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Another Hooked on Who if anyone's interested. 9:30 pm, January 9 and 10 at the Brattle Theater. I'll sadly be back in Maine and don't think I can make it considering I have classes and work Monday morning and three hour drive and all, although the Saturday one's a possibility.

It's good to be home. Although stranger every time to come back to my childhood home with less and less of a connection to it. So I guess I mean it's good to be done with this semester and finally have time to relax. Really I wish I was back at Colby with a few weeks of freedom to actually have time to hang out with people and spend time with Karen. Instead it's back to the grind as soon as I go back, although Jan Plan this year should be somewhat easier and less time-consuming than my normal semesters and than my Jan Plan last year. We'll see.
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Friday night I went to a dance show with a number of my friends, which was just enjoyable. After, Karen and I stayed up until close to 2am to finish watching the fourth season of Doctor Who. I love the finale so much. Just all of the companions inside the TARDIS. It's wonderful. On Saturday, I ate breakfast with Eli, Leah and Karen and then Eli and I headed to take the Putnam exam. 6 hour math competition split into two 3 hour sessions, 12 questions, 120 points, mean score across the country is 2 points. I've missed proving things and math this semester. It's just fun and interesting and intellectually stimulating. Plus I miss being around people who understand why you would spend all Saturday doing math when it isn't for a class. It's just fun sitting around a table at a restaurant (Big G's, which has the biggest sandwiches ever, seriously a quarter of a sandwich is enough for a meal, so very good, so very big) discussing challenging problems and writing out proofs on napkins. As I was walking out of the classroom after the competition was over, it was snowing and it was just beautiful and wonderful. I spent the evening working on the juggling club website, which is technically the final project for my class, but is just enjoyable and I would do it for fun (if I had the time) even if it wasn't an assignment.

And then today, I slept in. Got up around 11 to get brunch (delicious delicious Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries) and then drove up to UMaine Orono with Leah and Noah (our juggling advisor from last year who's now at Bowdoin) for the Maine Juggling Day (1pm - 7pm juggling, giant gym, jugglers from throughout the state). So much fun, so brilliant, so worth the sore muscles. I can pass clubs with early doubles now. And a number of people complimented me first on my shirt (Schrodinger's Cat Is Dead on one side, Schrodinger's Cat Is Not Dead on the other) but also on my five ball cascade. I'm slowly getting better at 5, it makes me happy. A group of us at one point attempted to pass clubs in a star formation, which worked for a second until clubs started colliding, and also in various overlapping squares/triangles when we got more than 5 people. We also did various long w-feeds where everyone was passing to two other people alternating which person every 2 beats. It's hilarious because of how errors pass down the line. There was a professional magician who showed up who couldn't do much juggling but showed us a bunch of cool things you can do with a deck of cards (like flinging a single card all of the way across the gym) or with some coins that are more related to juggling than magic and were just fascinating.

When we got back to Colby, (I was suspecting this was going to happen tonight, but it was still amazing) a bunch of my friends decorated my room with streamers and balloons stuck to the ceiling and hid in the dark with cake waiting for me to unlock my door and walk in. We have a thing for surprise birthday parties. As an end to a great weekend, it was perfect.

So tired now, but so very happy.
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Georgia looks over at me, throwing out a question that just came to her mind as she tends to do when she's bored: "What do you find beautiful?" I start to answer, but then have to stop and think about it. "Well, I find a lot of things beautiful. A tree reaching magnificently towards the blue sky. A cat dozing peacefully in the grass. A person's face lighting up as they laugh. A simple and elegent proof. An elaborate poem. Someone proud of an accomplishment. Confidence." I go on to tell her that there's a version of beauty held up as standard by magazines, tv shows, movies, but that everyone has their own vision of beauty and it doesn't have to do anything with being thin. Beauty can be found in nature, it can be found in art, it can be found in math, it can be found in people. Georgia, who is still bored, obviously didn't expect such an elaborate answer. We find something to do, but the conversation plays over in my head (like many of our conversations) for the rest of that day as well as randomly since.

I find beauty in people's happiness. I find confidence attractive. There are other personality traits that appeal to me, like intelligence and curiosity. But really I see beauty in happiness. Someone happy with themselves, passionate about their work, surrounded by people they love and who love them is beautiful. The wedding I went to this weekend was beautiful. Somewhat simple and small, but heartbreakingly beautiful to see two people so in love commit to each other in front of their closest friends and family on a small island in Boston harbor.

