esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
Today I had a bunch of trouble concentrating in Chinese class, mostly bc I didn't eat, but also bc a super beautiful girl sat next to me and I spent the whole time thinking 美人!本当に美人!!

--which is not very conductive to figuring out whether I need to put 人山人海 or 奇观 in the word box, as you might imagine.
esmenet: The Shadow Girls from Revolutionary Girl Utena putting on a play (shadow girls: the play)
Talking about the homeschooling/self-directed learning I did during 'high school' for college applications is really weird, because it sounds so different from what it actually was. It sounds like I was very goal-oriented and studious. The truth is that I am a pretentious asshole who wanted (wants) a classical education but couldn't be arsed to do a lot of it and so I ended up just picking up bits from whatever 'classical' education things looked interesting.

Which adds up to something almost resembling a real education, I mean, I did/am coming out of it with generalized history knowledge, some command of three languages, the ability to kind of play the piano, good handwriting in Chinese, and enough knowledge of a lot of things (particularly literature) to look impressive to people who don't know anything about it. And, of course, the ability to cook.

The downside of all of this is that I don't know enough about any one of these things to be really great at it, but. well. Broad rather than deep.
esmenet: Anthy, with swords (pink!Anthy w/swords)
1. Happy Magical Girl Month! I was going to talk about our favorite leading ladies from Metropolis, despite them only being tangentially related -- as I haven't been doing much fandom stuff with actual magical girls -- but alas I am too tired. Later.

2. Literally all of my schoolwork is overdue. This is not an exaggeration, and thinking about it makes me want to cry, which is 100% not codusive to finishing any of it.

3. How does Senator Mark Kirk have my email, and why does he think I've already forgotten about him filibustering the bill for minimum wage increase. Senator Mark Kirk, please stop. And delete my email address from your computer. I don't like you.
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
I downloaded Vienna Teng's new album, I'm on track to pass all of my tests/finals, and this got me in such a good mood that I managed to dodge Creepy Huggy Dude with just a cheerful high-five in passing. YES!

I always have trouble working out how to react in situations like that, because I freeze up when I get creeped out, but I totally nailed it today. :D


Nov. 5th, 2013 01:24 pm
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
I have to make a 6-8 minute persuasive speech for speech class in like a week, and i have NO IDEA what I'm doing.

Or rather, I have several topics I could use, but none that I particularly want to use, and in the spirit of a true college student, I have decided to ask the internet for help!

something about the importance of critiquing the things you like, aka validity & importance of critiquing pop culture

emotional honesty vs. literal honesty?

the past is a foreign country; and, as with all foreign countries, its inhabitants are not nearly as stupid as most people have been lead to believe

something something importance of studying/experiencing foreign language and culture

...only it has to be something I can make & use visual aids for. And something that fits well in six to eight minutes of time. Ugh. I am okay at and can even like making speeches, but I HATE trying to pick topics & prepare for them.

help me~ o/

ETA: ooh! or i could do something on the importance of children's/YA literature!
esmenet: zhao about to kill the moon, with text "SO ANGRY I COULD PUNCH A FISH" (so angry i could punch a fish)
Okay, I take it back about not talking to people lately, I just had an hour-long conversation about houses and interior design and Venezuelan classical music. :D

Please recommend me manga to read! I feel like I've gone and fallen out of fandom, or at least like I'm still stuck in the fandoms I was in five years ago, and I'm finding it difficult to watch new shows/movies or read new novels at the moment. (Which is severely curtailing my ability to hold conversations with people on the internet, b/c it's like I have nothing new to talk about.)

In other news:

My psych teacher is TERRIBLE. Our midterm test covered, among other things, gender and sexuality, and every moment of those questions made me absolutely table-flipping angry. Not just because they were gross, but SO MUCH of the science and statistics were flat-out straight-out bang-up one hundred percent OUTDATED and WRONG. I'll give you less than three percent of the population is (willing to admit to be) homosexual (in nineteen ninety-two)! I'll give you over-simplified and completely inaccurate summations of chromosomes and their relationship to biological sex! I'LL GIVE YOU 'TRANSGENDERED', YOU HALF-ASSED LYING INCOHERENT EXCUSE FOR A COMMUNITY COLLEGE TEACHER!

