I guess I forgot how long it's been since I've updated this ... basically, I have been working on my thesis non-stop. (Well, almost non-stop—about as non-stop as my brain will allow.) I have all my data (!), though I feel a somewhat inexplicable urge to go count another hundred grains per slide (:'(), and I am feeling an inexplicable lack of an urge to actually write. This is bad.

I should be writing right now—which I am, just not what I need to write. Alas.

Well, a brief recap of spring break: it was fun, I tried to work on my thesis, and I did work on my thesis, just not as much as I should have. We went to trivia night on Wednesday, which was really fun—we did really badly, but we got a few cool questions (like, which candy bar was named after the owner's family horse? Snickers!), and the restaurant had a phone booth in it! (A red phone booth, but it was the closest I've seen in America that wasn't supposed to be a replica!)

Okay, off to writing. MUST WRITE.
Today we went to Nagoya Castle. It was pretty cool, though a little cold, and since most of the signage was in Japanese, I didn't get quite as much out of it as I could have. But the castle itself was really cool, and the paintings very pretty; I have lots of pictures of the Nagoya skyline, too, because the castle was seven stories tall. We also walked around the gardens for a little while, which was nice, though it got really cold.

After, we had to find a place to withdraw money from so we could pay for our Kyoto hostel place, which took forever. The Family Mart allegedly had an ATM that took Visa, but it actually only took Visa that was issued in Japan. So, we finally traipsed around and found a 7 Eleven that took Visa, and possibly also took 50,000 yen more from my mom's card. Oops. (しまった!) Hopefully that didn't actually happen. Anyway, it worked out, after a bit of stress, so.

Then we started playing Dominion and creating a Doctor Who Dominion set. Yay! I am so totally making this happen! Which means I need to learn how to use Photoshop, but whatever!

TV update

Dec. 18th, 2011 12:58 pm
So, I just watched the Burn Notice season 4 finale, and, wow. I actually liked the new girl, Rebecca (?), who ended up being a plant for Anson. It was nice that she wasn't completely useless, though it might have been better if she hadn't ended up double-crossing them. I can't believe that Michael would actually do what Anson wanted, at the beginning, when he asked Michael to burn four other people. It might be a little more believable if he hadn't already burned Jesse by accident, and spent an entire season trying to undo that. I just have trouble believing that Michael's devotion to Fi is all of a sudden so strong that he's willing to do something that horrible. I'm glad that Fi finally took matters into her own hand and stopped doing everything Michael said, and I confess I am a little excited to see how she does in prison. Though, they might send her somewhere like Guantanamo that would be a little less exciting; but I can totally see Fi having the entire prison wrapped around her little finger after a week. And then, a week later, she breaks out.

Also, I watched Merlin, and—OH MY GOD ARTHUR IS FINALLY GOING TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH. I accidentally heard a tiny bit of the prequel for the next episode, and I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!! I knew it had to happen by the end of this season, though I wish I still got to anticipate the moment in the next episode. Arthur was awesome in his hypnotized state, though I didn't really like his conscious attempt at being a "simpleton."

Also, next weekend is going to be SO FREAKING AWESOME, because there will be Merlin AND DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!!!

Now, back to Bulgarian. I just discovered that LaTeX does IPA, so my life just got a lot easier.
In order to induce a greater degree of sanity into my life, I am going to list below the TV shows that I have watched since I got to college.  Beware:  this is a lot longer than I wish to admit.

Shows I watched the entirety of:
  • Monk
  • Gilmore Girls
  • 24
  • Prison Break
Shows I started but am no longer up to date on:
  • Psych
  • House
  • Bones
  • Royal Pains
  • Covert Affairs
  • Switched at Birth
  • Torchwood*
  • Fairly Legal*
Shows I currently watch:
  • White Collar
  • Burn Notice
  • Suits
  • Doctor Who
  • Merlin
  • Sherlock**
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender**
*These are shows where I tried to start watching them but only got a few episodes in before I abandoned them—unlike the others, which I watched for at least a season, these shows never really grabbed me.

**These are shows that are not divided up exactly into the same season 1, season 2, etc. thing, but which have second parts that I intend to watch when they finally come out.

