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07 October 2008 @ 10:44 pm
Boo. I'm already exhausted.

Anyway, we had Tekko 1/2 on Saturday. It was awesome 'cause the whole thing was experimental this year. This was the first year we weren't at the library in Oakland, the first year we charged a bit for admission, the first year we brought in guests, the first time we worked with some of our guests (and the dj, thanks John), and a first leadership experience for many of our new DHs. We tested a new game show and experimented with food and glowstick sales.

All in all, it was a huge success! We met some great people, we sold a TON of pre-regs, easily outdoing past 1/2s, the t-shirts were awesome, the certificates, programs, and signage looked great, and I got to sing Love Machine. XD Our new folks dealt with a lot of challenges with little to no intervention, the attendees really seemed to have a great time, and the only real downfall for me was that I got sick at the end of the day. =( (Well, I was previously sick, but I threw up at the end of the day, which drove the point home.)

Bug regardless, I have been busy pretty much nonstop - cleaning on Sunday, up for work early on Monday, staff meeting this morning, came home and cleaned more... This weekend, we have the Heart Walk on Saturday and then I'm leaving for Philly on Sunday, coming back Monday... and then Jim has to go to Boston at some point next week, don't know when. And next weekend is Steel City Con.

Ahh, sleep, how I miss thee. ^^;

I wonder if my white glowstick is still any good? I had a white glowstick and an orange glowstick in my hair Saturday night and last night the white one was STILL GLOWING. Dood.

You know, as busy as life is, I am getting all hyped up over the whole "fall" thing. I wanna go get a pumpkin. And drink some hot apple cider. And go to a corn maze (hopefully without panicking lost children). And eat cinnamon donuts! And pumpkin curry! (Maybe not all at once!)
02 October 2008 @ 08:21 pm

There was a copy of a mix CD I did for a story involving this character in the car and I've been listening to it as I drive to and from work. There were a few more stories involving this character and this game that I never got around to writing in their entirety and they've been rattling around in my head during my free time, even defining themselves a bit better lately.

I think I wrote much better five years ago. The latest updates in this journal occur just before I started getting into the writing major in earnest... in the process, my total written output dropped like a rock, as did my enthusiasm. I wrote a character in a story in my first major-based class who was a lot like myself and the piece was ripped apart in workshop for being an unrealistic characterization, and things were sketchy from there for a while. In retrospect, I really wasn't mature enough for the kind of writing I think most of the profs were looking for. I mean, it took me till late 2005 to drop my first f-bomb and my very first relationship came after college was over. I was about as edgy as a Nerf ball and about as dark as Raffi, and I still am, for the most part. Some of my best writing grades came from stories that really didn't fit me at all. I guess that was an exercise in imagination, but it all felt very awkward.

Stories are bouncing around in my head again. I've been slowly trying to build new stories but the same archetypes always appear -- while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it lays bare the reasons I write and I'm often afraid of dragging in other people's characters from old RPGs with the thin veneer of a name and physical description change. There's a character who was somewhere between Piper and a vision I'd had for a certain RoboYellow, but has changed a little, which is nice; however, she doesn't resonate quite as much as Piper does, and a character she inspired really seems to be intriguing me more lately. So I guess that universe is maturing on its own, although I still need to sit down and write. There's another character in another universe who is very similar to Bianca (of the Pokemon game). That world may be beginning to morph itself a bit.

But you know what? At the heart of it, I still really want to write in Piper and Bianca's worlds and share those worlds with people who also understand them, maybe miss them like I do. I really, really miss the people who used to play. There are so many of them where I never even got to know anything about them at all, and they touched my life in such a deceptively big way. So much of the Saiyajins Unite crew... I still do try to keep up on the folks I have friended who update, and it means a lot to me to be able to do so, but there were also some folks who seemed really cool and I never knew anything beyond "whoever is playing XYZ". I hope everyone's well and happy, wherever they are.

