allekha: (Zukaang hug)
Things I have done in the past couple of weeks:
Run my writing club's event - it went fairly well once we got started, except that we had to get our water replaced as it was contaminated with something icky. Little low on the participant count, but I think we had more people show up than last year!
AI class homework. Of which something like half (including most of the extra credit) was actually statistics and probability. Sigh.
Read Battle Royale and wrote an essay on it for Japanese film class. In class we roleplayed the debate about the film's rating. I got to be the director :D Talked about my (his) experiences discussing the film with actual teenagers and seeing the sort of violence depicted firsthand as a teenager working in a wartime factory.
Japanese film class honors presentation - I talked for ~15 minutes about costuming in films that depict the Edo period. I also showed up in a kimono. It was a little warm (it's a heavy lined kimono, and the temperature went over 80 - but didn't have a summer kimono at school with me), but I think the presentation went well. People laughed at my jokes and asked good questions. Having lots of pictures for them to look at probably helped.
Worked on honors paper for the same class. A little bit.
Wrote two reaction papers for my other film class, for Fire and Tomboy. Was supposed to do Boys Don't Cry for that second one but didn't think I could handle it; teacher kindly let me switch.
Edited thesis into a third draft. Added in my code at the end, which gives me something like 10 appendices and extra forty pages. Ridiculous. Why does everyone think this is a good idea? Still trying to schedule defense.
Submitted a second short story. This involved writing 8k in one night to finish early enough to get some feedback from a friend. Actually pretty pleased with it - I (currently) think it's better than the one they accepted before, so hopefully they'll take this one. (And that I hit their collection call theme well enough.)
Let a friend persuade me to go to our video game music orchestra's spring performance. Music was good! Some of the violin-only sections sounded weird to me, but other than that I enjoyed it, even if it was a little loud.
Presented at the senior thesis symposium. Afterward, my mom specifically singled out the fact that I was actually on time. One person who I saw went over by at least ten minutes; the last person in my section went waaay over as well. Apparently most conferences don't let you do that (thank goodness).

Think that's most of it. I also slept for about 20 hours on Saturday-Sunday. I was really tired last week.
allekha: (Rambler rose)
Twice in a year is better than nothing, right? (Still don't understand how I keep meaning to update and then not doing so.)

I'm writing this on the bus to con.txt - more on that in a moment - where we get free Internet! Not very good Internet, admittedly, but can't complain too much. I really should be sleeping, I had trouble falling asleep and only got ~3 hours, but guess now that my brain's woken up it wants to stay up for a while.

Let's see. This Spring semester was pretty interesting, and overall not as bad as some semesters have been. I took four classes and an independent research: Japanese Calligraphy, Evolution, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Human-Computer Interaction.

Calligraphy was fun! Not that I was terribly good at it, too much of a perfectionist. But it was fun! Especially the final - we got to choose our final piece, and I did a large one about five feet tall that is now taped up across from my Dad's office - and the catching-up session where I got to do some of the more flowing pieces. I found that flowing kana especially is quite fun to write. I wore a kimono to the final and I think everyone else was more worried than I was about getting it dirty (it was fine).

Cognitive neuroscience was probably my favorite class. Brains are really interesting. I don't think I've studied how reading and math work in the brain before, so that was fun. For my term paper I wrote about the effect of video game play on visual attention processing. My final paper - ten pages - got written in the 24 hours before it was due, in which I also had to do Evolution's final presentation and move out of my dorm. I thought it was due a couple days later... well, I finished it and got somewhere around a 95, so it worked out in the end.

Human-Computer Interaction was the easiest class. I actually skipped this quite a few times (it was a Thursday evening, and often I'd be tired and want to sleep instead) but especially in the second half of the semester it wasn't a problem. We had to do a project, but given that it's a course for non-programmers... I whipped mine together in ~7 hours, one of which was spent trying to figure out how not to get an integer when dividing, and the professor really liked it - it was a demonstration of the composite and inversion effects for facial processing.

