seventhe: (Tifa: bad)
So I said in a comment that I actually expect FFXIII to become a decent writing fandom for me because of the holes and confusion in said story. That's pretty true: I write more for fandoms that didn't necessarily feel complete or sensical to me (FFIV, what with the LUNAR WHALE and all; FFVIII's plot holes and weirdly focused storytelling) than I do for ones that felt more or less complete (FFVI and FFX being good examples here – I loved both games, but I don't feel as compelled to write for them as I do for other fandoms. It isn't that VI and X don't have things to explore or holes in their stories – they do! – and some of it is character draw between all of the games, sure; but I just don't feel like I have as much to add in those canons as I do for IV and VIII). I liked FFXIII enough to think about dabbling in it fannishly, at least, and since my writing has more or less dried up and been left for dead, I want to tentatively encourage anything that gets me excited about words again.

So here's what I want to do, to take my mind off of my job: I want to talk about the characters in FFXIII, and I want to talk about things that I liked, and I want to talk about things that I want to read, or want to write. And then I want you guys to talk back about characters and rec me good fics! First, rec me anything that's good from FFXIII, whether or not it matches with stuff I am into, because good fic is wanted and needed and I'm always excited about new stuff in a new fandom. But second, if you can think of anything that will fill some of those holes I'm feeling pretty keenly, please hand it over! self-reccing is totes okay too. give me fic please. Or, if you see something that looks like fun, prompt me! Or make me prompt you! FUN GAMES IN SEV'S JOURNAL: THE MUSICAL.

FFXIII Characters – possible game spoilers I guess )

In having written all of this, I'm seeing a couple trends. In addition to FFXIII being about trust/betrayal, right/wrong, truth/lies, it's also about family, including families of choice. And I like that. But I also like the dark undercurrents in so many of these character-character relationships, because I have bad taste in everything. The Fandom Hell Bus is coming to pick me up. Get in; I'm driving

THIS GOT REALLY LONG.

SOMEBODY HELP ME OUT HERE.
seventhe: (Default)
[personal profile] novel_machinist is trying to pull together some resources to help younger graduates feel better about finding jobs and more confident about the things that they do! This is a(n) small LOL RIGHT essay I've pulled together to help share my own experiences with interviewing and hiring. I hope it helps someone!

The information here is a lot about me and my experiences. I come across as a really grumpy asshole. But guess what! That's who is interviewing you. I don't come to work to make BFFs, I come to get shit done. I recruit in the same way. Lots of other people do too. Here's the list of ~secret~ things we're really looking for, and how you can make even a grumpy buttface like me want to bring you into my company. SPOILER: They're not so secret.

Some Information On Interviewing From The Other Side Of The Table, or: What Too Much Of Sev's Job Has Become and How You Can Hopefully Make My Life Easier When I'm Hiring. )

All of this advice can be boiled down to the following: We want to hire someone who wants to be hired by us for this specific job. We are not looking for people who want "a job", "any job". We're a puzzle piece looking for a piece that fits well, that improves us, not just any piece that's close enough. Your job is to use the interview time to determine whether or not you are a good fit, and if you are, to show me why you're the best puzzle piece out there. Because there are a lot of other puzzle pieces very similar to you, and if I don't see that tiny two-pixel difference between you and the last person I spoke to, I may throw you both into the "meh" pile.

I win at analogies forever.

Enjoy. And good luck. And if you have questions, or you want to hear the horror stories, just ask.



...Also I pick on Taco Bell a lot in this and I want to make it perfectly clear that it's just an example and I love me some shameful 3:30am TBell just like every other engineer in the world.
seventhe: (Rydia: shine)
So, I watched BBC Sherlock.

I didn't actually really know anything about this show going in. [livejournal.com profile] safety_caesars had suggested it, having been introduced by somebody else, and I was like, "hey, okay, sure." Becky has good taste, or at least terrible taste that's similar to mine (which obviously makes it good taste), and I like Sherlock Holmes-flavored things in general, so I certainly was interested – I wasn't boning for it, half because I didn't know shit about it and mostly because there's a fairly big activation energy to actually get me into something*, but I was interested and willing.

