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Thanks, everyone

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to offer hugs and encouragement during my recent semi-meltdown. I needed it.

To update: My dad is going in for surgery on the 24th. It's less risky than his last surgery; it's not full open-heart surgery. Nonetheless, there's always risk. But he has an amazing surgeon, and he's much healthier now than he was then. We're concerned, but not freaking out. Prayers are appreciated, of course. Also, my big sister's coming down from Alaska for a couple of weeks. She's a fussbudget, but I find her presence comforting. When Dad's in bad shape, I start freaking out about Mom, because we can't have something happening to her, too. Erin's good at pestering Mom into taking care of herself.

School's better this term. I like Phonology better than Phonetics already. And it's nice, too, to be out meeting people again. For a couple of years there, I really wasn't doing much at all socially. I'm meeting people in my program and having fun getting to know them.

I do know it'll be worth it. It's stressful right now, especially financially, but I've got a chance to make a few extra bucks tutoring, and if necessary, I can drop back to one course this summer and work a job around it. Plus, it looks like I'll be getting a nice tax return, which is going in my Oregon 2014 Mini Road Trip fund.

Hugs to everyone!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

MCU, congratulations on another great outing. I do believe I love Cap even more now than I did before.

SpoilersCollapse )

Anyway, I was left with a lot of what the kids call "feels" and went looking for fic. One of my favorites was about Sam: Wings. Spoilers for the whole movie, of course.


Have to get this out.

So much stuff. I don't know who I can talk to, so I'm throwing this out into the universe, just to get it out of me.

Dad's sick again. There's something wrong with his VAD (ventricular assist device). He may have to have more surgery. We don't know if he can take that. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I want him to see me get married. I don't know if I'll ever get married, but I wanted him to be there. I want him to know I'm taken care of, because I'm not very good at taking care of myself.

School is expensive. I'm already $10,000+ in debt, and going deeper. People insist on telling me that getting a full-time job in TESOL is very difficult. I don't know if all this will be worth it, but I can't back out now.

I want to write. I can't. It's in me, but it won't come out.

I wish someone would tell me what to do.

Sandman film?

It looks like someone's attempting, yet again, to adapt Le Gaiman's seminal work Sandman. If they do, this gif of Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive has convinced me he needs to be cast as Morpheus:

I will show you fear in a handful of sand . . .

Valentine's Bah.

It's entirely possible I'll be revisiting some of my favorite Doctor/Rose and/or OT3 fics this evening, since that's the closest to romance that I have going in my life right now.


Had kind of a hell of a week

Which is why I didn't get to the rest of the Talking Meme. However, I am planning to address the rest of the prompts. Just a bit late.

Next one on the list: English vs. Japanese, per shadowkat. Great subject!

One thing you notice right away when beginning to learn Japanese is that it has far fewer phonemes--that is, individual sounds--than English. The vowels are a, i, e, o, u, pronounced as you would in Latin. Nice, pure vowels. A better linguist than I could give you the rundown on exactly how they're pronounced, but the above description is as good as any. In contrast, English has, in practice, no fewer than fifteen vowels. That's just American English, by the way. Some of the vowels are regional, but most places use at least twelve. The Japanese consonants are k (g), s (sh, z, j), t (ch, d), n, h (b, p), m, y, r, w and ŋ (velar n, pronounced at the back of the throat, like ng). (Note: The consonants in parentheses are considered variations on the consonants they go after and are signaled with the use of diacritical marks.) The last, btw, is the only standalone consonant that does not have to be used with a vowel, and it can only come after other sounds. Each consonant must be followed by a vowel.

It's not just the phonemes, either. The entire sound structure of Japanese is different. It's what's referred to as a "rhythmic" language. Each syllable is the same length. When you hold a vowel for two beats, it's considered two syllables and can change the whole meaning of a word. Kite (come, imperative) versus kiite (listen, imperative), for instance. (And, yes, "te" is an imperative ending, among other things.) Japanese is also something of a tonal language. That is, while English has a stress structure for emphasis--convict versus convict, e.g.--Japanese has a tonal structure for emphasis. Unlike, say, Chinese, tones don't change on a single syllable. One syllable, though, can be higher or lower in pitch and change the meaning of the word. IIRC, ame with the first syllable at a higher pitch means "rain", and with the second syllable raised can mean "sky". Or a type of hard candy. In practice, the difference between stress and tone in the two languages is actually not very different, since we tend to pronounce stressed syllables at a higher pitch in English.

Grammatical structure, though, is where things really go wild. To simplify things greatly, the Japanese like Yoda talk. The verb goes at the end. Only, it's not always the verb, as we define things. You can have a full, grammatical Japanese sentence consisting only of a verb, a noun or an adjective. And they don't define those terms the way we do. "Like", for instance, is considered a verb in English. In Japanese, it's a noun. Then there are the particles, which you attach to various words in the sentence to show their relationship to each other, except that you can leave them out in some cases, and it's all still very unclear to me. And a sentence can be turned into a question if you park ka at the end and make no other changes.

Finally, there's the writing system, which is considered by some linguists to be the most complex on the planet. They have two syllabaries, hiragana for native Japanese words and katakana for borrowed words, onomatopoeia and basically whenever somebody thinks it'll look cool. Each of those has 45 characters, arguably 46 with the rarely-used wo. Then there are the Chinese characters, called kanji. Japanese uses between 1800 and 2000 of those. My Japanese professor apologized to us for that. I, in turn, apologized to her for English spelling.

There are lots of other little things I could go into, but those are the basics. Japanese is a language with a fascinating structure and history, and it's considered by the State Department to be one of the hardest languages for English-speakers to learn. I concur. But I also think that if you want to understand Japan, you need to learn at least some Japanese. The culture and the language go together. They always do. And Japan is well worth trying to understand.


