majutsukai: (Default)
You know what I just realized?

My last entry in this thing was half a year ago.

And even then it was just a random chatlog dump. It's been nearly a year since my last entry with actual content.

You know what I think? I think life update.

So the schoolyear came and went. Generally speaking, it was a HUGE improvement over the previous year. I was right about risk-taking being the key to building confidence, because on the social side of things, the year went fantastically. Unlike last year, I actually felt sad to leave when it came time to pack up and go home.

Academically, though, it wasn't quite so great. I came to realize this year that I've been setting my performance standards too low-- not just this year, but ever since leaving high school. Letting myself get bored with my classes had a terrible impact on my grades. Unfortunately, it took putting my Major qualifications in jeopardy for me to realize this, and that rude awakening only came about two thirds of the way through the year. I wound up having to retake Phonology in the spring, and I will have to retake Japanese 301 in the fall as well.

The good news is, I picked up the slack, and my grade point average for spring quarter was higher than it has ever been in my life. Including high school. I am absolutely pumped to continue this good streak in the coming year.

Speaking of Phonology, I've made the decision that, in addition to my Japanese major, I am going to attempt a double major in Linguistics. The upper level Ling courses have been such an amazing experience, and have done wonders for my motivation. I'm feeling that same little click that I felt when I began studying Japanese in my first year of high school-- that it just feels right to be in this field.

I'll be doing the Japanese concentration of the Linguistics major, which means that a lot of the requirements will be taken care of just by way of the language courses I would have been taking anyway. In addition to that, it also involves a couple Japanese Linguistics courses that I've been dying to take-- but with the recent budget cuts, these may or may not even be offered this year. I'm told that I can talk to the department head for a workaround in such a case, though, so I'm optimistic.

Summer, though, has been a bit of a different story! I haven't got much to do around here, aside from job hunting-- which, when you haven't got a driver's license or any work experience, happens to be really hard. Doing my best to rectify both deficiencies is my current priority!

My mom got married over the spring. My new stepfather's name is Bob, and he's been an excellent source of support for her, both emotionally and financially, as she's been struggling herself to rectify her unemployment. She's found a few temporary jobs, but nothing permanent yet. I feel absolutely terrible for the financial burden he's signed on for here, considering both of our employment situations, but the man is an absolute saint. I nearly cried tears of joy when I got the news that we finally had medical coverage again. Well... no. Not just nearly.

My happiness for them and my guilt for myself are in an unsteady equilibrium for now. Just another reason for me to sort through my emotional problems and get a goddamn job already, clearly.

But at any rate, wow this has been cathartic. Please excuse the wordspam.
majutsukai: (Default)
Bear in mind this came completely without warning:

"Due to network problem, am unable to tell if all received this already-apologies is this is the case

This Week:

2/18 Tomorrow (Thurs)--EVERYONE ATTENDS

2/19 Friday--EVERYONE ATTENDS
"

There goes my day off tomorrow.
majutsukai: (Default)
OKAY so hey I should probably post an actual update here or something. 'Cause stuff has happened and I can go into more detail here than on Twitter.

First-- the problem with my loan was that I hadn't enrolled in enough credit hours to be eligible for the money. So I had to take care of the whole getting into Japanese thing in order for my loan to disburse and my expenses to be paid for.

That worked. I finally managed to get into contact with Deguchi-sensei. Apparently he didn't get my first email back in December. So I am LUCKY that I happened to try emailing him the day before classes began to check if he had gotten it.

He gave me a kanji test, which I passed-- sort of. He was a bit dissatisfied with a few things related to the way I wrote-- minor details like which strokes are supposed to cross and which ones aren't, which is a bigger deal in Japanese than it is in English. He agreed to let me into the class on the condition that I meet with a native speaker to get help with the smaller details in my writing. He fired off an email to someone who he thought may be able to help with that, but neither of us has heard back yet. In the meantime, I've been working on it on my own, and I think I've been improving. With luck, I may not actually need it after all.

Small note: apparently my さs are wrong. (They look like that one does; with the last two strokes connected.) According to him, that form of writing (called Manga-ji, apparently) isn't acceptable in a formal context like school, and it has to be written with three separate strokes. But it's perfectly acceptable for some reason to write ち with the strokes connected. Don't even ask me, I don't know. It hasn't been that hard to adapt to, though.