This show is fabulous. Or, was, since last night we watched the end of S2 and now have to wait in agony for, probably, another year.

Having recovered from the flailing agony that was tears and a jumbo bottle of wine last night, I have a lot of thoughts, actually. First up on the S2 finale, and then some idling thoughts on the series as a whole.

[SEASON TWO FINALE COMING UP. AKA, SPOILERS.]
The Reichenbach Fall thing. )

[General show discussion from this point on]
Stuff about the show -- no real spoilers here; I talk about the show but I don't think I give anything away. )

So, even if you don't want to read the spoilers or anything, I do highly recommend you watch the show. It's very well done, incredibly entertaining, and the chemistry between the two main characters is exquisitely intimate. Now, I have summed up over 2K in a sentence and also used the word "exquisite". I'm done now.

So who would like to dive into this fandom and write (comfort) fic with me…??


*This is why I re-read and re-watch and re-play so many things: the undertaking of a new thing, book/game/movie/show/comic/other source material is strangely daunting to my head. I find it very comforting to re-read, or re-watch, or re-play things: I still enjoy them on the second (or third) (or fifteenth) time through, and it's relaxing to not have to pay all of my attention to it. "Comfort reading" is a very real thing in my world.

The amount of energy it can take to engage with something new is something I don't often have lying around for whatever reason, and I am really sometimes dumb my first time through a thing because I'm very easily distracted and if I'm not engaged it's going to take me a while to be able to remember who is who and why I should give fucks. Movies not so much: they're short; other canons, especially long ones, can be really overwhelming. The undertaking of a new thing with fannish expectations is even more overwhelming to my head, somehow (see for reference: Gundam Wing); and even more so on top of that if people have built any part of it up. I'm not entirely sure why it's so intimidating, why sometimes I would rather watch reruns than something new, but it's entirely true. Maybe it's because I feel like I have to get invested?

So like, if you have ever recced some canon/source material at me and been like, dude, Sev, you need to read/watch this and I haven't jumped into it right away, this is why: and I am sorry. Sometimes I physically need someone to drag me in over that hill. It isn't that I'm not interested. It's just my brainspace.

(I like how I say "I want to talk about BBC Sherlock" and then I spend just as many words navel-gazing about myself. Awesome. I've got the best blogging style ever.)

**(Somewhat contradictorily, I am more likely to cry at moving scenes in books I've read a thousand times, or shows I've seen before, or even games I've already played, even though I know what's coming.)

*** God, I'm never even sure how to write this. "Romantically involved" seems silly since so many relationships really don't match up with a cultural definition of "romance", right? And "physically involved" doesn't necessarily mean intimacy. And both of them can in some ways belittle the amazing connection that you can have with a friend like that, which can go beyond intimacy (or boning). Askldjalksdj how do I words

seventhe: (Rosa/Rydia: got your back)
Medical talk about my eyes, ahoy! Skip if you need; otherwise please give me some GD advice.

Yesterday I went in for an evaluation with Dr D, in consideration for laser surgery (LASIK or PRK). I went through the barrage of tests - and I am serious, barrage; my appointment was at 9 and I didn't actually see Dr D until 10:30 - and got my eyes dilated (spoiler, if you've never had it done: it sucks. Your long-distance vision isn't so bad, but anything closer than 10 feet is all out of whack, you have NO depth perception and can't read anything, including your own phone, trying to look at your fingers gives you a headache, and oh also all light is now a minion of hell itself). I sat there for a bit while Dr D looked at my charts and looked in my eyes a little bit and HMMed.

There was a lot of HMMing. He talked to the [nurse? assistant? secretary? i dunno, they'd taken my glasses so I couldn't even tell you what color hair this person had] for a while and flipped through some charts. He talks to me a little bit as he looks into my eyes, and then he asks the assistant-person to go and get [a new doctor, who is training with him]. "She should see this consult," he says, and basically explains that my eyes are so bad it will be a good learning experience for his new trainee doctor. Ugh. So I sit and blink into space while she arrives, and then they finally give me my glasses back, and there is some more HMMing.