Okay, that actually wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.  And on the plus side, I watch a lot fewer movies now—I pretty much only watch TV at the moment.

In order to add a bit of nerdiness to as many posts as I can, I note below a few trends:
  • USA has a lot of shows that I like.  I watched Monk and Psych for a long time, but no longer like them as much; and I don't think I'll keep watching Psych when it starts up again at some point this fall.  Unfortunately, USA also has a lot of shows I don't like—mostly, shows that seem like "lite" versions of other shows.  Namely, Covert Affairs seems like a softer and less realistic version of Burn Notice, and Royal Pains seems to be trying to imitate House.  White Collar and Suits, however, are new twists, which might be why I like them more.
  • Fos is definitely not my favorite station.  Both Bones and House have their moments, and they can be quite funny; but they're a little disgusting and best watched at a distance.
  • British TV would have amazing ratings if everyone watched exactly what I watch.  Torchwood is the only British show that I don't like.  I wish I could say it was because the lead is American, but it isn't:  Captain Jack Harkness is serious instead of funny, there are a lot of chopped off body parts, and the supporting characters are boring.  It's a little unfortunate, because I think it's great that Jack is basically gay in Torchwood—but the original Jack actually hit on women, too, which made it a lot more entertaining.  In Doctor Who, iinstead of being a sort of gay angst type of thing, it was just a Jack thing; but the moment Jack got serious, Gwen became an important character, and everyone talked with a Welsh accent, I got lost.
This was possibly the weirdest episode of Doctor Who I've ever seen.  Spoilers, of course. )

I'm glad that we have Doctor Who Sunday this afternoon, so that I can watch it again and hopefully get a better handle on what happened. There was so much switching back and forth in time that it was very confusing.

In other news, last night (yes, SATURDAY NIGHT!) I think I started to partially repair my relationship with one of my geo professors. We had a bit of a difficult time when I was in her class, because I like to ask questions and she thought my questions were stupid; whether they were or not I have no idea. But anyway, she came into the undergrad geo room to get ice cream, and I was there reading for Human Evolution, and we started talking. I explained about how I had started working on my thesis 1.0, and how I'd learned a lot about what kind of lab work I definitely don't want to do, but how I'd also figured out about how much I like doing research. It's all about the most tedious part of the job—if I can handle the most tedious part, it'll be fine. Anyway, it was good to know that not everyone in every department hates me. (Yes, I know, "hate" is a bit of a strong term; more, like they think I'm too much trouble. Which I probably am, but that's okay.)

Well, at least I know of a few professors who like me, and are willing to write me good recommendations. At a certain point, with all the switching around through departments that I've done, that's the most important thing.
Six hours until THE LAST DOCTOR WHO EPISODE!!!!!!!! I think my brain is going to explode. I have to TA this afternoon, because the evolutionary bio students have a test on Monday ... not entirely sure how this is going to turn out. Hopefully I won't burst out with "TARDIS!" or "STETSONS!" too often.

In other news, I started two new TV shows—yeah, sounds like a lot, but both of them are very short. Switched at Birth, which Ting has been trying to get me to watch for a long time, is about two girls who were—spoilers!—switched at birth. The only twist is that one of the girls is Deaf. I've been really impressed with their portrayal of Deaf people, Deaf culture, and ASL. The main character who's Deaf (the daughter who was switched) does speak, and very well; that definitely facilitates the plot a LOT. But there are plenty of conversations entirely in ASL between her and her best friend, who is also Deaf. The plot of the show is kind of stupid, in my opinion—there's a lot of whining about how My Life Sucks More Than Yours, How Could This Happen To Us, etc. But the signing is good enough that I watched it while crocheting the Roommate's birthday present.

Also started Sherlock—doesn't really count as a TV show, I suppose, but close enough. It's pretty funny, but I can't understand Sherlock half the time when he talks. It's like he talks at chipmunk speed when he's just talking, except that his voice is really deep. But it's funny, and I loved the conversation between Watson and Sherlock where Watson is asking whether Sherlock has a partner, and Sherlock (in his eternally egotistical way) thinks that Watson is showing some interest in him. I haven't watched the last two parts, so I'm definitely going to do that soon!

And today is theoretically going to be the Day of the TARDIS, in which I give the Roommate her birthday present / scavenger hunt thing.

