Travel

BIG RL changes...

So I haven't actually posted about this (or posted anything, really OOPS) in the last few months but I got a new job. Which is starting in a BIG way in oh, about 5 hours.

I'm going to be working on Cruise ships (specifically, for my first contract, I'll be on the Diamond Princess, which sails out of Yokohama). I'm going to be working for an Art Auction/Gallery (we're on over 100 ships and HOMG I'm about to go into the company promotion and just AH)

So, for the past 10 days, I've been in Miami at a CRAZY intense training (as in up at 6:30 every morning, eight hours of lectures, seminars, TESTs, both written and oral, meeting some of artists we're working with and more. And then usually another 2 or 3 hours of study in the evenings in our class groups. It has been nuts!!! I feel like I'm back during finals week in college! Possibly worse, cause this involved copious amounts of public speaking in front of 70+ people on a semi-regular basis :-p)

And I just found out about 2 hours ago that my ship assignment came a bit earlier than most, so I'm shipping out today rather than tomorrow or Saturday like everyone else so I'm a bit...um...overwhelmed? Here's your flight details, you're going to be on a flight this evening, oh and you'll start work immediately when you arrive on the ship. Which should be about three hours after you land in Narita :---p. GAAAAAH!!!

But I'm packed, have an hour or two before the shuttle arrives for the airport and thought I should probably let people know what I'm up to, especially since it sounds like internet will be severely limited. We'll see how that goes :-p

But, job, YAY. Travel, super yay! And JAPAN! (it's been almost exactly five years!!! I've missed it so sooo much!) so yeah...That's my news.

Catch you all on the flip side!!
All about the cuddles

Icon Meme

Fun little icon meme gotten from sara_tanaquil:

1. Reply to this post and I will pick five of your icons.
2. Make a post (including the meme info) and talk about the icons I chose.
3. Other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.
4. This will create a never-ending cycle of icon glee.

The five ions sara_tanaquil picked for me:

1. Babylon 5 remains one of my favorite shows of all time. While it has its flaws (and is also getting rather dated) it still has some of the best, most cohesive, clearly planned story and character arcs I've ever seen. Additionally, it has some of the most badass female characters ever. This speech is the epitome of said badass-ness, at least for Susan Ivanova (Delenn's "If you value you lives, be somewhere else" is up there as well). She's leading a fleet into battle and this is what she offers as a battle-cry. It's epic.

2. This came from our oh so painful Smallville days. (I loved that fandom, I still love that fandom, but oh, the canon! Sooo painful). While watching, neechan and I found it very difficult to not be constantly shouting "Just tell him, Clark! The truth, tell him the truth!" And once we realized we were practically quoting Aladdin, well, this just had to happen. ^__-

3. Ah, my smut icon. So, the quote is from a Tom Lehrer song "Smut" which I was listening to at some point, as you do, and was like "hmm, I really should make an icon along those lines" and decided to use some of my more...lascivious artwork. The first shot after the text is Ban & Ginji from GetBackers (and is over 10 years old, wow I've been on deviantart for over a decade! Huh...). The next is a Xmas present I did for my brother, cause he was getting bored with me doing all the m/m stuff, wanted a little f/f action. Third is an illustration I did for one of my sister's Shosetsu Bang Bang stories. The fourth is my own characters from my brief web manga that I always wished I'd done more with and just...never got around to. OOPS. Last is a Clex pic, done as an illustration for Astolat's fantastic fic Revenge.

4. Hee, this remains one of my fav of my SGA chibis, actually, goofy as it is. This is part of a pic I did for SGA secret santa. The prompt had been "something cartoony. something a little anime. team. (meeting new species). and this is where I wound up. It was a lot of fun to do, and some of the first animated gifs I've done in my own art, a technique I've really come to love in recent years.

5. 10 just cried so prettily (yes sara_tanaquil, if you've not seen New Who, it is maybe a bit spoilery? It's him saying what he thinks is a permanent goodbye to one of his companions). I rather loved the seen for the pretty crying and then figured it's always good to have at least one sad icon, for those certain times...

