She Lives!

Apr. 13th, 2010 04:03 pm
smb814: (Chuck Chuck/Sarah Smile)
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.

This is way too long so I'm cutting it to save your f-list from being completely overwhelmed. This cut covers Work and Vacation. )

Current writing status/progress/miscellaneous info be here. )

Video game talk be beneath here -- includes mentions of Tales of Vesperia, various other Tales games, Tales of Symphonia: Tethe'alla OVA, the Phoenix Wright saga, Brave Story, and one or two others. )

A brief update on my Japanese studying progress, and some TV talk! )

Chuck )

Lost )

Supernatural )

Stargate Universe )

A few other TV shows, like NCIS, Leverage, The Office... )

And a few other miscellaneous life things. )

...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
smb814: (KH2 Mickey Wave)
Happy New Year to everyone! Personally, I'm one of those people who was eagerly awaiting the end of 2009, which was one of the most rotten years I can remember all the way around, so today couldn't come fast enough. Here's hoping this will be a better year for everyone!

Nothing really major going on, just briefly updating since it's been about a month since I last did. So, here we go.

1. Work. I still have a job, thank goodness. The university is still having major financial problems, so it's possible they'll have to go around later and do another round of job cuts, but at least for now, I'm still employed. Of course, considering how busy I was the last few weeks at work (seriously, I can't believe how ridiculously busy I was), I'm not sure how they could cut my position, but, well, that depends on who's making the cuts and how my job looks on paper. So we'll see. I do have to admit to really, really liking having off of work all this week, even if I've been So. Very. Busy. the entire time.

2. Writing. The sequel to "Mental Holiday" is written. Yay! Now I'm just finishing up some massive revisions to it and will hopefully be posting it within the next week or two. Assuming I can decide on a title for it, of course; I hate being torn between two different titles. And then I'll tackle the next story in the series, and then the next (and then the next, and the next, etc.), and once that series is done, I will FINALLY get back to work on Frozen Flame! I will, and you guys can hold me to that!

3. Video games. For the record, Tales of Vesperia is awesome. And incredibly fun. All of the Tales games are. I just wish I had more time to play it right now. I'm also hoping to set up the Wii so my family can play some Toy Story Mania before the end of the weekend. And I'm trying to decide which PSP or Nintendo DS game to play next...ugh, too many options. Anyone have any recommendations for a graphic adventure game (Hotel Dusk, Lux Pain, Theresia, etc.) or an RPG (Dragon Quest IV/V, The World Ends With You, Final Fantasy: Crisis Core, Kingdom Hearts 358/2, Tales of Phantasia/Eternia, etc.) I should try next? My options definitely aren't limited to just those.

4. TV. CHUCK STARTS SOON!!! Ahem, sorry about that, but that's definitely the one I'm looking forward to most right now, especially after how last season ended. Chuck 2.0! Supernatural, Lost, and NCIS will be back soon, too! I'm also quite enjoying Sanctuary, and Leverage is great fun, too. Oh, and I'm hooked on The Office, because Jim/Pam is one of the most awesome pairings I've ever seen...anyone else on my f-list watch that one? Castle is next on my list of shows to watch, but I think I'll wait to get started with that one during the summer. With all the other TV on this spring, I just don't have time to watch everything.

5. Japanese. Wow, talk about a confusing language at times. But my progress is still, while slow, also steady, and I keep reading and studying in bits and pieces, and I'm creating kanji and vocab flash cards on Anki, and listening to Japanese music has made a world of difference in my ability to hear the language spoken. How's it coming for you, [livejournal.com profile] lifelongfling? :)

6. I'm...not sure about a 6 right now. I'm sure there's more I could ramble about, but it's time for breakfast and I really want to eat.

Oh, and major (((hugs))) to everyone on my f-list for their kind words on my last post. After a month, my mom seems to be doing all right with the whole thing -- not great, but all right. All we can do is take lessons out of it and try to keep ourselves as healthy as possible.

I'm making it a resolution to update my LJ more often this year, so hopefully there won't be more of those 6-month hiatus gaps. I hope everyone has a great New Years! :)
smb814: (TOS Lloyd Zelos Land)
Wow, seven months since my last update? Um...whoops?

