Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Low Down :)

Hello everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!!! :D! I hope that you all were able to enjoy a wonderful turkey feast like I did :)!

This week has been fairly uneventful seeing as the break started on Wednesday and I've not been doing a lot since then ^^;. It's been so nice to just kick back and relax a little bit--especially with how crazy school feels the majority of the time ^^;.

I had school on Monday and Tuesday, but BYU is screwed up, so they made Tuesday a Friday, so I had Japanese and physics two days in a row :). It wasn't too bad though :D.


I can't remember what day it was, last Saturday I think, one of my tires got a nail in it and subsequently got flat ^^;. Dan, bless his heart, came over to my apartment and helped me change my tire to my spare so I could gently roll over to a tire store and see if they could repair my tire for me. On my way there, I saw another fence-cup-drawing of some Zelda characters and creatures--probably in honor of the fact that Skyward Sword just came out for the Wii this past week :D.



I thought it was so awesome! They did Metroid characters and Duck Hunt characters before school started--it was so cool to see them do more of this :D. Whoever it is, they're amazing XD!


Anyway, back to my tire story::

My tire was so bald that they highly recommended that I just buy a new one considering winter is pretty much here ^^;. I decided to buy two new tires because the other front tire was pretty much just as bald and I'd rather be safe on the road and have less money than slide and crash into someone on the road and end up more pennyless and possibly injured ^^;.

After that, I'm pretty sure I went over to Dan's house and we played a little bit of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. We're trying to get through that one quickly so that we can move onto Assassin's Creed Revelations.



SO excited to play that game! The trailers were so gorgeous~! I just hope that it lives up to what Ubisoft advertised XD.

On Sunday I went over to my parent's house and spent some time with them. I unfortunately wasn't able to work on any music stuff, but it was nice to just be with my folks and watch shows about Vampires and Machu Picchu :).

Quite the combination, I know :D!! It was entertaining though :).


Monday and Tuesday were school days as I just explained. Tuesday night was awesome :D. I got to go over to my good friend Alison's house and we caught up on what had been happening in each other's lives before playing Heavy Rain, an absolutely awesome game made for the PS3.



The graphics in this game were amazing. The people looked pretty dang realistic if you ask me. Of course there were times when their animation and stuff seemed kind of weird, but that's motion capture for ya ^^;.



This is a close-up of one of the character's eyes. SO crazy how detailed everything was. Super inspirational :).


We had some absolutely yummy apples as we played and were able to beat the game that night :)!! Unfortunately, I forgot that Wednesday morning (even though it was the first day of break), I had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. for work because I'd told my boss I'd be available, so I got about 4 hours of sleep and hobbled off to work that morning. When I got home I passed out for another good 4 hours and woke up around 1:00 p.m. It felt so amazing to sleep though, honestly :D.

Later that day I went over to Dan's and he played Skyrim with his brother Sam while I shaded the most recent page of the Kingdom Hearts comic!!



This is it right here :D. It's been a year since I drew a page of this comic and I can only hope that my skill has improved since then!! Even if it's just the proportions ^^;. I want to kind of retain the old style that I used though--even if it is anime-esque ^^;.

I've decided that I'm going to do my best to do around a page a week, but there's no guarantee with me being so busy with school and the like. Plus my inspiration levels for things like this tend to fluctuate quite often ^^;. I'm going to do my best with it though :).


I decided to spend Thanksgiving with Dan and his family this year because they offered for me to have dinner with them, and I really wanted to stay local this year. It was super enjoyable :D. There was so much good food! I was really hoping that there would have been more veggies for me to chow down on before eating the not-so-good for you stuffing and the like, but unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of healthy stuff there besides the turkey ^^;. I got my fill--plus some--of the feast and then Dan and I went for a long walk to help settle the food and burn off a couple calories because I was feeling pretty disgusted with myself hahaha.



I took this picture while we were on our walk and it makes me smile every time I see it :')!!! I love us <3~!

I actually tried something new with my hair on Thanksgiving day because I felt like, hey, it's a special occasion, why not dress up a little bit :D? So! I looked around for some easy but awesome updos and actually wanted to do this really cool braid one that I found, but I didn't have any bobby pins, so it would have been practically impossible ^^;.



This is the braided one that I wanted to do. So pretty~! And my hair is long enough now--just didn't have the bobby pins Dx. Oh well :). What I did turned out pretty cool too.



