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17 March 2014 @ 05:31 pm
Don't turn on the light, leave me alone  
First of all, to whoever who left me a note over at [personal profile] tf_valentines, thank you very, very much! :D I really appreciate it, as always. (I think I have an idea as to who sent it, but anyway...XDDDDDDDDDD)

I know I promised to post an RL update back on New Year's Eve, but my mood was still very much in the dumps and I got distracted easily, so it never happened. Family drama, my aunt staying with us for an as-yet indeterminate amount of time (I'll get to that later), a fucked-up sleep schedule (at its worst: going to bed at 4 AM and waking up at 4 PM), the fact that it snows practically every other day, and other little stuff hasn't helped either. TBH I'm still not doing all that great, but if I don't get this entry done now it'll never get done, so. Yeah. It's gonna be long, since quite a bit has happened since September, and I really only do this for myself just to keep track of everything that's happened, so here goes:

••• I FINALLY GOT A JOB!!!!!!! For real this time!Even better, it's at that autism nonprofit I've been volunteering at for almost a year now. The director had been floating around the idea of hiring me since their annual Christmas luncheon (which went very well BTW -- they even gave me a $50 gift card as a gift! 8D), but now it's official, and I'll be "starting" the first week of March. I'll mostly be helping out putting their resource guide online, doing research to expand it and see if any of the contact info is still valid, and devising a system to keep it as up-to-date as possible, which is a lot of work and isn't as easy as it looks. Still, I've done this kind of thing before so it shouldn't be that bad, and anyway I'm up to it. I also think I'll be helping maintain their new website's events calendar and set up a Twitter account for them, in addition to everything I'm already doing -- putting together databases and mailing lists, envelope stuffing, writing letters to local businesses to get them to donate to their yearly walk-a-thon, etc. I'll be working 9-12 hours/week, spread out over 3 days, at $12/hour. It's not much, obviously, and administrative work is never all that glamorous, but it's definitely a start, and given that it's a small, quiet office with people I almost never have trouble working with, I'm really looking forward to it. My mom even helped me set up a checking account this weekend so that there's a place to put what I'll get paid.

(Speaking of the checking account, my mom also wants me to use it to cash in the savings bonds my parents used to buy me every month when I was little so I can start paying off my student loans myself. They total $11,000, and the deal was I'd pay them off every month for 10 years. My parents have covered the first two years of payment, but they want me to do it now that I have a job. Fortunately, the oldest bonds I have now have matured enough so that cashing one of them in is enough to cover one month's payment. I don't think I have enough bonds to cover the next 8 years, but by the time that happens I hope to be established enough to start paying them off on my own. So yay, one less thing to worry about!! :D

Before anyone gets jealous, though, I still have to go to grad school at some point, and that's gonna cost a lot and probably require taking out some loans as well. But still!)

••• More good news: My psoriasis has cleared up! It's actually gone this time!I mentioned back in July that my new dermatologist put me on soriatane, in addition to going to phototherapy twice a week as I have been. It wasn't until I was taking 50mg/day around October or November, though, that it actually started working. AWESOME!

Except that the meds not only gave me really bad itching, but hair loss as well -- not just on the top of my head, but everywhere. And, oh yeah, can't forget about the FUCKING JOINT PAIN. I could barely lift my arms because my shoulders hurt so much, and trying to bend my knees made me feel like I was 80 freakin' years old. NOT SO AWESOME!

