katekat: (Default)
I'm in a nostalgic mood because I'm rewatching Buffy (Season 4 rocks!4eva!) in my free time, just introduced one of my friends to the first episode of Firefly last night, am sorta joining in on the Veronica Mars rewatch my housemate is doing when she has it on and I come home, and basically... it's like TV in the past. Oh and my friend "IL" has me watching Empire's first season because she loves Cookie so. Can't argue with that - the role is so much better for Taraji Henson than her character on Person of Interest. Not that it's perfect - Empire is very much a show about drama. High drama is ridiculous all the time. No one's life is like that. And people have a bad habit of breaking into song (though it's not as bad as Smash). But at least Cookie has some range - is good, bad, beautiful, strong, both generous and selfish in turns. Henson is absolutely fascinating to watch no matter what she's doing.

But since I'm watching "Primeval" I'm feeling all blog-centric. Well that and I had a great conversation with my mom last night about what we put in journals and why we love them so. Even though this isn't a written journal it is a record of pieces of my life, and even though sometimes it's fragments, it's still a record of some kind. Just like every journal is fragmented. I can't tell you how many times I've sat on an airplane writing the first page of my journal for my trip to somewhere ... Japan, Boston, Minnesota. Traveling brings back the introspection in my family apparently.

And Buffy watching.

So, in navel gazing, I had a major birthday. It passed with fanfare of the best kind - planned and executed well, if I do say so myself. There were a hideous number of festive tissue paper pom-poms and garlands made of playing cards, and while there weren't fountains of punch there were several pitchers of sangria that went over incredibly well. Oh, and cupcakes! All of my thinking and obsessing and preparation and anticipation actually worked out incredibly well!

here's a beautiful picspam of just a couple of images...yes i am infected by instagram aesthetics )

Work has been relatively good this week, which is nice - I'm trying to finish a rough draft of my entire dissertation by the end of November, so we'll see how that goes. It's going to be a close thing. But every time I sit down and read another magazine I feel closer to my source material, and even though I haven't read everything, I've read so many new things that expand my understanding of the conversation happening within the pages of the magazine. And it was a conversation, even if it's hard to hear how people speak back to a printed article. It's pretty awesome.

I went to my second academic SF conference the weekend after my birthday - both fun and a little weird. Lots of cool info about scifi that doesn't always get into the conversation. Did you know that there was a pretty big Mexican Cyberpunk movement in the 1990s? And that First Nations peoples are considering alternative ways of knowing as both SF but also just S (ie: science). One of my professors presented on some of her preliminary work on Korean SF, and a friend presented on this amazing graphic novel where the two women main characters are a spaceship captain and the engineer and they both make love to each other and their ship!

Unfortunately there was also just a little social weirdness. Some of the male grad students I struck up a conversation with were dudebros, and some of the spanish speakers just straight up didn't talk in English in order to exclude the non-spanish speakers from the conversation, but such is life.
katekat: (Default)
It's 10:30 pm on a Saturday and I'm home with the dog feeling accomplished because I actually wrote for about an hour today on my dissertation. I'm struggling with the rewrite of my second chapter, because I needed to pretty much reverse the polarity of the argument (which in all honesty meant I needed to go back and rewrite the chapter). I did that AND 2/3rds of a fellowship application that's due on Monday.

I started an Instagram account. Because I need *more* things to check online that aren't lj. And I'm mostly posting pictures of my dog. She's more photogenic than I am.

Dog and I have been doing pretty well lately. She loves having me home every day, and now that it gets dark so early (curse you, daylight savings time!) I've been taking her on a walk at 3 pm instead of 5 or 6. Our schedule changes all the time because it seems like every department or college event this semester happens at 5 pm or from 4 - 6 pm, or somewhere thereabouts. And I've found that my fuzzy friend over there pouts if I'm not home during that time UNLESS I take her on a walk earlier in the day. Which is great and all, it's not like I can't use the excercise, I just wonder if I used to be this concentrated on taking care of the dog? I know I took her out a lot after dark, but I'm realizing these days that she *really* doesn't like that. And truth be told I'm not too big of a fan of it either.