I also have a sinking feeling that my ふs and ゆs are incorrect for the same reason (I write them each with a single stroke), but if that's the case, then there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to correct myself-- my ふs and ゆs look absolutely idiotic when I try to write them with multiple strokes.

Compared to my other classes, my Japanese class is shockingly small-- about 25ish people, which I'd hazard a guess is barely more than a quarter of the size of my Sociolinguistics class. The class size is even more surprising when you take into account the fact that this is a combination of the 201 and 202 levels.

But enough about that! Let's talk about DORMS.

This is a whole new world. And I don't think I can adequately describe how utterly alien this world is to me. I know I'm not new to the whole college thing, but this dorm thing is a whole different animal.

My dorm room is part of a four-room suite with a single shared bathroom. All of my suitemates (7 in total, including my roommate) know each other already, since they started in fall quarter and lived in the same rooms.

I had a hell of a time trying to keep all their names straight, but of course they all got mine straight away (since they only had one new name to learn this quarter-- mine-- while I had seven, plus the various friends and girlfriends that have came and gone over the past couple days. >.<).

The doors between each room and the bathroom stay open pretty much all the time (save late at night or early in the morning when people are sleeping), so it's almost like a big apartment or something, with people moving from room to room fairly freely. The bathroom may as well be a hallway or something (it's long and narrow like one, anyway)-- unless someone's naked and getting into the shower or something.

Which brings me to another thing-- no privacy period. The only places with any semblance of privacy are the toilet (picture a public bathroom stall, only without the lock on the door) and the inside of the shower, which is only separated from the rest of the bathroom by a flimsy little curtain. The closet (which also serves as the passageway between the room and the bathroom) can afford some limited privacy if a) the door to the bathroom is closed, and b) your roommate is either asleep, out of the room, or has his attention fixed elsewhere. There's no door between the room and the closet.

The shower situation is so awkward I can't even tell you. I can only assume you're expected to wander into the bathroom naked or something? because there's no private space to change before you get in. (I opted to solve this problem by showering while everyone was still asleep, and leaving on my underwear until I'd gotten in and shut the curtain.)

Took me a while to figure out how the shower is supposed to work-- I took a shower the first morning, but couldn't figure out how to adjust the temperature. Cold shower for me. That was not pleasant. I figured it out properly the next day, though, thankfully.

Everyone's pretty friendly, but I have absolutely nothing in common with them! I feel like an alien or something. I'm pretty sure they all drink (I'm also pretty sure they're all underage, but it's not my responsibility to police them), they all work out regularly and do sports, and none of them make a hobby of using the internet like I do.

I brought gaming consoles, but didn't even unpack them for like a week because I've been so busy and it didn't seem so important anymore. And I've still yet to unpack the books I brought. I think I overpacked. >_<;;

On the upside: I have a wireless connection that I can use with my Wii (but not my DS). And I've finally made some progress in Persona 3 for the first time in ages. I'm at the point right after you recruit Fuuka.

SO HAVE I TL;DR'D YOU GUYS ENOUGH YET? :DDD
majutsukai: (Default)
Moved in and got the internet set up in my dorm room.

Roommate's stuff was moved in when I got here, but otherwise he's been a no-show. I can only assume he'll be here later tonight.

(EDIT: Roommate arrived, and I met my suitemates too. Man, I'm gonna have a hard time fitting in with this crowd.)

Dinner in the commons is at 5. I've basically just been killing time till then.

Probably make a more detailed post later, after more stuff has happened. >>;

(P.S.: Taylor, get a twitter! >8U )

EDIT: Augh I completely fucking spaced and forgot to get my student card. No dining hall for me tonight. :c
majutsukai: (Default)
Leaving for Bellingham today. Classes start Tuesday.

I would be a whole lot less stressed out about this, though, if my student loans didn't have to be such a federal fucking issue!

The money from my loan for this quarter was supposed to have been credited to my student account on Thursday. It wasn't.

I waited another few days to see if they sent it in late. They didn't.

So now I'm stuck with a $4893.60 outstanding balance on my student account, and the loan I was supposed to use to pay it is MIA.

Weekend won't work for calling the school, so I'm going to have to call them on Monday. Which is one day before the payments are due.

I am so stressed out about this you wouldn't believe. If something goes wrong? If for any reason I can't get that money credited to my account before Tuesday? We'll have to foot the bill out of pocket. Else I could get evicted from student housing.

I am so sick of these games. There is always an issue. ALWAYS. I have not had a snag-free moment since applying for this damn school.