Thankfully all the nasty side effects went away last month when I started taking 25mg every other day; even though I'm back up to 25mg/day, they haven't come back, and neither has the psoriasis. I have a few small patches here and there, and I still have to do light treatments, but for the most part it's faded away. I haven't been this clear since high school, guys. This is a big deal. Seriously. \_o_/

(BTW, even though my hair's slowly growing back, I got my sideburns shaved off because patches of it were falling out and it looked like a mess. Plus, I had them for about seven years now, and I figured it was time for a change. ^_^;)

••• In not-so-good news, over the holidays my cousin was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.She's the one originally from California and currently studying photojournalism in Boston, and she's had a lot of health problems in the past (she had to have knee surgery not too long ago), so this is the absolute last thing she needs. The fortunate thing about it, though, is that it's one of the most treatable cancers out there -- in fact, she already had surgery done a couple of weeks ago, in which her thyroid and some affected lymph nodes were removed. Now she's supposed to get an iodine radiation therapy where she has to be in quarantine for three days, but that hasn't been scheduled yet.

In the meantime, her mother has been staying with us since mid-January because it would cost way too much to spend 6-8 weeks in a Boston hotel, and we're the closest family she has. Thing is, she can be very annoying at times. No, not in a bad way -- she likes to get loud and have a silly sense of humor, almost as if she's perpetually drunk, and as someone who likes my peace and quiet this can get...difficult. (I can tolerate a silly sense of humor, mind, but it does gets on my nerves after awhile. Then again, it may be because I have no sense of humor at all. Alas.) She's usually out of everyone's way during the weekdays, though (she works from home, so she brought her work with her and stays in our guest room upstairs while she's doing it), and she helps take care of my grandmother so my mom doesn't always have to, so I can't complain too much. I don't know when she'll be leaving, but my mom says it'll probably be around early March, after my cousin's radiation therapy.

••• Last year, the place I work at referred me to the state Bureau of Rehabilitation Services; as of now I've seen a counselor there twice, and so far it's gone quite well. BRS helps people with disabilities (like being on the autism spectrum) determine what hinders them from finding and holding down a job, find what they're interested in and good at, and ultimately get them to a point where they can get work and keep it for the long term. So far they've determined that I'm eligible for their services, and at my next appointment with them this week I'm supposed to come up with a few ideas for careers I might want to get into so that eventually they can do a work assessment (which is where they have you work someplace for two weeks with a job coach observing your strengths and weaknesses while you're there). I don't know how it'll fit in with my new job, considering I'd like to work there a significant amount of time to show I can indeed hold down a job, but we'll see how it goes. :>

••• Because my sister has been volunteering at my town's historical society for over a year now, in December I was involved in a couple of their events.Early that month I went to one of their open houses, which was a way for the group to let people in the community know that they exist and that they're doing important work. I'm not as fascinated about the town's history like my sister and the other workers and volunteers there are, but walking around the "museum" was still pretty interesting; it's always strange to look at old photos and lithographs of a place you thought you knew well and see how much has changed, especially the uniforms people wore when playing sports, and the farmland, houses, and trolley lines that used to be there but aren't anymore. Still, I did learn a few things I thought were worth mentioning -- like how the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company, one of the country's more popular "snake oil" fake medicine companies that were popular around the turn of last century, was based here in town for a number of years, in addition to a greeting card company and a number of big brickmakers; how one of the houses in town used to belong to a Ziegfeld girl; and that the "Can you hear me now?" guy from the Verizon commercials grew up not too far from where I live right now.

I also saw how the building the historical society is housed in is in very bad shape; it was built in 1938, hasn't been renovated, and it shows. The basement, where most of the artifacts and exhibits are, is even worse; the displays were created in the late 70s/early 80s and haven't been touched since, it's not handicap accessible, and from what I've heard from my sister it's laden with mold, rats, and other assorted unpleasantness. The whole place (and apparently the only historical home they run) needs a major overhaul, but there's no money whatsoever in the town budget for any kind of improvements. It's unfortunate, because not only do these people otherwise enjoy working there, but preserving any place's history is always important for its own sake, even if not everyone finds it interesting.

