The Future

Sometimes, I have a really hard time falling asleep ~ so I tend to play word games in my head until my brain slows down or to keep it from spiralling out of control. Sometimes, instead of games, I’ll “write” stories – complex plot lines and character sketches. Or sometimes, I’ll just pick one fantastical idea and follow it, coming up with as much detail as my imagination will allow, until I fall asleep. I’d say about half the time, this focused kind of thinking backfires on me and I get too wrapped up in it and end up staying awake many more hours than I would have otherwise.

The past few days, I keep going back to one idea rather than make up stories or play games. I am always intrigued by futuristic stories (books, TV shows, and movies in particular) and it’s interesting to compare them to each other and cool to see what “predictions” have come true (if the time period of the story has already past – like Back to the Future). I was thinking about all the technical marvels that have been invented in the last 150 years. If you think about it, almost everything we take for granted now didn’t exist then. Even all the marvels that have come about within my lifetime. So, it’s made me think…

What will life be like 150 years from now? What things will be commonplace in the lives of the people at that time that I can’t even begin to fathom now?

If you built a time machine and went back to 1867 and brought a person from then back with you to introduce them to now… what would they think? Could they even handle it or would they have some sort of mental breakdown. I can’t imagine that someone from that time would ever feel comfortable in today’s fast paced, technological society. Yikes. Cars, telephones, computers, the internet. Electricity. Refrigeration. Indoor plumbing. OMG. Medical breakthroughs. The list is endless.

So, with that knowledge in mind, would I personally be able to handle 2167? It seems to make sense that the pace of progress will at least continue, if not increase. It’s ludicrous to think we’ve gone to the limits of human ingenuity and have only tweaking to do. I highly doubt the rate of progress will slow.

Back to where I started~ I’ve been thinking about what the future might be like. If I were the one writing the story taking place in 150 years, what cool things would I envision?

Maybe I should mention what triggered this idea… I watched the movie Passengers the other night. I’m not even sure what year it’s supposed to be. There were obviously a few big things (space travel, human hibernation stasis whatever, etc.) but, in general, most things were just refined versions of what’s going on now. Then I got to thinking about other movies from various future times and what I thought was plausible and what was ridiculous. (The Fifth Element, Minority Report, Star Trek, etc.) Then, I started imagining what things would evolve and how daily life would be. Gotta say, I TRIED to come up with something completely new but I guess my imagination isn’t strong enough.

Here are some of the ideas I had:

I think that the two main factors for change in the next century or so will based on the environmental damage humans have done and continuing the trends of making daily lifestyles more convenient. It’s great that we’re finally realizing how badly we have hurt the environment but even though some changes are being made to stop it or fix it, the far-reaching effects haven’t yet even been seen. I think it will get much much worse before it gets better. And I think that people will continue to flock to cities as they have been for the past century or more and urban areas will get more and more crowded.

The first thing I thought about is how and what we eat. There is the trend to eat more naturally but I also foresee that type of diet being too expensive for the majority and, because of environmental effects, that becoming harder and harder. There is also the increase of dietary restrictions limiting the things people can eat, like the rise of nut allergies or gluten intolerances, etc. I see the advances in engineered food really taking off. I imagine that we will have some sort of naturally based, cheap to produce, something or other that can be manipulated somehow to taste like anything. I could see a nutritious, bland, grain like substance that can be molded into various textures and customizable to individual preferences. I always wondered what was actually coming out of the food replicators in Star Trek. This is my answer to that. You can pretty much eat anything you want, but it won’t be “bad” for you.  I think only rich people will continue to eat real meat and organic food.

steak.jpg

The second thing I thought about was transportation. Due to environmental issues and climate problems, I don’t think cities will rise up as much as future imaginers have, but going down underground instead. And instead of “flying cars” which seems to be such a popular idea, I would like to see cars abolished altogether. I think that subway systems will be the main way of transportation in cities. If you’ve ever experienced the underground systems in Asia, that would just be a precursor to what I envision. I think that they would need to have many, many more lines, longer operating hours, etc. Basically, replace existing roads with underground tunnels. My main idea was that instead of a single train going from point A to point B, it would be one continuous train in a loop. And they could be concentric for local, rapid, and express services. You’d have to transfer frequently but since it’s all underground, you’re out of weather issues and traffic wouldn’t be an issue.

subway.jpg

My third idea was an extension of the transportation going underground. That would free up streets, which I saw being covered with a roof and glass walls to protect from the likely uninhabitable outdoors most of the year. (I think summers and winters would be long and severe and spring and fall almost nonexistent.) The streets would be commuter tunnels. Each household would have an entrance (like their current driveways – or each apartment complex would have an underground entrance. Then you’d walk along the street tunnel to the nearest stairway that took you down to a stop on whatever line you needed.

I also think “outdoor spaces” that we are used to now, like parks, would also be underground and engineered. We still want our nature but much of it will have to be manmade in order to be accessible most of the time. I think actual outside would be deserted during summer and winter. The heat and cold would be too much, but also, it gives nature a chance to heal if we aren’t out there fucking it up.

