Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I'm writing a story

I'm writing a horror story based on an experience I had a few weeks ago with a smoke alarm that wouldn't stop beeping in the unit next to mine. If the story turns out okay, I will post it on here.

I already made a Youtube video summarizing what happened because I thought that might be funny.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I'm Not Strong

I decided to stop comparing myself to other people. I've always had trouble carrying heavy things or with too much physical exertion. I usually get tired in the middle of the day even if I got 8 hours of sleep the night before. I have a lot of trouble falling asleep if there's any noise or if I'm stressed out about something. I get cold very easily. My digestion is not good.

Other people don't get back and shoulder pain carrying a laptop in a backpack. They can go all day on 6 hours of sleep or less. They only need one jacket if it's cold. I don't know what it feels like to be those people. I wonder if they feel like I do and they just don't cut themselves any slack. But sometimes I wonder if they would be shocked if they felt what was going on inside my body.

Either way, there is no point in making myself miserable by trying to live up to a made-up standard of what humans should be able to do. Even if someone else wouldn't be bothered by the pain that takes me out, it's still really bad pain to me. It doesn't benefit anyone if I don't take care of myself.

But I also plan around my energy levels. If I make a promise then I won't schedule personal things that might wear me out and interfere with my ability to be there for another person. Unless I get sick suddenly, which can't be planned for, I will show up. There are time when I need to push myself for the sake of someone else, but that's different because it's hurting myself for a reason, not from refusing to accept my real abilities.

So that's why I won't feel bad for needing more sleep and not being able to do as much as other people. Doing that doesn't benefit anyone and it would only lead to me crashing from exhaustion harder and more often.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My little shorn lamb

Today Mom came over and helped me clip Cooper's wings.

Cooper is very tame and he hasn't had clipped wings in at least 10 years. (Yes, he is quite a geezer now.)

The reason I decided he needed a trim was because he has recently been moved from a large house to a small apartment. He also is living with another bird for the first time ever.

It seems like there is bird behavior where if one takes off for whatever reason, the other wants to take off too, especially if they are close together. For Teka (the budgie) this isn't really dangerous because he is smaller and able to turn and avoid the walls. Cooper, on the other hand, has a naturally bigger wing span and has trouble turning in time when he is in a panic. He sometimes crashes into the wall and hits his head or his wing. He's even started bleeding on his nose after hitting the wall.

The solution I decided on was clipping Cooper's wings so he can't get as much speed when he starts flying. (I'm hoping he will gradually get calmer in the future. Another thing I could have done was not let both birds out at the same time.)

His feathers will grow out again in a few months, but by then he might be more comfortable with his new home and buddy and not be as quick to panic. We only clipped off about two inches of the outside two feathers on both wings. You can see his wings in this picture.

 Cooper still has 90 percent of his wing mass and can fly for short distances. He just can't get the same height and speed. Since Cooper loves walking and climbing around, limited flight is not a tragedy for him. He'd much rather ride on a human anyway.

The clipping did not hurt him because there were no arteries or veins in the feathers we cut. It was like giving a haircut to a nervous toddler. Cooper was not a fan of being held and having his wings stretched out and then trimmed, but a few minutes later he was back to his normal self.

I don't believe that clipping a bird's wings is mean to the birds. A pet bird like Cooper or Teka doesn't need to fly from predators. If you let a bird vet clip your bird or follow a guide, you won't hit any of the "blood feathers" that have an artery, so your bird won't feel any pain. Clipping only two (at most four) feathers on each wing will not rob a bird of all its flight power. It will just keep them from flying too fast and hurting themselves. This is some basic information about wing clipping, so if you still don't think it's a good idea, that's fine, but don't try to tell me wing clipping permanently maims a bird or anything like that.

And other people don't want to clip their bird's wings at all, which is fine. In my experience tame birds on the whole don't need it. I wouldn't have clipped Cooper's wings if I weren't worried about him literally giving himself a concussion or breaking his own wing.

Right now Cooper is wandering around on his playpen eating old seeds. Cooper, お元気で!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sub or Dub?

This is a post I might include as a page on my final project for school.

Sub or Dub?

…It depends?

It depends on the person and it depends on the series.

There are some people who never feel comfortable reading text and watching the action at the same time, whether it’s on a small computer or a large movie screen. They will probably prefer dubbed versions.

Other people can't stand watching dubs of live action because the lip movements never quite match up. But they’re fine with dubs of animation where characters only have a few distinct mouth shapes and the voice actors can match the timing and the lip movements exactly.

I’m lucky to be the kind of person who is always writing in a journal, typing, or doing a craft while watching a movie. People ask me “Are you really watching the movie?” I am. I like doing stuff with my hands and can look back and forth between two places quickly. So reading subtitles isn’t hard for me.

You should go with the language version you’re more comfortable with.

Sometimes dubs add something really unique and creative to an anime series. For example, Baccano!, which takes place in 1930s America, all the characters have appropriate Chicago, New York, or Southern accents. And it’s hilarious. The regional dialect is lost in the Japanese version.

