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An end in sight, and food.

Mar. 8th, 2014 | 11:21 am
music: SKOLD vs KMFDM - love is like

First, I would like to announce that I am graduating next semester. Fall. THIS YEAR. I'm GRADUATING THIS YEAR. I can't even describe how happy this makes me and how relieved I am. Nine months, and I'm done.

So I'm staying in this house, since it would be rather pointless to get my own place and then graduate in one semester. I might find a job I don't care about much here, save up every spare penny for a few months, and then start applying for jobs I actually want elsewhere. I might also volunteer at the on-campus museum over the summer for experience, and next week I'll ask our Web Content Specialist if she could help me get on the right track to eventually do her job.


I recently watched several food-related documentaries on Netflix. I tend to watch them as a way to boost my health consciousness when I start eating like crap again, which seems to be rather inevitable.

The first one was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, about two men who fasted for long periods of time (like a couple months) on green juice (full of kale, apples, cucumbers... just about anything green), lost ridiculous amounts of weight, went off all their medication, and improved all their numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.). They both had an auto-immune disorder and were killing themselves with food, so seeing them transform into new and improved people through food and exercise was really inspiring. And I know every time I focus on fruit and vegetables, I feel a lot better. The best I felt was when I was vegan entirely, to the point where I remember chemistry lectures during that time period in 2008. I also have some minor health issues that could probably go away if only I treated my body correctly.

I don't need to lose that much weight... probably around 10 pounds, at the most. Since I want to gain muscle more than I want to lose weight (and the weight loss will happen naturally with muscle gain, anyway), I don't plan on doing any juice fasts. But my father is... well, he's fat, sick and nearly dead. He can barely walk anymore. He just turned 60. He's on about 15 different medications for diabetes, cholesterol, and had congestive heart failure several years ago. He also has a pacemaker and can't get upstairs without almost passing out. So I made both my parents watch it, and my mother says he's improved his attitude about food and health since he saw it. She's been making him food and putting forth a lot of effort to keep him healthy and follow doctor's orders, but he's still sneaking fast food and candy when he's not home. This is essentially what killed my aunt -- she died of chemo-related complications, but after she died my grandmother and uncle found hundreds of junk food wrappers shoved underneath her bed. She might have beat the cancer if she kicked the food habit.

Last week I watched Hungry for Change, which has more experts talking about what food does to our bodies (both the bad stuff and the good stuff), why we're addicted to everything that's bad for us, and what happens chemically in our bodies when we eat certain things. There are foods that I want to try to remove entirely from my diet (soda, dairy, meat, sugar) and foods that I'm going to make a conscious effort to add (chia seeds, berries, dark green veggies), and in the two weeks or so where I've made an effort, I've seen a change in my mood. My school-related panic attacks lessen.

Then when I eat like crap again for a day or two, I fall emotionally, become depressed, and I can't handle the smallest assignments.

After that documentary, I watched Vegucated, which was a little different. It was a project where a vegan woman tested to see whether the average carnivorous person could handle switching to a vegan diet for six weeks. First they just cut out animal products, with no explanation other than "it's healthy!", and they struggled quite a bit. But then they were shown videos of how animals are treated in farms (even organic farms!) and every single one of them switched to a vegan or vegetarian diet after the six weeks was over.

So I'm trying to eat as little processed foods as possible, which is rather difficult because of how busy I am, and how much I hate cooking (when people are in the house, anyway). I tried looking up local foods, but there aren't any organic farms in the Vegas area (why am I not surprised), and I'll have to consider California local. Most of the farms in Nevada are near Reno, anyway, and that's actually farther away from Vegas than California's farm country. We have some farmer's markets, but they're all at bad times for me (except one Saturday market on the extreme opposite end of town, a half-hour away).

I tried looking up what is available seasonally, but California has like 1.5 seasons, so just about everything is available year-round. And since there are barely any farms around here anyway, I guess that's as good as it's going to get. Even if I can't find organic, eating some pesticides is better than nutrition-free processed food. 

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Jan. 29th, 2014 | 06:31 pm

I had planned to work out, and got dressed for it, got a gigantic glass of water... and now I just want chocolate and sleep.