I tried to envision how communication will evolve. It’s difficult. I think more and more will be digital, automated, and hands free. I think we’re going to use our “phones” (more like, hand held devices) for almost everything. Almost everyone will have one. I see the watch idea taking off but instead of it replacing the hand held screen, I think they will be used together. You will receive your alerts and information on your watch but use a screen to view things in more detail. Like, you can’t type out a complex document on a watch. Taking calls through your watch also doesn’t seem to work for me. I think maybe a device that stays near your ear but in less intrusive than the Bluetooth ear pieces or even ear buds. I also see this crossing over into fashion. Ear pieces as jewelry. Also, in fashion, I think clothing will start to incorporate more pockets and add-ons specifically for tech.

I think, in the future, your ‘phone’ will be a part of everything you do. Health monitor, personal safety/location, no-touch payment at stores, clocking in and out at work and being paid. The beginnings of that are already in place but I think it will become so standard that things like land lines, paper money, hard-wired home systems, etc. will be abolished.

Automation will be in everything.

That’s all I’m going to write for now, because I’m tired and sick, but I may come back to it again later and add in more ideas.

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A Weird Green Colour

The sky is a weird green colour. Greyish green. Slightly sickly. Seems very fitting. What’s that called when the weather matches what’s going on in a story? My brain is on low battery right now and I’m having a hard time concentrating.

It’s been raining off and on all day and night. I slept with the window open to enjoy it even though it’s cold. When I finally got out of bed, the value of light was so lovely. Comforting. Most people would call it gloomy but it gave me a little surge.

Now it’s almost setting. The sky looks weird. Not green like when there is a summer storm. More like… the sky looks befuddled. And that’s how I’m feeling. Entirely unsure of what to think, feel, or do.

Pathetic fallacy. That’s the term.

I am so full of thoughts. The constant bombardment of… things. But they aren’t thoughts in language. I can’t make sense of any of them. And they aren’t really emotions either. I don’t really feel much of anything – maybe because I was feeling too much so I’ve dissociated or something. I’m not sure. I feel hazy and confused. And, no, in case you’re wondering, I’m not on anything. And I got enough sleep. And I’ve been awake for several hours.

I’m just overwhelmed by nothingness.

I have a few vague, worded thoughts bouncing around in my brain and a few loosely labelled feelings I can pinpoint, but most of the current chaos is just like being suspended in a swirling vat of squishy goo.

All I can say really to explain it to someone outside myself is that, right now, I feel the very essence of what it is to be me. I was given a new lens to understand me last year and I’m still wrestling with it and trying to work it out. Sometimes, it’s great. Other times, like now, it’s… incomprehensible.

sky (2).jpg

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The Third Degree

I don’t like having to justify my life to other people – and yet I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to do just that. It’s not that I have some crazy lifestyle that is so different than most people. It’s more that I haven’t done what would be expected out of someone with my background and means. Nor have I rebelled against it so fully as to be its own way of explanation. I simply “failed to achieve” certain milestones or really have much ‘to show for myself’. Since I’ve never been very vocal against shooting for the things most women in my situation (try to) attain, I guess that means to most people that I want them too and just didn’t succeed. And, to a certain extent, I’ve spent the last few years of my life trying to convince myself that it’s okay that I don’t live my life the way society tells me I should, the way my parents expected, and the way I thought I wanted to for so long.

I’m getting to the point where I realize that what is right for most people isn’t quite right for me. I don’t need to do or need to have certain things in my life to be happy and complete. I don’t have everything figured out yet and am still searching to find the things that do make me feel that way, but I know which things I don’t need and don’t really want either. I have a lot in my life but it’s intangible, inexplicable things. I have time and freedom and I get to move at my own pace. Many people might look at me and think I’m wasting my life but, really, that’s their own values and ideals trying to overlay onto my life. Like trying to measure a ball with a yard stick. Their problem – not mine.

I met Hubby relatively early in my life. (It seemed late at the time to be dating a ‘first boyfriend’ but since he was the one I ended up spending all this time with and I didn’t have to try on a bunch to find a good fit, it could have been much much later and I know many people my age who still haven’t met their person.) It seemed I was on track then to hit all those other markers in life that make one a ‘successful adult’. But I sort of stalled right out of the gate on that front. We did get married eventually, but we never had kids. I never graduated from university and got a career. I didn’t even stick with any one job for very long. Hell, I never even got my driver’s licence! Looking down the adult checklist, I have mostly only unchecked items.

Until recently, that made me feel bad – like I was defective or lacking something. I think it’s because I felt the pressure to be that person that I also felt the need to defend myself, but because I didn’t actually go through with most of it (maybe the pressure wasn’t strong enough or maybe because, deeper within myself, I knew those things weren’t right for me), I had no defence for myself to give.

