quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
2016-06-18 06:03 pm

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHH HELP

So today my family -- on a complete whim, and without informing me ahead of time -- got a dog.

Obviously I'm really happy for them (and me, of course!) because we'd all been talking about doing this for I don't know how long now, and the dog -- a female 8-month-old black lab mix named Harper -- is abso-friggin'-lutely adorable.

But I'm also a.) slightly more than a bit peeved that I was out of town when they adopted her and my family didn't include me in the decision-making, and b.) freaking the fuck out because I want to be absolutely sure we're all as responsible as we can be as owners and not massively screw this up.

So for all of you out there who still use LJ and DW who own dogs -- could I have some advice please? Important things that might not cross the mind of a first-time dog owner, things you wish you didn't have to learn the hard way, what to look for in a good trainer (or training program) -- things like that. (We already have food, treats, a crate, at least one toy, and a few other necessities I can't think of right now. She peed on the floor a little while ago, so I don't think she's housebroken. She's whimpering right now, but she hardly barks, she's not terribly stressed, and otherwise has an excellent temperament.)

Thanks in advance for all your help!

(And yes, I know I haven't updated this journal since September. I'll do a proper RL update......eventually. A lot has happened over the past few months, and the more I end up putting it off, the more stuff happens to talk about. It's been on my mind a lot, though, so hopefully I'll get around to it soon.)
quadruplify: John Watson (from BBC's Sherlock) standing in Buckingham Palace ([Sherlock] John - standing)
2015-09-07 06:48 pm

(2/3) I should know you better by now

I was supposed to write this back in April. WHOOPS.


Oh well, it's long overdue for an RL update from me anyway, so here we go. This'll focus more on personal things that have been going on, though I'll throw in some work stuff too because quite a bit happened in the past three and a half months.


••• There was quite a bit of drama at work this past spring, which sucked because it's such a small and usually drama-free place. :PPP It had to do with the employment pilot program I mentioned in my previous entry; a lot of the problems had to do with the man we hired to train/coach the autistic adults in the program, and act as the go-between between us and the data analytics company that contracted out to us. First of all, it seemed he was hired partly because he's the boyfriend of the president of our board of directors. >_>; And from what I've been told, while he's very good at the technical side of putting together programs such as ours, he's not so good at actually working with people. He was stressing out the autistic adults to no end -- taking away their phones, making them sit with their eyes glued to the screen and fingers on the keyboard at all times for hours on end, talking down to them, etc. Thankfully our executive director is not the kind of person who would let anyone get mistreated on her watch, so this issue was resolved relatively quickly. (It helped that one of the adults in the program was the bookkeeper's son, and she made her displeasure very much known.)


The thing was, most of us in the office weren't really being kept aware of what was going on with the pilot program. Which was understandable, since technically if we didn't have anything to do with it then it was none of our business. But what happened as a result was that rumors ended up flying around, which made the above situation (and a few others) sound worse than they actually were. One of the people who was sensitive to these rumors was our chief administrative officer, who was hired last year to a.) help run the office while our ED went into semi-retirement, and b.) research and write grants. The thing about her that's important to this story is that she was very passionate when it comes to disability rights issues. Like, the once-got-into-a-blowout-with-the-CEO-of-the-Hartford-chapter-of-Easter-Seals-because-they-still-run-sheltered-workshops kind of passionate. So naturally when those rumors reached her ears she was upset. Not to the point where she was talking about it constantly to anyone who would listen, but there were plenty of times where she told our IT guy, who got along really well with her and was the only other autistic person in the office besides myself, that he should "do something about it."


Now our IT guy was extremely smart -- he has a computer science degree, and could fix any computer problem in our office in a matter of minutes. Most companies would love to hire a guy with his skill set. He was also painfully sensitive and shy; you could be sitting next to him in a quiet room and still have trouble listening to him speak. He also had a friend in the employment program who told him stories about what was going on (said friend once got so stressed out he just took a nap on the floor right then and there, and he was let go early because the work was too tedious and complicated for him). So needless to say, with his friend in one ear and the CAO constantly in the other, IT Guy became very confused and stressed out.


In late May our CAO was laid off. She was let go because the board deemed her position no longer necessary, and they needed to be more cautious with how they spent their money. (Although from what I could gather, it was also partly because she was one of those people who wanted to "fix" how the office was run even though there was nothing that needed fixing, and because we didn't see a dime of new grant money during the time she was there.) IT Guy must have mistakenly assumed she was being laid off because she spoke up about the drama in the employment program....so he decided to quit. On the same day.


Naturally everyone in the office that day was trying to convince him to stay, but at one point while he was in the parking lot, packing his belongings in his car, he told one of them -- much more loudly than you'd expect of him -- "I'm afraid I'm going to do something to [the job coach]. I don't trust myself around him."


Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Given the choice between letting him go and having the police called to your office, it's a no-brainer.


Thankfully I wasn't there when this happened, and I'm just guessing as to the reason why he quit -- it's possible there were other factors involved, he's never given us a reason why, and I doubt he ever will. When the ED called me into her office the next day to tell me, she was on the verge of tears -- she worked with him for the better part of a decade, so to see him act like that was naturally hard for her to handle. And she had to wait two months for an apology on top of that. Even though it helps that it could've ended so much worse, and the fact that I didn't witness this myself, it was still upsetting.


(For the record, the pilot program ended last month; the bookkeeper's son quit the month before because he found a better job doing video/TV production work [which is what he wants to get into as a career], and because the job coach told him to lie to the data analysis firm about him being away on vacation. We sure picked a real winner right there, didn't we. XP In any case, we're supposed to run another pilot program sometime in the future, but before that we're supposed to be getting a report on how this one did, and I have absolutely no clue when that's going to come out.)


The good thing to come out of this mess is that I have more responsibilities now. In addition to what I've been doing before, I've taken over some of IT Guy's duties, like maintaining our website and Facebook page, editing the weekly e-mail newsletter, and a few other things. It's great because I've been picking up new skills and working more hours, which I've been wanting to do for a while now! Overall I'm feeling pretty confident about my abilities and good about how I fit into the office, and for the most part I look forward to going into work, so I should think that says something, no? XD


Also, the "Autism Job Club" I talked about in my last post is also definitely happening! I left it on the metaphorical back burner over the summer, but now I have a first meeting scheduled for the 19th and already I've had over 25 people sign up. Which doesn't help with my nerves at all, since I've never actually been in charge of anything before and I have absolutely no plan as to what I'm going to do beyond the first meeting right now and what if this doesn't work out or I royally screw up somehow? But I still think something like this is necessary and a creative idea, and I've been working on this for too long not to see this through. And I do have enough confidence that I'll do a good job facilitating the group anyway. Besides, as I've kept telling myself, when something scares you, that's all the more reason why you should do it, right? ^_^;


••• My work-at-home side gig has also been going well! Not only have I actually gotten paid so I know for a fact it's not a scam, but my picture and bio is on their website! Yep, I'm moving up in the world, no doubt about that. :D This summer was very quiet in terms of work; the woman in charge was struggling to acquire some documentaries that we would be responsible for distributing, but now that we've either picked up or are about to pick up a few I have some actual research assignments, the first one of which I finished up this weekend. So even though things have been moving slowly, it's been working out so far!


