( To be fair, there's only one cat picture here. )
I haven't been able to write, not fanfic, not original stuff, not my MA thesis, not my blogs. I feel hollow and burned out, and nothing I do is helping. I've been trying to catch up on my reading list a bit, but my attention span keeps wandering and I get distracted/bored and wander off to... do nothing. Catching up on TV shows isn't really working because of the same attention span issues. And it's too hot/humid/muggy outside to go and do summer stuff outside. So mostly, it's been a month of just... existing, and hoping summer will end sooner than later.
This is where you guys come in! I'm going to push through this ennui thing and make myself do something creative. I'll take five prompts for a fanmix (since that's what seems to be the most realistic right now), between 10-15 songs. Can be fandom/fic/book/movie/whatever-specific, can be just a theme, whatever. I'd go back to the list of prompts for the fanmix project, but revisiting a failure from two years ago hardly seems like the thing to do when trying to move ahead.
1. Non-English songs (sylvaine)
2. Steve/Bucky reunion (musesfool)
3. Songs To Kill Monsters By (wiredwizard)
4. Songs to Watch Thunderstorms With (crescent_gaia)
5. Cannibalism (scarimonious)
This is our cat, Bucky. He’s a fine specimen of the felis catus adorabilis, as you can see in the pictures. We adopted him a couple of weeks ago from a pet shelter here in the city. He’s three years old, apparently, and he’s an absolute
darling terror cat. When I picked him up, he had a bit of a cold, so I had to take him back to the vet a few times to get him his antibiotic shots. He handled the trips pretty well, although by the third visit, he wouldn’t even get out of the carrier without being pulled out, and when the vet was looking him over, Bucky was curled up into a tight little ball. At least he doesn’t seem to hate me for taking him to the Bad Place, and seems to realize that going to the vet means he’ll get better. I was worried I’d get shunned, but he doesn’t really hold a grudge and comes back to give me kisses (or, you know, bite my nose and scent mark me) and demand to be petted.
Mirrored from Tangents and Digressions.
And then the problems started. The slats were sliding all over the place with the slightest move, and falling off the center beam, which left holes under the mattress and was pretty uncomfortable. So I went to the hardware store and bought some nails to fix them in place. And I don't know if this is because there are too few slats, or if it's actually the mattress or something, but lately I've had some pretty awful back pain and numbness in my muscles whenever I lie on the bed, or hell, even when I just sit on it. And considering I use my bed as a couch some of the time (for reading, or for watching something, or just for non-writing computer use), it's not something that I can just not do.
I don't know whether the stiffness and pain in my trapezius is only from sleeping on the bed or whether I pulled something in the move, but it can reduce my ability to turn my head to the right by about 50%. I'm hoping that buying a piece of plywood to put over the slats will fix things, because otherwise I might have to look at getting another mattress or something. I would have gotten a spring mattress rather than just a foam one, but they're pretty expensive and out of my price range. I guess if the board under the mattress doesn't help, I can always get rid of/sell the frame and just put the mattress on the floor and sleep like that.
I’ve finished the semester (well, I have one more short paper to write for Tuesday, but I have my grade for that class already) and this time, I’m coming in with a nice 5.0 average (that’s the equivalent of straight As). \o/ I’ve taken the weekend to recuperate (Friday was a bit rough, with a total crash that it was surprisingly hard to pick myself up from), and I’ve spent it doing nothing much more strenuous than reading, playing Portal 2, and watching cat videos on YouTube. Right now I’m waiting for my nails to dry a bit more before I go and make strawberry pierogi for tonight. #omnomnom( Read the rest of this entry » )
Mirrored from Tangents and Digressions.
We’re all moved in! Things aren’t quite up to where we’d like them, but it’s all livable, we have the new high speed interwebs, and my new mattress and frame have arrived, so I’m not sleeping on a rickety couch or a bunch of blankets piled on the floor. I think we’re going to be very happy here. <3( Read the rest of this entry » )
Mirrored from Tangents and Digressions.
I'm supposed to give 30 days' notice where I'm living, but it's 30 days from the end of the month. So since the hammer came down on the boys' end and we need something for June, I figured I'd try and find someone to rent my room and that way I wouldn't have to pay for June, which the landlady agreed to. I also told her that if it doesn't pan out, I'll pay for June, because what the hell, I'm not gonna stiff an old lady her money.
