defeated efficiency with consumerism
--More Black Men Now in Prison System than Were Enslaved
--For Lovers and Fighters -- A long but EXCELLENT piece on polyamory, queer and trans* identities, and what love actually is (hint: it has nothing to do with romance) -- *HIGHLY RECOMMENDED*
--[personal profile] fightingarrival: "I have trouble following conversations on Tumblr" -- in which Sucker Punch and female empowerment is discussed, and Sady Doyle from Tiger Beatdown fucks up royally.
--The Male German Bodybuilder That Got Gandhi All Hot and Bothered
--Straight Gamer Calls for "No Homosexuality Option" in Dragon Age 2; Game Maker Responds: Shut It -- I'm only posting this link for the video. (Is it bad that I want to play this game now? XD)
--Information Is Beautiful!
--Color Picker Pen by Jinsu Park -- THIS IS SUCH A COOL INVENTION OMG *_*
--Nature photography by Henrik Just -- HOLY CRAP Y'ALL THIS STUFF IS AMAZING :O
--"Animal portraits" by Alex Castro
--DADT photography by Jeff Sheng
--Strange Maps @ Big Think
--What would've happened if Peanuts was written by Charles Bukowski.
--3eanuts, in which the last panel of Peanuts strips are omitted.

That's about it for me right now -- now time for me to stay up for a few more hours and regret it when I have to get up early in the morning. :B

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. Firstly, my thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone affected by the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan -- if you're in Japan right now and can read this, I hope you're doing OK, and if you have family and/or friends in Japan I hope you know they're doing OK too! It's assumed the students from my college studying abroad in Japan right now are all right, but the college hasn't confirmed it yet. I also know one of my former Japanese senseis is originally from Sendai, one of the worst hit cities, and if she still has family there I bet she's worried sick. D:

Anyway, here are some pertinent links:

--Al Jazeera liveblog and live feed
--current liveblog @ [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political
--[livejournal.com profile] fruitsgrow's links to live feeds and charities
--[personal profile] azuire's links to live feeds, liveblogs, and charities
--lists of charities: Yahoo || TIME
--[livejournal.com profile] help_japan/[community profile] help_japan -- fandom auction
--something worth keeping in mind

2. So I went to bed at 5 AM last night, following everything that was coming out of Japan, and I didn't get a lot of sleep (just like the past few nights), and by the time I actually felt like doing anything the sun was setting, so I took another mental health day today. Even though that was probably a bad idea, since I have a 3000-5000 word essay due Wednesday, an exam Thursday afternoon, and a 500-750 word essay due Friday. Oh well, I'll manage. :P

3. The comments on this post at [livejournal.com profile] sf_drama really skeeved me out, in particular this thread (warning: bigoted/offensive/erasing comments against genderqueer and gender non-conforming individuals). Now, it's not really my place to say what feminism is and/or should be, but wow, way to prove s.e. smith's point. Anyway, I don't plan on visiting sf_d anytime soon. >B[

4. On to happier stuff: the video for The National's "Conversation 16" was released this week. And it is the purest of beauty and the most distilled awesomeness, all in one 4-minute-20-second package. :D



What's better than reenacting movie scenes IRL? )

8. Well, this post turned into a vidspam, didn't it? :PPP Oh well, not much else that was interesting happened this week anyway. Now I'll try to go to bed early, even though I'll probably find some reason to stay up late, as usual. XD


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)


‘The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra’: Exclusive First Look

OMG YOU GUYS



... *ahem* Sorry about that. Just needed to get that out there. XD

(Unrelated: Right now I'm procrastinating and listening to the new Low album, and it's phenomenal! I'm so glad Mimi Parker has more songs all to herself -- she's a wonderful singer, and totally deserves getting more attention. :D)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. So after exhausting myself writing two papers yesterday right near the deadline, I'm taking a much-needed break today. Even though I have another five-page paper due Tuesday, and a 3000-5000 word essay due in a week and a half -- which I only found out about last Wednesday. Crap. :( At least I don't have that much else to do this week, and I'm starting to get over my cold, which is good.

2. The only truly cool thing I did this week was go see Andrea Gibson perform in town Tuesday evening, and she was absolutely amazing. Seriously, words can't even describe how good she was (not like I'm all that good describing how good something is when I'm half-tired anyway :PPP)! She had a great on-stage presence with an awesome rapport with the audience, and the way she performed her poetry was, to be slightly clichéd and over-the-top, spellbinding. Definitely worth missing the two screenings I had to go to at the same time. ;-)

(For those of you who aren't familiar with Andrea Gibson, I have links to some videos of her performing in my last entry, but here are some others: "Swingset" || "Crabapple Pirates" || "Unfinished Masterpiece" || "Photograph" || "How It Ends" || "For Eli" || "Andrew")

3. I finally got to see The Social Network today, and I really liked it! It's a very well-done movie -- the acting, dialogue, and cinematography were all top-notch. That said, I still wouldn't put it in my "favorite movies" list, considering that it didn't really grab and engage me the way I was hoping it would. (I still think The King's Speech deserved its Best Picture Oscar anyway. :D)

4. Tai chi has been canceled this semester.  Boo.  DX  At least I didn't pay for the class (even though I was meaning to but decided to wait)?  That's consolation, at least.