In weird news, my ear continues to do odd things. I now seem to have tinnitus in my left ear. My awareness of it goes in and out, and sometimes it sounds like the loudest buzz imaginable, while at others it fades into the background ambient noise (which include buzzes from the fridge, and powerlines, and at night, crickets). It is uncomfortable, and a little scary, and because of that I haven't called a doctor to go see what is actually wrong. That's what the internet is for right? WebMD or some other site noted that smoking, since it affects your blood pressure, can affect your ears too, and that scared me enough that I cut down to about 1/3 my daily intake (3 - 4 cigarettes). Which is good. I should/can/will try actually to keep cutting that down, but that was a big reduction from my 8-12 a day so I'm counting it as a win. And actually, excercising *really* helps me not notice the buzz, which is also part of the reason for the weird Domino walking times.

But we're both tired of walking around our neighborhood. Two months ago I did a hike with some other grads and my friend up to Griffith Park (with the dog), and since then the dog and I have gone three more times. If I went fast it would be a 15 minute uphill walk, but since I don't it's more like 25, and I huff and puff my way up the trail.

Have some pictures of that )

now, if I remember, in my next post I'll tell you all about how I threw an awesome murder mystery party (theme: post apocalyptic zombie cannibal asylum), how I showed up on a Japanese academic's twitter, how I helped interview an up and coming Japanese writer, and how my nemesis (though I dunno if she's that now) provided me with about three days worth of schadenfreude (which i know is not nice, but it happened, ok).
katekat: (WC_neal hat)
I have been *buried* like a crazy person in all kinds of things. Not bad things, not at all, just lots and lots of things one after another.

So I give you life, in photo form (well, and some things that i forgot to take photos of, because i have trouble that way)

A visit from one of my very favorite people in the world, Tebo. )

Two of my friends got married, and this is when we took them out to dinner to celebrate after they'd done the ceremony stuff )

I presented at a Japanese pop culture conference in Minneapolis on Sept 27th! )

My second chapter, on Japanese magazine covers in the 1960s, got turned in on October 1 )

I got to go to a departmental faculty meeting and pretend like I know what I'm doing. No, kidding. But I did talk about our upcoming graduate student conference )

I had a birthday! I am older! Like by a whole year! )

And since then I've started a writing workshop to transform a written piece into an article, assembled my portfolio so I can apply for the 3 (yes, 3) jobs in the U.S. for Japanese literature and culture professors, applied for one of the most prestigious national fellowships available to ppl who work on what I do (and trust me, that was a pain, including two different research statement workshops and one rewrite of a dissertation chapter), had another friend come to visit for 4 days (he doesn't like pictures, but we talked about our projects, watched a ton of movies and tv, and found yummy local places to eat on the cheap), and watched a TON of Gillmore Girls with my housemate.

And since Halloween is coming, I have one more image for you:

2014-10-20 18.31.55

this is a skeleton flamingo. to be found in the yard up the street that brought us the two-joseph chreche at Christmas time (found in this picspam about 2/3rds of the way down) I love them. They are awesome. I just need to find a way to make them my friends.
katekat: (Default)
the picspam to end all picpams (or: kate was being lazy and productive at the same time and that means pictures were organized - because after all, organization = productivity, right?)

a huntinton garden rose
invites you in ...

Random sept photos of my house, neighborhood, and parents )

And then there was Halloween, Los Feliz style )

Adventures at the Huntington Gardens )

Thanksgiving (or my Mom's backyard) )

it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, even at Thanksgiving )

the end! thank you for looking!!
katekat: (Default)
ALLLLMOST made it at midnight (but didn't because LJ's photobucket, while convenient, inverts your photograph order as you upload. So awesome. NOT.) I declare it's still Wednesday because I haven't gone to sleep yet. That works right?

