(no subject)
First day of classes. Stomach butterflies flapping in excitement/pre-nervous breakdown. 

To hone my French skills before school started, I watched dubbed Sailor Moon.

Everything from jokes to squeals sound far more refined in Quebecois French. French-speaking actors really are the best. Except the character names were a doozy - I blame American tendency to eschew canon for simplicity. There wasn't any Darien in this Sailor Moon. It took a few episdoes to understand what 'Mamoru' was. 

Couldn't find dubbed Naruto, unfortunately, so next time it's Mulan. 

Baby Steps, Life Philosophy
STATUS: Wednesday is Mow the Lawn day at my neighborhood. This means two things. First, that the dog next door has a lot of strange, shirt-wrapped-around-face men to bark at all throughout the day. Second, that I am in need of some Panadol.

As I plan my sophomore year, I'm trying to be fearless. It's my attempt at reinvention. At this moment 'fearless' means I'm taking 6 courses instead of 5. And taking Portuguese and French simultaneously. I feel any lawyer can benefit from having 4 languages under their belt. Furthermore, I'll be in the salsa team, the newspaper, the political magazine, and will, despite parental disapproval, audition for the school's upcoming plays. I will also NOT forget about my writing, as I tend to do whenever school starts. I will also crank the caffeine intake from 4 cups to 5, maybe 6, to compensate.

Bring it on, sophomore year.

Why Psych Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me in the Summer
About two weeks ago, summer started getting desperate. HBO was my only TV sustenance. Writing was as appealing as eye-gouging. Exercise followed that vein. The summer, stretched out like tirijala, was losing its charm in exchange for anti-climatic anxiety. I was at the point of "How am I gonna resume clothes washing, self-waking, white Christmases, and pre-law without pulling out hairlocks? How do I keep the suspicion that I'm doing things only half-well with my life somewhere in my mental periphery?"

Only a friend - a fairy godsister, if you will - could save me now. And she came, as bored as I was, bearing 2 DVD collections. I must have really looked desperate. She lent me the DVDs, knowing better than anyone that half of my worthy possessions are borrowed and nonrefundable.

That was how I met Shawn Spencer. Cocky and endearing, smart yet willing to look like an idiot. He's a fake psychic with a prodigious mouth and a knack for observation. AND he can pull off the cutest Mexican accent.

There's this self-congratulating-slash-encouragement process that goes on during every crime solving: Shawn is cooler than the watcher, but he's also fundamentally sillier. And he's so doused in happy oil that he can juggle both identities while doing invaluable things for the world around him. This is definitely the kind of positivistic show high schoolers should be watching. There's so many reasons the teenage mind should be force-fed this chimera, 80s references aside.

My brother, for example. Bro, my foil so much that I sometimes doubt our common ancestry, is entering 11th grade now, that terrible 8-month lapse that's meant to bring about scholarships, worthy school records, and committments to humanity [or at least a general career path]. I suspect he gets a little stung every time our parents point out his less-than sparkling academic record, to be compared with my 3.89 GPA.

Yet despite our differences, he is also besotted with the show. I can see it, in his eyes, how confidence returns quite vigorously when Shawn wriggles and occasionally thinks his way into another episode victory, each blunder a comfort to my brother's inexperienced, yet eager ears.

And that, I believe, is refreshing. The show's premise both mystifies and demystifies life success. Doing well is not always about skill, and it's not always about certainty. It might have something to do with SATs, unfortunately, but still.

And I have to believe in this relaxed state after tonight's events. They were so true, so seamless, meant to happen despite everything!

Bro and myself saw like six back-to-back episodes of fake psychic adventures in preparation for the season premiere, and then we played the most antic-laden game of Briscas in the history of our household. And we won rather spectacularly in what should have been an obvious victory for my parents, Team B.

They were scheduled to win - all trumps were gone save for one they held, and their other hand was unbeatable unless they thought we could trump. A simple rundown of the past plays could have told them that Bro and I didn't have any trumps left.