Tired

Sep. 23rd, 2011 12:21 pm
This week was pretty long, it's hard to believe it's only Friday. Classes are going well, but mostly I've been looking up grad schools and scholarships for next year. Also, I have to go to the career center soon to find out more about international internships in natural history museums. UGH!! So many applications! But luckily my thesis still hasn't started, really, and I'm ahead on my classes; hopefully I will get many applications done before the end of September (or at least seriously started) so that I won't be overwhelmed.

I started going to the MATLAB section this week, too—it was pretty lame. Basically, I understood nothing that happened in class, so I spent the time going through their lab on my own time, and that was fine. I'm not sure it's really worth it to go back to the class, since I don't think I'm going to learn anything there.

I'm starting to feel the first glimmerings of AHHHHHH!, which isn't good. But if I get a lot done this weekend, I'll feel a lot better—and to be honest, I've been reading articles for my thesis (yay!), looking up grad schools and scholarships, and organizing and reading for evolutionary bio. So I haven't been wasting time, but I've been going to a lot of events (field trip for Plant Evolution on Tuesday; House crafting circle on Tuesday; archaeology movie night on Wednesday, where we watched The Eagle; Career Fair on Wednesday, where I got four free T-shirts, a personal record; Science Café last night).

The Roommate and I tried to watch NCIS last night, but it was a lost cause. The Doctor must think we're betraying him or something, but it just would not play successfully; and then when we got it to play, the player quit on us halfway through. (We tried to watch it legally, but it blipped every second, which was really annoying.)

Basically ... I am tired, and looking forward to a quiet weekend. Except Sunday, where I'm volunteering at the Arts Festival.
The Roommate and I went to watch the pirate a capella group last night do an archsing. It was pretty spectacular, but they were passing around whiskey—which everyone was just sharing left, right, and center. It was a little gross. :P But the singing was awesome, even if the songs can only really be described as raunchy. In other words, if I didn't listen too closely, I loved it; when I listened closely, it was kind of odd.

We also watched The God Complex.Spoilers, obviously. But overall I liked it. )

At any rate, we have to go back and watch The Girl Who Waited and the The God Complex together. I think they'll go together a lot better than I currently think they do. Both of them are kind of maze-like, tricks of the mind. According to the Roommate, The God Complex was supposed to be in Series 5, but wasn't because Steven Moffat thought there were too many mazes in Series 5. To be honest, Series 6 seems full of mazes, especially Night Terrors, The Girl Who Waited, and The God Complex together. They are actually an interesting set.

Anyway, enough blabbering! Off to do homework. I've finally talked to my thesis advisors, and one of them isn't going to be back on campus until the end of September. So that gives me the next week or two to get ahead on my other classes, in time for October!
So, Doctor Who. I did not like The Girl Who Waited; and here's why. )

(Edit: I had a lot more about this, but decided it fit more into the blog, so I edited it and posted it there.)

Burn Notice last week was unremarkable; I don't even remember what happened in the episode.

Suits was a little more interesting; hopefully next season will not let Mike go back to where he started at the firm. )

Right. Real Life. I went to the dentist yesterday, and today, to get five (five!!!) baby cavities sealed; they weren't real cavities, they just had the potential to become real cavities. (In other words, proto-cavities.) I didn't need novocaine or anything, and the entire procedure lasted less than twenty minutes (well, less than an hour if you count the forty minutes of waiting!). The hygienist told me that my teeth are looking fine, despite the fact that I haven't been to a dentist in probably two years. Nonetheless, for once I am actually convinced that going to a dentist every six months is a good idea. I don't want to get a real cavity. My parents kind of freaked out, though, because there isn't a word for "proto-cavity," so they were imagining all sorts of horrible things.
I am in desperate need of some motivation to work on projects, instead of playing Dominion all the time.  Current project list follows.

