Wow, this weekend was long. Friday night the Roommate, Fortitude, the Tower, the Juggler, and I all played Bananagrams and Dominion for about four hours before the Roommate and I pleaded exhaustion and kicked them out. It was really fun, though; more fun than watching Sherlock or Merlin together, I think, so I wonder if we're going to watch any movies at all this year.

Then, Saturday, I spent pretty much the whole day doing readings for this week. I literally read seven articles on Saturday, I think, and another four on Sunday morning; I haven't been this efficient in quite a while. It was awesome to just be finishing everything.

Saturday night we went ice skating, which we've been meaning to do for a long time. It was really fun, but also quite painful, because I fell down three times. The first two times I knocked my funny bone, once on each arm, and then the third time I got the wind knocked out of me a little and started to feel faint. At that point, I decided I'd had enough and the Roommate and I quit; everyone else stopped ten or fifteen minutes later, and since we'd already been on the rink for about two and a half hours, it was fine.

Sunday morning, the Roommate and I met with the Emperor, which was interesting. She showed up late after having "not made it" to church, and then left half an hour later to go to the lab. She told us about her life, and then asked what we'd been doing; I got a few minutes through ... something, I don't even remember, when all of a sudden she just had to up and go. She clearly didn't care about the Roommate's life at all, and only marginally about mine. I don't know why we even try, but I guess she's a friend?

Then Sunday afternoon, I spent a long time hanging out with Other Me, who was having a rough weekend, even though she seems to be doing better over all.

Sunday night, all of us except the Roommate went over to the engineering and physics building for an astronomy lab, where Fortitude and the Juggler got us into one of the astronomy lab sections for the evening. We went up to the roof and looked through telescopes and saw constellations and Jupiter and Mars, and learned how to use a star chart. It was awesome.

Phew. It was fun, but long, and now I am covered in bruises and tired. Also, I did nothing on my thesis, which I had been intending to work on; so now this week is going to be exciting.

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.

New policy

Dec. 11th, 2011 08:59 am
I am thinking about installing a new policy in my life: no TV except, once a month, when I take an entire day for myself and don't interact with people. I think this will help me stay emotionally happy (wow, I can't believe I just wrote that), but will also let me keep up with my TV shows. Hopefully this will let me waste less time hunting around for episodes, and will make me feel better about myself because I spend less time just wasting away.

Hopefully it will also make me feel less bad about watching TV all the time, because I have planned it that way.

There will of course be two or three shows I don't mind watching the rest of the time, only when new episodes are on: Doctor Who, White Collar, and NCIS, I think, for the moment, anyway. Burn Notice is starting to make me a little unhappy, especially this week's episode, where Vaughn tells Michael that Ansen (?) is trying to rebuild the organization that burned him. 1) I still don't really get what the organization is, or what it is trying to accomplish, or why Ansen is trying to do anything that he's trying to do. 2) I wish that a new storyline would happen, rather than the same things over and over again. Jesse is a great addition to the team, and possibly the only reason I still watch it—and I like him because he's new.

Covert Affairs is interesting, and has gotten better this season, but it has its problems. Warehouse 13 is a lot better than I originally thought, but I am not devoted to it (despite all recent evidence to the contrary). Psych is still good, but like Burn Notice, I am getting sick of the same story over and over again—it's refreshing that Psych and Julie have gotten together, but we hardly ever see them together, so it doesn't have a huge impact on the episodes. What else ... NCIS is still good, as it Merlin, but I mostly feel like I watch them because I don't have anything better to do. I want to get something better to do, except I don't want that something to be stressful.

I kind of want to watch Legend of Korra as it comes out, but I also feel like I will like it a lot more if I watch them all at once—I love it, and I don't mind that it's a kids show (it's even better because of it), but I worry that I won't be able to buy the cheesiness if I don't saturate myself in it.

Sherlock is the only other exception to the policy, I think, and that's because even though it is a "TV show" it is still more like a series of connected movies. Plus, there are only three of them, so it hardly counts.
So far, Thanksgiving has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be — my parents haven't been as annoying as I expected, especially my dad; not too many questions, and even better, fewer references to my brother's girlfriend than expected. We've played a lot of racing demons, and also cooked a fair amount. We made ... let's see: carrot soufflé, whipped cream (twice ... not that this is complicated, but), apple crisp, corn chowder, stuffing, cranberry stuff (I'm forgetting the word at the moment), bread. I'm probably forgetting a little, but oh well.