With the two jobs I have starting to pick up, this means that I've quit going to BRS. Not only did they have a hard time trying to figure out good jobs to place me in, but the counselor I had there essentially told me, "You'll be very lucky if the job we find for you pays more than $15 an hour." The main focus of an agency like BRS is to get people with disabilities out and working, full stop. They're not in the work of setting up long-term goals for a career; they just want to get their customers in a job, even if it's something they won't necessarily enjoy, and hope that it will be a sufficient "foot in the door" for other, better jobs in the future. This approach certainly works for many people, but it doesn't work for autistic adults, and it definitely doesn't work for someone like myself. The jobs we were thinking about having me do a working interview for weren't nearly as interesting or involved as what I'm doing right now, so I finally decided I was doing all right on my own, and that if I absolutely needed them in the future I'd call them. Oh well, one less thing to worry about.


••• Yet another shakeup at my therapist's office -- Last year I had to switch therapists and psychiatrists because the former had to leave due to budget constraints and the latter sucked. Now my current therapist is going to be leaving this month! Talk about not being able to catch a break. =_=; She had given birth to twins this past winter and was out on maternity leave until June, so even though she's been very good I haven't had a lot of time to really get comfortable working with her. And not only is she leaving because she wants to work closer to home to take care of her kids, but she also wasn't happy with the relatively new policy that all appointments have to be 25 minutes long -- even though they cost the same as full-hour appointments. (I never said the psychiatrist who runs the place wasn't an incompetent shitweasel.)


So once again I'm considering my options. The practice has hired two new social workers in the meantime, but I'm not sure if I want to start seeing another therapist, considering how I've gotten bounced around from person to person over the past four years. I'm not sure how much therapy I need at this point, anyway. I don't feel like I'm struggling with anything right now -- I'm working and taking on more responsibilities with my life, and I feel that's helped considerably. I've grown to accept that I'm an even-keeled person by nature, not prone to emotional extremes, and more often than not I was confusing that with depression. And I'm more comfortable in my own skin and more in touch with myself and those around me. There's a lot I still need to work on, obviously -- some executive functioning issues, moving out of the house, and making new friends -- but nothing I truly need a therapist for. I might even want to wean myself off the meds I've been taking; the less medical expenses I have to worry about, the better. All I know for sure is that when you go to therapy and think to yourself, "Wait, why am I here again?" then that's probably telling you something.


••• All throughout 2014, whenever I tried to get in touch with N. (the friend from college who's really into meteorology and climatology), he never got back to me. In January, I found out why:


He was in jail.


He got busted for heroin possession, which....yeah, I really should've seen that coming. I mean, I didn't really think it was going to happen, and I was hoping it wouldn't, but..... :/ Thankfully he got out with nothing worse than a broken foot and arm, and it was only a misdemeanor charge so he hasn't lost any of his substitute teaching gigs. And the last I heard he's doing outpatient rehab, so that's a good sign at least. It's still tough to hear about anyone you've been close to getting incarcerated, though.


To be honest, the whole thing has made me reevaluate my friendship with him. Not because I feel uncomfortable associating with someone who's been in prison -- far from it! It really sucks that there's a stigma on former inmates in our society, and I don't want to help perpetuate that. Rather, it's just that we rarely speak to each other anymore (he always tries to contact me on Facebook, which I hardly use outside of work), and when we do I never know what to say to him, and our conversations are really boring in general. We both have different lifestyles and mindsets, and I feel like we've been drifting apart for a while now and there's nothing either of us can do about it. So just because I'm desperate for human connection doesn't mean I should hold on to a friendship that's fading away. Right? O_o;


(Speaking of friendships, let me take the time to say I'm really really sorry for not connecting with you guys more often! Work and personal stuff have taken up so much of my brainspace in general that I practically forget about everything else. Even though most of you have moved on to Tumblr, I had to drastically cut back on using that site because it was affecting my mental health. Plus, if I can be perfectly honest I don't think I can relate to a lot of you like I used to; it seems we all have different interests and priorities these days, and trying to make relationships work when so much has happened in our lives and there wasn't much connection to begin with might not be worth it. Still, if any of you would like to start talking with each other more often, I'm available on AIM, Skype, and Facebook, so let me know what you'd like to do. ~_^


In the meantime, I want to try to focus on joining more groups on Meetup, or starting over on Tumblr. Right now K. is the only IRL friend I have outside of work and family, and trying to meet new people and [hopefully] make new friends would do me some good. Except every time I seriously think about it, I freak out and get really self-conscious, and so I never get around to doing it. Ugh. :PPP)


Since this entry is (as usual) long enough already, some bullet points on other things I should mention:


  • Since last December I've been writing these entries on a new MacBook Pro! I had my old MacBook for four and a half years, and while it was still technically working it was also really slow and, due to a stupid SMART error, wouldn't let me upgrade to the latest OS. This one is much faster and more robust, which is great because I really want to start getting into a routine of playing video games. Except that over the past nine months of having this thing.....I haven't played a single one. Even though I own far too many as it is. Like I said, brainspace. >_<;

  • I have, however, been playing Two Dots on the iPhone 6 I also got as a Christmas gift to myself. I finally beat all 410 levels this weekend! Of course, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to feel proud of this, or utterly pathetic for having wasted so much time on it. ;_;

  • This summer my sister graduated high school, and just finished her first week at college. She's going to Wheaton College in Massachusetts to study history and Italian; my mom and I helped move her in to her dorm last weekend. Naturally she was crying when we had to leave her (even though we didn't see anyone else do the same -- I'm guessing it was because she gets emotional when she's tired, and she's a really flighty person to begin with), but from what I can gather she's settled in very well! And she's only a two-hour drive away, so she's far enough away so that she's in another state, but close enough so that we can reach her quickly in case the unforeseen happens. In any case, it's going to take some time getting used to not having her in the house. Not that I mind, obviously, but still. :DDDDDDDDDDDD

  • My cousin graduated college this past May as well, so my mom, sister, and I went up to Boston to visit her and her mother the Sunday before -- we didn't want to go the day of because practically every other college in Boston does their graduation on the same day, and the city would've been mobbed. We got to meet my aunt's new boyfriend (who from what I can tell seems like a keeper, finally!), and we spent the say on Newbury Street, where I bought a few CDs from Newbury Comics.