Whee, this has been a lot of fun, thank you so much for the prompts sara_tanaquil! ^__^
All about the cuddles

Final December meme (not QUITE a month late)

So I suck so very very much...GOMEN, byakkodan_slash m(__)m.

The holidays got crazy with lots of people visiting (was soooo good to see naye and doctorskuld!!! as well as the 'rents) and lots of Xmas presents to be drawn and err...I lot track? OOPS!

But, here we go! So the challenge was do draw five images (1: Self portrait. 2: Picture of you and me!, 3: Picture of your favorite video game character in a bath, 4: Thor + Loki in santa hats, 5: One horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized horses.), with a time limit of exactly two minutes for each drawing. Ehehhee, speed drawing, SOOOO not my strength. Like, at all :-p

So, without further ado, my two minute mad scribbles drawings. ^___-

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This was really quite fun, despite the questionable quality of the end product ^____-, thanks for the challenge!

And over all (except for this less than punctual last post) this meme worked well for me, actually got me posting some! \o/ Will have to give it or something similar ago again at some point! Thanks so so much for everyone who offered prompts! ^__^
All about the cuddles

December question Meme continues...

For bagheera_san: if you had all the time/motivation/talent in the world necessary to do it, what would be your dream-fanwork? As in, the vid/art/fic you'd create if you could, but probably never will? Or several of them, if just picking one is too difficult.

This one was hard, mainly because I'm something of an optimist and like to think I'll get to most of the projects I dream up (also difficult because adorable kitty who is tiny and adorable is also TROUBLE and is determined to get between me and the keyboard :---p).

I think when it comes down to it, there are probably two big ones that come to mind. First is this story/manga/set of chars of I've had rolling around for quite some time now that I would love to actually get to (beyond just the occasional doodle, of which I've done lots over the years) because I'm fond of them and their world. But considering I only made it like 20 pages into the last manga I tried to to do...eeehh, odds are low it'll ever actually come about :-p.

The second is doing a vid using my own animation. All the various Caramell Dansen fandom vids that have sprung up in the last few years have been hilarious and also inspiring. I've done art and I've done vidding and being able to combine the two would be amazing. The few animated chibis I've done have all been a blast to work on. But even just the few frames I've done for those have taken quite a bit of time. A whole vid would be a ridiculous amount of work so again, not likely to ever actually happen. But, would be fun to attempt it!

(Oh god, yes cat, you're very VERY cute but I need that hand for typing! :--p)

Thanks for another great question! ^__^
All about the cuddles

More on the December Meme

For naye again: Where you'd want to go next and why?

The short answer to this is quite simple: ALL THE PLACES!! No, really, there's never been a place that I've heard or read about that hasn't sounded intriguing in some way. And while some may not be the most appealing right now (active war zones and the like), they still call to me, just...make me hesitate till there are less explosions and the like. (Damascus remains very high on this list. Oldest continuously lived in city in the world. How could I NOT want to go?)

But in terms of realistically, in the nearish future, there are a few places. First is Antarctica. I actually applied for some positions down there for their upcoming summer. But unfortunately, as pretty much all jobs down there are government related, the government shut down as well as earlier cutbacks have made for a LOT less activity this year so that was a no go. *le sigh* We'll see about next year, if the government can ever sort itself out (not holding my breath :---p).

I just think Antarctica would be amazing (and necessary if I want to complete my goal of living on every continent ^__-). I've always liked the cold. And the little bit of time I got to spend on glaciers in New Zealand was amazing. From a distance icy landscapes look so stark, so barren, but they can be breathtaking in detail.

I'm also interested in South America, primarily Argentina. I've wanted to go there for a long time (got obsessed with the musical Evita in Junior high, and that led me to do a lot of reading and further study on the country as a whole.) Also, would like to learn Spanish, and going to live in a country that has it as a primary language seems to be the most expedient way to do so. ^_^ Also, need South America in my continent count as well.

