nomoreuturns: Have a flower... (Flower)
Ciao a tutti! Come siete? Bene, spero!

Aaaand now that I'm done exercising my meagre Italian, here's a list of updates! From my life! That I've been living! In the US! \o/

  • I'm settling in to university life here at UIUC. I'm only doing four classes, equating to 12 credit hours: Law & Communications, Government & Politics of Western Europe, and Media Ethics for the Bachelor of Journalism, and Contemporary Italian Written & Oral for the Diploma of Languages - Italian. I have a tonne of readings - my Law & Communication course reader is three inches thick - but I'm keeping up, for the most part...I've been keeping up with my ADD meds (mostly), which has been a huge help. I'm a little concerned with how I'm going in my Italian course because the professor speaks Italian 95% of the time and I'm only really understanding three or four words out of every 10 to 15, but when I spoke to him he seemed to think that was fine, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.*
    * I know people say that immersive learning is the best way to go, but I don't think it works for me. At all. I need a Rosetta Stone!

  • I turned 24! \o/ I had a birthday thing back in Australia - cupcakes! and presents! - but I decided to do something here, too. Mum sent me a couple of things (Malteasers! Silver Needle tea! A hamper with TokyoMilk goodies!), and I baked cupcakes to share with my floor. I'm on the birthday committee, so the cupcakes were also test run, since I'll be baking cupcakes for the monthly birthday celebrations we'll be having this semester.

  • I'm slowly getting involved in groups/clubs things outside of classes here at the university. Quad Day was the Saturday just before semester started, so I went around and put my email down for a few mailing lists. My university back home doesn't really have groups or clubs to get involved in, at least not on this scale, so it's a little bizarre but I'm running with it. I went to the Student Equine Emergency and Rehabilitation Society (SEERS) meeting yesterday with another girl from my floor.

  • I'm going to Cincinnati this weekend on a free trip through Intersections (the Living Learning Community that I live in). We're going to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center, which is sure to be interesting. I read about the Underground Railroad years ago, so it'll be great to learn about it in more detail.

  • I'm trying to get back into the habit of actually doing some physical exercise beyond walking to and from class (or to and from the bus stop...). There are two gyms/rec centres on campus: CRCE, which is a five minute stroll from my dorm, and ARC, which is a 15 minute jog away (or 10 minute bus ride, if I'm feeling particularly lazy) that I'm planning to go to at least twice a week. I'm also looking into taking martial arts while I'm here, to keep up my krav skills. There are a couple of martial arts dojos in Champaign-Urbana; there's one near me (with the dubious interesting name of Dragonz Lair Mixed Martial Arts Club...^.o) that offers Muay Thai and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, which are two of the martial arts that krav borrows pretty heavily from. The rec centres are open seven days a week; Muay Thai classes are Monday/Wednesday/Friday and BJJ is Tuesday/Thursday. I'm thinking about doing at least three days at the gym and two days of a martial art per week. *sigh* A girl can dream, right?

  • I've got a Netflix account and a Hulu account, so I've been getting up-to-date on various TV shows that I've either fallen behind with (e.g. White Collar), seen a couple of episodes of once upon a time (e.g. Teen Wolf), or been meaning to check out at some point (e.g. Grimm). It's fun! I've been particularly invested in Teen Wolf, which I find myself alternately giggling at or going "awww..." over. *facepalm* Do not...have time...for new fandom...*
    * I'm totally blaming this development on the Teen Choice Awards video with Dylan O'Brien and Tyler Hoechlin that did the rounds a little while back...how so adorable???

  • I've been feeling OK lately. I've met some really nice people here, and the atmosphere is pretty chill. Life is good right now.


So, to future happenings! I am seriously considering (read: this close -> /--/ to buying tickets etc.) coming up to Chicago on September 21 for a couple of days, to catch up with the people I couldn't catch up with in August, and also to see Empires, because it has been years since I have done either of those things and I really miss...it. All. I don't know, that sentence got away from me a bit. Point is: I miss Chicago peeps and Chicago music! I'll probably arrive late afternoon on Friday, then depart late afternoon Sunday; I need to check which travel option is a) the most flexible times-wise, b) the quickest, and c) the most cost effective. If anyone is willing to let me crash on their couch, that would be fantastic! I'll provide the TimTams (dark chocolate mint, anyone?)!

