update: me

Apr. 20th, 2009 11:53 am
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (oniisamae-madworld-me)
1) My conference in Pasadena went OK after all. I have follow-up stuff I need to do, but that's OK. Everything I had to do got done and I only screwed up a little bit. I got to see [livejournal.com profile] nathan_long in person for the first time even though we've known each other online for more than a decade, and we discovered even more random things in common. I saw my friend Ejen for the first time since I moved out of Arkansas and he moved out of Texas (we both moved to California around 2000).

2) Came back on Saturday night and got up early Sunday morning to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Yes, I saw George Takei. Yes, he was fab. He seems to be quite chummy with the Japanese ambassador to the US and his wife! hee! Met up with not just [livejournal.com profile] ext_4728 and [livejournal.com profile] ext_28177 but also [livejournal.com profile] mingmingcheong. Even bought a couple things from vendors, though...see later point. We had a very nice meal at Juban, the same yakiniku place C. and went on our wedding night (not by design).

3) Went to the allergist; breathing problems not allergies but probably inflammation from being sick last month; have steroid inhaler. eep. Details on health filter (ask to be added if you want to read the boring details).

4) I fear my recently-engaged program of attempting to give more money to creators (writers, jewelry-makers, bands, etc.) by buying things, and of supporting charities and good causes like many of your own various projects, has abruptly come to an end with the end of C.'s full-time job prospects for the year. (No, I'm not kidding. If you're new to academia: that was the entire hiring round for the year. There might be another round in the fall for spring 2010.) This may change if I finish my thesis and return to concentrating on my own business and do get a lot of high-paying clients, but for now it's on the back burner. I'm sorry.

5) We also likely won't be moving in August, or if we do, it may be to a 1-BR apartment (we live in a 2-BR townhouse right now) rather than to a rental house as we'd been hoping. We'll look again at moving out of the Bay Area, but when we've poked at that in the past, we haven't exactly found piles of full-time positions in areas where we wanted to live anyway. :/

6) I wish C. could get info about what went wrong in the interview, but due to the highly restricted nature of academic interviews, I don't think he can.

7) One of my clients' companies has just entered chapter 11 (two clients; one company). I'm done with their contracts anyway, but it's still depressing and I'm worried for them. I don't think anyone is really surprised that it happened, but it's hard when you've uprooted yourself halfway across the globe...I hope the situation can be fixed.

For reading all that, please enjoy the usually-annoying Japanese pop-idol factory Morning Musume redeeming themselves with a surprisingly fun imitation of the Takarazuka all-female song and dance troupe in the swing piece "Mr. Moonlight" (hat-tip [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora). Naturally, it's totally over the top, but what else do you need on an overly warm Monday?

wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
"Eschatology as design challenge" -- here's an article on ending worlds in online games. Sadly, the article doesn't really live up to that quote, but it's interesting nonetheless. Via [livejournal.com profile] thesaucernews.

What! World Wide Words says that "weave" as in "cloth" (past tense "wove") is a different word from "weave" as in "zig-zag" (past tense "weaved") here. I'm unable to confirm this in Partridge's Origins, which doesn't directly address "weave back and forth." But fascinating if true! More at the link about "strong verbs" where the past tense is still formed using the ablaut process (sang, drove, grew).

I figured that since [livejournal.com profile] toratigris was packing spices that there was something different about the spice situation in Korea and Japan. Wow, that seems to be the case. Korean & Japan are quite similar in a lot of respects but not, it seems, when it comes to the popularity of "Western"-style baking and cooking. There's a long discussion on Dave's ESL Cafe from a Korea-based EFL teacher who's moving to Japan and can't believe the reassurances from Japan-based teachers that it's easy to buy "cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, oregano, paprika, parsley, black or white pepper, sweet basil, bay leaf, cayenne pepper (powdered or dried/whole), turmeric, cumin, Italian seasoning," and nearly everything except dill easily in any Japanese city. Towns and villages are another matter, I hear (and have no doubt), but with the train networks, I imagine it's still doable.

[livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor's best friend, an apparently straight guy raised in Bakersfield and other non-touchy-feely parts of the US, always ends his phone calls with "Love ya!" I really admire this. It may be partly his family's tradition or his ethnic background or something that lets him feel comfortable doing this, but either way, it probably takes some nerve on some level. I'd like to occasionally express my love for my closest friends, but I am a pretty non-demonstrative person (whether that's due to my personality or partly influenced by my buttoned-up German and British Isles cultural heritage, I couldn't say). Anyway, if I do express such at some point, it doesn't express any change in my feelings, just an attempt to be a little more honest. :P You never know when you'll never get a chance to say it again.

This CD that got left out of the box is not going in because it kills me that there's still 200+ MB left on it, and I want to tweak it more anyway. EDIT: No, the box isn't going today because I suck and it's 2 PM and I haven't eaten yet and the box is not yet addressed and I will fall down if I have to go to the post office first FAIL.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
JAPAN gets a FOOD DELIVERY CHANNEL on their Wiis soon!

