Friends Only

Hey there. :) So, I used to keep at least part of my journal public, and had the intention of doing so indefinitely. Unfortunately, this page was discovered by spambot vultures a few months ago and instead of peaking and then getting better, the problem has only gotten worse, and I can't stand all the emails announcing spam comments anymore.

From this point forward all new entries are going to be friends-only, and I'm probably going to slowly move backwards privatizing entries as they get heavily spammed. If you want to be added, leave a comment--I'd appreciate some info about you/how you found me, but in general, I'll probably add you. I liek new peeps. <3
happy fai!


...Estoy muerta de risa bajajaja. xD

>> Los médicos no me han contactado, supongo que mañana tengo que hablarles yo. :( Fufufu.
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sexy roberta

Language Goals

I feel like recently I've regressed to my high school brain--I am just bursting with explosive motivation for LANGUAGES day and night all the time, I want to be good, really good, at all of them NAO and it's so frustrating I can't just work on them ALL AT ONCE and get to the point where I want to be IMMEDIATELY. It's so annoying that I'm not really skilled at all of them already. It kills me! I feel like part of my problem though, is organization, so I've tried to slow my racing mind down a bit to try to dissect what my goals really ARE and what I should be doing about each of them.

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Idk. I think I have everything pretty much covered in terms of my options. For my other language-learny friends, is there anything else I didn't mention that you like to do? (Also, should I start working on Chinese/ASL/both? Where should I start?)
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    hyper ambitious
data wtf

Aughhghgh Spellchecker

So recently, it had been kind of bothering me that my version of Open Office didn't have Portuguese spellcheck. I downloaded the most recent version when I got this computer, and it didn't come with it--which is kind of strange because the version I had on the netbook I used in college definitely DID come with it, along with those for many other reasonably 'major' languages. (And it saved my ass when writing essays for Portuguese class, lol!) As far as I know, the O.Office version I got on this computer only had Spanish from Spain, French from France, and a handful of English varieties, and that's it.

I finally decided to look into getting a new Portuguese one, and I found an extension dictionary that I could download for free. Simple, right? But...once I opened it, it claimed to be "enabled", but there was no Portuguese spellchecking. It didn't work. I drove myself in circles downloading and re-downloading, poring through menu options, but I never found any sort of "enable extensions/dictionaries" option to make everything suddenly work. Finally I decided to see if I was using the right version of O.Office, and while I didn't seem to be using the *wrong* one, there was a new version available, so I downloaded and installed it.

When I opened the new processor, I found that, finally! Portuguese spell check, it works! Omg yay! But then my hopes were dashed when I realized that I no longer had Spanish spellcheck. Uh. What? So I went to the extensions site and downloaded a bunch of Spanish dictionary packs...Spain and Latin America, Spain by itself, Mexican Spanish...all of them seemed to create the same problem as before, where they registered as "enabled" but their function was not...functioning. Closing and reopening O.Office had no effect. So, on a hunch, I deinstalled the new processor and just reinstalled it.

As I had kind of suspected, when I opened it up again after the reinstall, all SORTS of Spanish spellcheckers worked! And the Portuguese one, hallelujah. Something is wrong with their extensions such that they only fit in the way they're supposed to if you reinstall the whole freaking program. What. A pain.

But yeah, I think I'm going to go through right now and download ALL the language pack extensions I could possibly want (well, all the ones that happen to be free), and just reinstall the O.Office *one more time* and be done with it. Ugh. I can't really complain THAT much though, because on Microsoft Word, pretty much ALL language dictionary packs beyond like, maybe French or Spanish, aren't available for free.

In the end, I'm just really glad I figured it out.

EDIT: awwww yea, it worked. :) I now have spellchecking capacity in not only Spanish and Portuguese, but also French, German, Italian, Danish, and Esperanto, lulz. Cause why not? I also have spellcheck in Zulu, randomly. I don't know what pack that came in, I didn't download it on purpose...but cool I guess, it's there! The packs are legit, too, it's awesome. When I have language set to Spanish (Peru), Tlaxcala and tecolote come up on the spell check...when I switch the language to Spanish (Mexico), they don't. I'm quite pleased. All the frustration was definitely worth having spell check if I ever want to write in any of these languages. It's such a useful tool.
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    frustrated frustrated

Fuiste Tú (translation)

Awhile back I posted a video of a song called Fuiste Tú, a duet between Gaby Moreno and Ricardo Arjona.

