jona: (GKS - bigin)
JLPT

I'm just back from a weekend in Düsseldorf, which included the lovely company of [livejournal.com profile] ina, [livejournal.com profile] nightinbird, [livejournal.com profile] b_akakame and [livejournal.com profile] aya_3003, my first booze since the Great Gorilla Hangover of 2014, not a great deal of sleep, fic exchange matching at [livejournal.com profile] solo's mom's kitchen table, and the first time I was at a ramen restaurant in Düsseldorf and didn't order ramen.

That last part is probably the most shocking. ^_^

Being a cheapo, I opted for bus over train, and while that meant a long-ass trip, I had no crazy ladies sitting next to me. (I did have a hen night party and various 'travelling to Cologne to get drunk' parties on the same bus as me, but them's the breaks.) I arrived at home yesterday at 4 and had to hit the ground running as I had an English student and then politics until late, so I'm feeling kind of knackered, but I honestly had a wonderful weekend that was a proper break from work stress and current work deadlines -- much thanks to the fangirls who came out to play! <3

Now for the obligatory JLPT recap!

(1) Vocabulary & kanji
I think I did pretty well. There were three terms I'd never heard of before and three more where I was more guessing, but I'd still kind of expect a score around 80% on this part. The most interesting difference to N4 was that the 'how to use this word correctly' part (as in, you get a term like 内容 and then four sentences using this word, and only one is correct) got noticeably trickier in that all four sentences, literally translated, seemed potentially correct (in the 内容 example, they were all about some type of 'content') and you needed to know which context the word is normally used in. To me that was new, and N4 was still more 'I put the elephant in the drawer' vs. 'I see the elephant at the zoo'. At the end I had five minutes to spare.

(2) Grammar & reading
Not great. I made a strategic error, in part because I underestimated my reading comprehension -- not that that's OMG SUPER AWESOME but in relation to my grammar skillz, it was unexpectedly better. During N4, I'd done okay on the grammar and then struggled with the MASS OF READING, and I'd also struggled with understanding the answers. Meaning back then I generally understood the texts fine but didn't always know WTF the potential answers meant. So now I did the exam part in order, starting on grammar because I figured those points would still be 'easier' (more points in less time) than the reading points. But I was utterly terrible at the grammar -- I'm pretty sure I didn't get a single of the 'arrange the words into the correct order' questions right, and I spent a lot of time on those. And then I found the reading part surprisingly enjoyable. Time-consuming, yes, but I felt much less bamboozled by the answers and actually had fun with the texts. But then I did run out of time and for one text, with four questions, I ended up just making random dots on the answer sheet because the time was up. After this section, I figured I hadn't yet failed; I don't think I did so badly that I'll fall below the 'sectional minimum', and I was thinking that if I did well on the listening, the vocab & listening could still cancel out the grammar problems. I'm kind of expecting a 40-50% score on this one.

(3) Listening
Well. Let's just say that I did not to 'really well' on this one. Better than at grammar and reading, but probably not well enough to pull up my overall score to 'pass'. It was an interesting experience in that I felt exactly what the step up from N4 was (the 'near-natural speed' part of the speaking), and this was also exactly what I struggled with. No lie, I knew nearly all the words and the grammar constructions or baby keigo didn't throw me, but I could feel my brain going 'wait!!! WAIT!!! GIVE ME TWO SECONDS TO PROCESS!!' all the time. Basically, I still would have needed a two second break after each sentence just to sort it in my head, but the 'near natural speed' part was still beyond me. I'm guessing I'll score around 50-60% on this? Maybe?

If all my guesses are correct, I'm probably somewhere just around the fail/pass threshold. My gut feeling is 'failed but not totally tanked'. Exept of course all my guesses could be wrong, too! We will see come September. ^_^

Anyone else take the test this July?

I still owe some comment replies on other matters -- they will be gotten to shortly!