I do have an excuse, though: life's been a tad crazy lately. Well, a little more than a 'tad.' More like a huge, honkin', Pacific Ocean-sized crazy. Yes, it's been that nuts.

To that end, I'm reverting to a numbered list because that seemed to work well the last time.

Cut for excessive length. )

And I think that covers the basics of what I've been up to. Hopefully pretty soon I'll be able to start catching up with all the other things I haven't been able to do lately, like email and reading fic and playing games and all that other fun stuff.

(Oh, and bonus points to anyone who can identify where the quote in my icon came from. *g*)

For now, though, I have to run -- almost time to go home! Maybe now I'll be able to post a little more regularly again. I hope everyone on my flist is doing well!
smb814: (TOTA Guy)
Ugh, I really need to start updating more regularly. Really, I do.

So, let's see. I'm still studying Japanese. I'm nowhere near being able to read even simple text yet (I have too much vocabulary left to learn before I reach that point) or understand spoken dialogue, but every day I'm learning a little more about the grammar and a few more Kanji characters. At least I have Hiragana and Katakana down pretty well now.

Oh! My family took our trip to the Disneyland resort two weeks ago and absolutely LOVED it. We've never been out there before (we've always gone to Florida since it's considerably closer to Wisconsin than California is), but we found a few great deals on airfare, ticket prices, and hotel prices and had to jump. I didn't think my parents would like it since they'd never expressed interest in going there ever before, but they loved it just as much as I did. In fact, if I were to compare the Magic Kingdom in Florida (not including EPCOT, the Studios, or Animal Kingdom) to Disneyland in California (not including the California Adventure park, just their Magic Kingdom equivalent), I almost liked Disneyland beter. Their "Pirates of the Caribbean" is two times longer, FCOL! Their Space Mountain is an absolutely awesome ride (unlike the Florida version, which is DEFINITELY showing its age in all the bumps and sheer jerkiness)! Their Autopia is actually an enjoyable drive, through a lovely park and with cars that aren't ridiculously difficult to control! They have an excellent Indiana Jones ride! They have the submarines and Nemo! They have Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (basically a teacup on a dark ride track)! They have Mr. Toad! They have some amazing miniature displays in the Storybookland Canal! Granted, the Splash Mountain, Winnie the Pooh, and Buzz Lightyear rides in Florida put theirs to shame, their Matterhorn did nothing for me (it actually reminded me of the Space Mountain in Florida), and their castle is miniscule (we lost track of how many times we couldn't see the castle past the trees, and the first time I saw it I burst into laughter and called it "cute," which really isn't how an iconic castle like that should be described), but I still really, really enjoyed it.

Disney's California Adventure I wasn't quite as enthralled with, but I still enjoyed it. Maybe it's because most of their "big" rides and attractions there are almost identical to the ones in Florida -- Tower of Terror, Soarin', Muppetvision 3D, It's Tough to Be a Bug -- or maybe it's because the whole Paradise Pier, carnival-ride type attractions do nothing for me, but we didn't spend as much time there. Of course, they have some awesome sourdough bread (at the Bourdin bakery, where we ate a LOT of lunches), California Screamin' is a great roller coaster, Mulholland Madness was fun enough, we loved both parades we saw there, the Monsters, Inc. ride was cute, and their Aladdin show is phenomenal, so it definitely wasn't a complete waste. I'm sure if I liked water rides more, I would've given Grizzly Bear Run a try, but I just don't see the appeal in walking around a park completely drenched so we avoided that one.

The weather there was amazing. After the winter we just had in Wisconsin, we needed the sun and 60-80 degrees like you wouldn't believe. Flights were great -- both were on time, we bought the signature seats so we were comfortable and had plenty of leg room for the 3 1/2-4 hour trip, and we didn't have a cloud in the sky flying out there, so we got to see everything well. Even coming back, the sky was mostly clear. Not having seen the Rocky Mountains in years, that was a real treat. Our room, too, was wonderful. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, which was about a ten minute walk (through Downtown Disney) from both parks. I would happily stay there again -- big rooms, comfortable beds, decent food. All in all, an excellent, much-needed trip with lots of familiar sights but plenty of new stuff and exploration as well. I definitely see myself planning another trip out there in the next few years, and seeing a different park than the one I'm used to just made me want to go to Tokyo Disney (which is supposed to be spectacular) even more than I did before.