I did write my midterm paper for that class on genderqueer people, though, since he said 'any topic from the selected chapters', so in a way I suppose I did get at least one good dig in.
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
midterms commencing. please stand by.

(in other words: don't be surprised if you don't see me around much for the next little while, I'm busy worrying about all these midterm projects.)
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
I'm gonna stab myself in the face

my psych teacher is trying but he knows basically nothing about transgender ppl

send help
esmenet: Mugen with his sword over his shoulder, Jin with his at his side. From the opening of Samurai Champloo. (the voice of summer)
I used to spend a lot of time going HOW DO I GROWN-UP, but then I started reading a lot of josei, which portray adulthood as going to work every day, eating cheap takeout, enjoying your job, hating your job, never having as much time as you want, and then missing the last train and falling asleep at the office without remembering to wipe off your make-up.

I think I can do that, so I should be set.
esmenet: rain on the garden that is movie-Akio's grave (rose garden)
This evening I broke a decoration off my new purse, got blisters, lost: all the keys to my apartment (one to the entryway, one to the door, and the keycard that lets you get into both the courtyard and the actual building), the key to my house back in the U.S., my metro card, about RMB150 + change, and the birthday present from my aunt & cousin that I kept them all in.

I did have a pretty great night though! Erica invited me out for drinks & dancing, and we ended up dragging about two-thirds of the building with us. We did some bar-hopping with little to no actual drinking, mostly because everyone was way too busy playing loud but fun games. I finally learned how to play that one game! The one where you clap your hands, snap your fingers, and slap the table while saying something-something ei! You(singular, now) start off with a nonsense word and then it develops into someone's name, and whoever's name it is has to catch you and say 'ei!' with you the first time you do it, or they owe the group a forfeit. and later on Erica showed us one where you sit in a circle and send a table-slap around in rhythm, which sounds very simple but once you've done it all the way around and learned how to turn it everyone crosses their arms over everyone else's and suddenly it seems super complicated.

And also there was (eventually) live music and dancing! I am super awful at dancing, music doesn't make me want to move. Which is maybe a sign that I should be at a different school. I had a talk with one of the older students about that, and ended up deciding that I don't really have that passion everyone says you need for music. Well, I mostly knew that already. I feel about music about the same way I feel about writing, which is that it's awesome and I'm not terrible at it and I like to do it sometimes, and also now and then someone gets it wrong enough that I have to try & do it right.

(Which reminds me: I think classical music should come with photosets. Because photosets are cool. Pop music has lyrics and/or music videos, which sort of help direct the tone of the listener's thoughts. But I generally have no idea how to feel about any given classical piece until I've listened to it a lot of times, and a lot of the times the only pre-listening direction you get is from the title. Which really doesn't help much a lot of the time. Movie scores are great that way though, when you watch a great scene with great music and you have a ton of FEELINGS they come back every time you hear it again. So basically what I'm saying here is that I feel music should always be supplemented with other media, and some genres have still not figured this out. And I want to make a thing, a photoset + original music thing, and be like LOOK EVERYBODY THIS IS COOL YOU SHOULD DO IT.)

But everybody says you have to have ~talent or ~passion for music, and I . . . don't? I mean, my ~passion in life is basically not being a dick to people. I liked my violin teacher back home mostly b/c she seemed a lot like me, hah. Kind of laid-back and not SRS BZNS w/r/t music (or basically anything). I could be like her, maybe, but I'm definitely not cut out to be a virtuoso or anything like that.

...actually I think I will end up copping out of everything and just being an ~artiste who sticks things together and pretends they mean something. But also with a real job, like ...teaching or sth. --I might be a bit more like my mother, career-wise, than I'm comfortable with, haha.

Anyway, the purse still looks alright, I can probably get at least another keycard tomorrow, the metro card only had 5 yuan on it, 150 yuan is not that much money all considered, and now I can buy myself a similar keychainey thing that is not zebra-striped. I was actually pretty ticked off about losing the change, because I promised myself I'd buy laundry tokens this weekend, but when I came back home I discovered I'd dumped most of the change out on my bed.