The whole IRC crew. I think I heard Ryo's real first name once? And who knows about Sailor? I do wonder what you're all up to. I tried hopping into #alt during the day a few weeks ago just before training started and everyone there was idling 'cause they were at work. ;) I had Sodders friended on LJ forever and I don't think he ever realized who I was even though I gave him that nickname gosh darnit. I wonder what a certain proprietor of TJB thinks about the coming election and what kind of music he's listening to lately.

In r/l, I do miss the big group of us that used to hang around in Pittsburgh. It seems like every time big decisions have to be made surrounding a certain convention, the group dynamic changes drastically. I would, sadly, argue that the relative peace we had during the year of IV was bound to be short-lived, because the thing about IV was that for the first time, we didn't really have to change a lot of things. The group consciousness was rather in sync for about a year and it was really something... looking back, I don't think many of us realize what a short period of time it was that we weren't playing tug-of-war. But it's nice to think back on that time, and it's also nice to remember a lot of the times even after the friction started again.

Thinking back, part of me wishes I'd kept a diary in high school. The piper_g LJ actually started out as an attempt at a personal journal my senior year, but the one post I made in it was whining about the sucky parts of being an amusement park ride operator. Anyway, the reason is that I kind of wish I knew or could remember more about that time is that lately folks have told me that I've changed a lot, but I don't really feel all that different. In fact, I think I'm getting back to some things that captivated me in high school -- the project in Braddock with AmeriCorps reminds me a lot of being in Key Club and helping with Hilton Habitat with Brian and Kelly and Kat and everyone, and going to the convention that one year. I feel like my priorities have largely shifted back to what they were around that time.

Of course, I have all the stories I wrote, and that'll tell me a lot about myself, too. Reading the Piper stuff, I see a lot of my current self. In some ways I'm a bit more MATURE than I was and in others I'm not, and I think that's a good thing. There are some places where maybe today I'd be more articulate than I was, and other places where I think to myself, "Wow, I really want to go back to thinking like I did here." I had a lot more time to think back then, but I also didn't do anywhere near as much stuff. I've yet to find my balance and while I think life may be a bit too demanding for the time being, I also think I'm handling it okay for now.

When I sit down to write like this, the time just flies by. I have a bunch of other thoughts that could really be another super-introspective boringtastic LJ entry all by themselves.

The important part?

All of you out there... whether we know each other's real names or not, whether we were ever really friends or not, whether we know each other offline or not, whether we last spoke on good terms or not... I still do care, and I'm thinking of you. Everyone from BBHHS. Everyone from IRC. Everyone from Saiyajins Unite and everyone involved in Tekko.

The memories we created together -- they're really great, aren't they? Even today, they're such a big part of me. Thank you. Maybe someday soon we'll talk again, see each other, find each other some way. Maybe you'll be in Pittsburgh and I'll be wherever you are and we can go get coffee (I still don't drink it, but you get the idea) and catch up or talk about the things we did or the world we created.

I had a rough afternoon today -- I noticed I was running a temperature around lunch, the kids were a challenge, I had a project to do that I was really trying to avoid -- and I got to a point where I was really bitter and frustrated. I looked at what I wrote yesterday and thought, "Where did that person go?" Remembering things and thinking about all of you really cheered me up, and I can't thank you enough, because even simple things you did long ago are still touching me now. I wish I knew a way to reach you all and let you know.

I love and miss you all.
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
01 October 2008 @ 11:07 pm
So I am about two weeks in at my new site. It's been quite an interesting time, that's for sure.

To be honest, I almost dreaded my first day, and then I was terrified of my second, and then my third... but somewhere along the line, it got better. In fact, I'm enjoying myself, and I'm sticking to a routine and getting myself going in the mornings better than I think I ever have before.

I'm working with kids in kindergarten through second grade. In the mornings, I help the guidance counselor out with a conflict resolution program she runs, then I'm in the two second grade classrooms doing reading and math until around 11:30ish, when I have the pleasure of monitoring first and second grade lunch. That's an adventure in itself. After that, I have a little time to eat my own lunch, and I usually squeeze in my own phone call to JJ before I head to one of the kindergarten classes to help with math centers. Then it's off to one of the first or second grade classrooms for science or social studies, depending on what part of the trimester we're in, and then I go back to kindergarten to round out the school day. Currently, I'm tutoring reading in our after-school program four days a week, but I'll be bringing up my own club ideas with our coordinator soon, so hopefully we'll have a Japanese language club or a "World Traveler" club by the end of November.