  • My psoriasis is all but gone! For almost a year now I've been on methotrexate, which was doing a good job maintaining the status quo without the soriatane's side effects, and I haven't had to go for phototherapy in who knows how long now. Really the only spot of psoriasis I had left was this stubborn patch on the right side of my forehead, but thanks to some ointment the dermatologist gave me a couple of weeks ago, that might just about be gone too. ^_^;

  • Lastly, I have a couple of concerts I'll be going to later this month that I'm really excited about! I'll be seeing Low (again!) on the 25th in Hamden, and then on the 30th I'm going to see The Jesus and Mary Chain at this new venue that opened up in New Haven called the College Street Music Hall. Can't wait! \o/


And I'm sure there are a few other things I'm forgetting, but I doubt they're all that important anyway. XD



quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
2014-10-10 09:31 pm

Negotiating with demons

It's been yet another four months or so since I last wrote one of these things -- sorry if you're one of the few people out there who still reads these things. :/ I know I've drifted away with most of the people I've met on here; some of that is my fault, obviously, but some of that is definitely for the best (read this thread if you want to have some idea of what I'm talking about). As much as I'd like the attention, though, the main reason why I do these posts is for myself -- because if I don't write about what I've done, if I don't document all the things that have happened to me that got me to this point, I'll forget. And I really, really don't want to forget. So here goes:

••• I had to switch therapists. Thankfully, it wasn't because there was anything wrong with him or anything like that.

And I switched psychiatrists as well. It gets a little....involved. )

••• An update to the BRS stuff I mentioned before: The work evaluation at the tea shop fell through. Read more... )

••• Speaking of jobs, I went to a job fair a few weeks ago that catered specifically to people with disabilities. Yet ANOTHER thing that didn't go so well. )

••• I decided to try out another social group for adults with autism a couple of weeks ago, this time at Yale's Child Study Center. Someone who started going to my support group at ASRC a few months ago apparently has lots of connections at Yale, and he was able to work with a psychiatrist there who specializes in autistic adults to get this group going, which is meant for autistic adults and CSC employees to socialize and get to know each other better. It only lasted about an hour, and after introductions much of that time was playing charades. Which, well.....it's charades, you know? ^_^; But I still managed to enjoy myself. Plus, it was way better organized than the ASRC one I was going to last year, and while some of the autistic adults had to have minders/caretakers with them, at least none of them threw a tantrum and started flipping tables. That was a good sign of things to come, I think. 8D

Unfortunately, it only meets once a month, and it's during rush hour in New Haven, which means the streets are packed. But I'll keep going to them, if only because my new therapist and I agreed I should go to quite a few more of these get-togethers before I judge them on their own merits. Plus, this group is on Meetup, and now that I've joined I've noticed other different kinds of social groups that look appealing. I should probably start joining and going to those as well, just to get myself out of the house more often.......James says as he keeps being a lazy butt and doesn't actually do it. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

••• Onto better things, I finally got around to using Duolingo to brush up on my Italian! It's been at least six freakin' years since I was in any kind of Italian class, and with everything that's been going on the past couple of months I figure now is as good of a time as any to get back into learning languages, and Italian -- the one I started learning in middle school -- is a good place to start. It's amazing how much I've retained after all these years -- I tested out of the first 15 lessons and I'm already on Level 10 -- but I'm also surprised at how much I've forgotten, and how much I never really learned at all. But I try to do a little bit of practice each day (the gamification helps), and I really hope I get as good at it as I was back in college fairly soon.

••• I also have two concerts I'll be going to with K. this fall! I'll be seeing Thurston Moore on October 23rd and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart on November 18th, both at The Space in Hamden. I'm more looking forward to the November one as I'm more of a fan of that band (even though I still haven't listened to their latest album yet -- oops. ._., ); I suggested the other one to K. because she's a huge fan of Sonic Youth. I've dragged her to bands I like more than her before, so I figure she should have the chance to return the favor. XD

••• A bullet point list of some other things going on in my life right now:

Under a cut because some of it's a little personal... )

••• So not only did The Legend of Korra manage to start and finish Book 3 since the last time I wrote here, but they've started Book 4 too. I'm still surprised at how fast everything's moving. In a way, though, I'm glad we didn't have to wait long for Book 4, because although Book 3 was positively excellent, I think I've grown a bit apathetic to it -- mostly in the sense that I no longer feel an urge to watch it right when it comes out. Over the past two years I've been exposed to so much extreme emotion regarding this show, most of it on Tumblr -- from fans who absolutely hated the first season and swore it off to those who think it's perfect, that Korra is a goddess, etc. -- that I've burned out on seeing people talk about it and it's colored my view of the show.

But no, if you're one of those fans who swore it off after Book 1? I have an important message for you right now:

YOU. ARE. WRONG.



And you need to watch the rest of it because it's seriously gotten so much better. Book 3 is well-paced and suspenseful, everyone (even the villains) are much more well-rounded, the backstory with Lin's sister and her family is interesting, no love triangles -- basically, everything those "fans" wanted this show to be and more. (The only real problem I have is that some of the character development, especially Korra's, fell a little flat to me; we don't actually see her or the others grow and change as people, they just sorta do because the plot calls for it. Honestly, though, that's more of a nitpick than anything else.)

This io9 article should convince you to pick it up (again), or maybe what I wrote after Book 2 ended. It's worth your time, trust me. ;-)

••• I kinda know this is old news as well, but yay for Community getting un-cancelled and getting that sixth season after all! Though it does look like it'll be without Shirley; it's always a bummer when one of the characters leaves the show, and especially her because she was great. :(

••• Last but not least, I kinda really want this shirt. Normally I don't care for fandom T-shirts, but this is such a cool minimalist design that I just have to make an exception. (BTW, I finally got to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. Just as good as the first one, if not better. ~_^; )
quadruplify: John Watson (from BBC's Sherlock) standing in Buckingham Palace ([Sherlock] John - standing)
2014-05-27 12:30 am

Pain looks great on other people, that's what they're for

Update!! :D

••• Every year on the last weekend in March my workplace holds a regional conference on autism, and this year I got to go. The center's executive director encouraged me to go because I didn't go last year and she thought some of the talks and workshops would be relevant to me. My dad went with me that Friday and my mom the following day, and while both of them had to pay to get in, I didn't since I work at ASRC.

Under a cut because this gets long... )

••• I had to go for jury duty last month, and...I actually had to serve on a jury. Read more... )

••• I might have to get my teeth straightened again in the near future, and I really don't want to. Read more... )

••• On the BRS front (which I talked about in my last entry): I met with my vocational counselor a couple of times since then; the past two times it was with a contact/job coach from a job agency I selected that works with BRS in helping find places for ASD people to get work evaluations and more permanent jobs. Read more... )

••• A couple of weekends ago I met up with K. again, and we both had a great time! Since the both of us like sushi, I had us go to Don Asian Cuisine, a place in town that opened up not that long ago; I heard of them because they replaced a Chinese restaurant my parents used to get takeout from, and I read good reviews about them on Yelp. The sushi was extremely good; I had the California, salmon cucumber, and shrimp tempura rolls, and they were all as delicious as I hoped they would! XD Then we went to Redscroll Records in Wallingford, because K. had never been there and she'd never set foot in a record store in three years. We both bought a few things (I finally scored a CD copy of My Bloody Valentine's mbv), and then we hung out in the parking lot for a while. We were talking about all kinds of stuff for a looooooooooong time -- I met her around 2:30 PM, and we parted ways around 8. Yeah. O_o; We promised to be in touch with each other more often, so time will tell if that works out, but obviously I hope it does. ^_^;