You wouldn’t think that I’d have to rationalize the way I live my own life to other people since it’s my life, but unfortunately, I have to do it in varying degrees almost constantly. It comes in many forms – from the simplest, benign inquiry of “So, what do you do?”, to the dreaded “When are you guys finally going to have kids?”, to the cringe-worthy “What are you going to do next?”. Luckily, at least my parents seem to have given up on me years ago.

Just today, I was talking to someone I don’t know very well, doing the whole awkward small talk thing I hate so much as she gave me a ride home from lunch. She seems like a nice person and I assume she didn’t mean anything condescending about it but I felt like I was being interrogated about ‘what I’m going to do with my life’ by the questions she was asking me. I think she was waiting for some profound anti-establishment sentiment or at least some evidence that I’m not just a lazy bum and have some sort of justification for taking up space and having fun while other people feel the need to run in the rat race. I have no idea what impression I left her with. I feel fairly certain that, whatever it was, it was underwhelming because that’s how I felt.

The reason I hate this topic so much is because the easiest questions send me back into that insecure mindset where I’m floundering for reasons why I quit school time and again, why I’m not a mother, why I don’t work full time in a job that utilizes any potential I may have, why I’m not out there doing amazing things with all this spare time I have… And if I fully felt shame for that or wanted a life that matched all that criteria, maybe that would be warranted. But it’s just habit that my mind falls backwards like that. It’s not how I truly feel. I leave those conversations angry with myself for giving the other person the idea that I think I’m pathetic or somehow unworthy or whatever. I don’t and I’m not. Actually, I’m … well, maybe not totally, but 80%… okay with my lifestyle. (There are a few things I’d like to change, but we all have that.)

Part of the problem is being backed into the proverbial corner and reverting to defensiveness but another part is my manner of speaking. I tend to talk about myself in a self-deprecating way AND I also use language that downplays the way I think and feel about things. (This has a name but I forget what it is right now.) It’s a bad habit. Words like kind of, sort of, pretty much, a little bit, etc. For instance, if I just cut off my own arms by accident, that would kind of hurt. I come across as blasé, unaffected or ho hum. Everything is meh. (Little tip for those that want to know how I feel about something – you have to read more into what I say to decode what I actually feel. If I say “I’m kinda mad”, that means “I’m fucking pissed.” Haha.)

I could be that passionate, rebellious-sounding person who stages personal revolts against “the man” and refuses to participate in social convention… but that’s not me. I’m not not doing these things to rebel. I’m not making a statement. I’m just living my life.

The last component of the problem is that I have a lot of trouble putting my thoughts and feelings into comprehensible language. Someone may ask me why I do something and even if I know exactly why I do it, I can’t explain it in words and can’t muster the energy to try, so I say “I don’t know”. I do know… but I don’t know how to tell you.

The truth is that I don’t live like most people my age, abilities, and situation because I either don’t want to, don’t feel the need to, or don’t find it important to do so. And I don’t think I owe anyone any more explanation than that.

interrogation.jpg

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日本語: Basic Japanese

The best way for me to learn (and retain) something is to ‘teach’ other people. Since I can’t afford going to school right now but don’t want to give up on my goals, I’m trying to study Japanese on my own for awhile. Basically, I’m watching my old lectures of my first year university course (I took video on my shitty camera) and making notes.

After years and years of taking the basics over and over and over again, I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the initial lessons. Like, I could teach the first few weeks myself! One benefit of not progressing very far early on was that I had several different sensei and several different approaches to the first things you should know. I have taken all of it and tried to organize it in what I consider to be the preliminary lesson, covering everything a beginner should learn.

Here it is:

Script
Japanese makes use of 3 different types of writing: Hiragana (round shape), Katakana (boxy shape), Kanji (more complex – Chinese characters)

Both Hiragana and Katakana are derived from Kanji, but they are both phonetic symbols and have no meaning. Kanji characters always have meaning. One kanji may have several different meanings which you have to decipher through context.

Hiragana ひらがな
-used for words, particles, inflectional morphemes (ending of a verb or adjective, etc. – where the “stem” is in Kanji but the ending is in Hiragana)

Katakana カタカナ
-foreign words (like your name), loan words from other languages

Kanji 漢字
-words

All 3 scripts are used in 1 sentence.
レストラン       で      寿司       と        うどん     を     食べます.
restaurant     at     sushi      and     udon               eat.
(I’ll eat sushi and udon at a restaurant.)

Three different scripts to learn may seem tiring. 仕様が無い. (Shouganai. “It can’t be helped.”)

It helps with understanding because Japanese doesn’t use spaces between words in writing.

In English, it’s very difficult to read.
I’lleatsusiandudonatarestaurant.

But in Japanese, it’s easy.
レストランで寿司とうどんを食べます.

If it were written all in hiragana, it would be difficult even for native Japanese speakers to read.
れすとらんですしとうどんをたべます.

Note: There is also a 4th script used – Romaji (English letters). It’s mostly used only stylistically.