However, sometimes the dub is simply not up to quality. Characters sound robotic and wooden, or voices just don’t match characters. If a good dub isn’t available, you should go with the original even if that’s not your preference. Listing to grating voices won’t enhance your enjoyment of a series.

There are also some benefits to watching the Japanese version of a series. Language isn’t just utterance. It’s also facial expression and body language—and the gestures unique to the animation style. Japanese body language is not the same as American body language.

For example: as one friend pointed out to me, most Japanese vocalizations come from back in the throat and don’t require detailed lip and cheek movements. This is why Americans seem “expressive” to Japanese, while Japanese seem a bit “wooden-faced” to foreigners. The difference translates into animation style. You’ll notice that in ordinary conversation character faces don’t tend to move much—until they explode into overdramatic chibi style!

So for me, when characters have what seems like an obviously Japanese expression or pose, hearing English coming out of their mouth gives me this weird feeling of disconnect. Seeing a character say “I’m in your hands” feels wrong when I know they should be saying  よろしくお願いします. Some things just can’t be translated. However, I also know Japanese and have lived in Japan, so for someone else these moments might be invisible.

Whether people prefer subs or dubs is determined more by how they process information and their language background than whether or not they are a “real fan.” If you like dubs, you are still getting the real experience of anime and you’re appreciating the hard work of the English-speaking voice actors. No reason to kill your eyes for a hobby.  If you like subs, you get to experience a medium in a different language from your native one. Go you!

This is my opinion on subs and dubs.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Teka is my new baby. He is a green English Budgie and I think now he is about 2 1/2 months old. He was my birthday present this year. His original owner had to go overseas and returned him to the breeder (along with a blue budgie who turned out to be more wild). So Teka needed a new owner and the breeder knew we were going to buy a budgie from the next hatching anyway and recommended him to us.

I think his name was originally pronounced "teeka" but I call him "Tehka" because giving him a name made him feel more like he was really my bird and not someone else's that I was borrowing. It's close enough to the original sound that he made the switch easily. This sound also reminds me of "tech." 

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I'm still not entirely sure he has eyes though...

When we first took Teka home, he was very quiet. Not scared necessarily, but he mostly ate and slept. Now he is still a pretty quiet bird, but he chirps and climbs around on furniture when he comes out of his cage. He has adjusted to my apartment very well, even though it is his fourth home so far!

I was worried that Teka might not be socializing very well because he seemed like he just wanted to sit on Cooper's cage a lot and didn't want to get on my finger. Now he is happy to explore more places such as the couch and the window (or my breakfast) and he likes sitting on my head or my finger when I take him out of the cage.

He seems to be responding more quickly to "up, up" too, although he still sometimes runs around instead of getting on my finger. I read that you have to wait until birds fluff out and not chase them because they will start feeling like you are a predator. So I keep talking to Teka to make sure he is fluffed up when I'm trying to pick him up. When he does step on my finger I lift him up (which birds like) and tell him he's a good boy. I haven't had to grab him at all for a week now.

I think because Teka is still a baby, he doesn't recognize that "finger perch" means "free taxi ride" like Cooper does, so that's probably why he's nervous. Hopefully he'll continue to get used to being handled by humans as he gets older.

Cooper still isn't the biggest Teka fan, but he tolerates having a bratty little brother, which is good. I was worried that because I have two males, they might fight or have dominance issues. However, Cooper lets Teka come in his cage and climb around and eat out of his dish. He just looks mildly annoyed about it.

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Teka invades Cooper's cage

Right now, Cooper is still more affectionate. He'll do stuff like fly to my shoulder and demand to have his head scratched. However, this might be a species difference. Teka definitely is interested in what I'm doing and likes to be talked to. He also likes sitting on my head and chirping. Probably because he feels like he is the highest and most important one of us.

Teka is beginning to imitate Cooper's vocal patterns, including his attention squawk. But he uses it more as a way of talking to himself rather than demanding attention like Cooper does. Overall, Teka isn't bothered when I do stuff in my room or walk around the apartment without paying attention to him. So I can leave him uncovered when I have to cover Cooper.

I'm not sure yet, but I'll probably end up keeping both of the birds because they can be company for each other when I'm gone. Cooper was pretty lonely at my parents' house because when Will is at school there aren't a lot of people to baby him.

I am trying to be a good bird mom.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Brown Eyes

I can't complain about my eyes because I came by them honestly. My mama gave them to me, passing down the single brown eye gene she got from her father to all three of her children in the equivalent of winning a coin toss three times in a row. And everyone knows you have to flaunt what your mama gave you.

It didn't take me long to realize that the heroes in books didn't tend to have brown eyes. Blue, green, grey--those are all cool. (I'm looking at you, Jonas.) (I'm looking at you, Harry.) They're the clues that our heroes and heroines with the mousy brown hair or messy black hair are secretly special and beautiful. (I'm looking at you, Meg Murray.)