And then she pissed me off, three times within the space of two days. I went to visit my grandparents on Wednesday, and came back Friday. I was at G.'s, looking at ads for apartments, and my roommate calls me up, because "Mrs. R. is worried about you, and she wants to know where you are, because you just disappeared." I'd known she was paranoid about stuff like that (something about her neighbor renting a room, and her tenant committed suicide, and "she just lay there for four days before anyone found her, and then she had so much trouble with the police, and the coroner, and everything!"), but seriously, this is just fucking ridiculous. So I told A. that I'd be back later that evening and thought that was that. Then yesterday afternoon, I came home, and Mrs. R. was there, cleaning out the boiler room (they have access to our place, because their boiler room is here, etc.) So she calls me over, all "come over here, please, I need to have a word with you," and proceeds to tell me off for not letting her know where I was. I managed to keep calm and not tell her that I'm not going to report in to her every time I leave the fucking house, because I'm not a goddamn kid, and even if I was, I'm not *her goddamn kid, and just kind of sidestepped the issue. Closed my door and fumed a bit because SERIOUSLY. Then I went out in the evening, and when I came back, she came down, all "have you put up the ad for the room yet?" and it's like, "I *told you, I'm going to do it tomorrow, I need to take pictures, and I haven't had the time to do that" and on top of that, it's 9:30 in the fucking evening, so GTFO my apartment and stop bothering me.
Don't get me wrong, I like this house. The room is just right for me, and the area is nice and quiet, and we have a nice garden, etc. But living downstairs from the owners, without the ability to lock my own apartment and prevent anyone from coming in is getting on my nerves. I appreciate the fact that she gives us herbs from the garden, and when Magda was sick, Mrs. R. brought her food and looked in on her, and that from time to time, I get an invitation for coffee or cake or dinner. But seriously, just because she's renting us rooms doesn't give her the right to butt in so much. If I wanted to have every aspect of my life scrutinized, I'd have stayed at home with my grandparents.
So yeah, I'm very much looking forward to getting out of here. We just have to find something we can all live with, looks-, location-, and cost-wise, and then everything will be hunky dory.
Mom: Are you going to go?
Mom: Are you mad at the Church?
Me: Nope. I just don't feel the need to go.
Mom: Just don't tell your grandmother that, please.
And sure, I can understand why it's theoretically better not to say anything. My grandmother is old and fragile and she has her delusions about me being a deeply religious person, among other things, and it's best to keep the peace. But is it really better? I'm essentially lying to my grandparents, going to church only because they want me to go. I'm lying to them and lying to myself. I'm doing the thing I really hate other people for doing - going to church not for religious reasons, but for appearances' sake. Does the fact that I'm trying to do right by grandparents outweigh the hypocrisy of what I'm doing?
* Recollections are kinda like spiritual retreats, a series of lectures/prayer days where you go to church and listen to a super long homily on selected subjects. I don't know about other countries, but they're really popular here in Poland. The last ones I went to featured a homily for "women, wives, and mothers," which contained an anecdote about a wife who found a letter from her husband's mistress in his jacket, and when he came home, it was sitting on the family altar and he sat down with her and said "pray with me" and so they did, and when they got to the "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" he gave her an eloquent look and squeezed her hand, and now it's twenty years later, and they attend church together, holding hands, blah blah blah, and another one about... I don't actually remember what it was about, but it had a story about a guy who was a drunk and he spent his money on booze and then thought his kids had stolen it, so he beat the crap out of his daughter, poured gasoline on her and set her on fire, and then when she was in the hospital, dying, she asked to see her father, so they brought him from the prison, and she said to him, as he sat at her side and held her hand, "but daddy, I really didn't take the money." That was the last time I've ever gone to one of these things, and I'm never going back again if I can help it
Spoke to my mom today, and she mentioned that she spoke to my grandparents, and that when she mentioned that I was sick (I indulged myself and whined like a little baby about being sick yesterday), they said they weren't expecting me until next week when I go home for Easter. I was actually planning on going home tomorrow, since I haven't been back for a few weeks, and there are some things I need to grab from my room, but now I'm thinking that I'm going to leave the decision until tomorrow. I've got a couple of trains that I can take so I don't have to get up super early or anything. I've been coughing quite a lot (so much that my ribs hurt) and it would probably be best if I just stayed home and tried to get better, but OTOH I'm going to feel awful about not going. It might be worth it just to avoid the self-guilt trip I'd inevitably end up laying on myself. On the other other hand, according to my doctor's instructions, if I don't get better by Saturday, I'm supposed to get the Z-pak prescription filled out and take that for three days and I'm not looking forward to how it's going to lay me out. Normally the antibiotics you take for 7-10 days don't affect me that much, but the higher dose in a Z-pack knocks me for a loop.
