Dec. 28th, 2013 09:13 am
seventhe: (Joie)
The first Christmas with the baby was beautiful. Hectic and crazy and not really relaxing, but refreshing in a way. I got up work-time Monday morning and drove in to Pittsburgh to pick up Gramma, then drove up to Buffalo to the tune of a Spotify Christmas station which worked for the most part but occasionally wondered if what we really wanted to be listening to was the Electric Slide.

Jim and Mar and Jos were already up there. This was the crazy hectic part: Josie's ~10 weeks; Gramma's 90; and I'm not sure which of them cried and wet themselves more. Both needed intense help. I love my little niece to pieces and am always happy to pick her up and bounce and BOOP her and walk her around, and I adore my gramma and am willing to help her stand and walk or carry on a conversation. The two overlaid upon each other occasionally makes it hard to breathe.

That's the refreshing part, though: there's something about being surrounded by these people you love so hard it hurts, and even in the middle of the chaos when all you want is a nap you know for a fact that you'd do anything for any one of them. I'm continuously amazed at how much I love a niece who has only been in my life for three short months. Jos has a great smile. I hear that's how babies survive.

Christmas Day was a gratuitously decadent celebration of gifts and ribbons and glitter.

I'm back in the Feymarch because I had to work yesterday. As often happens at this time of year I'm incredibly pensive about my life - more so this year since it's been so dramatic. I want to write about it, but not yet, so instead I'm going to play Final Fantasy Tactics until noon with no regrets.
seventhe: (SAZH)
...but I am, in fact, still here.

The latest wrench thrown into my plans to finally get my shit under control and become the Queen of Slack Ass Island is not a wrench at all, it's a beautiful exciting bunch of daisies: I have a niece. My brother and sister-in-law welcomed adorable bitty (and I mean it, super bitty, so tiny we were concerned) JA in the middle of October. The family all gathered for the birth, and since then we've been staggering vacation days to pitch in and help since newborns are, frankly, awful. Yeah the miracle of birth babies are a gift bundle of joy blah blah blah: newborns are awful. I said it and having done my share of screaming nights already I refuse to take it back. Don't get me wrong, I already love her like the goddamn sun, but yo gurl u r a handful.

Between the job that just won't quit!!!, a house that needs some TLC before the winter, and a suddenly increased travel schedule, I am (still) somewhat stressed. I had to take a leave of absence from DOINK, which makes me pretty sad, but I just can't handle it on top of everything and it wasn't really fair to the team. I've started taking work home on the weekends. I know it's a horrible habit to get into, but I just need to get caught up / stay on target / get ahead with a couple things before the year ends to keep my own sanity. I'm not doing it for the company (directly); I'm doing it for me. It is a sad state of affairs when doing work on a Sunday is the less stressful option but that's where I am right now, the Sad Captain of the SS Overworked, Angry, and Optionless.

I am - finally - learning how to work with my body and my schedule and my stress level, probably because I am at the point where I am being forced to adapt or die. I have become 90% hermit, which does make me sad but that recharge time is what keeps me alive so while I'm sad I'm not sorry about it; weekends where I don't have to leave the house and can spend a good portion of my time alternating housework and relaxing things are literally the only way I can face Monday mornings (whether it's work or adorable screaming niece). I've discovered that I have absolutely no energy when I get home from work, but I've also discovered that if I am smart - feed myself, crash on the couch for an hour or two with some episodes of Bones or Criminal Minds, decompress and relax - I recharge enough to get one or two small productive things done before it's time for bed. This has had much better results than the times I've tried to get things done immediately after getting home to "not lose momentum" and ended up in pain, miserable, and ineffective.

I am not yet sure whether this method will apply to working out as well; every week I tell myself I'm going to get back to the gym (which I'm still merrily paying for) and/or do something, but every week hurts. This week we've been back to stabbing knives between my spine and shoulder blades, which is a sensation I haven't missed. I'm pretty sure my body's serving me repercussions from a weekend full of raking, hours upon hours of leaf blowing, and a final mow before the snow comes (which may be today) -- I like working on my yard but I guess I need to be more on-the-ball and spread the work out better, because piling it all into three days means I can't turn my head for a week. Okay. Message received, you asshole.