Bah! Food delivery is cooler there anyway--look at those categories: there's pizza, bento, sushi, traditional Japanese food, Chinese (e.g. ramen), fast food, curry, etc. :P

In better news, we got to have coffee with [livejournal.com profile] _aurelius. Yay! [livejournal.com profile] _aurelius, besides being one of the top eligible single gentlemen of my acquaintance, is one of the friends I'd most like to get to see more of. :p Anyway, hurrah Facebook for helping us realize that we were in the same place for once. Maybe someday we'll live in neighboring area codes or something.

[livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor noted that they seem to have very similar senses of humor. (Watch out, world ...)

Note to self: taking on Japan with [livejournal.com profile] _aurelius as well as [livejournal.com profile] toratigris and [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz would be even more fun! (But Wikipedia claims Ise won't be rebuilt till 2013, so bah. I need to go to Japan before that, I think. NEED.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I met people for the first time today! [livejournal.com profile] sps (and his significant other) and [livejournal.com profile] swestrup. It was very nice to meet them in person, and I hope I wasn't too weird today. The last few days have been stressful and I might be a bit out of it... anyway, I was really happy to meet them and hang out with them. [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor and [livejournal.com profile] toratigris were there too. I hope everyone had a good time! I did. I hope we can hang out again, since we're all relatively close together.

(hey, [livejournal.com profile] sps, tell SW that I liked Shanghai from what little time I got to spend there--I didn't mean to knock it; I got distracted by attempting to describe the hot fog!)


Jul. 19th, 2008 11:59 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I'm sure you'll be shocked when I tell you that Eddie Izzard's show tonight was, indeed, very funny. At one point my throat muscles hurt from laughing constantly ...

I really wanted to get a Cake or Death? t-shirt (and one for [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz as well) but had to conserve money.

I'm really tempted to register "MonkeyMonkeyMonkeyMonkeyMonkeyYou.com" but I don't know what I'd do with it.

The Orpheum is a beautiful venue that looks like it's ripe for the climax of the next Hellboy movie or something (baroque, cathedralesque, strange), but has THE WORLD'S WORST SEATING OMFG. The seats seem to have been built for people 5'6" and under only. Even if I lost a lot of weight I'd still be really uncomfortable. Poor [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor, who's about 6 feet tall, was in agony. I don't really know if we'd go to a show here again. Anyway, I can't find any good photos of the inside to show you,b ut it's awesome.

Also, we met Jeff, God of Biscuits, outside the theatre afterwards. Long story.

It was fun to go with friends, particularly friends who know what I mean when I look around at a setting like that theater and say it seems to belong in an urban fantasy or supernatural investigation story or RPG. (We went with [livejournal.com profile] unkyrich & C., and met up with [livejournal.com profile] ext_4728 & D., and [livejournal.com profile] jaffa_tamarin.)

We enjoyed eating the crepes at Ti-Couz. Om nom nom.


Feb. 24th, 2008 08:49 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ROD-books-me)
It's Wondercon!

I went as press, since I'm going to be reporting on it for Sequential Tart. I made several interview contacts, so we'll see if any of those happen... On Saturday, I went with [livejournal.com profile] ext_4728. It was raining pretty hard on the way up, and it was dark, rainy, and windy on the way back--the Bay Bridge was not so fun. The lines to either buy admission or to claim pre-paid admission were HUGE. There was no one at the press desk, though. We wandered around and looked at stuff. I bought a couple things, including some manga on sale (stuff mostly for my students to read). We ate lunch at Sanraku in the Metreon, where I had tuna nigiri that had been marinated in jalapeno soy sauce. Mmm. We went to part of Steve Leialoha's panel on his inking (and pencilling) career so far, and to all of a panel on teaching using comics, featuring Steve Cary, the author of Going Graphic. After we were done with Wondercon, we went over to the Westfield Centre and bought cream puffs at Beard Papa. Today I went with [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor and my friend from Japan. I was afraid that they'd be stuck in the horrible line, but no! Arriving at 11 means arriving in the WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING. *eyeroll* There was no line, though by 12 or 1 there was a big line again. Okay, I used to be a horrible night owl, but come on...Even I can be awake by 9. (I wish cons would start programming earlier--there have to be enough people who can drag themselves out of bed in the morning to make it worthwhile, right? Having panels and talks only from 11:30-4:30 is really not enough--I don't want to see it turn into TESOL, which has sessions from 6:30 AM to 9 PM, but still. Cram a bit more in there!) We went to one session, which was an overview of the last 50 years of manga. I noted a couple of indie, non-mainstream manga magazines that I want to look up. Afterwards, we went to the Westfield Centre again and got Beard Papa *and* Cocoa Bella's amazing, $5 hot chocolate. (Yeah, I need to learn to make that.) Anyway, I think we all had fun.