It's something I've been working on a bit this year and thinking about a lot. Bringing my life more in line with what I consider beautiful and valuable and worthwhile. Trying to live my life in a way that adds joy to the people I surround myself with and in that way add beauty to their lives and mine. There's a philosophy I've been aware of for awhile that I've started to try to integrate into my life over the past year. The philosophy revolves around the idea that I am responsible for my own happiness. It is my choices that determine the course of my life. There are any number of things that are completely out of my control, but by accepting those things and focusing only on the aspects of my life I do have control of, I can make conscious choices that make my life and the lives of people around me better. I may not always have control of the situations I find myself in, but I have control of how I respond to those situations. And I can choose to respond in ways that will make me happy. I can surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself and engage me intellectually and emotionally. And I can schedule my life in such a way that I have time for all of the things that matter to me and all of the people I matter to. It's still a process to make the right choices, to find the right balance, but the shift in thought is essential. And I find myself less stressed out so far this year, with more time to read and juggle and watch Doctor Who and spend time with the people who matter to me. And that is incredible.
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It's always interesting when I go home these days. It's amazing how in just slightly more than a year my feelings towards my childhood home have completely changed. And how quickly I've come to call Colby home (although that's not entirely true, it's not exactly home so much as where I happen to live at this moment). At some point this weekend, my mom and I were talking about coordinating the timing of everything that was going to happen yesterday (craziness of a wedding as well as getting two kids back to college) and I said something about 'my bus home leaves at 7:15' while talking about how I was getting back to Colby. It was sortof a slip of the tongue, but not really. Colby's where I live now. I've spent a weekend here and there at home in Arlington this past year. And a few weeks at the beginning and end of summer as well as the three weeks of winter break. But otherwise I've been at Colby. I live here now. It's not quite home yet, and I'm not sure if it'll ever really be (it's difficult for a place to be home, for there to be stability when you have to move to a new room every year plus move back "home" every summer). But every time I come back to Arlington now, it becomes less and less going home and more and more just visiting my parents and high school friends. The actual house and the actual location of Arlington are gradually becoming unimportant.
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Hooked on Who information (scroll down): next Friday and Saturday. A donation of $5 per person reserves seats but the last two haven't sold out so it probably isn't required.
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Oh life... I notice as I'm happier and less stressed out, I feel less of a need to spend time online, or to feel it worth my time to read fanfic or fill out memes or update this journal. These days, yes I still check lj and facebook and email at least once a day, but I haven't been spending the hours online that I used to. I check at most a few times a day for only about 15 minutes each time. I don't think I've read fic (and I include Sam's original fic in this) in more than a month. Which when I think about it, is surprising and somewhat sad, considering the amount of fanfic I read even just two years ago. And yet, I'm filling my days with interesting classes (and so little work this semester it is wonderful), juggling, my girlfriend, my friends. And this month has flown by. Occasionally I think about the online interaction I may be missing, but the thought quickly fades while cuddling with Karen and watching Doctor Who projected on the big screen surrounded by friends only recently converted to its awesomenosity. I could post about everything awesome that's been happening in the past month (Alex and Jule visiting for a weekend, creating a snow TARDIS, converting my girlfriend and friends to Doctor Who, going to an amazing juggling workshop with ex-Cirque Du Soleil performers and with that finally being able to do a four-count and two-count to pass clubs with Leah, spending hours talking and watching Numb3rs with Rebecca, finally having an amazing math class for the first time in my life, etc, etc.) but mentioning them briefly is enough and instead I will go read some more of Good Omens before going to bed.
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Another year gone. Another yuletide filled this year with an amazing 2426 stories in 1010 different fandoms. My recs after my first read through the archive are under the cut for 47 brilliant fics in 34 different fandoms: Across the Universe, Aladdin, Animaniacs, Big (movie), the Big Bang Theory, Blackadder, Calvin and Hobbes, Canturbury Tales, the Dark is Rising, Dead Poets Society, Dr. Horrible, Dr. Suess, Enchanted, Fairy Tales, the Giver, H G Wells, His Dark Materials, the Hobbit, the Incredibles, Indiana Jones, Lemony Snicket, Love Actually, Mulan, Myths (Greek and Roman), the Outsiders, the Princess Bride, Rocky Horror, RPS - the French Revolution, RPS - Doctor Who, Shakespeare, Stranger Than Fiction, Vorkosigan series, Wall.E, XKCD:

recs under the cut )

