quadruplify: John Watson (from BBC's Sherlock) standing in Buckingham Palace ([Sherlock] John - standing)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
••• 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)
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)
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: Shizuo Heiwajima (from Durarara!!) yelling ([DRRR] Shizuo - angry)
--Sex in Space Could Be Deadly  (D:)
--Many Working-Class Women Are Already Leaning In  (on the growing activism of low-income and working-class women in the U.S.)
--The Political Dead-End of Christianism  (a Catholic philosophical perspective in support of same-sex marriage)
--Why New Zealand is officially, earnestly upset about Argo
--American teacher in Japan under fire for lessons on Japan's history of discrimination
--Babies like people who injure babies not like them  (on how some prejudice actually IS inherent and not just taught; the link also has information about the link between political turmoil and HIV treatment, the recent finding of habitable planets outside of our solar system, and how stereotypes hold women in science back)
--10 Superhero Traits Tech Will Bestow
--Ancient Mars Had Conditions Suitable for Life  (I was skeptical about this at first, but when Phil Plait says it's probably right, chances are it is)
--The Emotional Psychology of a Two-Party System
--Some Theories on Why Men Don't Do As Many Household Tasks
--Why Daylight Saving Time Is Pointless
--We're Screwed: 11,000 Years' Worth of Climate Data Prove It  (DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:)
--What Teens Get About the Internet That Parents Don't  (a good article to share for parents or other adults in your life who ~don't get it~ XD)
--'Women Own 1% of World Property': The Feminist Myth That Won't Die  (on why it's important to fact-check EVERYTHING)
--How to Resurrect Lost Species
--Feminism needs to include men to obtain equality for all  (some might find this article ventures too far into "but what about teh menz?!" territory for their liking, but the central point about why the word "feminism" has such a negative connotation is legit)


quadruplify: Julian Minci (from Legend of the Galactic Heroes) sticking his tongue out in disgust ([LoGH] Julian - yuck)
First of all, thanks a lot to whoever sent me a valentine on [personal profile] tf_valentines! I wasn't expecting it at all, but I appreciate it all the same, and it made my day. XD All right, now on to today's links:

--The Hard Lessons of Oscar Pistorius  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- on how the factors that make certain people wildly successful and accomplished in what they do end up hurting them, and why highly successful people do stupid and horrible things more often than the rest of us)
--How to read like a writer
--Azealia Banks and the Other "F" Word in 2013  (as someone who's frequently heard that word used as a homophobic slur against me and other people, it makes me sick that some people think it no longer has a homophobic meaning just because they say so)
--Toward a Black Jesse James  (on why mass murderers like Christopher Dorner don't deserve to be praised -- "I don't really know how anyone, with any sort of coherence, adopts Christopher Dorner as a symbol in the fight against police brutality, given how he brutalized those two human beings. I cannot understand, except to say that sometimes our own anger, our pain, becomes so blinding that we fail to see the pain of others. This is the seed of inhumanity, and inhumanity is the seed of the very police brutality which we all deplore.")
--California highway dig reveals four new whale species
--What Food Desert Maps Get Wrong About How People Eat  (on how trying to determine where "food deserts" are is more complicated than you'd think)
--Fibonacci Flim-Flam  (on how attempts to make science cool and popular can lead to harmful misinformation)
--Did This New Hampshire Woman Take Part in the Rwandan Genocide?  (on why bringing people to justice is messy, difficult, and leads to bad outcomes)
--Sex on Mars: A Dangerous Love Story
--This Bionic Hand Will Let an Amputee Feel Again
--The Internet's Kevin Bacon Effect: Any Web Page Can Be Accessed From Any Other in Just 19 Clicks
--The Obama Administration's 10-Year Plan to Map the Entire Human Brain
--Do Colors Look the Same For All of Us?
--The 5 Most Frequently Misused Proverbs
--5 Groundbreaking Firsts That Your History Books Lied About
--Male as the Neutral Default
--The Tesla/NY Times fight is a sideshow  (on the complications electric cars still face in order to be taken seriously)
--The Art of Infinite War, Ctd.: The Administration's Drone Campaign
--Why We'll Probably Never Build a Space Elevator  (;_;)
--Sony Files Patent to Make TV Ads Into Video Games  (this is actually pretty scary if you think about it D:)
--What Would Happen If the 2012 DA14 Asteroid Actually Hit Earth?
--It's Time For Hollywood to Make a Same-Sex Romantic Comedy
--Teach For America's hidden curriculum
--Maybe dogs really can talk!
--Coming out to my wife  (on rethinking traditionally-held ideas about marriage, monogamy, and cheating)
--White Girl Privilege and the Problem of Blaming All Men  (a.k.a. why "misandry 4 lyfe" jokes on Tumblr are bad and why you should feel bad for making them)