5. Finally got around to playing Puerto Rico with the gaming club this afternoon, which I really enjoyed! Check it out if you can/are interested, as it's quite fun. (I also really enjoyed History of the World, which we played a couple of weeks ago, though I don't think I mentioned that yet. :B)

5a. Speaking of games: [livejournal.com profile] vethica recently pointed out to me that an online version of Dominion exists! Even though I'm not at all good at it, I have a lot of fun with this game, and I'm wondering if maybe any of you might be interested in playing? If you're interested but never played before, here's some more information about it, and I've uploaded the game rules here. Anyway, I'm always looking for more opponents, so although I'm not sure when I'll find the time in my busy schedule to fit a couple of games in (even though a game usually lasts around a half hour, so it's not that long), if you're interested in playing just let me know, through AIM (when I'm online), e-mail (mecteol@gmail.com), PMing me, leaving a comment here, whatever. My username over there is quadruplify, BTW, surprise surprise. XD

6. As I mentioned in my last entry, one of my professors this semester did an interview on The Daily Show on Wednesday! If you missed it, here it is:



And for all you Canadians reading this, here's where you can see it.

7. Finally, a big welcome to [livejournal.com profile] thecityofdis, [livejournal.com profile] theeonenonly, [livejournal.com profile] monochromejive, and [livejournal.com profile] minamoto, who I met through various friending memes this week. Hello new people! *waves* I don't have a real intro post right now, but this is the best I've got (or here if you prefer Dreamwidth). If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! :D

(And to those I met over at [livejournal.com profile] russia_sushi, sorry about the lack of giant gay robot ninjas in this post. D: I know the Transformers franchise has some if y'all are interested, but now that I've mentioned it, I.........kinda want to come up with my own. And now I think I have an idea for a book series or movie or TV show in my head right now. Great, just what I need, another one. :3)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So I'm sick again.  Wheeeee.  -_-

It's just another headcold, and it started Thursday night, but like most colds I get, this one has really bowled me over, and for the past few days I've been trying hard not to do anything, popping vitamins and cough drops like my life depended on it, being supremely pissed off about being sick, and trying to stay away from people as much as possible so I don't cough on them (not that that's hard to do for me anyway).

This is the worst week to get sick, though -- I have two papers due on Friday, and another due a week from tomorrow.  They're all around the 5-7 page range, so it's not too terrible, but trying to write papers I have no interest in writing while feeling like I'm about to keel over really isn't something I can deal with right now.  :PPP  What does help is that I've canceled my radio show tomorrow morning, one of my Wednesday classes have been canceled, and I don't really plan on going to any of the events this week that sound interesting, which gives me more time to rest and work.  What would really help is if we all got extensions on these papers, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.  :(

I also have two screenings for two of my classes going on at the same time tomorrow night -- which is also at the same time Andrea Gibson will be performing in town, who I really want to see.  At first I was really bummed about not being able to go, but I realized recently that by giving the "oh I have to go to the other screening I have that night!" excuse to both of my professors, I might just be able to get away with it.  One of them I have to see before Wednesday (a relatively short one on former DRC dictator Mobutu), and the other one, The Social Network, I can put off for a bit, so......yeah.  My one social event this week.  ^_^;  (And for those of you not familiar with Gibson's work, here are a couple of examples: "Stay" || "I Do")

There is some good news, though: one of my professors is going to be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday!!  :D  She's my Politics of Virtual Realities prof, and she'll be on the show to promote her book One Nation Under Contract, about the outsourcing of jobs typically performed by the government and military to private contractors, and what implications that trend has.  People who've known me long enough may know that I'm not a TDS/Jon Stewart fan at all, but I'll definitely be watching.

And one of my other professors has published a very funny op-ed to the Washington Post today, another one is a well-known and distinguished translator, and the other one is a bit abrasive but otherwise very charismatic and really intelligent.  How I managed to get such awesome professors this time around, I don't know.  XD

Other than that, not much has been going on.  Had an interesting debate with some people at the QSH Thursday night on ways to make the college's queer organization more inclusive, and Climatology Nerd made a surprise visit this weekend!  It's awesome to see him again; right now he's applying for a really competitive teaching fellowship in New York City this summer, and I hope he gets it!

That's about it, I suppose.  Now I'll have to go back to being sick, trying to do work, and other fun stuff.  >_>  Though I'll leave y'all with this little bit of I Can't Believe Something Like This Exists™.  (And why did Harry Belafonte agree to take part?)  O_o;

So.......

Feb. 12th, 2011 12:22 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
.........how 'bout dem Egyptians?