Japan 2014

May. 29th, 2014 12:17 pm
jona: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
Okay, the plans are more or less fixed, and I decided, instead of tinkering with the old post, I'd write up the travel plans, in their more or less fixed form. ^_^

Travelling and hotels )

Activities, planned and possible )

As I understand it, we will be kind of travelling with the stream rather than against it during O-Bon, so that'll be interesting. The whole getting-to-Sapporo-in-time business turned out a little more exciting than I'd really wanted, and we were weighing our options of very giri giri trains, until I found some flights that were still affordable (everything showing up on the big search engines was €250 and up!) and then we were weighing very giri giri planes vs. a four am start, and in the end the four am start won. I am glad, though, that we're only doing the 12-hour train trek on one leg, not both.

But I am looking forward to Sapporo so much! For no specific reason, except I've always kind of wanted to go. (OK, and I have been jealous that for all the tours I've been tracking, the Sapporo tickets were always the cheapest.) Maybe it'll turn out totally lame, and I'll end up going 'OMG MORDOR!' but then at least we'll know for next time. And for now I'm just VERY VERY EXCITED.


Two potentially useful links for fellow Japan travellers: I've been doing a lot of research on the ever-painful question of Japanese phones for tourists. (As some of you may be aware. ^_^) Stuff I've found out that may be relevant to others as well:

A Softbank subsidiary that explicitly lets you buy a Japanese pre-paid phone on a tourist visa. Unfortunately -- I emailed them -- they only have pricey upscale phones on offer for their pre-paid deal, not the three thousand yen keitai I wanted, so this is more than I want to spend, but if you have the cash to spare, this looks like a very hassle-light option to get that coveted Japanese phone. They have offices at Haneda and Narita.

A company that lets you buy a sim-only at a reasonable price, with apparently no need to recharge once a year. Actively catering to tourists as well. Their call rates are pricey even for domestic Japanese calls, though otoh their rates to Europe and the US are far lower than at least my roaming charges would be. It's not quite what I want, but I'm still considering my options here.
jona: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
I got back from Scotland on Monday night, after an okay trip, but the worst march through bloody Frankfurt airport I'd ever had. It literally took me 50 minutes to get from the gate to the train, and there were no queues, meaning most of that was walking. And I'd packed, um, a little heavily.

See, I like to stock up on things while in Scotland. Very important things like tea and drugs and macaroni pie.

Photographic evidence )

There was a bit of frantic repacking at Solo's house when it turned out that in its original state, the suitcase weighed some 35kgs, so I ended up transporting a lot of cheddar via hand luggage. (I half expected someone to claim that 'cheeses are liquid' but was glad to find out that the air safety stuff hasn't gone that insane yet.)

I did appreciate the new development on air safety that lets you keep your electronic devices on during take-off and landing as well. My flight out was the first time I got the 'put them in flight mode, please' announcement, but nobody really dared do anything with it except one woman who kept her Kindle out. On the flight back, though, a girl across from me was working on her laptop and I was crushing candies during landing, and apparently that was fine! \o/

What I did on my vacation )