Anyway, I do hope to get back into a workout schedule. I am thinking of signing up for some workout classes - not only because I think having a schedule will help me go, but also because having a schedule will help me leave work close to on time :/

I am also seeing a rheumatologist the first week in December to try to get some more helpful drugs and see how else I can deal with these weeks where my entire body just feels inflamed, on fire, sore and tender and weak.

And now, another meeting. Afters I may go up and down the hall and see if I can pay anyone $20 to poke repeatedly at my neck for fifteen minutes.
seventhe: (chocobo: hey bb)
- with a delightfully complimentary assortment of the family I love, the family they've chosen (my sister-in-law and her parents), and the family I've chosen (my close friends)

- making everyone - extended family and friends included - take the Myers-Briggs test and getting to pontificate wildly and very nerdily about what everyone's results mean all night long

- continuously eating and drinking far too much, including the green bean casserole I made from scratch after a shame grocery pilgrimage that's really its own sordid tale

- playing two very, very drunk games of Settlers of Catan

- doing three Tarot readings that were so scarily accurate and meaningful that everyone in the room was substantially freaked out and I'm actually a little afraid to touch my deck right now

- sitting outside in a graveyard looking at the sky and drinking Dark & Stormy from a flask while being snowed on and shooting the shit with an important friend, until we couldn't feel our butts, before coming home at 5am to cuddle for warmth with my roomie

- meeting my parents at Taco Bell before we all went our separate ways because holiday traditions are important, yo

- coming home through the snow and cold to the most gratuitous bagel-egg-cheese sandwich in the world, a warm bath, and a bed covered in blankets and cats who missed me and can't wait to sit on my feet

I'm not always the happiest / most optimistic / most upbeat person, especially recently. But even with everything else going on, I'm officially thankful that this is my life.
seventhe: (Ohayo: Hose This Down)
So I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Sunday!

Before I went into the race, I had decided that my goal times were 2:20 (low end) and 2:10 (high end) - I would have been perfectly happy with the low-end time, about a 10:40 mile, and the high-end goal (a 10:00 mile) was for if I felt really good going into the race.

Well, I'm not really sure I felt all that good, but I pushed really, really hard, and I pretty much made my high-end goal time for myself. 13.1 miles in 2:10:56 was my official finishing time.

yes, I am still a little weird sharing my real name online (even though like 75% of you probably know it anyway)

[HM] Pittsburgh Half Marathon by seventhe on Garmin Connect

All the nerdy facts, stories, reports, and graphs! )
I haven't taken a week off of running since January 1st.

I am really proud of [ profile] jennyclarinet and I -- we talked about doing this while dressed in togas and drinking Four Loko!, and look what it turned into. Without Jenny I probably wouldn't have been able to stick with this, but knowing that Jenny was training hard and that we were going to do this together (even though we didn't run together) made me stick to my training plan during the hardest semester I've ever had, when it would have been really easy to quit. I had Denis training too, and I knew Jim would be playing, so there was a lot motivating me to keep up the work. It certainly wasn't easy, but hey, if I can work a full-time job that makes me endure 11-hour days and hold a full-time graduate semester workload and train for a half marathon...

And that's the story of how I ran 13.1 miles. My legs hate me now. The end!
seventhe: (Quistis: smarter than you!)
Swiped this as soon as I saw it from [ profile] rosencrantz and [ profile] irish_ais ~!

Day 01: Favorite Final Fantasy Game


Well, in typical Sev fashion, I am going to have to choose three because I don't do decisions, but I have reason for my choices, so here goes:

My favorite Final Fantasy game in general/overall is FFIV. This is for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with the game itself and everything to do with nostalgia. FFIV was my first Final Fantasy - back when it was FFII - and I can remember first sitting down with my brother to play it: the boy I had a crush on in school had lent us FFII and Zelda for SNES, for one week, and I really just remember getting hooked on FFII. Jim and I couldn't beat it in the time we had it, but after getting that taste, we would constantly petition my mother to rent the game from the supermarket. It became our babysitter: Mum and Dad knew that if we had that game for an evening we wouldn't do anything else, including get hungry. It was real.

