She Lives!

Apr. 13th, 2010 04:03 pm
smb814: (Chuck Chuck/Sarah Smile)
[personal profile] smb814
First things first...

YES, I AM STILL ALIVE, AND YES I AM STILL DWELLING IN LJ-LAND.

Sorry about the bold capslock, but, well, after a particular near-defriending instance last week because of my lack of living-ness, I thought it might be appropriate to emphasize that. :)

So anyway...hi, everyone! To everyone new on my f-list (or who hasn't actually seen me post anything since they friended me)...er, sorry about my lack of posts. I work fulltime at a university and am usually far too tired when I get home at night to write coherent LJ posts and, well, basically do anything except mindlessly browsing the internet and playing an occasional video game. Weekends aren't much better, since I have to share the internet with my family and catch up on everything else that I didn't get done during the rest of the week. So that leaves the bits and pieces of downtime that I have at work to actually post something...and, well, let's just say this semester has been THE busiest one I've ever seen. Seriously, I don't know why it was as crazy as it was (maybe it was the fact that the chair position of one of the programs I work for split into two, with two new people covering it, both of whom are highly strung at times?), but it was, and it took until last week before I finally caught up with all the major stuff on my plate. Hence why I can finally post here again. :)

So, since it has been so many months, I'm going to resort to the number list again in my efforts to cover everything.

1. Work - I think I sufficiently covered the ridiculousness-time-hog-that-is-work above.

2. Vacation! - I'm heading down to Florida/Disney again next week, yay! Having never seen the flower festival at EPCOT before (since our annual family Disney vacation usually occurs in the fall, not in the spring when it runs), it's always been on my list of things to see, and so that's what I'm going to be checking out this year. It'll be a slightly shorter trip than usual, but still...I'll be away from work!

3. Writing - Still working on that 7-part Sheelos series. The third story is written, and I've just started writing the fourth story, but I've decided not to post any more of it until I've completely converted the series from plotting notes into actual writing -- I've discovered the hard way that it's far better for my writing muse to keep going with a story/series from start to finish instead of breaking it down and posting it in pieces.

And by all means, guys, the next time I get the brilliant idea to follow up a highly successful story with a sequel or a series like this, shoot me. Well, okay, don't actually shoot me, but please kick me and remind me of what an awful idea it is since there's no way it will ever live up to readers' expectations -- and, as a result, the response to it will never live up to my own expectations after the incredible response the first story generated. Or at least don't let me post any sequel(s) unless the story/series is 100% complete so I don't risk losing my motivation in the middle of it and quitting. And here I thought I'd learned my lesson after that whole Project Zero fiasco all those years ago....

In any case, for awhile I had been seriously considering giving up on this series altogether so I could get back to working on Frozen Flame, but after much debate and angsting (and again, many apologies to [livejournal.com profile] trickssi and [livejournal.com profile] enzanijuuin for dragging them into that), I decided to just quickly plow through the rest of it and post it, even if it's not up to my usual, self-imposed standards. It's mostly written already anyway, and I hate leaving things like that unfinished, especially when I'm this far with it, so for better or worse, I'm just going to get it done. And then -- then! -- I am finally going to get that darn original novel finished!

4. Video Games - Tales of Vesperia is awesome. Tales games are awesome, period. Seriously, I have had more fun playing the Tales games than I ever had with most other games (most of the Final Fantasy games included). I have yet to run into a more re-playable game than the Tales games, with their infinitely amusing and customizable grade shops at the end of the game. The only problems with those games are, 1) it's virtually impossible to 'complete' the game with only one playthrough, especially when the official English strategy guide doesn't tell you about 75% of the side quests in the game (grrrr...) and by the time you realize there are more than they're listing, you've already missed the first few requirements to, oh, get the best spear and alternate costume title in the game, and 2) Namco-Bandai refuses to translate most of the games in the series and bring them out of Japan. (TOG, TOR, TOD:DC, TOI, TOH, TOTW:RM2, TOVS in English, anyone? Please?) In any case, I finished two playthroughs of TOV about a month ago (heh...I really shouldn't enjoy plowing through everything with 10x EXP as much as I do) and loved every second of them. As soon as I get some free time again, I really, really want to go back and replay TOTA, TOS, and TOV. And eventually finish TOP and TOE, too.

And on a Tales-related side note...has anyone else on my f-list seen the first TOS Tethe'alla OVA? Seriously, how awesome was that? Between the Zelos/Regal fight and Lloyd/Kratos fight (well, okay, and Zelos himself, too, because his seiyuu is pure genius), I was quite impressed by the quality. I haven't had a chance to watch the Sylvarant story arc yet, but I plan to do so (along with the TOTA anime) on my PSP during my upcoming Florida trip. Anyone know when the next part comes out?

Anyway, after finishing Vesperia, I went on to play the Apollo Justice and Miles Edgeworth games (seriously, the entire Phoenix Wright saga is ridiculously entertaining, with some of the most outrageously colorful characters and stories I've ever seen), and then I played Brave Story for the PSP. Brave Story was pretty good -- nothing Tales or Final Fantasy amazing, but good enough for what it was. The book that the game was based on (Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe) is a hundred times better, but still, I never would have read the book if not for the game, so I suppose it did its job. And now I'm back in that weird stage of trying to decide what game to tackle next: Dragon Quest IV, Kingdom Hearts 258/2 Days, Final Fantasy XIII, or Resonance of Fate. I'll probably work on DQ4 next, because that seems like it'll be the best one for me to delve into while I'm in Florida, and then go through the others once I get back. We'll see.

