Remind me to try this game
Wow, it’s been so long since I last posted anything on this blog. I guess stress from school and various other responsibilities, exacerbated by my tendency to worry myself to ruin, has taken away a lot of the energy that i used to be able to put toward blogging. It might’ve also been a very, very long writers block (which already started a lot earlier, considering how my blog posts had become more focused on content produced by others than my own musings), or more of a idea block in general, that has only gotten worse as the years have gone on – I haven’t really had the urge to draw, learn cosplay-related skills and information, or play any instruments for quite a while. But I still get occasional, somewhat weak urges to take up blogging again even when I have no idea what I would write about in the first place. I’ve also been hesitant to just say whatever is on my mind because I know sometimes my thoughts can be ill-formed, or even problematic or downright hateful, and I don’t want to just spew them here in a manner that I would regret later for having hurt others. Then again, maybe it’s good enough just to type because I enjoy the sound and sensation of my fingers striking the keyboard; I don’t necessarily have to wait until I am very emotional or have something I consider meaningful to write. I do wish I could reclaim that feeling from my early blogging days in middle school when I took an interest in lots of little things around me, kept pondering them, and wrote about them without constantly being plagued by insecurity about how other people might respond.
Since my family recently moved to a new house, we’ve been doing a lot of sorting, packing, unpacking, and more sorting. It’s been exciting and unfamiliar in some ways, since it does mean getting used to a different house after having lived in the same one for the vast majority of my life and living in a different neighborhood and city. But it’s not a completely foreign experience because my parents have long worked very close to our current city and we’re still only about a half hour’s drive from our old residence; in fact, my parents still go back to the other city about once a week, and I sometimes accompany them. I also graduated from high school and started attending university in 2014. On a similar note, my university is different enough from the community I was raised in for me to experience culture shock and meet a lot of people with different experiences, but it’s still geographically close enough for me to visit home without too much inconvenience and there is a fair amount of people who attended my high school or similar high schools who attend that university. So it all feels both new and familiar at the same time. I get a similar vibe looking at this blog now, because it certain feels familiar to me, but I also feel a bit out of place posting here now because I feel the posts that are on it don’t really reflect the current me. That probably means I’ve changed quite a bit over the years, even if I was not or am not consciously aware of myself changing.
It might be because I’ve always been hesitant to throw away or quit when it comes to things that I’ve had for a long time and which now hold a lot of sentimental value for me, but even though there’s a part of me that just wants to completely start over and pretend this blog never existed, I can’t really let go of it since I did really enjoy writing a lot of posts in the old days and getting to talk with my friends in the Cbox that I had back when I still hosted my blog on Blogspot. I’m still thinking about whether I should resume writing on this blog. There’s time constraints to consider, as my winter break will soon be over and I’ll be back to juggling academics and extracurricular activities, but also the question of what platform to use. Recently I’ve been spending most of my time on Tumblr, Twitter, and Youtube, and I don’t really have much of a grasp on how widely used sites like WordPress, Blogspot, Livejournal, and Dreamwidth are at the moment. I suppose it will ultimately come down to where I feel it is the most convenient and enjoyable for me to post my thoughts and still have a relatively easy time keeping track of those posts and accessing them later on.
Whew, I made that a lot more rambling than it needed to be. Thank you if you did bother to read through this long mess.
Friday, April 11 was the Day of Silence. If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s the official description from the website:
The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.
This is my first year participating in Day of Silence. I actually first heard about it in my freshman year. Regrettably, although I attended the info meeting and wanted to participate, I was too afraid of drawing attention to myself. I had never met anyone who was out at school and I didn’t know how the school as a whole or my friends would react; since I had heard about people elsewhere being bullied to the extent of committing suicide, I imagined that it would happen to me, too, if people drew their own conclusions about me after seeing me participating in Day of Silence. It wasn’t until last year that I was finally ready to participate, but yearbook and journalism’s trip to a conference in San Francisco overlapped with Day of Silence, so I wasn’t able to be a part of it at my school. But I finally got to do it.
SPOILERS OF THE END OF THE ANIME IN THIS POST
Things definitely went out with a bang. When I first started out this anime I didn’t expect it to be quite so violent; I thought it would be a more lighthearted show, perhaps due to the bright color scheme. But there definitely ended up being quite a bit of blood of gore, especially in the last two episodes. I do find it interesting that the violence is condemned if it is initiated by “bad guys” like Moral, while it’s viewed as heroic when committed by “good guys” like Nice or Takahiro. It’s true that Moral’s acts of violence are unannounced and are directed against innocent people, but even the protagonists are more violent than they would need to be in the name of self defense or stopping a thug. Seems that all the punching people around was put in just because violence is supposed to be cool. (I know right now I sound like the guy who wrote that website ranting about the glorification of violence in The Matrix and how that’s going to corrupt society…I adore the cinematography and choreography of The Matrix’s fights, though) Murasaki looked a bit like Shizuo (Durarara 2nd season is on its way!!) when he fought against those hordes of Minimum holders in the park.
