tabular_rasa: (Into the Dark)
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Rabbit.* And this is the second or third time we've had this question, isn't it?

Unless you're in Vietnam, in which case, Cat.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Depends on what you mean by optimist and pessimist. On the one hand, I'm a pessimist in the sense that I always expect the worst of unknown situations. Frankly I think it's stupid to always believe the best is going to happen, because you're just asking to be disappointed! If you expect the worst, you either get exactly what you expected or you're happily surprised. I tend to worry a lot about things before they happen but they almost never end up as bad as I imagine. I'd rather do this than get all excited in anticipation only to be let down.

On the other, my ability to have faith in people makes me an optimist by some definitions. While I certainly don't expect people to do the right thing or behave positively towards each other all the time and am very well aware how selfish, ignorant, and downright cruel they can be, I also know that much of this is circumstantial and doesn't indicate people aren't capable of positive behavior given a different set of conditions. I have faith that most people are capable of change and positive behavior under the right conditions.

I'm also pretty good about making the best of a bad situation once it has occurred. There's usually a period of moping and despair in there proportionate to the level of disappointment, but once it's out of my system I move on pretty cleanly. I have a grieving period and then I work with what I have left. At a certain point it stops being the circumstances holding you back, but you yourself.

Also as a side note, I hate the expression "half-empty" and "half-full" to describe pessimism and optimism. Who the fuck looks at a glass of liquid and describes it in relation to the lack of liquid? Even the most depressive, fatalistic people I know refer to a glass as "half full of [whatever]" rather than "half not full." Maybe if this were rephrased as "If half your drink is left, do you say you're 'halfway done' or 'still have half to go'" it would make more sense, but I could write a short book on how many cliche expressions misrepresent themselves in their wording. ("Have your cake and eat it too"-- DOESN'T EATING IMPLY HAVING??). Personally I'm more partial to variations on the story of optimist and pessimist kids presented with a room full of shit.
tabular_rasa: (Life is Hard!)
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I've made no secret of the fact that for the most part I don't like winter. However, its few redeeming features are:
-Christmas.
-The magic and beauty of a fresh snowfall. (Provided one lives in a place where it snows).
-The possibility of snow days.
-The way hot, hearty food and drinks taste better in cold weather.
-Cold weather fashion, in which layers can be used creatively. (In summer, things like scarves and tights layered with socks and boots are uncomfortable and just look plain ridiculous).
-The fact that after the first day of winter,* the days only get longer.
-That winter doesn't have to feel all that wintry in some parts of the world, nor does it take place everywhere at the same time. There's always the opportunity for escape!

*Though I've never felt the solstice makes much sense as the *first* day of winter, as it feels like winter long before. But it doesn't make sense as midwinter (as it's sometimes referred to), either, as it's much closer to the beginning than the end. I feel like depending on where you live, the winter season begins anywhere between early November to early December (or early June or July :-P), and finishes between mid-February and late March (or mid-August and late September). Midwinter would be in mid-January (or mid-July), when the weather is coldest and snow most likely. It's kind of like how the hottest point of the day and coldest point of the night are not at 12:00, but around 2:00. It takes a while for the temperature to catch up with the movement of the earth.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Haha no. There are places in the world even less likely to see snow at this moment (or ever!), but movies have been made about the improbability of it snowing where I live now.

It did rain a little bit earlier today and it's been getting as low as the high 30sF (2-3C) at night recently-- and there is snow visible on some of the mountains in the distance-- but I'll be traveling across the country to get my potential white Christmas; it's nearly 70% more likely.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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No such thing as a cure for a cold, but I have some methods for coping with the symptoms.

As soon as I feel the cold coming on, I:
-Get a lot of extra sleep. I'll go to bed a couple hours early, let myself take a nap if I feel the urge . . . I figure it actually saves me time in the long run.
-Make a special effort to eat healthily. My meals are usually quite healthy anyway, but I'll often avoid junk food on top of that when I can tell I'm getting sick. Plus when I'm sick the powdery flavoring on things like Doritos, etc, just gets stuck in my throat unpleasantly anyway.

I've also tried Zicam (zinc), echinacea tablets, and swallowing raw garlic as a way of warding off a cold, but considering all colds are a little different it's hard to say what kind of a difference they actually made. If I have them around and remember I'll use them, since I figure they certainly can't hurt.