I figured out a topic for my research paper, so I guess I'm keeping the class for now. Yay?

I had ordered stuff from Amazon and I seriously purchased extra stuff to get free shipping on guitar picks, and they left the picks out of my order. Either way, I can now satiate my occasional craving to watch Scott Pilgrim vs. the World without youtube clips.

I'm updating for no reason other than avoiding my workout. So I should just go get it over with. (After eating an apple pie truffle or two. It'll still count.)

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Life rules

Jan. 20th, 2014 | 09:45 pm

I started a new "life rule": no screens past 8pm, and in bed at 10pm (regardless of what I'm doing -- reading in bed is perfectly acceptable). I'm obviously breaking the first part of the rule, but I can't decide if I want to modify it based on weekends and holidays. Sometimes the rule just simply can't be met, like on nights I go to concerts or evenings when Revenge or PLL is on.

The point is, I need to start winding down at a certain time each evening, so I have a reliable sleep schedule. Right now the way it works is I stay up late, get up early for work, pass out after getting home around 5:30, wake up at midnight fully rested, and then repeat the process. I may change the rule to 9pm during the semester, depending on how much work I have. But I'd really like to try to get everything done before I get home, if at all possible. I want to be more organized, more than anything.

I also want to have a "workout in some fashion every day" rule but I don't really think that'll work with my schedule.

I've been playing a lot of guitar the past couple of days. My fingers ache like hell in the evening and in the morning they're still throbbing. I'm thinking this is a good thing. I don't dislike the feeling, at least. It's a productive kind of pain. Right now, guitar is the only thing I really have any interest in doing. I've been keeping a chart, counting how fast I can switch between specific chords (like D to A, D to E, etc.), and the number is going up for all of them. So I'm happy. I'm looking forward to eventually buying a better guitar, and I'm starting to look into pedals (though I won't invest until I'm 100% sure I'm going to keep playing and can make it sound the way I want). So far the Loaghtan Muff is the one I want the most, but I have an amp with built in effects, so it probably won't happen until I've moved and am settled in somewhere with a stable income. I definitely need new/better strings, though -- the high E string is so tinny it sounds like a sitar half the time.

I've been really terrible about my library checkouts. I pay a fine almost every single time I check stuff out. And they send me reminder emails! Right now I owe $16.50 for a bunch of comic books, so I vaguely feel as though I should just keep buying things, and at least I'd get to keep them. But I can't even really afford that, so I'm just pissing myself off about library books. The busy semester will more or less prevent me from checking much out in the next several months, so hopefully it won't be a problem.

Tomorrow I have German, then Wednesday I have four classes in a row (Soviet Russia, Dance, Ancient Religion, and Capstone). I wish I could have just had all my classes during two days of the week, but German ruined it. Any time I'm not in class, I'm working at the web help desk, so I have a really full and annoying schedule. But being busy is good for me. I really kind of hate weekends, honestly.

Anyway. I'm way, way past the rule, and would like to finish a Sandman comic tonight. So I'll probably post in a couple days with school news. 

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Amon Amarth/Enslaved/Skeletonwitch concert

Jan. 18th, 2014 | 06:45 pm
mood: contentcontent
music: amon amarth - guardians of asgaard

I never really know what to write about shows, so I usually don't write much. At least in the past, I haven't. And I still don't know what to say other than: It was freaking amazing and one of the best shows I've ever been to.

Amon Amarth/Enslaved/Skeletonwitch + picturesCollapse )

Anyway. I was so sore, and slept like a baby last night. My voice hurts today, and when I went to have lunch with my friend Kelsey, my voice kept crackling and breaking. But that's how it should be. (If I had access to water, I might've lost my voice entirely, but at a certain point I was afraid to make my mouth even drier than it was.) If they had played Pursuit of Vikings earlier than the encore, I might have sung along. ("If you don't know the words, it doesn't matter. It's death metal, no one will know the difference." I think Johan has been making that joke for years now.)

We went to the Cornish Pasty Co. Oh my gosh, you guys. Why have I never had a pasty before? It's like the perfect food. I had a shepherd's pie pasty, with lamb, mashed potatoes, onions and peas with red wine gravy. I might have found my new favorite restaurant. They have a banana bread beer on the menu, so I'll have to go back just to try that.