Evolution was... um. Well. It was really interesting. But. In an average week this 100-level course took more work than my 400-level cogneuro course where I had to read, analyze, and summarize scientific papers for every class. It had a ton of reading in the beginning. We had no idea what our grades were until final grades came in. Yeah.

For my independent research, I worked on trying to induce different kinds of migratory behavior in Creatures. I ended up getting a lot of ideas for my senior thesis, which I've already started to work on - a new artificial life simulation.

I also worked ~15 hours a week and helped prepare for my writing group's big event, the Reading Gala, where we had a local author come talk for a bit and then had students read their own works aloud. Not a huge crowd, but we worked hard and it was a success. Next year I'm going to be Ppesident! since our current president Jesse just graduated :( We've applied to get an office too.

Thesis, president, work... next year is either going to be fun or Fun. Overall this semester wasn't bad at all, especially since my roommate hardly ever was in our room, so I essentially had it to myself. My dysphoria bothered me a lot - but when doesn't it?

What else... outside of school, been trying to post a fic a month. I posted two in January, one in March (I think?) and wrote one for Tentacle Big Bang, but that kind of got screwed up so I didn't post it. Maybe I'll try editing it and see how bad it actually is. And May was so busy I fell behind on Get Your Words Out (a year-long writing self-challenge) and only really worked on finishing the first edit of my (original) novel.


So! Now on to con.txt, which looks like it should be interesting. I've never really been to a small con before, or a non-anime one, but I have hopes. Still freaking out a little over how to introduce myself, and, you know, talking with people, but I'm hoping everything will go fine. Here's to the weekend!
allekha: (Default)
Oh wow, May hit me hard. In the beginning I had a lot more schoolwork than I expected - there was one week when literally every single class had something due, and some had more than one thing due... then, finals. Which went okay. My psychology class from hell actually had a not that bad final. (For how bad it was: the averages for the quarter exams were around 65, and we didn't get curved that much.)

Then I got a job! Internship, rather, but I'm being paid, and a little above minimum wage, even. It's at Academic Technology Services at the University. I like it so far. It's nice being able to tech-y stuff and get paid for it. The week after finals were over they had a week-long seminar about technology in the classroom and I helped out with that. Then that weekend I went to Philadelphia, and this week I've been packing for my study abroad, but more flailing about that in a minute...

In-between all that, I got one of those emails that literally had me screaming with excitement; you see, my friend Nico and I had applied to be panelists at Otakon this year. We called it 'Angels in Anime', because the topic we chose was the use of christian symbolism in anime and manga. Angels are the most popular, but there's also crosses and if you're very lucky and go to the right series, even Jesus... anyway, we emphasized several times that this wasn't a religious rant or put-down - hello, made by an atheist and a catholic - and mentioned that there would be discussion of the history of Christianity of Japan (yay Japanese history course!) so it would even be educational. So, we waited and waited while saying 'I hope it gets accepted' and 'Well, there's a lot of panels submitted, they only accept something like one in four...' and 'It's not the deadline for a reply yet'.... and guess what~?

We got it!! So, coming to an Otakon near you this summer~ Angels in Anime! Guess this means I'm making a Haibane Renmei costume, not a Claymore costume... since we're going to talk a bit about it as a series that borrows the imagery of Christianity (the characters all have halos and small wings and there's lots of talk of sin and such) but without the real specifics of the religion. Then there's Sailor Moon and Fullmetal Alchemist and Nico took Bleach and Angel Sanctuary and I need to finish rereading X oh and there's Wish...

Yeah, so excited for this panel.

And as for my study abroad, I'm actually going to be at the airport in twelve hours. (I'm so excited I don't want to go to bed yet; I'll try at eleven.) I'll be staying in Kobe, which is a port city near Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, except for one weekend I'll be doing a homestay in Nara, and I have to make at least two day trips to Kyoto on my own. I'm thinking of going to Osaka for a day, if only for the aquarium - I'm pretty sure there were some museums there I was interested in too.