A very special and singular event! )

~~~

Totally unrelated to anything: the Japanese learners among you might know this website and I'm the only person who only recently came across it, but it's actually interesting whether you learn Japanese or not. Kanjidamage has a somewhat different approach to learning kanji, and while I didn't adopt the method (I'm set in my ways, and those ways work for me) I found the website hilarious, in a good way. I particularly recommend the Introduction, or why most kanji textbooks suck as well as Kanji Facts.
jona: (GKS - bigin)
So I was in a pretty boring conference the last two days. The upshot of this is that I finally got around to writing all my holiday check and packing lists, and my list for Thursday/Friday said 'Write LJ post about Toyota'.

Well, there's not actually much Toyota in this post, but. I'm undecided / sort-of-decided-but-sometimes-insecure about a few things regarding the trip, and I'm going to think aloud in this post, and any advice, experience or validation of my life choices would be appreciated!

Item #1: the camera
I currently only have a camera that was a good compact camera ten years ago, and is heavy and clunky. Last time I went to Japan, I borrowed my mother's quite nice camera** with its 10x optical zoom. I've wanted a less clunky, newer camera for a while, but always figured I'd wait with buying till the next time I knew I'd actually need it, so as to at least get the 'newest' for what I'm willing to spend. The need has arrived, but then I realised I'm going to Japan and now I don't know what to do. People of my acquaintance have bought cameras in Japan because of lower prices for good stuff there, but if I bet on that, it puts a bit of pressure on me to find one/buy one, or have no real camera on this holiday.

So, my options: Do I a) buy the camera before Japan, within the next week, b) buy the camera in my first two days IN Japan, because cameras are Cheaper There, or c) cajole my mamaaa into lending me her camera again because prices always drop AFTER Xmas and buying now in either country would be stupid, in your experience?

(My budget would be €100-200 with a serious preference for the €100-150 range, and I don't know much about cameras but I do care about zoom, and I care about size, so I actually will take it with me in life too. Just so you know what I'm actually talking about.)

**Any cameras discussed here are compacts.

Item #2: the luggage
My current plan is to travel with A) my huge-ass suitcase, B) a duffel, which will be IN the suitcase and consequently empty on the way in, C) my small Ryanair-approved trolley for hand luggage and D) a handbag. I am allowed two pieces of checked baggage, but I figure if I take an empty duffel, it'll force some discipline on me to not pack too much crap on the way in, and I know for sure I'll have space for all the crap I want to buy in Japan because I can stuff all my clothes in the duffel on the way back and put everything else in the hard-shell suitcase. The small trolley will be useful for overnight stays where I won't want either the big-ass suitcase or the duffel bag, though it does have the disadvantage of two to-wheel items at those times when I have all my luggage on me.

The other question is the handbag. I need a new one -- I basically need a handbag that can hold my laptop in a crunch. Not a specific laptop bag, as the laptop won't be the primary use of the thing, but big enough that I don't have to lug a second bag around when I do take the laptop somewhere. Now, I know people also like to buy BAGS in Japan. But I also know that people buy crazy expensive brand bags in Japan, so IDK if there's any logic in aiming to buy in Japan for the kind of bag I want -- nice-looking, big, not totally cheapo but staying under €70, preferably under €50. Admittedly I don't have much experience buying handbags in either country.

So, survey items:

A+B: is this plan stupid, should I just take two suitcases / one suitcase and my medium trolley?
C: would it make more sense to take a big backpack instead of the cabin trolley as cabin baggage, for better carrying of things in Japan?
D: do I put all my handbag contents in a PLASTIC BAG and go shopping for bags in Japan?

Item #3 was 'Do I really want to take the Toyota plant tour on my one totally free day in Nagoya?' but I think the answer is, 'Um, no.'

Input welcome! I think better with input! >_>
jona: Akame looking cute and telling me to cheer up, emo pornographer (JE - cheer up emo (cute))
Back in March, I was going nuts not knowing about the next KAT-TUN tour. I'd saved up like such a good little squirrel, and this is the last year where I have really predictable employment, and I was so ready to go for three or four weeks again and make the flight worth it, and all that.