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Jan. 3rd, 2014 | 12:31 am
music: avastarium

Could it be, a lyric video I don't hate? So. Ignoring the opening, even if you're not into metal, stick through this video at least until Jennie-Ann starts singing. After the first verse, you're allowed to bail if you're not mesmerized by her voice and/or intrigued by the lyrics. I can't stop listening to this. I haven't been this enamored with someone's voice since... Anneke, maybe? (Unlikely to result in a crush as intense as I had on Anneke, but still.)

For the metal-inclined, we've got ex-Witchcraft, Candlemass and Evergrey here. Yum.

So now I'm likely to be up all night obsessing over voices. I want to sing along, really belt it out, but the family is asleep. I suppose there's always the morning drive. 

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Random update

Jan. 1st, 2014 | 05:22 pm
location: summoning - the white tower

I've been working out on a near-daily basis, mostly weight lifting paired with a protein shake. It's been awesome, because I already feel better about my body, but I'm so sore. A deeper pain, not like burning muscles after a good workout, but down to the bones, especially in my lower back (which has always been weak). So today I'm taking a break, and will start up again tomorrow. The little extra on my hips that made me work out again in the first place is gone now, after only like four days of careful eating and doing squats. I guess I shouldn't get used to quick weight loss, since my metabolism is probably getting worse as I type. Now I hope to fit into my grey jeans again without feeling uncomfortable, perhaps in a couple weeks.

The other day I bought three new dresses on a whim at Nordsrom Rack. They were all under $20, and they were lovely, so I splurged. I decided to pay off all my credit card debt despite the hit to my savings account, so I feel a bit better about putting things on the card. Perhaps I'll model them at some point soon and post pictures, and I think I want to wear one of them to work tomorrow. I don't think I've ever posted a picture of myself on here, come to think of it.

I don't know how I'm going to get up at 7am to get to work tomorrow. I've been going to bed around 2-3am, and getting up around 1pm. For whatever reason, I function best on somewhere around 10+ hours of sleep, and the boredom of the past two weeks probably hasn't helped. I guess I'll try to be in bed around midnight, reading if not trying to actually sleep. Perhaps do yoga to relax and then throw myself straight into bed -- I always end up wanting to stay on the floor indefinitely.

So I'm going to spend the rest of the day playing Deus Ex, reading Murakami, watching Switched At Birth or Revenge, and signing.

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Endless music

Dec. 28th, 2013 | 09:40 pm
mood: pensivepensive
music: rhye - open

Every now and again I get completely overwhelmed by things. (Sometimes it's as simple as existing. Holy shit, I'm real, you guys. So are you. How crazy is that?)

Today it's how much music I've never heard. And I think part of it is that yesterday I went through Pitchfork's Top 50 of 2013, because it's getting close to the time where I'll start making my own list. And I had never even heard of many of the artists. Granted, many of them are hip hop, or pop/indie/whatever, and I'm really not all that into such things. I listen to underground hip hop when it strikes my fancy (dälek and Immortal Technique are the two I can think of off the top of my head, but the former is practically black metal and the latter is mostly out of nostalgia). I haven't really been up to speed on the indie/rock scene since my teen years.

Someone once said my last.fm profile has the largest library they've ever seen (currently at 2,224 individual artists, and growing almost daily, especially at the end of the year). Most of them are metal and industrial, but I think that's my dilemma. I don't listen to enough variety.

And that's a bit overwhelming. There's so much music in the world, even just individual countries. Like Japan. I don't know shit about Japanese music. I know about Yoshiki, and X Japan, and. I think that's it. I don't even know if I have any Japanese music. (I have Taiwanese metal, which I think is probably impressive, but I digress, and anyway it's still within the metal realm that I know all too well, and is thus a moot point.) I found my niche a decade ago and haven't really strayed from it much. I have strayed a little, for the sake of avoiding pretentiousness, but I think for a long time I enjoyed being pretentious about metal or goth or whatever I felt like obsessing over throughout the years.

So I need new music. And lots of it. LOTS of it. 