Guys, this is all really, really, REALLY exciting stuff, it's just.......OMG I don't have the words. Seriously. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD I've been rather excited ever since I heard the news of Mubarak's resignation, and right now I'm just really proud of the protesters for toppling their oppressive government peacefully after 18 days! I was beginning to suspect Mubarak would hold on to power until September or beyond that, or that he would really dig in and start killing protesters on a wide scale, but thankfully that didn't happen. And now that the military is in control for now, I hope the protesters will hold them accountable so that a true democracy can be formed like they've been fighting for. Anyway, here's a quick linkdump since I haven't done one in a while, and since a lot of these sum up my feelings about today:

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest liveblog/party post here; there are plenty of snarky and hilarious comments originally from Twitter posted by [livejournal.com profile] akuma_river which are really well-worth reading. (And in case you're curious, here's the liveblog before the latest one, with links to good sources and previous liveblogs.)

More links under the cut... )

********************************************************************************************

..........I just finished my first week of the last semester of classes. I'm going to hold judgment about the classes right now, but I will say a few things about them:

* I think I'm really going to enjoy my African Politics class; the professor is pretty funny and engaging (and from Madagascar), it doesn't look like there will be heavy amounts of work, and right now we're reading Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost, which is absolutely AMAZING -- yeah, it's about Belgium's colonization of the Congo and all the oppression and exploitation and evil that came from that, but it's a really good read that I've had a hard time putting down.

* Social Movements will probably be the toughest class for me this semester; the two big things we have to do for that are 1) involvement in an organizing project outside of college, and 2) a 5,000-word paper (that's about 16-17 double-spaced pages). The paper is already stressing me out -- I mean, it's doable, but it's still one of the longer ones I've had to do, and that's going to be a pain in the ass to write (though not as much as last year's 25-page monstrosity). Plus, the class only meets once a week on Wednesday nights, which is bad because I have three classes before that during the day, so by the time this class starts I'm already pretty drained. I really think it's going to be a great class, mind, and I have high hopes for it (not least of which because Bill McKibben is teaching it), but I'm beginning to have my doubts. One of the things we're going to be doing all semester is reading Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters, about the early days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, which is turning out to be excellent so far.

* I'm going to have a ton of reading this semester. Between that and the essays I have to write (the 5,000-worder mentioned above, the 12-page term paper for my Japanese lit class, and various other essays), it's going to take up all the free time I'm going to have these next couple of months. And I'm not exaggerating all that much when I say that. D: Even when I find out what assignments I can afford to skim or skip, it's still going to be quite a bit. And I have to do work for VIP, search for jobs and internships, and take care of myself on top of it all, and I just......don't know how I'm going to do all that. Some people are lucky enough to have the ability to juggle all these things and more at once with relative ease, and I'm most definitely not. ;___; I don't know how often I'll be on AIM, guys, though I'll see what I can do.

And because a.) of all the stuff that went down in Egypt today, and b.) I have no classes on Fridays, I ended up doing absolutely none of the reading I planned to do today. Which wouldn't be so bad, except I have to read 100+ pages of Tocqueville for my Politics of Virtual Realities class by Monday, and that's going to be a pain to get through. Bleh. :PPP

Anyway, some other things that happened this week:

1) It's official: an A in my Korean culture class. \OO/

2) I helped table for VIP at the student activities fair on Thursday, which was a disappointment as only four people signed up. (Meanwhile the club next to us, Mchaka [a Swahili-chanting running group], got a shitload of new names on their list, despite not having anyone actually at the table. WTF. O_o;) But we're planning on doing quite a bit this semester, so hopefully that'll work out, unlike last semester when all our plans fell through. ._.

3)
Following the breakout success of last year’s Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Art of the Animated Series, Dark Horse is proud to collaborate with Nickelodeon on a comprehensive publishing program built around this beloved and exciting Emmy-winning animated series! The first installment of this new series will be released on Free Comic Book Day, May 7, with two introductory short stories — including the unpublished tale “Relics” and the iconic Dirty Is Only Skin Deep... This free comic will be packaged with Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars in a special flip-book comic, available only at your local comic book shop.

Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Lost Adventures will be released TK. This all-new 240-page comic book contains over 70 pages of never-before-seen material in addition to long-out-of-print comics previously published in Nickelodeon Magazine. With 26 stories set in Airbender continuity and created by a host of top-notch talent, many of whom worked on the original animated series, this is an essential addition to any fan’s bookshelf. [source]


SO. EXCITED. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

The bad news is that I'm not sure how I'll be able to get the Free Comic Book Day comics, considering a.) I go to college in the middle of nowhere Vermont, b.) I don't have easy access to transportation out of town, and c.) it's during finals week. But I'll try to see what I can do, because I need these books bad, as a good way to tide me over until Legend of Korra drops. ^_^;

That's about it right now, so I'll leave you with this meme....

The Social Networking Friending Meme!!


......and this video:





Egypt #3

Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:11 pm
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
The situation in Egypt seems to have taken a turn for the worse; after yesterday's peaceful "million man march" on Tahrir Square in Cairo, pro-government counter-protesters have come out of the woodwork begun clashing with the anti-Mubarak protesters who have been on the streets for the past week. Because the attacks appear to be coordinated and tend to be coming from plainclothes police and security officers, and it's very likely that Mubarak's government has planned the recent violence; as a result, three people are confirmed dead and at least 1500 others have been injured. Meanwhile, Mubarak has promised electoral reform and to step down when his term ends in September, despite continued calls for his immediate resignation. The only good that seems to have come out of today is that anti-Mubarak protesters have re-taken Tahrir Square (though this might not last for long), and the Internet in Egypt has been turned back on.

