Midnight Snack

So, I'm having a little Halloween get-together on Monday, and I'm really excited about it. It's not a big deal or anything, but basically any time I get to play dress-up is a good time for me! Plus, there's candy. It's really hard to argue with that.

Unfortunately, my pad is somewhat lacking in festive holiday decor. But I talked to my aunt, and she gave me some great ideas. I'm particularly stoked about the boa bats that will soon grace my living room...

As some of you may know, tomorrow is my youngest sister's 21st birthday. At last, she can drink legally. I wonder if I'll ever see her sober again...
(No, in all honesty though, that's not really fair. She's not that much of a drinker, but of course I have to give her a hard time. It's what big sisters do.)

Tomorrow will definately be interesting, though, as the family situation is particularly tense right now. Funny how brandishing firearms has that effect. Let's just say that my sister and my father are not currently on the best of terms. Seating them together at a small table in a crowded bar tomorrow may well yield unusual results. I have made it my personal mission for tomorrow to not get thrown out of a public establishment. I suspect that achieving this goal will require some effort.

Have you ever had a friend who made ridiculously bad decisions? Not all the time, you know, but someone who just on occasion seemed to be actively trying to destroy themselves? I have such a friend. I am baffled by it. Ah, well, I suppose that once in a while, everyone can dare to be stupid.


Yes, I'd like some cheese with that.

This is a post of me whining. You don't have to read it.

GUAH! I have been sooo super-busy that I am beginning to wonder if I will survive 3 more semesters of this. (It's 3 because Summer I and II count as separate semesters, even though they're short.) I feel totally lost in my Japanese class, I'm behind in Stats and Ed Psych, I have a paper to work on in Adult Appraisal, and I'm afraid to look at my Development syllabus, because I'm pretty sure it'll tell me I have some article reviews due on Monday. That's on top of the Japanese vocab quiz I have on Monday. AND, my house needs to be cleaned, and it's becoming clear that I am the only one who will clean it. We have company coming in this weekend, and I'm sure I won't be able to get anything academic done. And I'll be lucky if I can get the place cleaned in time.

Tonight, we're supposed to go to a friend's house and play a game, but I think that if I manage to plug some holes in the academic dam before 5pm, I should spend the rest of the evening cleaning the house in preparation for the arrival of "the brother", who is flying in at 9.40am tomorrow. However, I'm sure this proposition will go over like a lead balloon.

In addition to this whirling crapstorm of academic responsibility, I should be firming up my ideas for a thesis, taking the Psych GRE, and applying to PhD programs. Most application deadlines are in January, so that doesn't leave me much time. Complicating the matter is of course my old nemesis, money. I don't have any. Every program I apply to will have AT LEAST a $50 non-refundable application fee. Also, I have to pay to take the Psych GRE; I'm guessing that's about $150.

I applied for a job yesterday that I absolutely DO NOT have time for, but that seems to be well beside the point. And even if I could make enough money to cover just my academic costs, I couldn't make it in time, given the slave labor rates the work-study program is offering. And even if I did make all the money in time to send out my applications and stuff, I wouldn't have anything left over for Christmas or a certain someone's birthday.

The bottom line is that I'm swamped, swamped, swamped. I'm so overwhelmed, I don't even know where to start. It is only through sheer force of will that I do not run off naked and screaming into the woods. But let me tell you, that option is looking better by the minute.



I would just like to make it clear to anyone who may be in doubt at this point - I hate Jack Thompson. If you are unfamiliar with the excitable man who believes that EA is in league with the porn industry and that The Sims is a pedophilia tool, please read up. The guys over at Penny Arcade have a great narrative with relevant links up, and thier site is a good place to start. Hmm..., that's not working right now, but I'll get the link up in a bit. Also, there is a lengthy 80-minute radio interview with Mr. Thompson, which is definately worth listening to. In it, it becomes clear that on most points, Jack is a rational, normal human being. However, on certain issues, his logic takes a bizarre and terrifying turn.

If you don't want to dig for the info, here are some good links in what I think are chronological order:
It starts here. Jack makes A Modest Proposal. (By the way, if you somehow managed to escape high school without reading Swift's version, slap yourself repeatedly and head to the nearest library.)