Lastly, though not a specific place, but I've been looking into spending some time working on some of the international cruise ships. I met some people while I was backpacking in New Zealand who had done so and highly recommended it for the travel-inclined. It would be a fun way to see a lot of various parts of the world and the positions I'm interested are tour-guide related, leading excursions while ashore and the like. I've always loved taking people around the places I've lived and I think this could be lot of fun. We'll see how it goes! ^__^

Thanks again for the fun prompts! ^__^
All about the cuddles

Ongoing Memege...

For naye: Tell us where you've lived, why, and where you'd want to go back.

Weeell, starting way back, I was born and spent the first year and a half of my life in Chicago, IL. Sadly, we moved away when I was young enough that I don't particularly remember it, but we did visit friends there multiple times as I was growing up and I remain fond of the city. Though it's been yeeeears since I've been back, would really like to one of these days.

The majority of my childhood was spent in a litte town in Massachusetts. Quintessential small town New England. It was a lovely place to grow up but as I got older, it got boring. FAST! My parents still reside there and I do enjoy the occasional visit. It's peaceful, pretty, quaint. But gets dull reeeal quick. (I spent 8 months there a few years back in between trips abroad. I was climbing the walls near the end of that time.)

My four years of college were spent in upstate New York. While the town of Ithaca is certainly bigger than where I grew up (that would not be particularly difficult :-p) and was absolutely GORGEOUS (pun intended for those who know Ithaca) by the end of senior year, I definitely had my sights set on bigger.

Especially since I'd spent 6 months of my Junior year on a study abroad program in Kyoto, Japan. I fell completely in love with Kyoto and knew with out a doubt I needed to go back. And so I did, shortly after graduating university.

Upon arriving in Japan with my new job as an ESL teacher, I first lived in Osaka as that's where the company housing was. While Kyoto was what I yearned for, I had fun in Osaka for the four or five months I was there. Osaka is a huge city (city proper is close to 3 million), and while my apartment was a little further out, it was still very metropolitan. There was always a lot to do in Osaka (and buy, mmm, doujinshi, so so many doujinshi. Mandarake, I miss you oh so much...even if my wallet does not!) but I found it a bit too crowded, was much happier when my sister joined me in Japan and we moved up to Kyoto together.

The three and a half years we spent in Kyoto, in our wonderful little apartment near Shijo Omiya were amazing. I love Kyoto. It's such an spectacular city, so filled with historical significance and culture. And the crazy juxtaposition of that with the modern. Temples and shrines sandwiched in between pachinko parlors, game arcades and clothing stores. Bus stops under giant tori. Yearly parades and street festivals that are over a thousand years old, one of which even predates the city itself.

And in addition to all that, there was tremendous company as well. Having my sister there was fantastic, and then also naye was there intermittently over the three and a half years. Which rocked as up until that point we'd only gotten to actually see each other in person a handful of times, seeing as we lived on different continents. And shayera was also there for a time. The fun the four of us had (mm, so many wonderful karaoke session!). And I got to know crashtestskater through work there. Not to mention so many wonderful students, several of whom I'm still in touch with.

I really do miss Japan, and I think of all the places, it is the one I most wish to return to (though that's a hard call!). I'd love to do another year or two there at least at some point down the road.

But, at the time, after almost four years, I was ready to move on to other things. (Really, four years in one place is a remarkable record for me these days! :-p).

I decided I wanted to get a Masters. While I wanted a program in English, I wished to study somewhere outside the US. I decided on England, as I'd been there once before on holiday and loved it. Also, the University of London: School of African and Oriental studies had the most intriguing Media studies program of a whole slew I looked at, with a focus on non-western media.