By now I've reached a weird state of zen about it. Admittedly my state of zen is sometimes enforced by me going SHUDDUP at people when they're about to freak me out. (Put three fangirls in a room these days, and within fifteen minutes, the freak-out starts.) But on my own, I've stopped freaking out.

Much as I reached a weird state of zen about Jin. He's due for a comeback, for anything, but has been for so long that I have adjusted to this being a permanent state of affairs, where something is about to happen any minute but there will never be the real minute when it happens.

We continue to be about to hear something about concerts. We continue to be about to see Jin's comeback in whichever form. As long as we hear nothing from Jin, we won't hear that he's leaving the agency or retiring. As long as we don't hear anything about concerts, we won't learn that they're in September when I can't go, or in November when it'll be very hard to go.

Everything is eternally just around the corner.

On a less philosophical note, I've started to wonder if the continued state of uncertainty about both those issues is somehow connected; if there is some weird Johnny's policy involved about how either Jin and KAT-TUN can't be on at the same time or they can't be on at different times or there can't use the same venue without at least two other groups having performed in it in between, or whatever, some weird JE logic that is not 'logic' as we know it but is somehow still Very Important and somehow they're unable to sort it out.

IDK, IDK.

*ommmmmm*
jona: (GKS - fight-oh!)
Yay, spring has finally arrived! (I noticed it was for real when my daily use of asthma spray tripled. *g*)

Stuff I have been up to:

Two weekends ago I had guests in the form of [livejournal.com profile] solo____, [livejournal.com profile] b_akakame, [livejournal.com profile] aya_3003 and [livejournal.com profile] ina.

I'm going to be lazy and link to Solo's posts for the documentation, which you may have seen, of course: the tech quiz is well worth looking at, even if you've now been spoiled, and here's a Summary Of Events.

Moving people around the varying sleeping places was like musical chairs (musical beds!) and you will have seen the picture of the night Pandarella slept in the kitchen. We also figured out more features of the karaoke Wii; we are getting really good at this! (The tech, not necessarily the karaoke.) But I did end up writing notes to myself; if I ever do this again, one thing I'll keep in mind is that after three hours of karaoke and boozing, I really won't want to get up and cook Real Food (tm). Always learn, always learn...

Enabled by pretty much everybody and having fondled all those phones for comparison, I also, um, bought a new smartphone.

Le shiny )

Phone is indeed excellent for Renshuu, so basically I just bought myself a very expensive vocabulary trainer. >_>

Randomosity: Because I always do what Solo tells me to, I played with the Chibi creator a few days ago.

This is me. )

Stuff I will be up to in the future:

-- I'm on the wait list for a bento class next weekend. So I don't know yet whether I get to go, but it could be interesting.

-- I'm going to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] solo____ for the Japan Day in Düsseldorf at the end of May. Am very curious what that's going to be like, and mostly hoping for lots of yummy fuds.

-- In June, there's NipponConnection in Frankfurt. No program yet, so I don't know how many of the films will be to my liking, but the general program around it will mean I'll probably want to go for a day or two.

-- On Thursday, after a long, long delay and many timing complications, we are going to buy BUDGIES. For my grandpa, because he could do with a pet that is interactive but doesn't require too much walking. My mother hit on this genius idea about two months ago but left all the research to me, and didn't know what she was getting herself into when I focused my post-break-up energy on reading all the advice on wellie.net and yourbudgieandyou.ocd and all that, and we learned that everything we ever knew about budgies was false. (OK, mostly we learned that getting my grandpa 'a budgie' was a really bad idea, and that those cages our old budgies, some 25+ years ago, were kept in were not very nice for the budgies.) So the first time I informed her we needed two budgies and a cage the size of #RedK Jin's apartment, she was all 'oh, okay, THINKING TIME-OUT.' But by a stroke of luck my mother has now purchased a two-year-old budgie pallazzo from her hairdresser (the ways of the village are wonderous...) and on Thursday we are picking up two budgies from a budgie-loving hobbyist breeder who comes with recommendations, and I am really sad about my asthma because I currently think budgies are awesome. (Maybe I am just still processing my break-up, who knows!)

