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GuitarCries [userpic]

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December 5th, 2011 (10:42 pm)

current location: home
current mood: exhausted

Wow, I haven't updated in over 2 months? I don't think that's ever happened before...

This semester has been tough. Things are good in general. I will hopefully get it together to write a proper entry once the semester is over next week.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

July 2nd, 2010 (01:21 pm)

current location: home
current mood: sad

One of my classmates died a few days ago. Her name was Haosi Wu, and she was home in China visiting her family. Apparently they went to an amusement park, where there was an accident: Amusement park accident kills 6 in China. Two of the others killed were her parents, which somehow made me feel better. It seemed awful to think about two parents mourning the death of their probably only child.

Haosi and I weren't super close, but since we were pursuing the same dual degree, we had many classes together over the last year (2 in the fall, 3 last semester), worked together on group projects, hung out together with the other students outside of class, and practiced our Japanese together. She was fluent in Chinese, Japanese, and English, which always amazed me - especially the thought of completing a master's degree in a language other than one's own. I remember talking with her towards the end of last semester about how difficult it must be for her to write papers in English. She said that there were two kinds of professors - ones that graded you more leniently because they knew that English wasn't your first language, and those that graded everyone equally. She said she preferred the latter.

This is the first time that someone who was a part of my daily life has died. It's hard to imagine going back to school in September and not seeing her. We had gone out with two other girls a few months back for a girls' night and had been trying to plan another one, but between everyone's crazy schedules over the summer, we ended up postponing it until September. She had also offered to help me with Chinese once I started studying this fall. In our Japanese history class on Tuesday nights, she used to share her snacks with me. Last fall, we'd often study in neighboring cubicles at the library during the afternoon. I'd walk by to see her watching a Chinese drama on her laptop while eating her lunch out of a bento box. And she'd always brazenly plan her presentations for Japanese history class while the professor gave his lecture, which always amused me. I can't believe she won't be there when we go back.


On a random note, one of the Russian spies who was arrested last week was a graduate of the same dual degree program from my university. Apparently he attended an alumni event in D.C. just a few days before he was arrested.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

May 20th, 2010 (12:46 am)

current location: Toronto
current mood: sleepy

I'm having a great time in Toronto so far. Today I went to the Bata Shoe Museum for a bit; it was interesting, but somewhat small and not so exciting. I think I was there for about an hour or so. Had cheap but tasty Mexican for lunch, then I went walking around a couple of the downtown neighborhoods for awhile (The Annex and Yorkville) and checked out the new facade of the Royal Ontario Museum, which is pretty amazing. They attached this huge geometric glass "diamond" to the building... like, affixed it right on top of the old building. It's hard to explain, but it is incredibly striking. I then walked across town to visit Casa Loma, which is a mansion that looks more like a castle built by a super rich guy in the early 20th century. On the way there I went through some really gorgeous residential neighborhoods.

When I arrived at Casa Loma, they mentioned that several rooms were closed off due to a private event. I couldn't help but ask the girl who sold me my ticket if she knew what the event was - I guess I assumed a wedding or something. Turns out that Ozzy Osbourne was having a CD release party. Not that I could get so much of a glimpse - they managed to keep visitors away from any possible vantage point from which you might see anything. But I could hear it going on the whole time, including copious amounts of organ playing, even from three stories above. Even without Ozzy, I was really glad I decided to go there. Exploring the house and gardens was really interesting, and you can even climb up to what is probably the equivalent of the 6th floor into the top of the towers by way of a number of narrow staircases. Lovely views of downtown from there. The Ozzy thing was loud and distracting (might have been more excited if I could actually see him, or watch it going on, but being kept from that, I just wanted to ignore it), and there was a huge gaggle of loud, sweaty junior high schoolers whom I wanted to smack. Otherwise a great experience.