I ran into a bunch of people that I know--Steve, Trina Robbins, Lark Pien (whom I didn't even realize recognizes me), [livejournal.com profile] jen_bunny, [livejournal.com profile] gothboiblinkie, [livejournal.com profile] thrilljockey, [livejournal.com profile] jdeguzman, and I forget who else. I ran into several people at basically the last minute, and I'm glad I didn't miss them.

Want a taste of WonderCon? Here we go! Click on each one for a photo! Wondercon is full of original comic book art, shopping for old comics, stuff to buy, more stuff to buy, ,costumes, strange combinations of costumes, costumes on the escalator, more costumes on the escalator, simple but effective costumes, costumes in the bathroom, costume tableaux, inexplicable costumes, the best Elvis/Star Wars costume ever, kids in costume, *really* strange combinations of costumes, family costumes, steampunk costumes (next year I want to do one!), nice artists (that's 2-for-1 there--Steve Leialoha's in the background), nice celebrities, more celebrities, etc. More photos are being posted at Flickr--go back to about p. 35 if you want to see photos from the costume contest. Videos from the masquerade are up on Youtube already.

Unfortunately, I can't show you pictures of the coolest stuff--Artist's Alley--because most people didn't take pictures there. I don't really like superheroes or horror, and I like the original Star Wars movies but I can't say I really care about them more than I care about other stuff (like Narnia or LotR or whatever), so the mainstream section of the floor is not as interesting to me as Artist's Alley. Ah well, anyway, trust me when I say there was more and cooler stuff than this! There was really something for everyone.

I'll be submitting a writeup of the con to Sequential Tart, so I'll let you know when that's up if you want to hear more.

P. S. My MacBook Pro's screen is 100% OK now! (o_O) I feel so lucky! The computer needs a name (no, really--the household's computers are networked, and it needs to have a specific name). So now I need to think of a character who survived drowning, or something. :p Not Jonah, thank you--anyway, it should be a female name, I think...
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
How to get published in science: Don't be female.

I hardy even have a coherent response to this. (And no, I'm not surprised, but I'm still shocked. If you know what I mean.)

Trying something new on your dates might help increase long-term relationship satisfaction--and no, not necessarily THAT kind of thing, either. :p Interesting article--check it out. Also cites research indicating that my mom is wrong about the inevitable heat death of the universe death of romantic love in a marriage.

Total lunar eclipse on Wednesday! Too bad I'll be tutoring. They're nifty to look at.

As for the update, well, Kooza was very good, though I liked Varekai more. I was glad we paid the Goldstar price ($55 with fees--here's a referral link for Goldstar, which you can use in the Bay Area, LA, San Diego, Las Vegas, Chicago, DC, NYC, and Boston metro areas). It was my first time using Goldstar and I was pretty happy with it--going to try going to some other events using it. As much as I love Cirque du Soleil, I can't believe they charge you so much (I think the cheapest regular tickets were $90) and then want you to pay $14 for a program! Unsurprisingly, none of us bought a program.

On Valentine's Day, we took [livejournal.com profile] applechailatte to SFO for her flight back to Japan. Standing in line with her there, I found I really, really wanted to be traveling and going overseas and doing something ...

After that I drove [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor to Pittsburg. There was almost no traffic on 101 or the Bay Bridge. It was amazing! He went in to teach his class and I went in search of a grocery store to buy a Valentine's Day treat for his students. I drove for miles and finally found one, and got a huge tray of 24 cupcakes. I was heading toward his classroom when I stumbled on the uneven pavement of the mezzanine-style level. The tray went flying over the edge! It landed with a *SPLAT!* on the bottom floor. :( Sadness! Magic Custodial Staff Guy suddenly appeared, looking quizzical, and I yelled my apologies down. He seemed pretty amused and had it cleaned up in no time. I was so sad though, not to mentioned embarrassed (and, now, very sore--ow). I bought a bag of assorted Ghirardelli squares from a group who was raising money for a memorial scholarship and took that to the class along with my now-useless Valentine's napkins. Bah.

I was in a pretty foul mood after that, but as I was moping around outside, I saw a female hummingbird fly across to a tree. Eventually, she landed--in a nest! I've never ever seen a hummingbird nest in person, and here I was just 1.5 meters away from one. Eek, it was so cute! The nest was about the size of a golf ball, and mama bird just sat in there and looked at me. I didn't try to get any closer, but still, it was really amazing and made me feel a lot better. Actually, she stayed there long enough that I could show her to [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor when he finished class.

And [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz has an adorable new cat. I know [livejournal.com profile] applechailatte wants to see photos, but I don't know if she has regular internet access or anything yet.

That's about it for me.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (longtailkitty-happy-me)
Gonzo (the animation studio) is animating a music video for Dream Theater. I think I'm the only person on my f'list who thinks that's two great tastes that taste great together, but oh well.