This is what I ended up doing! A Chinese bun with actual chopsticks in my hair :D. Turned out SUPER cool even though I needed bobby pins for this one too and didn't have any. I just used a hairband to help hold it in place and it turned out pretty good :D.



Here's a close-up :D!



And a not-so-close-up XD. It was super nifty looking ^^!



Full-body shot :)...ish hahahah!




This is the official look :D! It made me super happy :D. I felt like a babe hahahahah~!


Yesterday, Friday, I decided it would be a good idea to get some homework done so that I don't feel super overwhelmed as the week comes to a close and I was able to get a good deal of Japanese homework done :). I also worked out my arms in the morning and it felt awesome :). Did 4 sets of 12 reps with 15 lb. weights for my biceps, triceps, deltoids (all three parts), and then did some flies for my chest :). Let's just say that I'm definitely sore this morning, but it's always such a good feeling :D. Makes me feel accomplished ^^!

After doing my homework and such I went over to Dan's and drew a little bit of the first page of my Zander x Rae story :)! Took me forever to decide exactly how I wanted to start it up--if I wanted to do hints of the ending before the comic even started or if I wanted to just throw someone into the action of the story. I decided to kind of just throw the person into the beginning of the story because it starts out super intense :D! Wish me luck! I'm going to try to do the comic in color and in Photoshop, much like Sarah Ellerton's Phoenix Requiem like I mentioned in one of my previous entries :D.

I actually finished reading that webcomic yesterday as well and it was super, super good! The ending was a little bitter sweet, but mostly sweet, so I was happy with it ^^.

Anyway, Dan and I laughed and joked a lot about Skyrim yesterday as he was playing it and just enjoyed each other's company. It was awesome :). I plan on being with him again for a while today :)! Not sure what we're going to do, but we always figure something out :).

If you didn't notice, I actually didn't post a lot of pictures of food that I made during the week, so I'm going to splurge and post them all right here!!




Of course, the favorite breakfast sandwich :D.




A mixture of chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and onions!



Turkey burger with some delicious onion, carrot, and tomatoes :). Tasted. So. Good. Topped it with a little Spike for a little more flavor :).





A spinach, mushroom, mozzarella cheese omelet with toast :)!




Scrambled eggs with tofu, green peppers, onion, with turmeric and spike on top. Would definitely recommend using salt instead of Spike for this because it's stronger. Still tasted good though :).




Super, super yummy shrimp made with green peppers, onion, tomatoes, and oregano :D.



And of course...I had to try something weird, so I made this! What I like to call "protein pudding." It's tofu, chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and half a frozen banana. I think I used too much tofu though because the chocolate flavor wasn't very strong. It still tasted pretty good though, I have to admit :D!


Ironically enough, this week I haven't really thought of a bunch of things that I've been grateful for, but I remember a couple!

  • Sunday:: I was feeling particularly grateful for stories because they can provide such nice ways to escape from every day life, and that's a definite need for me hahaha!
  • Monday:: I was feeling incredibly thankful for good showering and drinking water. Water can be so destructive, but it's so crucial for survival! Dan was thankful for indoor plumbing. Even though it can get clogged up every once and a while, it's so convenient and 100% worth the trouble :).
  • Tuesday:: I don't know if I actually thought up something for this day, so I'll make one up now :). I'm super thankful for my friends. They sometimes feel like they're sparse, especially since I don't really have time for a social life with school, but I couldn't be more grateful for their existence and their willingness to talk to me and listen to me and just spend time together. I miss the friends that I've lost over the years, but I look forward to the new friends that I'm going to make in my future. I can't wait to meet them, whoever they end up being.
  • Wednesday:: I don't think I came up with anything for this day either, but I remember feeling super grateful for the respect of others. Whenever someone respects what you want to do or your opinions on things, etc., it's such a nice feeling. I think that everyone, including myself, could do better at respecting what others want and need for themselves.
  • Thursday:: I know I didn't come up with anything on Thursday, as sad as that is...it being Thanksgiving and everything XD XD. I can say that on Thursday I was especially grateful for the generosity I felt. Dan's family offering for me to come over and have dinner with them and then being able to enjoy it with them was an absolutely awesome feeling. They were so willing to share with me what they had and it made me so happy!! So grateful for their generosity!
  • Friday:: I know I didn't come up with anything for yesterday either. So I'm going to say that I'm grateful for good habits (because not thinking up things I'm grateful for is a bad habit! xD). What's awesome about habits is the fact that they can be made and they can be broken, which means that good behavior and a good attitude can be made, you just have to practice it for a while and then it'll just become part of who you are :). This can also be said for bad things...so, let's do our best to strive to have good habits :)!
  • Saturday:: I haven't thought of anything that I'm grateful for yet this morning, so I'll make one up now :). I'm super grateful for the feeling of inspiration. Some people might not feel what it's like to be inspired and some people might feel inspiration on a constant basis. I'm so grateful to be one of those people who has felt inspiration, even if it's not that often. It's such an empowering feeling and I try to hold onto it for as long as I can. It's just that addicting :)!! Do what you love and you'll probably feel that inspiration :)!