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First public entry in a while

Dec. 27th, 2013 | 05:28 pm

I've lost sight of why I really created this journal. I went back to early entries, when I first created it in 2010, and found I had actually made many of them private. I'm not entirely sure why. None of the entries I locked contained anything I can remember wanting to hide.

My first entry:

I've had a friends-only account here for years, and I think it's about time that I went back to having a public blog that focuses on my goals, reading lists, projects and other such nerdy (but positive) things.

I'm on vacation from work next week and don't have school to deal with, either, so I'm looking forward to being productive. Doing things I never have the time or energy to do. I want to eventually sell jewelry, so I plan on perfecting my chain mail. I also want to cook and read like a fiend, but right now I'm so exhausted that all I can think about doing is sleeping.

Later I'll post the first part of my Epic Reading List. Maybe the notes I have for the first book.

Not long after that I wrote about why I created this journal in the first place -- to escape the negativity associated with my previous journal. And that's beginning to happen with this one, I think. I avoid posting certain things because I worry it will upset someone, or sound silly, or people will de-friend me (but they do that anyway, for one reason or another). I miss livejournal. I miss making friends here. Not long ago, I created a journal where I would quarantine my depression and unhealthy thoughts (mostly concerned with my relationship with food, which has become unhealthy over the years). I sought others who were depressed as well, but it didn't really help.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm tired of being ashamed. I have one journal for certain thoughts, another for more negative thoughts, another untouchable journal that no one reads. And I still maintain the journal that made me create this one in the first place, for the sake of keeping in touch.

At first, when I started this entry, I thought I would be saying that I wanted to take this journal back to its roots and post mostly about positive things, like projects, but fuck it. I might start posting about everything, without being ashamed. I'm tired of hiding from criticism that might not even exist. 

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Skyfall review

Apr. 7th, 2013 | 01:42 pm

I was inspired to write an entry on this film mostly because of pooka_neko's review. I had wanted to write something up about it when I first saw it a few weeks ago, but I was so overwhelmed by the fail that I was worried it would be little beyond word vomit.

But I'm cooled off now.

Skyfall reviewCollapse )

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An update and some of the best of 2012 releases

Feb. 10th, 2013 | 12:19 pm
music: alkerdeel - winterteens

I guess I should throw an update onto this journal mostly because I got a job, and that's important.

It's a piddly part-time fundraising job, but it's an income and it'll take the edge off, even if it just pays for gas. The day after I accepted the position (which might be as little as 9 hours a week), I received an email about another job that I would enjoy a LOT more in the IT department doing web programming. That's actually in "my field", so to speak. I suppose fundraising is as well, since it's not going to be that much different from banking, and I have more experience doing that, but my job in IT felt more like a career. So if the IT position would work with my schedule and they don't want me to do more than 15 hours a week, I might have two jobs.

I've been going through the Metal Storm Awards lists and have voted for a couple so far -- Gojira, Bend the Sky, Stolen Babies, and Be'lakor. Be'lakor was the #1 album of the year, hands down. It's absolutely frigging amazing. The melodies are perfect (in that they're not too sweet or commercial, like, say, Dethklok, yet they remain memorable) and each track changes enough that nothing gets repetitive. I haven't gotten sick of this album yet in the several months I've had it.

Gojira was also up there on my Best of 2012 list. So many good bands out of France lately (and I say this despite Gojira being around forever because I wasn't a huge fan of their earlier albums).

The other day I found the new Witchcraft at FYE for only $8, which I'm ecstatic about, because it sounds so much better in CD quality. I get high quality mp3s, typically, but my iPod has shitty sound quality and my car speakers are the best ones I've got, so on the way home I was noticing little details I hadn't heard before.
This album is significantly different from their previous releases, but I consider that a good thing. They take doom to a more pop-metal level (which I've heard people complain about) and I find myself singing along to the majority of choruses. No annoying "I hate life" lyrics that I tend to associate with classic doom. This might be my #2, practically for vocals alone. He's a combination of Danzig and Maynard James Keenan, which is a wonderful combination.

Anyway, I'll probably have more to say about music later, because I'm discovering a lot of good stuff from Metal Storm that I missed over the past year. I'd better get back to reading Churchill.

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