I made my way back to Dan and Tomoko's neighborhood and sat reading by myself for awhile at a coffee shop, and Dan came and met me a bit later. We chatted for an hour or so, then headed home and he made a tasty veggie and tofu stir fry for dinner. Tomoko got home somewhat late after work and her tap dancing class. Was a great day with tons of walking and interesting things to see and do, and was glad to have some time to relax towards the end of the day and chill with Dan.

Tomorrow we're meeting up with Katie and going out to the islands, which are a ferry ride from downtown. Should be lovely weather for it.

It's great seeing Tomoko and Dan again. I can't believe it's been three years.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

January 8th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

current mood: angry

New Jersey Senate Defeats Gay Marriage Bill
Published: January 7, 2010

TRENTON — The State Senate on Thursday rejected a proposal that would have made New Jersey the sixth state in the nation to allow marriages involving same-sex couples. The vote was the latest in a succession of setbacks for advocates of gay marriage across the country.

Richard Perry/The New York Times
The Senate gallery just before the final vote, a nay, was cast to defeat the gay marriage bill, 20 to 14. Supporters vowed a battle in State Supreme Court.
After months of intense lobbying and hours of emotional debate, lawmakers voted 20 to 14 against the bill, bringing tears from some advocates who packed the Senate chambers and rousing applause from opponents of the measure, who also came out in force. The vote ends the effort to win legislative approval of the measure, and sets the stage for a new battle before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

“We applaud the senators for upholding a time-tested institution: marriage,” said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, which has argued that gay marriage would weaken the social fabric by redefining one of society’s bedrock institutions.

Supporters of gay marriage had hoped to win approval for the measure before Jan. 19, when Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who promised to sign it, will be replaced by Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie, who opposes it.

With the effort to win legislative approval now dead, supporters of same-sex marriage vowed to focus their efforts on the state’s highest court, which in 2006 ordered lawmakers to give same-sex couples the same rights as others whether or not they called such unions marriages. The Legislature responded by enacting a civil unions law, but gay-rights leaders say that the measure still leaves them subject to discrimination when applying for health insurance or trying to visit partners in hospitals, and that they will ask the court to grant them equal treatment.

“Even our opponents in the Legislature acknowledge that the civil-union law has not provided equal protection,” said Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, who has led the lobbying for the past six years and wept as the bill’s sponsor, Senator Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, introduced it.

The defeat in New Jersey, which has widely been viewed as one of the nation’s most socially tolerant states, was a significant setback for advocates of gay marriage. Last month, a similar measure was defeated in New York’s Legislature, and in November voters in Maine repealed a gay-marriage law in a referendum.

But leaders of Lambda Legal Defense Fund, which has helped coordinate gay rights causes in New Jersey and elsewhere, said they said they were confident that the court would prove more receptive than the Legislature.

“We are upset, we are disappointed, but we aren’t done fighting,” said Leslie Gabel-Brett, Lambda’s director of education and public affairs.

Opponents of gay marriage said that they, too, were prepared for a legal fight. Jon Tomicki, a leader of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage, said that legislators had already complied with the court order by enacting civil unions, and urged lawmakers to let the public cast its verdict on gay marriage in a referendum.

“In 30 other states, voters have gotten the chance to decide,” Mr. Tomicki said. “There’s no reason why New Jerseyans shouldn’t have the same right.” In nearly every instance in which gay marriage has been put up for a referendum, it has been defeated.

But supporters of gay marriage view their cause as a matter of civil rights which should be settled by the courts and Legislature, and point out that in 1915, New Jersey voters in a referendum rejected giving women the right to vote. Five years later, the 19th Amendment granted women voting rights.

Although it was not a major issue in the governor’s race, the effort to win legislative approval of same-sex marriage is widely viewed as a casualty of Mr. Corzine’s defeat in November. Some Democrats who had been receptive to the issue, and took financial and organizational support from gay activists, grew squeamish.

Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, who is scheduled to become Senate president this month, said he thought voters would look unkindly on the Legislature if it pushed for a social issue at a time of economic suffering. Senator Sweeney did not cast a vote on the measure on Thursday. In all, five senators did not vote and one was too ill to attend.