There are so many things to be thankful for--sometimes it just takes a little time, thought, and effort, but it's so worth it :)!!!

Plus! It's been scientifically proven that if you think of something you're thankful for for a few moments every day, you'll have less chances of being depressed or feeling anxious :)!! Something we could all use I think :).


Next week (a.k.a. next post) I'm going to go over my workout routine just for kicks!! It's nothing special, but it keeps me in shape and keeps me healthy. Keep an eye out for it if you're interested :)!


I love you all so much and I hope that this coming week treats you just as well as this last week treated me ;D! <3~!

~Ali~

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nostalgia--Starting Up An Old Routine

Surprise, surprise!!! I actually slept in until 8:00 a.m. today!!! Probably because I was out until 11:00 p.m. doing some grocery shopping, but hey! That's the latest I've slept in for a while! :D

This week was really strange, but in a good way :).

As you might know, my parents were visiting my aunt up in Portland, Oregon and so I was left to take care of the house.

Being at the house alone was insanely nostalgic! I remembered the most random memories while I was staying there. There are just so many good memories tied to that house for me :). I remembered watching Naruto all day during the summer and the times where I'd just sit in my cubby hole (what I called my "office") and draw until 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Sleeping in my old bed was pretty weird the first night too. I woke up and was like O_O. Deja vu?! So bizarre how you can get so connected to a place by living there for so long ^^;. All in all, it was amazing to stay up there and just feel all of that nostalgia, which actually created some inspirational drive for me to start drawing an old comic that I abandoned some time last year, namely, the Kingdom Hearts Role Play comic that I drew according to a story that my friends Tia Breck and Jacquilyn Anderson wrote. Page 84 is almost done! I'm going to try to commit myself to one page a week, but with school and everything else that's happening in my life, it's not a guarantee ^^;, but I'm going to do my best to do it because drawing is something that I haven't been able to do for a while and it's something that I miss a lot. Being up at the house made me realize that, as weird as that may sound ^^;.

Anywho! That's the biggest news I think :). Now for a quick overview about this last week>>



This was me on Saturday morning after having blogged and the like :). The ironic thing is that I'm wearing basically what I wore the Saturday before this D8!! Time for me to switch up my clothes a little! I planned on hanging out with Dan that day, but he couldn't for a while because of a family chore he helped with, so for the majority of Saturday morning I sat around and tried to study for my Physics test.

We were able to get together later on in the day for a little bit (and make some delicious Sukiyaki that I failed to take a picture of :(!) before he went and slept over at his friend Zach's. I used runnyrunny999's sukiyaki recipe, as is shown below>>




I didn't have any tofu, shungiku, shimeji mushrooms, or sake, but I bought some non-alcoholic mirin, shirataki, shiitake, enokidake, and sliced beef (not as thinly as I would have liked, but it was still good) and had soy sauce. It was absolutely delicious! Probably absolutely horrible for you--besides the veggies--but tasted so good.


Sunday was the day that I felt the most nostalgia come to think of it :). It was also one of the most lonely days I've had in quite a while, but I was able to survive it. I studied a lot for my physics test and was able to get some musical juices flowing later in the afternoon. It was super nice being able to just go out and work on it! The song I'm working on right now is turning out so well so far. I'm mainly trying to figure out the drums for this one part where the song kind of slows down and am not quite sure what kind of sound I want to go for yet, but hopefully tomorrow (Sunday) when I go up to visit I'll be able to figure things out and continue progressing with it :)!