I may have more recs in a few days, but for now I go to sleep.
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I don't normally rec fics. But this was one of the best fics I've ever read, that I can remember at least, and the fact that I would say that about a fic with this pairing is saying something. I just spent my Saturday taking a calc exam this morning (ugh...), sleeping for four hours this afternoon, packing and then reading this fic instead of studying for my Greek History exam tomorrow. And it was so worth it. Go read The White Road. It's really long and Snarry, as a warning for most of you or enticement for Miranda, but it is phenomenally written and made me almost not hate the pairing, kindof like this fic made me forget to hate RPS (linking to it just for you, Carol). And now to sleep...


Dec. 1st, 2008 01:15 am
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Nothing is better than my roommate Jena deciding as she walks in the door at 11pm (after an awful 4 hour drive just to get through MA) to call/text everyone we know to have a snowball fight. It was glorious. We ended up with 20 or 30 people in front of the main library on campus just throwing snow at each other, rolling down the little hills, making snow angels, making a snow platypus to honor Carol from across states (although that was just me and Katy and it was quickly ruined by people falling on top of it). After, we all slid down a hill to the student union (past a giant ball of snow that had been made into a giant chair) and then just to weird people out, walked single file through solemnly holding snowballs. Which we then threw at everyone as they exited the other side. Another snow fight ensued. And then Katy, Jena and I decided to go over and slide down the hill that leads up to the chapel and a couple of dorms. We were obviously not the first to think of doing so. A number of collapsed cardboard boxes and wet floor signs lay on the ground as improvised sleds and a number of paths led down the hill. I tried out some of the cardboard boxes, but we all determined that the wet floor signs worked best. Colby got rid of cafeteria trays last year as an attempt to be more environmentally conscious. So instead we seem to improvise sleds out of cardboard XD. It was a perfect first night back on campus.
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It's amazing how much can be associated with a word, a facial expression, a song. "Don't Stop Believing" came on tonight at dinner and a flood of images and feelings from the end of Last Blast came rushing back to me. I'd heard the song maybe once before it was arbitrarily chosen as our class song. And now I associate it very strongly with my class and the last time I saw most of the people in it. It made me happy at dinner, but now listening to it in my room just makes me miss everyone a lot.
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An interesting article on airport security. I've heard similar things before, possibly from Schneier as I remember the sentence "Only two things have made flying safer: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers." And I was actually talking to my dad this summer when we were in the airport in Florida about whether the workers in airports have to walk through security every day; I don't remember what my dad was saying, but this article says no.

Looking around the Atlantic site, (as I've found interesting articles tend to cluster in magazines with one week's edition containing five brilliant articles and the next week containing all dull ones) I started reading this article on transgender (... LiveJournal's spell check doesn't recognize transgender...) children. We spent a month or so in my psych class last year discussing gender roles and touching on transgender people, so some of the examples mentioned like Money and the Reimer boys, I already know a lot about, but I found the article fascinating anyway.

And then just a funny article on swear words and obscenity. Although it's mainly funny because of the Carlin video embedded in it.

For John Barrowman fans, some hilarious (and slashy) photos and entries about a recent convention are here and here.

And now to continue not studying for that Greek History midterm I have tomorrow morning.
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Carol, the platypus is losing to a dragon in this poll. You must fix this. Thankfully, the TARDIS is winning in the other one.
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My memory is wonderful, really it is. Giulia, Carol and Elisabeth came over today to watch Doctor Who. And after we finished the most recent episode (is it Saturday yet?), as we were discussing random things and having tickle/pillow fights, I mixed a number of things up.

Let's see, so Peter Paige who plays Emmett on Queer as Folk actually is gay, although I swear I remember being surprised to find out that he was straight because he's so fabulous... Which means the gay actors in QAF play Justin, Emmett, Ben and Uncle Vic, as one of you said.

Also, Barrowman tried out for Will & Grace (not Queer as Folk) and was rejected because he wasn't gay enough.

And the fic I was thinking of both wasn't written by [ profile] copperbadge (I think he linked to it at some point, though) and, after rereading it, doesn't seem to be what you were thinking of Giulia, but it's here and is a wonderful crossover between Doctor Who and Discworld (not Sandman - Pratchett, Gaiman, same person, really...). I think I remember another fic as well but I can't seem to find it.