Hiragana and Pronunciation
There are 5 vowel sounds in Japanese – A (ah), I (ee), U (oo), E (eh), O (oh)

On their own, they are short, almost clipped sounds.

When they are written doubled, they are longer. (Example: aaaaaah)

The long vowels are written in Romaji (English letters) as AA, II, UU, EI, and OU. (Note: EI is still pronounced as “ehhhhh” and OU is pronounced as “ohhhhhhh” – not like they would be in English.)

There are consonant sounds that are paired with each of the vowels (example: ka, sa, ta, etc.)

hiragana.jpg

handy hiragana chart from JapanesePod101

Consonants are never by themselves without a vowel after it, except ん (n).

ん can never begin a word.

In the “i” line, both s and t rows have an exception. There is no “si” – it’s “shi”. There is no “ti” – it’s pronounced “chi”.

In the “u” line, row t has an exception. There is no “tu” – it is pronounced “tsu”.

In the “u” line, row h is pronounced as “fu” (but not quite as in English – the teeth don’t touch the lips).

The regular consonants are the K, S, T, N, H, M, Y, and R lines and わ、を、ん. These make up the 46 basic characters.

K, S, T, and H are considered “voiceless”. When you add a marker to the upper right corner, they change to their voiced counterparts. K line becomes G line. S line becomes Z (exception “shi” changes to “ji”). T line becomes D (exception – the “i” and “u” lines are the same production as in the Z row: “ji” and “zu”). The H line becomes B or P (the only line with a circle marker).

That adds another 25 characters (adding up to 71).

The Y line has nothing in the “i” or “e” row.

R is not pronounced like in English. It’s a “soft R” and sounds more like something between R and L.

The W line only has “wa”. The character in the “o” line is pronounced the same as お, and is only used as a particle.

There are “glided sounds”. These are made with a combination of the “i” row – using K, G, S, Z (ji), T, N, H, B, P, M and R lines – and a small “ya”, “yu” or “yo”. Example: “ki”き + small “ya” ゃ = kya. きゃ

That adds another 33 characters, bringing the total to 104.

There are also “stopped sounds” (but they don’t count as their own characters). A small “tsu” before characters from the K, S, T and P lines create a small pause or lengthening of the consonant sound. They are written in Romaji as a double consonant. Examples: kitte きって (stamp), isshoni いっしょに (together), ippai いっぱい (one bottle)

*Katakana is exactly the same as hiragana (functionally speaking), but is used for a different purpose. Every hiragana character has a corresponding katakana character. To put it simply, hiragana is used for words of Japanese original and katakana is used for words of foreign origin.

katakana.jpg

katakana chart

**I can – and probably will at a later date – go in to much greater detail about phonetic Japanese characters.

Parts of Speech
Japanese has the following parts of speech:
-verbs
-nouns
-adjectives
-adverbs
-conjunctions
-particles (postpositional)

Basic Word Order
English
subject           verb            object
James             ate              bananas.

Japanese
subject                  object              verb
Jeemazu  (ga)      banana  (o)     tabeta.
James                   banana(s)        ate.

This is the major difference between Japanese and English.

What if you switch the order of verb and object?
Bananas ate James. No.

What if you switch the order of subject and object?
バナナ を ジェームズ が たべた。Still okay.

You have to pay attention to what follows the noun. “が” and “を” are particles. The role of a noun is indicated by particles. “を” indicates the noun is the object of the sentence. “が” indicates the subject.

It is very important to know the function of particles. If there are switched, the entire meaning of the sentence will change. (Bananas ate James.)

Word order in Japanese is flexible due to the use of particles.

However, the one solid rule is that the predicate always comes at the end of a sentence (usually a verb, sometimes a noun phrase). Why? There is no particle for predicates.

Think of a Japanese sentence as a train. Without an engine, a train does not go. The “engine” or predicate comes at the end of a sentence. It contains the tense, negative or positive, and question. The engine can be noun, verb, or adjective.

A train can be as simple as just the engine. Example: たべました。(I) Ate.
Or it can be more complex with many cars. Example: あした たなかさん と レストラン で すし と うどん を たべました。Yesterday, (I) ate sushi and udon with Mr. Tanaka.

The “cars” of the sentence are modifications. There can be many cars or none at all. Cars are joined together with particles following the modified word.

7じ    に            ともだち   と              あいます。
(time)    (particle)  (person)    (particle)    (action)

どうぶつえん で                パンダ  を              みたい です。
(place)             (particle)     (object)   (particle)     (action)

Word Omission
In Japanese, words are sometimes omitted if the meaning is clear without them.

English: I went to school today.

Japanese: きのう がっこう へ いった。

In the example sentence, the subject is missing because “I” am saying the sentence. It is obvious I am talking about myself.

English: Did you go to school yesterday?

Japanese: きのう がっこう へ いった?

It is obvious that I am asking about “you”.

If I were talking about someone else, I would have to say that to make the meaning known.

*We do this in English too, but only in a very casual/slang way. (“Go to school yesterday?”) In Japanese, it can still be polite based on the language used.