Senator Gerald Cardinale, a Republican from Cresskill, said during the debate on the Senate floor on Thursday that the results of the governor’s race were a clear indication that voters opposed gay marriage. Senator Cardinale said that although the civil unions statute was flawed, the state would be doing “violence” to the institution of marriage by changing its current definition as a union between one man and one woman.

“There are many who believe that this bill will change our entire culture,” he said, shortly before casting his “no” vote.

But Senate President Richard J. Codey, a Democrat from Essex, said that the furor surrounding gay marriage was based on the same type of unfounded fear of the unknown that was used to justify discrimination against women and racial minorities.

“One day people will look back and say, ‘What were they thinking?’ ” Senator Codey said, and, “ ‘What were they so afraid of?’ ”

After the vote, hundreds of supporters of the bill gathered in front of the State House to exchange tearful hugs and plot the next move in their effort. Among them was Christi Sturmont, who said she and her partner were dejected, but not despondent.

“We were holding out hope that we’d be able to get married and have full citizenship,” she said. “But now we’ll have to settle for second-class citizenship. For now. We’re not done fighting.”


Just look at the other states that have legalized gay marriage. Instantly, fabric of their society was torn into tiny bits and destroyed entirely. Culture on every level was changed so dramatically that it was unrecognizable. Zombies roamed the streets and ate everyone's brains.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

December 16th, 2009 (11:13 am)
current location: work

Came into work today forgetting that we have our office holiday party today and only have to work until 1:45. Sweet.

I finished my paper last night shortly before midnight. I can't be too relieved considering the final tomorrow though. But once that's over, I'll be in the clear. To celebrate the end of the semester we're going for Japanese-style karaoke in the city on Friday night with some of my classmates, so that should be fun.

The new kitty is getting more and more affectionate... it is so lovely. I still love Mochi, who as also gotten more affectionate as she's gotten a bit older, but the kitten is clearly much more affectionate in general. The only downside of the kitten is that her poops are incredibly smelly for whatever reason.

Looking forward to getting out early today, but once I get home I should immediately start studying for tomorrow's final, so that takes a bit of the fun out of it. Studying is a lot better than paper writing, though.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

October 10th, 2009 (09:37 pm)

current location: home
current mood: anxious

It's been a pretty good day today, aside from my stress at having tons of schoolwork to do and feeling almost paralyzed by that and unable to really concentrate.

We were up pretty early for us on a weekend (about 9:45), and after showers and such went out to the diner for some breakfast. I love me some Jersey diner breakfast, yes I do. Then we finally went and visited the Victorian-era cemetery down the street from our apartment. I have been wanting to visit this place for months, having driven by the huge eye-catching stylized brown gates that face a major street numerous times. We had planned to go a few weeks ago, but it was raining, and we've been going away a lot or having plans on the weekends generally. So finally today was good - no plans, and gorgeous fall weather. The cemetery itself was pretty cool, apparently first built in 1844. The burial dates range from the mid-1800s to as recently as four or five years ago, and there's still a bit room for more. There were a few enormous mausoleums, plenty of smaller ones, and some cool unique graves. An area blocked off for Newark firefighters was surrounded by a fence that resembled a bunch of fire hydrants, all painted yellow and red, and had a centerpiece of an enormous obelisk topped by a sculpture of a 19th century era firefighter. The lower end of the cemetery goes right down to a busy and noisy highway, and the graves down there were especially neglected (much of the graves were, unfortunately) with trash all over the place and lots of erosion. We saw many instances of broken or toppled over gravestones, and much to my dismay the engravings on most of the older graves were either completely worn off or illegible. It was sad to see several obelisks with the names and ages of death of six or seven children borne to one couple, all of whom died within a few years of birth. It made me realize how lucky I am to be living in the time and country that I do. One cool thing was a few gravestones that had almost been completely swallowed up by the roots of enormous trees growing around them. It was a fun trip; it seemed like we were the only people in there, and the cool weather, breeze, and changing autumn leaves were lovely. Maybe I'll post a few of Justin's pics once he uploads them.