I should be getting sleep right now. There's no way that's happening.
majutsukai: (Default)
Can't sleep.

Three days.

Aaarrrggghhh.
majutsukai: (Default)
So I got the new book yesterday morning. I've been doing the work, and I'm currently on exercise 9 out of 24. My initial goal was to do at least five exercises per day (a goal which I'm almost surpassing at this point), but here's the thing.

I made that goal during the first four exercises, which were much simpler. Almost everything in those first few exercises was stuff I already knew. But the further I go along, the more stuff I don't already know pops up... and the less sustainable my current pace becomes.

My time is limited, so it seems almost stupid to be worrying about going too quickly, but... it's becoming harder to memorize all the new material. I keep having to stop and backtrack to review material I've already gone through in order to remember it, and it's really starting to worry me. Will I be able to retain all 200 kanji for the test?

The only solution I can think of is to slow down. But that in itself worries me, because time is running out!

Ugh... I've got time yet, I suppose. We'll see how this goes.
majutsukai: (Default)
MEME TIME

"You know how sometimes people on your friends list post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think, "Wait a minute. Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when?" And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from it. One-word answers seldom help anyone."



1. First Name:
Matt.

2. Age:
21.

3. Location:
Federal Way, WA

4. Occupation:
Does "jobless college student" count as an occupation?

5. Partner:
Never had, except for a couple online things. Those didn't work out. At all.

6. Kids:
Probably never going to happen, but I don't want them anyway.

7. Brothers/Sisters:
Two sisters and a brother, by marriage and not birth.

8. Pets:
Currently, one ~2-year-old long-haired Dachshund, name of Duncan. He's my Mom's and not mine, and don't let her tell you anything different. >_>

Previously: My Mom loves Dachshunds, so we've had several over the course of my life. First was a short-haired one named Gretchen, who they had before I was born. Died at the age of 17ish, I think, while I was in elementary school still. Second was a younger one by the name of Cuddles, whom we wound up getting rid of because she was a real asshole. Third was a Dachshund/Terrier mix named Wrangler, who we got rid of due to being too damned energetic.

I used to fancy myself a dog lover as a kid, but now I'm really, really not. Still, even I have to admit that our current dog is much less of an abject failure than the previous two. I like him okay... for a dog.

9. List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:
* School coming up soon (BUT YOU GUYS KNEW THAT because I can't shut up about it)
* Uh... that's about it. 8|

10. Parents:
Divourced while I was in elementary school. Dad remarried, Mom didn't. I still have a hard time imagining how they could ever have been compatible enough to have gotten married, but what am I complaining about, it worked out well enough for me. ;o

Related: it is very, very awkward to be talking to your mom and discover that she had been married once before your dad, and to have not found out about this until you were in high school. That was surreal. My dad said it was my fault for not knowing, but honestly, how am I supposed to think to ask about something like that!?

11. Who are some of your closest friends:
In no particular order: Taylor, Michael, Beth, Alpha... did I miss anyone?
majutsukai: (Default)
So, the "Basic Kanji" textbook that I got?

It's the wrong book. I need a different book, which is also titled "Basic Kanji".

Wasted time. Wasted money. And I don't actually get to use the same book I used in high school. Argh.
majutsukai: (Default)
Well, student loans aren't gonna cover the laptop. It's gonna have to come out of pocket.

FML.
majutsukai: (Default)
So guess what I just got in the mail.

Acceptance from UW.

Gee, thanks, guys. Maybe we could have done this before the deadline for acceptance at Western?

A month or two ago, this would have been the best news ever. But now? Needless to say, I'm not unenrolling from Western. Not now. So this basically feels like I got flipped a gigantic bird from admissions at UW.
majutsukai: (Default)
Good news: the Basic Kanji textbook is on the way from Amazon and will arrive tomorrow, wherein I'll be able to start my studying.

Better news: It is the exact same Kanji textbook that we used in my High School Japanese classes. Taylor, Michael, Beth, you will remember this thing.

I need to do exercises 1-24, and I believe that in High School, I topped out at exercise 22 or so. So that means that the vast majority of this will be review for me. I only need to do the exercises to refresh myself, which is exactly what I need to do for the professor anyways!

With any luck, I should blaze through this material and ace the test.

Silently thanking Mrs. Jones for her textbook choices.