••• Good news on the fandom front: Durarara!! is finally getting it's second season! XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD \o/

Bad news: Community got cancelled. =_=; That really sucks, especially since the last season was actually very good. I kinda figured it was going to happen eventually, just not now. But while it would be cool to have that sixth season and a movie, I'll leave that for the more hardcore fans to fight. It bummed me out, but now I think I've been able to let go. :P

*****

Other than that, everything else has been going relatively well, even though I've really haven't been myself this past weekend (both the UCSB shooting and my grandmother getting worringly sick was a little too much for me). The job is still going very well, my psoriasis hasn't come back (I'm only going to phototherapy only once a week now, and I'm down to 10mg of soriatane a day! :D), my sleep schedule has improved (this weekend notwithstanding), the weather has gotten a helluva lot better....yeah, not bad, not bad. How's everyone else been doing?
quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
2013-12-31 02:33 pm

Not dead (yet)

Well, it's been about three months since I last updated this thing, so I figured I might as well before it got to be rather embarrassing. XD Between then and now I was really in a rut mentally, so that's why I've been "absent" for so long. I'd like to do a proper RL update, but it would take me a while since a lot happened since September, and right now I'm not in the mood because a.) I'm just plain tired (which has to do with a fucked-up sleep schedule, but let's not go into that right now :P), b.) I have either an ingrown toenail, an infected hangnail, or a little bit of both, it hurts just as well as you'd expect, and I can't get it checked out until Thursday, and c.) I'm going out with my family to an early New Years' Eve dinner in a couple of hours. (Sadly, it's not at our all-time favorite restaurant in town, since that went out of business a couple of months ago. ;_;) I'll try to get around to it by the end of the week, though. ;-)

I can say, though, that my Christmas went rather well! It was quiet, mostly because we didn't have anyone over -- it was the first Christmas without my paternal grandmother, the uncle who lives the next town over tore the rotor cup in his shoulder in two places and won't be fully recovered until around late spring, and everyone else lives too far away to make it here. Fine with me, really; it wasn't nearly as stressful as it could've been, and I could actually spend a good portion of my time avoiding my family by being online. XDDDDDD Also, all I got as gifts were clothes, pretty much -- again, fine by me, since I don't really need anything right now other than new clothes, and as someone who's still out of a job I have a decent amount of money saved up, so if I really did want something cool I could just buy it. So yeah, not much to say about that. ^_^;

Anyway, that's about all I care to say at the moment, and I promise I'll update you all on Stuff That's Been Going On In My Life™ very soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a very happy new year, and that 2014 is a much better year for you than the last one. :D
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
2013-08-05 02:17 am

What I've Been Reading: 8/5/2013

First off, in case you missed it, my last RL update is here in case you're curious as to how I'm doing. ^_^;

Also, one of my cousins recently opened up a jewelry shop on Etsy! I think some of you on my f-list would be interested, so if you'd like to support her (which would be awesome! :D) or just see the kind of work she's doing, feel free to check out her store. ;-)

Because I haven't done a linkdump in a while, it's another REALLY REALLY long one, so it's under a cut. Obviously I don't expect you to read all of it -- or any of it, for that matter -- but I've bolded the ones I recommend the most for your convenience. Enjoy!

Read more... )
quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
2013-07-19 08:50 pm

Well here it is, my last defense

••• First of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the well wishes you sent my way since my last entry, both here and on Facebook. It was a tough time for all of us, so all your comments really helped, and I appreciate that.

Here's what's happened since then... )

••• The last month and a half has been rough on me, and not just because of the stuff I just mentioned. I've gotten into a habit of going to bed and getting up later than I feel comfortable doing, sometimes to the point I'm having "breakfast" at 3 in the afternoon. I know there are tons of people out there with worse sleeping schedules, but it's really thrown me off, to the point where I'm sorely tempted just to stay in bed all day for days on end. (I haven't actually done that, thankfully.)

In which wangst and self-loathing make a triumphant comeback! =_= )

••• And then there's the psoriasis as well, which hasn't been getting worse, but hasn't been getting better either. Last weekend I started taking soriatane, which should help the light treatments be more effective. It won't kick in for a couple of months, and I have to go for regular blood tests because oral medications for psoriasis are pretty strong and could do some damage if you're not careful, but here's hoping it works. :P

All right, enough depressing stuff. Here's some of the better news:

••• The Low concert was absolutely excellent! :D Unfortunately, K. had to cancel on me because she had to get really fucking sick that afternoon arrrrrrrggggghhh. >_<; Stupidly, I thought we could salvage this by having her come later, because I really really wanted her to show up (it's just no fun going to a concert all on your lonesome, no?), but right when I got there she texted me saying she had thrown up for the umpteenth time, so I told her it would be a good idea to stay at home and focus on getting better. So yeah, the concert would've been better if I wasn't alone, but I had a good time all the same. ^_^;

(Afterward K. told me she wanted to make it up to me by taking me to another concert; I suggested Explosions in the Sky playing at Toad's Place on August 9. I was hoping we'd get to talk about whether or not it'd be a good idea...but she went and already bought the tickets. So I guess that's a "yes," then! :D)

The opening act was Mike Doughty, who used to be the lead singer for a band called Soul Coughing back in the 90s. I've heard of him before, but I never really got into his music, and after seeing him perform I don't plan on it anytime soon. It's not like I didn't like his music, far from it actually -- he was pretty funny and had great stage presence (considering it was just him with a guitar and someone else with a drum kit), and his songs were well-written and catchy. It's just that it was pretty standard indie guitar rock, and nothing really stood out at me. I did like his performance of "Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well," though, which was the song I listened to when I first heard of him.

I expected a phenomenal performance from Low because they're one of my all-time favorite bands, and they didn't disappoint. They played with the lights down very low, and against a backdrop of vintage film footage of airplanes, nature, cityscapes, acrobats, and the like, which somehow suited the music well no matter what kind it was. And Alan Sparhawk's guitar playing was really good, especially in how he incorporated feedback and reverb to make something beautiful. Just...wow. I'm pretty bad at explaining why it was so good without sounding awkward or like a weirdo, so I've linked some YouTube videos of the concert below to give you an idea. (And someone uploaded audio from two other concerts from the same mini-tour here, in case you really want to get an idea. ~_^)

After the concert I bought yet another tour poster (:3) and CD copies of The Great Destroyer and their latest album The Invisible Way (which was an album I enjoyed the first few times I listened to it but couldn't get too enthusiastic about, but after hearing a lot of the songs live I realized that they were actually very good, so I had to buy the album for myself). So yeah, as far as eventful nights go, I've had plenty worse. XD

Anyway, here's the setlist:

Read more... )

••• Apparently Tumblr has started censoring posts from certain blogs from showing up in tag searches as a way to crack down on porn? From what I've read (and here's an article with more information), the site has been flagging various blogs as either "NSFW" or "adult"; if your blog is flagged as "NSFW," your posts won't show up in tracked tags (other than the people already following you), and if it's flagged as "adult" they won't show up not only in any tag searches, but on outside search engines like Google as well. And as far as I know, this flagging is done without the blog owner's consent, and there's no way to undo it once it's done. The justification for this is to make the site more friendly to advertisers (after all, Yahoo bought out Tumblr precisely because they were having trouble making enough money to stay afloat), but the end result is that if you really want to look up porn on Tumblr (or just discover new content in general, if the blogs being flagged don't exclusively post porn), you have to be linked to it directly.