I can't get it out of my head recently, and the lyrics just seem so raw that I feel like I'm just cycling melancholy and longing for something that isn't...this. When the future comes, I wonder who will end up to blame for what happens. Anyway, I felt like making a tangible translation, because this song is wonderful and I think it's worth sharing. Again.

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This was actually kind of a difficult translation, since a lot of lines don't really seem to...take well, to English, and I was so determined to at least somewhat preserve the tone. Usually my translation style is very precise, ultimately favoring the maintenance of sentence structure and word choice over a result that preserves overall tone and flows well. In this translation, I made some minor phrasing adjustments in places to make the English less awkward. The Spanish is VERY poetic, and to me that's half the point, so. My goal was to get something that meets halfway...not too disjointed but not taking unnecessary liberties either. Hopefully it works to that end. The song itself can be found here.

And now, bedtime. I have a doctor's appointment in the morning.
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    tired tired

The Problem with History Books

I am reading a historical anthology about Peru, and encountering a consistent problem that I've personally had with LAS: any comprehensive book about a L. American country, or about L. American history in general has to cover three eras: pre-Colombian, Conquest/Colonial Rule, and Post-Independence. I hate to admit it, it makes me an awful person, but I have extremely limited (read: almost no) interest in Pre-Colombian history. I mean, I do, but only in the vaguest sense...I'm interested in those things to the extent that they have an effect on modern day culture and beliefs, but the little details bore me to tears. Reading paper after paper about bloodlines of the Mayan elite and the minutiae of Andean deity systems is kind of my idea of "meh". Conquest and colonial rule is marginally more interesting, because you start to see political, cultural, and economic structures that still have direct modern-day prevalence, but at the same time, there's only so many times I can read about the conquest. So I end up getting books for which the first half or two thirds are kind of tiresome, because what really interests me, detail-wise, is the stuff about the modern era. Information about recent events also tends to be what varies most between different books, because the pool of accounts to draw from is so much vaster and less standardized (as opposed to the same archeological records/Spanish diaries that show up everywhere, etc). THe obvious solution would be to skip over the earlier parts and just get to the good part, but I feel like that's cheating. I could justify it if I already knew all the pre-Colombian and Conquest info by heart, but since I manage to forget at least some every time, it seems the least I can do to read it again. xD It just makes generalized Latin AMerican history books a little bit slow going, but alas...I seem to be inevitably drawn to them anyway. I am ALMOST to the conquest in this book here, having just gotten through the parts about the Andean spiritual gender dialectic and Incan textile production.

On a different note, I tried making ginger tea from real ginger (per the recommendation of a friend), and it keeps coming out just a bit too weak, regardless of how much ginger I seem to use. I am hoping this is because Target's ginger sucks, and that maybe if I get some at Sprouts, it'll be more potent. I also think I'm super ODing on the stuff, and maybe that's why it's not helping as much...or maybe I really am *that sick* that it actually is helping but I'm miserable anyway. GAAAA. I know I should be looking forward to the doctor appointment I have on Monday, but I'm only kind of dreading it instead. -_-;

The only point of this entry was to take a I guess now it's time to go back to reading. :)
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sexy roberta

ALL the Creatures

Baa, so I am in epic sleep deprived stupor, and Andres is in for one of his neverending showers, so I guess now's a decent time to chronicle a few of the things that have happened recently.

First off, Maria had come back to Tucson this past week to say goodbye to people (before shipping off to Canadaland forever), and Friday was her last day. Luckily she found some time to have lunch to me. :D We went to a nice restaurant I'd never been to and I ordered a portabella mushroom sandwich that ended up looking looking like a burger patty. <3 And we caught up a bit. Afterwards we went onto campus briefly--and naturally, yet also bizarrely, I didn't recognize anyone. It was kind of a sad reminder that most people I went to school with are graduated and gone now, and nothing will be the same as it was, but that's okay too. I wouldn't want to be in college forever, I don't think.