"Frozen Flame" revisions are still crawling along -- generally about a few paragraphs a day, depending on the size of the paragraphs. Unfortunately, I also haven't felt like working on that Daniel/Vala fic on my plate lately, so I've fallen way behind on that, too -- sorry about that, Misty. :( I just haven't felt motivated to really focus on either of them at the moment (probably because I'm also working on proofreading a book on urban education struggles during my free time for someone at work), but I'm sure that will change eventually. Experience has taught me that my interests tend to be cyclical. For a few months I'll be in writing mode, then I'll switch to watching DVDs, and then I'll switch to video games, then I'll switch back to writing mode, etc. Right now I'm heavily in video game mode, and I have been since I delved into Final Fantasy XII last fall. And that's perfectly fine with me, seeing as I have roughly 100 RPGs backlisted that I haven't even touched yet. *gulps*

And speaking of RPGs...Tales of the Abyss has eaten my soul. Seriously. No, maybe it's not the greatest game ever, but it's pretty darn good, with awesome characters *points to icon and would huggle Guy except the poor guy would undoubtedly run away screaming* and even more awesome character development and interaction. And the battle system is FUN! It's even knocked Kingdom Hearts II out of my top three favorite games ever list -- and anyone who knows me knows that's saying a lot. I'm on my third playthrough already and I suspect I'm literally going to have to force myself not to start another playthrough of game so I can finally play a different game. Hopefully this time I can finish up everything I still haven't done in my previous two playthroughs (like maxing out my levels so I can beat Nebilim on Very Hard and/or Unknown mode, mastering Dragon Buster, and completing the Collector's Book) so I'm not tempted to play it yet again -- because I know I would be. It's just that much fun.

Oh, and so I can quickly find it again later -- link to my all-time favorite Guy/Natalia fic: And the Clock Struck Twelve. Not only does it make me SQUEE!!! every time I read it, but it makes me really wish I had a storyline so I could tackle writing that pairing myself. I wish the author had included a focus on Guy's struggles to overcome his gynophobia, but I can understand why she didn't for the sake of the story. But oh, how tempting it is to write a fic with more of that angle to it.... Too bad her sequel to it is solely Luke/Tear, a pairing that, while canon, I'm pretty much indifferent to. :(

Also on the video game front, this past weeked I finally caved and bought a Playstation Portable. Like I really needed to spend even more money right now. But I'm dying to play "Tales of Destiny 2" and "Tales of Rebirth" (even if they're all in Japanese), and I'm curious about what happens in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and, well, there are quite a few other RPGs out for that system that I'm itching to play, and the PSP was the only feasible option for being able to do so. Yes, I AM an JRPG addict and have been since I was eight, thankyouverymuch. But then -- the icing on the cake -- was when I discovered that I could take any DVD in my collection, convert it to a .mp4 file, and watch it on the PSP. That means I can take an entire season of a TV show, put it on a single memory card, and watch it while on a road trip! I've already started converting my favorite Stargate eps, and I plan on working on Farscape and X-Files next. It takes awhile to convert them (a little over an hour for each episode), but the quality still comes through beautifully. Needless to say, the PSP just became my new favorite toy. :)

In not-so-happy news, summer is coming up, and after everything that happened last summer, I'm dreading it. My neighborhood still isn't doing real well. The elderly woman who lives across the street from us had her purse stolen at the Walgreens just down the road. A drug dealer was shot at the same Walgreens. Three people were caught breaking into a gas station two blocks from our house just yesterday morning. Our neighborhood block watch is disbanding because the woman in charge doesn't want to do it anymore, and I don't have the time or leadership abilities to take a job like that upon myself. I'm guessing we have a week or two before anything starts happening (closer to when school gets out for the summer, judging from the past two years), but I wouldn't doubt that some stupid kids with nothing better to do decide to come back to our house and try to break in again. And with the economy crashing around us and gas prices so atrocious, I fully expect the state of the neighborhood to get even worse. I've already evacuated my DVD, CD, and game collections to other places so they're not sitting around inside the house in the event of another break-in, but it really is a pain dragging things I think I might want home on weekends. *sigh* Tell me again why the world is this way?