Response

Nov. 17th, 2009 02:50 am
majutsukai: (Default)
Sorry for late response, Matt. Do you have a BASIC KANJI textbook or Foundations of Japanese Language? If you have a BASIC KANJI, why don't you submit Exceciese 1 through 24? If not, please submit wrting practice of the Kanji list of the FJL, starting 440 page. There are 210 kanjis in the list. The deadline is one week before winter term starts, but if you are done earlier, it is great. After your submission of this HW, I'll give you a kanji test. If you get more than 80%, I think you are ready to take 202.

YT


So I have to prove I know the kanji before I can register for the class? This will be... tricky.

Still, here we go, I guess.
majutsukai: (Default)
So I did the test for placement in the Japanese program yesterday.

According to the test, my grammar is easily at the 202 level, so if that were all that mattered, I'd be in.

However, my Kanji is in considerably worse shape.

The advisor wasn't sure about whether or not I would get in. The decision will be up to the professor who teaches the 202 class, whom he'll be relaying the results to. It's my job to get into contact with him and sort things out. If I get in, I'll have to spend the whole time between now and when school starts doing self-study to catch up on Kanji.

And there's another problem. The Japanese program is being downsized; a couple 202 level classes are being merged together, and the overall capacity will be less than half of what it was. The number of seats will be bottlenecking harshly. So I have to worry about class capacity in addition to everything I mentioned above.

I'm fixing to email him right now, but it's making me a bit nervous. But this is what I was talking about before... I can't let things that scare me hold me back, because there are way too many things that scare me. I'd never get anything done.

This brings to mind a quotation I heard a long time ago, which, cheesy as it may sound, has helped me a lot over the years when I'm afraid to do something.

"Do one thing every day that scares you." The quote, I believe, is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Remembering those words helps me do things when I'm scared. And I'll be damned if there's not a lot of that going around in my life right now.

So... gonna do this. And fuck the consequences.
majutsukai: (Default)
So. Today. Today was a big day.

Advising and Registration at WWU. Had to get up at four (ugh) and leave at five for the two-hour drive up to Bellingham. Two hours and change, plus extra time to find parking and such.

Tour of the campus from 8:00-9:10ish. It's... a pretty awesome school. A lot to take in, though. But I had no problem remembering how to get around afterwards, so... hooray for sponge-like memory? \o/

Next was transfer student advising. Couple of teachers explaining to the group of us the process of registration and how credits and majors work, etc. Got an awesome notebook and a free book-- an actual book! They were giving them to all the new students. Score.

After that, nothing to do for about an hour or so. Had lunch at the Atrium. It was like the cafeteria at Green River, only with better seating arrangements and atmosphere. I like this place.

Then came a tour of the library. The group was substantially smaller and the tour substantially shorter. After that, we waited 'till the Japanese advisor's office hours.

So this is where the important part came. I had a talk with him about the major requirements. Evidently, my Japanese classes don't translate directly into a placement at WWU-- and you can forget about the high school classes, naturally. In order to declare Japanese as my major, I have to be enrolled in the 200-level or higher; but I have to test into it. Otherwise I have to start from scratch, and that's three years of schooling. Bad mojo.

The qualification consists of, it would seem, a written test and an oral interview. The results of which will be used to place me in a class of the appropriate level. I gotta score a class that's 200-level or higher, else I'm stuck in this school for an extra year.

Appointment for the test is next week, on Thursday. I gotta cram kanji to get myself prepared for the written test, and hell if I know what I should do to prepare for the oral interview. I'm so out of practice, goddamn. I'm really nervous.

Once I get my placement, I'll be able to apply for a loan. The loan form asks for a projected graduation date, which is just not in the cards until I know what my classes will be like.

Registration starts on the 18th. Housing assignments are released in early December, roommates later that month. New student orientation is January 4th, and classes start the day after.

Got a lot to do before then.

But for now... long day. Eventful. Not much sleep. Need to nap.

/dies
majutsukai: (Default)
Gonna have to get up at like 4 in the morning on friday urrggghhh.

Advising/Registration happens at 8. Three hour drive up to Bellingham. Extra time needed for traffic and parking.

Yeah. x.x'
majutsukai: (Default)
[School]

Took care of my FAFSA and my student housing application the other day. That's a relief, but also, holy shit is it surreal. It's like, seriously, I'm having an impossibly hard time imagining myself living in a dorm. And holy shit I'm going to be even further away from my friends than I already am! Aaaaagh nuuu ;;

At the same time, though, man am I glad I'm gonna have a meal plan. One less thing to worry about.