Monday hastily rolled around and I went to work and school. I took my physics test and wasn't very pleased with my score, but after the test was over I called Dan and just talked to him about it and we had a really awesome conversation. He really helped lift my spirits since I was bummed about the score. So grateful for him and all the other awesome people in my life!




Monday night, I made myself this lovely dish! It consisted of tomatoes, onions, carrots, and chicken. I'm pretty sure I used some poultry seasoning or something on it, just to add a little flavor. Luckily I didn't go overboard on it this time D8. The carrots made it taste a little sweet. It was very yummy :). If you look closely in the first picture, you can see my blurry Japanese homework in the background XD.


Before going to my Shader Programming class on Tuesday, I decided it would be best for me to take some reference images of the cymbal that I've been trying to shade.





This is the official cymbal :D. I'm not going to try to make the top of it less shiny as you can see in the third picture, but I really wanted to try and get the scratches in the divots all looking right, but it's proving to be more difficult than I'd previously concocted.

I went to my class and got frustrated with the shader and felt like all hope was lost, so I decided to fix it on Thursday and call it good. Tuesday was a bit of a rough day, but it was all right. I also went to my character animation class, where we reviewed our progress on our "special interest" projects. Mine is going to be another animation of my character. It's almost done and is due on Monday night :)! Tuesday night was also when my parents came home from Oregon. I slept over at the house that night and woke up to gifts on the counter for me in the morning :).




Apparently my folks bought me a couple of souvenirs from Portland :). The ring is so gorgeous! And the shirt is awesome, but it's big on me so I plan on using it for a pajama shirt I think :). It totally made my morning--plus a little note Jewell left on top of it for me to read when I woke up. Basically just said, here are some souvenirs to say thank you. I wrote her a little note back before I packed up and headed out to work :).


Wednesday was a good day from what I recall. I had my Japanese class and physics as always, and they went well. I got all of my Japanese homework done for Friday--it was super easy, which was nice for a change because we'd had some pretty difficult articles to read during the beginning of the week! It was home work based on how to read 天気予報(weather reports) andテレビ番組の読み方(how to read television broadcast...things...) XD! I went to the physics lab and got all of my homework done for that class, and on my way home, I saw these amazing clouds and just had to take a picture!





I thought it was gorgeous :). In the very bottom picture, you can see some pretty weird looking clouds. It was one of the strangest cloud formations I've seen anyway. Still so cool though ^^!




I think I also made this delicious fishy meal on Wednesday :D. Tilapia, onion, green pepper, a little garlic salt, and a tad of butter :). YUM.


One of the days during the week, I also took out some time to read this amazing comic that I've grown fond of called "Phoenix Requiem," written by Sarah Ellerton.

You can read it by clicking here>> http://requiem.seraph-inn.com/archives.html

I highly recommend it if you're a fervent comic reader :D. I'm about halfway through it and it's really good at keeping me interested :).


Thursday was an interesting day to say the least ^^;. I went to work and school and was luckily able to fix my cymbal shader!




This was my cymbal as of Thursday night I believe :). I really, really like the way that the dents in it look. They're still too uniform of course. I want to add a little swirl to them, but am not quite sure how to do that. My teacher tried to help me figure out a way, but it didn't turn out looking very good ^^;.

I did some good animating in my character animation class that night and built a table and a vial for the character in my scene to use :). I've never animated the use of props before, so we'll see how well it turns out D8.

Nighttime was when things got really interesting--guess I could say nightmarish, but...well, I'll let the picture I took kind of explain things a little before I get started XD.



So, when I got home from school, our kitchen sink was about half-full of water and I thought maybe it was just a temporary plug or something and that it would go down on it's own (because I'd seen the sink at my parent's house fill up a little before and then go down while the dishwasher was running), so I didn't think much of it and went about making myself some good eats. As I was preparing my food, I noticed that the water level in the sink was slowly starting to rise, but decided I would still wait a little longer before I called maintenance to come down and help with it--just in case it did decide to go down.

Before I knew it, the water had reached the brim of the sink. I reached over to try and run the disposal to see if it would get the water to come down, but the water just bulged and started bubbling up and out of the sink, onto the counter, and down onto the floor.