And then he says, "No, you're not a candidate for PRK at all."

Okay, I say, slowly. But the other doctor told me I wasn't a candidate for custom LASIK either because my eyes were so bad, and said PRK would be better.

Technically, says, Dr D, PRK is better -- up to a point. But on a patient like you? On a patient with -11 myop? If we did PRK on you, you'd have halos and floaters for the rest of your life, you'd never fully recover from it. We'd have to take off too much, it's coming way too close, and even if it fixes your vision you're going to lose all your night vision and your sensitivity. I don't like it. I've done 37,000 surgeries, and I'm not going to do PRK on you.

Please note at that point that my eyes are actually too bad for both custom LASIK and PRK. I win?

But, says Dr D. That doesn't mean you don't have options. You have two options, and I want you to listen carefully, because one isn't what you're going to expect.

My first option is standard LASIK, the LASIK they did back in the 90s before it all became super automated plug-and-play - that's custom LASIK, and I can't have that. The thing is, says Dr D, custom LASIK and standard LASIK both operate taking a certain thickness of your cornea per myop of your eyesight. Custom takes a little more, standard a little less. For somebody who is a -3, the difference is maybe 15 microns? Not a lot. For someone who is a -11, the difference is more like 100 microns -- which is what rules out custom LASIK. My corneas aren't thick enough to handle the amount of correction my myopic script needs.

Standard LASIK, however, where Dr D would do it himself, is still an option. It's a little... not great of an option, though. He'd be pushing the LASIK to its limits, and if my eyes started to change as I aged, we wouldn't have a lot of options, because I wouldn't have a lot of cornea left to work with. I could do it, he says, I've done hundreds of patients with eyes just like that and it works fine. But I'm not thrilled by it.

Your other option, says Dr D, is an implantable contact lens.

Basically they make a biocompatible contact lens to my prescription and then surgically stick it in my eye, below my cornea but above my iris. And it stays there. The procedure is meant to be permanent but is technically reversible - if there are complications or changes, they can remove the lens and replace it, OR I'm only left with a couple tiny microscopic holes in my eye and glasses. It isn't permanent, like LASIK.

Of course it's more expensive - about $1K more per eye - and it's terrifying (does this make me a cyborg???). But the healing process is way better than PRK's 2-3 weeks / 6 months, and there are a lot of benefits.

The biggest benefit here, says Dr D, is that we can easily correct you -- this procedure can correct up to a -20 -- easily and permanently, and completely, to 20/20 or maybe better. And then, if your eyes change as you age... he says, let's say that as you age to 45, your eyes start to change and suddenly you're a -1.5. We could pull out your implant and give you a new one, but that's pretty intense - what we would do is just LASIK your eyes to fix the -1.5. You've got plenty of good cornea for a -1.5, and we could have you fixed up in 15 minutes.

He stops for a second, and then he says to me. [Sev.] If you were my daughter, almost 30 - actually, I have a kid who is 27, and if you were my kid, and I was going to be working on your eyes, and your eyes had this prescription and this thickness, what I would give you is an implantable contact lens.

He says, if you come to me and you say, I really do want LASIK, I will do it and I think you'll be happy with it. But if you're here for an eval, for my advice and my opinion, I think you should get implantable contacts.

So now I really do have a choice to make.

Here's the thing. I'm not going to pretend that money isn't an important factor here; it isn't like I can just casually plunk down these thousands of dollars without blinking (pun... maybe intended?), because I can't: even with my good paycheck I can't just throw around chunks of money that large. It's a big deal. However. I do not want to make this serious decision about my eyes and about my quality of daily life based on money. I want to choose what's actually best, and then make the money work around that. I don't want to get to be 50, 60, and be frustrated because I chose something for my eyes to save $2grand. I want to make the right choice for myself and my eyes, so I am trying to not consider the increased cost. My eyes are worth it.

