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Running on empty

Jun. 26th, 2016 | 12:01 pm

Working and full-time studenting + parenting is like a special kind of hell. But all in all, a kind of rewarding hell :) I finished one degree in December and a second in May - now it's moving on to the next level. I've already enrolled at the school and I think I'm going to like it plus a lot of my classmates from my current school are also moving on there. We will be in different degree programmes - only about three of my classmates will be in the same programme I'm taking - but we will stay in touch.

I thought I was going to take summer off studies but found I was only three classes or so from a 2-year degree in philosophy so I'm going for that. I took my other philosophy classes for support in my other degrees and I'm on my third now. I am also taking a Humanities course during the summer and forgot how much fun all of that is! But yeah, it's a lot of work too. I am hoping that all of the reading and writing will help keep me sharp for fall semester. I am doing a minor in gender studies since I got my second degree in women's studies and I am excited about the department at my school. The lead professor is really dynamic and I think I can learn a lot from her.

All of this has left less time for my fandoms as I hoped :( SMAP and Kisumai are my two primaries that I am keeping up with the best and I admit I was so heartbroken and frustrated with everything that happened with KAT-TUN. I'm just...so much love for those guys to keep moving forward. I'm still throwing money at everything West, A.B.C - Z, V6, TOKIO, KinKi Kids (and their individual projects), and SZ release. I've slacked a bit on the Eito, News, Jump, Arashi, and who else am I missing? trains. I love, love, LOVE SixTONES and Snowman - both are just perfection. (well, for me SixTONES would be perfectly perfect if Jesse could be replaced by Ken-chan or Jinguji but that's a small issue :)

Sasshi is the only thing keeping me at all interested in 48G anymore. There is such a lackluster feeling from everyone, I don't know if they're burned out, perpetually sick, bored, or what but a lot of the sparkle is gone. HKT are still my favourite in the family but I'm trying to accept that I'm one of "those" who tried hard to find new faves when "my" faves graduate but I'm having a really hard time getting behind anyone else and the girls that are currently being pushed just annoy me >.<

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More change

Nov. 25th, 2015 | 08:21 pm

I feel like I'm all over the place these days, some good things, some not good things, all of it change and challenges for me to face.
The good -- new job which I love (the bad -- the pay >.<) but if it works into a fulltime position the benefits will be amazing even if the pay will still be lacking. I was asked for a 2-year commitment when I was offered the job and I was also told it could turn into  fulltime position (right now it's only 20 hrs/wk). I don't mind the parttime since I'm still carrying a full courseload but juggling both is pretty exhausting.
The good -- almost done with this part of my coursework! (the bad -- I just found what I want my 3rd master's degree in).
The good -- The Husband Person just moved out last week. I am happy, sad, confused, heartbroken, and excited. I have slept better than I have in years and the animals are much calmer. (the bad -- emotional chaos, turmoil, and grief).

I have started writing again which totally amazes me. One of my coworkers is published and very active in local writing circles but has been on an indefinite writing hiatus. She currently teaches writing at the college and made my return to writing one of her projects. The day THP packed his stuff and left I had characters insisting that I write their story, we'll see how it goes since I am not balancing the time I have as well as I would like and I'm going to do 2 honors projects next semester to graduate With Honors but it would be nice to write again.

Fandom  -- In my efforts to be a Responsible Adult I have cut back a little on my fandom spending and am just sticking to SMAP, KinKi Kids, Kisumai, A.B.C-Z, and SZ for my daughter. I shocked myself by not buying the latest HKT single nor have I ordered Takamina's graduation single. I have picked up TOKIO recent release and will spend whenever V6 releases something.

I had been feeling ambivalent about News and KAT-TUN lately which bothers me. I haven't been overly thrilled with News' recent releases but their personalities are really blossoming and I think they will be fine following the V6 pattern of finding their unique spaces in entertainment. Of course I was shocked to hear about Junno leaving KAT-TUN and from the statements the guys have released I can't help but think Junno feels the guys have been getting the shaft as well and maybe even has had it with Julie's management style. No hiding my bias, I prefer Michi and the groups in her care, but I do think this is more than Junno wants to get married or Komine is pregnant.

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Aug. 1st, 2015 | 08:03 pm

Life has been very interesting lately, but busy. I have been in training in my new job - which I LOVE - it is working in my field of psychology so it's incredibly challenging. Hopefully I'll get a paycheck soon ^^ It just takes a whole month to get it so it'll come when it comes. I juggled working with summer classes and that was fun but not horrible and I got As in my summer courses WHEW!
I will be taking a full courseload when semester begins next week as well as joining a leadership program in my school. Intensive but exciting. Lots of positive, forward movement.