Speaking of music: The Taiwanese film Spider Lilies has one of the best non-classical non-compilation soundtracks I've ever heard, probably tied with All About Lily Chou-Chou. It's really good.

Speaking of music again: I have the seeds of an Asia/Pacific steampunk mix, but it's still small. I also have the makings of a "[livejournal.com profile] wintersweet's unashamedly cheesy fun dance mix," which I'll put together at some point for those of you who enjoy such things. It was great for doing Wii-bowling to tonight.

Finally, we had a nice morning today--[livejournal.com profile] applechailatte, [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor, and I finally went to Wat Buddhanusorn for Sunday brunch. Check out the photos at the Yelp link there for some good photos of the temple and the food. They didn't have roti today, to my disappointment, but they did have excellent curry noodles, coconut custard, mango with sticky rice (good mango!), and *fantastic* barbecued pork. We saw about eleventy billion things we want to try next time, though it'll be more economical if we can again have a friend or two come with us.

After that, we went to the tiny Nile Cafe for coffee. Click on the photos--the outside's not much, but the big Egyptian murals and general random "we escaped from Haight Ashbury by way of Khartoum" vibe are awesome.

And then we went in Kiowa Rose, an amazing bead store. No, really, more amazing than most amazing bead stores, and totally Art Nouveau all over. And they have a cloud mural on the ceiling where there used to be a skylight.

On the way out of the Niles district we drove by some teensy-weensy Victorian houses and the house that's possessed by a huge tree-sized wisteria collective.

I love my town sometimes.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I forgot to mention that the other day [livejournal.com profile] toratigris came over and showed me the basics of how to crochet. Boy, it was like my hands were broken alien marionettes. Just couldn't get 'em to cooperate. But eventually I understood the basics of what we were doing, and I even crocheted a little strip of something. Sadly, though, because I'm SO bad at learning physical stuff, I think she's going to have to show me all over again next time. But I hope there is a next time. :) I think it has the potential to be fun.

Someone with medical knowledge go fix the strep throat article on Wikipedia. It's almost incomprehensible in parts. There are a lot of run-on sentences, some of which can't be fixed if you don't know what you're talking about.

Man, I wish I could go to the doctor on Sundays... *groan*

Another note on the "projectile" discussion: Merriam-Webster online gives "projectul" as the first pronunciation, and "project-tile" as the second. I wonder if this is a recent shift (assuming your overwhelming preference for the latter is standard). One problem with dictionaries as guides to English "as she is spoke" is that they tend to be a generation or three behind the times.

And a random personal note: As a kid and young adult I had to actively learn to pronounce words like "futile" and "sterile" and "missile" etc. etc. in the SAE way instead of with a long i. I don't think this was because of any British influence on my speech, but because of learning the words from books instead of hearing them. (And yes, I know the long i is standard in some other AE dialects, but they're not ones I speak otherwise, so it would sound pretty out-of-place.) Anyway, it's annoying that SAE isn't consistent on this point--we don't say "reptill," after all.

Dear Firefox Developers,

I don't appreciate your Windows Vista-like efforts to keep me from controlling my own environment. Your caching is so aggressive that I can't check updates I'm making to my websites, and you've seen fit to get rid of the option that let me turn off caching. I guess I'll go play with about:config ...

No love,

By the way, for [livejournal.com profile] unkyrich's New Year's Eve party I made something called butter mochi, using the recipe from the nifty 'Ono Kine Grindz blog. It's something a Japanese-American classmate of mine from Japanese class at CSUEB made and brought to class once. I assume it's a result of Hawai'i's fusion of Japanese and other culinary traditions--even the name is kind of shocking to most Japanese people, I think. However, it's very tasty, satisfying, wonderfully chewy, and not too sweet--although it is rather rich. Apparently it's also good toasted in a toaster oven. Anyway, it's pretty easy to make, so give it a try if you feel adventurous.


Dec. 10th, 2007 09:12 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (christmas: can't sleep)
I'm still totally swamped with pre-travel stuff I have to do, but I still managed to finally meet [livejournal.com profile] phinnia in person today (thank you for schlepping all the way down to Fremont). As a bonus, also met [livejournal.com profile] stef_tm. Spiffy folks! It was a good day. At least, assuming [livejournal.com profile] phinnia made her plane.

On Sunday, we went to Dickens Fair, which was great fun. I ran into some people I knew and showed my two friends around. [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor wasn't feeling great, but he soldiered on. Those hot spiced almonds are totally worth it. Plus I learned that my two friends (who are originally from Japan) had never had fudge! Sadly, the DF fudge wasn't the kind that I prefer, so we'll bring them back some from Arkansas so they can try the good stuff. There was a steampunk element this year, complete with working contraptions! So fun. Someday, when I'm more in shape, I swear I'll dress up. In the meantime, I need to make offerings to the gods of shopkeepers, because we unrepentantly tried on/tried out everything from lace parasols to tiaras and a felted cat-shaped hat. If I can get over the images of my huge double chin, I might post something. Sadly, we hit the sea music show during a rather weak spot, but other things made up for that. Also, the Dark Garden window's living mannequins? Va-va-voom!