[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political has their latest live-blog here, though the one before that has an exhaustive list of liveblogs, Twitter accounts, articles, and other resources; because I won't try to replicate that here, go to those links first for the latest information. I've also been retweeting some good bits of info on my own Twitter (to all my Twitter followers: sorry about all the spam XD).

Here's a list of some of the best articles and analysis I've come across over the past couple of days. There's a lot this time, so recommended readings are in bold:

Other liveblogs I've been following:
Al Jazeera: Tuesday 2/1 || Wednesday 2/2 || Thursday 2/3
The Lede @ New York Times
Mother Jones
Mondoweiss

Cut for length... )

As always, feel free to link to this page to "boost the signal," and also if I missed anything you'd like to see in this list, let me know in the comments (especially if they're from non-mainstream or non-Western sources). Hope these posts haven't been too annoying for y'all. ;-)

Egypt #2

Jan. 31st, 2011 12:01 am
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
Here's an update to the Egypt linkdump from two nights ago. Sorry to spam your f-lists/access lists with this, but this is kinda Really Fucking Important™.

Liveblogs:
[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political : #3 || #4  (the best place to start, as it has some of the best comments and commentary)
Al Jazeera: Saturday 1/29 || Sunday 1/30 || Monday 1/31
Mother Jones (scroll to the bottom [before the comments section] for the latest)
The Lede @ The New York Times
The Guardian (UK)
Other liveblogs, plus video feeds

Al Jazeera:
Egypt front page

BBC:
El Baradei tells crowd "change coming"
Anxious waiting game as standoff continues
Tension rises as jets buzz Tehrir Square in Cairo
Hillary Clinton urges "orderly transition"
Profile: Mohammed El Baradei
Can Mubarak survive the revolt?
Tough questions if revolution succeeds

Foreign Policy:
Pharaoh's End: A roundtable
The Worst of Both Worlds
Five questions about Egypt
President Obama, here is your "game changer"
Unmasking Mubarak's "chaos"
Democracy is not all that different....
Obama's handling Egypt pretty well (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight , and an article I agree with 100%)

Guardian:
Egyptians form makeshift militias to stop looters
Editorial: Mubarak's dictatorship must end now
Voices of the Egyptian rebellion
"We've waited for this revolution for years"

New York Times:
Opposition rallies to El Baradei as military reinforces in Cairo

Independent (UK):
Robert Fisk: Death throes of a dictatorship

The Nation:
Live from the Egyptian Revolution

The Globe and Mail (Canada):
Egypt's new vice-president has been crown-prince-in-waiting for years
Enough!  Why thousands of young Arabs have taken to the streets in protest

Kansas City Star:
Why has Egypt's army not confronted protesters?

Huffington Post:
A complete guide to the 2011 revolution

Associated Press:
Iraqis watch Egypt unrest with sense of irony

Center for a New American Security:
Egypt: A humble request  (another necessary punch to the gut for Western observers)

Los Angeles Times:
White House quietly preparing for a post-Mubarak Egypt

UNCUT:
Egypt's Twitter-less revolution

Mondoweiss:
The Egyptian revolution threatens an American-imposed order of Arabophobia and false choices  (h/t [livejournal.com profile] mcollinknight -- highly recommended reading)

Canonical.org:
Why Egypt's popular rebellion is the greatest historical event in a decade, and how Barack Obama missed the boat  (I don't agree with this person's assessment of the American response to the crisis in Egypt, but this provides a good background to what's going on, and has some good arguments against the pro-Obama Foreign Policy article I linked above)

As always, feel free to link to this page if you want, and please leave interesting articles and other links related to Egypt and protests throughout the Arab world (especially from non-mainstream and non-Western sources) in the comments.  ;-)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So as many of you probably know already, Egypt has recently erupted with a slew of anti-government protests that has left president Hosni Mubarak and his party's grip on power tenuous at best, and could mean big changes to the political makeup and stability of the region as a result (not to mention U.S. foreign policy and America's place in the world).  Inspired by the protests in Tunisia, the protesters managed to gain enough power to nearly topple their government in the space of four days, which is really fucking remarkable -- and considering what this may mean, it's a Big Fucking Deal™ (even if Joe Biden himself wouldn't use that term to describe this situation, sadly enough).