No Ponies

Aug. 3rd, 2012 08:31 pm
jona: (Default)
You may or may not have noticed my absence, but I've been kind of absent. Not literally offline, as I always have my phone, but I spent the last 7 days constantly doing stuff, thinking about stuff, discussing stuff, trying to catch planes or trains or free meals.

On the road again )

PS: Travelling back Sunday, and then I have to WRITE LIKE THE DEVIL for the next - but last of this year - conference. And then I have HOLIDAY.
jona: (GKS - bigin)
On Friday I submitted my first ever paper to my first ever real I-am-a-presenter conference. It's not a very good paper, and my presentation will be more about 'these are all the problems I had with my data, anyone got good ideas how to fix them?', but it is submitted, and I'm hoping I can have a bit of a life again now.

Today is my first day off in two weeks. Before that, things weren't exactly slow going either. I've now worked through two public holidays, a whole weekend, and I basically left the house at seven thirty to stumble back in between eight and nine every day last week. I submitted my paper on 20.30 on Friday evening, with three and half hours to spare on the 'deadline'. Yesterday I zombiliciously tried to draft my presentation (I am presenting this paper to the department on Monday, for a trial run), but could not get my brain to engage, and did it this morning then.

And I was constantly wavering between being a little bit impressed with myself that I really could put in this much focused work for an extended period (and not just an emergency night shift!) and being all waaaah because the paper was still just not very good. It was an interesting lesson in how long it really takes to write a draft paper; on the other hand, I'm thinking I ought to maybe break myself of the habit of thinking that whenever work piles up like that, it's entirely my fault for being lazy and I suck at work, because occasionally it also has to do with shit like being on the fucking road all the time for work and doing stuff for my bosses for work.

So, anyway, on Monday I have the presentation before boss & colleagues, and next weekend, I will take a long weekend to make up for my missed public holidays, feeling that I am both entitled and that this will be healthy.

Dear Kame, Jin, KAT-TUN, and Johnny, I am very appreciative of the fact that none of you brought about any of the still outstanding fandom catastrophes I keep bracing myself for, i.e. that you did not get hit by a bus (Kame), officially quit the entertainment business (Jin), disband (KAT-TUN) or fire Jin (Johnny), during a time when I really did not need the distraction. I am now mentally preparing myself for you to return to your usual one-disaster-a-month schedule, but I do thank you for the well-timed break.

Dear Bomb Girls, thank you for being my catnip when I really needed some catnip. (Jonip?) I will post about you soon.

Dear conference organisers, thank you for letting me come to your conference and even paying my travel fees. I swear that I am taking your conference seriously, despite any appearances to the contrary my paper may create!

Oh, and, let it not be said that I don't get some mileage out of all my goddamn travelling -- because it made no difference money-wise, I'm not flying out to the conference via Frankfurt (take that, Frankfurt airport! HA!) but Düsseldorf, which means I get to see [personal profile] solo on the way back when she visits her folks!

PS: for EXTRA SPECIAL WOEZ, on Saturday morning, I pulled up the shutters, and what did I see on my balcony? A dead bird, with a little puddle of blood next to it. Thank you, village cats, for this thoughtful gift. I don't consider myself a squeamish person in general, but what I really wanted to do was stand on a chair and squeal until someone rescued me. SO. GROSS. I put tissues on it and attempted to lift it with an inside-out trash bag, but at the moment I would have felt the weight I totally balked and ran back inside. I, um. May have called my mother, to ask if she could come over and help. But the line was busy and eventually I told myself to get over it. But srsly. So. gross.
jona: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
I am in Japan. I have a wireless. I have a bed. I have been up for 39 hours. I have no money.

OK, I have some money because Solo lent me some. But for the first time ever, I have forgotten my PIN. This has led to some hilarious (ha, or not) shenanigans where I slunk around the same ATM five times trying my luck, called my bank two times to reset the block they put on my card after the fourth failed attempt, and directed my mother by phone to go through all the folders at home that could POSSIBLY contain the old PIN notification. (I suspect I was for a change a responsible consumer and destroyed it as advised.)