ANYWAY, enough complaining. These are pics from Tahoe and Mokelumne Hill and Jackson (in California) - my latter travels!

tahoe invites you in:


it truly is a beautiful land )
katekat: (Default)
I'm pressed for time, so these images are ready to go but they don't have accompanying text. If you roll over the image, they do have alt text that sorta identifies them. Questions? ask away and eventually i will hit internet again to answer them!


katekat: (Default)
Dear Diary,

I went to a penis festival. Yep, you read that right. In a little town North of Nagoya called Komaki they have a harvest festival every year that hopefully will bring fertility. Setting aside the patriarchal underpinnings of only celebrating the penis as the active maker of fertility *cough* hello vagina anyone *cough* it was a really amusing day. Lots and lots of foreigners were there, but there were plenty of Japanese too, celebrating, taking pictures, buying penis-shaped food, and drinking shrine sake. And after that? Sam and I went to the Ise Grand Shrine, dedicated to goddess Amaterasu.

I ended up with incredibly painful blisters (by the end o f the night on the second day I literally had tears in my eyes) and sunburn that makes me look like a raccoon (which is why there are no pictures of me on the second day, omg) but had a great time. Our friend Fede brought two of his friends to hang out with us at the festival, and we laughed and were goofy all day. And Sam not only put up with my limping the whole second day, but is still talking to me afterwards – which is a tribute more to his patience than anything else.

Be warned, here there be wooden and stone penii! (and ok, they're really not so bad) )
katekat: (Default)
It started with an all night hang out in Tokyo, waiting for the freshest fish in the world to be served at 4 am, then I ran off to visit as many temples in Kyoto as I could handle - actually probably more than. It was awesome. And I'll miss more than just the warm toilet of my room at the ryokan. But I might be temple-ed out at the moment....



And that's where I'm going to end this set today. Rest up tomorrow or when I get the chance!
katekat: (Default)
So, other than feeling a little weighed down by last week's classwork, I've been working on this plan with Sam for a 20 person thanksgiving. But let me set this up for you -- ovens aren't common in Japan. And in our housing, two burner stoves are also the only thing we've got. So imagine the idea of trying to put together food for 20 people in a regular kitchen (not a small feat) and then cut your number of burners in half and take away your ability to keep things warm (or bake) in the oven.

That being said, Sam's idea was to basically figure out the menu instead of doing potluck (since those kinds of things always end up with people bringing chips from the combini down the street), and then do assignments of dishes to people who could do them. So one guy did all the sweet potatoes, one woman did all the potatoes, I did the stuffing (and the gravy), Sam did the meat (which also, not a turkey, but instead braised pork that was fantastic), and a pumpkin soup for starters AND mulled wine.

And a good time was had by all! And so I have pictures! )

All in all totally worth the weeks of preparation, the all day shopping excursions, the having to drag heavy (good) smelling food onto the train in the rain, everything. :D

Now though? I'm totally pooped, and am basically going to be watching LOTR and doing nothing for the rest of the day. I hope y'all had good thanksgiving if you celebrate it! And if not, good weekends!
katekat: (Default)
In the 'oh my gods i'm on vacation' spirit I listened to my old advisor and took the dog to the beach for the afternoon. This is a slightly more complicated process than you might think since there are no dogs allowed on the beach in LA County. We drove up to Malibu (an hour and a half or so) and found what I hoped was going to be a doggie-friendly beach. Even the place I found didn't allow dogs, but the lifeguard directed me to the edge of the public beach where the private beach was cordoned off and let me take the puppy over there.

It was awesome. She had a blast, and got super duper excited to run through the waves chasing birds and snapping at the sea foam. I had a blast getting tugged down the beach by my super enthusiastic dog, and then we co-opted the steps of one of the clearly unused beach porches and sat for a while, reading Terry Pratchett, who is like my favorite summer reading (well, or anytime you need a smile) reading.

I didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple! (and this gives me the chance to see how the new lj scrapbook pics are going to upload themselves).

Puppy at the beach

doggie! pictures! )
katekat: (giles - secret smile)
I try to walk myself and the dog past these steps every day or so, just because they're so pretty (and steps! good for the butt! even if we both take them slow!) Tonight at the base of the steps there was a written message that was so sweet I had to share. I have no idea who the writer is, but I think the sentiment is quite lovely.

click for close up on the writing )

Isn't that just sweet?? I love my neighborhood!