The school I work at is awesome. As part of the curriculum, we have two groups of visiting artists at a time working with different grade levels, and every six weeks we have a "Celebration of Learning" where each class in grades K-5 performs for the rest of the school and their families. I was with my kindergarten group for the first performance today. They've been taking a hip-hop class, as have my second graders. (The first graders have been doing aerobics.) I was really blown away -- not that any of them were polished professionals, but the performances were so much fun! One of the second grade classes danced to "Thriller" and it was absolutely priceless. My kindergarten group rounded out the day and wow, were they impressive! How often do you see a bunch of five year olds do a complicated dance routine without freaking out? There were a bunch of soloists in our class, too, and I was surprised by quite a few of them.

The past week has been pretty darn cool, actually. Last Saturday I did a service project with a whole bunch of the KEYS AmeriCorps crew out in Braddock. There were about ten members, five other volunteers, two or three staffers, and the mayor of Braddock (who is an insanely cool guy) and we cleaned a whole ton of old debris and plaster out of a duplex in less than an hour. We were preparing the house so that contractors could come in and take care of some wiring issues. Eventually, Then, we went to plant an orchard right up on Braddock Ave. Yes, I'm serious. We had 40-some fruit trees that we put in the ground. Of course, the fact that we hadn't had serious rain in a long time made that project kind of difficult. We were forging along with shovels and pickaxes trying to get down through the fill (and finding lots of bricks and stones) when the volunteer fire company two buildings down brought their pumper truck up. I can now put "operating a fire hose" in one of the places of honor on the List of Cool Stuff I Have Done. XD It was still majorly difficult, but we did get all of those trees in the ground! I think I've just gotten over the soreness, but it was a good sore feeling. =)

At any rate... things are busy, but fun! I'm packing lunches and walking a lot and finally starting to get tougher with the kids at school and bringing JJ breakfast in bed in the mornings and though I still have some things to sort out and a ways to go with the new routine, life is good. However, it is late, so I think I'm done for now. I hope everyone else is well, warm, and enjoying themselves. =)
14 September 2008 @ 09:17 pm
For those of you from Pitt who haven't heard, Keiko-sensei passed away while on a fishing trip this weekend.

Trib article

If anyone hears of memorial service plans, please pass them along.

Crossposting this, probably to the tekko group and japan_in_pgh.
05 September 2008 @ 03:44 pm
Hisashiburi da na~~!

A recap for those who may not be familiar: Jeanie, age 23. Resides in the Pittsburgh suburbs with awesome boyfriend Jim. Uses LJ next to NEVAR anymore. BA 2006 and 2008 University of Pittsburgh.

Year 2 of AmeriCorps starts Monday. I've just confirmed that I'll be serving at Propel Montour. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect when I interviewed there, as I'm not sure what my feelings are on the concept of charter schools in general. However, I was very impressed by how the school is set up, the staff and students seem awesome, and I feel like I can both contribute meaningfully and learn a lot. I'm still doing a side project for the YMCA (and I should really visit them before training's over in a week and a half) and I'm really going to miss the kids from the after school there and my co-workers, but I'm also looking forward to jumping in and making the most of my second term of service while I lay the groundwork for things to come later.

Incidentally, if anyone in the Pittsburgh area is looking for a job, KEYS Service Corps is still hiring for this program year. You won't get a lot in take-home pay during the term, but the education award is a big plus. Additionally, it's a great opportunity to build skills, work with kids, and learn a lot about the nonprofit sector, all while making a difference in Pittsburgh.

End shameless plug. (Seriously, it's a blast.)