And the star-shaped spaceship showed up in the Christmas special with Donna, which makes sense because that's the first time she shows up in Doctor Who.
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Summer is sortof settling down for me into a regular schedule with random parties thrown in all over the place. I'm babysitting for somewhere around 15 hours a week for the rest of the summer (5 hours each on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, although occasionally a Wednesday or Friday is thrown in there instead). And then having people over on Tuesday evenings to play board and card games.

And it seems I'll also be juggling every other Monday evening with my brother, Teddy and Morgenbesser. It was wonderful tonight. Bear and Morgenbesser were working on three club passing, which they got pretty good at, while Teddy and I just worked on random things. I got a different vibe from tonight, though, than I get from juggling with Alex, or the juggling that happened in Baltimore, or the random juggling my brother and I do. It wasn't a bad vibe, just different. I'm not sure what it was, but it prevented me from enjoying tonight as much as I normally enjoy juggling with other people because I noticed it and it kept me from fully getting into juggling (horrible sentence structure I know, shut up; I'm too lazy to fix it...). It was still wonderful and I can't wait for Monday after next, but it was just off somehow. Maybe it was just the humidity or the fact I didn't sleep well last night and then had to wake up at 7:30 on 5 hours of sleep and babysit. It might also have been the fact that I wasn't teaching anyone anything (I was with jugglers of around my ability instead of lower) and it was an actual scheduled meet-up to juggle rather than randomly happening at the airport or at my house. But I dunno.

Other than that, had fun at the spontaneous party at Carol's house last night, went to see Narnia with Katy on Saturday, realized it's two short months away before I'll be at Colby, have mostly gotten used to having Kristen living with us, AP scores are released by telephone tomorrow and my mind is all over the place right now, so I think I'll stop now before I end up discussing Taft in a wet t-shirt contest or something. (Why am I referencing an old XKCD comic, you ask? Because XKCD is awesome and is applicable in any situation.) I'm done now really I am. Humidity makes me insane. As does Doctor Who. ("You cannot blame Doctor Who for this!"). And lack of sleep. I'm going to bed now really I am.
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RULE: When you see this, post a quote from Doctor Who on your LJ.

Cyber Leader: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
Dalek Sec: This is not war. This is pest control!
Cyber Leader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
Dalek Sec: Four.
Cyber Leader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
Dalek Sec: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You are superior in only one respect.
Cyber Leader: What is that?
Dalek Sec: You are better at dying.

- Doomsday
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Graduation was annoyingly hot and I forgot to wear sunscreen so got pretty badly sunburned. Last Blast was so much fun, though. We got Elisabeth in without any problems. It really hit me some time in the middle of the night that this was the last time I'd see most of these people. The people I care about, I'll stay in touch with by email, livejournal, facebook. But the rest of these people who I've interacted with (positively or negatively) throughout elementary school, middle school and high school have basically left my life forever. It's somewhat a relieving thought, but it's also a depressing one.

Yesterday, Carol and Elisabeth came over and we spent 7 hours watching all of this season of Doctor Who. We're gonna have another marathon to see the final four episodes once those have aired. Oh Doctor Who, why are you so wonderful? I'm surprised I've come to like Donna as a companion. I hated her in the Christmas special, but she's grown on me. And Tennant is wonderful as always.

I leave for Florida tomorrow morning. I'll be back late on the 20th. It's annoying, because there's so much going on in the next week and I'd love to go to these graduation parties, to film Pamlet, to go to Relay for Life, etc but I have to say I can't come, I'll be in Florida. This week will probably be an amazing time with my cousins, but I just wish it wasn't happening right now.
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Went to see JK Rowling at Harvard Commencement today with Katy, Pam, Maya, Carol, Emily, Miranda, Danny, Rosalie and Rebecca. Lots of waiting around doing nothing and listening to lame music and boring speeches, but Rowling was wonderful. (Transcript of her speech with video and audio here). Then went to the Senior Awards Night. Ugh. Three hours to give out 114 awards. I got two awards and some money, so whatever. Just now I'm utterly exhausted.