After the cemetery, we came home for a bit and I did a little work. Then it was back out again so Justin could pick up stuff at Radio Shack to finish setting up our new speakers (Thanks, RI people, for your birthday gift!), and then to the supermarket. Dinner was at home (chicken sausage, garlic couscous, and sauteed yellow squash), and Justin finished setting up the speakers, which are sounding good. I have been trying to get some work done with a little success. I'm feeling stressed mainly by the midterm for my international relations/diplomacy class, which is due on Wednesday afternoon and is going to be tough. At least I have all day on Monday to work on it. It doesn't help that I have extra work for my Japanese class (answering questions that are actually pretty tough). I am going to do my best to focus and not get freaked out about this midterm. I have done most of the insanely heavy load of readings and attended every class, so I should be fine. Maybe before I start writing I will try to do a couple of the readings that I missed.

Otherwise, I am feeling much better today aside from some coughing and a bit of a sort throat, but the shortness of breath is gone. Looks like I won't have to go to the doctor after all. I'm glad I stayed home yesterday and got some rest.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

August 31st, 2009 (11:10 pm)

current location: home
current mood: good

Orientation today was good. Mostly, it just got me even more excited about school and what's to come (internships, possible study trips abroad, various groups to get involved in, etc.). I have to decide on a specialization within my International Relations degree, and I've been having a hard time with it, but find myself leaning more and more towards human rights, especially after the professor in charge of that specialization spoke at the orientation today (I was especially charmed by her since she had taught English lit./gender studies for awhile before going back to school for a JD and to study international law, human rights, etc.). Still not entirely sure though... thankfully I have at least a couple more months before I have to decide.

After the orientation ended around noon, I went to get my ID card, picked up my books (one of them still not in, annoying), and satisfied my paranoia by checking in at financial aid just to make sure my loans were in order. With the way the school at which I'm employed operates - dropping students from their classes very quickly if they haven't paid/loans haven't come through - I'm especially careful.

I got home, made some veggie gyoza and a salad for lunch, studied Japanese for a bit, then conked out for a two hour nap. Oops. I got crappy sleep last night, so I guess I needed it. Justin got home, we played Sims for awhile, had dinner (miso ramen with carrots, green onions, and corn), then went food shopping.

I was a little worried about my Japanese class when I saw on the website that the textbook had the words "gateway to advanced Japanese," but upon examination of said textbook, it looks to be pretty spot on in terms of level. Hopefully this class will be a good fit for me. I'll find out tomorrow at 12:30, yay!

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

June 15th, 2009 (05:02 pm)

current location: work
current mood: nostalgic

Retailing Era Closes With Music Megastore

I remember going to the Times Square Virgin Megastore many times when I was a young teenager and being overwhelmed each time. It was three stories of ecstacy - computer games, books, graphic novels, CDs, DVDs, European and Asian magazines, and just random fun crap. They always had stuff you couldn't find at Borders or anywhere else. At one point there was a cafe in there too. I would spend hours there.

It's crazy that it's closing. I mean, yes, it makes lots of sense and I'm not against it or anything. It's more just that it makes the passage of time and the changing of everything extremely tangible. It's like history passing and I can see it going by right in front of my eyes.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

June 9th, 2009 (01:58 pm)

Escapee gives glimpse of North prison camps

The more I read about North Korea, the more terrifying it seems.

GuitarCries [userpic]

(no subject)

June 9th, 2009 (10:22 am)

Arnold Schwartznegger to Scrap Textbooks for E-Books

This totally reads like an Onion article. Especially: "Holding up four large books he joked: 'I can use these for the curls,' in a nod to his bodybuilding days before he became one of Hollywood's biggest stars."

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