[Before I go any further, I need to make a disclaimer: I've tried to follow this as closely as I could seeing as it is history in the making (especially since things really got interesting today), but this isn't Iran in 2009 when I had a ton of time on my hands -- I had an exam today, I need to pack to go home tomorrow and I haven't done that yet, I'm pressed for time, my computer is being unreasonably slow, and I'm perpetually exhausted.  So this is going to be pretty limited, and I haven't read all the articles just yet, but I'll plan on it this weekend when I get more time.  (And if you must know: I think I did good on my exam, and I got an A+ on my journal entries, so other than current events and my rushing around to get things done, life is good right now.  XD)]

Anyway, here's the linkdump:

EGYPT
Al Jazeera's main page on the Egypt crisis  (includes live video)
Al Jazeera: "Analysis: Upheaval in Egypt"
Al Jazeera: "Profile: Hosni Mubarak"
Hossam el-Hamalawy: "We Don't Expect Any Help From America, Just to Leave Us Alone"
Mondoweiss: "Egypt is burning and most Western pundits have no idea why"
New York Times Liveblog
New York Times: "Mubarak Vows Cabinet Shift by Defends Deploying Army As Revolt Sweeps Egypt"
New York Times: "Al Jazeera Covers Protests Despite Hurdles"
NPR Liveblog
NPR: "Egypt President Asks Cabinet to Resign Amidst Protests"
Guardian Liveblog
BBC: "Mubarak Sacks Cabinet and Defends Security Role"
BBC: "Analysis: Why Egypt Matters"
BBC: "As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday"
BBC: "Egypt's security and armed forces: The deciding factor"
BBC: "Obama's caution on Egypt is winning him no friends"  (and yet, at this stage, there really isn't much else he can do)
Washington Post main article on the Egypt crisis
Washington Post: "U.S. to review aid to Egypt"
David Frum: "John Kerry Calls For Elections in Egypt"
Foreign Policy: "The New Arab World Order"
Foreign Policy: "Washington eyes a fateful day in Egypt"
The Atlantic: "After Tunisia: Obama's Impossible Dilemma in Egypt"
zuky: "Third World Protest as US Spectator Sport"  (definitely a punch to the gut, but something worth reading anyway)
Huffington Post: "Graph Visualizes Egypt's Internet Blackout"
Enduring America liveblog
Wikipedia article

In terms of Twitters to follow, @SultanAlQassemi and @bencnn are probably the two best English-language ones to follow; you could also follow mine if you wish, as I'll try to retweet some of the best bits of info I can get.  I've also been reblogging Egypt-related stuff on Tumblr, though they also have their own stream of Egypt-related posts[livejournal.com profile] ontd_political put together a live post as well (though it seems to be inactive right now), as well as a news round-up from earlier in the day.  As always, Andrew Sullivan's blog is linking some of the best commentary, but since apparently Sullivan himself is on leave it might not be as good of a source for that as when he covered the situation in Iran.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Al Jazeera's main page on Tunisia
Tunisia -- Ben Ali allies dropped from cabinet
New York Times: "Seizing a Moment, Al Jazeera Galvanizes Arab Frustration"
Washington Post: "As Protests Swell From Yemen to Egypt, Middle East Faces Uncertainty"
Iranian.com: "Tunis Not Tehran: Why Tunisians succeeded by Iranians faltered"
The National (UAE): "Thousands protest in Jordan for third week"
New York Times: "Protests Unsettle Jordan While Most Other Neighbors Stay Calm"
New York Times: "Waves of Unrest Spread to Yemen, Shaking a Region"
Washington Post: "Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, Yemenis join in anti-government protests"
Wikipedia articles: Tunisia // Yemen // Algeria // Arab world in general

I'll try to add more links within the next 24 hours or so, so check back to this page for updates.  Also, if you have any other interesting links about current events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, please feel free to share them (especially if they're from non-mainstream media sources).  You're also free to share and link to this page as often as you wish, if you want to boost the signal.  ;-)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Before I begin this entry, I just wanted to say a few words about the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, AZ yesterday. This is an absolutely unspeakable tragedy, and I'm sure I'd be in agreement with many Americans when I say that this has really disturbed me in a lot of ways -- and yet, I can't say I'm all that surprised it happened, given that Sarah Palin's PAC created a graphic that put a gun's crosshairs on Giffords' district and used "don't retreat, reload" rhetoric when describing her and some of her colleagues. That, and other such speech and commentary from various people on the right, have contributed to a political climate in which it somehow becomes acceptable to attack and kill politicians, public servants, and public figures just because they don't share your opinions and beliefs. No matter how directly connected recent vitriol and violent rhetoric from the right-wing was to this act of terrorism, it all still helped contribute to a political climate where such an event can occur, and where the idea that a public official or figure is not actually a human being with a family and a set of friends and a life like us, but is merely a thing that represents an (entirely fictional) enemy and a number of a district that "needs" to be won, has become prevalent. And today, six people are dead because of this climate and these ideas, including staffer Gabe Zimmerman, federal judge John Roll, and Christina Taylor Greene, a nine-year-old girl who was on her school's student council.

Of course, the right-wing in this country is so steeped in ideological purity and self-righteousness that they won't apologize and own up for their words, and take responsibility for the fact that they had a hand in this because their words actually mean something. Which means I'm very afraid that the next time this happens, it won't merely be an attempted assassination.

Anyway, my thoughts go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her friends and family, and and the friends and families of all those who were killed or injured in Tucson today; I wish all the best for them. (And here are comments from Keith Olbermann and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, both of which are more eloquent than I ever could be [even though I'm not a fan of Olbermann's false equivalency and hypocrisy here].)

UPDATE: Giffords is apparently "doing well," given the circumstances.