Then, the guys at PA respond to Jack's open letter. (Look for the post titled "Jack Thompson")

Jack gets really angry at the guys at PA.

Jack's influential friends get sick of his nonsense. (The actual letter is at www.gamepolitics.com, but I can't link you to the specific post. The whole darn site is worth a read, but the letter is the first post made on Friday, Oct. 14, 2005. Scroll all the way down to Thursday, then back up a smidge.)

Jack fires back at NIMF. (Scroll past the first bit, if you read the post at the nonsense link, it's essentially the same thing. Jack's rebuttal is below that part.)

Jack renigs on his own proposal.

PA steps up, Jack tries to have them arrested.


Not about schoolwork

Whoa. I have been so busy for the past two weeks, I haven't had a chance to blog, or do anything else for that matter! Well, I did put up that one post, but that hardly counts, now, does it? It was pretty much just academic note-taking, except I was listening to my own lecture.

If you have not played Marvin Spectrum at newgrounds.com, you should. It's like a combination puzzle/hand-eye coordination game that doesn't involve puzzle pieces and doesn't feel twitchy. It's very simple, yet challenging and entertaining. This game makes my brain hurt. I'm pretty sure playing it a lot could improve fluid memory (a.k.a. your brain flexibility and processing speed). It's pretty cool. In fact, stop reading and go play it right now. For those of you who don't know Newgrounds, there's a teeny-tiny little search field up in the top right of the screen. Just type in what you're looking for (Marvin Spectrum, The Black Knight, Dad 'n' Me) and it'll give you a Google-style list of results. I'm sure you can take it from there.

I finally finished the dress I've been working on for my friend. She wanted me to teach her how to sew, and she also wanted to make a dress for an upcoming dance event, so we thought we'd just combine those two goals. Unfortunately, the dress she selected was probably not the best project for a beginner. To make matters worse, the dress fought us at every concievable turn! Have you ever seen the movie Christine? You know, the one about the car that's possessed? It was like that, except the dress DIDN'T want to be made. (By the way, if you haven't seen Christine, you should. It's a hoot!) Anyways, I pretty much ended up making the dress for her so it would get finished on time. My friend did a little sewing, but I'm afraid she didn't learn much. Maybe later we'll do another, much simpler project. Something that doesn't involve a zipper...

For my mother's birthday, I did a little Japanese calligraphy thing. It turned out really well, I think, and I'm quite proud of it. I got the traditional brushes, ink stick and inkstone (a combo grinding surface/inkwell) as a gift a while back, so I used those and my extensive knowlege of the Japanese written language (ha! Hardly...) to paint the cool-looking kanji for "love" on a piece of Bristol board. Then, with the help of a much more artistic and precision-oriented individual, my masterpiece was mounted in a really neat frame. I hope my mother likes it, but even if she doesn't, I still think it's really cool. Erm, I mean, "it gotz mad flava"...


Cloudy, with a chance of Brainstorms

Okay, I have to blog this RIGHT NOW, lest the transient nature of my dry erase board betrays me.
I was at the library researching articles to review for a class, when I ran across one about the effects of computerized ostracism on self-esteem. That got me thinking...

1. Can a computer game (i.e., nonpersonal interaction) make you feel ostracized (as measured by decreased self-esteem and increased feelings of social isolation in a controlled, online environment)?
a) Are gamers (particularly MMORPG-ers) more sensitive or less sensitive to this effect, as compared to people who do not use computers for recreation?

2. If computer games can make you feel ostracized, can they also make you feel accepted? Is recreational online social interaction equivalent to recreational "face time" with friends?
a) Is there a difference between gamers and non-gamers on this issue?
b) Does it matter if the online social interaction is with complete strangers (friends you only know online), or with people you know in real life?
c)What are you missing with extensive online social interaction (ex. sensitivity to body language/vocal inflection/facial expressions, sense of belonging/involvement)? Or are you even "missing" anything at all?

Anyway, maybe some of this stuff will make for good thesis material. Let me know if you guys think of anything, too - I need all the ideas I can get!