quadruplify: Lin Bei Fong (from the Legend of Korra) looking shocked and/or surprised ([LoK] Lin - surprised)
Another one so soon? Well, yeah...I have way too many tabs open as usual, as I have to close out most of them before my computer crashes. :/

--Aziz Ansari gets candid about love: "Elusive and sadly ephemeral"  (a really enlightening interview on just how complicated it is to find and build relationships, especially romantic ones, which isn't as pessimistic as Ansari is afraid it is)
--Why finding love is like finding alien intelligence
--12 Rude Revelations About Sex  (I don't know why, but the more I read this the more tempted I was to be celibate for the rest of my life D:)
--The Last Time a Pope Resigned, Mass Media Was Called ... Mass
--Science Confirms the Obvious: Men and Women Aren't That Different
--The Human Race Will Come to an End. What's Next?
--Kids Are Still Drawing 1900s Idea of What Dinosaurs Looked Like
--No, An Asteroid Is NOT Going to Hit Earth in 2106
--The Only Problem With Your Argument Is You  (on the psychological underpinnings of why politics is so contentious, and why gridlock between political parties happens, and explains a LOT about political discourse on the Internet)
--$100 Million to Know Why NFLers Die Young? Here's Why, For Free
--The Art of Infinite War  (Ta-Nehisi Coates absolutely nails it as always :D)
--Former Political Scientist to Congress: Please Defund Political Science
--Don't Forget to Live  (on the ways pushing yourself and striving for success can go over the top)
--Robo-Eye to Enter US Market
--Thriving since 1960, a garden in a bottle: Seedling sealed in its own ecosystem and watered just once in 53 years
--The history of Pad Thai  (includes a recipe)
--The Only Black Guy At the Indie Rock Show  (a black man's experiences involving race and culture in a predominately white scene -- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
--Why You're So Afraid of Change (And What You Can Do About It)  (this connects a lot with the articles "The Human Race Will Come to an End...", "The Only Problem...", and "Don't Forget to Live")
--The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Streaming Blocked Content Overseas  (could be useful if you're trying to watch shows on BBC iPlayer outside the UK)
--Mogwai: A beginner's guide  (to one of my favorite bands ^_^;)
--DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland -- that quickly disappeared


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
We got a lot more snow around here than we thought we were going to get -- about 3 ft/1m of snow, to be exact. Which meant we were snowed in pretty much all day yesterday, and things aren't much better today since all 15 of the town's snowplows just had to get stuck. :P I just feel really bad for everyone who has to break their backs get rid of all the snow from the roads, driveways, parking lots, etc. -- I'm kinda glad I didn't have to do any of that, but I'm also a little guilty about it at the same time. :/ At least we didn't lose power or cable this time around, which helped things a lot.