When I'm in the thick of it, I:
-Drink lots of tea (especially lemon tea) with honey. While it's hot I breathe in the steam and that helps soothe my nasal passages, too.
-Eat hot soups. Classic chicken soup is great, but I prefer spicy soups because I can actually taste them with a cold. I need to find me a good spicy chicken soup that's easy to make on low, sick energy; that would be perfect!
-Take Nyquil to help me sleep at night. I don't take any meds during the day, though, because they generally just make me feel worse. I've never found a daytime cold medicine that relieved my symptoms enough to justify the side effects, which often make me feel loopy or wired.
-Avoid dairy, mostly just because it tastes/feels gross on my throat.
-Avoid going out, because I just don't want to and it keeps other people from getting my germs.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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"Must-see" is pretty loose for me, since I'm capable of going the holiday season watching no Christmas-themed movies and not even noticing, but my favorite holiday movies are:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated one)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the stop-motion one)
Muppet Christmas Carol
A Christmas Story

Growing up we also had a compilation of Disney Christmas-themed shorts on VHS called A Walt Disney Christmas, which I probably watched more than any of the above simply because we owned it and could watch it whenever instead of waiting for it to be on TV. (Though we did have Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer recorded off the TV to a tape, too; it just wasn't very good quality).
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Unsurprisingly, I love Christmas carols in (or partially in) a minor key, most notably:

Carol of the Bells
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Christmas Eve Sarajevo (12/24) by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is a rock combination of the two above
O Holy Night
Fum, Fum, Fum
Stille Nacht arrangement of Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller

Also, the entirety of the Bing Crosby White Christmas album. (Even though not all of it is in a minor key). That is what I listen to on Christmas Eve, no exceptions. It's a nostalgia thing.

And it seems like every year there's one song I hear more than the others, which then becomes my Christmas song of the year, even if it's not one of my perennial favorites. I really should keep a list, since it's kind of interesting. Some years this was one of the songs we sang in our school holiday program or one I discovered for the first time that year, like I remember learning The First Noel in first grade and then Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels We Have Heard on High in second. Last year was All I Want For Christmas Is You for the number of times I heard it (and performed it at that random Christmas party with Amy) and how it fit in with flying across the globe (to a place with no snow!) to see Robert. I'm not sure what this year is yet, so far Jingle Bell Rock seems to be in the lead for how many times I've randomly heard it this year, though there's really no other significance besides that.
tabular_rasa: (Fuck!)
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I think "whoever asked the other person out" is a pretty good rule of thumb, since it not only accounts for changing gender roles but covers same-sex couples as well. If you suggested the outing and made the arrangements, it makes sense you foot the bill. It also conveniently prevents a lot of awkwardness in the form of disappointed expectations; for example, there are some women who are offended by the very suggestion that the man should ever not pay for the date, but these women probably would never make the first move and ask the man out first, either, so they'll never be in that position.

I'm not opposed to splitting the bill, either, but I think in date situations it's more romantic if one person treats the other person entirely, regardless of that person's gender or income.* However, even when being treated I do make a point of offering to pay my part for the evening-- and I'm fully prepared to do so, and won't be offended if he takes me up on it-- but if he turns me down once, I don't insist again and just offer my gracious thanks for the outing. And that's the gesture I would expect if I were paying for a man on a first date, too-- offering to pay as a sign of respect for what went into the date, but ultimately deferring to the fact I invited you and am fully capable of footing the bill.

*I've seen a lot of people responding to this question with: "whoever has the largest income," but that seems golddiggery to me-- like, you could just go around asking random rich people out on ostentatious dates and then they're supposed to pay for both of you? Plus why should a person be denied the opportunity to treat someone just because their partner has a higher income? Paying for someone's outing-- even if the only costs accrued are an ice cream at the park-- is a symbolic gesture, and honestly I think I'd be more offended than relieved if I planned a date in my budget and was ready to pay but was refused because of the disparity in our incomes!