I thought I was going to have some free time to myself after my term of service with the Y ended a few weeks ago, but it's really been different than I thought it'd be. For whatever reason I'm having trouble taking advantage of the whole "free time" thing when I have a) the Internet and its black hole-ish nature and b) a ton of stuff I can and should do around the house. We've been working on reorganizing and putting things in their places but it seems like whenever I start to get a handle on STUFF a ton more STUFF just appears out of nowhere.

Once the upstairs is a bit more under control (not that it looks bad now; it's better than it has been but it's not quite to a point where I'm comfy leaving off) we'll be turning our attention to making the basement awesome. For now, the upstairs bathroom has decided that it wants to hog all of the attention, as the potty is being a pain. I believe we're replacing it tomorrow.

Over the last several weeks we've been butchering hedges, as the house's previous owner let them go WAY too long (think a decade or so, maybe more). They're still there, just a lot shorter and less jungle-y. We may eventually build up the hillside farther with all of the yard debris.

In other news, Morning Musume's new single is supposed to be out on the 24th but today is Friday the 5th and they haven't announced a title or shown any PV clips yet. I don't want it to be pushed back, but I want it to be good above all else. I think I'll buy the single when I get my first paycheck of the new term because I really want to support the group.

We've also been reaaaally into Phoenix Wright lately and we're getting close to the end of the last game (Trials and Tribulations, not Apollo Justice because that's not Phoenix Wright now IS it?). I would say I highly recommend the series to you DS owners out there, but I've never actually physically played it, I've been watching JJ. Wait... I did putz around with the Court Record for a few minutes earlier this week, so I've kind of played it, so my opinion counts. ^^ Seriously, it's awesome. The localization team did an excellent job, and it's the kind of game where you don't have to deal with complicated controls or time limits - you investigate and figure things out at your own pace, and some of the cases really do take some serious thought. The stories never turn out as expected, but they all do make sense in the end, and the characters are well fleshed out and memorable.

Well, I guess that's it for now. We have an office and a living room and a kitchen and a guest room and a basement and a garage that I should be working on (but not all at once ugh), and I have writing I haven't done in an age, I should really go outside and enjoy the sun at some point, the fish need a new light for their tank, who knows we'll do for dinner...

Life is crazy. But mine isn't so bad right now.
21 February 2008 @ 11:58 am
20 February 2008 @ 11:13 pm
So I'm in my hotel room in Chicago. There was a lunar eclipse tonight, did you know? My dad told me over the phone and then JJ called and asked if there was supposed to be one tonight, and it was only then that I went outside to look. The moon seemed super bright when we landed, and I knew I was going to hold onto that moment, but the eclipse almost passed me by. JJ and I stood outside and shared that for a moment over the phone.

I learned about deicing planes today. Whatever they sprayed all over the plane looked kind of pinkish. However, the rig they had set up to do the spraying was awesome. There was this guy in a cherry picker type cabin extending from a crane, except the controls looked a lot quicker and more fluid and there was a giant water gun thing on the bottom of the cabin thingy. The two conclusions I drew were that 1) I probably don't want to know what's in plane deicer and 2) deicing planes looks like it would be a really neat job if you didn't have to do it when it was so cold outside.

My flight was oversold. Not everybody showed, though. It kind of would have been neat if they did 'cause I volunteered to be bumped back to the next flight. Even though I would have gotten in later, I'd also have gotten a $250 travel voucher. As it stands, though, I'm dog tired.

This is the first time I've really taken a trip and been by myself. On the way out to Japan, I had to handle a plane transfer by myself, but the moment we got to Narita there were KCP teachers and staff there to haul our jetlagged butts out to our homestays, and then once we were there my host mom helped me learn to navigate the train system. Is that why I was so nervous all day? Once I got dropped off at the airport I was strangely calm.

I have a paper I need to work on tomorrow morning. This semester is really kicking me around a bit, even more than last semester did. Between everything that's going on, it's rare for me not to be dead on my feet -- but I think it's worth it. I'm really enjoying my Korean class and I've learned a lot from my sociology classes, especially the current set. I think AmeriCorps is making those classes especially relevant in some ways. I feel like the way I view the world has totally shifted in the past few months.

