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: 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: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons (Default)
The demise of a social media platform: Tracking LiveJournal's decline

Once universally praised for founder Brad Fitzpatrick’s open-source platform and commitment to a free userbase—he once vowed that LiveJournal would always have basic (non-paying or ad-supported) accounts—LiveJournal is known these days mostly for being popular in Russia (the Russian name for blogging is “LJ.”) and Singapore, and for housing gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t.

What happened?


I know I already posted this on Twitter and Plurk, but I'm sharing it here too in case you haven't seen it yet -- thanks to [personal profile] mmouse15 for pointing it out. It's a good summary of everything that's gone wrong with LJ over the past five years, and if nothing else, it makes me realize that the people who've abandoned the site are never coming back. Which is sad, because I've always used LJ as a way to keep in touch with people, and I'm too shy/anxious to contact them through other means, especially if we weren't that close. The thought of "reconnecting" with people I've never actually gotten close to to begin with is extremely awkward, and I never know how to go about it. :<

I guess it's just as well that so many people have abandoned LJ, because today embedded videos don't seem to be loading right. Typical, really. =_=


quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
So a few weeks ago, I met a lot of people through various friending memes....and then I just disappear off the face of the Internet, without even so much as leaving comments on the journals of the new friends I've made.

Oops.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I figure this time's as good as any to write a new intro post, since I haven't done that in a while:

I'm James ([personal profile] quadruplify), I'm 22 and I live in Connecticut.  I graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont this past May with a bachelor's in environmental studies, and unfortunately I haven't found any stable employment since then.  Because of that, I'm currently living at home with my parents, 14-year-old sister, and grandmother.  Right now I'm in a rather annoying rut, and because of that not much is really going on in my life, so I won't be posting very often around here in the near future.  I was diagnosed with depression last year, and I'm in therapy for it right now; please be aware that I will be writing about mental health issues on occasion, as it's a big part of my life right now.

I tend to be on the shy and introverted side, and I don't always like being the one initiating a conversation, so yeah, there's that.  ^_^;  I don't always comment on people's entries (sometimes because I don't have anything to say or don't know what to say), but I do take the time to read all of them, and just because I don't talk to you that often doesn't mean I won't feel some concern for you if you're going through a hard time.

Politics are very important to me, and I'm interested in keeping up with current events.  My politics can be best described as being leftist/left-of-center; much of the Democratic Party and mainstream "progressives" tend to be too conservative/right-wing for my tastes, but I don't see myself as a radical/communist/anarchist either.  I'm sympathetic with so-called "social justice" movements (feminism, anti-racism, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, disability activism, etc.) and their basic tenets, so you'll occasionally see me talk about those kinds of things here.  I enjoy thoughtful, nuanced discussion of social and political issues (especially when they relate to people's personal lives) and wanting to get to the bottom of why things are the way they are, and hopefully I'll start doing some activism and volunteer work in the near future.

I'm also gay (though I'm not really out to anyone IRL except for a select few) and an atheist (but not one of those douchey Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens-type atheists; I find them to be really annoying and intolerant), which also influences my views, I guess.  :3

Music also plays a pretty big role in my life; I tend to gravitate toward "indie," post-rock, electronica, shoegaze, post-punk, and anything that leans toward the experimental side.  My current favorite band is The National, and if you browse my Last.FM page or my music tag, you can get a better glimpse of the stuff I like more than I could explain on my own.  XD

And yes, I'm a fandom person as well!  I'm a big anime fan, and my favorites right now include Durarara!! (I help mod [livejournal.com profile] durarara, actually), Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes; other fandoms I'm into include Avatar: the Last Airbender, Community, and BBC's Sherlock.  And I'm very much a fan of slash as well -- all kinds of slash!  :D  That said, I tend to be more of a dabbler/lurker in fandoms than an active participant; I prefer geeking out with a few people I know well over putting myself out there.  Don't expect me to talk too much about them, but I do like discussing my favorite shows/movies/fandoms when I feel like it.  ;-)  (I also don't have any real celebrity crushes, although Tom Hardy certainly comes close.  8D)

I enjoy reading, writing, learning languages (especially Italian and Japanese), travel, and tai chi -- all of which I don't do nearly enough of, of course.  ^_^;  And some cool things that have happened in my life thus far include being in Italy when the Italian national team won the World Cup in 2006, being interviewed by Radio Taiwan International, and taking classes with professors who have made appearances on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and the New York Times bestseller list.  :D

And this is what I look like.  Obviously I'm not the best at taking pictures of myself, but there you go.  :P

Here are some other places you can find me:

Dreamwidth: [personal profile] quadruplify -- I'm trying to start using this more often as opposed to LJ, though I crosspost everything to both places so you won't be missing much.  I have three invites, in case anyone wants one.

Tumblr: [tumblr.com profile] sarcasmisdead -- This is actually where I am most of the time, mostly because IT'S JUST THAT ADDICTIVE.  :PPP  My Tumblr is mostly a collection of what's going on in my headspace at any given time: things I like, things I find interesting or thought-provoking or hot or beautiful, things that are important, and things I find just plain cool.  I tend to use my Tumblr more for link-dumps, music sharing, and fandom, while my LJ/DW is more for IRL goings-on.

Plurk: [plurk.com profile] democracies -- For anything that's too short to be put onto my LJ/DW.  ^_^;

Twitter: [twitter.com profile] quadruplify -- I use this mostly for following interesting accounts and talking to friends.  I do post on here occasionally, though mostly I just crosspost from Plurk.

Last.FM: [last.fm profile] naok31 -- To keep track of the music I listen to

Goodreads: HERE -- To keep track of the books I read

Also, my AIM screenname is mecteol, my username on Skype is subterraneanhomesick, and if you search for mecteol@gmail.com on MSN I'm available there too.  Mostly, though, I'm most active on Tumblr, Plurk, and Twitter these days, so if you contact me through those you'll get the fastest response.

So that's pretty much it -- sorry if this is tl;dr, but I tried my best, right?  XD  Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them.  Nice to meet you all!  *waves*

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
Because I'm too lazy to do any sort of end-of-year/New Year's Resolutions post right now, so y'all get this. Happy New Year's everyone! Hope it's a good one. :D


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
First of all, a quick reminder for those of you who didn't catch it the first time: If you'd like a Christmas/holiday card from me, go here. Feel free to ask for one even if we haven't talked a lot. ;-)

Anyway, I figure I might as well finally get around to answering these questions:

- Comment with "Hit me!" or whatever else you want to comment with.
- I'll respond by asking you five questions.
- Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
- Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people (if you want).


Responses to questions from hairspray, kalaryx, and neonstilettos under the cut... )

And here's another meme from [livejournal.com profile] hairspray, because I can't resist:



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)
First off, a warm welcome to [livejournal.com profile] archy_the_roach!  Glad to meet you, and if you have any questions about me don't be afraid to ask!  ;-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, that's about it for me right now. How is everyone else doing?
quadruplify: Stuart Staples (lead singer of Tindersticks) surrounded by pigeons ([Music] Tindersticks - pigeons)
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)
1. [livejournal.com profile] demoneyeskyo87 and [livejournal.com profile] misskalloway, I got your Christmas cards in the mail recently. Thanks so much! :D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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