Of course, there are all kinds of complications and exceptions, and you really have to read it on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes a date involves multiple events (like dinner + movie) and it works out nicely that each person pays for a different part. Sometimes a first date is ambiguous, and splitting the check is the best way to address the ambiguity. Sometimes there's just practical factors like the two meet up for coffee and since the guy got there first, already ordered, and is trying to hold the table, the girl is on her own to get her drink. (That was my first date with Robert!). I think most of all, both parties should be flexible and polite, and not read too much into whatever happens. Presumably you've learned more about the person on the date than just how they handle the check!
tabular_rasa: (Life is Hard!)
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I sort of already answered this two years ago. (But I guess that's fitting, for a question about repetition). Basically, I desire diversity and hate repetition in my music so much that even my most beloved song would become repugnant to me after a while, so this question just sounds like choosing a method of torture. Even if I spaced the song out over hours, days, or weeks, I think I would start to hate it for being the one piece of music I could listen to the exclusion of all others.

But if I absolutely I had to pick a song, I would choose:

John Cage's "4'33" is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.*

*From the performers. There is ambient noise that varies based on the audience-- which is another reason why I would choose this piece: By nature it can't be the same thing every single time!


In other words, I hate repeating songs so much I would rather forgo listening to music and just play songs in my head for the rest of my life instead!
tabular_rasa: (Life is Hard!)
So this is really frustrating: The question mark + slash key no longer works on my keyboard.

It may have something to do with some water that got splashed on my keyboard two days ago, since that's also the day it stopped working; the SD/XD card reader has stopped working as well. But absolutely nothing else is wrong with the computer, and it seems very bizarre the malfunction is this specific.

And come on, why couldn't it be, like, the tilde that broke? (Especially since the water hit the left side of my keyboard anyway; I don't even know how it affected the question mark + slash key!). Or one of the numbers on the side numerical keypad I don't use? I recently discovered I can still type a slash with one of the keys near said numerical keypad (though it's going to take some getting used to, as all the LJ codes for style, cut, links, etc are now automatic to me and I keep leaving them open-ended because the slash doesn't type), but every time I want to type a question mark I now have to copy and paste it from somewhere else ):{

Anyone know a way to program an easy question mark command? Like I can press alt + something and it types it for me? Sometimes I need to copy and paste things besides a question mark.

Pissed Off

Oct. 8th, 2011 12:48 pm
tabular_rasa: (Default)
I received another one of my shipping boxes from Japan and this time it was a total mixed bag. While I received my yukata, sandals, apron, and ice cube trays they completely lost my space bag full of (virtually ALL) my winter clothes and instead I received somebody's American flag bedsheets, shoes wrapped in (what appears to be unwashed) socks, man's toiletries, and tons of random Halloween candy. Does anyone know who I can contact to possibly rectify this??
tabular_rasa: (Fuck!)
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I have all sorts of problems with the way this question is phrased (damn the multiple meanings of "love"! and fuck the word "destined") but I think I can address the essence of the question.

I don't think we can help who we are attracted to. It's some sum of biology and life experience (associations with certain physical features and personality traits based on others we know with those traits, etc) that give us almost innate preferences for certain people. Timing also plays a factor, like what we're looking for when we meet the person, the context we meet them in (some places are just sexier cues than others) and, if we're a heterosexual female, whether we're at a certain point in our monthly cycles that gives her a preference for a masculine vs. androgynous man. Attraction is instinctual; you feel it almost instantaneously. I don't think there is time for free will.

I don't think we can even help *falling in love,* either. Once all the right cues are in place, the proper hormones kick in and our brain goes into crush mode. Some people are better at resisting (or logicking themselves out of) the pull of this, but for most of us feelings are pretty instinctual as well.

HOWEVER, no matter how we feel, we have free will regarding how to act on it. Just because you find a person beautiful doesn't mean the angels arranged your fated union in heaven. (Yes, I'm talking to you, James Blunt). Finding a person beautiful doesn't even mean you have to even talk to them; you can choose to just walk away. Attraction is not obligation. A crush is not a mandate to pursue. And even if you have already fallen hook line and sinker in love, you can choose to surround yourself with supportive friends, nurse yourself with a few sad movies, and start to forget them.

And, surprisingly often, this is the best idea. Sometimes we can see from the get-go that a person we are attracted to is unaccessible or just straight-up bad news. (James, you said it yourself: "She was with another man"!). Sometimes we find out they aren't into us, or as into us as they ought to be. Sometimes we discover they self-destruct or abuse others, or other dealbreakers. Sometimes we just discover they're going somewhere or doing something that doesn't fit in our life plan. I don't think our feelings for them "fate" us to suffer in unpleasant circumstances. Our free will is our gift to walk away.