Here's the other thing. I had been trying to decide, going into this eval, whether or not I actually wanted to do this -- this being, doing anything to correct my eyes. And... okay, I'm pretty incapable of making decisions, but I had pretty much decided that... I want this. I want to do this. I want to do something to get rid of this physical disability that bothers me every day of my life. I want to fix this. I'm a pretty conservative person and I don't take a lot of risks especially with my body, but... I thought about it, and I thought, you know what? The bulk of my best adult years have already fucking flown by; I've spent my entire 20s going to school and working to support my own ass and it's been fun but they're almost gone. Going into my 30s... I could do this, do something to make my quality of living so much better. We already have to do so much, give so much up at 20, at 30, to "save up" for when we're 60. Doing something for myself, for now, was attractive in a very solid way.

But now I've got two choices - no, three choices, really. I can spend the extra money and follow the doctor's advice and get an implanted lens. I can choose to get LASIK. Or I can choose to do nothing and stick with my glasses.

(On an unrelated side note, I have... apparently really been looking forward to the 2-3 weeks I would have to take off of work for the PRK surgery. Because one of the most depressing things about all of this is that I don't get that break. what does that say about my life? I don't think it's healthy.)

So that's that. And that's what's on my mind now.
seventhe: (Internet)
” I don’t agree with [that]--“

”It’s just how I was raised.” “That’s how I grew up.” “That's what I was taught.”


So, I have a bit of a problem with this defense, this concept!

I don’t have a problem with values and beliefs – we all have them; I think in a lot of ways a lot of them are similar if not the same. Most human beings just want the same things out of life, anyway. Our values and beliefs help to shape us, help us make conscious and unconscious choices, guide our words and actions. They are important.

And in many ways, they’re definitely formed by the way we’re brought up. Our parents have values and beliefs we either emulate or reject; our schools and teachers and friends have their own. Experience becomes a part of us (LEVEL UP!), and frankly, that’s what experience is for: to bring us lessons and data that become a part of our inner selves, one more building block in the fabulous construction of me or you, the complicated monstrosity that is us.

My problem with saying “Well, that’s just what I was taught” is that it suggests that you have stopped learning.

It is a way for people to discard and disregard beliefs, facts, assumptions they’re uncomfortable with. It is a way to dodge a self-examination and reassessment, a way to avoid a challenge. It implies a person has stopped learning, stopped growing; as if life’s valuable lessons stop at the age of [x]teen and anything that happens afterwards should and can be processed through that very first series of filters one built at a time too young to really know anything. It implies you know everything you need. It implies you’re learned it all. It implies you’re done.

And are you really? Have you really? I mean really?

“I was taught that [that] was wrong.” I believe that; I’m not even infringing on your right to believe that. What I’m asking is, have you really never re-evaluated that? Thought about it? Attacked the belief a little bit to see what unfolds?

When I was young, I was taught that touching the stove was wrong, but now I make a mad mean chili and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I know that comparing chili to a deeply intimate personal belief is a pretty big step and Fuck that noise, my chili is awesome.

Is the thought of re-evaluating that belief so very scary that you’re going to put it behind that protective fence, keeping the mad dogs out, never even letting the inquisitive little kitten in?

I learned a lot of things growing up. I was taught a lot of things too – some right, some wrong. And I was exposed to a bunch of values. But you know what? I am still learning, still growing, still seeing. I’m expanding my horizons and breaking down my walls, I’m identifying my strengths and acknowledging my weaknesses, I’m examining my privileges and challenging my worldview. I’m making observations, I’m taking new data, I’m recording freak occurrences and tracking the results. I am a student of this gigantic fucking thing called life and I’m not sure I’m ever going to stop learning – learning how right I was, how wrong I am, how smart I can be and how dumb I can feel.

No one person knows everything. This is obvious! But you also don’t develop a life’s-worth of answers until, well, until you’ve lived a life. Is your life done? Are you done collecting treasures and memories and lessons? Are you done defeating enemies and gaining experience? Is that your maximum level? Are you really going to stop there?

Because I’m not. I continue to grow. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop learning. I hope I never stop changing.

And if I believe something, if I’m going to put the weight of this fantastic sparkly obnoxious brain of mine behind something, I want it to be because I really do believe it, not just because I grew up hearing or seeing or learning things one way. I’d like to be sure; I’ve been wrong before.