So in lieu of an update in which Interesting Things™ have Happened™ -- another one of these posts. I'm glad many of you are liking them, though I worry if some of you are getting a bit tired of these by now. ^_^;

--How the Streetlight Effect keeps scientists in the dark
--Political failure modes and the beige dictatorship  (an attempt to explain general malaise, distrust, and cynicism in today's global politics -- lots of attempts toward a kind of political theory are used, and the comments actually do a good job of furthering the discussion)
--Why you're probably not as rational as you think you are -- and what you can do about it
--The Great Filter theory suggests humans have already conquered the threat of extinction
--Why do mirrors reverse left and right, but not top and bottom?
--Why Star Trek phasers don't exist yet  (a.k.a. "If you're wondering why we don't have cool things like jetpacks and laser weapons yet, there are very very good reasons why")
--Could an Explosion Really Knock You Over Like in the Movies?
--How NASA Prevents a Space Plague Outbreak
--University of British Columbia gives all female tenure-stream faculty a 2% raise
--Why science and technology need the social sciences and humanities
--Proving and Quantifying Sexism
--The Study That Could Upend Everything We Thought We Knew About Declining Urban Crime
--Visualizing How Poorly Amtrak's Route Network Serves Most of the U.S.
--And Now Let Us Praise, and Consider the Absurd Luck of, Famous Men  (on how much more "success" hinges on sheer chance than anyone could possibly dream of)
--First ever: UK scientists use 3D printer to print human stem cells
--Revolutionary grilled cheese sandwich replaces bread with more cheese  (at first I was like OMG MUST HAVE, but now I'm not so sure D:)



quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
--There's No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science)
--This Pod of Sperm Whales Would Like to Teach You a Lesson About Humanity
--At What Age Will You Stop Using Facebook?
--Rediscovered: "Revolver," long lost Carl Sandburg poem about guns and their evil power
--The Lonely Existence of Mel Feit, Men's Rights Advocate  (interesting and nuanced, and helps advance the discussion on what role men play in feminist movements, even though I couldn't help but go "lol MRAs" at the whole thing)
--The Party of John Calhoun  (on the GOP's latest attempt to divide electoral votes in each state by congressional district, which would rig future elections in their favor and is REALLY FUCKING DISTURBING and something every American needs to know about)
--Why you shouldn't abandon LJ for Tumblr  (a partial explanation of why I needed to take a break from Tumblr, perhaps permanently)
--Steep.it, an online timer for tea steeping
--Foxygen and the Diminishing Returns of '60s Revivalism  (on why it's misguided and dangerous to fetishize the past, especially the 1960s, and helps explain why I prefer new music to retreads of past trends)
--Asteroid-Mining Project Aims for Deep Space Colonies
--Are We Meant to Live on Mars?
--Earth May Have Been Hit By a Cosmic Blast 1200 Years Ago
--It might not get weirder than this  (a first-timer's trip to North Korea)
--The Tough New Obama Isn't So Tough -- And That's Why He's Winning
--Separate and Unequal in the U.S. Military  (on the struggles same-sex couples in the military still face)
--Wait, People Thought Vitaminwater Was Good for You?
--Would More Drivers Use Public Transit If It Mimicked Private Cars?
--Are Some Cities Doomed Never to Catch Up?
--Trickster and tricked: All gurus try to undermine their followers' egos and expectations, so does it matter if the teacher is a real fraud?  (This is partially a review of the movie Kumare, which I've mentioned on here before. It's a really good takedown of modern spiritual movements and their appeal, even if I don't really agree with the author that Kumare was as shallow as he says it is.)
--Could Human Enhancement Turn Soldiers Into Weapons That Violate International Law? Yes
--All the episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender streaming online. I'm told these are going to be up for a "limited time"; I don't know how long that's going to be, but if you haven't seen this series yet, here's your chance. You have no excuse now. XD


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
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)
So here's my schedule for the next eek:

SAUTRDAY
--bang out my take-home exam (8-12 pp.) for Politics of Virtual Realities, considering I already have it outlined
--start prep work for my Japanese lit paper (12 pp.)