This, That, That Over There
There are three ways to refer to something. “This” is close (or held by) the speaker. “That” is close to the listener. “That over there” is a distance from both the speaker and listener.

Generic – can be used alone
これ this thing それ that thing あれ that thing over there
Example: これ は あかい です。This (thing) is red.

Specific – must be followed by a noun
この(N) this specific noun その(N) that specific noun あの(N) that specific noun over there
Example: この りんご は あかい です。This apple is red.

“This is a pen.”

です = is

これ  は                                          ペン     です。
This     (particle marking topic)       pen       is.

This is the basic sentence structure all beginner Japanese students are taught. Any simple sentence can be composed by interchanging the vocabulary.

わたし は                  カナダじん です。
I             (particle)      Canadian      am.

きょう   は             あつい   です。
Today     (particle)      hot            is.

To change to a question – Is today hot? – the question particle か is added at the end of the sentence.
きょう は あつい です か。

There are many particles. They modify the nouns or phrases they proceed.

To expand on a simple sentence, only a few particles are needed.

は topic (pronounced wa)
が subject                               わたし  アニメ  すき です。
を object                                 ラーメン  たべます。
に in/at                               10じ  ねます。
で by/at                                 ちかてつ  きます。
へ toward (pronounced e)   うち  かえります。
の relationship to               いもうと  ほん です。
と with/and    いもうと  あに が います。/    いもうと  えいが を みます。
も also                                      いもうつ  め が あおい です。

Tense
Present affirmative   です                                      たべます
Present negative        じゃ ありません               たべません
Past affirmative         でした                                     たべました
Past negative                 じゃ ありませんでした       たべませんでした

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Doushio

Ah. What to do?

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I’ve been working really hard on editing pictures from our trip to Japan 2 years ago. I am determined to blog about the entire trip! Days 0-6 are posted already and Day 7 is almost done. That means I’m half done.

But I’ve run in to a problem.

This is a free account from WordPress. It has a limited amount of media you can upload. And, as of right now, I’m at 80% capacity already. Granted, I moved all my blog posts from everywhere I ever posted online for the last 17ish years. That’s a lot of crap – but for the most part, a good chunk of the majority of pictures come from the 2 trips to Japan.

Now I’m wondering what I should do – should I move all the Japan trip posts to another free account and continue from there? That’s an unfathomable amount of work since I already moved most of them from the original blog on Blogger. Ugh. I don’t want to go through that again. And I’d really rather keep all my shit together in one spot.

Another option is just to upgrade. Pay whatever money to the powers that be of useable internet space and have all the room I want to continue to waste bytes with my rambling, incoherent posts that hardly anyone but me reads. But money is super tight right now. I don’t really want to do that either. If it was just a one time fee, that would be fine, but I think it’s an annual thing. Not sure. Have to look more into that.

The third option, I guess, would be to upload the pictures elsewhere, like Flickr or something, and then embed the URLs in my posts. But because the posts are mostly pictures with little text… that also seems like a colossal hassle.

Ugh.

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UPDATE: 2017-09-20 I did end up paying for an upgrade with more storage. It still wasn’t enough, so now I’ve moved all the older posts and some irrelevant, filler posts over to an ‘archive’ site

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Random Questions

1. Favourite season?
fall

autumn.jpg

“OMG. Fall is so long. I wish it was over,” said no one ever. 🍁🍂  #iloveautumn

2. Last time you cried?
last night

3. Pop or water?
water… with tea in it

tea.jpg

4. What is your favourite lunch meat?
turkey

turkey.jpg

5. Longest relationship?
16.5 years

6. Do you still have your tonsils?
I assume so

7. Would you bungee jump?
no

8. How many years at current job?
8 months

9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
no

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10. Rollercoasters?
noooooo

11. Favourite ice cream?
chocolate chip cookie dough, ginger

ginger.jpg

12. Favourite thing to do?
learn

13. Football or baseball?
neither

14. Dress pants or jeans?
jeans

15. What are you listening to?
old Japanese lectures

16. Favourite colour?
green

17. Tattoos?
9

18. Married?
almost 10 years

19. Hair colour?
naturally brown with several pretty ‘mermaid’ colours interspersed

20. Eye colour?
greenish blueish

21. Favourite food?
potatoes

22. Scary movies or happy?
don’t care as long as it’s interesting

23. Android or iPhone?
have = android (Samsung Galaxy S4), want = iPhone (6+)

24. Chevy, Ford or Dodge?
None. Give me a Japanese made car.

25. Favourite holiday?
??? Hanami?

hanami.JPG

26. Night owl or morning person?
Would you think I was lying if I said I’m a morning person?

27. Favourite day of the week?
no preference

28. Favourite spot for vacation?
Japan

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42 Questions I’ve Probably Never Been Asked (Not Really)

I just came across ANOTHER quiz tag thing in my drafts. My friend tagged me on Facebook back in November, I think. I filled this one out on January 3rd but didn’t post it because there have been SO MANY quizzes on my blog lately and not much else. I’m trying to intersperse these between my own thoughts, but brain power is slow lately. Sorry.