*************************************************************************

I'd also like to mention what's going on in Southern Sudan right now: the current vote on whether or not to secede from the rest of Sudan (New York Times article; Al-Jazeera article).  My thoughts are also going out to the people of Southern Sudan right now, in the hopes that no matter the outcome of the referendum, that the process is as peaceful and free of irregularities as possible.

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This has been a rather......interesting first week of 2011, and of J-term. Though I gotta say, I haven't been following my main New Year's quasi-goal/"resolution" so far -- I mean, I've been trying, but it's still a problem. Many people call this time of year "Yay-Term," but I haven't been feeling many "yays" about it so far. :(

My class is on Korean language, literature, and film, and despite the fact that I find a lot of what we're talking about so far to be very interesting, I'm having a hard time being all that enthusiastic about the class in general. For one thing, it's hard to do a good introduction to those subjects when the class is only four weeks long and it meets three times a week for 2-3 hours each time. Plus, it meets in the afternoon, which means that given my sleeping habits, I'll have a hard time getting up early enough to be sufficiently awake for class. :PPP It's also apparent that most of the people there are upperclassmen who are only taking this class because the classes they wanted to get into got filled up too quickly (sophomores and freshmen get first dibs on J-term classes), and even though the professor is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable (she grew up and spent a good portion of her life in South Korea [even though she's not Korean herself], and has done a lot of research on Korean literature), it's quite obvious she doesn't have much experience in the classroom, given she's often disorganized and not the most engaging lecturer. Lastly, we didn't do all that much this past week; there's only so much you can do with teaching the Korean alphabet and other random bits of information about the language and how it works in that amount of time, and considering we're not actually learning the language in this course, it was hard to take what we were doing all that seriously (especially since I already know the Korean alphabet, from when I took an informal Korean class run by students back in freshman and sophomore years). And now the work is going to pick up a little, which will take a while getting used to. Still, I'm sticking with it because it's a fascinating topic I know little about, and other than the things I just mentioned I've been enjoying it so far. (I kinda want to write about some of the things we've learned in class thus far -- and what I've learned through research done on my own as a result of that [mostly through Wikipedia, lol XD] -- but I don't really have the time or energy right now. Let's just say that now I really want to learn Korean -- in addition to all the other languages I want to learn -- and more about its history and culture as well. Great. ^_^;)

Speaking of languages, I had my first Persian workshop last week as well. It was originally supposed to be on Monday, but our teacher, a freshman who I'm 99% sure is from Iran, apparently didn't know that anyone had actually signed up for the class because the people in charge of J-term workshops never got around to notifying her that fact, which led to all of us sitting around for a half-hour on Monday evening twiddling our thumbs. Yay. :PPP So she rescheduled the first meeting for Thursday evening, and that went pretty well. There's only so much we can learn in weekly one-hour classes (unless we decide to go twice a week or something), but there's only six of us in the workshop (including a political science professor!), so that helps. The only problem I have with it so far is that we're not learning the Persian alphabet; our teacher told us that it would take too much time to learn because it's quite complicated, which is fair enough -- except that she's also given us textbooks to use so that we can reinforce what we've learned in class and teach ourselves Persian on our own time, which would be great if those textbooks actually had some romanizations instead of making you read Persian script from the get-go. So yeah, learning the Persian alphabet is kind of a necessity if any of us wants to stick with it, in addition to making sure you're pronouncing the words correctly. There is an audio CD that goes with the textbook that the teacher didn't get for us because of a lack of funds, but it costs $50; fortunately, one of the other students has the CD, so I'm hoping he'll rip it for us so that we don't have to spend the money. XD In any case, I've really been liking the workshop so far, and I can't wait for class tomorrow!

The other big thing that happened this week was the Night Kite Revival poetry slam on Thursday evening. I first heard about it just last Monday; I wasn't at all familiar with the poets in the group, though I was thinking of going anyway because a.) I'm really starting to love slam poetry, and b.) some student poets, including a couple I know personally, were going to be performing as well, and I wasn't going to pass up a chance to see them. Then I noticed that they were bringing in Taylor Mali as a special guest. And I was like, "HOLY SHIT OMG YES I'M SO GOING NOW :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD" For those of you who don't know, he's the one who wrote "What Teachers Make" and a whole host of other awesome poems; I was familiar with his work for some time, so I definitely didn't want to miss this. And lemme tell ya, I had an excellent time! Mali and the student poets were absolutely brilliant; even though Mali didn't perform "What Teachers Make" (probably because it's so ubiquitous by now, and because it comes from a poetry collection from 2002 that he really doesn't like anymore), he and the students were magnetic, charismatic, impressive, thought-provoking, and all-around awesome. I admit I wasn't as taken by the Night Kite poets -- Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojgani, and Derrick Brown -- but they were still absolutely hilarious; they had a wonderful dynamic on stage, and it was great when they made it so that you couldn't always tell when their poems began and ended. I'm pretty sure I laughed more times that one night than I have in quite a while, so that's gotta count for something. Here, here's some photos of the event -- human pyramids, shirtless poets, bagpipes, and off-the-wall-ness galore. Probably one of the best events I've gone to here in my four years of college, if not the best event. 8D