I am pretty sure I know all the numbers, but the order of them just eludes me, even after 10 tries. Now I have to beg pocket money from my fair companion until a new PIN can be sent to me. Aroooo.

I also had a lovely dinner with the lovely Rin. :DDDDD Where we discovered seafood in a stick and Akame killed a chicken.

And now we should really sleep. Sleeeeep, Solo?
jona: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
What I have accomplished:
-- bought a suitcase, picked it up
-- half-packed. rest must wait for pants to dry.
-- did all my laundry. now the laundry needs to do its bit, see above.
-- found my remaining yen-in-cash
-- put passport in REALLY PROMINENT SPOT on the sofa
-- liberated backpack from the sludge of disintegrating shopping receipts, mints, old pens, band aids and the odd free-floating ibuprofen
-- charged netbook
-- wiped the stairs and cleaned the front door

What I just have, no accomplishment:
-- allergies
-- a cold sore (fucking allergies...)
-- allergy pills I hope will kick in any minute

What I must not forget tomorrow morning:
-- remaining pants
-- eReader
-- phone, phone charger
-- my passport in the REALLY PROMINENT SPOT

My shiny new suitcase!
Photobucket

When my old large trolley broke in London, I knew I had to get a new one, but I wavered for AGES between a) a really posh one, Investment For Life, b) another shoddy but cheap one, and c) something in the middle that might make me unhappy about the money spent one way OR the other.

When it turned out that several relatives had a different idea of what constituted a 'large' suitcase and couldn't actually help me out, I really had to get something QUICK. So I ordered this while I was still in Berlin, and after whining a lot at Solo, I went with the c) option, and I'm actually quite pleased with it. It's a four-wheel Samsonite that didn't burst my budget; heavier than the Investment Suitcases would have been but, well, and I'm kind of fond of the green.

I've been so up and down and all around that I haven't really had the time to appreciate that we posted the very last chapter of our whorefic yesterday. It felt weird for a moment, and then I was busy busy busy. Maybe it'll sink in on the plane.

But speaking of fic and planes. Can someone do me a favour and tell me which stories in k_x I might enjoy reading on the plane, and by 'enjoy' I mean 'not cry, feel depressed, or like I just saw puppies killed'? I am really, really not up for excessive angst, and also not for unhappy endings of other kinds. So, recommendations? You'd be committing a public service and I'd have stuff to read on the plane!

I'm leaving tomorrow morning, back on the 24th. And, it's weird, I'm soooo looking forward to the food and the karaoke and the meetings we've got lined up and the food and all that stuff that it also hasn't really sunk in that I'm going to my very first KAT-TUN concert in a week! Huh. :-)

PS: If anyone needs to urgently reach me... e-mail Solo? She's the one who'll have the data sim card, if we can get it activated.
jona: (JE - akame #3 (mesh))
I am in Berlin again. The train ride was awful -- super crowded, people standing behind me a lot, and then creating a bottleneck right behind my seat with their suitcases so that at every stop, I got bumped into by luggage and annoyed people and I ended up a bit grrrrRRRrrrr.

BUT in a stroke of accidental genius, my hotel turned out to be in walking distance of my last work location, and both the hotel and the work location are on a direct bus line to the main station, which will make my life much easier on Thursday when I go home. This is something I don't usually manage even when I try, so I am quite pleased with this.

The hotel as such is... artsy fartsy 'boutique', which means the desk is a weird shape and the bed is sorta built into the wall, but the carpets have a very English look to them (and by that I don't mean they resemble the Union Jack), and my room is literally the last room on the corridor, to which I get after passing literally three other corridors and two fire doors. (The entire hotel seems to be in a square with a courtyard in the middle, which would technically be lovely, only it makes for a long walk when there's still only one entrance you can use.) That whole silent-at-the-end-of-the-corridor thing was a bit creepy.

Oh, and they hid the coffee maker in the wardrobe. Huh.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Hope to be social tomorrow with a certain Berlin fan *waves* and not get lost among the fire doors.
jona: (geänderte verkehrsführung)