Later that month my family was invited to a holiday get-together at the co-directors' house, which happens to be a colonial-era tavern they restored that's a little over a mile up the road from where we live. Thankfully this place is in very good condition, though I don't know how long that'll last once the owners pass away and/or move out. The wife (who was my high school science teacher for two years) showed us around (especially the added-on kitchen, where her husband built cabinets to hide the modern appliances to give it a more "authentic" look), while her husband told us stories about the house and various things in it, such as how he found a rare 17th-century tape loom and other artifacts hidden in the walls during the restoration.

And considering the fact that almost everyone else who was there were people I've never met before and will probably never see again, I managed to hold my own and not be a complete wallflower, so go me! ^_^;

••• Remember that incident at Middlebury where a student helped pull up that year's 9/11 memorial in a protest over Native American rights? She's been suspended for the rest of the school year. Thank goodness.

••• So The Legend of Korra has finished its second season, and I think I liked it better than the first one!Now that the series is halfway over, a few things have become very clear. Most importantly, it will never, ever be as good at A:tLA. On one hand, it wants to tell a tightly-written, fast-paced story in an average of 13 episodes, and it wants each season to be a self-contained story instead of having one major story arc lasting the entire series. On the other hand, it wants to pack so much stuff into those 13 episodes -- wheels-within-wheels political thrillers, character development, sappy teen love triangles, worldbuilding, and things Bryke wanted to include only because they thought they were cool, like motorcycles, baby sky bison, and Spirit World tea parties. Well...trying to have it both ways is impossible. What happens as a result is that otherwise awesome characters are handed the Idiot Ball™, plot points get glossed over or dropped entirely, some characters' motivations don't get addressed, and you end up with clichés and Unfortunate Implications™ the first series worked hard to avoid. And considering the production team was working on Books 3 and 4 while Book 1 was still airing, I don't expect these pacing issues to get better anytime soon.

BUT! THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT ISN'T WORTH WATCHING! IT IS! The first half of the series was a mess, but the second half more than redeems itself. Korra gets some amazing character development this time around, the season is a whole lot of fun to watch from start to finish, the finale is appropriately epic, and two characters from A:tLA (not including Katara) make appearances. Oh yeah, and the aforementioned baby sky bison and Spirit World tea parties. (I also didn't mind the return of the love triangle, for what it's worth. It was messy and really annoying to watch, but I felt it was a believably messy and annoying portrayal of what teenage "romance" tends to be, and how it ended up in the finale was rather satisfying. As someone on Tumblr pointed out, character development shouldn't always have to mean "going from flawed to flawless." I liked that.) I for one plan on continuing with the show; even if it's not as good as A:tLA, it's still way better than most other TV shows on today, the worldbuilding is interesting, and the times it pisses me off isn't enough for me to stop watching.

If you don't care for LoK anymore, or you don't want to watch all of Book 2, at the very least watch the two "Beginnings" episodes. It's a great bit of worldbuilding about the first Avatar and how the Avatar Spirit came into being, and they're the absolute best set of episodes this series has given us so far. Bryke said they came up with this story while they were working on the second season of A:tLA, so not only can you be sure it's not a retcon or anything like that, but I found they integrated it really well into The Legend of Korra as well. So if you're a fan of A:tLA, "Beginnings" is well worth your time.

The Nostalgia Critic has also continued to do an excellent job making vlogs reviewing all the episodes this season. Here's a link to their YouTube playlist (the videos are in reverse order, so scroll down to "Rebel Spirit and The Southern Lights" and work your way up), and here are links to the reviews they haven't uploaded on YouTube yet: "The Guide," "A New Spiritual Age," and the four-part(!) finale. io9 also did a great article on what they'd like to see in Book 3 that's worth checking out as well. (Of course, all these links contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen Book 2 yet and would like to, hold off on these until after you've seen it.)