I watched the most recent episode of Merlin, mostly because the Tower sent me a link; my usual website didn't have it. :( But it was okay, though a little weird. The entire episode (Lamia) was pretty much all about crazy random happenstances until finally she attacked Merlin and Gwen. I'm seriously hoping that someone in Camelot aside from Gaius figures out that Merlin has magic before the end of this season, because honestly—he's not that subtle, and it's already been four seasons of "oh wait, what happened while I was knocked out?"

NaNo is going all right. I'm basically at 35,000, now, but that means I've got 15,000 words to write in the next five days; thank God Thanksgiving is early this year, so that I'm not expected to be done tomorrow. I'm hoping to hit 40,000 today, but that means a lot more writing, and I've already written 1,500 this morning. Hopefully I will manage to finish without too much semi-cheating! (By that I mean not actually cheating, per se, but doing stupid little things like not using contractions.)

I've been playing a fair amount of Dominion, and I think I got into the isotropic tournament. Yay!
Tonight was the House's Halloween party, so the Roommate and I woke up really early (okay ... 8:15) to bake our magic squares and pumpkin muffins. It was fun, but took nearly two hours. I got a little work done after that, but not much.

We (i.e., me, the Roommate, the Tower, the Juggler, and Fortitude) had dinner and then watched Merlin. We went to the engineering building and watched it in their biggest lecture hall, which was really fun—it's almost like a movie theater, except we don't have to worry about talking too much. (Well, truth be told, I don't know whether the Tower minds; but no one else does, so.)

I had a brilliant idea this afternoon for my computer magic story, so I spent a while outlining the basic idea this afternoon. I definitely can't start writing it any time soon (especially not for NaNo!), because it relies heavily on MMOs, and I don't know anything about them. Well, I don't know enough about the community that plays them to write it. But, I have been trying to figure out this story for a long time, and I finally have it! It makes sense, it is internally consistent, and it has a fairly good backstory. The basic premise needs some work, obviously, but I am finally feeling like I am going to write it!

And now, I am exhausted and am going to go collapse into bed.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday this week were so extraordinarily long, it was hard to believe they were only single days. Yesterday was a little painful, too, because I was completely out of it for most of the day. We had a cool demonstration on Icelandic in phonetics, though, which I kind of remember most of. I pretty much decided to take the day off, since I wasn't exactly paying attention to anything; so, I finished Merlin.

I like Merlin! It's a bit childish, and I have trouble understanding why the Hermit likes Morgana (though perhaps it's in part because she hasn't actually watched the show), but whatever. I am seriously hoping that Arthur is not remotely surprised when he finally discovers/realizes/is told that Merlin has magic, because if he is surprised I will probably lose all faith in the show. Admittedly, Arthur is knocked out for pretty much every time that Merlin saves his life with magic; or, it's in the middle of a battle and not entirely clear if 1) anyone used magic, or 2) who used magic. So I can see Arthur being a little surprised, but not shocked. He is not that much of an idiot.

In other news, I now have a plot-like object for NaNo, it just needs serious fleshing out before November. I have no idea if it is going to be ready in two weeks, but I am going to try to get a good outline-like object this weekend. Very basic, but still.

And now I have to seriously clean up my life. Inboxes are overflowing, there are an innumerable number of bags on my dorm room floor and I have no idea how they got there, and I have to figure out what I need to do this weekend. Ugh. :P

Edit: Also, two new cards for Dominion's new Hinterlands expansion pack came out today—Traders and Border Village. Traders seems like a dangerous card, in that you could fill your entire deck up with silver; and I'm not very impressed with Border Village, either—it costs a lot for very little benefit, when you could just buy the card you would gain from the village. But it probably works well with City, Peddler, Conspirator, Wharf ... but it still seems relatively useless with a lot of cards that you'd want to spam, like Lab and Caravan. I guess we'll see, and it might go well with some other Hinterlands cards, once those are released.
Astoundingly, the leaves this weekend were not anywhere near peak; apparently there's been a lot of rain, and there have only been a few frosts, so although most trees were starting to turn, they were still mostly green. It was nice and chilly in the morning, but got up to 80˚ (or so the weather forecast said; I didn't actually see a thermometer) during the day.

I stayed at the Hermit's house (technically in Vermont, but close enough), and it was really nice to be back in a real house, with cats, and a fridge with food in it, and to sleep on a real bed. I stayed in the Hermit's sister's room—she has a big creaky bunk bed, which took some getting used to, but the second night I slept pretty well. (The first night, half of the problem was the cat: he came to sleep with me, but I haven't slept on a twin bed with a cat in a very, very long time. When he moved down to my feet there was a lot more room, but when he was wedged up against my back I kept worrying that I would either fall off or crush him; luckily, neither happened, but it kept me up for a while.)