So I have a huge soft spot for that game overall. I loved Rydia from the second she came on the screen, adorable little green-haired nuker. I watched Cecil and Rosa be all sweet at each other, watched Kain's awkward honor/obedience thing twist himself up in ways I was probably too young to understand, loved Edge, cheered at Yang and Edward and Palom and Porom, and cried at the frigging Giant of Bab-Il when everyone comes back to fight, I'm not lying, I still tear up at that scene occasionally because, well, we're going on 20 years of memories of playing that (yup, just aged myself, didn't I).

I made Rydia and Rosa Lego People afterwards. I mean, okay, at that time, I liked video games, but I think I would have liked them more if they'd had girls in them - and FFII/FFIV did. No matter what (genuine and appropriate!) criticisms you can lay on Rosa and Rydia in terms of traditional female roles and female video-game-character roles (and I have!), you can't deny that they are important in the game, important to the plot. Rosa's at Cecil's side for a lot of it; Rydia saves the day with her summons. They both defy the menfolk and fly to the moon and won't take it back. It isn't - it was like, oh, okay, I can identify with that. I used to pretend I was Rydia more than I should admit online.

I've played this game more times than I should admit either. I've played it on SNES, on emulator, on PS1, on GBA, on DS, on PSP. I know it pretty well. And every time I play it I still enjoy it: so there isn't a lot of gameplay involved, no customizable characters, not even really replay value (except for the DS NGP option), and yet... I still love it, because I'm a nostalgic softhearted sucker for it. It still makes me smile and sigh and stabs my heart in all the right places.

So for those reasons, FFIV will always be my overall favorite.

My game I think is the best one is actually FFVI. It's complex and intricate in a lot of really awesome ways, with character backstories that are really fleshed out and personalities that are multilayered. It's funny and silly and heartwrenching and sad all at once. It has a fantastic villain and no real hero / "main character", but it's led by two awesome heroines who are central to the story being told. Gameplay is pretty straightforward, but characters are sort-of customizable (Esper levelling-up) and there's some replay value in that you can pick different parties and get different scenes in-game and at the ending. It's a great game and when I think of all of them, I still think it's the shining star.

It would be my favorite, but the nostalgia-value of FFIV pushes it over the edge, honestly. I have some pretty good memories of FFVI, too, though - dual-controller SNES games where I wanted to be all the girls and Jim had to be Sabin because I couldn't Blitz worth a nickel.

My favorite game to write for is FFVIII. As a fanfiction writer, as somebody in fandom, I think this is a slightly different angle: FFVIII was a fantastic and fantastically confusing game. And for a fanfic writer, it's still my favorite. I still haven't run out of stories to tell in that world; I omni-ship the entire cast; I'm still coming up with theories, past and present and future and why does no one pay attention to Ellone and the game was informative enough to give us these interesting characters, a time-twisting plotline, some father-son snippets, weird fated threads -- and yet confusing enough that it leaves plenty to write for, plenty to do, lots of things to say and explore and lots of directions to go.

It was a great game, and of the "later" FFs it is my favorite. And for fanfic, it is the winner.

30 Days of FF Meme )
seventhe: (Internet)
So I realized yesterday that I did another huge dropping-off-the-face-of-the-internet thing! Man I am arrogant in thinking anyone noticed, har har. BUT! Something very important happened while I was gone and I'm going to bother you all about it.

My brother, as some of you might know, is awesome. He is also in a band! His band is called Boulevard of the Allies (cue anyone who has lived in Pittsburgh going, "Ohhhhhhlol") and they are very, very good. This weekend, they released their very first CD. And I mean released released, as in for sale everywhere and at Borders. This is what you call a Pretty Big Deal in Sevland!