Incidentally, I didn't actually need to get another measles shot. My mom and I both misread my immunity records; the info for the first shot was transcribed from a different institution, so only the date was filled in-- which made it look blank unless you were paying attention. So, yay for not having to get stuck with needles?

[Project Oracle]

Also incidentally, I updated the Project Oracle page with info on a few new characters.

[Gaming]

Did I mention I got a copy of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons from my dad a week or two back? 'Cause I did. I've been screwing around linking back and forth between Ages and Seasons now that I can. Gives me a good excuse to replay Ages, now that I've finally found my fucking copy of it.

And now that I've played through both of them? I can say that Ages is definitively the better game. The season-changing mechanics of Seasons was interesting, and it had the better music of the two for the most part (not a small thing in my book), but the plot was dull as all hell. You can tell that Ages was made after Seasons, because it plays around with the plot a lot more; stuff actually happens between the beginning and end of the game, instead of just having you going around collecting MacGuffins. And the villain in Ages is more interesting; Onox is just kind of a generic "rawr I am a bad guy" type villain, but Veran is... well, she's also that, but her methods are a lot more interesting.

I imagine most of the plot of Seasons was written back when it was still going to be a remake of the first Zelda game; whereas Ages was probably written after they decided not to do that, so they realized that they actually had to make the plot workable on its own merit.

Still, I'm glad I have both games now. They make for a pretty interesting experience as a pair.

---

Nintendo had a deal for Wii owners that originally bought the Internet Channel for 500 Wii Points; now that they're offering it for free again, they give you a free NES game-- so long as the game in question costs 500 Wii Points, of course. I'm a little annoyed at this; I would much rather have just had my Wii Points refunded, but what can you do. So I got Ghosts and Goblins.

Wouldn't you know, I can't get past the first area. Fucking flying... gargoyle... thing.

[Computer]

...is still falling apart. The down key is pretty much fucked now; it works about 30% of the time. Firefox is randomly crashing; I have no idea if that has to do with the computer or what, but it's annoying. It still has problems with overheating. And it's still got the hinge problem I'm sure I've complained about here already.

On the upside, I'm probably going to be using my student loan to get a new one... so there's that.

[Music]

I got a hold of Chip Tuned Rockman. It's pretty cool; not revolutionary, but cool nonetheless.

Also, I figured out how to rip sound effects and music from WoW's data files. This is very useful, especially the sound effects.

[Other]

GUYS it's actually starting to get cold. Like, I finally had to turn on my heater and I got the urge to make hot cocoa the other day type cold. Man oh man do I ever love autumn. Because who doesn't love freezing to death?

SO WHAT'S EVERYONE'S HALLOWEEN PLANS?

I still have nothing. Like every Halloween for the past... how many fucking years? Ugh. I can't tell you what I'd give to be out of the house and not having to deal with trick-or-treaters.
majutsukai: (Default)
So it's official. UW did not reply in time; the deadline for enrollment at Western is tomorrow, so I have no choice but to accept.

Which means... this winter, I'm moving to Bellingham.

Gonna be living in student housing. Gonna have to have a job. And I'll be on my own. Completely and totally, and for the first time in my entire life.

Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal to a lot of you... but this is basically the opening of a new chapter in my life. I wish I were exaggerating.

I have zero experience being independent. At my age, that's nigh inexcusable, really; I realize that. I'm jumping into the deep end of the pool with no experience to help me keep myself afloat; I can probably expect to make a few mistakes, experience more than my share of difficulties. And yeah, I'll be fixing them on my own or not at all. Yeah, that's kind of scary. Yeah, it shouldn't be. But it is.

Still... if there's one thing I can trust about myself, it's that I produce the best results when I'm under pressure. And if this isn't pressure? Hell if I know what is.

So...

Here... we... go.

P.S., bastards are making me jump through a lot of hoops Re: Measles immunization. How the hell was I supposed to know I would have to have two shots, when standard procedure at the time I was born was for there to be only one? Ffff. Well, I'm getting a shot tomorrow. Cutting it damn close, too.

...

Oct. 19th, 2009 09:49 pm
majutsukai: (Default)
...Two days left until the deadline for enrollment at Western, and still no word from UW.

God dammit, they're really making me sweat here. If I don't get word soon, then I may have to enroll at Western without knowing whether or not I got accepted at UW.

Urgh...

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