I have a deep problem with people who just stop learning. And I don’t mean learning like school; I’m talking about learning from life, learning from things around you, watching shit go down and new things come up and asking questions and changing your mind. We’re allowed to change our minds; it’s one of the most beautiful and difficult things about being human.

It doesn’t make your beliefs any less, at this very moment: it simply makes them modifiable. They are transmutable, transient; apply enough heat and force and pressure and maybe something else will come out. Maybe not; maybe you’re right, and you’ll get diamonds. But I want people to own their beliefs. Give yourself agency.

Make those beliefs your own. Think them through; stand by them, put your name on them in (semi-)permanent marker and glitter paint, tuck them in the pocket of your favorite jeans. Wear them out. Make them fit.

If you disagree with me and it’s because you truly believe it and can explain, defend, can honestly tell me with your heart’s-soul: – man, that’s awesome, that’s incredible, and I respect you. If you disagree with me because you’ve stopped learning, stopped thinking, stopped looking – if you disagree because of a belief you haven’t stopped to challenge and own and make yours? – I won’t argue, but I am not sure I can respect that, either.

Now come have some chili and let’s talk about [this].
seventhe: Rydia (Rydia)
So I’ve been pretty stressed out lately. Rather than talk too much about the things stressing me, I’m going to talk about the good things that are happening because of all the stress, one by one.

  • Snafubar played our first gig on Saturday night. We shared a show with Lithium and I thought it went really well overall. I was pleased with the way we sounded although as always you can critique these kinds of things until the sun goes down… but in the end, not only am I happy about it, I’m happy to have it over with. I didn’t have a lot of practice time in my week to begin with (and now with all the other stress it really wasn’t helping) and while I love playing it’s nice to have a little break. One stressor down. Congrats to Lithium too, you guys sounded awesome. :D

  • FFEX, NGP, help_haiti: all assorted fandom projects with assorted due dates that are approximately NOW, or maybe YESTERDAY, if not LAST WEEK DUMBASS: but all of which will be done this week and I’m pleased as shit with things right now. Even if my contributions to FFEX have been “cheer wildly while coding people make my dreams come true” and “panic”… even then.

  • Work has been insanely ungodly busy and while I'm trying to pull something good out of it for the list… I’m coming up blank. Right now I’m working on the largest single amount of polymer I’ve ever made for a request, times four requests. Plus a crapload of other studies and other smaller batches which are still my responsibility no matter what else lands in my lap. Due dates for one major project/study is mid-April; for another project/request, mid-May. So right now is crunch time. At least I’m busy, job security, etc. It isn’t helping the exhaustion but I guess it’s helping the days go by.

  • Health-wise: I got the results back from a blood test I took a few weeks ago (seriously, people, I have had 8 appointments in the past 3 Fridays. I don’t even want to look at my medical bills yet). Apparently I am extremely vitamin deficient in a way that isn’t related to diet or sun exposure at all: good job, body, way to continue to fail at the things other people do correctly. XDD I’m lacking Bs and Ds, I guess: vitamin D you hear about a lot in the winter, but B12 is one that contributes to “normal brain function”. Ha ha ha. Funny. I wasn’t really sure why, because I buy my own groceries and cook for myself and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. But apparently this is the kind of thing that can just happen; my body just doesn’t absorb or process or hang onto this stuff correctly, apparently, sez the doc, and that’s that. YEY.
    The thing is, the symptoms (not just lethargy/lack of energy/exhaustion/sleep disorder, but depression, anxiety, irritability, mood-swings*) match the things I’ve been fighting, the things that have been getting worse. The revelation that the B-vitamins affect mental issues and brain function kind of just made it click for me. Hilariously, when I called my mother to tell her this, she revealed that a great-aunt of mine had once been hospitalized in a psych ward for symptoms that ended up being related to B-deficiency. Guess I’m glad we caught this now.
    So I am on a regimen of shots, weekly supervitamin gutpunches, and pill cocktails for a month; after that I have a delicious sampling of 8 pills I’ll take every day (not including the multi-vitamin I’m holding off on for now until this other shit gets stabilized) until I get re-tested in three months for APPROVE/DISAPPROVE. The reason I'm taking 8 pills / day is because the levels of daily vitamins I was prescribed by the doctor are 2-3x the largest size sold in any given pharmacy. Sweet.
    Honestly, this is better than the outcome I was expecting and stressing over (“Your thyroid is borked! You require surgery/serious meds”) and I’m hoping, hoping, hoping that some of my health issues will get their asses in line once I get myself and my internal systems re-balanced.