Anyway~ this one was titled “42 things you’ve probably never been asked” yet half the questions are repeats. Oh well. Learn a few things about me or just refamiliarize yourself with things you’ve already heard.

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
my face

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
charcoal grey

3. Do you plan outfits?
when necessary (for fancy times)

4. How are you feeling right now?
meh

5. What’s the closest thing to you that is red?
I think there is some red in the paintings by the bed.

6. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
A customs boarder guard was telling me I should always sit in the back because my boobs are too big and it makes me ugly.

7. Did you meet anybody new today?
It’s 9:45pm and I just woke up.

8. What are you craving right now?
nothing

9. What comes to mind when you think of cabbage?
Japanese food 🍲

10. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
many times – I do it to fall asleep

11. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
bite from a bowl, lick a cone

12. Do you like your hair?
I like my hair’s potential.

13. Do you like yourself?
no

14. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
no

15. What are you listening to right now?
silence

16. Are your parents strict?
(were*) I guess

17. Would you go sky diving?
no fucking way

18. Do you like cottage cheese?
in lasagna – otherwise, not sure

19. Have you ever met a celebrity?
yes

20. Do you listen to music often?
yes

21. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?
Uhh… probably. But it’s very dark in here and I can’t see anything.

22. Have you made a prank phone call?
no

23. Ever been on a train?
really?

24. Brown or white eggs?
IDGI. Is this an American thing? Aren’t all eggs the same on the inside?

25. Do you use Chapstick?
yes

26. Can you use chop sticks?
Seriously?! I’m always baffled by people who can’t.

27. Are you too forgiving?
probably not forgiving enough

28. Ever been in love?
duh

29. Last time you cried?
For a quiz that claims “questions you’ve probably never been asked”, they should do their research. This is in every quiz. And now I can’t remember. It’s been a few days.
*note added later: If this was written January 3rd, the answer would have been 2 days. I cried when we watched Rogue One on NYE.

30. What was the last question you asked?
I have no idea. This quiz would be better answered not while I’m still in bed.

31. Favorite time of the year?
fall, I guess

32. Ever broken a bone?
no

33. Are you sarcastic?
no more than anyone else

34. Ever walked into a wall?
frequently

35. Favorite color?
Isn’t this the most common question ever to ask? Green.

36. Have you ever slapped someone?
no

37. Is your hair curly?
stick straight with a lot of frizz

38. Do looks matter?
yes

39. Do you like your life right now?
meh

40. Do you sleep with the fan on?
This must be another American question. LOL. I sleep with the heat or a/c on. There is no fan.

41. Can you handle the truth?
What?

42. Do you have good vision?
no

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My Love for PUFFY

Note to start: NOT referring to Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy. As far as I’m concerned, he stole the name from these two.

One night, way back in 2001, I was awake late into the wee hours (as normal) and I was watching TV in bed. Back when Much Music still played music videos, I guess they had a segment late at night where they played videos from around the world. I just happened to turn it on when a video for a Japanese girl duo was playing. I can’t link it to YouTube, because it’s been taken down since I stole it but I have a copy saved on my hard drive. At the time, it just struck me as so weird and awesome. And I loved their style and look. I must have written down the name of the duo and song because I spent a few years searching for it every time we upgraded our computers and new music sharing sites came up.

Eventually, as I said, the music video surfaced on YouTube where I snagged it and also found a bunch of other songs by PUFFY (known as Puffy AmiYumi in North America, due to the copyright confusion with Sean Combs and his ever-changing name). I fell absolutely in love with the pair. They are so cute and their style was like nothing I heard in western music. I am uncertain of the exact years, but I know it was while I was living in my apartment (so between 2003-2006), I tracked down most of their albums on Ebay and had them sent from Japan. Although they had already passed their most active phase and the albums were already pretty old by the time I was listening to them, I can credit PUFFY with starting me on my search for accessible J-Pop.

puffy de rumba.JPG

Even though I have quite a collection of Japanese pop music spanning several decades (albeit not even close to well-rounded), I have yet to hear anything like them and they still remain one of my favourite duos of all time. I miss them.

Here’s a live version of that song that captured me as a fan, so you can at least have a taste.

And here is a link to someone else’s blog post with more information about PUFFY.

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A Month In…

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

chinese-new-year.jpg

If you’ve read my blog or know anything about me, you’ll already know that January 1st doesn’t mean that much to me. Today is actually a much more important day in our family – that is, my husband and me and his side of the family. (If you know nothing about me yet,  you should be told Hubby is Chinese.) There are a lot of traditions around Chinese New Year that we observe. I’m not going to list them now – you can Google it 😉 – because that’s not really the point of this post.