And in other things, those of you who loved cracked out 70s science fiction movies (and really, I can't think of a single one of you who doesn't, right?) last night I watched Zardoz:

which miraculously (fabulously!) has Sean Connery running around in a red diaper and thigh-high leather boots. SO WORTH IT! Just so you know though, in the future, there are no bras. I watched it with [livejournal.com profile] mechassninja an our friend Tebo (just call us two bottles of white and a bottle of red ladies), and had like seriously the most fabulous time. Even during the forty minutes of technical difficulties we had to deal with because the world wants us to PAY for the ability to video chat with three windows. Anyway, Tebo was the one who already knew how absolutely marvelous this film was, and so she inflicted introduced it to us. There was so much laughing in the first 15 minutes that I think one of us peed her pants a little. Just, fair warning, if you do try and track this down, be drunk when you watch it. Then the ending may make some strange sort of sense.

Ok, so that was the fun and (un?)productive side of the weekend. On the other side I gave the dog a bath, then cleaned the house (particularly the be-dogged bathroom), finished grading half the essays I have for tomorrow, and read a book about poverty in New York written in the 1880s. So far, so good. Oh, and I made mini-quiches to take for breakfast next week. Num.
katekat: (_xmas girl)
Ok, so, here's the thing. I managed to get the camera out only about 20% of the time it was appropriate. I mean, sure, I took pictures of the red and white cookies I made and frosted for Christmas presents for my sisters. But I forgot to take pictures of the finished presents where I wrapped and repurposed my Trader Joes coffee cans to hold said cookies in awesome cookie tins. I took some pictures of my parent's dog Chewie, and mine, and them with her, but entirely forgot to bring out my camera for our Christmas day (that we do on the Saturday or Sunday before Christmas every year so everyone in the family can get together). Even though one of my sisters and her son was in England, we were, as usual, 20 or so people piled into a house together to steal white elephant presents from each other and eat a bunch of scrumptious appetizers and the potluck dinner that my stepmom has worked out the kinks of every year. She said this year, as she's tried to say for the last five years or so, that this was the last Christmas she'd hold at her house (my other sisters are going to trade off, say them). I'll believe it when it happens though. I deliberately didn't take pictures of me going with my stepmom and sister to water aerobics, but it was fun nonetheless. And I entirely forgot to take pictures of me and my sister together, which was silly because we actually spent the day shopping with each other and had breakfast together at the end and she was a bastion of awesomeness and just, awesome.

I did remember to get my camera out at my Mom's place, which was good, and so there are a few more pictures from my week there. We drove around and looked at lights up on the hills, and managed to exhaust ourselves making all those cookies I posted about earlier. But I didn't take pics of us unwrapping presents, and I didn't take pictures of our amazingly wonderful tissue paper rose windows. I did, however, manage to get pics of our awesome potatoes au gratin done in these little individual baby bunt cake tins and our first forays with the royal icing on sugar cookies. We attempted to recreate the designs from the gourmet cookies picture, though it may take us a couple of years to get them absolutely perfect. The rest of the cookies weren't as pretty (well, ok, the pecan lace ones were, but the anise ones turned out . . . strangely chewy and flat) but ended up tasty, and again, I forgot!

It's funny the things I know I'll remember versus the things I have images of, but hey, that's the way life goes anyway right? Regardless of the stress (and there was some, in both families, for different reasons) I did have a great time.

So here you go, proof of Christmas!

Santa close up invites you in ....  )
katekat: (_xmas girl)

In the 'pics or it didn't happen category - I mentioned the other day that the house down the street has a crèche with two Josephs as Jesus' daddies. And their robes are even pink. Sorry for the terrible image quality, but this makes me smile every day I walk past it.

And this is the house - we have seriously cute houses on our street, and this is one of them.

katekat: (Default)
The menu worked out so amazing I want to go and do everything over again. But the fun of holiday cooking is getting to explore other things, so possibly not?

all the dishes and links to the recipes )

(and then, when we had everything again the next day, we also did orange-cranberry sauce!)