Huh. I'm a Full Moon baby.

Weirdly enough, this describes me pretty well:

You were born during a Full moon

- what it says about you -

You've spent your life in the middle of things, whether it's between people who oppose each other, ideas that oppose each other, or places that are very different. You're very aware of perspectives outside the norm and good at anticipating how different people will see a situation. You value second opinions, because they give you a feeling of balance. You don't have a single group of friends and the people you spend time with may not have a lot in common with each other.

What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at


January Talking Meme: Highlander!

selenak asks me, "Favourite male recurring character not Methos on HL, and why, and favourite female recurring character not Amanda, and why. :)"

She further clarified that this was restricted to recurring characters, not regulars, so no Joe or Ritchie.

An interesting question. There were a few good recurring male characters, both heroes and villains, and I think my favorite would have to be Kalas. He was a K'Immie, the HL fandom word for villain Immortals, as so many of them had names that started with K. Former monk and sometime opera singer, he developed a hate-on for Duncan when Duncan got him thrown out of a monastery for the piddling reason that Kalas was there to gain the trust of Immies who wanted to cool their heels on holy ground, and he would then follow them out and lop off their heads. Later, he tried to kill MacLeod's girlfriend, and MacLeod responded by slashing his throat, ruining Kalas's singing voice and giving him another reason for the aforementioned hate-on. Kalas was a scary, yet fun, villain, very stylish and cultured and prone to villainous one-liners in his deep, growly, scary voice.

Female recurring characters are a bit harder. I'm ruling out Tessa, since she was a regular for some time, and I only watched about half of the first season, anyway. I think my favorite, then, would be Rebecca, Amanda's mentor. She was played with such grace by Nadia Cameron, and though she only appeared in two episodes, she made a deep impression.


January Talking Meme: Faith and Fandom

List here

Had about a week off there, didn't I? Now it's time to jump back in courtesy of izhilzha, who inquires about "faith and fandom".

As anyone who reads this journal knows, I have my faith, and I have my fandoms. Generally, they go together well. That's usually because I don't often become a fan of something that denigrates faith. And, really, I think it takes a pretty lazy and self-centered creator to be unable to sympathize with viewpoints outside their own and present them well.

Take, for example, Terry Pratchett. As far as I know, he's an atheist. And he definitely takes a few potshots at Evangelical Christianity via the character of Constable Visit-The-Unbeliever-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets. They're genuinely funny potshots, though, and hit pretty close to home to anyone *cough* who's ever handed out tracts with members of their youth group.

But then you get books like Small Gods and Carpe Jugulum and even, to an extent, Thud!, where characters of faith are presented not only sympathetically, but heroically. Small Gods centers around the absolutely beautiful character Brutha, a man whose simple faith has literally kept his god, Om, alive in a world where Om's church has faith only in its own power. Brutha is rewarded for his faith in the end. And in Carpe Jugulum, Mightily-Praiseworth-Is-He-Who-Exalteth-Om Oats (Mightily Oats to his friends) and his struggle with his faith is central to the story, and pays off wonderfully. And in Thud!, the story centers around the totally-not-a-religion of the dwarfs. The grags, for all intents and purposes clerics, who define themselves by their hatred of all things non-dwarf are balanced out by one who simply seeks the truth, wherever it may lead.

I like creators like Pratchett. I have no idea where on the religious spectrum Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files falls, but he portrays the faith of his character Michael Carpenter, a holy paladin, beautifully, even as Harry Dresden himself prefers "theological Switzerland". Joss Whedon, another atheist, generally does well when portraying a character of faith.

Someone very stupid once came up with the "brownie" analogy. It goes like this: A kid wants to watch a secular movie or listen to secular music. Their Christian parent then presents them with a plate of brownies and says they can eat as many as they want, but just so they know, there's a little poop in the brownie mix. "Gross!" says the kid, and the parent then says that, like the brownies, the movie or music may seem nice, but it has bad stuff mixed in, so the kid should avoid it like poopy brownies.

I disagree. Yes, some entertainment is, in fact, really shitty. But the fact that you may not entirely agree with the worldview presented by a book or movie or TV show doesn't mean the whole thing is tainted. It doesn't mean you can't find truth or beauty in them. I take the "brownie" analogy another way. The brownies are tasty as they are, but you wouldn't want to make them your entire diet. And some brownies have nice flax or shredded zucchini or nutritious walnuts in them, so you get more than just a good taste. You need other things to eat, but a brownie now and then is a nice addition.

"Everywhere I look, I see something sacred," says Mightily Oats at the end of Carpe Jugulum, after he's found his faith and become a hero. It's not a bad motto for life. The sacred is there, if only you look for it.

Everywhere I look, I see something sacred.

January Talking Meme: Firefly

louli_rabbit asks, "Firefly - name at least 2 characters (regular, reoccurring, one-shot appearance whatever) that were on the show that you would have liked to know more about and why."

Good question. I think the first character I'd have liked to know more about is Zoe. We don't know much about her--where she grew up, why she fought for the Browncoats, why she's so loyal to Mal, why she married Wash--and I'd love to know more about her. Gina Torres hinted at very deep waters in her portrayal. I'd like to know what was in them.

The second character would be Book. A lot was hinted at with him. One theory was that he was an Operative, like in the movie. Another theory was that he was a bounty hunter like Early. I would've liked to have known not just what he had been, but why he turned from that path so completely that he became a man of God.

Basically, I'd have liked to have known more about the whole crew and the irregulars like YoSaffBridge and Badger, but bleah, FOX. In another universe, it changed the face of television. In this one, we got the Kardashians.



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