Monday, July 28, 2014

National Milk Chocolate Day!

Mood::iconchibiswedenplz:

My fave type of chocolate!:iconyayhanatamagoplz:I'm not too fond of the heaviness and bitterness of really dark chocolate. Even though that one may be more 'healthy'. But, milk chocolate still has some health benefits as well.:iconeestiplz:Yesterday was Parents Day. I'm glad there's a day like that. It should be more recognized, though.:iconpolandplz:

Supposedly, today and tomorrow will be the warmest days this week. It made it up to 85 degrees out last time I checked. Oddly, even though I was in that close to 110 degree weather for a while, it's still hot to me.:iconhanatamagoplz:Luckily, most of the time during the summer we're in the mid 70s and low 80s. Which is just about right. 

I've been able to keep up the 2 2-mile walks everyday (or 4 miles a day) this past week. (First time to do it for a full week straight! Yay!:la:Been trying for a while to do it.) Feeling a little weak in my legs and arms, but I'm wondering if that may be the heat or something with the way I've been eating lately.:iconsighingplz:Oh well. Hopefully it won't feel like that for too long. I started the 15 sit-ups twice a day for this week. It's nice that I've been able to stick to that as well. 

Finished reading A Treasury of American Jewish Folklore. Most of it was kind of boring...:iconboredomplz:Some of the immigrant stories, jokes, and insults were interesting. The Yiddish section was hilarious.:iconenglandispervyplz:Best part of the book, I think. There were a lot of sections I really wasn't crazy about. It was a big book. So, yay for being done with it now!:iconrelievedplz: 

The next one I'll start is The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman. I want to read the whole Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series, so I'm starting from the beginning.:iconberwaldplz:I think I've read the first 2 before, but want to refresh my memory before going onto the others. It's a detective/mystery series. I love pretty much anything in the mystery genre. (The ones that really make you think, too.) Just looked online to see how many books are in the series, and it seems like it's still ongoing. The 22nd book will be put out in September.:wow:The first book is from 1986. I definitely don't think we have the whole series, but I can read a good chunk of it. The author herself is an orthodox Jew, and incorporates some Jewish themes. This first book's title itself refers to a 'ritual bath' called the mikveh. Peter Decker is a detective who was raised as a Southern Baptist, but goes back to his Jewish roots after falling in love with Rina Lazarus, an orthodox Jew, while investigating the case in this first book. This first one is about a rape that occurs at a mikveh that's near a yeshiva (basically a Jewish school where you study Jewish texts, primarily the Talmud). Oddly, even though the subject matter is rather 'heavy', I remember it being a quick read. So, that should be interesting. It also won an award, and was nominated for another.
Started watching Kuroshitsuji (or Black Butler): Book of Circus a few days ago. I loved the first season of Kuroshitsuji, but hated the 2nd one.:iconswissplz:I don't think I watched more than a couple of those episodes. I didn't care for Aloise and Claud. I don't think they were originally from the manga either. They seemed...out of place for some reason. Aloise would kill or maim just for the fun of it, but there's a reason behind it with Ciel (2nd from the right in the pic- they're in different outfits than usual to infiltrate the circus) and Sebastian (far right in the pic). (I don't like when it's senseless.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:) There wasn't nearly as much comedy in it, either. This 3rd 'season' or 'series' is based off of where the 1st season diverged from the manga. It's one of my fave arcs from it.:iconchibihungaryplz:That and the curry one. I haven't read too much of the manga, but decided to get back into it. (Dropped Embalming for now, so I could read this again. Might go back to it in the future.) Apparently, I'm at the end of this actual story arc. Perfect timing.:iconfrancisplz:The first episode of this one was great, and kind of cool to see it animated. 

Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler is set in Victorian-era London. On the young earl's, Ciel Phantomhive, 10th birthday a fire engulfed his manor house, his parents were murdered, and he was captured by a mysterious organization. After enduring excruciating and humiliating torture, and on the brink of death, he strikes a deal with a demon. His soul in exchange for his revenge. That demon is Sebastian Michaelis. To outsiders, he just seems to be Ciel's enigmatic black-clad butler, that's simply the best at what he does. One of his catch phrases is 'I'm just one hell of a butler'. Now, Ciel's the head of the Phantomhive corporation, and handles all of its business affairs. It's mainly a toy company. (I think they may have dealt with candy as well.) He also serves as the Queen's 'Watchdog' and stands at the top of the British underworld. He also solves the crimes plaguing London while waiting for the day he will exact his revenge. The criminals usually have a very violent yet very intricate and over the top end. (The series isn't for the faint of heart...:iconchibichinaplz:) The other servants are 'unique' as well. The gardener, Finnian or Finny, has super human strength and a lot of the time underestimates it. I think, if I remember correctly, he was a test subject before Ciel hired him. He looks weak, though. The cook, Bard, loves explosives and other weapons. He tries to test them out on people who cross Ciel. Mei-rin seems to be a bumbling clumsy maid most of the time, until she takes her glasses off. Then she becomes a ruthless sniper. I love that even the servants have crazy and interesting personalities.:iconheroamericaplz:This series has become so popular there's a live action movie based on it, a couple of specials, and a musical. I'm weary of trying out the movie.:icongermanyplz:The main character is supposed to be a descendant of Ciel. But, they made her look a little too close to her predecessor. Not sure if I like the choice for Sebastian, either...It'd be interesting to watch a recording of the musical. 
Started watching Kamen (or Masked) Teacher recently. It's better than I expected. It's based on the manga series of the same name. Sometime in the near future (they have it as 20XX), teachers are no longer allowed to mete out corporal punishment and disciplinary actions. Because of this, the teachers have lost their powers, and the students are now running wild. To correct the situation, the government decides to put a program into place to control the delinquent students by dispatching special teachers to schools across the nation. One of them is Araki Gota, on whom the government pins their hopes on with this Kamen Teacher program. He's assigned as homeroom teacher to one of the most violent classes at his new school. They beat him up on the first day, but he never fights back. He wants to help them, and thinks they just need to be better understood. The toughest group in the class calls itself M4. And, during the first episode he gets through to one of them. When he feels like he can't get a message across just as himself, he puts on the mask and gets on a motorcycle donned in leather. Kind of gets a different personality, too. More serious, and not as naive sounding. I thought it'd be lame because of the mask thing, but somehow it fits. Guess I'll just have to see where they take this one. 

I've decided that I might drop Chiritotechin. I don't really see the point in it.:icondontunderstandplz:It seems like Shinigami-kun and Smoking Gun have somehow been dropped by the people subbing them. (Don't see the raws either...) I'll drop them if they're not up this week, and might go back to them in the future. I'm nearing the end of Switch Girl. The next episode is the finale. This last one was kind of painful to watch.:iconwtfukplz:Hopefully, they make it up to us with the finale. I might try out a new veterinarian drama to replace one of the 'slots'. But, other than that the current season looks dry for dramas.:iconromanoplz:First time that's really happened where I can't find too many good ones in a current season. I'm thinking, until the fall season, watching different anime shows for those time 'slots'. That'll also give me a chance to try some 'new' shows. New to me, at least. Still, makes it exciting!:iconchibinitalyplz:That means I can try 4 or 5 more anime shows. I know that Log Horizon said it'll be back in the fall, so that's one to look forward to as well. 

Made kind of an interesting combo for dinner tonight. Ramen noodles, broccoli, green beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, tons of garlic, some hoisin, some rice vinegar, and a little soy sauce. Turned out pretty tasty.:iconitalyplz:Kind of savory and garlicky. 

Dad apparently has an infection. She felt really sick last night and still does. She went to urgent care earlier to get looked at. The area that had the surgery is infected, so they made an appointment for her to see a surgeon tomorrow. That doesn't sound good.:iconraivisplz:She spent 5 hours there. 

Wrote more of the 10th short story for my nightmare anthology. It's turning out totally different than I expected, but I think that makes it fun. Tried to finish up studying 和 and its compounds, so I could finally start the next 'grade' up. For some reason, the internet connection was slow during that, and only got through a few compounds...:iconkikuplz:Maybe next time I'll get to it. Did pretty well with the practice quiz on JapaneseClass' site. Started typing out the next section to that long You Maga article. This one's about the flu and how to safeguard against it. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rengoku no Nana Kenzoku

Mood:

Or: Seven Kins of Purgatory. This is from the 4th Fairy Tail soundtrack. It's the strongest team of Grimoire Heart guild's theme. They're (or were?) one of the many Dark Guilds that aren't officially recognized by the Magic Council, therefore they're treated like criminal organizations. They believe the Council limits the full potential of guilds, as they place too many restrictions. The Seven 'Kins' of Purgatory use Lost Magic, and are considered one of the most powerful mage groups. I think the guild disbanded after they went up against Fairy Tail. (The guild's leader, Hades, was defeated.) Most of the Seven either died or quit the guild to live a 'better' life. 2 decided to help Fairy Tail from the sidelines, along with Jellal (who's not apart of Grimoire). They make the Dark Guilds seem evil at first, and then you realize they're just misguided. It's kind of sad. Anyway, Fairy Tail seems to have some of the most interesting soundtracks. Sounds like a mix of Celtic and rock. Most are really uplifting/energizing or just have a cool 'evil' sound. The vid has the Fairy Tail guild's emblem. 

