Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Favorite Subject

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What was your favorite school subject when you were in elementary school? What about high school? What subjects did you despise?

English/Reading was generally what I liked best as a kid. Depending on what we were working on, sometimes I liked art or music more, but usually in art or music we were doing something I didn't care about and just kinda found boring. I liked reading or writing time. And if the science class was about something I was really interested in, like the solar system, I ate it up and liked to read the textbook on my own.

On my way to kindergarten
In elementary school I usually really hated social studies. I hated math later in my life, but at this point I didn't mind math, but at that point arithmetic was relatively easy and I was okay at drills. But of course, like most kids who grew up nerdy, PE was probably the worst.

Me in ninth grade with my vocabulary book
In high school I still liked English class more than the others if we had a writing assignment--even if it was just writing about books or analyzing poetry, I was really good at those things and therefore I liked them more. (In my AP English class, one of my teachers was always using my papers as examples!) I also loved chemistry and a very small portion of biology (I enjoyed studying genetics, but pretty much hated all the other stuff), but physics class was the worst. I wasn't good at math but didn't despise it as much as physics. It was still pretty miserable so math was probably my worst subject, but I also hated history, even though I had good teachers. 

But then above and beyond English was always my chorus class in high school. I took chorus every year, sometimes two periods of it because I sang with two different groups (an advanced choir and a show choir). I didn't have to take anything athletic in high school except I guess I took a summer course called Team Sports. And so few people took it that we couldn't even really do any teams, but it was all right.

Overall I tended to like science and English and dislike social studies/history and math. And music and art really depend on what the subject is.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Last night I was so sick of my upstairs neighbors being inconsiderately loud at 12:30 in the morning that I washed my dishes loudly and muttered to myself a lot.

I fantasized that maybe they could hear me slamming dishes around and wondered how they would like dealing with random crashes and thuds and slams and clanks. Even if nothing I do is shaking their house like their furniture-moving, jumping off high places, running in the halls, slamming drawers, and loud music does to mine.

Thing is? I don't really believe in revenge. Because it doesn't feel good and it doesn't work.

I have a big stick that I use to pound on the ceiling whenever they blast music (no idea if it has ever worked). If I wanted to, I could hey, just pound on the ceiling randomly after they go to sleep. Sometimes I'm awake when that happens (and you can always, without a doubt, tell that they are home and awake if they are). Why not give them a taste of their own medicine?

a) Because if I woke them up, they'd be awake, and then they'd make noise and continue to bother me;

b) Because they do not associate my noises with anything they're doing. They are inconsiderate and selfish, but they are not doing it just to mess with my life.

I've complained to the apartment complex at least a dozen times, probably more. The current administration keeps saying they're "trying," but the trying so far seems to have included leaving a note on the door and "giving it a few days" (so what, they'll pick a time to have a family conference to discuss the note and collectively decide to stop being obnoxious?) and also knocking on the door ("they're not answering" *shrug* oh well) and I think someone from there tried to call but was not able to reach anyone.

In other words, they haven't effectively been told they're causing a problem for me, and the people in charge of making it better have acted like it's a problem of doing enough to make me think they're trying, not a problem of doing something that results in actual connection with the people causing the problem and making them recognize that they are causing a problem, and also enforcing consequences.

But they won't do that, because more than likely they think I'm the problem.

I think this because on one of the occasions where the manager was telling me she was "going to try," she suggested that maybe when my lease is up in September, they can move me to an upstairs apartment.

Yeah. Move ME. Because the problem isn't them making noise; it's me being annoyed by it. And, as the manager carefully suggested, I will probably be unhappy below anyone.

You know, because I must just be sensitive about footsteps above me or something. It can't be because a family of at least three adults and two kids and a dog are literally moving furniture so it scrapes against the floor, at least two dozen times a day, and this is not an exaggeration, and I have given them a video capturing their noise with time stamps and dates showing that the upstairs neighbors are making a baffling amount of noise after midnight consistently, but you know, what can they really do if they can't directly observe it, right?

Sleep over at my house. If you can sleep. Try, I dare you.

