quadruplify: ([LoK] Amon - mask)
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: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
--SimCity 5's Multiplayer Blues  (I ended up having a lot more feelings about the new SimCity than I expected. I loved playing SimCity 3000 back when it was a thing, and part of the appeal was that I DIDN'T have to work and cooperate with others to play the game; I could build a city on my own, with whatever vision I liked. I'd be interested in playing this new version, but the offline DIY ethos of the previous games was what made it interesting, so it'll take a while getting used to.

Plus, part of the reason why I've spent most of my life NOT playing video game [or Second Life, for that matter] is because of the interacting with complete strangers that tends to happen. I'm extremely shy and self-conscious, and it's hard enough for me to talk to new people in other contexts as it is -- and people can be REALLY immature when playing video games, which makes me uncomfortable. IDK, I'd much rather start playing with people I already know if I have to.

And then there's the fact that you have to be online in order to play it, which I don't like at all. Considering we've lost Internet access for days on end before, I'd like to be able to play games to pass the time in a situation like that, and with something like SimCity 5 it wouldn't be possible. That is,
if I could play it in the first place without EA fucking it up. Seriously, I think we all know by now how disastrous the rollout this week has been. :PPP)

--Neither Pro-Life Nor Pro-Choice Can Solve the Selective Abortion Crisis
--8 things the U.S. election system could learn from Mexico's
--Mars mission poses greater risk to human life than NASA would allow
--Soon they'll be able to 3D-print you a hybrid car
--Our brains, and how they're not as simple as we think
--No, Our Solar System Is NOT a "Vortex"  (debunking myths made by a popular viral video)
--A Supermassive Ice Age May Have Led to Complex Life on Earth
--Why U.S. Politicians Think Americans Are So Conservative When They're Not  (and yet I still see way too many Tea Partiers on Facebook :/)
--Are popular scientists becoming modern day preachers?
--Astronauts Traveling to Mars Could Be Protected By a Poop Shield
--The Mixed Results of Male Authors Writing Female Characters
--The Benefits of Optimism Are Real
--One of the best places to search for alien life is the last that you'd expect
--"South African Violence" Only Explains the Pistorius Case If He's Not Guilty
--Invasive species? This sushi chef rolls with it  (this is a profile of the sushi restaurant K. and I went to last summer)
--The Birth of a Planet, Observed From Earth
--We Aren't the World   (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- on how culture shapes our fundamental beliefs, perception, and ways of thinking more than anyone could have expected, and how dangerous it is that science ignores this fact)
--Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?

And because I haven't done one of these in a while, a meme:

So I took a 'What Harry Potter character are you?' test. Does anyone familiar with the series think this is right? )


quadruplify: Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) with forehead on microphone, eyes closed ([Music] The National - microphone)
I'm only doing another one of these so soon after the last one because my browser has quickly become cluttered with tabs and I need to close them out so my computer doesn't run as slowly. ^_^; I promise I'll have an RL update ready by the end of the week; I'm not feeling quite up to it just yet.

--Context: How Do You Play Football?  (on middle school trick plays and how it relates to sociology, of all things)
--Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gun Violence in America
--How to save a public library: Make it a seed bank
--Why People Choose Cars, Even When Mass Transit Would Serve Them Better
--Why I play violent video games  (on how geek culture breeds sexism and misogyny, and the ways violent video games are nothing more than exercises in wish fulfillment for sad fantasists)
--I am an adult who likes kid stuff. And that's okay.  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
--How to Cook on Mars
--How Owls Turn Their Heads
--For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II
--The Assault-Weapons Ban Isn't Happening -- Get Over It
--How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets
--21 Signs You're From Connecticut  (a lot of it is hyperbole, of course, but some of it is so true D:)
--11 Reasons to Ditch Your Television  (something I'll probably do if/when I get my own place; I really don't get the appeal of most of the TV shows everyone keeps talking about, so while sometimes I feel like I'm missing out, it's not often. Plus, at least 90% of what I've seen on TV over the past few years has been shit anyway. :P)
--A photo of wolves being needlessly adorable
--Giphy, a search engine for GIFs  (finally!)


quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
--Tiny new (?) spider species creates large spider puppets to scare away predators
--24 places that look not normal, but are actually real  (I believe I shared some of these on Tumblr before, but I've never seen some of these before, and here they are, all in one place ~_^)
--AP Credit Will No Longer Be Accepted at Dartmouth  (I really don't know how I feel about this; on one hand, I get where they're coming from after reading this article and realizing it lined up really nicely with my experiences with AP classes in high school, but on the other hand, the issue is a lot more complicated, as the comments to this article prove. The only benefits I got from AP at college was that I was able to skip one of my required classes for my major, and I started off with 5 credits so I could take 3 classes some semesters instead of the usual 4. I really didn't feel like my AP classes prepared me that much for college at all, but a part of me is still glad I took them.)
--Glowing full moon credenza  (I'd like something like this too, even though it must be ridiculously expensive :PPP)
--How Forks Gave Us Overbites and Pots Saved the Toothless
--How Facebook affects your memory
--10 false facts most people think are true
--How Game Theory Explains Washington's Horrible Gridlock
--Kendrick Lamar's Forever War  (on hip-hop and the myth of "noble violence")
--The End of Labor: How to Protect Workers From the Rise of Robots
--Why You Can't Cry in Space
--Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown, Connecticut
--Amateur Astronomers Discover 42 Alien Planets
--Dr. Carin Bondar's "Wild Sex"  (NSFW obviously)
--Should science fiction and fantasy do more than entertain?
--Anonymous and encouraging message posted in university restroom
--Antarctica takes out its frustration on the children of the 1%  (I'm only sharing this for the comments, which [strangely enough] are far better than the article)


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: Amon (from the Legend of Korra) speaking at an Equalist protest, fist raised in the air ([LoK] Amon - revolution)
••• 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: Gay pride parade participant, dressed as astronaut, holding sign that reads: "Gay Astronaut Association Members: 1" ([Other] LGBTQ+ - gay astronaut)
I need to go to bed somewhat early tonight, so I'll try to keep this short:

--Now that I've been off Tumblr for a while now, I've started to work my way through the backlog of movies I've been meaning to see for the longest time now. I don't have time to review each one, so I'll just list them:

Movies that were great:
Movies that sucked tremendously:

Guilty pleasures:
If you want me to explain why I classified these movies the way I did, feel free to ask me in the comments.

--I've slowly started taking steps to take on more independence and responsibility and deal with my depression in more proactive ways; I've been driving on a more regular basis, I've been doing my own laundry, and on Sunday I cooked my own dinner. Spinach linguini with cooked bell peppers, celery, and scallions, to be exact. I still needed some guidance, of course, and I charred the vegetables a little bit, but other than that it came out perfectly. XD Obviously many people already do these things on a regular basis and take them for granted, but these are little victories I need to relish however I can. ^_^;

I've also been going to different places in the area we haven't been to before; the weekend before last my dad and I went to Books & Co., a small used bookstore in Hamden, and we were very impressed by it! Sadly, there aren't a lot of indie bookstores in our area, so it was good to find one by chance and support it however we could. Most of the books there are mainstream/literary fiction, and they also sell greeting cards and jewelry made by local artists. Oh yeah, all the books they sell are half off list price, so if you want a good deal....8D I couldn't resist buying a few books while I was there (Assia Djebar's Children of the New World, Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, and Ntozake Shange's Betsy Brown), and they served a great chai latte at their café too.

And last weekend we checked out Redscroll Records in Wallingford, which also turned out to be pretty great. It's a small store that focuses on alternative/metal/hardcore/punk (they even sell zines there, which isn't too surprising to me since I know there are people out there who still make them, but still), and lots of vinyl if you're into that sort of thing (my dad ended up finding records he hadn't seen for 30-40 years), but there is something for just about everyone there. (Hey [personal profile] two_grey_rooms, it's better than Cutler's, trust me. XD) I ended up buying Soundtracks by Can and the Zol! EP from BLK JKS, as well as two used DVDs -- The Fall and Fargo, the latter of which I rewatched recently and was just as awesome as I remembered it to be.

--So the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra came out this weekend. And it was AMAZING. And AWESOME. And all those other adjectives I like to overuse when I really, really enjoy something. XD No spoilers, but this GIF just about sums it up:



Ugh why do we have to wait another month for the new episodes to come out D:

Seriously though, if you haven't seen this already, you should, even if you aren't familiar with A:tLA or its fandom. If you missed it when it was online this weekend, leave me a comment and I'll see what I can do. ;-)

(BTW, glad to see Community is back on the air too! Wasn't too impressed with last week's episode, but here's hoping this week's will be better.)

--Some links that I think might be of interest to some of you:
--And finally, a meme I ganked from [livejournal.com profile] iron_valkyrie:

Which kind of bender are you? )


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

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

Details under the cut... )

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

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

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

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

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

Hope everyone else is feeling well!

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