••• Speaking of The Legend of Korra, a Dutch trailer with leaked material from Book 3 has made its way online:



So at the very least, next season is promising us dragons and shirtless!Tenzin. Hmm. (And now there are rumors that the guy sitting on the dragon might be Zuko? YES PLEASE. :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD)

••• Oh, and Legend of the Galactic Heroes is getting a new anime too!!!!!!! Okay, I'm probably the only one still on LJ and DW that's excited about this, BUT STILL. 8D

••• Other fandom stuff: The latest season of Community has been AMAZING. I'm so glad that Dan Harmon is back as showrunner; the episodes have been both funny and moving, the characters are back to being IC, and the show overall has just gotten better. If you quit watching after season four (and I certainly don't blame you if you did), you're really missing out. (And if you're new to the show, it's okay to skip season four; the show will still make sense without it.)

As for Elementary and Sherlock, I.....really haven't been keeping up with them. :| With Elementary I watched the first two episodes of the season and then fell really behind; I plan on catching up at some point, but I still feel rather blah about everything and can't motivate myself to get to them right now. As for Sherlock, I watched the first episode of the new season, and it was actually pretty funny and enjoyable, but I just...don't care for it anymore? Between being acutely aware of the show's flaws and Steven Moffat being an utter dick, I don't feel up to watching the other two episodes, even though I keep hearing they're good. Most likely I'll get around to them at some point, but for right now...meh. ._.,

Well, that's about the important stuff I can think of. If you read the whole thing from beginning to end, you're a goddamn saint, and I suppose I ought to reward you with something, even though I can't think of anything right now. :PPP How's everyone else been doing?

Originally posted at http://quadruplify.dreamwidth.org/139876.html || Comments on original post: comment count unavailable
 
 
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night_owl_9: Korra II - fight like you mean itnight_owl_9 on February 18th, 2014 03:50 am (UTC)
It's so great to hear from you again! :) *hugs*

Congratulations on getting a job! It's wonderful that they decided to hire you.

Hooray for your psoriasis being gone! That's marvelous.

I'm glad that seeing a counselor has gone well :) Sometimes it just helps to communicate with someone about issues.

Yay for not being a complete wallflower! :D

That's good news about the student being suspended; she deserved it.

Korra gets some amazing character development this time around, the season is a whole lot of fun to watch from start to finish, the finale is appropriately epic, and two characters from A:tLA (not including Katara) make appearances. - You are so spot on about the first two seasons of LoK. I agree with you so much. I also really like the Nostalgia Critic's reviews, along with their summations of LoK so far.

Moffat's involvement with Sherlock continues to annoy the crap out of me, but I've watched all three eps of the newest season, and I still liked them. I rambled plenty about them on my journal, but the season finale is well worth your time. And crap, I have so much of Elementary to catch up on. OY. :P
n/a: yang [mirror]quadruplify on February 18th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you!! *hugs back* ^_^;

The counselor at BRS only does work-related stuff with me, since they're a state agency intended to help people get and keep jobs. I already have a therapist I see every other week whom I talk to about my personal life and mental health issues; my BRS counselor doesn't really deal with any of that. Sorry if that was confusing.

Yeah, LoK is never going to be as good as its predecessor, but it's not nearly as flawed as half of its fandom and 100% of its hatedom make it out to be. I enjoy the Avatarverse way too much to give up on it anytime soon. :D

Like I said, I'll watch the other two Sherlock episodes eventually, just maybe when I'm more motivated to do so (and if I have nothing better to do, I guess). ;-)
night_owl_9: Korra II - fight like you mean itnight_owl_9 on February 20th, 2014 04:18 am (UTC)
*all of the hugs*

Oh, sorry about that :/

That's so true. I enjoy the universe of ATLA too much to give up on LoK.

Sounds good to me! :D
Lordeslordes on February 18th, 2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
Sweetheart, congrats on the job! <3
n/a: eva [the guys]quadruplify on February 18th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!! :D
John: koganeitokugawa on February 19th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC)
congratulations on the job!
n/a: eva [eva-01]quadruplify on February 19th, 2014 07:16 am (UTC)
Thank you!! :D