I adored both the Masters program and London itself. There is just always something to do in London! Between the museums, historic sites, plays, concerts, walking tours, exhibitions, etc. you're never bored. A year was so very much NOT enough time and yeah, I'd also like to go back there, too. A LOT. Blarg, this is hard! ^__-

And again, the people I got to know there (or finally got to meet in person, after knowing them online for years and years *smishes takadainmate and cienna*) made it extra special. I miss the entire Merlin meetup group! Such a friendly, welcoming hilariously fun group of fans!

After London, it was off to New Zealand (after a period saving up cash back in the States). I based myself in Wellington (ah, windy Wellie. They were NOT kidding. Never felt wind like that before!) and spent the 8 months there traveling as much as I could in between work. And even then, didn't get to see everything. There is a LOT to see in New Zealand. And all of it is breathtakingly beautiful! I'm fairly sure you could just toss a camera down a hill and get amazing photos as it fell. It is hard to take a bad picture there! Glaciers and glow worm caves, black sand beaches and fjords. Not to mention bungy jumping, helicopter tours and glacier walks!

Absolutely adored New Zealand. And found another group of great friends. Whom I also now get to miss :-p One problem with constantly moving, always having to say goodbye to such lovely people (but hey, there's always the internet!) And it also means constantly making new friends, so there's that too! ^__-

My visa for New Zealand maxed out at one year, but I decided to leave before that (was getting into winter, not as much outdoor activies could be done) and headed over to do another 1 year working holiday visa, this time in Australia.

Sydney is a fantastic city. Relaxed and easy to walk around. And the Opera house really is fantastic, so striking! And I was graced with another awesome fannish bunch to get to know. Getting out of the city, up to Port Douglas and Cairns, and down to Canberra and Melbourne was also great fun. And so much amazing wildlife (even if it is all trying to kill you! ^__-) Pet and feed kangaroos and wallabies! Hold a koala and snorkel on the Great Barrier reef! All things I'd wanted to do since I was very young!

And now I've spent the last 10 months in Seattle with the sibs. As my brother has been living in Seattle for the past decade, I've spent quite a bit of time here on and off, though this has by far been the longest stretch. Which means I'm starting to go stir crazy again...bit of theme, ne? ^__- I love my housemates here, so nice to be living with my sibs again, as well as sovht and her husband and I'll miss them all terribly. But..but there's just still so much out there to SEE! Which is a topic for another day (tomorrow apparently ^__-)

And this got really long....OOPS! But thanks for the great prompt, naye! *huggles*
All about the cuddles

More memeing

For sholio's prompt: some vids you love, or something (tropewise, editing-wise, etc) that you really love in other people's vids.

This question comes at a particularly fortuitous time, as I've been trying to get back to vidding and hence been watching a lot of vids to inspire me. And in doing so, one trope I've noticed I'm often drawn to, and have actually been so for quite some time, is the use of dialog over the vid soundtrack.

In fact, thinking back (a scarily long time ago) to the first season of Supernatural. At the season finale (well, actually the episode before the finale) they did their very first "the Road so Far" music vid/previously on SPN thing. Which I ADORED! The song choice, PERFECT, the clips, excellent! But also, they had lots of show dialog interspersed with song and clip and I LOVED that at the time (might have actually been for me the first vid I saw doing this and it stuck).

This technique, when done well, makes for some of my favorite vids. While I've definitely seen some in which the technique is handled poorly, too many bits, placed wrong over the music, or the snatches of dialog don't fit with the overall vid ambiance, when done right, I find it super effective.

A few of my favorite examples:

Thor & Loki l Running Up That Hill by Gaby (Thor/Thor 2/Avengers)
This is just an all around amazing vid, perfect use of clips and song. But I'm especially enamored of the dialog choices and placements. They weave in seamlessly with the music and tie the whole vid together wonderfully.

Thor & Loki l Broken Crown by Gaby (Thor/Avengers)
Another one by Gaby. She just does this technique so well. Envious. Also, I adore Mumford and Sons, and this song works so perfectly for them.