And, a Turkey Day Picspam:

the four ladies of thanksgiving invite you in )

As you may have noticed from the image up there (and the pics) I got to celebrate my turkey day with [livejournal.com profile] elizabuffy & my mom & amber! We had an amazing time - lots of eating, lots of (slightly unplanned) car riding, a planetarium show, an awesome silent movie, a bbc sherlock marathon, and seriously amazing company. Sadly EB & Amber took off this morning for other parts, but I get to keep mom for a couple more days. My brain is offline enough that I can't come up with the perfectest words to express how awesome the entire couple of days were, so you'll have to just take my word for it. For all this? I'm thankful.

*hugs you all*
katekat: (Default)
I mentioned in my last post that I was doing this project in the Visual Studies class where we had to pick out five items from the Getty special collections around a certain theme, and then show them to the class. It so happened that my partner took photographs of all the items, so I'm throwing them up in a picspam. Why not right?

We chose these because they represented four different forms of disembodiment: the literal act, the photographed spirit, the phenomenon of light, and the conceptually reproduced

pretty old things )
katekat: (_nihon_lion)
I finally sit down to try to make a post of many parts (including pictures not my own since i often forgot my camera just when it would have been useful this trip), that reminds me to remember certain pieces of the trip, while also explaining where I've been.

I wish I could say I've been out running here to there having the time of my life, so busy that I haven't been able to be at the computer, but the truth was that I was sick.  I think I already bitched about that, but it started on a Thursday, I sat out fun things on the weekend so I could get better, slowly recovered so that I mostly felt all there to take the final (but not entirely all there to study for it - I figured sleep was the best present I could give myself on that score, so the final really became a 'these are the areas you need to study most' thing rather than a 'final' with a grade).  But then the cold came back on Friday of this week, hard enough that my housemate told me I looked like was doing 'pretty bad' at the final school party - so again, I went home and tried to rest it out.

Still sick.

However, in the mean time, I did squeeze some things in. 

pics or it didn't happen you say? sure! )

So today, my last day in Japan, I took two sudafed (nicole still has a stash of the ones with pseudoeffedrine in them, so they actually, you know, work, and keep you alert), and we went to Kamakura (no, really, click the link, it's pretty)

Those pics also forthcoming.

What I'm going to miss about Japan )

What I am looking forward to when I get home )

Things I won't miss about Japan, not at all )

ok, that's that. more posts coming soon i guess!
katekat: (_nihon_lion)
In honor of the exciting Lupercalia celebration planned for the future at the just being created today kradamcakes, I give you a wolf picspam.

And by picspam I mean, well, PICSPAM. There are more images here than I've dealt with in a long time, and a link at the bottom to the photobucket that contains more. If you like wolves you will like these photos. And if you like the idea of Kradam & Wolves (and in the future, Kradam & mermaids, and possibly other cracked out things), keep your eye on kradamcakes (though probably not quite, you know, today).

Almost all images are pretty large (min 800x400, but lots 1280x1024) so right click and view in new window/save as to your heart's content!

A gentleman is simply a patient wolf. Lana Turner )
katekat: (_nihon-flower)
Last picspam for a while, I promise! But since it's still January I get to still post holiday pictures, especially since they were taken this year!

The Tesla coil invites you in with its sparkly purple and blue energy )
katekat: (_xmas girl)
Once upon a time a girl went up to N. Cal to visit her family - there were lots of hugs and a bunch of time spent hanging out with her nephews and parents and even an eclipse! And then she and her mom took a driving adventure back to her house, filled it with lots of wonderful things to make it a warm home, made bunches of good food, and went on adventures. And then, sadly, she had to put her mom back on a train to go home. But in the end, it was kind of a magical Christmas.

And look, there were pictures! )
katekat: (_pink and yellow girl)
Let's start, shall we, with a little picture of the mountains:

I had forgotten how much fun driving is.  And seriously, the route I took from Southern to Northern california is really boring through most of the drive, and yet, I had the grandest time.  My ipod failed, so I had to search for radio stations, and ended up finding wonderful crappy music to play and sing to, and got to drive on roads I hadn't taken in years.  And stop whenever I wanted.  And just hang out with myself.  It was a great time.

picspam, and probably too many words all together, but i couldn't resist. you can totally just look at the pictures if you want! )

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