Ugh. I have so much to do this weekend, and if I go to my grandparents' I'm going to end up either half-assing it all while I'm there, or doing it all on Sunday night and half-assing it then. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Bleah. Maybe I'll call my grandparents and try to sound as pathetic as I can and cough a lot, try to make them say I should stay home and get better...
Being a Writer and a Translator
Translating literature is basically rewriting it from scratch—you have to take what you’re reading, and rephrase it in a way that’ll be appropriate for the culture you’re translating into. It’s hard to reconcile the inner writer, with the constant “I’d do this differently” thoughts, with the translator’s task of trying to match the author’s original style and not changing the story. The task is made much harder if you’re also a writer, and if the work you’re translating falls outside of the genres you normally read, or if it falls within certain genre conventions that you don’t like.
Do the Legwork on the Paperwork
If you’re like me, and you’ve never had to come up with a contract for a translation job, trust me, ask for advice. If you get advice that says “just Google it, there’s plenty of templates out there,” look further. Ask more people. Do the Google search, put together a contract, and then ask someone to look it over. Ask your friends, ask in forums, get a second opinion (and a third, and a fifth). Don’t just assume that just because it looks pretty good to your untrained eye, it’s fine. If the person you’re signing the contract with makes changes, make sure you get someone else to look them over. I’m speaking from experience here — things I said would fall under my purview in the conversations before the contract didn’t make it in there, and things that shouldn’t be my responsibility did.
Learn from Your Mistakes
If you’re like me, just starting out in the field, you’re bound to make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged. One job that doesn’t go quite the way you thought it would doesn’t mean the end of the world. Get the job done, do the best you can under the circumstances, and carry on. There will be other jobs, other opportunities to do better. Don’t sweep the mistakes you’ve made under the carpet, though. Remember them, learn from them, and keep them in mind so you don’t make them again.
Don’t Give Up
It’s a difficult balancing act—staying involved in the work so you get it done on time, and at the same time remembering to step back when needed so you don’t get discouraged and disheartened and start to dislike the work. Because if you don’t like what you’re doing—and this goes for writing your own stuff, too… hell, it goes for any job you do—it’ll show in the final product, and it’ll affect your ability to work in the future. And if you can’t make it work, well, maybe you shouldn’t be doing the work.
Mirrored from Tangents and Digressions.
Tech support kittens are here to help.
I'm writing this from Titus 2.0, the improved version of my laptop. Well, it's more like Titus 1.5, because there are still external/cosmetic changes that are waiting to be done. I gave up the DVD drive that wasn't working anyway and got a second hard drive bay put in, so now there's a shiny 64 GB SSD drive for the system files, and a 750 GB hard drive for the rest. Given that the old hard drive was 200 GB, that's a pretty huge improvement.
What's also a huge improvement is the speed that everything is running at. On top of that, I've been able to make the jump from Snow Leopard to Mavericks and everything is so smooth! :D The SSD drive was basically the best addition I could have made to the laptop at this point, short of replacing it entirely. It's almost six years old, and given my history with laptops, it's nothing short of a miracle that it's still alive. I'm not going to preach the superiority of Apple over other brands, but I can definitely say that I'm really glad that I got this machine.
I also upgraded my phone and replaced my Android phone with a shiny and new (well, to me) iPhone 4. I bought it used, opting for an older model because the newer ones are far too expensive, and my cellphone contract still has almost a year and a half left on it, so there's no way to replace it through that. My love affair with Android is kind of winding down, and I'm slowly but surely returning to the mothership. :)
I have to say: it's really great having friends who'll help you with computer stuff and sit with you until 1am watching the progress bar on an install. Thanks, Grzegorz! <3
So last week, I was in New York, and it was AMAZING. My mom had a few days off, and we got to do a bunch of really cool things, the most awesome of which was going to see Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot, and then getting my photo taken with Sir Ian. :D :D :D BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.