We watched a fair amount of TV, and went on a few walks, and it was generally very relaxing. I did NO homework, which sounded like a good plan at the time but now that I am back on the train I am starting to wish I'd tried a little harder. Brief comparison of Sherlock-the-miniseries and Sherlock-the-Christmas-Day-movie. )

We also watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which was terrible. One clich after another, plus Hiccup. )

We started to watch Phone Booth, but no one got shot in the first fifteen minutes, so we stopped. Lack of shooting = uninteresting. )

And finally, we also watched GalaxyQuest, which was basically a parody of Star Trek.  It was hilarious, but I think I would have gotten more out of it if I knew anything about Star Trek.  Still funny, though.

Kayaking was a lot of fun—we went down the Ompompanoosuc and then onto the Connecticut, got blinded by the sun, saw a bunch of monarch butterflies (which have been scarce lately), got wet, paddled around, talked fic. I thought I was starting to understand fanfiction, but I still don't really get it. My first experience comprehending crossovers, though, happened this past week (where I thought to myself, "what Merlin really needs right now is for Sherlock to come in and help!" or something to that effect, I can't remember what exactly), so perhaps I just haven't found my fandom.

And, the Hermit's dog has finally gotten used to me, more or less. She barked a few times, and seemed to forget me every morning, but she had calmed down considerably, and sat on my feet, and jumped up next to me on the couch, and everything. It was an enormous improvement over previous visits, so that was good. :) And they invited me back for Thanksgiving or next weekend (or both!), so I guess I wasn't a horrible guest. (I always worry about being a horrible guest, because my mom never really liked to have people back to our house, so I always think I'm going to be a gigantic burden; but I am starting to come around to the idea that they might not actually mind having me over a lot.)

Now, off to finish Merlin's The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part I, or really to wait for it to buffer because the train's internet is terrible.
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.
Warning: much ranting and linguistic nerdiness to follow.

Ranting: The internet is not as useful for travel plans as you might think. )

Linguistic nerdiness: Although this is potentially not really PC, there was a sign outside the station that said "Ah & Ah: For out-of-towners, that's R & R." It was advertising "upperclass" travel to London, I believe; but it was pretty funny. Of course, the vowels aren't quite right, but most people reading that probably wouldn't think of that. The Boston non-rhotic dialect(s) has (have) a slightly different vowel than the British non-rhotic dialects, so I think it was trying to play off of the superficial similarity (as the sign was in Boston). It would be more interesting to see if the sign occurred elsewhere where there is no local non-rhotic dialect—maybe they were trying to make fun of and/or imitate both the Boston non-rhotic and the London non-rhotics. Anyway, it was entertaining and thought provoking.

The great geek vs. nerd debate. )

I am now lamentably finished with the second season of Merlin.  I say lamentably only because 1) there is only one more season to go, and 2) I really ought to have been doing homework instead of watching 26 45-minute episodes of a TV show about magic and dragons.  I most definitely like British science fiction / fantasy TV a lot better than American sci fi/fantasy, but luckily I think I've started to exhaust the typical British canon, especially since I have tried Torchwood and don't like it.

Flop flop

Oct. 4th, 2011 10:55 am
Unfortunately, I have an exam this afternoon, and my Plant Evolution class has a field trip. Technically, I can go to the field trip—it's supposed to end before my exam starts. But it's going to be a close one, and I'm more than a little afraid of 1) forgetting about the exam and missing it, 2) getting lost, and 3) biking down the side of the road. I am not a confident biker, and probably won't ever be; biking is fun down bike trails off in the woods, but I honestly think the last time I road a bike was in Florida ... my junior (?) year of high school. Basically, I really don't want to go to the field trip, but I probably should. So I have no idea what to do.

I finished Sherlock and started Merlin. I should really not watch too much TV. Anyway, Sherlock:  Comments. Spoilers. The usual. )

Merlin. It's kind of cute—Magic and dragons, oh my! ) Not sure if I'll keep watching it, but it's nice to have a TV show to watch that is moderately good. (And the accents are cool—I even heard Morgana use a great slit [t]! Her accent sounds kind of Irish, but doesn't have much of the Irish intonation ... I sort of think I might have been placing too much emphasis on the Irish intonation.)

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