Usually, I cannot bluff for the life of me, but the whole aura summoned by Psych's theme song playing in my head just kind of made me try before that involuntary twitch of self-deprecation gave me away. And this fact, coupled with my brother's heightened sense for the dramatic, caused my father's sharp sense of observation temporarily blunder. He thought we had trump, and surrendered a card that should have been his.

Victory for the semi-fearless, semi-shockridden people! Shawn would have been mighty proud.

Winding down...
There's three weeks left to my summer. Which means I should start behaving like a human being again.

List of things I must do after months of pretending to live in a phoneless 1985:
- Call friends
- Call colleagues
- Apologize to bosses
- Explain my absences with swine flu paranoia when possible, spiritual retreat when not possible.
- Put witty comments on Facebook walls as signs of truce. And as proof either me or my hacker aren't dead.
- Plan a beautiful birthday speech that will make people forget I didn't grace their caller ID in a year.
- Retrieve birthday money.
- Get on plane. Cry on plane. Play Final Fantasy Tactics on plane.
- Go back to school.
- Delay unpacking.
- Delay unpacking.
- Buy textbooks. Wish e-readers were universal.
- Go to first class.
- Scream.

Writing Method Switch
I took to writing my fic on paper, and it's turned out to be so much cooler than I expected - the method, I mean, 'cause the fic itself I am unable to look at judiciously at this point.

I've found it's more intuitive to think Big Picture when I'm writing in longhand - I don't want to waste paper, so every chapter sings in my head, bit by bit, before I write it. I usually write short stories, and a word processor works fine then, when I actually want to experiment with a lot of beginnings, a lot of word plays and stylistic nuances. But if I ever get to write a novel, I'll definitely attempt it with notebooks first.

The only drawback to this method was the rain and the wind, the latter which was so strong yesterday that I got sputtered with mist no matter where I decided to write. The pages I wrote didn't look awful then, but when I opened the notebook this morning they were hardly legible :\

How many failed first chapters does it take to get to the verge of insanity? Not enough, it seems.

I have a folder, with about 8 Word files, dedicated to this single, insufferable fic that for some reason I still want to write. Too many false starts and one would think I'd get a hint. But I have a feeling that I'm close to something good, that if I pull through it'll be worth it.

But the fic is an AU that takes place in a Hyrule with no king, no princess, and no Triforce. There's plenty of 19th century urban life, senators, dictators, Occupation-era intrigue, and spies. My Link and Zelda DON'T want to save the world, and my Ganondorf ISN'T a stupid conqueror-king, but a trickster capable of rallying people behind him.

[RANT] And this last point actually has RELEVANCE to the plot (as opposed to OOT, where Ganondorf's cunning ways are completely unnecessary once he has ReDeads humping people all over Castle Town).

Anyways. I have concretely realized why conventions are SO much easier to go along with than to go against.

Hot Slumber
I was looking to get my daily nap fix – I went to my room, turned on the fan, lied on my bed and almost immediately growled. This was not going to work. The fan was throwing a furnace-like heat in my direction.

I tried later, in the cooler afternoon, and still I woke up from my nap feeling that’d fallen asleep on top of a hot towel instead of a pillow. My face was completely pooled in sweat, my thighs stuck against one another. It’s not pleasant when you feel you have to run from bedroom to shower. Or from kitchen/living room/patio to shower, even if it’s 3 AM in the morning.

To add insult to injury, I had the most random dream ever during my nap. It ended in a bookstore, with with the shot of a blue and purple book that oozed blood. The subscript – under an imposing, one word title I can’t remember – said: “Little book, prepared to be filled with lies.” What?

Revision Sunday
I've been working on a Zelink fanfic while I leave my Abhorsen one out to cool, but the writing has been bumpier this time around. I didn't work in one, flowing set of days, which might have something to do with my trouble. I came back from my journalism conference a week ago to a draft that looked horribly forced when I skimmed it.