The only time you see brown eyes being described as beautiful is when the main characters are black and brown people. Even then you'll get the black or Asian person who inexplicably has light-colored eyes in defiance of the odds. (I know it can happen in real life, but in literature it only happens to main characters.)

But chances are the narrator will call the brown person's eyes "black." Which when I think about it would be incredibly creepy in real life because you wouldn't be able to distinguish at all between pupil and cornea. The real reason to say "black eyes," is because black is still a slightly more romantic color than brown.

Don't get me started on "violet." I understand when it's used to refer to a particular shade of blue. But sometimes the author literally means the character is walking around with bright purple eyes. For no reason besides identifying them as the main character. (Looking at you, Alanna.) I don't care how good the rest of the writing is. That image is fucking ridiculous.

Madeleine L'Engle even wrote a book where all the good guys have blue eyes and all the characters who don't are either evil or shouldn't be allowed to breed with the blue-eyed people.

Really? Really?

Also, some of the good characters are Native Americans who are good because they are descended from Welsh people.

I just don't know how a normally chill person can write an entire book on this premise and not pause a moment to think, "Huh....Does that sound a tiny bit racist?"

Brown eyes are often associated with dogs or cows. Loyal, sweet, a bit dim-witted. Once someone told me my brown eyes were pretty because they looked "honest." I didn't say, "Wow, way to say my eyes aren't actually pretty." So I guess not so honest.

On top of having brown eyes, I'm also a ginger, which makes it very rare to find characters who look like me. Most people assume that red hair = blue or green eyes, pale skin, and Irish. (My great grandparents came from Germanic countries.) Because of the brown eyes I tan easily and burn rarely.

The stare of blue or green eyes is a mysterious gaze that pierces your soul with its ethereal power, as of a fairy-like being who somehow possesses infinite wisdom.

A brown-eyed stare probably makes someone look like a serial killer.

 I have to admit that blue and green eyes are just objectively better. On the whole people prefer cool colors to neutral ones. My favorite color is blue.

 As an adult I'm not as bothered by having brown eyes. After about 25 you stop thinking that you need to change things about yourself to look fabulous. I make my brown eyes fabulous. I use gold eyeliner, and it looks awesome. My skin, hair, and eyes all have the same undertones. I can't imagine my face with different color eyes.

And maybe it makes sense for me to have brown eyes. I'm not a fairy. I'm fierce and I don't tolerate idiots. I stare them down with my dark brown eyes.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Writer's Greatest Fear

As writers our greatest fear is not that we can't write. It's that we don't have anything to write about because we're not deep.

Anyone can learn mechanics. You can get a couple of grammar/construction books from the library, or hell, use Google to learn how to figure out how to write a correct sentence. But since you're a writer you're also a reader so you'll be inhaling any good writing you can get your hands on anyway. You'll learn by osmosis.

Anyone can put the effort in.

But then there's that moment. When you enter a contest, or write for a class or a club, or anything really, when you've put so much effort into your story, and worked on it night after night, and rewritten it five times, and finally you sort of like it.

Then someone else gets up and says, "I didn't really know what to write about, so I just decided to write about something that had happened to me. I was 13 the first time I was raped. Within a year, I was living on the streets..."

And suddenly it doesn't matter what you wrote because you will never in your life write anything as important as what that other person wrote. Because you're boring as fuck.

You're boring because your parents never hit you. Because they're still together. Because they gave you an education. Because you're healthy. Because your partners never abused you.

Wherever you go, people smell the stench of old money. And they judge you.

Moreover, you're white, so that's that.

And here you start feeling haunted by the specter of the "P" word. Not pretentious, although that's another good one. "Privilege."

Mostly we talk about checking your privilege. But I've checked it. I guarantee you. I've taken it out, turned it over, and acknowledged, "Yep, I'm Mommy and Daddy's little princess who gets what she wants." I didn't ask for it. It just kind of showed up.

Being privileged means you're simultaneously enviable and boring. Maybe the second takes the sting out of the first for other people. I don't know. It's like being back in church when it's "share your testimony time" and everyone's on the edge of their seat waiting to hear from the gay hooker drug addict who found Jesus and is now a youth pastor. Because that's where the juicy stuff is.

But I don't know if that's the way anyone really approaches life, or writing for that matter. Your ordinary boring life might seem exciting for someone else. I'll mention in passing that I lived in Japan for three years and people who I consider much more interesting will say, "That's amazing! I haven't done anything as cool as that?" And I'm like, "Are you kidding? You're way more interesting than I am!"

The people who are really worth talking to and paying heed to don't see the world as a stage where everyone is competing for the spotlight and let the best dramz win. Authentic people will accept you the way you are and won't typecast you.

Also, it's an incredibly modern way to think of writing to say that all writing is a reflection of your actual life and you have to experience everything in life to be able to write about it. Why are people still making movies about how Shakespeare wasn't really Shakespeare? Like he had so be some tragic noble figure who had some great love story behind the scenes. When all the data we have points to Shakespeare being a pretty normal, middle-of-the-road dude.

So no matter who you are, if you want to write, just write. Whatever you're interested in, even if it seems weird.