If you're interested, here are some videos of some of the poets performing:

Taylor Mali, "Miracle Workers"
Taylor Mali, "Like Lily Like Wilson"
Taylor Mali, "The The Impotence of Proofreading"
Taylor Mali, "Depression Too Is a Type of Fire"
Buddy Wakefield, "Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars"
Anis Mojgani, "Come Closer"
Anis Mojgani, "Shake the Dust"
Derrick Brown, "Cotton In the Air"
Derrick Brown, "Meat Loaf"

Other than all that, the radio show, gaming club, and anime club went rather well, and I spent most of the rest of the week being lazy and not knowing what to do with myself, completely unmotivated to do any work or anything else I've been wanting to do this J-term. :/ Hopefully, next week will be better for that. In the meantime, I shall go to dinner and then try to do all the work I've been putting off this weekend -- if only I can gather the energy and clarity of mind to do so. :3

In My Past Life I Was...




quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. This week I received Christmas cards from [livejournal.com profile] fly_buggy_fly, [livejournal.com profile] crazedwolf, [livejournal.com profile] cloud_sama, [livejournal.com profile] meganeha, [livejournal.com profile] edge_chan, [livejournal.com profile] song_of_truth, [livejournal.com profile] strawberrymello, and [livejournal.com profile] stormbringer986. Thank you everyone!! :D

2. Holy crap, I can't believe it's Christmas Eve already -- did time just decide to move a little bit faster when I wasn't looking? O_o; Anyway, I haven't exactly been in a holiday sort of mood lately -- partly because I'm still reeling from a stressful semester, partly because there's no snow on the ground (not that I necessarily mind that, but it certainly feels less like winter without it), and partly because I feel very close to what Jay Smooth talks about in this video (I know I posted it last year, but it's worth linking again). I never did quite fit into that holiday "box" -- maybe more so when I was younger but certainly not now. I'd go into it further, but I think Jay Smooth explains it well enough, I'm a bit rushed because I have to leave in a half-hour to go to my aunt and uncle's place the next town over (I'm only looking forward to it for the food), and I'm not really sure I want to.

I can definitely say, though, that this Christmas hasn't been as stressful as it has been in years past, so it should be a good holiday, for once. ^_^;

3. The past week has been very boring, but I did finally get to see Sherlock (the BBC miniseries that aired this past summer), and lately I've been all HELLO SHINY NEW FANDOM!!!! over it. I really enjoyed myself watching it; the writing was spot-on, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman put in excellent performances. I don't know what else to say about it, except I totally need icons and fic now. Has anyone read any good Sherlock fic? If so, please send it my way; there's already a lot of fic in this fandom, and I'd definitely like a good place to start! ;-)

4. I admit, I really don't like 99% of Christmas music -- not only have I heard these songs way too many times, but they're extremely cheesy and maudlin and I just can't stand it. I mean, a little cheesiness is fine, but not when it's beaten down on me every day and I can't escape it, you know?  :PPP That said, I have to make an exception for Low and what they do with Christmas songs. Their version of "Little Drummer Boy" is my absolute favorite of their Christmas songs; it truly is beautiful and amazing, cutting away at the cheesiness while still reflecting what this time of year is supposed to be about. Again, I've posted this before, but you really got to hear this:



Anyway, to everyone celebrating Christmas tomorrow, have a great one! And for those who don't, have a great weekend and wonderful holiday season. If you're into that sort of thing, of course. XD

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
1. [livejournal.com profile] demoneyeskyo87 and [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, I got your Christmas cards in the mail recently. Thanks so much! :D

1a. And [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, thank you so so so much for the huge box of CDs you sent me this weekend! It was unexpected, I admit, but I really appreciate it! Now I just need to get a chance to listen to some of them -- I already have quite the backlog of music I've been meaning to listen to, just like my books. ^_^;

1b. Speaking of Christmas cards, I finally got around to sending mine out yesterday and today. I was writing them up at 3 in the morning, so apologies in advance if they're not 100% coherent or if you have trouble reading my handwriting. (And I think two of the envelopes are upside-down. Sorry about that. XD) There's a chance most of them will arrive late, but I hope you enjoy them all the same!

2. Not much else has been going on lately -- I worked at my mom's office yesterday, and I might go again later this week (probably Thursday) or sometime next week to finish the job that needs to get done. Filing is extremely boring work, and I think I threw my back doing it too (I'm fine now), but I need the money. :P And I missed the lunar eclipse last night too -- it was too cloudy outside, and even if I could see it, it wasn't visible inside the house, which meant having to go outside in the bitter cold and wind. No thanks. -_- Though I at least got to speak with K. again this past weekend; that was good, at least. :D

3. Despite everything, I'm definitely happy that Don't Ask Don't Tell will be ending very soon. A lot of people in the queer community have found it very problematic, however, for reasons expressed here and here -- namely, that this new legislation does nothing to deal with the problems of American imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and the rights of transgender people, all of which serve to oppress and risk the lives of LGB and other marginalized people, moreso those living outside the U.S. While I'm sympathetic to those arguments, and I agree with them to a certain extent, I'm still celebrating the repeal of DADT anyway. It's still a big step toward stopping discrimination against LGB people, as well as improving how they are seen and treated in the U.S., and even if you're "against equality" and assimilation it still moves toward the ultimate goal of having queer people be seen as, well, people, and it's important not to lose sight of that. And it also gets us a little bit closer to having imperialism, the military-industrial complex, and trans rights being thought about more critically for once -- while that's still a long way away, it's still a step. And I know small steps are frustrating after a while -- why can't we have big change instead? -- but if you actually stopped to consider the political environment we're in right now, it's either small steps or no steps.