On Saturday, I got myself some shoes, in addition to the birthday goings-on. They're the Cutter model, and yes, they're men's shoes, which is fine with me (I've owned men's Stacy Adams and Clarks in the past). I am my own special blend of feminine and masculine, thank you. ;) (If I can get another pair, I want these. They do have some very cute heels, but I just Don't. Do. Heels. Wish I'd bought my ankle boots from them...) I think I'm a Dansko convert--the first time I tried them, in a discount store, I thought the heel was slipping and I'd get blisters. The awesome manager at the Takken's in Newark educated me, though.

Someday, when I can afford to buy shoes that I don't wear often, I'm going to get myself a pair of purple shoes. Possibly in crushed velvet.

Now I've got to quit putting off making a list of all the stuff I still have left to do. Eep. (Did I mention the surprise!$500-brake-repair scheduled for tomorrow? Oy.)

Yes, I am queen of pointless little posts lately. I'm sorry.

Listening to...my holiday mix at Pandora.com...

What a day

Sep. 15th, 2007 12:28 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (whelan-changeling-sarudy)
First, the levity:

Though we have some "household philosophy" conflicts with our roommates, as all roommates do, we're nowhere near as bad these guys in our town, whose interapartment conflict actually made the newspaper. Good grief.

Also, 'tis [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor's 30th birthday, so I'm baking a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. And wrapping his presents.

And I got to chat with [livejournal.com profile] sho_sunaga a wee bit online before I ran off to make the cake, so that was nice.

Now, the irritations:

I broke a really nice mug that [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward gave us soon after she moved in. I really broke it good, too. It's not reparable.

I used shredded carrots, not grated carrots, in the cake, and I'm a little worried about how that's going to turn out, since they're a lot thicker.

Finally, the genuinely bad stuff:

Rather than the trend of ill animals among my friends abating, it actually intensified, with at least two new animals on the list. And my dear friend's sweet, sweet kitty suddenly passed away. (Not naming names in case she doesn't want to talk about it.) The kitty had been sick, but it seemed like it was under control, and my friend was out of town while the kitty boarded with her vet. And I still say that was a totally reasonable thing to do, but it still hurts even more when your beloved pet dies while you're not there. I still remember when my cat, Tom Bombadil (don't ask; he was a grand Birman, and I don't remember exactly how he wound up with that name), died one night when I had finally gotten up the energy to go back to my gongfu class after staying out for a couple weeks while he was sick. (I also still wonder if my parents took him to be euthanized that night, but I don't know).

My sympathies are really with everyone in a way I couldn't have felt before [livejournal.com profile] m_cat became so ill and passed away. In a lot of ways it hurts more when you're an adult.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (clamp-mkr-cookingme)
Success! It wasn't the nicest-looking cake due to my inherent sloppiness and having to work fast. I got some good suggestions from you guys for icing, but I went with something from Joy of Cooking which could not be any easier:

Melt 10 oz semisweet/bittersweet chocolate.
Stir in 1 C sour cream.
Stir till glossy. Spread on cake. (Warm up if it gets too thick or dull.)

Delicious and a good counterpoint to the cake and the European cherry jam that I used as filling.

And I think my client/friend liked it. He seemed to be having a really good time, and was charmingly squee'ish over the books we got him.


Jun. 20th, 2007 01:58 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (clamp-mkr-cookingme)

Birthday cake

Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz!
She's my longest-time friend (English needs a good phrase for that). Quite a saint for putting up with me all these years! Run over to her LJ and give her a happy birthday tickle wish.

wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (clamp-mkr-cookingme)

Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward's birthday was better than the kitty above's.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
On Sunday, my classmate/friend, [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor, [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward, and I went to the Asian Art Museum to see Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales for free, courtesy of Bank of America. The museum provided a wheelchair for [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward, which worked well. The pieces are amazing, and they did a fine job with the signage--I am a "more is more" person when it comes to exhibition interpretation. They're going to swap out the ones currently on display in July and run a different set for the second half of the exhibition, which is a good idea conservation-wise, I suppose. Anyway, it just means that when we come back for The Marvel of Manga in August, we'll run through Yoshitoshi again. If you're interested in ukiyo-e, the fusion of Japanese and Western art styles, the collision of kimono and swords with top hats and rifles (and steam ships and umbrellas and ...), the supernatural (spider magic! we still want to know what that is), Japanese interpretations of Water Margin and Journey to the West, etc., you should go see it. There are some really extraordinary pieces, such as a "sorcerers' battle," various dramatic renditions of ghost stories, and some really sensitive and individualized portraits (in a departure from the stylized, traditional depictions you see in the first sets of images--the show is arranged chronologically to trace Yoshitoshi's development of a fusion style).