Not as much of a chance to keep up with my favorites although I've been keeping up with ordering my fave groups. I've been keeping up with SMAP, Kisumai, Ebi, KinKi Kids, TOKIO, V6, SZ, and SixTONES the most but still keeping an eye on KAT-TUN, News, Jump, Yuma, and everyone else. I did spring for the voting single and put two votes each to Sasshi (you go girl!) and Sae. Kisumai and SMAP have been lifesavers in recent days and I've also been listening to a lot of Masha and Moriyama Naotaro. His latest album was just amazing!

I finished all of Partners By Blood and absolutely LOVED it! It was cheezy in some areas, and a little repetive, but overall the story and characters were very good. I'm currently watching Fall in Love with Me (Taiwanese) with Aaron who never was my favourite Fahrenheit but has given Jiro a run for his money lately. I've also been checking out Tiger Mom, and because we get TVB subtitled I'm now a rabid Roger Kwok and Moses Chan fan <3 To Get Unstuck in Time ends Monday and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad they recently started Dead Men Cast No Shadows with Raymond Lam because it has immediately grabbed my interest. That, along with Relic of an Emissary will keep me from missing To Get Unstuck in Time too much when it ends.

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Jan. 16th, 2015 | 02:14 pm

It's been a while but with uni and my messy life I've not had much time for myself. It isn't easy trying to start life over in midstream. I've begun journaling again and I am going to keep LJ for my fandoms - kind of light and fluffy stuff because I don't want to keep being reminded of serious things when I come here.

I was ill from the end of October through holiday break, I've not gotten on LJ or FB much and not on LJ  since Carolyn's death either. Getting through her birthday and the holidays without her jokes and inspiration was hard. But I'm ready to look forward and continue this difficult walk without my "sister".

So I'll be posting about what might seem mindless to some but my fandoms have really helped me through the worst of this.

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Jun. 10th, 2014 | 06:23 pm
mood: sad sad

Does anyone still say "my best friend in the whole world"? Carolyn, my best friend in the whole world, who has been a part of my life for 26 years, died over the weekend. I can't believe it, I'm shattered, I can't stop crying. She was living in England, I spoke to her on Thursday. She abruptly said she had to go with her typical, "later, Veghead". And now there will be no later. I didn't tell her I loved her, I didn't thank her for being so patient and wonderful with me all those years. I won't get the chance now.
As crappily trite as it sounds, if you have someone you love in your life, don't wait to tell her that you love her, don't put off thanking her. 

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May. 18th, 2014 | 01:41 pm
mood: exhausted exhausted
music: SMAP ~ Yes We Are

Instead of dancing around like a fool now that semester is over, I've basically fallen on my face in the mash potatoes. I'm trashed...exhausted...out of energy. I'm completely loving school, this semester was a real challenge and I'm psyched that I kept my 4.0 GPA \(^_^)/ yay me. My Women's History professor approached me about further work in Women's Studies which was such an amazing honor and I told her that this is something I have seriously considered alongside my Psychology degree. She said that WS needs people who are passionate about the subject and that's something I definitely have XD My end goal is to uplift women and encourage positivity and resilience, especially in the aftermath of less-than-ideal life events. I can see Women's Studies giving me a greater understanding and depth. I even shocked myself with the papers I was coming up with for class, what I was digging out from within myself and how wonderful and empowering so much self-reflection was. So...more to think about. But I'm exhausted. Lots of stress, drama and just bad/sad/miserable things happening at home too. Weird things too...my son's aged dog lost her battle with illness which really disturbed my two dogs (her siblings, they were all rescued together). That was Thursday...on Sunday, Big Brother dog seemed under the weather, by that afternoon he had passed as well. Later that evening I looked over at his sister, thinking she was wallowing on the floor...it was a seizure and we lost her that night. So yeah, really draining, that.

I'm watching all those concerts and shows I've been putting off all semester. I finally watched Disc 1 of Kisumai's Snowdome tour, but am saving the other for later. I still have AKB48 Kouhaku, Yukirin's solo con, the big NewS concert, SZ and the SMAP re-releases on BD are on their way.

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Spring (mostly fandom rambling)

Mar. 22nd, 2014 | 08:09 pm
location: Risa HappyLand
mood: sleepy sleepy
music: Kanjani8 - Kujira to Penguin

Halfway done with another semester, the time is flying. The work is really hard but fun as well. This semester I'm taking Women's History and Intro to Women's Studies since my main goal is going to be specializing in helping women and girls and my minor is Women's Studies. The most heartbreaking thing in these classes has been hearing so many women think that abusive and oppressive behavior is normal and acceptable.