When the manager said they'd be glad to move me, I made my final decision that I am moving out. I find it unacceptable that their solution would be to move me away from the problem instead of acknowledging that there is a problem and stopping it, and I find it unacceptable that I would be the incredibly inconvenienced person who would reward them for this with more of my money.

So I guess that's a form of punishment, though not revenge. If you won't address my needs even though I've made them more than clear, I'm not going to give you my business anymore. Revenge, though? Not interested. I'm not planning to post scathing reviews on websites. Not planning to leave a passive-aggressive note on my neighbors' door or in my file. If they have a place for me to do so, I will certainly state for the record that the reason I'm moving is almost 100% because I can't deal with the neighbors' noise anymore. I don't care about vengeance or comeuppance or karmic fulfillment--whatever you call delighting in people getting what's coming to them. (Cosmic justice is fun to watch once in a while, but I am not out to help it along.) I don't get any satisfaction from it, and it does not make the world better.

I'm not sure if this is a philosophical post or a rant about my neighbors but I guess I'm just gonna post it.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday: April 15 – April 21

Life news this week: 
  • Saturday did not see much accomplishment besides blogging and answering some messages (which I had to do from my living room because that was the room in which I could hear the neighbors' noise the least). I am constantly rearranging my sleeping and my everyday existence to be tormented by them as little as possible and no one will help me. This is why I'm moving in September. I just can't take it anymore.
  • Sunday I did more unnecessary blogging about cartoons, made an asexuality video and two karaoke videos and a ukulele video. Kind of a lot of video-making and music.
  • Monday I did some work on a letter for the office and got home relatively early because a co-worker drove me. I drew some doodles, bought some cosplay clothes for a costume I'm planning for summer, practiced my ukulele, and did the subtitles for my latest video.
  • Tuesday I got more drawings done and did more beta reading for my friend's book. At home I ate a massive quantity of rice for some reason, colored some doodles, and went to bed.
  • Wednesday was not notable at work. I went to meet Jeaux after and got yet another dude hitting on me at the bus stop trying to find out where I was going and why I didn't want to stop to talk to him. We ate at Pei Wei and I had a good tofu teriyaki bowl. Jeaux and I then went to my place to read the new Steven Universe tie-in book, Keep Beach City Weird, which had arrived in my mailbox that day. We also listened to Night Vale and after he left I wrote a review of the book.
  • Thursday I had a weird sleep schedule and was very tired at work. That app I downloaded to play with Steven Universe fans featured a couple more of my posts on its front page so now I am up to having it happen nine times in less than a month. Apparently that is unusual. Whee. Did some editing for my friend and finished a book. At the bus stop I finally talked to someone worth talking to, and gave him my e-mail so he could send me a short story he wrote. When I got home I ate dinner and talked to Victor on the phone while drawing comics.
  • Friday I received supplies and got my notary stuff so I'm officially a notary now. Who wants to get married? Hah. I read the story by the bus stop guy and sent him some thoughts. I found out at lunch that there is going to be a clump of new Steven Universe episodes starting May 8 (the marathon format is called "StevenBomb"; this is StevenBomb #6), so I got excited and sent the promo to Jeaux and Meghan so we could flip out. When I got home I posted my webcomic and prepared some homework for the upcoming Drink and Draw event.
    Articles, Interviews, Mentions:
    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week I did two performances. The main one was "Love Like You" by Rebecca Sugar.

      But I also wanted to do a duet of a song I'd recorded previously, and I found a partner. My partner is Oaklight, and they're singing the first part while I did the second part and the harmony. It's our duet version of "Here Comes a Thought," also by Rebecca Sugar. 


      New drawings: 

      Next in my series of sleeping Gems is Steven with Amethyst.
      I could have done a lot better on this one.

      An impromptu doodle of flashback characters hanging out.
      Rose Quartz (with the huge curly hair) has a ton of fan art with her and Pearl,
      but the other two, Garnet and Amethyst, certainly had special times with her too,
      so I wanted to draw that.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0623: "Matter-of-Fact."

      New videos:

      My latest asexuality video is Letters to an Asexual #45. This one is about someone's objection that I am probably just too stubborn or too intellectual to want sex. Brilliant.