SUNDAY
--finish Japanese lit paper prep work
--write first 6-7 pp. of Japanese lit paper

MONDAY
--finish Japanese lit paper
--hand both papers in (since they're due in the afternoon)

TUESDAY - WEDNESDAY - THURSDAY
--cram for my African Politics exam (and maybe go to office hours?)

FRIDAY 5/13
--African Politics exam (9 AM-noon)
--rejoice in being DONE WITH COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah, this is going to be a hellish weekend, but I've been through worse.  It doesn't help that I have zero motivation to do any of this, and my allergies are really acting up on me (my eyes are itchy like hell, and Zyrtec is only helping a little bit), but I'm going to try to stick to this plan for once.  We'll see how it goes.  :P

In any case, other than procrastinating on Tumblr, I'll probably be scarce around these parts for a couple of days, at least until Monday.  And not much happened this week, except:

a.) Verbal Onslaught on Thursday (which I didn't perform in, alas, mostly because I hadn't been feeling good recently, though I'm slowly starting to get better)
b.) going to the bar with some people from my Social Movements class Wednesday night (I didn't have anything, mostly because the meds would screw with me if I did), where I listened to stories of some of the stupid irresponsible things they did while being all-out drunk (which annoys the hell out of me, in case you haven't guessed already), though this was improved somewhat by one young woman who told stories about, among other things, the time she was doing an environmental journalism project in Kansas and met a man who helped her a lot, even though he was also a registered sex offender who ran an illegal back-room sex shop called Hillbilly's and pressured her into buying an $80 extra-large dildo nicknamed "the Great American Challenge"
c.) a lecture on sexual identity and mental health on Tuesday
d.) this week's episode of Community (OMG SO AWESOME :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD)

And that's about it, I guess.  I really need to go to bed soon, so I can get a good night's sleep (since I won't be getting one for quite a while) and just get everything out of the way as quickly as possible.  Hope everyone else out there is doing all right.  ;-)

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Good:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for the meme:

Previous songs under the cut... )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous days behind the cut... )

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



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

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

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

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

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
I really feel like crap right now; I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights, and I've been waking up much earlier than I normally do, which is just extremely frustrating.  So in the meantime, have another meme, stolen from [livejournal.com profile] gingeynary :

Name a character from one of my fandoms, and I will reply saying:
* How I FEEEEEL about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.

I'm not interested in answering questions about Transformers right now, but characters from any other fandom you know I'm familiar with are fair game.  ^_^;

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
Bored again, so have a meme post. ;-)

A. Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] tohellwithromeo and [livejournal.com profile] strawberrymello:

DisorderRating
Paranoid Disorder:Moderate
Schizoid Disorder:Moderate
Schizotypal Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Disorder:Moderate
Borderline Disorder:Low
Histrionic Disorder:Low
Narcissistic Disorder:Low
Avoidant Disorder:Very High
Dependent Disorder:High
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:Moderate

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --
-- Personality Disorders --



When I took this the last time, I had "High" or "Very High" results all over the place. Glad to see I'm doing better! XD

B. One of those fill-in-the-form thingies, only because there are some new people here (stolen from [livejournal.com profile] edge_chan):

1. Name:
2. Birthday:
3. Where do you live:
4: What are you studying/What are you working as:
5. What makes you happy:
6. What are you listening to now/have listened to last:
7. An interesting fact about you:
8. Are you in love/have a crush at the moment:
9. Favorite place to be:
10. Favorite lyric:
11. Best time of the year:
12. Weirdest food you like:

RECOMMEND
1. A film:
2. A book:
3. A song:
4: A band:

FANDOM
1. Favorite Fandom:
2. OTP/OT3:
3. Icon/Fic Journal (so I can join):

PLUS
1. One thing you like about me:
2. Two things you like about yourself:
3. Put this in your lj so I can tell you what I think of you?


C. Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] hairspray:
you're my sweetheart!


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

Anyway, here are some pertinent links:

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

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

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

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



What's better than reenacting movie scenes IRL? )

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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