Confessions of a Dying Man by obfreak (Stargate Atlantis)
I love me a good Rodney vid, always will. And this one in particular is so beautifully done, if rather sad. This has some of the most dialog clips I've seen in vids, but they work so perfectly. In fact, when I first saw the vid, I didn't know the song, and rather than downloading a copy, I just ripped the audio track from the vid. Which means now if I ever here the song on the radio or anything, I'm always surprised when it *doesn't* have SGA quotes interspsed through it. Ooops ^__-

(And now something I *don't* like about vids. They seem to disappear from the interwebs ENTIRELY at times! GUUH! T_______T)

I have two other vids that have this trope that I love yet I cannot actually link them because neither seem available online anywhere anymore. :---p

"The Youtube Affair" by bluemeanybeany (Man from UNCLE)
This one is fun because it uses the clips more to humors advantage than drama (which is more the case in all the other vids I've mentioned). Unfortunately, WMG went after this one on Youtube and the soundtrack was changed, so it has a different song and is missing all the dialog clips :-p. I've contacted the vid creator to see if she has a direct link somewhere for it.

"Brothers by Destiny" by Ryan Deffley (Smallville)
This one just seems to be completely GONE. Have found a few of his vids uploaded by other people in various places, but not this one alas. It's a beautifully timed vid, and great song choice (Bleed for me by Saliva). The use of dialog clips is very minimal, beginning, end and a little in the middle, but they work perfectly. Oh Clex :-p

(If people are really curious about either of the two missing vids, I can send them to you directly as I do still have both of them downloaded)

This has super helped put me back in a vidding mood, thanks for a great prompt! ^__^
All about the cuddles

December Pick-a-date meme: Favorite Statue/Sculpture

Look at me, I'm actually posting! On TIME even! ^__- For tasabian:

So, I'm terrible at actually picking favorites...of anything really. I just like waaaay too much stuff. And sculptures have always been an art form I particularly enjoy. They're what often draws me most in museums and historical sites, so narrowing it down to ones I love the best is near impossible. But I do have two statues that spring to mind as having some of the greatest lingering impact/strongest memories upon first seeing them so um...guess that'll have to do? Err...sorry?

The first is Michaelangelo's Pieta, in Saint Peter's Basicall, Vatican city. While defaulting to Michaelangelo's work is perhaps a bit of cliche, I can't help it. I've loved all of his statuary I've seen in person (photos just never do sculpture justice -_-). But this was one of the first and it's always stuck with me. Italy was my very first trip abroad, junior year in high school and that fact alone made everything just that little bit extra special as I'd been yearning to travel for as long as I could remember. Being a school trip, it was a CRAZY 10 days, filled with a LOT of museums, basilicas, galleries, etc. But even among that whirlwind of tremendous art experiences, the Pieta stood out.

Obviously, its placement and subject matter is highly religious (as so much of the art of that period is). I was raised regularly practicing Catholic until age eleven or so and was very familiar with the surrounding religious iconography. But standing there, I was moved away from the religious connotations; instead there was just something about it that so captured the essence of a grieving parent, a mother saying goodbye to her son, that felt so realized in each curve of marble. Will never forget it.

The second sculpture dates from about 800 years earlier and thousands of miles further and yet is also a death tableau. Um...apparently I have a thing? Ooops?

I keep finding different translations of the exact title, both most are somewhere along the lines of Tableau of the Death of Shaka. It is a unbaked clay and wood sculpted scene of the death of Buddha, found in one of the oldest temples in Japan, Horyuji, in Nara. I first came across it in an art history class in college while going for my Asian Studies major, before I ever went to Japan. It was a piece we returned to multiple times in that class, as some of the styles, as well as the intricate representations of Buddha's followers' reactions to his death are considered key elements in Japanese art of that period and many of the ones to follow.

Even just looking at the grainy photo in our text book, the amount of detail and emotions expressed in the small figurines drew me in. But it was about 6 months later, when I got to visit Horyuji in person that it really stuck with me. That trip is particularly memorable because at the time, while I remember the sculpture, I had forgotten where exactly in Japan it was located. I was visiting the temple for its overall historical significance: one of it's pagoda's is considered to be the oldest wooden structure in the world, built in 711 AD. At the base of said pagoda are four clay tableau's, one of which is the Death of Shaka.