Writing
  • Shadowwood
  • Teddy Lupin
  • Dragon/elemental magic fusion, still majorly in the works, perhaps to be combined with the Shadowwood.
  • NaNo outline, unless I get far enough on the Shadowwood/dragony thing
  • Netmagic, 2.0v3 (backburner)
  • Quakewatch (backburner, maybe to become NaNo project IF I CAN MAKE HER NAME NOT VICTORIA)
Crocheting
  • Birthday and Christmas presents—mostly amigurumi
  • The Big Blanket—on hold until I return to North Carolina
Baking
  • The House cake
  • Horsetail cake?
Reading
  • Once and Future King
  • The Temeraire series
  • Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrel
  • Wind-up Girl
  • Lord of the Rings (because I haven't read it properly, yet)
Games
  • 7 Wonders
  • Race for the Galaxy
Blog
  • Research "perception filters"
Oh yeah, and I need to actually apply for things to do after I graduate, because that's, like, COMING UP SOON.  I already have my presents to myself for finishing some of these—well, I have them picked out:  "The Angels have the Phone Box" T-shirt and xkcd's "Stand Back, I'm going to try science!" shirt.  Or perhaps the switch & button stickers from xkcd, because MORE MAGIC IS ALWAYS BETTER.

Edit:  ... And, I am now in charge of the TARDIS.  First:  YAY!!!!!!!  Second:  Yet another project.
The rest of transfer orientation went well—no major hiccups, though I forgot to pay my portion of the alcohol fee. :P  Which, to be honest, makes me feel bad that other people (presumably the coordinators) paid instead, but is not exactly the worst thing for me to forget to pay for.  They didn't even tell me that I would have to before hand, or give me much of an option to opt out.  Alas.

Blabberings about classes. )

And in other news, we had dinner with the Juggler, Fortitude, Temperance, and the Roommate.  We also invited the Emperor, but she couldn't come.  I'm not sure how much longer I am going to actually invite the Emperor to things, because she never says yes, and never offers her own suggestions as to what to do.  It mostly bugs me because I think the reason she's basically stopped talking to us is because she thinks we don't work hard enough—probably because at the end of last semester, for one, both the Roommate and I had "goals" to finish our papers by a certain date, so when that date arrived and the Emperor saw us in the dining hall, she said "You must be glad to be done!" and we said, "Uh ... no, we haven't finished yet."  She had the most precious Oh-my-God-seriously? expression on her face, like she couldn't possibly believe that anyone she was friends with would fail to accomplish their goals.  And since she tells me I have ADD nearly every other time I see her, I find it a little obnoxious that she's surprised I didn't finish when I thought I would.

But that's okay!  Now I don't have to worry about talking about fun things in front of her. :)  Though it is a bit depressing after everything we went through together, or mostly that we watched her go through and tried to be supportive about.

Tick tock

Sep. 3rd, 2011 09:35 pm
We had extra chana masala after the transfer dinner tonight, so I brought it back to House. It wasn't heavy, really, but after carrying it for five minutes with my arms all bent (it wasn't terribly convenient to carry, either), I now feel like a mashed potato, and don't really want to get up from my chair. Ever.

DOCTOR WHO!!!!!!!  Spoilers. Obviously. ) Still, it was a relatively creepy episode, all in all, and would have been even more creepy if I hadn't run into a time limit after about two thirds of it. :P I should really figure out how to watch it in America.
So I watched this video, called "The Price" by [personal profile] thingswithwings .

It was very interesting, and was preceded by my reading [personal profile] thingswithwings 's description of manpain. Basically speaking, "my life totally sucks because of all these terrible things that have happened to people so my life sucks and it's all my fault and did I mention my life sucks.".

In other words, being a man with power sucks.  Did I mention it sucks?

Okay, so the video basically goes through a whole bunch of TV shows and movies that include moments where terrible things happen to the Not Main Character, but the camera still focuses on the main character, because it is He Has a Sucky Life.  There was a fair amount of Doctor Who in there, particularly with Ten; and one moment of those I'm not sure I agree with—when the Doctor and Rose are separated in parallel universes, and they're both pressing their faces against a wall.  Admittedly, the Doctor's pain and Rose's pain are slightly different in that scene—the Doctor is thinking not only that he's lost someone he loves but also probably that he's gone and screwed up someone's life again; and Rose is thinking that she's lost someone that she loves, and her chance at adventure.  I'm not sure this should fully qualify as manpain, but what do I know ... I'm not an expert.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why all these manpain tropes exist in the first place.  Why do we have this fascination with the poor hero who doesn't know who he is, who often does terrible things (or at least suffers) for the good of mankind?  It's compelling, certainly, but why?  I don't really know, but part of it, I think, has to do with the facts that 1) most of these characters are male, 2) they usually conform to masculine things, 3) they have just done something terrible, so 4) their tears (or sadfaces) must be earned even more than the tears of a woman.  In other words, if a man is crying, he must be really hurting.  (Unless it's for comedy, obviously, but that's a whole different story.)