I managed to do both my 2-mile walks yesterday, and my 1st one today! (I'll definitely be able to do my night one later!) Yay!:dummy:Feels good. I'm doing 10 sit-ups twice a day this week. Kind of starting over, but it's good to do it slowly, I think.:iconchibinitalyplz:The most I've done was 90 twice a day for the week. Felt like a good workout. But, I eased up to that amount so it felt almost like nothing. (Until after I did them...:faint:) I'm planning to do what I did last time and add 5 sit-ups twice a day each week. So, next week I'll be doing 15 twice a day. Hopefully, I can make a habit of doing both my walks and the sit-ups again. Feels so good when I can do it all!:iconberwaldplz:I know I can do my night sit-ups tonight, too. 

Hoping to be a bit more strict again about the way I eat. I can eat anything I want, as long as I keep my meals to a certain amount of calories. Makes them small, but just enough for me. And, I get to have them for longer with the leftovers! I tend to try and range between 1200 to 1600 calories a day. Hopefully on the low end of that. And, I eat 5 times a day. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 'snacks'.) So you can tell how small they can be. It's helped a lot along with the exercise.:iconeestiplz:

Someone came by yesterday to drop off a dinner for us. She knew about Dad's surgery and thought it'd be nice to help and give us something. It was very sweet of her.:iconthailandplz:I hadn't seen her for a while, and as soon as I answered the door she looked at me for a second and got a big smile on her face. She then told me that I looked great, and that I lost a lot of weight since the last time she saw me. She kept saying how surprised she was by how much. It was good yet kind of funny and scary at the same time.:iconusaplz:Had a similar reaction when we bumped into a couple we knew at Costco at the beginning of the month. It was even a shorter time since I last saw them. I am noticing more changes. Might be needing to go down another size, getting a bit more bony, don't bump into things as much, and my skin is finally tightening a bit.:iconranranruuplz:Still have a lot of loose skin, but at least I know it's starting to bounce back. For going down sizes, I'll be 4 sizes smaller than what I was at my heaviest. Might actually be 5 sizes smaller now or on the verge, have to try those out again...:iconpolandplz:Before I was close to the 4, now my jeans are even baggier. Also, found out that my rings fit my fingers now! Wahoo!

She brought a brisket, an odd potato casserole, salad greens, and some blackberry swirl ice cream. The brisket was good. The potato casserole was odd because of how cheesy it was, and she used hash browns.:iconseychelles-plz:Dad doesn't like cheese, so that big thing is all mine. I love cheese, but that seems like a lot...:iconkikuplz:(I hate wasting anything especially food, and it's somewhat good.) I made a single serving of regular mashed potatoes with garlic and chives for Dad. It was nice to have a salad. The ice cream was good, but had a little bit of a weird sour aftertaste. I think that it was a good thing, just not used to it, I guess.:icondontunderstandplz:

Finished watching GTO or Great Teacher Onizuka in Taiwan, a while ago. It was kind of a short 4-episode special. It was done pretty well, I think. They used actual actors from Taiwan, and actual places as well. It was interesting to hear the Chinese along with the Japanese.:iconchibiaustriaplz:Onizuka didn't know hardly anything besides nihao and xie xie. There was one phrase that if you say it a certain way means 'excuse me'. In another way (like a different tone), it means 'kiss me'. He didn't realize that, and said it that way to the principal, several of the female teachers, and a student. They were very disturbed by it, and thought he was some sort of pervert. That got him into a lot of weird situations to begin with. The teacher he was the assistant to, luckily knew Japanese and could translate for him. He still managed to get through to the bully of the school, and the one who was being bullied. Even to the bully's father. They once were very poor and sold street food with a bunch of other people on a certain street. One day, the mother of the bully died. And, the father became very disheartened and worked hard, managed to get out of there, and became very wealthy (somehow...they didn't elaborate on it. Might have been through illegal means). He thought in order to 'forget' the past, he needed to clear out that street of vendors and put up a mall or something instead. When they became wealthy, the son became cold and thought it'd be fun to make fun of people. Including his own teachers. The person who was being bullied was poor, and his mother worked at one of those food stalls. He thought he was worthless, and couldn't go up against a student from a wealthy family. It worked out, and the father was thrown in jail. The son at the end seemed to feel liberated from everything, and finally managed to crack a genuine smile again. Watched the first episode of the new season of GTO, but I think I'm kind of tired of it right now.:icontinoplz:Might go back to watch more in future, though. It's a great series! 
Started watching Gochisousan. Gochisousan is an informal version (the more formal way is with 'sama' at the end instead of 'san') of what people say at the end of a meal to thank a host or a cook for it. It's a long running series, but the episodes are short. Just like Chiritotechin. The show first takes place in 1911. It's about Meiko Uno, who loves to eat. At the beginning, I think they said she was 6. Her father owns a French restaurant in Tokyo. He says he'll never serve rice or give out chopsticks to customers. They should only have bread as a side, and use forks and knives. She loves his omelets, and her grandmother's pickles. She's constantly thinking of food. She eventually changes from someone who loves to eat, to a person who loves to prepare food for others to eat. Her grandmother always told her: "To crave for food is to have the will to live; the stronger the craving, the greater the will." I read from somewhere that she ends up trying her best at Japanese cuisine. It's just mainly what happens in her life along the way. The very beginning showed her when she was 40 years old handing out soup to children running around the neighborhood. I'm not sure if that's where they'll stop with her life. Interesting time period, too.