Even though I suspected that Nice wasn’t really dead – in a previous episode, I think I saw a glimpse of a white-haired head on a bed – I was still taken by surprise when he suddenly showed up at the end and quickly disposed of Moral. After all that buildup to Nice’s showdown with Moral, he got taken down so easily…then again, I know the producers must’ve wanted to throw in some plot twists so that the anime would be more memorable. The final scene reminds me a bit of Code Geass since here in Hamatora we have two (former) best friends who are now seemingly enemies now, trying to shoot each other at the very end of the anime’s first season. I’m rather curious how they’re planning to continue Hamatora from here on out. (I’m really glad Murasaki didn’t die, at least.)
I was recently hit by a pang of nostalgia for the summer program I attended two years ago. It’s called EXPLO at Yale. There, students could choose two classes and two workshops to participate in while getting to live on Yale’s campus. (Yale itself did not host the program, it just provided the location.) There were also weekend trips, mostly to New York, and activities held on campus for entertainment and socialization throughout the week. One of the events was a talent show.
It was mostly the talents you would expect to see – singing and dancing. I suppose if you were watching something like America’s Got Talent (of which I’ve only watched part of an episode) you might see more variety of talents, though of course there would still be a lot of singers and dancers.
Of course, the word talent does also get applied to to activities that aren’t really performing in nature, like drawing. And considering that we have things like the Guinness World Records, I’m sure some would argue that plenty of activities which have no apparent practical use are talents as well. Burping the alphabet, for instance, or beating Pokemon Red en masse, as has recently happened with Twitch Plays Pokemon.
In any case, talented is a word commonly used to describe skill in some activity or other. But what sometimes bothers me about this usage is its resemblance to the way “smart” is often used. Although usually people will call others talented or smart with the positive intent of admiring their prowess, it’s also sometimes used an excuse for not making a serious attempt to improve at an activity. A person might praise others’ talent for art but they themself will insist that they just “suck at art”. Or they might enviously comment about others being smart and good at math while attributing their own difficulties with the subject to their stupidity/dumbness.
I do believe that everyone has innate strengths and weaknesses. But no one (or at least, almost no one) who is really, really good at something started out that way. It would still take a great deal of time and dedication in order to reach that level. It just means that if you don’t naturally have an aptitude for something, you’ll probably have to work harder than someone who does in order to become an expert at it. Even among athletes, for example, some people might be better suited to long-distance, endurance sports, while others will be better suited to doing things in a quick burst, due in part to the ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fibers that they have; however, you can convert some of the slow twitch fibers to fast oxidative fibers (which could be considered “intermediate” fibers since they are somewhere between slow oxidative and fast glycolytic fibers in their endurance). Also, one of my friends has an aptitude for math and it is her favorite subject, while math is one of the most frustrating subjects for me. It often takes me weeks after first “learning” something in math before I really begin to understand it, and math just doesn’t come naturally to me. However, back in elementary school, for about two years, my parents sent me to afterschool/summer math classes every weekday. The sheer amount of practice gave me a temporary boost in math and allowed me to pass the test which determined whether students would be put in advanced math (1 year ahead) or kept in the “regular” track for the following school year. So I ended up permanently (I would only be able to leave if I got failing grades or stopped taking math classes after fulfilling the graduation requirement) in the advanced track. I struggled more and more with math after that head start I received started to wear off. Math is still one of the subjects that requires a lot more studying on my part to do well on a test than for other subjects, and I often forget what I’ve learned in only a short period of time. Nevertheless, it is still possible to become good at math, if I were willing to devote the huge amount of time and energy required.
I suppose it just comes down to the intended meaning when someone uses the word talented/talent. Are they referring to natural gifts only, or are they including all the effort that was made in their definition of talent?
I recently finished reading Natsumi Ando’s manga Arisa. It’s the third one of her mangas that I’ve read – I’ve also gone through Zodiac P.I. and Kitchen Princess – and since I haven’t blogged in ages, I figured I’d discuss some things that I liked and didn’t like about Arisa. Please do note that this post contains some spoilers. Also, be advised that Arisa does depict suicide attempts, terrorist bombings, and bullying so you may not want to read the manga if it will be triggering for you.
Based on that alone, it’s already apparent that Arisa is darker than a lot of shoujo manga, or at least most of the ones I’ve read. My experience with shoujo in a school setting has usually been some romance between a rich and/or popular guy with an “average” girl, or occasionally a teacher and his student, with a love rival showing up at some point or another to complicate things. While Arisa does have some romance and a cutesy large-eyed art style, it was a refreshing read for me since it had a different vibe from what I’m used to in the shoujo genre.