1. I hate packing. I have this utter certainty that I've forgotten something, and I usually have, though I always find something new to forget. I think I'm done except for Charles-Henry and toiletries, but you never know. Oh, and the fact that I had to pack four pairs of shoes into my small suitcase never fails to be ridiculous, yet necessary.

2. I think I'm having a bout of PMS. I don't usually get it severely enough that I need to keep track (and warn people); when I was in my teens I used to get very maudlin days, but now it's mostly a non-event. Combined with my very irregular periods, I just never really know where I am in my cycle. But today as I was getting lunch at the train station, some guy waved a flyer under my nose. And instead of stopping when I did the 'no thanks' thing, he kept waving it at me for like two meters, and I wanted to MURDER him. And then after work I had to go by the post office to pick up a parcel and as I was driving, I was considering the train to Berlin tomorrow, and my reservation -- which is not in an airline seat car but in a compartment, in the middle seat, which is like the absolute worst for train rides, if you're me -- and mentally gearing up for fighting it out over leg space with stupid entitled businessmen and their stupid sprawling legs and phrasing my arguments about how can you see I'm not a teeny tiny pixie and I'm entitled to my own fucking seat? and I wanted to murder them in absentia... then I went, 'hmmmm, Jo, might this totally unfounded anger come from mother nature?' So, yeah, that actually cracked me up then. *g*

3. I could also just be very tired, because I woke up at four in the morning going 'OMG I HAVE TO WRITE A PAPER BY 18 MAY OMG OMG I AM SO FUCKED'. I think of this as a little preview as we move further into April. (Oh, and I have another paper to write by 6 August, but I can have my little moments about that later. Where I'll Be When post updated, but locked.)

4. I'm sure most of you have been linked to this somewhere, but in case you haven't, look at baby owls in a cup. It will make your life improving.

5. Reposted from Twitter: from the category of how maybe not to name your business. Read more... )
jona: (bunnies incognito)
1. During lunch break, I bought a new phone (for the landline), after the old one got very capricious about charging, showed only half of the display ('hmm, is this an 8 or a 3?'), and eventually started going CLACK -- CLACK -- CLACK during calls. It's amazing how much time you can spend being undecided about phones that all do the same thing and are roughly in the same price range.

2. Also bought new Sennheiser earphones -- or rather swapped the voucher I got for when my old Sennheiser earphones broke before warranty had expired and they didn't have that type anymore for a new set. This is... quite nice.

3. I'm not going to Japan for concerts this spring. I know I've been saying that, but with little caveats in my brain, remembering how I wish I'd just borrowed the money from someone and GONE in 2009. I don't even know if it would work with work; I could swing it financially if I emptied my savings account, especially with the tax refund I'll have coming, and I could even see a scenario where I just make this my 'big' holiday, and in the summer I just stay at home, or see a few friends in Germany.

But today I realised what it was: I'm lacking Fernweh -- desire for travel and new places, roughly translated. I would LOVE to go to the concerts, and I'm sure two weeks in Tokyo wouldn't ever suck, but that feeling of OMGJAPAN!1!!!1 I had before the last trip just hasn't had much time to rebuild. Probably all that work travel, but whatever the causes, I'm currently just not OMG enough to want to blow this much money, so shortly after I've blown that much money.

And I'm feeling quite zen about that.

(I even, god, still quite fancy the idea of just taking three weeks off in summer and spending them largely at home, doing Balkonien. Or maybe go diving for five days and spend the rest at home.)

4. Last night, when I couldn't sleep (I have holiday jetlag; I've been sleeping in until 9.30 for two weeks, going to sleep at half past eleven just isn't on the menu), I dug out my very first Akame WIP. Apologies to those who actually remember me talking about this, but I hadn't looked at that one in ages, so to me that was... interesting. It's the one set in 2018 where KAT-TUN broke up because Jin left the band for a small-potatoes career in the States (...in rock, though) and still based on 2006/07 Kame characterisation (a.k.a neurotic!angstbunny!Kame). It's got various kinds of facepalming moments (people don't take their shoes off! Kame doesn't cook!) and the premise is admittedly jossed to the point of irrelevant, but the style and the snark (and even the kind of angst) struck a chord in my writer brain -- if I had ANY less to do fic-wise, I might actually go back and write The Terrible Irrelevant Angsty AU. But, well. There is only so much time. *sigh*