I've completely sucked at keeping up with e-mail and phone conversations, this cycle has been pretty hard. For now we're trying CBT before I go on the hard drugs (ha ha, heh heh) because I really don't want to be dealing with weird extras while I'm in school. I've got a 4.0 average and I don't want to mess with that.

I've been reading a lot of good stuff, some cry-my-eyes-out stuff and am ready for some good fiction. If I can find it. It's been wonderful and grounding rereading bell hooks. Now I'm really enjoying Where the Girls Are by Susan Douglas. Some of the books I have lined up are Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I've Been Silent About - both by Azar Nafisi and In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed. But yeah, I need fiction that will make me forget how rotten we basically are to each other.

We've had two older, ill dogs who are thankfully hanging in there. Our Old Lady is 13, has had seizures since we got her immunized and seems now to be suffering some neurological problems. Her younger friend is 11 and had a bad spell that looks like the inevitable kidney troubles. Both are doing much better on a vet-supervised home-made diet with supplements. I can't rave enough about Nutri-Cal.

On the cheerier side of the street, I'm grooving more into the Kanjani fandom. Who would ever guess that Baru would be the key to my Eito love? I really need to take pictures of all my other goodies I've been hauling in lately. My Kisumai and Ebi calendars and Saru's SZ calendar finally arrived! The sticker book with the SZ calendar is soooooo cute. I wish I'd ordered one for me just for the stickers. Ebi calendar is gorgeous, it actually comes with two calendars and the photography is beautiful. Kisumai is two calendars as well. I was kinda bummed because I opened the "normal" one first and it was all basic black and very stark pictures. Not shabby, but not fantastic. Then I opened the 365-day calendar and died from the pretties. It is NICE. When I came back from Japan I was so loaded down and sent things back. I was totally spoiled and it was nice. I always think my grandmother is getting older but when I see her she seems as young as ever. I guess it's true what they say about Okinawans? There's lots to tell about the trip but it will have to wait for another time...

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2013 pt 2 - Fandoms (pt1)

Dec. 31st, 2013 | 03:41 pm
mood: accomplished accomplished
music: TOKIO ~ Ambitious Japan

I gave myself some challenges this year, mostly in order to give other groups a chance. Idols still dominate my music collection but I didn't forget to show Sakanaction, flumpool, Daigo and Becky (and a few more) my appreciation either.
Some challenges:

Give SKE, NMB & HKT a chance. I still am not crazy about SKE and I don't see NMB ever winning me over. I can appreciate Sayanee for what she's accomplished but I really don't like her personality. Miyuki and Nana are okay but overall NMB just isn't my style. SKE's latest single was catchy and cute but they still haven't won me over. HKT was the definite winner this year for me. Melon Juice still rattles around in my brain. True, I was already a Sasshi fan and that probably helped things along. But I'm satisfied I did meet my challenge and gave all three a shot.

Work on my Eito fandom. I honestly don't mind Kansai groups, it's just the vulgarity and pushiness that sometimes accompanies them that bothers me. I've had a tenuous relationship with Eito for a while. Usually, just when I'm getting won over by them, they'll do something that makes me roll my eyes and turn away. I love quite a few of their releases and had just gotten past their swinging snot of youth (and oh, the rest of the lyrics won my heart, guys!) when Takoyaki in My Heart came along. Sometimes I can't get over grown men behaving like little kids or raunchy teens. Even grown men I like in other circumstances. I'll keep working at it because I've seen them really grow as personalities over the years and appreciate how talented they are overall. Guys, it's me, it really is, and that's okay.

Get past Sexy Zone's name. After Mari-chan's awkwardness, the main thing I've disliked about Sexy Zone is their horrible name. They're cute kids, they started out pretty well (considering their age) and I actually like most of their songs. It's just that damn name. Putting it aside, I watched a lot of Shokura, Johnny's Thanksgiving and also got into it when my daughter and nieces were fangirling. And they won me over. Shori's working on his acting (a big difference between 49 and Hungry, good going!), Kenty is the rising prince (and am I the only one who notices just how much he resembles Sato Atsuhiro???), Fuma is finding his place and MariSo...they're getting a little more face time too (and Marius is a LOT less awkward and his Japanese is coming along).