Walk away, and perhaps find someone new. There are plenty of other options for love out there. I think the concept of soulmates, one single true love in the entire universe which you must find or die lonely and incomplete (even if they live in Mongolia and you'll never meet? even if they live in a parallel universe? even if they're already dead??), is one of the most illogical (and depressingly pessimistic) things I've ever heard of. Why on earth would only one person possibly be fated to be with you? We may have a very specific set of preferences, but there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, for crying out loud. What's more, we are biologically wired to mate (and probably to mate with more than one person); our species would be gone if we had to hike over seven continents to find our One True Partner. However so much you love the one you're with, there's another (probably hundreds of anothers) you could love just as well. You might love them *differently,* as they're a different person; you would connect in different ways and your relationship might have a different energy or dynamic; but it would still be love, just as valid as any other love. (Take it away, Tim Minchin!).

Finding someone to develop loving feelings for involves an element of chance, certainly. But choosing to enter and maintain a relationship-- true, lasting love-- is all up to you.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Hot, then stormy. I love when a summer day starts out beautiful, with bright blue skies and fluffy white cumulus for the productive hours of the day. Then in mid-afternoon, the clouds get taller, darker, and heavier, the humidity increases, and the air feels thick and tense. A far-off rumble of thunder breaks the silence and soon streaks of lightning are visible in the distance. The wind picks up and rain is soon to follow, and within minutes I'm in the middle of a violent storm, the wind whipping the trees and rain lashing the windows. It's even more exciting if there's hail or threat of a tornado. Everything is exciting and dramatic.

After several minutes, the storm leaves even more quickly than it arrives. The rain and wind dissipates, leaving nothing but an open sky strewn with colorful clouds-- and sometimes, depending on timing, even a sunset.

And that's pretty much a perfect day, weather-wise, for me. Where I grew up these days were common in summer. I'd probably love to live someplace tropical, where at certain times of year this entire show is a daily event.
tabular_rasa: (Phwee?)
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Admittedly I don't play Truth or Dare much these days, lol, but I almost always pick Truth, because I'm not ashamed of who I am, what I've done, or how I feel, and thus there's really nothing anyone could ask me in intimate company that I would be afraid to confess. On the contrary, I'm quite fond of oversharing. Why else would I keep an LJ? ;-P

On the other hand, if I chose Dare, I might end up with experiences I regret. I only choose Dare if I know and trust the people playing to choose reasonable Dares, not anything that could seriously harm me, get me into legal trouble, or defy any of my personal principles.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Oh, this is easy: taste. We don't really use our taste for much, just eating, and much of what we perceive as "taste" is actually scent anyway. (Surely you've observed that when your nose is stuffed, food tastes differently?). The act of eating would still be quite enjoyable through scent and touch (the texture of the food) alone. And if the only adaptation I'd have to make to my life would be not enjoying food quite as much as I used to, I think I'd be okay.

Losing touch would be outright dangerous-- people who cannot detect temperature or pain usually die very young, or shortly after they develop the problem-- and I'm not willing to give up my sense of sight or sound by choice, because too much of what I enjoy involves one or both of them. And the sense of smell has more uses than the sense of taste, including some regarding personal safety, like smelling gas or smoke.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
Just a quick pop-in to say I made it back to the US! I arrived in Detroit last night and my mom and sister drove me back to the lake, where I pretty much went straight to bed after a much-needed shower. (Though here I am, up 6 hours later at 5:30 in the morning. Thanks, jet lag!).

I probably won't be "caught up" with everything online until I actually get to LA and a little more settled, though. This week is going to be pretty busy with seeing a lot of people and getting a lot of errands done. But . . . home safe!
tabular_rasa: (Into the Dark)
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I'm going to in a month!

Though there are a few more reasons than that (: My life here was always going to be impermanent and I was going to move away anyway, so Robert just comes in with providing me the place I move to as opposed to somewhere else. And even if Robert weren't in the picture, I might have moved to California anyway (though probably not LA specifically) because there are more job opportunities for Japanese teachers and one of my best friends lives there and another might be moving there this fall.