Now, I'm hardly the most pro-porn guy on the planet (I'm not a fan of how it the porn industry exploits women, or how it makes men less empathetic and more prone to Internet addiction and unrealistic expectations about sex), but I indulge in NSFW stuff just as much as anyone my age would, and I realize this would have a huge effect on fandom, not to mention other kinds of content that has nothing to do with porn. And, well, I'm really not a fan of it. :/ I'm curious what everyone else here thinks about it, though.

••• Two more months:


Guys, this looks fucking awesome, and I absolutely cannot wait for it. 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD



quadruplify: ([LoK] Amon - mask)
2013-06-09 09:26 pm

What I've Been Reading: 6/9/13 (and other stuff)

So...stuff's been happening. On the minus side, seeing my dad's mother for the first time since she was admitted to the nursing home a couple of weeks ago -- rail thin, in a wheelchair, easily confused, hardly talking -- was rough. Cut for somewhat depressing details :( )

On the plus side, though, my birthday yesterday went well (I got two new shirts and an iTunes gift card, and we went out to eat -- it obviously wasn't much, but I don't need a lot of stuff and I don't like making a big deal of my birthday anyway), my psoriasis is slowly clearing up again, Dan Harmon is coming back to Community (which I honestly didn't see coming at all, but OMG YES SO EXCITED!!!!!!!! because now I can totally look forward to season 5 XDDDDDDDDDDDD), and overall my mood has been ever-so-slightly better than it has been. I was really disappointed with The National's new album Trouble Will Find Me -- I tried to like it, but all the songs sound pretty much the same, it seemed as if the band ended up refining their sound so much they sucked all the soul and life out of it, there's no lyrics that stand out or any other hooks to grab the listener's attention like all their other albums, and it's just plain boring -- but I've enjoyed the latest from Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest, a hell of a lot more, so that offsets the disappointment at least. ^_^;

Also, [livejournal.com profile] edge_chan was interviewed by a big art supply website (exciting!), and even though I don't collect vinyl LPs and hardly care for collecting them at all (unlike some music fans), this ultramarine-colored LP of Young Galaxy's latest album (which is also really good, BTW!) is so cool and I want one. *grabby hands*

[livejournal.com profile] kattidya, I got your birthday card in the mail a couple of days ago. Thank you very much!! :D

All right, on to the links, since they've piled up yet again and it'd be nice for my browser to work faster again:

POLITICS
--Does the NSA really need to spy on us?
--The tangled web of empire (more on the recent NSA spying controversy)
--Who Is Afraid of Big Brother? (a somewhat reasoned defense of PRISM)
--Why the NSA Needs Your Phone Calls
--Washington Is Trapped in Its Own Prism of Data-Mining Self-Defense
--Of Course Apple Avoids Billions in Taxes -- And It Should
--Connecticut Boy Scouts Chapter Defects, Welcomes Gay Members to Serve Openly (this includes adults, unlike the BSA's recent decision -- plus this was the council I was a part of when I was younger, so YAY!!!!!)
--The Impossibility of Being Barack Obama
--How the Obama Administration Talks to Black America
--Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For Public Opinion to Turn Against Obama (this was published before the NSA scandal broke, but IMHO the article's central thesis is still relevant)
--Here's Why the Government Went Ballistic Over the AP Leak
--The EMPire Strikes Back (on why the "threat" of electromagnetic pulse is practically nonexistent)
--Top 10 warning signs of 'liberal imperialism'
--Fear Factor (a defense of drone strikes in foreign countries)

SCIENCE
--We've Found the Molecule That Causes Itchiness
--The effect that explains why you regret posting in anger
--You Didn't Have Any Lions to Run From, So You Clicked on This
--Butterflies remember a mountain that hasn't existed for millennia
--We're Only Beginning to Understand How Our Brains Make Maps
--5 Reasons Cold Fusion Is Bunk
--Study: Science Can Change the Sexual Orientations of Mice
--No need to eat like a caveman -- just eat your damn veggies!
--Giant fluorescent pink slugs found on mountain
--Amnesia and the Self That Remains When Memory Is Lost
--How many people really went through with the Milgram Experiment?

ENVIRONMENT
--So this is where all our greenhouse gases come from
--How Antarctica Would Look Completely Naked

SPACE/ASTRONOMY
--Can Space Tourism Save Earth?
--Could we find alien civilizations using infrared light?
--When it comes to exoplanets, science fiction lags way behind science
--How will space colonists access the Internet on Mars?
--Opportunity Finds More Hints of Mars Habitability

TECHNOLOGY
--The Video Game Helmet That Can Hack Your Brain (on the growth of brain-computer interfaces and its potential consequences)
--Gorgeous Floating Buildings Around the World

EDUCATION
--An Open Letter to Science Students and Science Teachers (on how much needs to be done to improve science education in the U.S.)
--The 12 Most Controversial Facts in Mathematics, and its sequel 9 More Super-Controversial Math Facts That People Refuse to Believe Are True

SOCIETY
--Masturbation Is at the Root of the Culture Wars (Hugo Schwyzer generally isn't someone worth listening to when it comes to feminist issues, but this is a good article nonetheless)
--If You Think Like an Imposter, You'll Be an Imposter (good advice for everyone to read)
--"You are all going to die": Joss Whedon's Wesleyan commencement speech (on making peace with contradictions, and the need to look at "both sides" of everything)
--When Men Experience Sexism (on finding a middle ground between militant feminists and MRAs)
--The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race
--Charles Ramsey and the Racial Language Barrier
--What Should I Do With My Life?
--Advice For College Grads From Two Sociologists
--What About the Guys Who Do Fit the 'Gay Stereotype'?
--Why Suicide Has Become an Epidemic -- and What We Can Do to Help
--Survivorship Bias (on the pitfalls of ignoring stories of failure)
--Sex After Dementia
--Why Is It So Hard to Understand What's Wrong With Rape Jokes?
--"The wonderful and frightening thing about Tumblr and Twitter..."
--On Horse Racing, "Break Downs," and Our Humanity
--Optimism Is Not Insane

GEOGRAPHY
--22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts in America

MEDIA
--Elementary Demonstrates the Right Way to Update a Classic Hero
--The Problem With Celebrating Straight Actors in Gay Roles
--New York PBS station criticizes reality TV with fake subway ads
--The Government Can't Stop Our Heterosexual Love: YA Dystopia From a Gay Perspective
--6 Ways to Survive an 'Internet Drubbing'
--You Won't Finish This Article (no, that's not a challenge)