Their music is a very vocal-harmony-driven, singer-songwriter-ish, acoustic-y rock-folk thinger (I am writer! See me adjective!)... It's like smooth, simple, ear-pleasing folk with a sharp citrus twist of musical complexity and rhythmic interplay. Joel's voice and Jim's bass lines are the first things you'll notice; the poetic lyrics and intricate chord changes are the second. It is awesome. Plain awesome. Very high quality. Very impressive. It rocks.

I actually think a lot of people on my F-List would like their CD!

So, here is what I am going to do: The CD is $10, but if you would like to buy a copy, I'll go splits with you. That's $5 for an awesome CD. It's probably easiest for me to PayPal you the $5 and let you buy your copy of the CD whatever way you want, but it's negotiable; I'll also put a $5 bill in the mail to you, I am Down With That, although you might get the skanky one that has been crushed by things in my wallet for three weeks. Just sayin'.

You can check their website here (includes bonus hilarious photos of people you might recognize >> ), and you can directly download the CD for $10 here. If you would like a hard copy of the CD, I suggest you email me -- if a bunch of people want hard copies, I'll make a bulk order from my brother.

Comment or fire me an email if you're interested and we can work out details. I'd just love to get the CD out there to a different crowd. They're actually doing a CD Launch in London as well as the one they did in Pittsburgh - Joel's from England - so it'll be somewhat international, but... I'm just spreading the word. Good music, guys; good good music.

I realize this is a tricksy intersection of internet life and real life, but hey, it's my brother and he's pretty damn awesome. So buy his CD! I'll pay you.

So yes anyway that was where I was.
seventhe: (Default)
So the last time I went on a vacation I didn't tell a ton of people I was going and I think some people thought I had fallen off the face of the earth because, let's face it, that happens sometimes. But hi, I was gone for the last ten days! I WAS ON A CRUISE BOAT MOTHERFUCKER DON'T YOU EVER FORGET

Here is what happened:

  • I got on a boat

  • My brother got married

  • I spent some more time in the Florida Keys

  • I played with dolphins

  • I went to the wedding reception in Pittsburgh

  • Now I am sick.

Here is more of what happened. )

And that was the wedding!

There are three things of note here:

  1. While I was gone, I Skype called my cats. If you have Skype set up on a computer with a webcam and you pick the right settings you can have it automatically pick up with the webcam. So I got to see my kitties playing while I was gone. It was yayful.

  2. I forget.

  3. Photos soon!
seventhe: (Default)
Off to my brother's wedding. Love to all.
seventhe: (Cecil: +100 for COCK)
cue: total and utter panic.
seventhe: (Reno + Rude: get some)
0 Made an extensive list of current works / plotbunnies over in [ profile] brokenprism. I need to write more. A lot more. AND I NEED TO STOP HAVING SUCH CRACKALICIOUS PLOTBUNNIES THANK YOU VERY MUCH [ profile] lassarina. I am going to need more claims just to take care of all these crazy ideas.

0 I like peaches.

0 I currently really, really, really want to write more Beacon. However, it's going to have to wait. I've had too much work today to write, and I really have to practice tonight (we're up to four new songs a week, so I should totally be churning out the practicing).

0 My brother is coming to visit me this weekend! YEY! Saturday we've got a huge jam session planned with a bunch of my friends, and then we're going out on Justin's boat for a late-night swim. FREAKING AWESOME. It will be the coolness. PLUS GRILLING. I LOVE GRILLED THINGS.

0 Sunday we're recording a new demo. Our old one features our ex-drummer and one extra guitarist who is no longer with us, so it's about time. Plus I've learned a lot about Cakewalk:SONAR and recording in general, so it should be way better. Again, I have to practice.

0 Why am I not motivated to write any of these ideas? I know what will happen -- I'll get home, spend like three hours reading TIME and eating dinner, and then maybe play for like 20min. And I won't write at all. Laaaaaazie.

0 Fiona Apple is pretty awesome.

0 ...that's about all I've got.


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