5. Japanese - Still studying the language and am slowly coming along with it. I've finally finished putting together a few Anki flashcard sets and have started studying those to learn vocabulary and put readings to some of the kanji. BTW, [livejournal.com profile] lifelongfling, if you've downloaded Anki and would like the set I created for the vocabulary in the first Japanese in Mangaland book, since I know you'd said you have those books, let me know and I'd be happy to email it to you. :)

6. TV - Oh, has TV been interesting these past few months. Seriously, between Chuck, Lost, and Supernatural, I've almost been in excitement overload. I'm going to break this down a bit more by show...note that there might be spoilers for a few TV shows here.

Chuck - OMG, Chuck! I wasn't sure about this season at times, because, well, I never saw Superman Returns and was pretty indifferent toward Brandon Routh and his character, but oh, did my patience pay off. This last episode was incredible. Seriously, more people need to watch this show, because it's Awesome, with a capital 'A' -- it has everything (comedy, romance, drama, action...you name it, it's there), it's not afraid to take chances and flip the 'rules' of the series on its head (seriously, Intersect 2.0 was just the start...now Morgan knows Chuck's secret and, more than that, is part of the team?!), and the characters just completely manage to steal your heart away (Chuck, Morgan, Casey, Sarah, Ellie, Awesome...they're all, well, awesome). The show has heart. In fact, the only part I really don't care much for are the Buy More shenanigans -- although even I have to admit to being amused watching Casey make the Buy More his life for a few weeks there. I just wish more people were watching this show so we could get another season out of it!

Lost - You know what I love most about this show? Not the characters, because I've distanced myself from all emotional attachment to them knowing every one of them could be dead by the end of the series, but how the writers are unfolding the story. Probably the best thing that could have happened for this series is what did happen: they set an end date for it. In other words, it gave the writers a set time and place to wrap things up -- it enabled them to tell a real story. And as a writer myself, it's been fascinating watching them put the pieces into place, arrange them, twist them around, and slowly reveal things these past few seasons. Whether we're all satisfied with the ending or not we won't know for a few more weeks, but so far I'm more than satisfied with how it's playing out. There's the definite feeling that the end is coming now, especially after last week's Desmond episode, where we're finally starting to connect the two 'worlds' we're seeing, and I, for one, can't wait to see how it's all wrapped up.

Supernatural - And yet another show that's quite obviously building to something huge, and is leaving me nervous about what's going to happen to all the characters once we get to that point. Because, seriously, seeing Dean losing faith in everyone and everything like this is breaking my heart. And since I know there are oodles of SPN fans on my list, many of whom probably know where all of this is going, please don't spoil me! I'm quite enjoying watching things play out with no clue of what the writers have planned or how they're going to get out of the mess they're creating with the characters still intact for another season. :)

Stargate Universe - I finally caught up with this show a few weeks ago. Haven't watched last week's episode yet (just haven't had time because of all the pre-trip stuff I have to take care of first). My opinion? I don't mind it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not enamored of it, but I don't actively detest it, either. It's okay. It doesn't feel like Stargate, though. It's darker than I really want my Stargate to be -- that was always one of my favorite things about SG1 & SGA, that it didn't take itself too seriously and had a good sense of humor, and this show...just doesn't have that. There are very few characters I actually like -- Eli and Scott are fairly likable so far, and Rush fascinates me, and Camile's okay, too, but beyond that...I jump between actively disliking them (like Young and Telford) and being indifferent toward them (like Chloe and the medic, whose name I can never remember). I could do without all of the jumping to Earth, because that stuff is boring me to tears, but if they were to give us more episodes like "Time" and "Space," I'd probably be far more interested in the show. But I'm still willing to give it a chance, so here's hoping it picks up a little more soon.

I still haven't caught up with Castle or Fringe, but I plan to this summer. NCIS and NCIS: LA have been entertaining, but I have nothing I feel the need to say about them. Leverage is oodles of fun...but how long do we have to wait for season 3 and to find out how they get Nate out of jail?! Oh, and The Office has been pretty good at times, too (mostly the Jim/Pam wedding and baby stuff), although this season hasn't been as amusing (IMO) as the earlier seasons. They really need more Jim/Dwight pranks and more stuff with the secondary characters, like Oscar and Toby. Ah, well. They still have a few weeks left to change my mind. :)

7. Let's see...anything else? Oh, my cousin had to put their dog down a few weeks ago. :( She was the sweetest dog I'm pretty sure I'll ever met. R.I.P., Eccles. We'll all miss you and your strange but endearing obsession with Honey Nut Cheerios, and we're glad you were in our life these past 15 years. Of course, this past weekend my cousin then went out and adopted a new dog already -- a 5-month-old collie/lab mix who is already doing great herding around my cousin's two kids. They've named her Kerry, after the county in Ireland, because she has a reddish-brown fur coat and the most fascinating, greenest eyes I've ever seen on a dog. It's always fun to have a new puppy in the family. :)

I've also started doing some strength training -- nice, simple exercises you can do in your own home with just a few weights, a stool, and some towels. Not that I really need more exercise (I get plenty already doing 300-plus flights of steps every night and a brisk 30-40 minute walk every now and then, thankyouverymuch), but I've always wanted to try to fit in more anaerobic exercise, as opposed to only getting aerobic with the steps and walking. I'm not sure if it's making a difference yet or not since I've only been doing it a few weeks, but I'm sure it's not hurting anything, either.

...And I think that covers the main things from the past few months. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to post more regularly again, but that depends entirely on how busy work is these next few weeks. And how distracted I get by writing and by working my way through more video games on my *gulp* 170+ video game backlog.

Take care, everyone, and I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well! :D
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