5. Does anyone know if Dreamwidth has an Android app, or some such?

6. My office is surprisingly busy. I spoke to seven people today. You usually only see these many people when there's a seminar or something.

7. The rest of my day shall contain the following: go on exercise bike, watch The Good Wife (YAY!), cook actual food for dinner, eat it, and write. (Preferably the porny frivolous one over the angsty serious biznes babies, but who knows.)

8. Are there any Pi downloads yet??? (Srsly, people, my squeal when I was informed that show would go on for three months probably scared the cat.)

9. *ignores Solo*
jona: (JE - Junno No)
This is, obviously, a very profound post.

So the last few weeks, when I wasn't working or doing other shit that I'm sure I was doing only I don't quite remember, I've been trying out gyms in the neighborhood. Not necessarily because I want to fit in a bikini, but because a funny thing happened when I was last travelling for work, on that short trip to London/Manchester in July: I went to the gym three times, not even long, just 20-30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and I was pain-free for the first time in six months.

That happy state of affairs continued for about ten days after I was back, until my back reminded me that maybe a one-off didn't fix it.

Cut for gym blah blah. )

In other news, while I am Home Alone On A Saturday Night Booo Hooo, we are finally writing again, and it makes me very happy. Today was very easy-going writing to a kink_bingo square we can't post about until we have written this other thing, so it was a nice way of easing back into it.

In yet other news, last weekend I was at a family birthday, and accidentally got so drunk it was just that last Ramazotti that wasn't my fault, honest that I started speaking only English on the way home, where I proceeded to fall out of my mother's car. Now every time I call my mother and get my brother on the phone, Dudley quotes my drunken lines back at me and has the time of his life mocking me. The upside is that after I, um, fed the birds out of that side of the car, he no longer wants to sit in the front seat, and we can stop having wrestling matches over it. (My mother has taken it with remarkable poise, though. It's weird, she gets her 'omg, you have alcoholism in your genes!' on whenever I mention I had a glass of wine at home, but apparently getting literally fall-down-drunk at parties is totally ok!)
jona: (GKS - bigin)
Oooof.

So, guys, I'm going to London on Thursday. I haven't packed and I haven't ironed, and until an hour ago I didn't have a suitcase. (Thank you, Grand Master Aldi.) Until two hours ago I also hadn't heard a peep from my boss on my questionnaire for the interviews, and had sekrit little horror scenarios where he's all 'OMG THIS SUX YOU ARE WASTING OUR MONEY' a day before STARTO in my head.

But when I got home, he'd replied to my 'hi there I'm sending you the questionnaire AGAIN *cough*' e-mail and found very nice things to say. So yay, at least that feels a little soothing.

I'm flying on Thursday morning, because on Thursday afternoon I got a very last minute interview with [someone very important] from [somewhere REALLY important], and to tell you the truth, I don't know if I'm more nervous about that, or about... the fact that we're going to post the most authorial-wibble-inducing chapter of the whores that same day.

P-R-I-O-R-I-T-I-E-S. Can I haz them?

Other things I'm going to do! I've actually ~looked around~ and am going to a newbie meet-and-drink of London lesbians in the first week -- while I haven't actually missed queer venues terribly much lately, I feel almost obligated to go to some parties if for once I'm in a city where queer things happen not just more than once a month, but, like different things to choose from in a day omg wow. Aaaand I'm going to go on a day trip to Cardiff and meet up with [livejournal.com profile] beccatoria, wooo! And Solo is coming for a weekend, and I plan to freebie my way through some local gyms and eat mushy peas (they still have them, right? RIGHT?) and sit in cite cafés SIPPING CARAMEL LATTES LIKE A REAL ACADEMIC.*

Now for a weird thing: I really feel like... I will miss my piano. Given my skill level and everything, this is really rather unexpected. But I'm so enjoying having a realish piano standing around and just going over there a few times each night and playing some simple little song... Pi-chan, I will miss you!


*solely for the benefit of [personal profile] jae.

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the paranoid android

December 2015

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