Got to go to the gym, now, or I never will...have a wonderful night, y'all!

nomoreuturns: Baby you're a firework... (Firework)
Am safe and sound in Urbana-Champaign. Have to go and hobnob with the rest of the Intersections LLC Crew for a bit...will return and make a real post soon-ish.

I'M IN THE US, BBs! \o/
nomoreuturns: city by the lake (Chicago)
How has it been three weeks already? )

**


Approximately 28 days until I leave for the States! In the words of kids today: I am excite! I've been spending these past three weeks getting all my ducks lined up in a row: getting my study plan figured out and approved, getting accommodation sorted, and getting all the loose ends from Sciences Po tied up.

Speaking of which, I passed all my courses! \o/ My transcript was released online about a week ago, and my time in Paris was certainly not wasted. :) I was concerned about my marks for Contemporary Domestic Politics of the US, as I was really sick the last two days before it was due (marathon puking ftw! /o\), and ended up having a nervous break-down in the last hour before it was due (as in full-on panic attack, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t function, uncontrollable tears type of nervous break-down), but according to the mark breakdown I actually did OK on it. Thank Christ.

My visa application interview was at 1.45pm last Tuesday in Sydney. It was approved! So happy. :) Now I just need to wait a week for my passport to come back, and then I can purchase my flights! ...which may be more of a drama than I thought, because apparently the shortest travel time between Brisbane and Chicago takes 30 hours, which...no. A thousand times NO. I am not spending 30 hours in planes and airports when the flight should only take 17 hours. Going to have to do some shopping around to find the best deal...gods damn it.

**


Consider this your spoiler alert! Spoilers may or may not be discussed for each film, but if you don't want to be spoiled, better to be safe than sorry.

Never Let Me Go :( )

The Amazing Spider-Man :) )

Prometheus :\ )

Brave :D )

**


Discussion of fitness regimes, weight and weight loss )

**


OK. OK. OK. So. I went and saw the Dark Knight Trilogy marathon last night at Garden City’s Event Cinemas. It started at 6pm: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and then at midnight The Dark Knight Rises. We (I dragged my mum along) saw the first two films in the normal cinema, then moved to Gold Class for The Dark Knight Rises...totally worth it. Reclining arm chairs, delectable munchies brought to your seat...so good.

Non-spoilery reaction...oh my ever-loving god. I was pretty damn impressed. The cast was amazing (major kudos to Tom Hardy...the amount he can do with just his eyes is pretty amazing). I liked the story...in a balance of +s and –s, the +s came out on top, and most of the –s I could handwave away without too much trouble. There...is possibly a tiny continuity issue, but I’d need to see it again to be sure.

I’m going to post a more in-depth recap/discussion in a bit...there’s so much to squee over! This recap will have ALL the spoilers, so only read it if you’ve seen the movie or don’t care about being spoiled all to hell. And once you’ve seen the film, please comment here or there or on Twitter or Facebook or through GChat or AIM or something and SQUEE WITH ME BECAUSE AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH BATMAN.

ba da ba da ba da ba da ba da BAH BAH! tag brought to you by my two-year-old self, who used to drop everything whenever the old school live-action Batman show came on the TV so I could bob along to the theme song and yell "ba da ba da ba da ba da ba da BAH BAH!" at the top of my lungs before watching them BIFF! and POW! and ZAPP! their way through another episode.
nomoreuturns: *kick* (Inception)
Procrastinating like crazy (just over 11 hours to get this essay done ahahaha oh god FML) and I stumbled upon this article from the Huffington Post on my Facebook feed: Turning 30: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have And Should Know.

Leaving aside the "appears to be aimed only at heterosexual women" thing, I came across this item in the By 30, you should know... section:

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

I don't know how to articulate how wrong I find this. Having never kissed anyone in a romantic way, I confess I am undereducated on this subject, but surely you're allowed to kiss someone as passionately as you like and still be able to say "Yeah, OK, that was nice, but I'd really like to not have sex with you" afterwards? By age 30 should you have become a Kissing Grandmaster, with the ability to telepathically transmit your intent through lip-on-lip contact? And if things progress beyond what you're comfortable with, does that mean it's your fault because your kiss-fu skills were subpar?

Huh. Turns out I do know how to articulate how wrong I find this.