I guess I look different to people, too. I haven't exactly shown the best face on LiveJournal in an age. I think that's because the only time posting really matters to me usually is when someone says something and I get upset because I feel that it's an unfair statement that does nothing but hurt people.

When these things happen, I tend to think about them a lot and dwell on the hurt, so as a result I try to stay away from people that I believe say unfair things. It's better for my schoolwork, my work life, and my personal life if I can keep myself from fixating on injustices.

I've been coming to terms with the fact that when I eventually leave the convention, there will be no real loss. I'm good at a few things, but you can always find someone else out there to do the kinds of things I do. There are, however, people who are far better at their jobs than I am who catch a lot of flak from a few persistent people who can't see everything that's going on. There are also people who are consistently undervalued, overlooked, and distrusted despite the fact that the con rests on their shoulders and has done so for years -- and they never say anything about it.

I used to be really loud about the kinds of things I did, and when I was a sophomore in college I actually really thought I could be con chair. Yeah, I was that foolish. Things I've done since then have demonstrated that even more, but the whole "con chair" thing really drives home for me how little I knew.

Anyway, I'm having fun doing my job for the con. I have quite a ways to go and a lot to work with Blue and Bob on but the road has started and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the panels folks present. There are a lot of great panels and a lot of great guests and some great aspects of the new facility and I know this convention as a whole has the potential to be fantastic.

But it's a hobby. I enjoy it and I care about it, but many other things come first.

I care about JJ. His health, his happiness, his peace of mind. I care about my family and my friends. I am really grateful that we have so many supportive friends who are keeping JJ's social calendar very full while I'm away! I work with a bunch of wonderful kids and I care about helping them grow. I care about the disparities in opportunities for students that happen in this country, even within the same school district -- look at what Allderdice kids have in terms of activities and what, say, Westinghouse kids have. I care that bus stations have gang graffiti scribbled on the benches. I care how companies treat their workers, here and overseas, and how they treat the environment. I care about wars and genocides that are going on right now.

I feel guilty sometimes because I'm torn in so many directions right now. I now feel like I'm obligated to do some things, but I can barely keep up with what I have to do, and I still have dreams of what I want to do, and Jim and I have dreams for us, too.

It's late; I'm tired. I wanted to be asleep a while ago but I wanted to write this, too.

Before I go... flying out of Pittsburgh at twilight was amazing. Everything seemed to glow because the lights were bouncing off of the snow. It made everything look softer, like there was an element of magic to it all, like it all had some inner radiance.

As much as I claim to hate Pittsburgh roads sometimes, I'm really glad to live there. Chicago from the sky is this immense grid of light that seems to stretch forever save for a couple of skyscrapers clustered in the middle. It all looks the same, and I can't imagine what it'd be like to live in a neighborhood with nothing unique about it. It seems like it'd be soul sucking. I mean, it's cool to imagine a giant version of oneself stomping around on the grid, but... it can't compare.
1. Technically sick since last Wednesday or Thursday. BSoD'd on Saturday. Today was my first day back to my full normal schedule GO ME. Oh, and Jim caught it, too, but he is convalescing as well.

2. I MADE THE JET INTERVIEW ROUND. Thurs 21 Feb I will be taking a day trip by plane. And train. And automobile at some point. But dood. JET INTERVIEW.

3. Pitt's Rainbow Alliance is hosting Dan Savage (yes, the Savage Love guy) on Tuesday the 5th at 9 pm in David Lawrence Hall (the one next to Hillman Library on Forbes). I saw the poster and thought it was worth posting about because I immediately thought of a ton of people who would want to know about that. So now you know. Oh, yeah, it's free and open to the public. That's important, too.

4. Everyone should listen to more Morning Musume. =)
20 November 2007 @ 11:10 am
A tray liner at McDonald's:

"Teens: Do you think you can't fit in school, activities, and a job? We specialize inflexible scheduling."
19 November 2007 @ 10:58 pm
it never lasts long.

And there's usually this strange feeling, like feeling nothing, that comes after.
Current Mood: blankblank