  • In-between appointments this week, I wasted some time at a Borders which was going out of business and had discounts on their books. I bought myself a lovely illustrated book on Yoga; it’s hard to find a good book on yoga, because what I really want is a book about building vinyasas for myself, and I’m guessing the discount shelves aren’t the best place to find something that specific. But the book I have has a lot of awesome 360-degree photos of some of the main poses, and combinations to do for pain in certain areas of the body, which is pretty cool: I’m pleased, even if it doesn’t cover everything I was hoping it would. I also got a book on homemade spa treatments (which looks really awesome and fun; can’t wait to try it). And also: I found The deck of Tarot** cards for me. I’ve been looking for a new deck for a while, and who would’ve known the perfect deck lived in the Borders clearance bin? Ha: I should have, as my “inner self” is a cheapass. I haven’t gotten to do much with them yet because I’ve been so busy, but they are beautiful and awesome, the symbolism is fantastic (very faerie-based, beautiful yet with enough creepy to really please me), and this is the first deck since my last one that I have really felt intrigued by. Yoga and Tarot… rebalancing vitamin regimen… who senses a theme? Haha, self!

  • My training plan is going as well as it can. I did my first two outdoor runs this weekend: one 5-miler, and one ~3-miler. My training plan basically has one long run per week, and as long as the temperature isn’t cold enough to trigger my asthma I really want to start doing the long run outdoors. However, I have to find a better road to run on! The path I picked on Friday was a really shit road for running. Anyway, my legs are still recovering from the shock of a real road, but I’m getting there. Training is slow, but I’m getting there.


Anyway, my commitment plate has been a little full, but this week – this week! – a lot of it should get better, and maybe I can get this stress-knot out of my neck and this anxiety out of my gut and this exhaustion out of my head. :) I’m looking forward to this weekend if nothing else! Engineering Bitches hit WineCon 2010. Heeeellllllllllls yeah.

How is everyone else!


* Uh, I guess this is the part where I mention that I’ve been going through a lot of these symptoms lately and having some health and mental health issues…? Heh.
** I like the Tarot as a meditation/therapy/interesting-way-of-looking-at-things tool, much like I like horoscopes. Do I think there is a spirit in the cards (or the stars) telling my fortune? No. Do I believe someone like me (who fails at emotional analysis anyway) can use Tarot methods to better understand who they are, how they feel about situations and what they want to do? Yup. Do I like pretty cards with gorgeous illustrations? Also yes. :P
seventhe: (JECHT: humps life)
THE OTAKON PHOTOS ARE IN. I've been waiting to post all the pictures together in one big massive love-fest, because this year was just FANTASTIC. I'm including my favorites here (basically, the terrible and hilarious ones, as well as photoshoot ones that are just awesome) and I highly suggest you all look at them, especially if you like FFVI, but also if you need a GOOD LAUGH and some AWESOME COSPLAY in your life. And who doesn't?

I haven't yet uploaded [livejournal.com profile] yi_sen's shots of the Braska/Auron/Jecht PHOTOBOMBING, so, uh. Those will be later.




WARNING: METRIC SHIT-TONNE OF PHOTOS.


FFVI Photoshoot and Outtakes! )

And now, the out-takes:

FFVI Continues... )


The FFVI photoshoot is here, and the outtakes (and the rest of my photos) can be found here. There are some really good solo shots in the photog's album, and there are some more funny bar shots in my album, whichever you prefer. ;)

Seriously, I had the world's shittiest day today, and this made my life. I LOVE YOU GUYS.

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