After Yoshitoshi, we had lunch at the cafe, and then we ran through the second floor, which kind of goes on forever. There were a lot of things I hadn't seen before in the Japan section, including a folding screen with some really funky, "earthworm squiggles" calligraphy. The sign noted that the calligrapher's writing was never particularly easy to read (my Japanese friend couldn't read it), but that he had been particularly inebriated when he did this piece--to the point of signing it "Yamada Ichiro*, of Edo*, totally drunk." Their netsuke and inro collections are very nice, though the numbering to the explanatory key is often off by one or two. (Their snuff bottle collection is not nearly as striking or diverse as the Oakland Museum's, though.)

*Not his real name or home. I should have taken notes. But the "totally drunk" part is verbatim.

The museum was not too crowded, and there was free meter parking, and free audio tours, and then free parking because we bought enough groceries in Japantown to get validation. So we only paid for groceries, lunch, and the bridge toll. Not bad!

Note to museum-goers: Once you have had your conversation about the piece you're looking at, please back away from it to continue your inane nattering. The light is low; everyone needs to get right up to the pieces to see them; you need to back off. Come to think of it, you're one of those people who gets into a buffet line and then stands there mid-line chatting to people outside of the line without moving on, aren't you? I hate you. Get your damn food and go.


Anyway ... I am so bored yet stressed. Both preparing for the class I'm teaching and working on my thesis are thoroughly uninteresting right now. It's really hard for me to work quickly on something I don't have much interest in. (I'm done with most of the interesting parts of the thesis, and there's hardly anything I can do to make the GRE class interesting for me or for them.)

I'm also continuing to have sleep problems, and I can't concentrate worth anything. And it is verging on warm outside, and this (faux?) leather couch in the living room, which is my only place to work, makes me about 10 degrees hotter than sitting elsewhere.

EDIT: Did I mention that my car's AC died on Saturday? I guess it sensed June approaching. Luckily, I avoided an accident on Hwy 4 despite the awful noise it made. Unluckily, this means any time I would have had tomorrow morning to a) finish lesson-planning, b) work on my thesis, or c) go see the doctor about the sleep issues, is now dedicated to getting the car repaired. Yay?

WLP, your birthday present is going to be late. :|
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Holy cow, [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward posted to LJ. Everyone go comment on her post so she feels the love. XD And [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz posted too, which isn't quite as rare, but still. Go say hi to 'em!

Also, I finally discovered Order of the Stick. I know, I'm the last person. The early strips are very funny RPG (D&D) humor; it bogs down about 2/3 of the way through the current archive when it gets more plot-driven and wordy, but it's still funny. Anyway, you can read strips as they're posted via [livejournal.com profile] orderofthestick, or catch up on the whole thing at the OOTS Archive (note that the "next" arrow fails a few times, so just come back to the archive page if you run out of strips before the current one).
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Usually I can't donate to friends who are raising money for various good causes, but I made an exception this time, because the issue of cancer has been on my mind lately due to friends and other circumstances. So I managed to make a small donation to [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow's current project, the 2007 Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That's sixty miles, guys. Wow. Anyway, if you'd also like to support her/the cause, visit her donation page.

In the future, when I'm Flush with Cash, I'll try to support everyone every time. In the meantime, usually the best I can do is to promote you, so if you are also doing this kind of event, let me know and I'll post about it.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Bear with me, because I'm pretty tired and I'm having trouble lining up the brain cells needed to write. Well, the best parts were, I finally met [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow, [livejournal.com profile] niac, [livejournal.com profile] iqtheicequeen, and [livejournal.com profile] elegiac. I've known [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow and [livejournal.com profile] iqtheicequeen for around 10 years now, and talked about all kinds of things with them, so it was really amazing to finally meet them in person. I also got to meet [livejournal.com profile] tikistitch, whom I've known not nearly as long but who is Legendary on the Internet (see her Star Wars tagged posts, her anime toys page, and and her Japanese Stitch toys tagged posts for good reasons of why). I almost got to meet [livejournal.com profile] phinnia, but my lunch window was too tight and her bus got stuck in football traffic. boo! And I missed several other folks like [livejournal.com profile] opakele and so on. But I have a feeling I'll be back.

Everyone was even more cool and nice than expected, and I particularly have to thank [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow, [livejournal.com profile] niac, [livejournal.com profile] iqtheicequeen, and [livejournal.com profile] elegiac for letting me stay with them and driving me around and stuff. I think I made [livejournal.com profile] iqtheicequeen late today, too. Oops. I am feeling really grateful to all of you, especially since a) I couldn't have gone to the conference without your help and b) I was not in any way at my best due to being sick and job-hunt stress and lack of usual travel companion.