I don't know...your mileage may vary. But I...yeah. Not impressed.
nomoreuturns: All for want of a pretty flower. (Bandaid)
- this semester
- journalism and the media
- International Relations
- politicians
- presentations
- problematiques find the paradox within the question, they said. discuss a perspective no-one's ever discussed before, they said.
- negativity
- people being dicks
- not having a decent kitchen including a decent-sized fridge/freezer and an actual oven, omg *waaants*
- only seeing my cats through a computer screen
- the distinct lack of hugs in my life
- this damn throat infection that keeps trying to sink its teeth into me you will not win, i say! *drinks all the juice*
- insomnia
- not being able to focus on anything for any meaningful length of time, least of all the things I really need to focus on at the moment

In other news, this semester is nearly over, thank the gods. Less than two weeks to go, now...a presentation and an exam this week, a take-home exam and two essays next week, then I'm done. Phew.
nomoreuturns: Have a flower... (Flower)
A couple of weeks ago my mum brought Julian, on of my former foster kittens, home. Two weeks later, everyone's happy...except my cat Mitzie won't play with Julian because she's about 75 in human years and he's only about five, and so he's been kinda lonely. Which meant last Firday my mum went to pick up Julian's brother Max. So now we have three cats: Mitzie, 14, and Julian and Max, both eight months.

Mitz is being stoic in the face of change...she hasn't run for the hills yet, so we think she'll be OK; I think she probably remembers them, and so her hate is tempered somewhat by familiarity. Juju is as smoochy as ever, and is apparently overjoyed to have somebody that will PLAY WITH HIM OMG: he follows Max around and grooms him and is just generally a precious bb. Max has settled in, but we're a little concerned...he's HUGE, bigger than Mitzie (who is big for a female DSH), and he keeps pestering her. We’re not sure if it’s an “I want to play with you!” thing or an “I want to be top cat!” thing; Mum’s trying to make Max aware of his place at the bottom of ladder, but we're not sure if he'll understand that or if he'll just get resentful, or if he'll understand and get resentful. :\

But: so far, so good. Of course, you all know what comes now: pictures! Also videos!

Julian (aka King Julian aka Jujubean aka Juju aka Jude) and Max (aka Maximus aka Maximillian aka Baci Boy aka BB )
There's a longer version of that video wherein Juju rolls over and smacks Max in the face...I LOLd, no lie. XD

**


And now a much belated meme!

Comment on this post with I VOLUNTEER! I will give you a letter. You will think of five fictional characters that begin with that letter and post their names and your comments on these characters in your DW/IJ/LJ.

The lovely [personal profile] candidlily gave me the letter J! And I came up with:

Five Js )

**

And now I have to get cracking on my final assessment pieces. I have:
  • For Media & Politics:
    • a final exam wherein I have to two hours in-class to write an essay answering one of three questions given to us on the day (due next Wednesday)
  • For Contemporary Domestic Politics in the US:
    • an oral presentation on judicial activism in the US (due next Wednesday)
    • an essay on a subject of my choosing (due in a week and a half),
  • For Theory of International Relations:
    • an essay on any of the topics covered in the last six weeks (due in two weeks)
  • For Strategic Studies:
    • a take-home final exam wherein we're given about 10 questions and we have to write one-page (at the most) answer to two of them (due a week after he sends out the questions)
Let's briefly discuss how much I love my Strategic Studies lecturer, OK. He's a great speaker, he's funny, he curses in class (well, he cursed once and then spent five minutes telling us how if we liked we could pretend that he was saying "phoque" (French for seal) instead of "fuck"), he sets doable readings, and our assessment from him consists of: an oral presentation (40% of grade), the take-home exam (40% of grade), and participation in class (20% of grade). He's on the same level of awesome as my Introduction to Politics/Political Institutions lecturer from last year, who was also a great speaker and marked us on in-class quizzes of five or ten questions each, one or two minor essays, and participation in class. If you ever get the chance to study at Sciences Po or Griffith University, try for a class with Ronald Hatto or Gideon Baker...those guys are A+ Excellent. :D

Edit: Wow, HTML fail. It should be fixed, but if it looks wonky, please tell me!

nomoreuturns: Moriarty <3 (Is that a British Army Browning L9A1 in)
So I was going to post about the awesomeness of Warrior*, but I've had to shelve that in favour of writing my Political Institutions final essay on the nuclear family.