So that happened!
esmenet: Mugen with his sword on his shoulder, from the opening of Samurai Champloo. Text reads "Live what you love." (live what you love)
There are things I miss about my house and hometown—six-story library a fifteen-minute walk from my house, a kitchen that works, stores that have clothes which fit me, a vacuum cleaner, a keyboard in my room, an easily-accessed washing machine, high-speed internet, my friends—but I'm less and less sure that I want to go back there. I don't think I'm good enough at the violin to stay here, but I think I might want to. On some level, I don't want to go back and live in that lovely house where everything is great except me; I think I want to take what I have here and build something that works. I love these people, I love this city, I love going to a music school and hearing people singing or playing all the time.

I am totally a homebody. But, um. I think this dinky dorm room with inadequate facilities at a school I only sort of like in a country where I can't really speak the language might be home?
esmenet: Kaitou Kid grinning (:D no snipers this heist!)
I still haven't figured out the postal system here, so these might be a while in coming, but here goes:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 3

I want you to mail me something. Here is my address.

I want a:

postcard with a cat or something on it
2 (66.7%)

handwritten copy of someone else's poem (which I may or may not choose myself in the comments)
2 (66.7%)

real actual letter talking at length about things
3 (100.0%)

short piece of original or not-original fic, on which I will further detail in comments
1 (33.3%)

1 (33.3%)

(No actual ponies will be provided.)

Poems (or postcard-length letters) in Japanese or Chinese are great, because I have super awesome handwriting when it come to hanzi/kanji, and I love having an excuse to show people.
esmenet: Azula and Mai and Ty Lee and Zuko, looking like they're at a festival (the Dangerous Ladies are all here)
1. I have internet at home now! One of the girls upstairs is sharing hers, for a quite reasonable price. THANK YOU, LADY FROM UPSTAIRS WHOSE NAME I DO NOT KNOW. YOU HAVE GREATLY IMPROVED MY LIFE FOR THE LOW, LOW PRICE OF 150 YUAN.

2. Despite my mediocre knowledge of Chinese, I have made friends with a girl from my class! And possibly her friend as well! We had dinner together and it was very fun. It was ridiculously great to hear people speaking Japanese again; I'm quite out of practice but it feels like coming home. And it looks like we're going to trade English practice for Japanese practice, with explanations of terms in three languages altogether.

3. There is a nice young man downstairs who lived in Chicago for eight years and has really excellent sideburns. (What? There are some things you just notice, okay.*)

* Especially if you come from ISU, the land of extremely questionable facial hair.
esmenet: The Shadow Girls from Revolutionary Girl Utena putting on a play (shadow girls: the play)
I have successfully arrived! I'm super tired, though. How do all those other people manage to sleep on planes?

If anyone wants pictures, I made a new & separate Tumblr. [ profile] just-the-middleman, for photos of Shanghai, text posts about school, and various reblogs of The Middleman-related things. At least in theory. (My family is DELIGHTED that I finally have a blog I'm willing to show them.)

Is there a way to copy large amounts of text from one's laptop to one's iPhone without using the Internet? Our dorm doesn't have wireless, so I'm working off my phone for the time being.

(I'm super sad I haven't gotten to watch Elementary, though!)
esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
I remember someone ([personal profile] terajk?) wanting to know about stories where siblings were the primary members of the family, and their parents present but not doing as much of the emotional/financial lifting. And I remembered reading some things like that, mostly older sister/younger brother pairs in which the brother is a main character and the sister is kind of flighty. One of these pairs is in Yoshinaga Fumi's manga Flower of Life, and their interactions are so much fun! Even though a lot of the focus is on the brother and his classmates, the sister is a great character and you get the feeling that, while they are on good terms with their father, they are definitely the ones with the most solid relationship in their family. The manga also focuses on a lot of characters with different body types and very different personalities, so I highly recommend it. It's three volumes long, and the translation I have is by DMP.

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Shanghai (well, for Toronto and then Shanghai). It still doesn't seem like something that's really going to happen.