Fairy Tail had a lot of twists and turns. A lot of it seems to be unpredictable so far. The people from the 'future' haven't been entirely accurate, and their stories aren't the same. The 'future' Lucy was killed off by the 'future' Rogue. He kept saying she'll interfere or stop the portal from opening. The future one, before she died, kept saying she'd never want to interfere with it. The present Lucy refused to stop it, too. She only got weird when she was close to the door that was opening to the portal. Something seemed to possess her, and she suddenly said it had to be stopped. We're not even sure if those 10,000 dragons will actually appear...The King asked the guilds to help kill off all the other dragons the 'canon' (apparently it comes out of the portal. You can also travel through time if you go through it) doesn't hit. It'll be funny if nothing happens...But, I doubt that. It's also the same day the dragons disappeared many years ago. Maybe Natsu and the other Dragon Slayers will see the dragons that raised them. What if they're not all bent on destruction? This story arc has been pretty long. At least, Fairy Tail won the Grand Magic Games. Although, I think that part was to be expected. 

Wrote more of the 10th short story to my nightmare anthology. Played my clarinet for the first time in a long time. Was a little rusty, but much better than I expected.:iconfrancisplz:Did some Duke Ellington and Gershwin tunes. 
日本語
Studied the last kanji for this 'grade': . If pronounced as 和む or なご.む (nago.mu): to be softened, calm down. As 和やか or なご.やか (nago.yaka): mild, calm, gentle, quiet, harmonious. As 和らぐ or やわ.らぐ (yawa.ragu): to soften, calm down, be mitigated. As 和らげる or やわ.らげる (yawa.rageru): to soften, moderate, relieve. As (wa): sum; harmony, peace; (pref) Japan, Japanese style. It may be pronounced as (o) in some compounds, but not by itself. 和尚 or おしょう (oshou): (hon) preceptor or high priest (esp. in Zen or Pure Land Buddhism); monk (esp. the head monk of a temple); master (of one's art, trade, etc.). 和英 or わえい (waei): Japanese-English. 和菓子 or わがし (wagashi): Japanese confectionery or sweets. There are more on the common compounds list to go over, so I'll be doing more next time.

Practiced my vocab and kanji on JapaneseClass' site. Wasn't too bad. Only missed a few. Pretty good for not being on that site for a while. The system's a lot smoother, too. I had some long combos on there this time. Didn't do any chapter tests this time. Thought the regular practice quiz would be good for getting back into it. Someone mentioned on the front page that there's a site that helps with listening to conversations, called My Kikitori. They quiz you on each audio recording of a normal conversation. They have a normal speaking speed, and a slow one. They suggest listening to the slow one first, and then switching to normal speed. You can play them as much as you want. I did one of them, and got 100% on it. I think they have 'chapter' tests at the end of each section. Sounds like it'll be another great tool.:iconyayhanatamagoplz: 

Also, finished translating part of the You Maga article. This one was on what to do if your kid comes home from school and show signs of lice. This one kind of made my skin crawl, but it was interesting. This is a section of a long article on adjusting to life in America. What to do for kids, cultural stuff, and learning the language. Read an article on Asahi's site about a DJ-style record turntable being sold to the public for the first time. The same type was apparently used in Perfume's next album. It was interesting.