Everybody on the trip has a project to do. The topic of mine is... kimono ^^; Well, it's something I'm excited about, I'm going to be wearing kimono in Japan anyway, I already know the words, I'm going to be learning bits of it that you can't get from books... so, it was a pretty obvious choice in the end. I found about a street in Kobe that has a ton of kimono stores, over a dozen, including some that have good bargains, so I'll definitely spend some time down there. I want to find a fukuro obi for the furisode I got in LA - I really want to wear it to Otakon! It comes to my wrists, it's long enough for me, the hip wrap is enough, and it has 110 cm long sleeves!! And it's green with real gold thread embroidery and and and I'm in love with it.

I'll probably get some lolita clothes too while I'm there... oh! And plenty of tea. And postcards for postcrossing and to send to everyone I know (if you want one, let me know! It's not expensive to send one at all.)

So excited. The only things I'm worried about are 1) heat and humidity. Hopefully the breezes from the ocean will moderate it somewhat... 2) not having room for everything on the way back, but that's what post offices are for :p 3) ...I can't remember what I was going to put here... um, walking too much?? idk.

Going to go and try to wind down for bed now so I'm not forced to sleep through the entire 14 hour flight. Good night~
allekha: (Default)
I'm going to Anime Expo next month with my wonderful cousin, and I'm going to bring an extra kimono outfit along so she can wear one too. So, I needed to take pictures for planning purposes and ended up photographing my entire small collection (minus the basics, because there's nothing exciting about my himo). Pictures and commentary under the cut. Warning, these were not taken with a super camera, steady hands, or good lighting >_>
Cut for images and length )
allekha: (Default)
A couple of weeks ago I ordered some kimono stuff off of ebay for a very cheap price, and it just arrived today. Two haori and a furisode. They're all so beautiful~~ And they all feel really nice, especially the furisode. I'm really happy with the purchase.

I'm taking Japanese again this semester, and astronomy with lab. I already know a lot about astronomy, so between that and the fact that the headteacher seems pretty new at what she is doing which leaves a lot of dead spots in her lectures, it's not a very exciting class. We only have a few night labs, which seems a little weird for an astronomy class, but we haven't had one yet. I do hope that we get them done soon, it's starting to get cold out, especially at night.

I've also decided that I want to try cosplay. The costume I chose is pretty simple, but since it's based on a national costume that has a lot of embroidery, I decided to add some of that to it, and that's going to take a while to do. Ah well, as long as I work on it everyday, it has to get done eventually, right?

My mom and I are also planning a study involving fandom and its social networks. If we can end up going through with it, I think it will be very interesting. Hope that we get the grant...

Tomorrow I'm going to take the SAT again. So far in the practice tests I've been doing pretty well, so I'm not terribly nervous. As long as I get enough sleep, eat a good breakfast, and have a lot of tea in the morning, I think that it should go fairly well. I nearly always have time left at the end of the sections, so I'll be able to check over my answers thoroughly. I just hope that I get a decent writing prompt this time. The one I got last time was kind of... well, it was pretty boring. One of the practice tests had a really excellent one...

Anyway, I need to go to sleep, so good night~
allekha: (Default)
Today was my birthday~!

It was a very good day. The cake we got was delicious. I now have a lot of books in Japanese to read (including Hetalia~), enough to last for quite a long time. And the kimono!! It's a beautiful light purple color, with little flowers woven into it. The obi is even more beautiful... and it didn't take me forever to get dressed up in it.

I also got a video game, The World Ends With You. I've only played a little bit of it so far, but it seems really fun. I really like the battle system, it feels pretty exciting.

The Japanese restaurant that we went to had very good food. I'd love to go back there again. Afterwards we stopped at a library on the way home and now I have even more reading material, including a book for research.

Tonight we watched a movie, Departures, or Okuribito. I thought that it was excellent. All that I knew about it was that it had dead people in kimono in it, pretty much, and it lived up to that expectation. It's about a Japanese man that becomes an encoffinator... It was interesting to watch the rituals for the dead. And considering it had such a serious, grim topic as a central theme, the film is relatively lighthearted. I'd really recommend it.

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