      My latest unlisted ukulele video is "Don't Cost Nothin'," which is a song from Steven Universe performed by Steven's dad. It's really cute but it doesn't have an ending (because in the show it fades into a completely different song), so I put an ending on it! Really fun little song though, and I think I got its character down right when I played it, for once.

      New photos:

      The giant quantity of rice I ate and then fell asleep.
      New book, new shirt. I got Keep Beach City Weird and a Lion shirt.
      Look, my notary stamp. It's official!

      And the haircut comparison photos for April:

      Front, February 2014
      Front, March 2017
      Back, February 2014
      Back, April 2017

      Social Media counts:
      YouTube subscribers: 5,306 for swankivy (lost 10), 632 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 856 for swankivy (1 new), 1,327 for JulieSondra (2 new). Facebook: 291 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 649 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (lost 1). Tumblr followers: 2,490 (5 new). Instagram followers: 112 (2 new).

      Wednesday, April 19, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Go-to order

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What is your go-to order at restaurants?

      Probably a grilled cheese sandwich.

      I'm not an incredibly picky eater and I'm not unadventurous, but I'm a bit of a food wimp. I don't like most strong flavors, with the exception of sour--I can eat a lemon. But I'm grossed out by onions and I can't eat spicy food, including peppers. Digression here: People love to tell me that only those peppers are spicy while these ones are not, darling. I don't care if that is a "sweet" pepper. I promise you it is spicy to me and I can't eat it.

      I also don't like olives or bean sprouts or cabbage or raw tomatoes or black beans or pieces of garlic or cabbage or black pepper.

      So, given the options, it's tough to find food that is deliberately vegetarian that I can enjoy. People tend to assume if they buy a "veggie sub" option to add to the sandwich tray I'll be able to eat it, but I usually can't. Not without a lot of embarrassing sandwich opening to pull out stuff I can't eat.

      Cheese sandwiches are pretty safe, and anywhere that has a cheeseburger on the menu can make a hot cheese sandwich. But what I really appreciate are grown-up grilled cheese options. Some restaurants dress it up by putting tomato or mushrooms in it if you want, and some make it fancy by including four or five kinds of cheese. (Those are ridiculous. And tasty.)

      I like to make grilled cheese sandwiches at home too.

      If I have other choices, sometimes I'll get something like a side vegetable and french fries, a salad, soup after making sure they don't make it with beef or chicken broth (this is the case with most stuff like potato soup), or pasta or pizza.

      Mmmm, pizza.

      But yeah. Grilled cheese sandwich is something I end up getting an awful lot, and sometimes I have to find it on the kids' menu.

      Tuesday, April 18, 2017


      When I was in school I hated group projects. Well, so did almost everyone, but why, specifically, did I hate them?


      I guess it's not an unfamiliar story. One person does all the work because everyone else is a slacker and/or waits until the last minute, and that person was often me.

      I never really thought I was much of a leader, but in a group situation sometimes I told people what to do because I just wanted to be done and no one was doing anything. I hate group projects partly because almost everyone feels good about putting things off and would like to put them off until it's critical, while I want to get it off my plate as soon as I can (especially if it's something I don't like doing).

      This, I will admit, can cause problems. I have rushed forward into completing projects before and found it was to my detriment. I remember one time in school the teacher announced there would be an ongoing project for the entire marking period, and handed out an outline as to what would go in our final report. Given marching orders, I spent only a couple of days completing the tasks and creating a final product, thinking hey, won't it be nice if that's one class I mostly don't have to worry about for the next five weeks? Well, turned out the teacher irresponsibly did not disclose that there would be more structure to this project and we were going to continue getting more specific instruction on each of the report's parts, and we were expected to do them with this additional input. What I'd completed on my own was barely usable. I was pretty bummed.

      I LOVE getting things off my checklist. Most of the things it takes me forever to do, like getting back to e-mail or finishing reading books, are not time-sensitive really--there's no deadline, and there's no one really waiting for me to do it by a certain time or sitting around disappointed if I don't do it, so I do the other things.