My impressions of Seattle: Green, mossy, wonderful views (I love snow-topped mountains). Drizzly? Don't apologize! I would have been a little disappointed if I hadn't seen any rain in Seattle. Anyway, I brought my raincoat. People seemed laid back and there seemed to be interesting stores and restaurants. Although I wonder how the selection of Middle Eastern and Indian food is--the place I went with [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow and [livejournal.com profile] niac was good, but I saw very few obviously South Asian or Middle Eastern people or restaurants. Actually, I had a flashback to my visits to rural Ohio while we were eating breakfast out this morning (I see white people!). Seriously, Seattle is very white-bread compared to the way it's kind of depicted in the national pop culture. I guess it would feel diverse if you moved there from rural Ohio, though.

The International District is pretty nifty. Uwajimaya is bigger and has more stuff than Mitsuwa, I think, though there's no killer curry source out front, which is a big drawback. The Kinokuniya is smaller. But the area also has Pink Godzilla,a retro/import gaming store where I picked up a SMB 1-up mushroom cell phone charm/screen cleaner (really!) for [livejournal.com profile] siderealengine, an Animal Crossing house gashopon for me, and another AC house for [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor, plus a DS stylus that has a string so you can attach it to your DS, and is topped by a mini Teto Keke. And we we went to Maneki, which was excellent, and had really wonderful wild-caught sockeye salmon, and an incredible house "avocado ponzu ae" salad, and only takes walk-in, same-day reservations (like Kirala) but (unlike Kirala) will just call you on your cell when they're ready. Nice! If you have the time, I recommend it.

My other tourist activities consisted of looking at the Space Needle (from a distance), looking at Bettie Page painted on the side of a house (from the highway), and visiting the Pike Place Market twice. The second time I actually got to stop and look at stuff. It's like a collision between the Ferry Building Market in San Francisco and Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, but with more tchotchkes and more affordable food. It's neat in its own way. I did really like the dozen hot assorted doughnuts* for $2.50. Mmm, tasty. I also went to a crepe place near the conference center, repeatedly, and that was good, and to the Crumpet Shop, and that was good too, and to Teahouse Kuan Yin, and that was also good.

My conference was pretty good, and I met a couple of other people who run their own English-teaching businesses. I wonder if anyone would be interested in a mailing list to discuss stuff. I didn't go to any life-changing sessions, but overall, it was good.

Sea-Tac is not bad at all, and there is a decent variety of stuff to eat--I just ran out of time after doing some souvenir shopping. I wound up with some neat tea (including huckleberry) and some good chocolate. And yeah, I checked everything to be sure it was actually made in the Seattle area. The "Seattle Rainy Day Cocoa," for example, was made in Kansas or something. :P I was disappointed by the obviously fake, sinicized "Japanese" food in the food court, BUT! Uwajimaya is going to open a takeout place there soon. Neat. I was amused by the 7-foot-tall stuffed spyhopping orca, and by the small children posing in front of it for photos. Run, children! The orca is looking for DINNER!

Anyway, the flight home was fine, I'm glad to be home, and I am really appreciative of having such good friends.

P. S. Pictures? There will be no pictures. I seriously couldn't muster the energy (I wound up not doing a lot of things because of being sick and trying to not push things too much). Plus, everyone is more slender and better dressed than I, so pfeh. ;)

*UGH! Firefox's built-in spellcheck marks "doughnut" as being misspelled! It also doesn't know spyhopping, orca, tchotchke, or sinicized. :p But doughnut! Come on. I refuse to use "donut."
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Get your Peter Beagle-approved, autographed new release of "The Last Unicorn" DVD here. Because Beagle has been screwed over, this is the ONLY way to make sure he receives anything from sales of the new DVD. Please don't buy this film anywhere else.

EDIT: I just ordered one, and I had a slight glitch in the order process. I used the contact e-mail address and wrote them to be sure my order was OK, and someone (actually, I believe it was the owner of Conlan Press) answered me back about 29 minutes later. On a Sunday, even. I'm very impressed!

I need to start reading fiction again. So I'm reading Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom in free daily chunks from Daily Lit.

My eyes are SO ITCHY. I'm going to go have to ask for something stronger/different compared to what I'm currently taking (Deconamine + Flonase). I blame the acacia trees. They're pretty, but I'm thinking that I'm allergic. Naturally, acacia trees are one of the main decorative elements at CSUEB. The specific pollen driving me nuts might be something else, but it's more than likely some kind of tree. As several people have said, why do the sex lives of trees have to be so public?

Does it seem odd to anyone else that Harry Potter is about to come to an end? (The series, I mean ... probably ...) It just seems like not that long ago that I thought it would be practically a lifetime before the series concluded. (NB: Youngsters for whom we have always been at war with Oceania there has always been Harry Potter need not reply!)

Speaking of HP--if you pre-order the final Harry Potter book from Borders, the clerk will ask you what you think about Snape. Depending on how you answer, you'll get a "trust SNAPE" or "SNAPE is a very bad man" sticker, or both if you're truly on the fence. I got both and I'm seriously considering putting them both on my car. Side by side, actually--the decorations in the corners line up nicely. I probably won't, since it'll all be resolved in a few short months.