Now, if I were currently living in a place I wanted to live permanently with a permanent job, well-established and settled friends, etc, and I had to sacrifice all of that to move, it'd be a much more difficult decision. I am a planner and not prone to rash decisions without a lot of logic backing them up, and I tend to resist change before I embrace it. So I would have to consider a lot of practical factors first. Had we been together long enough to justify this sort of risk in the name of commitment? Could I find work in my new home? Can I see myself liking the new place as well as my current home, and would I be okay living there if the relationship doesn't work out? Would he be willing for me as well, and I can be sure the only reason I'm moving instead of him is some practical reason like work availability (as opposed to dominance in the relationship, etc)?

The 2010s

Jun. 22nd, 2011 08:59 pm
tabular_rasa: (1970s)
So, I ran into an interesting question today. I worked with Mr. H (the one who brings me candy) and we did a lesson with the JHS 3rd years on "since (date)" and "for (period of time)"-- like, "I have lived in London for 6 years" or "I have lived in Hagi since I was born."

Before we could start, though, we had to talk a little about the pronunciation of years, since English is unique in that until the year 2000, the years are divided into two-digit segments*, like "Eighteen fifty-two" (1852) and "Nineteen ninety-six" (1996). Mr. H had deduced that the 2000s are pronounced "Two-thousand (and X)," but then he took me totally off-guard when he asked me: "But now is this year 'Two-thousand eleven' or 'Twenty eleven'?"

*This is different from every other language I've learned to say the date in (Japanese and Spanish), in which you read the number the way you normally would-- which feels so long-winded to me since I'm used to the simplifying split. This was especially noticeable when I took Spanish in middle school straddling the millennium change; I was so relieved when we got to switch from the tongue-twisting "Mil novecientos noventa y nueve" to simple "Dos mil."


It's funny, because I remember wondering in the late '90s whether 2000 and the following decade would be pronounced "Twenty-hundred" (since we said "Nineteen-hundred" for 1900) and I was kind of put off when everyone said "Two-thousand" with no exception, since that didn't fit with the pattern of every other year. However, I obviously got used to it, because by the time 2010 rolled around I just automatically called it "Two-thousand ten" and I didn't think to question it until today.

And then I realized: I haven't lived in an English-speaking country during this decade. While I know what I say, I don't know if it matches up with the majority. (And maybe it differs depending on region or something anyway?). I don't think year nomenclature is the sort of thing with published rules, at least not that anyone would pay enough attention to to follow, so all I can think of is to take a poll. What do you say?

[Poll #1754615]

I'm going to pass the results along to Mr. H. Like the Rock, Paper, Scissors (or whatever you call it-- that's the point!) thing it's probably way more interesting to me than him (and he's just annoyed there I things I don't *know* about my native language, lol), but hey.
tabular_rasa: (Default)
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Born that way?

:-P

Actually, credit for that one goes to Robert, lol.
tabular_rasa: (Duck/Cover)
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We already had this question as a Writer's Block, it was just in reference to the world ending in 2012. And while I'm all for answering this hypothetically, as I did then (though my answer this time around doesn't really differ from the first one I gave?), even hypothetically I'm probably not pious enough to be have been (it's now 6:00!) at risk of being taken during the rapture anyway. Rapture =/= end of the world. The end of the world, according to Mr. Camping, won't transpire until October.

(Though apparently in Camping's universe, church-goers are in fact automatically barred from the rapture because all churches are now run by Satan?? Well, sheesh . . . in that case, maybe I had a fighting chance XD).

But anyway, 6:00 pm here in Japan and all is well. (Of course, Japan isn't a very Christian place, so maybe the people enraptured are so few I just have failed to notice). But I probably shouldn't be surprised to learn that Harold Camping also predicted the rapture in 1994. He's like a modern-day William Miller.* I just hope the people who made preparations based on his predictions are shown some mercy when they try to get all their stuff back /-:

*Note: If you want to begin a religious movement, it's generally a wise idea to avoid:
1) predicting your immortality
2) predicting the end of the world

Though in fairness, Miller's followers, the Millerites, did not subsequently dissolve but continued on to become Adventists, who number in the millions worldwide. Of course, none of the Adventists I know seem to have been too fussed over the predictions this time around . . .
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