No idea if that will make any sense when I wake up tomorrow morning.  But it is interesting to think about.

(One tiny gripe about the whole concept of manpain.  First, these are all stories with protagonists, so of course the pain is going to be emphasized and focused on the protagonist.  This is especially true in something like Harry Potter, where the entire work is written from a single point of view (excluding prologue chapters).  This makes a little hyped up manpain on the part of the protagonist acceptable to me, at least; but having the entire story revolve around it, as in the death of Renee Walker on 24, is not acceptable.)
Today we are supposed to get a LOT of rain. The eye of Hurricane Irene is basically supposed to pass over my town, which is kind of entertaining; I wonder if we'll be able to notice it? I have never been in a hurricane like this before, so it should be cool. (Hopefully, we WILL notice it, so that we can go for a walk at that exact moment—because I expect that being cooped up inside all day is going to drive me mad, very quickly, and I might start to throw things and yell.)

AND THEN THERE WAS DOCTOR WHO YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!

Natterings on River. Spoilers. )

It was definitely a wonky episode, and they really accelerated the River storyline; not sure whether that was good, but it was funny.

Natterings on Rory. Spoilers. ) 

The Hermit, the Moon, the Tower, and I all went to walk around the brook yesterday. Because of the hurricane, they must have opened some dams downstream or something, because the water level was so low that there practically wasn't any more water. It was a bit of a let-down in terms of the scenery, but gave us plenty of opportunities to discuss the impending hurricane. I confess I am not terribly worried. Sure, rain, wind, probably some power outages; but I am not expecting a three-day catastrophe, which seems to be what the Hermit and the Moon predict. They do live kind of far out, so if they lose power it's bound to be a much bigger deal than if I do, stuck in town as I am; but I would be surprised if they couldn't go to work tomorrow, for instance. At any rate, I don't have much of an appreciation for weather.

In which I complain. )

Done for stupid touchy-feely stuff.
Yesterday, the Hermit and the Moon and I all attempted to go blueberry picking, but we were thwarted by thunder (and, eventually, rain). The rain only lasted for a few minutes, but it was pretty impressive when it happened—and the wind made a tree crack outside, it was blown to the side so much.

Luckily, though, the rain managed to actually reduce the humidity, for once; so this morning, it was much more pleasant outside.

Last Friday, I watched Suits and Burn Notice. I'm not sure why I like Suits, except that Mike Ross is hilarious, and how he's being a lawyer because he's good at it, but isn't going to let Harvey make him a douchebag in the process. (Or at least, so far ... I would not be in the least surprised if Mike has to make some serious, douchy decisions in the season finale.) I don't really like how every other girl seems to fall head over heels for him (except Zoe—er, Jessica!). I'm not so sure I really understand Harvey, though—for some reason I find it jarring whenever he starts quoting movies, like that's supposed to make him seem younger and all buddy-buddy with Mike. Maybe it's because I don't actually know most of the movies they quote, and also don't know the age demographic that typically watches them—maybe Mike having memorized The Godfather says more about Mike than it does about Harvey? I dunno.

Anyway ... Burn Notice isn't really grabbing me any more. It's still funny, but the plot just isn't there. Agent Pearce is kind of cool, and I'm glad that Jesse got to stick around, but the show just moves too slowly for me. NOTHING EVER CHANGES IN MICHAEL'S LIFE. That's not technically true, but aside from doing odd jobs for the same person over and over again, Michael's life seems pretty much just like it was in seasons 1, 2, and 3. I'll probably keep watching it for a while (especially now that they have upped the episode count for the current season!), but I doubt I'll be devoted.

On that note ... FIVE DAYS UNTIL THE NEXT DOCTOR WHO EPISODE!!!!!!! \o/

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