Doing my best not to panic, I grabbed my phone and called the Branbury maintenance hotline, told them about the situation and they said they would have someone come down right away. I grabbed my shower towels (I had no idea what else to use in my somewhat panic-state of mind) and tried to barricade the water that was falling just around the sink, but it ended up getting over most of the floor. The maintenance guy came in and he tried to unplug the drains with two plungers (as you can see in the photo), but that didn't work. He did something underneath the sink and at least got the water to stop flowing out, but the sink was still full. I helped him plunge the sink a couple more times just to make sure it wasn't a small plug, but it was no good. He left for a while and came back with a vacuum, a bucket, and one of those snake-things that they use to unplug piping and such. I'd just finished cooking, but decided it would be best to try to help him solve the sink problem before trying to enjoy any food. I asked him if there was anything that I could do to help him out, and he said that there wasn't much and he wouldn't recommend it anyway considering that snaking the sink can get pretty gross. I insisted that he let me know if there was anything I could do to help him and he told me he would let me know if there was anything I could do.

Only a few minutes later, he told me that he was surprised I'd offered any help at all and explained that most Branbury residents just kind of sat back and watched--none of them had ever really offered any help to him before. This kind of shocked me to be honest. I explained to him that I consider the apartment to be my home and I kind of own it--so I want to help take care of it and things concerning it. This mindset apparently shocked him. He told me it was really cool that I thought things like that and it made me really happy :).

In the midst of all of this, I'd finished cooking my meal.



It was chicken, onions, potatoes, turmeric, and curry powder. Delish!


Later on when I offered to help again, he said, "I still can't believe that you care," and I just kind of chuckled to myself.

This really made me think. It made me kind of sad because it made me wonder if humanity as a whole isn't all as great as I hope and think it is. This also made me happy in a way, because I realized that I'm one of those people who really, genuinely care about people and things. Dan often tells me that I care too much, and I agree with that hahaha, but I'd rather care more than be careless about everything :).


I stayed up until 10:00 p.m. that night which is a little late for me (I try to make bedtime 8:00 p.m. because of work), but I was able to get to sleep and wake up Friday (yesterday) morning to a somewhat clean kitchen with the sink empty :).

I went to work, and on my way back into the main Crabtree Building from the Central Heating Plant, I saw this amazing sunrise and had to snap a couple of pictures :).




Both of these pictures kind of blow out the highlights where the sunlight was hitting the clouds, but I think it kind of shows just how beautiful this sunrise was :).

After work was over, I had my Japanese and physics classes as always and they both went well :). We're talking about the Earth and its composition and such in my physics class and I'm loving it because I used to be so interested in learning about planets and such back in junior high--also the time I was obsessed with aliens and all that jazz XD.


On my way home from class, I saw a couple of really beautiful bushes and trees and couldn't resist taking more photos!



This was a bunch of bushes right outside of the Harrison Fine Arts Center, and I loved the colors!


These are the bushes and trees right outside of the art museum at BYU. I just couldn't resist the red XD!! So, so beautiful!

When I got home from school, my roommates Mack and Natalie were both just kind of hanging out in the living room. Mack was playing Beyond Good and Evil for Gamecube and Natalie was trying to study for her physiology test she had today. I hadn't really been social with them or socially connected with them at all since the beginning of the semester, so I decided to hang out with them :). It was such a blast--they really are great roommates (despite the fact they can be a little noisy at night. They haven't been bad at all lately though :)).

I continued drawing page 84 of the KHRP (Kingdom Hearts Role Play), and they both wanted to look at it. Apparently they were both really impressed with my art skills ^^;. Mack had seen most of my art stuff before, so it wasn't really new to her, but it was to Natalie :). I showed her the rest of the KHRP that I'd drawn and it seemed like she really enjoyed looking at it :)!! She asked me about the story and the characters and seemed really interested, which just made me happier and happier :).

For a while I went and exercised and came back to just hang out some more. It was so awesome.




This was my dinner last night :). Tilapia cooked in onions, tomatoes, green peppers, oregano, and rosemary :D. Holy COW, I can't explain how yummy it was :)! Love me my fish!


Another eventful thing that happened yesterday was the fact that it started snowing :D!!! Dan called me and came over for just a few minutes #1 to show me his new coat and jeans (which were freaking awesome), and #2 to give me a kiss in the snow ;D. Oh, how hopelessly romantic we are XD. It was awesome just seeing him and being with him :).