ART/CREATIVITY
--Belgian Man Made His Own Samurai Armor (and it's very impressive!)
--Short film "Captain T&T": Boy tries to become a superhero in the violence of Trinidad and Tobago
--Sweet Mother of Assassin's Creed III... (I know zilch about this franchise and fandom, but I'd totally wear something like that too :D)
--"So Dark": A short film that proves even noble vampires can be horrifying


quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
2013-04-28 07:36 pm

I need you like I need satisfaction

So I just realized I haven't updated this thing in about a month, and I haven't written a proper RL update since February. Yeah. Sorry about that. D:

This year is moving by way faster than I expected; it's almost May already, and it feels like last week that there was still snow on the ground. I guess it's because not much has been going on with me over the past couple of months that I felt were worth mentioning here. Plus, I've been sick this past week -- it was just a cold, the worst of it is over, and I've had far worse, but it still didn't help things at all. And I'm supposed to get up early tomorrow to help my dad and his brother put up fencing around my grandmother's/their mother's house, which won't be hard at all, but still...bleh. ("It'll take no time at all!" Sorry Dad, but around 4 to 5 hours is NOT "no time at all." And if there's ever a day in which I absolutely need to sleep in and spend all day on the computer, it's tomorrow. XP)

So I'm going to do what I can to make this as short as possible:

••• The volunteering gig at the ASRC has been going really well! I work there Tuesday and Thursday mornings after my phototherapy treatments, and I've been there for about two months now. The work is the boring administrative stuff I'm used to -- making labels, putting labels on envelopes, stuffing inserts in flyers, writing letters for donation requests, making copies, looking over contact info for newspapers, etc. -- but it all needs to be done, and since I'm not working there all day it doesn't bother me as much. It certainly helps that everyone there is kind and considerate as well. ^_^; Right now they're busy with organizing for their "Walk For Autism" next weekend (their big yearly fundraising event), so that's what I've been focusing on, but once one of the employees comes back from medical leave I might just help work on their new website, which I gotta say I'm looking forward to. :3

••• I've been trying to take advantage of some of the other services the ASRC has for me, to mixed results. I've been attending monthly support group meetings, which have been going very well. But twice a month on Saturday evenings they host a "games night" as a way for adults "on the spectrum" to socialize, and those, well...haven't been as helpful. The games themselves are fine -- the ones I've played include poker, blackjack, Uno, Telestrations, and some video games -- but I haven't been able to click or connect with anyone else who's been going to these things. With some people it's because they have more pronounced symptoms (the first time I went, one girl had a serious chair-throwing temper tantrum because she didn't win a round of poker -- everyone else told me that sort of thing almost never happens there, but it was still really uncomfortable to watch), but with the others I haven't yet found anyone I think seems cool or interesting or otherwise someone I'd like to get to know more. Not that there isn't, I'm sure, and obviously you can't expect everyone there to have good social graces, but still. The guy who runs these events recently put together a "special" monthly games night for me and a few other guys he feels are on the same wavelength, but while it's been good to get out of the house more often, so far I don't feel I've gotten anything out of it yet. Of course, it's only been a few weeks, and I do want it to work, but I'm not very confident it will. :/

The center has also referred me to the CT Bureau of Rehab Services, which is supposed to help me find what jobs I'd be a good fit for and ultimately hook me up with one, so my parents and I are considering going down that route in the near future as well. You know, when we can find the time to go over my resume and all that. :P

••• My psoriasis has hardly improved, so now I'm back up to two light treatments a week. And I have a follow-up appointment with my dermatologist this week to go over my "progress." I'm not looking forward to that, gotta say.

••• Things with both of my grandmothers have been about the same. The only really notable thing that happened was that a few weeks ago, my dad's mom (the one who lives alone and has the hearing-voices issue) had a fall and bruised her ribs pretty badly. She was out of it and had a lot of difficulty walking around that whole week, and one time when my dad was visiting she had some very serious visual hallucinations right in front of him (e.g. thinking my sister and dead grandfather were in the house, or that my dad had spoken to someone outside the house earlier in the day). My dad got her one of those automatic reclining chairs to help her stand up and sit down more easily, and ever since she's started feeling better it's been a huge help. The good thing about all that happened, though, is that it finally made her realize that a.) there is absolutely no way in hell the voices in her head are real, and b.) she needs to move out of the house and start living in an assisted living community or a place like that. Her being alone in a house she can't take care of and is falling into disrepair isn't going to help her one bit, and I hope we can get that situation sorted ASAP.

That's about it for now; if I think of anything else, I'll probably add them to this post or make a separate entry, and I'll try to do another linkdump sometime this week as well. So yeah, I can't really complain with how things are right now, even though I get really frustrated it's coming up on two years since graduation and I still haven't found a job or kept myself busy doing other things and all that. I suspect I would've been doing all those things by now too, if the temptation to sleep in and do nothing wasn't so great. =_=; Oh well, I'm sure I'll manage to figure something out eventually. How is everyone else doing? (If you're still using this site, that is. ._.,)
quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking mildly pissed off ([LoK] Lin - pissed off)
2012-12-29 08:41 pm

"A whole world that's falling at the seams 'cause that's what it's supposed to do"

Another entry because I'm bored and I feel up to it. ^_^;

••• So, Christmas went relatively well! It wasn't very eventful, and I've had far better Christmases, but it wasn't too bad, all things considered. Here's what I managed to get:

Under the cut: Loot, long-lost family, acting like an asshole, and illness... )

••• I'm still trying to think of what to do for New Year's resolutions; I know they rightfully get a bad rap because people hardly follow through on them, but I really need to get myself in gear in 2013 to prevent a repeat of 2012, which was ... a whole lotta nothing, really. Which is not to say awesome things didn't happen this year, or that I didn't grow as a person, but in a lot of ways I'm in the same position I was when I wrote this, and that's not good. The main difference is that I'm in a better position now to be more proactive when it comes to developing skills and achieving goals than I was two years ago -- or at least, I hope so. ._.,

Of course I need to work on the important things, like being more proactive in looking for jobs, volunteer work, and grad schools, cooking, taking better care of myself (including hopefully joining a gym), and driving. But I've also created a huge backlog of books I want to read, movies and TV shows and anime I'd like to watch, music I'd like to listen to, video games I'd like to play, etc. Far too often I put these things off to one side saying to myself, "I'll deal with this later," and I never do; instead, I end up constantly feeling bored, doing nothing, and wanting to do nothing. So maybe trying to get through that backlog should help? (Oh yeah, and fitting in some time to write while I'm at it. :P)

Anyway, I hope everyone reading this has a Happy New Year, and that if your 2012 was meh like mine, I hope 2013 will be better for you. ;-)

••• Finally, some more articles and links you might be interested in:

--This Tiny Gizmo Could Be a Very Big Deal in 2013 -- And Beyond (I know I already posted something about this on my Tumblr, but it seems so interesting enough it's worth bringing up again, especially since this article goes into greater detail, and it reveals it'll only cost around $70)
--27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts in 2012
--Should Buddhist Meditation Make You Happy? (I don't think I've read a better explanation of what meditation is supposed to do before, or what benefits it's supposed to bring)
--Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare (DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:)
--No Longer Vaporware: The Internet of Things Is Finally Talking
--Videogames Do Belong in the Museum of Modern Art
--'Brighter than a full moon': The biggest star of 2013 could be Ison, the comet of the century
--Amazing new house proves that green doesn't have to mean expensive


quadruplify: Amon (from the Legend of Korra) speaking at an Equalist protest, fist raised in the air ([LoK] Amon - revolution)
2012-11-11 04:02 am

And head up dear, you're shallow and blind

••• So my thoughts on the election can be summed up in these GIFs:





Let's see, we had Obama re-elected, a large number of women and progressives elected to Congress (including a Buddhist and a Hindu), Tea Partiers and rape apologists and anti-abortion freaks defeated, same-sex marriage passing by popular vote in three states (and marijuana legalized in two more), a hardcore video gamer getting elected to Maine's state senate, and overall at least half of Americans waking up and realizing this country needs to get out of the dark ages? Consider me impressed. :D

I might do a politics-related linkdump at some point, but for now I'm sure this will do. ^_^;

••• As for Hurricane Sandy, we got our TV and Internet back on Friday 11/2; my sister was ecstatic because during that whole week it was like living with a drug addict going through withdrawal. And it didn't help that she was out of school a total of four days, too. :PPP I managed to survive by starting to watch Ao no Exorcist (which I've actually been rather enjoying!), as well as a few movies I'll review later because it's 2:30 AM as I'm writing this and I'm hoping to get some sleep soon. XD

But it's long gone now -- no major damage around here, just a few tree limbs falling on power lines here and there (and Halloween getting cancelled, if that counts). I know the coast got hit really bad, though, as well as everywhere south of New York City; I don't know exactly how bad the damage was, and if we're going to be completely honest I kinda don't want to -- I feel like it'd depress me too much. But yes, we're all perfectly fine around here, as I've mentioned before, so no need to worry about us!

If you do want to read something interesting, though, there's this article about the skeleton that was unearthed when a tree toppled over in New Haven, if you're into that sort of thing. (The link contains pictures of the skeleton [though it's kinda hard to make out], in case you don't want to see it or you find such pictures disrespectful.)

••• I'm about 21,000 words into NaNoWriMo, which I'm really impressed by since I wasn't expecting to get that far by now at all. I've always seen myself as a slow writer; when I was writing papers in school and college, it took all the effort I could muster to stay focused and concentrate on what I needed to get done, which meant writing the damn things felt like pulling teeth. A lot of these hangups I developed about writing as a result have stuck around, which has definitely made it a struggle, so I guess being ahead of schedule is my way of compensating for that. :3 But whatever, even though those 21,000 words are total word vomit (as all first drafts are, I suppose), I'm using the advice of some famous writers to power through it, I'm proud of where I'm at right now, and I'm excited that I might actually make 50,000 before the end of the month, so yay! 8D

(And of course, you can add me over there if you haven't already.)

••• The Twilight Sad concert was Tuesday night, and it was as excellent and mind-blowing as I was hoping it was going to be.

Details under the cut... )

••• I've changed the layout of my LJ blog! ---> [livejournal.com profile] quadruplify The last one was more of a temporary thing because it was kinda ugly, so I hope y'all like this one more. ^_^;

Anyway, that's about it from me. How's everyone else doing?
quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
2012-10-28 10:21 pm

Here we go again...

So we have yet another huge storm bearing down on us. *sigh* The next two days are going to suck, for sure, but the only thing we can do is wait it out. Connecticut is under a state of emergency right now, my parents have already prepared for everything they could think of, and I can already hear the winds picking up outside. We're in a pretty safe area, but we're still anticipating a power outage -- or if the power doesn't go out, it just might be the TV and Internet that go out. We've been very lucky when Irene and the Halloween snowstorm last year hit (we lost TV and Internet for a few days with Irene, and we really lucked out with the snowstorm because we didn't lose anything at all), but I'm anticipating the worst. I can handle no TV and Internet, but no power....yeah, I admit I'm nervous about that. D: So if something does happen, you can still get in touch with me (I'll have my phone), but it might take me a little longer to get around to it.

(At least my sister is happy she got the next two days of school off. And that she's getting her braces off in January. But I guess that's neither here nor there. ^_^;)

In other news: I'm definitely doing NaNoWriMo this year! Feel free to add me over there if you like. :D I don't plan on getting too obsessed over it; the only goal for me is just to get back into the habit of writing because I haven't done it in so long, to see if it's something I still want to do. It seems to me the important thing about the challenge is getting the words down, and then editing and working with them later; if so, then that makes things a lot easier for me, because the main thing for me to do right now is getting over the hump and just doing it. The weird thing about depression is that sometimes, you can't wait until you're motivated and/or ready to do something; you have to start doing it so that the motivation and willpower follows. If that makes any sense. :P

This, of course, means I'm finally getting around to taking a much-needed hiatus from Tumblr. I've been planning on doing it for a while, and for other reasons than NaNo, but still...one less distraction, right?

And just today, another big website started following me on Twitter. I guess it's because I linked to one of their articles? Either way, it's still pretty cool, I guess. :3

I'm saving the best news for last: I'm going to see The Twilight Sad play in Hamden on Nov. 6th! I don't go to concerts nearly as often as I should (though it's mostly because I only have so much money, and I can't travel very far because the bands I really want to see generally don't stop by the area), and because it's one of my favorite bands I'm really looking forward to this. When I found out about it yesterday, I texted K because she's a fan as well; she bought tickets for the both of us, so it's definitely happening. It'll be the first time we meet up in the past couple of months too, so that's good. In any case, I'm excited. ^_^;

That's about it for me for now; for all of you out there waiting out the storm like I am, please stay safe! ;-)


quadruplify: John Watson (from BBC's Sherlock) standing in Buckingham Palace ([Sherlock] John - standing)
2012-10-24 09:16 pm

We're older now than I'd like to admit

CURRENT FAVORITES:
Bat For Lashes, "Marilyn"
Fuck Buttons, "Rough Steez"
Sky Ferreira, "Everything Is Embarrassing"
Yeasayer, "Fingers Never Bleed"
Yeasayer, "No Bones"

••• So, the trip to Vermont a little over a week ago went extremely well! We stayed at the Waybury Inn in a nicely decorated "rustic" room (I wish I took pictures of the place because I think some of you would've liked it), and had an excellent breakfast all three mornings we were there. We arrived Friday evening; I was feeling tired and a bit sick, we noticed the fall foliage was already past peak, and the weather was cold and raw (it even snowed at one point, though it didn't stick), but we managed to make the most of it. Dinner at Two Brothers was delicious as always, and afterward my mom wanted to see what was up with the Middlebury Art Walk -- an event once a month where stores stay open later on a Friday night and local businesses promote artists from the area -- so we walked around the center of town for a while. It turned out that there really wasn't much to see, though we did finally get around to visiting Otter Creek Used Books, the other "big" bookstore in town; it was anther one of those places that was filled to the brim with books, but it was loosely organized and you had to take the time to dig through tons of books to find anything that looked interesting.