Yesterday the excitement continued. Last weekend, I told Andres that I wanted to go to the zoo--but he decided it would be better to plan it out further ahead and he promised he'd take me this weekend, so I'd been looking forward to it for the entire week. We got up early, and I was so gratified to realize that I felt reasonably well and functioning! Perfect for zoo exploration! It was super exciting, I had been so worried that I'd mess up all of our plans by not feeling up for the trip. We invited Brittany along with us and we walked around the entire place and saw all sorts of animals! I'm really glad that we waited til this weekend and decided to go relatively early. It was hot and even humid, but not as hot as it could have been, and a lot more of the animals were active and fun to look at, as well. Highlights were the roaming anteater (not as awesome as an aardvark, but still super cute), the capybara (*squeeeees* omg), and the elephants. They had an enormous elephant enclosure with 5 African elephants in it, and 4 of them were playing in a pool beside a viewer vantage point. We probably stayed there for 20 minutes watching the elephants splash around and play together--they were so playful and cute and they seemed so happy! :D I was so grateful that we got to see it. They also had some trainers feeding them from time to time, and they were doing little tricks with their trunks to earn treats. :)

Andres had told me before about how the Tucson zoo was small and lame, so I guess my expectations were rather modest...but I thought it was pretty great, all things considered. To be fair, Andres has been to the San Diego Zoo, which is not even in the same league, but--I don't know, I was fully satisfied. Yes, the zoo was pretty tiny, and they didn't have the biggest variety of animals, but I also feel like the smallish enclosures allowed me to get closer views of the animals than at other "better" zoos I'd been to, like the one in San Antonio. It was also devilishly hot when we went to the San Antonio Zoo, so we didn't really see any active animals, whereas yesterday there were a bunch of animals moving around, interacting with their environment, etc, especially towards the beginning of the visit. The only negative thing was that the polar bear was apparently taking refuge in his refrigerated room and we didn't get to see him, but other than that, everything was absolutely perfect. I haven't been so happy in a long time, and I know that Andres and Brittany enjoyed it too. :)

Unfortunately, when we got home from the zoo and lunch, we only found more creatures...of the unsavory kind. -_- I noticed there were numerous houseflies around the large animal cage, and with a sinking realization I looked around and confirmed my fears--new infestation, 40+ flies. Ugh. I'm almost completely sure they bred in one of the cages, which is ironic, because I had concrete plans to clean the cages the following But alas. Anyway, tired out from walking around the zoo, we had to start a full housecleaning overhaul and I had to find the energy to clean all the cages. :P It eventually got done, though, thankfully. I think I learned a lot of lessons from the previous fly infestation in terms of how to limit damage and spread, but I'm also really angry at myself for having let it happen a second time. I'm just hoping that it gets better and doesn't turn into a week-long nightmare again. Things are looking promising today, at least. There are still a lot of flies around but they seem more random and disjointed, so I'm hoping we just have to pick off the remaining stragglers and then we'll be good. I will say, I am grateful that we noticed it when we did; not later--but also not sooner, because I am pretty sure the infestation had begun in the morning and had I been paying attention rather than focusing on getting ready for the zoo, it could have ruined what turned out to be a fantastic day.

Today, though, I'm tired. REALLY tired. I've been having pretty severe insomnia all this past week (2-3 hours of sleep for every 24), for no apparent reason. On top of that, yesterday was obviously busy and exhausting, and I took 2 benadryl (which actually serves as a sleep aid for most people) to deal with allergy symptoms while cleaning the cages--but at the end of it all, last night I literally couldn't sleep at all. It doesn't feel as wretched as it could, but I still have absolutely no energy and I'm starting to get really incoherent (sorry if it shows in this entry). On the bright side, my only plans for today were to clean the cages, and I don't even have to now, since that got done yesterday. Haha, small victories. Maybe my new plans for today can be to get an hour or two of sleep.
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Moved In

Well, kind of. But we moved over the animals last night and we got internet set up this morning, so in spite of the huge messy clusterfuck, it's starting to finally feel like home here.

I am TIRED. Even though we gave ourselves a week to do it, nonstop packing/cleaning/unpacking/105 degree YARDWORK (omg fuck yardwork I am such a sad panda) is not good for anyone, much less for a little sickly person like me.

I have more I should, and probably will say about things, because things were/are kind of a mess and I want to vent, but I'm a little too overwhelmed and exhausted right now.

I also realize that I have a ton of comments to answer and a bunch of posts to catch up on...I actually do plan to do it, but at the same time, if you posted about something important and you want to make sure I see it, you should probably link me. In the meantime, sorry about delayed replies and all that. I've been even worse about comments than usual, but at the same time I feel like nonstop moving stuff + no internet is at the very least a reasonable excuse.
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happy fai!

Viola viola viola :D omg

Haha, so I wrote this entry last night, but apparently passed out in front of my computer before submitting it. I'm just going to post it the way it was, rather than going back and changing time references to make them more accurate to this morning.