Apart from the customs involved with CNY, I use this point to take stock of how the new year has been sitting with me so far. CNY usually falls at the end of January or early February (it changes every year). I said in the last post that I was going to break my non-resolution-making habit by making a list of goals to tackle in 2017. Now, almost a month in, I’m checking in with myself and seeing what is working and what can be dropped. I’ve also been thinking of the other things I wanted to add to my list.

My one big goal for the year is to lose weight. My friend is getting married in September and I’m in the bridal party. I loathe the way I look right now and want to feel better about getting fancy. I want my face to have an actual shape instead of looking like a lumpy potato and I’d like to not feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in a dress. Ideally, 30-40 pounds is what I’d like to lose but I’d be happy enough with at least 20.

So far… I have done absolutely nothing towards this goal. In fact, quite the opposite. But~ I just recently saw this video and realized something.

Some background first: Back in 2010, after we came back from Japan the first time, I ended up gaining a bunch of weight over several months. By the time I was a few months in to my new job as a teacher in a preschool toddler classroom, I was at my highest weight ever. The following September, I started back at college and over those 2 years, dropped back down about 25 pounds without working out or drastically changing my diet. And then, I graduated and have slowly climbed back up pretty close to where I was again.

While I watched that video, something clicked. What is the difference between my lifestyle when I’m losing vs. gaining weight? It’s not diet or exercise. Well, maybe a little but the biggest change is my sleep schedule. True that I kept some crazy hours when I was in college BUT I was awake during the daytime for the most part. I woke up in the mornings and went to class. Therefore, I also ate meals at more “normal” hours too. I had a rhythm. This, I believe, is the key to everything. (Not just the weight.)

I had thought that I’d lose a little bit of weight when I started working again but that hasn’t been the case yet. I’ve been at my job for 6 months with very little fluctuation in numbers. I think the problem is that, because I’m only part time, my sleep schedule is just as insane as it ever was, if not more so.

According to what is said in the video (I highly recommend you watch it, and then check out all the cool sciencey videos they have on the VSauce channel. Very dorky-cool and entertaining.), when you don’t sleep regular hours during the night, you mess up pretty much every system in your body. Which is exactly what I’ve done. I have no circadian rhythm at all. My hormones are a mess. This is why I gained weight and have fertility issues. I’m not so in denial that I don’t think my shittastic diet doesn’t play a huge part too, but the fact that I dropped so much weight before by seemingly doing nothing makes me think I can do it again.

Of course, I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to do nothing other than sleep and think that’s enough, but to be honest with myself, I know I’m probably not going to make any drastic changes to my diet and start working out much until probably at least May. (Hence, 20 pound goal rather than 40.) Really, I don’t want to. Not yet. I don’t want to be fat, but I don’t want to work out or stop eating crap more.

So that means, from now until May-ish, my new goal is to sleep better. I made a vague plan. I’m not going to say I will be asleep by 11 every night right away. I’m going to start with 2am and work down by and hour in 2 week increments. And the same with waking up. Be up by 2pm, etc. This may sound to some as a ridiculously low step to make, but I am rarely asleep before 4am, some days not going to be at all until midmorning the next day. And on my days off, I am hardly ever out of bed before 4pm, sometimes not waking until it’s completely dark out. Aside from the flipped day/night thing, I also have no consistency when it comes to how long I sleep. It’s anywhere from 2 hours to 20. Really, I can’t even fathom any other kinds of healthy changes while I feel so out of control on this front. (It’s actually been a ginormous problem I’ve been downplaying to other people and to myself for quite a long time and it’s to the point where it’s dangerous right now. I may come back to this topic later on, but I don’t feel like it right now and this is not the post to do it in.)

A second part to this weight loss plan to go along with sleeping better is drinking more water. I figure while I work on one, that’s an easy thing to slip in that should be beneficial too. I don’t think I need to tout the advantages of water to you…  As it is now, I barely drink any. I drink tea almost exclusively. Like the working up to the ideal sleep schedule, I plan to work up to the recommended 8 glasses a day thing. Gonna start out with just one.

My next most important goal I made for myself this year was to read more. That idea came entirely from a graphic someone posted on Facebook that I took interest in.

2017-Ultimate-Reading-Challenge.jpg

I like challenges but 52 books in one year seemed to daunting to me because I had thought I only read just one last year. Turns out, if you count audio books – which I do – there was at least 5, but that’s still barely any. I admire people who read voraciously and have always wanted to be more of a reader. Instead of just wanting to improve, why not just do it? So I told myself I’d do half that many. I’d read 26 books this year. I started right away. And I also opened up a Goodreads account to track my progress and keep everything organized. They have their own book reading challenge thing where you can enter how many books you want to read in the year and they keep tabs on it for you. Again, I second-guessed my ability to stick with it, so I went with 12 instead of 26. One book a month. I was going to only count books I read, like, with my eyes, but after talking to a friend, she convinced me that, yes, audio books do count. Scientifically, yeah, it might be better for you to use your eyes to absorb the written word. It does more for your brain, but listening to stories activates some other parts too. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I’m counting them. So now although my Goodreads challenge says 12, I’m going back to 26. And guess what? It’s only January 29th, and I’m already done 4. The 5th and 6th will probably be done by Monday. I’m a teeny bit impressed with myself on that front.