There I was, wandering this temple, and was suddenly confronted by this sculpture I'd repeatedly studied the year before and been so intrigued by. I may have had a bit of a totally geektastic, fangirl squee moment. Which happened to catch the attention of two Japanese college boys, one who had been explaining the tableau to his friend. He sees me being all dorky and giddy and asks if I know what the statue is about. Chance to practice my Japanese to cute Japanese guys? Sold! So in my intermediate Japanese I stumble through a quick explanation of the significance of Buddha's death and how the follower's differing levels of grief and acceptance signify the different Buddhist's sects. Upon my halting finish, the first guy turns to his friend "see, even the GAIJIN[foreigner] knows more about this than you." In the end, those boys' looks of triumph and chagrin have become so entwined with my memories of the statue that I can't fully say if it's just the sculpture that's so memorable or the entire experience.

But really that's par for the course. For me personally, at least, I find so much of my reaction to a piece of art is connected with the conditions surrounding my first time experiencing it. My emotional state at the time, who I'm with, any previous knowledge I may have of the piece or the artist all shape my perception. *cough*Venus de Milo...GetBackers*COUGH* ^___-

Thanks for the prompt, tasabian!! Loved it ^_^
All about the cuddles

I'll give it a go...December Meme thing...

Been seeing this all over my flist, decided to join the party. Already missed a few days, but I have been missing LJ so very much, but not actually posting despite this so maybe this'll be the push I need?

Not that I've ever managed to post daily for a month in my entire 10+ years on LJ...but I'm pretty sure not every day will fill up, so that should work perfectly...^_-

Pick a date and a subject to post about. Anything's fair game really, fandom, fanart, vids, travel, food, go wild ^__^

December 04
December 05
December 06: tasabian - favourite sculpture or statue!
December 07
December 08: sholio - some vids you love, or something (tropewise, editing-wise, etc) that you really love in other people's vids
December 09: naye - Tell us where you've lived, why, and where you'd want to go back.
December 10: naye - Where you'd want to go next and why?
December 11
December 12
December 13
December 14
December 15: bagheera_san - like, if you had all the time/motivation/talent in the world necessary to do it, what would be your dream-fanwork? As in, the vid/art/fic you'd create if you could, but probably never will? Or several of them, if just picking one is too difficult.
December 16
December 17
December 18
December 19
December 20
December 21
December 22: byakkodan_slash - Make five sketches. For each sketch you have only 2 minutes to complete it. Set a timer, and when it ends, you STOP! Post said sketches.Themes for the five drawings:
1: Self portrait.
2: Picture of you and me!
3: Picture of your favorite video game character in a bath
4: Thor + Loki in santa hats
5: One horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized horses.
December 23
December 24
December 25
December 26
December 27
December 28
December 29
December 30
December 31
All about the cuddles

10 Year LJ Anniversary! Meep!

Ten years ago today I first signed up for Livejournal (course I didn't actually post anything on my own journal until September, it was all about the lurking at first! ^__-). Though LJ has seen some tumultuous times and a few mass exoduses in the last few years, many of the people I've most grown close to over the years are still here (yay! \o/) and LJ has meant so very much to me, has introduced me to so many wonderful people (and fandoms ^__-) that I'd be remiss in not marking the occasion ^_^.

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In the years I've been on LJ, I've gotten to meet more than 40 of you in person at various times and in various countries and look forward to many more such happy encounters!

Fanning is in my blood (my mom being a trekkie back when it first aired) and I've participated in online fan culture for more than half my life. For the last decade, LJ has been a big, if not the biggest, part of that participation. It has allowed me to not only indulge in fannish expression, but to form life long friendships the world over. And despite its faults, its various ups and downs, its booms and lulls, I'll always be grateful for that and for all of you. *big big huggles*