So here are some pictures from my trip. The “rain in Dusseldorf” is my picture for week 6, and the bird’s nest is my picture for week 7 of Project 52.
Mirrored from Tangents and Digressions.
Saw Mom and Stepdad off to work, and I'm taking my sweet time doing anything, including showering and getting dressed, because it's my goddamn birthday and they're gonna be gone most of the day, so I can be a slob if I want to. I have some translation that I really need to finih, because I was supposed to send it in on like, Friday, but travel and everything kind of got in the way. And then... I don't know. It's snowing, and it's supposed to rain later, so maybe I'll go to a museum somewhere? I have no idea what I want to see.
Mom took me to her friend's bachelorette party on Saturday, we went to a concert at Juilliard on Sunday, Mom took me to Dia: yesterday, with a caveat of "I know you don't really like modern art, but I think you'll like this" (I did, mostly), and we're going to see Waiting for Godot (!!!!) on Wednesday. The tickets are like, in the nosebleeds and I think they're actually standing tickets, but given the chance, I wasn't going to miss this. We're probably going out for sushi tonight, and there's something else I' probably forgetting for Thursday afternoon, so I'm having a quite busy and activity-filled week. I'm really glad I'm getting today mostly to myself, because while I enjoy doing stuff with mom and Michael and I'm very glad I'm here, I'm getting a tiiiiny bit burned out on being social and not curling up under a blanket and not coming out. So getting a bit of alone time is great for recharging my batteries.
Tomorrow morning is registration for classes back home. We finally got the schedule late yesterday, and oy vey, it is a HUEG mess. There are classes overlapping, and they've given 5 groups of one course to one instructor and only one to another, so there's going to be a big rush on those. Assuming I get everything I'll be trying to get, I may possibly have Fridays off, which would be nice. In a small school like ours, we don't get more than one section per class, so if you want to take something, you're stuck with what they give you, time slot-wise, and there's no alternatives. And although one might think that small school = more instructor time for every student, that's definitely not the case at our institute. I keep saying we need to stage a coup and start running things with the students in mind, rather than just catering to the needs of the faculty. My mom keeps saying I should stay on and do a doctorate (at which point, because you have to teach as part of the program, I'd be part of the faculty), and try changing things from inside, but IDK...
Anyway, that's not what the crying in the subject line is a reference to, actually. gorgeousnerd linked to the last MCR song and video and foolishly enough, I watched. I'm jut glad that the parental units were out of the house, because I burst into tears about halfway through and didn't stop until it was well over. This band, I swear. I fought getting into bandom for the longest time, resisted listening to MCR for a while, and then when I fell, I fell hard. Waking up to the news that they'd broken up on the day I was due to leave Wales last year was hard, and getting to hear a new song on my birthday... well, it's definitely a bittersweet thing. I'll have to listen to the song a few more times before I can fully appreciate it, but I'm thinking that won't be today.
I'm not scared of flying, nor really of turbulence, but a bumpy ride wasn't really something I expected to experience on a plane. Most of the flight was peaceful, and once we got above the clouds, it was actually kind of sunny and warm, but when we got above North America, things got a bit more bumpy. I seriously have no idea how pilots fly in weather like that, when the clouds are so thick that you can barely see the tips of the wings, and everything around you in pure white. It's kinda creepy, looking out at that which is probably why most people on the flight kept their windows covered.
I don't know why, but I've always had this image of New York as a city that can handle anything, including snow storms. In the meantime, once I landed, I found out that there were no buses running, the trains were delayed, and pretty much everything had ground to a standstill. Maybe it's all the years I lived in Canada, when we didn't have a snow day once, and that included the days when the temperatures dropped down to the low -20s and -30s. (That's Celsius, and around -20F). Actually, the only time I've ever had a snow day was when I went to Wales and we had a minor snowpocalypse. That I can understand, but this is New York! It's handled apocalypses and zombies and aliens, and I turn on the TV to see people freaking out because the mayor decided to keep the schools open. I guess we shouldn't always believe what we see in the movies... At least the city is mostly cleared, and the temperatures are pretty high (although that means that there are lovely ankle-deep puddles pretty much on every corner today).
I'm kind of dreading the flight on Thursday, if I continue feeling this shitty. Normally I'd stay home and try to get better, but I really don't want to miss this opportunity, so I guess it'll be nasal decongestant spray for me for the next few days. I only hope I don't end up getting super sick while I'm in New York.