The other goals I had listed in the last post were more of what I consider ‘mental health’ goals. And I am not in a spot right now where I even want to think about doing things that promote the betterment of my mental health. I’m putting that shit on hold for a bit. Logically, I know I need to do something to dig myself out of the pit I’m burying myself in pretty soon but I’m not ready yet. I’m just gonna sit in my pit by myself for a little bit longer. Again, might come back to this topic later on. Not today.

That’s my other goal then ~ come back to the health stuff. Lay it all out for the world to see, should they accidentally stumble across it. LOL. Even though very few people will ever read anything I even post on here, blogging keeps me honest. Someone could see it. It has the potential to be public. And there is something about pouring your heart out, being completely open, not hiding your darkness from other people… It’s kind of cathartic. I feel like it has a healing aspect to it. So I will share my thoughts on where I am in my head and how I’m dealing with it and what I’m going to do going forward later on. For now, we’ll call it ‘Goals Part 3: Working Title’.

spew.jpg

P.S. I was all obsessed with Bullet Journals for about a week. I still think they are cool but I’m kind of over it already. I tried it for a few days and it turns out not to be a style of journaling that works for me at this point in my journey. You can find alllll kinds of shit online about it if you’re curious – but it’s basically a daily tracker of whatever you want to track. I currently don’t feel the need to track things daily. I am going to keep a few of the pages, like the movies watched list, and just go back to my usual/sporadic dumping entries. And I prefer blogging for now.

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Goals

It’s important to have goals. Everyone knows this. When you make a goal, it helps you organize what’s in your mind and clears up the chaos. It clarifies your thinking. When you accomplish a goal, you feel… accomplished. Duh. Looking back and seeing what goals you’ve set and achieved, you can see what you’ve done with your time, you can see where you need to improve or increase effort, and you can see – especially when things don’t look so great – that you are much more capable than you give yourself credit for. (And, yeah, when I say you, I mean me. 😉 )

I’ve been thinking about this a lot today. Of course. First day of a new year and all. (Well, it’s 2am now on January 2nd but I still count it as the first cause I had a late start to my day.)

I’ve always been very hesitant to set New Year Goals and make resolutions. I wrote about that last year. I know myself and am resigned to the fact that my ‘sticktoitiveness’ is very limited. But~ thinking about the last two years and the ideas of goals that I had, I can see that I am quite able to stick to things. It’s just hit or miss, I guess. For instance, I wrote at the beginning of 2014 about how I wanted to write in my journal more. Well, I barely touched my written journal but just look at how much I’ve poured out onto this blog site! That’s more “journaling” than I’d done in the previous 10 years combined.

And then last year, I had planned to consciously not preemptively defend myself as much. I think I was fairly successful. Whether or not that new habit is working out in my favour is yet to be determined. Not the point…

I think the biggest indicator that I can accomplish something I set my mind out to do is with what I did for the Team Fireball #AYearOfTwilight thing. Starting on January 5th of last year, I had the idea that, as a group, my friends and I would post at least one Twilight-themed picture a day using the #fmsphotoaday challenge prompts on Instagram. As time went on, I had less and less help from the group and ended up doing the entire month of Decemeber with no input at all. Every day for an entire year. I didn’t miss one single day. I didn’t post past midnight (eastern time!) once. It may not be much, but I am kind of impressed with myself. I put everything I had into those posts too. I am not a person who can really half-ass it with the effort I put into something. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. There were of course some days that I wasn’t as pleased as I could have been but even those mediocre (in my view) posts had a lot of work that went into them. And for the most part, no one had any clue JUST HOW MUCH effort I put out so that each picture looked the best it could or the amount of time I thought about how to best use the prompt relating back to Twilight. (It all goes back to Twilight, you know. LOL.)

And I did something similar with the 100 Days of Happy posts the year before. I didn’t miss a day on that one either.

So there.

I need to remind myself of all of these instances when I get that fear in me and feel defeated before I even start something. I can do things. I can see things through. I just need to decide to do them.

With that mindset, I have started a list. I plan to add to it over the course of the week(ish) as I determine what I want to do with myself going forward. Goals are good. It’s good to have focus. I need some focus right now.

Goals for 2017

  • read more
  • don’t do things only out of obligation
  • be more verbal in speaking my gratitude
  • lose 20 pounds
  • shine bright like a diamond

That last one is in reference to a conversation I had with a friend earlier today about how we are “diamonds in the rough”/work in progress but valuable and rare nonetheless – and how not everyone deserves to have us. Only the people we love the most are deemed worthy enough to have our presence in their lives. And not to undermine our own preciousness just because someone else doesn’t see our worth.

diamond.jpg

I’m planning on writing more about each of those points later on, but it’s late now and I have to work in the morning.

There was also something I was going to add about my discovery today about bullet journals, but that will also have to wait.

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