More [including video and a picture] under the cut... )

••• Other than that, not much else has been going on. I finally got around to starting Richard O'Connor's Understanding Depression, which I got for Christmas after[personal profile] mmouse15 rec'd it to me, and I've been finding it very helpful; I even found parts of it connected a lot to parts of the Dalai Lama's talk regarding mindfulness and thinking of happiness as a skill rather than an emotion. Otherwise, ever since the trip to Vermont I've fallen back into the rut I've been in for the past few weeks now (partly because I was pretty wiped after doing so much). With my psoriasis trying to come back and the days getting shorter and colder as it is, all I've been doing is refreshing Tumblr/Twitter/LJ every five seconds, watching trash TV, and sleeping in. It's not as bad as it once was, and I certainly don't feel as guilty about my well-being right now, but it's still frustrating. Maybe I might actually do NaNoWriMo this year? I do feel more up to it than I was last year, so we'll have to wait and see. ^_^;



quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
2012-04-08 11:53 pm

I can't believe it's April already. O_o;

CURRENT FAVORITES:
The Glitch Mob, "Animus Vox"
Dirty Three, "Moon on the Land"
Dirty Three, "Rain Song"
Miike Snow, "Vase"
Retribution Gospel Choir, "The Stone (Revolution!)"
Shearwater, "Star of the Age"

Hope everyone had a great Easter/Passover! Our Easter weekend was pretty laid-back and not all that eventful; this afternoon we went to my aunt and uncle's house for Easter dinner, which included kielbasa, meat pie, babka bread, artichoke casserole, and a few other things (they also served deep-fried turkey and sweet potato casserole, but I didn't have those). My aunt and uncle also had a couple of their friends over; it's a bit rough whenever these friends come to their events because I'm supposed to act like I care about them even though I never see them anywhere else and I wouldn't hang out with them willingly, but things went pretty smoothly today. We also went to my dad's mom's house this evening to keep her company for a little bit, like we usually do whenever there's a holiday around. And on Friday my parents and I had dinner at Dusitra, the local Thai restaurant. Definitely one of the best meals I've had in a long time. The previous times we've been there, the food was okay but nothing to write home about; however, because the restaurant is under new management now, we decided to try it out again, and this time we certainly didn't regret it.

Nothing else all that interesting has been going on lately, so here's another quick linkdump:

--Fan-made Legend of Korra merchandise (YESPLZ 8DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD)

More under the cut... )



quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
2011-10-21 12:27 am

(no subject)

Of all the nights I really want to stay up really late, tonight's the night I can't. Fuck. =_=

Anyway, I have some good news to share:

You have to click the cut to find out... )

* I'm thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year. I do need a kick in the butt to get myself writing again, and since I still don't have a job and I have plenty of free time, why not? Good idea y/n?

* The reason why I have to go to bed early is because I'll be spending the weekend in Boston with my mom and sister, and we're leaving early in the morning. :P We're going to see my cousin at college because this weekend is their "Fall Family Weekend"/"open house," so we should definitely have a good time. The only thing that's gonna really suck about it is that Ex-Uncle and his ugly-on-the-inside wife will be meeting us at points, which is a huge DNW. But it'll be great to get to travel and see my aunt and cousin again! I'll be gone until Sunday night EDT; I'll still check LJ and (as much as possible) Tumblr on my phone, and if you want to get in touch with me I can PM you my contact info, but FYI I'm going to be a little bit more sparse this weekend than usual. (I also have AIM and Skype on my phone, but I'm not sure if I'll try that just yet.) Expect an awesome summary of everything when I get back, though. ;-)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
2011-08-07 12:39 am

Don't take the heroin(e)

It's been over a month since my last real post, which is the longest I've gone for some time now. And that's because, well........I haven't had much to really talk about. Lately I've been feeling less willing to write long entries in LJ/DW and more willing to just reblog stuff over at Tumblr ([tumblr.com profile] sarcasmisdead, for those of you who have a Tumblr who haven't added me yet and want to), which is far less taxing on my time and energy. (And LJ getting yet another bad DDoS attack isn't helping matters much. I know it's not at all LJ's fault, and I'm all for protecting free speech and political dissent, but as an LJ friend of mine put it, "LiveJournal is so last decade." And quite frankly, I'm starting to feel the same way.)

Other than Tumblr, though, very little has been going on that's been worth writing about. No trips, no interesting events, no cool movies/TV shows watched or books read, no new big musical obsessions or writing projects, no goals fulfilled. (Well, my mom did get a huge promotion at work. Even if the Rat Race™ is not your thing at all, that's gotta count for something, right?) Frankly, I'm a mess right now. I'm trying to take it easy, but I've been feeling even more empty and numb since I came back home from California. Not worthless, thank goodness no, just........not feeling all that alive (and to a certain extent, not really wanting to.)

But! Things will definitely be picking up over the next few weeks. I had my first appointment with my new psychiatrist on Thursday, and I'm starting treatment next week. I'm weaning myself off the sertraline (because it's clearly not working now), and I'll be starting talk therapy soon, which I'm hoping will be a big help. We'll see how this goes -- if this doesn't work out, then we're going to have to go elsewhere (which is going to be stressful, since it takes a while to actually schedule an appointment with a mental health professional, and then I'd have to go through the process over again), but we have to give it a shot first before we know for certain. (Then again, my new psychiatrist called me Batman. Maybe it won't be that bad after all? :3) I'm also going to start practicing driving again (I'm definitely getting my license by the end of this year), and I'm going to go for regular UV light treatments for my psoriasis because it's gotten out of control.

And most importantly, meeting [livejournal.com profile] two_grey_rooms in New Haven tomorrow! (Well, technically today, but still.) It's the first time I'm meeting someone I first met on LJ in RL, so I'm a little nervous about it, but I think smashing times will be had. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

So yeah, I'll be a little bit more busy pretty soon, and even though change is always going to be at least somewhat painful (LESS TIME ON THE GLORIOUS INTERNET? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! D:), it's all going to be for the best.

Sorry I've been such a shitty online friend lately, so let's try and catch up! How are you all doing? Is there anything you need to let me know about? Anything I missed? Anything else you want to say? Anything at all? ^_^;

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

And we'll end this with a couple of memes I've been meaning to do for a while now. ([livejournal.com profile] hairspray, [profile] kalaryx, and [livejournal.com profile] meaisin_caoin, I know you asked me questions for that 5-question meme that was going around forever ago. I won't answer them just yet, but I promise I will get around to it very soon. Trust me! XD)

What Transformer are you? )

What color are you? )

The Sorting Hat Test....? )
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
2011-06-08 01:29 am

There's nothing quite like the blinding lights that curtains cast aside

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)
2011-05-30 02:28 am

I don't want to have to be dead to know peace

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)
2011-04-13 05:59 pm

25 Days Music Meme [2-4/25]

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)
2011-04-03 01:19 am

Villains of the moon

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