This week's felt incredibly busy and long, mainly because it's involved a lot of waiting around for things. Sunday, I did some juggling, but not much else as I was still feeling antisocial. But on Monday, my mom took my brother and me to the DMV to get Mass State IDs as neither of us has a passport or driver's license, and therefore neither of us has a valid form of identification. My brother also needed to get a new driver's permit as he let his old one expire. We spent three hours there waiting around for things, but Bear managed to pass the test by the skin of his teeth so got his permit and we both got the IDs. Afterwards, I went over to Katy's house and we played some badminton, watched some of the first Harry Potter movie, made lemonade popsicles and worked a bit on a puzzle.

Tuesday, I went over to Claire's house with Pam where we watched The Three Musketeers, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and 1776. So much fun. Wednesday was graduation rehearsal in the morning. Afterwards, I followed Miranda and Carol around as they gave their wonderful drawing to all of their teachers and then 12 of us invaded AHOP for pizza. We had a few hours to kill before the yearbooks were being handed out, so we bused to Alex's house and watched a kung-fu movie. We got a ride back to the high school and waited around forever for the yearbooks to get handed out. There was definitely a better way for them to do that.

And then tomorrow is prom. I'll probably sleep in really late and then get ready for it. Saturday, we're celebrating my mom and Kristen's birthday, as Sunday is graduation so we can't celebrate them on the actual day. My mom's friend Carol, who is in Boston for the Harvard activities, is coming over for dinner and dessert. And Sunday is graduation and then Last Blast. And then I have a week to recover before leaving for Florida, although I've actually already said I'll hang out with a bunch of people next week. Busy busy busy.
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I'm not sure I've ever written about introversion or how it affects me, but it's something I've thought about over the past couple of years. I'm introverted. I prefer being alone to being in large groups of people. I do enjoy getting together with my friends, even if with the crew, that involves getting together with 15 people, but I need time to be by myself. For the most part, when I'm by myself, I don't have anything scheduled for specific times. If I feel like it, I can sit and stare at the wall for an hour, or I can read, or I can check my email. And for some reason I prioritize scheduled things - school, club meetings, doctor's appointments, babysitting, parties - higher than the time I need alone because the time alone isn't scheduled and it's "free time."

Over the summer, and during the school year as well, when one of my neighbors asks me to babysit, I have trouble saying no because I don't have anything else scheduled. I then can't say no when they ask me to stay an extra hour, because what would I be doing if I didn't stay? But I do need that time to be by myself. And when I don't have that time, I become irritable and exhausted. And yet, I consider time spent alone in my room as wasted no matter what I do, while a day spent just lazing outside with people is a day well spent. Which would be irrational even if I wasn't an introvert. I should judge how well I spend my time by what I accomplish, not by whether I'm with other people or not.

So I feel bad when I spend too much time alone, but I become irritable and tired when I don't spend enough time alone. And it's tough to strike the right balance between the two. Especially because it's really easy for me to go too far to either side. On the alone side (which I only fall into during vacations or an extended illness as school is forced socialization), I end up sleeping too much, eating either too little or too much and falling into a depressed, lonely state. When I snap out of it and spend some time with other people, I've noticed that that period of time alone becomes blurry in my memory. On the other side, spending too much time around other people makes me really tired and eventually I become overwhelmed and have to get away from everyone and everything.

The problem is I typically explain all of this away as mood swings or walking around too much or just being sick and so I don't modify my behavior. I just realize a week later, oh I was feeling depressed this week because I spent five days in front of my computer without talking to anyone, or oh I was really exhausted this week because I was hanging out with a bunch of people every day.

The other thing I've noticed is, my family has no effect on this. Being around my family for extended periods of time is as bad as being alone for extended periods of time. On the other hand, any house guests (who aren't my cats, brother or parents) have the same effect as spending too much time with other people, even if my interactions with them are minimal. Their presence in the house and at meals is enough to drain me of energy and make me irritable. I'm actually surprised that my weekend in Baltimore went fine even though I was around other people constantly. I'm not surprised that I'm feeling drained of energy and antisocial today, though. I've been spending all of my time with other people, plus we also have a house guest.

I still need to think about this more.
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I'm done with classes :D and officially done with History, Calculus and English. I still have a Programming final to take, my closure speech to write and present for Psych and my Physics demonstration to do, but then I'm done with high school!

I'm leaving for Baltimore tomorrow morning and probably won't be checking email/lj/facebook until I get back on Sunday. I can't wait! I'm bringing juggling balls so Alex, Teddy and I can be even more geeky and juggle together. And now I'm going to bed so I can get up at 5:30 tomorrow to get to the airport. ^^

March 2010


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