      I find that I worry about getting things done far more if I do them later versus sooner. I feel a nervous sense of not being done and having the tasks hanging over my head, which makes it harder to enjoy the present. I can't just put important things down and forget for a while. So I either do them or I set aside a specific time to do them, knowing I have left myself enough time. Furthermore, I do a much better job on things if I'm not rushing. And given the quality of the work I've had to fix from group project partners giving me their contributions at the last minute, I think most people do better if they give themselves time.

      When other people procrastinate in situations when it doesn't affect me, I just kinda feel a little sympathetic for them and maybe a little frustrated on their behalf. But when people knowingly put something off that they had more than enough forewarning to be able to handle it with appropriate time management and it turns out to be something I was depending on or something they need me to fix for them, I get mad.

      Just get it done. Leave room for mistakes. Leave room for needing time to get more money. Leave room for needing time to access help tools if the thing wasn't as easy as you expected. Leave room for improvement. Leave room to do it wrong and then find out you need to do it right. 

      Leave room to run out of thread on your costume, or to find out it takes way longer than you thought to make that belt. Leave room at tax time for if it turns out you have a question about one of your forms, so you're not calling on tax day and waiting on hold for 90 minutes. Leave room for your computer to fail and eat your homework. Leave room to make that cake the day before the party so you can be sure it won't turn into a brick. Leave room to find a ride to your appointment so you don't turn up late. Leave room to get the lesson plans done, especially if you've never opened the form before and you don't know how to use it. Leave room to decide what you're going to wear if you're conflicted about it. Leave room to clean your house (or have it cleaned) if you're out to impress houseguests instead of staying up all night vacuuming and mopping. Leave room for things to not quite go according to schedule.

      What do you lose if you plan a little better? Christmas is the same day every year. If you want to cut down on stress and not run the risk of making your problems into someone else's problems that they have to drop everything and solve for you, pretend Christmas is two weeks before it is, and get the shopping done. You'll pay far fewer rush shipping fees, deal with far fewer crises when it's the wrong color, and endure far less embarrassment over screwing it up.

      I'll say one more thing to soften this up a little, though: I recognize that some things are last minute because of things you can't control (like, you know, you work for people who won't stop giving you things at the last minute, or because someone else didn't do their job, or because you are consistently overburdened). I'm not irritated at people who have extenuating circumstances, disorders that inhibit their executive function, or simply occasional lapses of common sense.

      I'm irritated with people who consistently put things off when they have complete power to not do that, and who overestimate their abilities and underestimate the required effort, and who need me to fix the mess or affect my ability to do my job because they won't do theirs in a timely manner.

      Saturday, April 15, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: April 8 – April 14