And here's where I take time out of writing this freaking time-and-soul-suck of an essay to talk about how much I hate mandatory word counts. I seriously think a fair chunk of insanity in this world can be traced back to mandatory word counts...people either keep writing long after they should have stopped, or they're cut off before they can bring up their best points.

*sigh*

I get why they instituted the mandatory word count (at least, I think I do), but I still hate them...so freaking annoying... *grumblegrumblegrumble*

* Short version: love love LOVE, holy shit, so freaking awesome, if you haven't seen it go and see it.
nomoreuturns: "I may not look like much, but I'm pro at prentending to be a ninja" (Ninja Zi)
Handed in my last assignment for this semester last night! The task was to write 2 x 500 word "critical appreciations" for one poem each from the Renaissance/17th Century and 19th Century. I ended up analysing John Keats' "La Belle Dame sans Merci" and William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 73". I did a lot better with the former than I did the latter...with the "La Belle..." appreciation I had to cut out words, while with the "73" appreciation I was struggling to meet the minimum word count. I had a tiny bit of a temper tantrum towards the end, with time running out and my stress levels rising and my sugar high (the tail of which I am just starting to come down off, by the by...I haven't had so much sugar in AGES, omg) off the freaking charts...I completely blanked on what to say for "73" and ended up just doing a basic breakdown. I'm hoping the "La Belle..." appreciation will carry my mark to a Credit, at least.

Only one more assessment piece to go: an exam for News & Politics, 50 questions, multiple choice. I'll be sitting it on the 15th of November, so I've got two weeks to prepare...I'm going to give actualfax studying a go instead of just relying on my memory and read through all of my notes and readings and the lecture slides. I think it'll be OK...I test a lot better on exams than I do assignments, so it should work out all right.

NaNoWriMo kicked off yesterday! I went to the Kick-Off Party on Sunday at the Roma Street Parklands and met a bunch of really nice people. It was great to meet so many other writers, who I could talk to about insane plots and rogue characters and XKCD and not come off like a freak...it was nice to interact with people, period. Don't get me wrong, I talk to people at uni and at the store and stuff, but actually having conversatons with people and connecting on a level deeper than "yes, I sign with my credit card" was a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, because I spent pretty much all of yesterday writing my assignment, I wasn't able to do any NaNo writing. However! I did have a couple of scenes that I'd jotted down in the couple of weeks between getting the idea and NaNo starting up (because ignoring the scenes because they're a little early is just a waste, really), so I plugged them into Scrivener and ended up with 1291 words! Which is pretty exciting...I've started my NaNo!


yay word count!


There's a write-in on Wednesday that I'm going to go along to, at a Coffee Club in Milton that is apparently down with the whole "swarm of writers descending to buy out all their coffee, take up all their tables, and take over all their power-points" thing. I'm not sure if it will be fun or not...sitting in an air-conditioned cafe, drinking a frappe, and hanging out with other writers whilst I write has got to be a good thing, yeah? *shrugs*

Anyhoodle...it's late, and I need sleeeeeep. Time for bed.

Oh, wait: mum bought a HiFi system today that has a goddamn phonograph. I set it up when I got home from uni and listened to Revolver by the Beatles! Tomorrow I'm going to listen to The Black Parade while I write...it'll be great! : )

And now to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
nomoreuturns: Things have changed for me (Default)
I got my first assessment piece for uni back today: 9 out of 10! Out of my tutors four classes, I'm one of three to get a 9...nobody got a 10, and the average mark was 4-5. It's a promising start...I hope I don't screw up. :\

Two of my kittens were rehomed! Descartes was adopted early last week, and Bugsy was adopted over the weekend. I'm a little concerned about the Doctor, though...he's not up on the internet with the rest of the kittens, and when I checked in on the kittens last week, the Doctor had a shaved hip, and his collar had the name "Enid" on it and an "F" for female. I'm going down there tomorrow to check what's up with that, because that's just plain weird.

Saw the shrink again today...we talked about turning negative thoughts around so that I can see the positive. I tried it, and it seemed to work; yay positive thinking! There's also been...well, it could be called a development of sorts. The shrink gave me a questionnaire last time, and I gave it back to her today; she took one look at it and went "Oh, that's interesting" and then gave me another questionnaire to fill out. If this comes back and confirms what the shrink suspects, it could answer a lot of questions.

Bed now. Night night.

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nomoreuturns: Things have changed for me (Default)
a pessimistically optimistic realist

October 2012

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