It was written in 1st person, so I opted to start anew from 3rd. But that was harder still. I hadn't remembered how long it took to condense my backstory to manageable morsels when I wrote the first draft - it didn't get any easier in the second. Today I finally cracked that puzzle, and went back to my first draft to remember some of the details I had planned to add in later chapters. And then I realized I liked the first draft again. Crud.

I don't know what instinct to trust at the moment, so I'm shying away for at least a day or two and catching up on all my e-mails, blogs, and readings instead. Among the catching up was also included my first re-read of 'Eirael,' my Abhorsen fic. Thankfully, it passed the 'I totally hate this crap' test!

I know exactly what I would need to do to make it read better - if I had the time, anyways. My original fiction/poetry needs to take priority soon, as quickly as I get this Zelink draft out of the way. So while I probably could have made 'Eirael' considerably better than it is now, I'm going to focus on making it passable. Worthy of betas, at least.

To Spoil or Not To Spoil
Basically all the games I've ever played in my life I have spoiled to one extent or another. Sometimes I held out for the first thirty hours, then went to Wikipedia and threw all suspense to ruin; sometimes I bought games knowing the endings beforehand. Kingdom Hearts was one of those games for which I resisted longest - I reached Hollow Bastion and *SPOILERS* Riku took my Keyblade and left me gaping from genuine, rush-filling shock.

It was a pretty cool sensation that I wish I was strong enough to repeat, but I'm not. Take Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as an example. It's a good, entertaining game, but you get acquainted with the restart button far too much. So if the main story was supposed to take up 40 hours, in reality it takes up like 60.

Awesome, right? NO. Those were 20 hours in which I scrambled to get to the next plot point, the next mystery, without having my characters go poof.

How am I supposed to spend at least 5 hours a day in front of the computer screen - writing, reading news, whatever - and NOT go to Wikipedia and give myself the option of telling the Restart button to go to hell? Because maybe I'll read the plot summary and realize that I hate the ending and do not want to go through the trouble of seeing it on my TV screen. That would be a helpful timesaver, even if it is summer.

The situation's particularly annoying since this game has a sequel. It gives me an added sense of hype, even if I'm not going to play the second game. I bought it when it was released and then lost it, having played only 5 minutes of it. And, if you look at Amazon, Radiant Dawn is currenlty $39.99. USED. Whenever I'm not sizzling in heat, writing, reading, screaming at the Restart button, I am looking for that game in every nook, cranny, and empty DVD case lying around my house.

That's basically my life right now. Sad, huh? :)

The page-turner and the myopic
Harper classroom editions make up about 80% of my library, but today I enjoyed the wonders of Mass Paperback for the very first time. It was a liberating experience after force-feeding myself so many 'classics,' and I can't understand how it didn't happen sooner. Okay, maybe I can.

Every time I saw the paperbacks in Borders I'd get dizzy. In the Romance section there was too much pink, red, and lilac, too many undressed humans and too much silk. In the Sci-fi, Fantasy section there was an excess of greens. I could hardly make out the titles of these books, let alone want to pick them up and scan them.

But yesterday I was poking around the website of historical romance writer Sherry Thomas, and I read an excerpt of one of her new novels. I thought it was pretty good, there was a 25% discount on a Borders purchase expiring today, and my parents were itching to go out somewhere, anywhere. The result is that I just finished reading half of Not Quite A Husband, and even now I feel the urge to stop writing and chew the rest of it up. Clever prose, great storytelling.

Screw hardcovers and their streamlined, spacious covers. Screw book longetivity. Screw my eyesight and the excess of pastels. Recession calls for good, $8 fiction, which I will be fishing for avidly from now on.

AND, in other news, I gave in. I'm writing the fic, a chapter per day. Why is fanfiction so fun?


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