      Life news this week: 
      • Saturday I chilled with Victor most of the day. We spent the morning hanging out and walked over to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch and did some shopping. Played with toys. I got a featured post on that app again so I was enjoying responding to people's comments on my pictures of cartoon-inspired food. I did my blogging and some doodling.
      • Sunday I realized I'd left my toaster oven on all night after making a potato so how about that. (Nothing happened except I couldn't figure out why the kitchen was weirdly hot and the paint peeled up on my cabinet above the appliance. Glad it didn't turn into a dangerous situation.) Texted with a friend about cartoons, did some music recordings, and talked to Fred on the phone.
      • Monday I went to work, made a cartoon post about my books and comics which got put on the front page again (so, again, more fun conversations with people!) and had to edit a letter at work. Mom came over and took me out to eat with her roommate David. We also went grocery shopping and then just chatted with friends online.
      • Tuesday I had a low-key day at work, and after I got home I had the apartment manager come over to listen to the upstairs neighbors. She didn't hear anything worth harassing them about. Surprise. Then I found out I won the site-wide art contest on the Steven Universe Amino app. Wow! Well, that makes . . . one time . . . that I've ever won an art contest. . . . (Wait, didn't I win a poster contest as a kid or something? And another one in middle school? Yeah. Well that's it.) People really like me a LOT there! I got some boring adulting stuff done, like processing a return, filing a warranty, and reorganizing my accordion file of personal paperwork.
      • Wednesday I got a bunch of stuff done at work that I'd had on the back burner for a while. My company also got shortlisted on a project so YAY. On my way to meet with Jeaux a persistent dude kept hitting on me in a way that would have been sort of funny if it wasn't so awful. He asked me what brings me here . . . at the bus stop . . . (what do you think, dude?), asked me if I live "with a roommate," asked a really awkward question to find out if I was still in high school, asked me if I was doing anything later, asked for what I like to do and when I said read (and attempted to do so) he interjected that he never reads anything, read my shirt and stared at my boobs for a very long time after he was done reading it, asked me what my phone case was from and when I said it was from a cartoon he asked "you don't DRAW cartoons, DO YOU?" and when I said yes, he said "let me guess, you like to draw . . . flowers. and cats." (what?), and then attempted to get my phone number by saying "here, write your number down" and handing me his bus pass. I said no and he thought I just didn't understand him so he tried again. And then even AFTER I told him I was not giving him my number, he told me he was going to "some museums" this weekend if I was interested. WTF dude how awful would I have to be to you before you'd read me as not interested? Anyway Jeaux and I ate at Holy Hog and listened to Night Vale, and I fell asleep like right after he left.
      • Thursday I did some editing on my first Pitch Wars mentee's next manuscript, did some work on the shortlisting documents at the office, and had a conversation with a financial adviser (seems like I'll probably be good working with him in the future). At home I read liveblogs, talked to Victor, and drew some of my comic.
      • Friday at work was a little busy and I got to work on design again. Then just some forms and paperwork and making copies. Went home and posted some pictures on Amino (sharing some of my photos of merchandise again--it got put on the front page, AGAIN), and finished up my webcomic. Didn't do much after that because it took so long. I did a few doodles in pencil before falling asleep.
        New reviews of my book:
        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: I didn't finish any books. Sorry.
        • Currently reading: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.
          New singing performances:

          This week's performance was "Marble Halls" by Enya.

          New drawings: 

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0622: "Definitely Meant To."

          New videos:

          My latest unlisted ukulele video is "Vanilla Twilight" by Owl City. I kept forgetting the words while trying to play, so I just gave up and looked at the screen.

          New photos:

          Victor drinking Powerade and Sprite in Sweet Tomatoes
          Victor found a cool toy in Walmart.

          Victor always finds the coolest toys.

          My new Pearl shirt, out and about.
          I have an impressive collection of Steven Universe comics and books.
          Me celebrating my Steven Universe Amino Awards win in the Art category.
          (This is not the art that won the award. I guess she's just celebrating with me.)
          Jeaux on his phone in Holy Hog being a nerd with his
          Rubies shirt and Cookie Cat backpack.
          A fascinating photo of my computer screen
          as I redesigned a sign pole.
          Me at work thinking about something sad
          and trying not to think of the sad thing.

          Social Media counts:
          YouTube subscribers: 5,316 for swankivy (6 new), 630 for JulieSondra (4 new). Twitter followers: 855 for swankivy (2 new), 1,325 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 291 friends (no change) and 207 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 649 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,485 (1 new). Instagram followers: 110 (2 new).

          Wednesday, April 12, 2017

          Wednesday Factoid: Water Sports

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Can you swim? Do you play any water sports?

          Water sports hehehee never mind

          Uhm, I can swim, yeah. That's about as far as it goes.

          I don't really know how to swim properly, like I don't know how to do the backstroke or the breaststroke or whatever. But I can doggy paddle and float on my back. I have never been SCUBA diving and don't know how to do a proper dive (though I'll dive off a low board or the side of a pool). I think I've had a swimming lesson or two as a kid? But it was probably more supervised playing in a pool? I don't really like the ocean but I go in it once in a while if it's there.

          I've played volleyball in a pool, but never in any organized way. (I like it, though! I actually like volleyball in general.) I've never been waterskiing or anything like that. I don't know if it counts, but I have been canoeing. I got a certification in it with my parents and my sister when I was pretty young, and continued to go on short canoe trips with friends/family as an adult (but haven't done that in years).