I bought a viola yesterday. It was a pretty irresponsible thing to do, given the circumstances, but I couldn't help it. It had been on my mind on and off for months. Ever since I started playing the violin a few months ago, I've been missing the sound/feel/etc of the viola and appreciating the differences between the two instruments. I figured I would never really get to play a viola again, though, which was kind of saddening but at the same time something I had accepted and was okay with. I had the association in my mind that string instruments = necessarily hundreds and hundreds of dollars at the cheapest, aka, more than I'll ever be able to afford, even if I get healthy and get a job. That's why, when I saw a viola at Bookmans a couple months ago, and it was around $200 for the instrument, bow, and case, I was shocked. Of course, I didn't have the money, but the idea that something I imagined to be prohibitively expensive could actually be attainable infected my mind and made me ambitious. It changed my paradigm.

But, $200 was still money I didn't have, and nothing was really going to change that, so. I tried to forget about it, and succeeded to some extent, but not completely. Every once in awhile I found myself wondering if it was still there. Therefore, when my dad sent me some money in order to fix my bike and to help us move, and ended up sending more money than we're going to need for either of those things, it's immediately what I thought of. So, I went back to Bookman's and found that it was still there, and I couldn't help but scoop it up. (I think it's the same one I saw. I seem to remember the first viola I saw being $175, not $200, so either they raised the price for some reason, or they managed to coincidentally get another super-cheap viola into stock. Either way, works out for me!) I did some research, and I'm convinced I got a good deal. The brand is apparently kind of cheap and shitty and typical for student/beginner instruments, BUT, out of all the cheapest and shittiest brands, it is the only one to still maintain a reasonably good reputation. People's main complaint with it seems to be that it doesn't sound like a $10k professional instrument. But, it's *not* a $10k instrument, so I'd say all in all I'm quite okay with that.

Today Andres brought me to an actual music store and I bought a new set of strings, and refitted the viola with them. The instrument has a sort of tinny sound in the higher strings, but it is LOUD and it has great reverberation and I feel like that's more important than the overall tone, which could probably be improved if I felt like investing in better quality strings. I printed out a little bit of public domain music from the internet and I've been practicing. At first I forgot where all the notes were and was shifting notes down by 2 in my reading, and I wondered why everything sounded so bad, LOL. Once I remembered which notes were which on the alto clef things sounded a lot better. :P I really have missed the viola a lot; its tone is so deep and earthy and awesome. All in all I'm really excited about it, and really motivated to play and remember and learn more. I'm hoping it'll give me another thing to do rather than being sick and bored while I'm at home by myself, even on days when the violin feels too shrill to bother with.

I guess that's mostly all of what I wanted to say about it. As a side note, though, I have another little story that I think is worth sharing. I recently had the chance to answer one of those "can't know for sure what you'd do until it happens" mysteries..."would you ever be okay with using an opposite-sex/opposite to your gender presentation public bathroom?" Turns out the answer, for me, is a resounding yes. I was at the grocery store with my roommate a couple of days ago, and we were at the self-checkout. There was a basket in the way of where we needed to put our stuff, so I moved it out of the way--and as I was moving it, I felt something wet. When I looked at my hand to see what it was, there was unidentifiable purplish brown goo smeared on my hand. AUGH. So, in spite of the fact that our grocery trip had been ill-fated and suffered all sorts of delays and complications *already*, I apologized profusely to my roommate and ran immediately to the bathroom to wash the offensiveness away. Of course, just my luck, the women's bathroom was closed for cleaning, but the men's bathroom was there, beckoning. So yeah, I went right in. Didn't even really hesitate, lol. There was a man inside who gave me an extremely confused look and seemed about to say something, but I gave him an exasperated look and he stayed quiet, haha. It wasn't as hard as I would have imagined, but it was still one of the most awkward things I've done in awhile. It also makes me really admire (even moreso, really) people who are trans or outside the gender binary who potentially have to put up with that awkwardness (plus fear, etc) every time they have to use a bathroom in a public place. Wow.

Sigh. Anyways. One more day until we start moving! I really hope the world decides to grace me with some energy at that time...I imagine I'm really going to need it --;
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happy fai!

Malabares/Juggling! :D

This dude is amazing--apparently he's a friend of one of my friends. I love what he does with the pins. He also even does contact juggling, and while I've seen videos of people who can do it better, he's still really skilled. Wow.

I've always wished I were able to juggle but I've never managed to do it. I've literally spent hours upon hours at a time for days trying to even get down 3 balls...nope, couldn't do it. I've determined that I just flat out don't have the coordination. Maybe someday I'll go back and try again, but I think in the end it's a lost cause. xD
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    impressed impressed