I hate hotel rooms. No kitchen, sometimes no internet, nothing but a bland room for sleeping in. Actually, I hate hotels for the same reason I love universities and cities -- I like things that show their history.
esmenet: a girl wearing a wide-brimmed hat surrounded by pink fish (pretty in pink fish)
I got into the Shanghai Conservatory of Music! So so so excited. I can now look forward to a school year of Chinese-learning, music, and intense envy that everyone else around me is better at those things than I am. :D :D :D Of course, the main reason I applied to that school is because I feel like I haven't been concentrating hard enough on music, and there's nothing like feelings of intense envy to make you concentrate—and/or pretend you had no interest in the subject in the first place, but since it's a MUSIC SCHOOL I doubt that will fly. --And another one of the reasons I applied there was because sometimes music schools let their students in free to student concerts. So. yes.

Oh god, I'm going to be a real college student. It's terrifying.
esmenet: pre-series Anthy, with swords (the princess cave)
So, I have several hours of volunteer work to do for a class next week which I completely forgot about! The teacher basically said "yeah, find some volunteer work related to your field of study and do four hours of it" and it was so open-ended I didn't remember. I do remember I was planning to beta-read things, since that's vaguely like the quality-checking part of translator work which is technically part of my field of study. So if you have anything you want beta-read or edited, or know anyone who needs a beta-reader go ahead and pass it on.

Right now, though, I'm wondering if a patchwork translation of the Utena audio dramas (already started here last year) would count. Because that's definitely productive work that will be of use to people I know, one way or another, and it's enjoyable too.
esmenet: a girl wearing a wide-brimmed hat surrounded by pink fish (pretty in pink fish)
Apparently, I get to write a paper on my 'area of academic interest' for English 102! So, um. I'm wavering between a comparison of lolita & hard femme or something about the construction of femininity in magical girl shows/70s shoujo manga/Kuragehime (once I've read it)/modern shounen manga/etc.*

I'm not sure if I'm asking for help or crowing in delight.

*Gender studies is totally my area of academic interest, what are you talking about.
esmenet: Zuko crouching, arms on his knees (Text: angst moar) (angst moar)
When I'm done with all my required classes, I am seriously and for real taking nothing but languages. I love languages! Languages are cool, languages are awesome! Languages do not leave me stressed and crying about my inability to write coherent papers to the standards of my teachers and fellow students!

I am not even kidding. Learning lists of vocabulary, memorizing hanzi, taking tests, doing group mini-presentations with twenty minutes to prepare = no problem. One-page introduction to term paper = FREAK THE FUCK OUT AND COME UP WITH NOTHING WORTHWHILE. (Also, crying.)

A question for the ages: Am I really that good at learning hanzi, or are my classmates just not writing them down over and over again as something to do with their hands while people talk?

On a side note, I have discovered this! It's a bunch of stuff the writer of Utena said about people's backstory, and wow does some of it ever make sense. Enokido Youji & co are great writers.
esmenet: Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee in Kyoshi Warrior clothes (dangerous Kyoshi ladies)
I hate being sick. I haaaate it, because it means constant discomfort, halved sleeping time, and getting absolutely nothing done because I'm too focused on distracting myself from being sick to concentrate on anything that involves more than a miniscule level of involvement.

This kind of reaction to a minor cold feels some kind of giant personal flaw.

On the plus side, however, I think I am developing a pattern for minimizing the amount of misery! Take Advil or other generic painkiller, avoiding Actafed & similar cold medicines as much as possible (enormous amounts of mucus are preferable to feeling like the inside of one's nose is made entirely of sandpaper), lock self in room with humidifier, and make sure to cook at least twice, because good food is essential. When throat begins to hurt worse than nose, abruptly stop drinking tea altogether, take acid reducer, and shift eating patterns slightly. Wait a few days, and hey presto! Wellness ensues.

Basically I get colds twice a year and never get sick otherwise. Thank goodness for that.

[added later] Also I have just spent fifteen minutes crying b/c I have not finished any of my homework for today and my professor has previously said he doesn't take late work. Fuck it, I'm going to take the zero, because you know what is more important than homework? My physical and metal health.


esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)

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