But enough of that, since I made a point last fall to be as upbeat as possible and enjoy myself during the months where I don't have to worry as much about that kind of crap. Besides, I really should get back to work...not that I have a lot to do right now when I'm still waiting for people to start turning in their course evaluations. At least I get to play on the internet while I'm waiting.

I hope everyone on my f-list is doing well!
smb814: (SG1 Stargate)
Halfway through March already, huh? Time just never slows down, does it?

Ah, well, life's been fine for me, I suppose. I've still been fighting off that darn stomach bug the past few weeks, but otherwise things are...okay. Nothing special, nothing awful. Since I'm procrastinating doing work right now (it's hard to get motivated when there are only, oh, five people on the entire floor because of spring break), I thought I'd take a stab at that Stargate meme that's been going around.

My responses here )

In other news, I'm currently addicted to Tales of the Abyss. I can't recommend it enough to other RPG video game fans. I think it might even manage to break into my top 5 games list by the time I'm done with it. Although I was royally annoyed last night to completely lose Feres Island because I didn't go directly there and instead did a few other sidequests first -- and by the time I was done, it was nowhere to be found again. Seriously. I searched the entire ocean for an hour and never found it. I should *not* have had that much difficulty finding a moving island! Fortunately, I had an old save before doing those other sidequests, but I still had to redo over an hour of the game, including getting Luke's and Guy's ultimate weapons again from the coliseum, just so I could find it again before it drifted off to who knows where. *sighs*

Also, upon discovering that my Nintendo DS could play Japanese games without any modifications, I decided to buy two games (Xenosaga I & II DS and Tales of the Tempest, both completely in Japanese) to use as incentive for me to keep studying the language. I've always really wanted to play those two games, and neither has a chance of ever being translated into English and coming to the US otherwise, so it'll give me something to work toward. I might even have to consider getting a Sony PSP one of these days since that, too, can play any game made for any country, and there are definitely some games on the PSP that I'm interested in playing. That is one of the reasons I'm learning Japanese, after all, to play some of those games.

In Frozen Flame news, since I haven't posted anything related to that in ages, I've surpassed my word count elimination goal. Yay! Even better, I'm still not done with it (I'm currently working on chapter 49 out of 56, although I still have to completely finish cleaning up chapters 43-48 yet, too), so I'm sure I'll be getting rid of far more than that before I'm done. Double yay! One of these days I *will* actually update about that here with statistics again.

And now I suppose I should really get some work done.
smb814: (Animal Owl)
So we had our university-wide luncheon today, only they served alcohol and then still expected everyone to go back to work? Granted, I didn't actually drink any alcohol, but still, what gives? Do they really think I -- or anyone else, for that matter -- feel like working after all of that?

Needless to say, no, I don't feel like doing anything work-related, so I'm probably not going to. So there. Hence why I'm filling out Stargate quizzes. :)

Which Stargate character are you?
Your Result: Dr. Daniel Jackson
 

You are Daniel. Though no one bilieved you or in you, you have proven yourself right and worthy. You are facinated by new cultures, the study of ancient texts and have a very complex and dramatic lovelife you are intelligent, not very athletic, feel compassion for all life and are not a fan of the chain of command.

Richard Woolsey
 
Dr. Samantha Carter
 
Dr. Rodney McKay
 
Teyla Emmagan
 
Teal'c
 
Jack O'Neill
 
John Sheppard / Cameron Mitchel
 
Which Stargate character are you?
Make Your Own Quiz


Gee, what a shocker. Although if I were the quiz maker, I would have proofread my results a bit better before actually publishing it for everyone.

Anyway, seeing as I don't feel like doing anything else, I guess I'm long overdue for an update, eh? Here goes, in very random fashion. Cut because this post is insanely long and I don't want to overwhelm anyone's friend list. Includes talk about life, work, Disney World, video games, various TV shows and DVDs, MP3 players, Japan and the Japanese language, Frozen Flame, and even a few Stargate fic recs. )

...And I think I've finally exhausted my updates for the past few months. I'm sure I'll think of something else I missed, but for now that's it.

If I don't post before leaving for Florida next week, have a great holiday season, everyone!

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