Dear American Library Association, does it REALLY cost you $7 to mail a poster? Maybe it does, but Cambridge University Press, I do NOT think it costs you $6 to mail a fairly thin paperback from New York (not from England, mind)--and then they charge $1.75 for each additional book. Both organizations just lost sales from me; I'll do without the ALA poster rather than pay $21 for a poster, and I'll get the Cambridge book from Amazon. (Cambridge also wanted to charge me CA sales tax.) Cambridge sent me this great-looking end-of-year sale with 30% off all TESOL books, but by the time I calculated shipping and tax, it wasn't worth it at all. Boo.

The real story behind General Tso's Chicken. I am something of a food snob, but there are a lot of fake Chinese Chinese fusion dishes that I really like, and I love a good American-style General Tso's, because I love sweet+spicy together. (I guess that combination occurs more naturally in Sichuan food, like yuxiang qiezi/"fish"(garlic)-flavored eggplant.)

Also, here is an excellent article on easily making onigiri at home. And it answers my question about making yaki-onigiri, which I LOVE even unfilled. I have some fish-free and MSG-free furikake (mostly dried vegetable bits and toasted sesame seeds) I want to try mixed in sometime.

I have another suggestion for people looking for prospective dates and new LJ friends: Check out the page of LJ-using authors at The White List, add your favorite authors, check their userinfo to see who else has friended them, and then check out the userinfo for those people till you find some people who look interesting. Just leave 'em a note saying you saw they are also reading Famous Author's journal, and they look interesting themselves, and so you hope they don't mind if you add them. Yes, this is perfectly polite in the weird world of LJ.

There's Diane Duane, Pat Cadigan, Judith Tarr, Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Kij Johnson, Scott McCloud, Pamela Dean, Steven Brust, Suzy McKee Charnas, Tamora Pierce, Roman Dirge, George R. R. Martin (I did NOT know he had an LJ), etc. (NB: For purposes of friends recruitment, you'll want the ones with the little person icon, as in [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson, because those are real LJs with userinfo, not the ones with the little broadcast RSS icon, like [livejournal.com profile] shetterly.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Surprise!Comet. I don't know if I'd be able to see it from CSU East Bay or not. Probably not, since there are those hills on the other side of the bay. Plus there's a terrible amount of light pollution here. (In Arkansas over break, it was nice getting to see more of the night sky than just Orion and the planets.)

Librarian trading cards! Well, so they say, but they look more like Magic cards. Anyway, you can make your own here. Yes, I'm hoping [livejournal.com profile] kyspaz will make one.

We came back from San Diego on Sunday. There was really bad traffic through LA even on a Sunday afternoon ... but we were able to see the ocean, and "HEY! IS THAT THE MATTERHORN?! OMFG IT'S DISNEYLAND!!!" Seriously, I had no idea it was smack-dab against I-5. The drive was easier than I thought it would be, since so much of I-5 goes through the middle of nothing, and trucks are restricted to the right lane. No problem, really, other than the amount of time it took, and over $100 in gas. I appreciate that even though I'm totally out of shape, I'm still young and fit enough that driving from 2:30 to 11:30 doesn't make me particularly physically uncomfortable. Don't know how long that will last, but I should take advantage of it. I'm thinking Yosemite, once we can afford a motel anyway. (This trip wouldn't have been possible without [livejournal.com profile] kikibelle [and her three quirky cats] hosting us. Thanks again!)

We went to the Maritime Museum and did the half-hour bay tour, which was fun, and poked around the HMS Surprise, which is not only the real ship that the fictional Captain Jack Aubrey commanded, but supposedly also the ship on which Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner." How random. They had a couple of good storytellers/docents around, which really added to our visit.

We had some good food, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kikibelle's recommendations and Chowhound, and we bugged [livejournal.com profile] kikibelle and [livejournal.com profile] dataknife's cats and [livejournal.com profile] assaultdoor's brother. And we made his brother watch Eddie Izzard DVDs (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dataknife for leaving 'em at home). And we found the house my dad lived in as a kid. Photos of stuff later. I hope.

I gave the DVDs a try, and it's official: Not a Mr. Bean fan. I don't hate it, but I don't like it much. I have to admit he's good at physical comedy, but the humor to stupidity ratio doesn't work out often enough. "The Thin Blue Line" doesn't work for me either. (I have an idiosyncratically deep dislike for "stupid, unkind man with long-suffering woman" shows, ala "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "King of the Hill.")

I think "Blackadder" is the only show I really like Rowan Atkinson in, and I really like that show.

Annnd today was my first day of the quarter. Oof. Luckily my class didn't start till 2:40, so we slept in. The class is an intro phonology class, and it looks like it'll be interesting. And I have TESOL classmates in this one, which will be helpful.


wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)

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