quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
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: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking mildly pissed off ([LoK] Lin - pissed off)
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: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
A couple of days ago I received a Christmas card from [livejournal.com profile] kattidya, so thank you very much for that! :D

Speaking of Christmas cards, I'm sure it's become obvious I'm not doing them this year, what with it being three days away and all that. :P Sorry if any of you out there were expecting one, but if you'd really like one and don't mind it being horribly late, just let me know and I'll be more than happy to work something out. (And the same goes if you'd like sending something to me.)

Not much has been going on with me; I'm still in that big funk I mentioned the last time I updated, and this didn't help matters one bit. So ... a brief linkdump, because I haven't done one of these in a while, and I need to show myself I haven't entirely been wasting my time. These articles have made me think about or reevaluate a lot of things lately, and they might have the same impact on some of you.

--The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going to Miss Almost Everything
--Physicists testing to see if universe is a computer simulation (a.k.a. "Scientists try to prove The Matrix is actually real")
--7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable (this expresses pretty much how I feel re: the cynicism and jadedness many young people feel today, explaining why it bothers me so much better than I ever could)
--6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person (obviously there are parts that rub me the wrong way, namely the fact that some people will never achieve the kind of success David Wong talks about due to their lack of privilege, and that sometimes the idea of productivity can be detrimental to one's health and well-being, but his central message is worth considering, and has helped me put some things in perspective)
--5 Reasons Humanity Desperately Wants Monsters to Be Real (this explains SO MUCH about human nature like you wouldn't believe)
--5 Reasons Life Actually Does Get Better

I likely won't be posting anything until after Christmas, so to anyone reading this (especially those who celebrate), Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. ;-)


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
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)
I got a Christmas card from [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway the other day, so thank you very much for that! :D

Speaking of Christmas cards, I plan on sending them out on Monday, or Tuesday at the very latest. It's definitely cutting it close, and for those who asked for one, you'll most likely receive them late (especially if you live outside the U.S.), but they will be coming soon, I promise. ;-)

Also, since the first holiday love meme I linked to in my last post filled up, here's part 2, if you haven't gotten a chance to comment on it and want to. Thanks for those of you who have already!

The past couple of weeks I've been working at my mom's workplace as a paper-pusher again; it's as extremely boring as it usually is, but I've been making a decent amount of money that should keep me going for a little bit. Hopefully in 2012 I can get a more stable job, but that'd require me actually making the effort to look. :P Ah well, I think I'll ride out the next couple of weeks and then start putting myself out there after the first of the year. That should work out, no?

Anyway, before I forget I should tell you about this anti-Islamophobia campaign a friend of mine from college has started. It's called "Say Salaam," and it involves people making videos of themselves saying the Arabic greeting "as-salaam alaikum" ("peace be with you") as an expression of solidarity against stereotypes, hate crimes, bullying, and hate against Islam in general. It's a campaign that's very much in the vein of It Gets Better, and while it has its problems much like IGB does, I honestly think it has the potential to become something big (and I'm not just saying this because someone I know is spearheading it XD). Here's the video he posted to kick things off, and you can find more info at [tumblr.com profile] saysalaam. Even if you can't make a video yourself, please spread the word!  I'd love to see this take off.  ^_^;

And after reading it on-and-off for five months, I finally got around to finishing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle -- it had some really interesting and powerful parts, but all in all it was really, really open-ended, and in a not-all-that-compelling way either.  Good, but not one of Murakami's best.  I've also started on Adam Haslett's Union Atlantic; I've been enjoying it quite a bit, even though it's rather simplistic and maybe a bit clichéd, especially compared to something like Wind-Up.  I'm going to reserve judgment until I finish it, though.

I've also taken a break from reading Homestuck -- probably permanently, from the way things look.  :(  Maybe because I was reading it on-and-off too, but by the time I hit the beginning of Act 5 I pretty much lost my ability to care about what was going on. I mean, I get why it's so popular, it just doesn't seem to be doing anything to me, y'know?  Unless I still haven't gotten to the "good part" yet or whatever.  :/

And then there was all those Legend of Korra leaks a couple of weekends ago.  Yeah, old news is old at this point, but whatever, I'm still excited.  8D

Other than the fact that I've been trying to be more active on Plurk recently ([plurk.com profile] democracies , for those who are interested), that's really about all the notable stuff that's happened with me recently.  Which still isn't much, sadly, but hopefully that'll change with the new year.  I'll leave y'all with some songs I've been obsessed with lately, since I haven't done that in a while:

Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
The National, "I Need My Girl"  (new songs from The National?  YESPLZ :DDDDDDDDDDDD)
The National, "Rylan"
Sleigh Bells, "Rill Rill"
Tindersticks, "Medicine"
Lana Del Rey, "Born to Die"
Moby, "Extreme Ways"
Friends, "I'm His Girl"  (a.k.a. the current guilty pleasure)

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)

If you're also on here, I'll try to get to you relatively soon, JSYK.  ;-)

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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