Become as stark-raving crazy about TOKIO as they are in general. I've always loved those adorable dorks but never really got into their music, dramas or shows. I'd watched the odd episode of Tetsuwan DASH and loved their fun personalities, but that was about this. This year I challenged myself to give TOKIO more than a peek. And I fell completely in love with them. I have so much admiration and respect for those five guys, for what they challenge themselves to and for basically being incredible. I've been able to enjoy Nagase for dramas other than My Boss My Hero, Taichi as something other than a foil to Tsu in Fantastipo and I've melted into a puddle over Joshima Leader's ikemen spirit. And yeah, Gussan and Mabo exist, yay. I've stressed out and laughed myself silly over DASH island. Yeah, TOKIO are fantastic, talented, big-hearted and determined. I'm stark-raving crazy about them and head over heels in love with those wacky dorks.

Not care about some fandoms' reactions to honesty. You've been there, I've been there. Some fandoms think the sun shines out of their bias's or group's butt. Well, it doesn't. A good group/artist needs constructive criticism to grow and fans also need to be objective about the weaknesses and strengths of their biases. It annoys the hell out of me when someone watches 00's drama/movie/SP and spews about how great he is when he can barely act and the only reason he got the role is the power of his agency. It's one thing to be really happy to see your bias in a role but flaming a person just because s/he doesn't see it the same way is childish and petty. All part of the fandom, but annoying all the same. Trust me, I understand the excitement of seeing someone you think is awesome in a role or on tv but I also understand the awkwardness of knowing s/he doesn't quite cut it. It doesn't mean that our person is great because he starts at the top, good actors/singers/dancers/whatevers often start at the bottom and really work at it. If anyone has any doubts about this, I'll refer them to A.B.C-Z.

Overall, I'm happy with where I am in my fandoms. I buy the items to support the groups and artists I appreciate, even if I do choose the cheap shipping option! I guess now I'll have to think about my goals for 2014...

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2013 pt 1 Me in Review

Dec. 31st, 2013 | 01:55 pm
mood: sleepy sleepy
music: SMAP ~ ハロ

This has been the most chaotic year of my life. Even when I had two toddlers running around like demon spawn I've never felt this kind of upheaval. It's been a good year in so many ways, which is good because the good helps balance all the yuk I've dealt with. But the bad stuff helps us to grow, right? I can definitely look at myself and am able to see where positive blooms from the wreckage.
The good -
Working towards a degree I've always wanted to earn and actually thriving
More financial independence (how sad to say that at my age...)
More self confidence
More clarity
I have come to a point where I know what is true and what isn't
No longer deceiving myself about relationships
My kids (so amazing)
Better relationship with my brother
My car!!!!

The bad -
ehhh, I realize that I don't want to dwell on it. But a few things...
Dear friends passing on
My stepmother
In the process of ending a looooong relationship
being diagnosed with lymphedema in my legs & all that comes with that
Being physically in a place I can't stand and being far from "home(s)"

Overall I'm thankful for making it through another year and being able to feel that I am finally going somewhere positive in my life. I'm hoping that 2014 will be my breakout year ^^; I'm giving it my best shot....

Wishing a happy new year to all my wonderful friends xo

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CDJapan is ♥

Dec. 26th, 2013 | 10:27 pm
mood: happy happy
music: Domoto Tsuyoshi ~ eni groovin'

I just got the sweetest e-mail from customer service at CDJapan. I tried to pre-order Tsuyoshi's Shamanippon - Roinochinoi (the bundle set because I'm all about the t-shirt) and for some reason my bank flagged the order. The first thing I love about CDJapan is that they hold your order while they try to run the card again; they hold it for at least a week. The minute you make your order, they count that item as yours - that is NOT the same experience I've had with Yes Asia (ugh). Since I live in the States, I couldn't contact my bank yesterday but I called them first thing this morning and they cleared the flag so I was good to go. I e-mailed CDJapan customer service telling them what had happened and that the bank had now fixed the error. I received a very kind reply from customer service stating that everything was GO and that Tsuyo would be flying to me on the release date. I wrote back to thank them and to let them know that they definitely have a loyal customer in me (which they should already know considering how I drop at least a thousand a year in their direction - eeek!) The best part is the reply I received - the customer service rep was also a Tsuyo fan ♥ and said she was happy he was appreciated outside of Japan as well.

So anyway, I definitely recommend CDJapan for your Japanese music, video, book and anime needs. I have bought CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, clothes, anime collectibles, manga, books, magazines, calendars, films and who knows what else through them and they have never let me down. I love their points system and they do add up quickly (I bought the Kusabi bundle on points alone, I've also bought concerts with points) and the shipping isn't too bad. I guess I should start sharing all the goodies I've bought and show off my collections.

Anyhooo, I'm a happy, happy nezumi right now. 

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