(Plus, a lot of criticism of DADT repeal from the left, I feel, tends to come from a strong anti-military standpoint, and that I can't accept. The size, scope, influence, power, and violence of this particular military needs to be criticized and changed, but the existence of militaries in general is and will always be an unfortunate necessity, even if it always is good to work toward reducing war as much as possible.)

4. And now for something completely different: I got my grades today! A- in GIS, B+ in the ES senior seminar, and B in geology. They weren't as good as I was hoping for (except for GIS, considering that was my toughest class), but I'm still happy with how they turned out all things considered, and I'm never truly unhappy as long as my grades stay above a B-. ^_^; Right now I'm pulling a 3.58 GPA, and my goal is graduate with at least a 3.6, which I think I can do. XD

5. Finally got around to reading Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez; it takes place in a world where gods and goddesses from all religious traditions and mythologies actually exist, interact with human beings on a regular basis, and still have followers (though following a god nowadays tends to come in the form of business contracts made through websites very similar to dating/matchmaking sites), and a Court of Divine Affairs exists to prevent divine shenanigans and deities smiting people left and right. The story itself is about a young couple who starts to follow Luka, a raccoon god of luck and good fortune they nickname "Lucky" who asks to move in with them as his only asking price. It's an interesting premise, and the story itself is very enjoyable and fun, but I found Martinez's writing style hard to swallow. He has a very annoying tendency to tell and not show; I don't see any reason why he'd deliberately do this except a.) to write like some sort of comic Hemingway and rely on understatement for his comedy (which occasionally works, but falls flat most of the time because the build-up you need to make it work just isn't there), or b.) to appeal to younger readers (except his simple writing style may actually be an insult to the intelligence of most younger readers). It almost seems as if he's relying on the absurdity of the situations in the story to carry the humor, when at least half of writing good comedy in novels is the language you use to describe those situations. Plus, he misses out on a lot of good worldbuilding; I absolutely love the premise of the story, and as such I was fascinated and wanted to learn more about the universe it inhabits, but Martinez instead focuses on the ~WACKY HIJINKS!!!~ of the characters. There's nothing wrong with doing only enough worldbuilding to service the plot, but I still don't feel as if the world Divine Misfortune inhabits is all that fully realized, and there's very little opportunity for the reader to engage in it. The premise and world of the story just shine through the dullness of the writing, but only just. In the hands of a Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett this can be a brilliant, witty, engrossing, and even poignant story; as it is, it's an enjoyable, pleasantly inoffensive, easily forgettable comedy of errors that has little reread value.

6. I've been obsessed with this song lately, it's so good! <3 The Delgados!

7. So I've decided to let my LiveJournal paid account expire -- bye-bye extra icon space and ability to edit comments, considering those were the only two features I was actually using (and the Statistics feature, though I got into such a habit of obsessively checking it that it's probably for the best). I decided to do this because over the past year I've become very unhappy and disenchanted with how LJ runs things -- I'm well aware every company with a bottom line to uphold screws up more than occasionally, but LJ's screw-ups have been so frequent and so directly affecting its users that I've become very uncomfortable with supporting them financially with anything more than ad revenue. I don't like that some of my icons have been deactivated, but I'll figure something out with that.

Since I have this Dreamwidth account laying around, and since it's easy to crosspost from DW to LJ, I've decided I might as well start using it. I know DW isn't nearly as active as LJ is, but I realized that if I wanted to see it be more active and make the most out of it, I had to take it upon myself to do what I can to be a more active user. Plus, DW has a lot of cool features that LJ doesn't have, and the features DW doesn't have but LJ does tend to be rather useless ones I can do without. And even though a 1-year paid account on DW costs more ($35 as opposed to $20), it gives you 100 icons spaces instead of 35, and considering I'm becoming quite the icon fan (and a fan of supporting new services with great potential) I think that'll be more than adequate for my needs. ^_^;

So I'm going to start posting from DW from now on, and I'm considering getting a paid account here instead of LJ. I don't plan on turning into one of those annoying "DREAMWIDTH BEAUTIFUL!! LIVEJOURNAL EVIL!!!" folks anytime soon (believe me, stay away from [community profile] lj_refugees if you know what's good for you), and rest assured I'll still be using LJ as much as I did before. This just means I'll be crossposting most of my entries on DW onto LJ, and you guys have a choice of where to comment on my entries if you so wish. 8D We'll see how this works out.

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