I plan on spending some more time with him today after I go to this animation meeting we're having at noon.... I'm honestly not really looking forward to it just because I feel like it's going to be a big argumentative meeting about how everyone thinks the film should go. I understand that we need to know what direction we're going to go in before we make the film so we don't stumble through it, but I think we should just leave that to whoever is appointed as the director, offer our opinions to them, and if they don't like it, they don't have to conform to it. That's just my opinion though.

We'll just have to see how it goes!

Random, but I've been feeling really happy because I feel like I'm finally strong enough to voice my own opinions. I don't do it very often because sometimes I don't feel like it's necessary, but I'm just happy that I'm not as indecisive as I used to be in the past :).

And, just to close things up for this week, here's the things I was grateful for :) :

  • Sunday:: I honestly can't really remember what it was that I was grateful for, but I know I thought up something. It might have been good food come to think of it ^^;.
  • Monday:: I was really grateful for positive human interaction and friendship, and also just the goodness of the human heart/kindness in general.
  • Tuesday:: Music was what I was grateful for this day because it gets me through work every morning and I absolutely love making it and just listening and feeling it. It's so powerful! It really helps inspire me to do the things that I love too :).
  • Wednesday:: By this time, Dan decided he also wanted to start thinking about things he was grateful for in the morning because since I started doing it, he noticed that I'd been less tense in general. So! He decided he was grateful for the freedom that all Americans are able to experience, and I was grateful for my family. Even though they can drive me up a wall and over the edge, I couldn't appreciate their love or support more.
  • Thursday:: I was particularly grateful for clothes this morning, not just because they cover and protect you from weather and such, but because you can also express yourself through your clothing :). I was probably thankful for this because I looked at a fashion website the day before and it was awesome to see what kinds of ways people use clothes to express themselves.
  • Friday:: I was so grateful for helping hands this particular morning, whether it's someone helping me at work, a family member helping me, or like the maintenance guy helping me, I was just grateful for people being willing to help :).
  • Saturday (today):: I had to give it a little thought, but I'm super, super grateful for technology. If it weren't for technology, I wouldn't be able to talk to the ones I love nearly as often as I do, I wouldn't be able to do animation as easily, or music for that matter, and there would be no computers or video games, which are things that I don't know if I could live without XD. Super thankful for advances in technology and all the work that's put toward it :).



Just as a closing image, this was my amazing breakfast :D. The reason that the eggs look so strange is because I put a little bit of soy sauce in them, but didn't want to break the yolks! Hence, the yolks are all white and the rest of it is a weird...brownish hahaha. It tasted really good though ^^!

I hope that all of your weeks have gone well and that you get some good rest this weekend! Thanksgiving is next week and I'm so, so excited for all of the wonderful food and for just the feeling of Thanksgiving.

Let's all do our best to not forget the real meaning behind Thanksgiving!!


Love you all so much~!

~Ali~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Food, Life in General, and Finding Things I'm Grateful For

5:00 a.m.

bzzzz

bzzzz

bzzzz

was what I woke up to this morning hahaha. Another amazing Saturday morning to wake up to :)!

This week has been so much better than last week (excluding yesterday, but I'll explain that later)!! I think there's a couple things that I can contribute the goodness to, but!! I mustn't get ahead of myself :D.

I'll start from last Saturday/Sunday and progress throughout the week like I did last weekend.



Gave my bangs a nice trim after showering :D!



And straightened my hair for fun :).



Basically after finishing my last blog I got ready for the day (exercised, showered, made myself presentable--as shown above), and proceeded to go to Dan's house. I remember feeling somewhat hungry for lunch, so we decided to go to JCW's to get a burger and fries for our treat.

And holy cow. It was amazing XD.

I hadn't had a burger and fries in so long--eating it was like heaven on Earth! It was extremely enjoyable to say the least. After this we returned to his house and talked for a long while about how I'd been emotionally struggling for the past few days and he gave me some good advice. He pointed out to me that I'd been focusing on the negative side of situations and that it might be wise if I try to find the silver lining in things even if it's "covered in a pile of crap," as he put it, which made me laugh XD.

After this, we watched a hilariously cheesy movie (Mr. Nice Guy, featuring Jackie Chan), played some good ol' co-op Splinter Cell and that's honestly all I can remember hahaha! It wasn't a very eventful day, but it was enjoyable being with him :).



I'm pretty sure I took this just after we'd been talking and just before watching Mr. Nice Guy. Got to love the psycho hair hahaha!!! Styled by yours truly XD (can't help the fact that I like playing with hair)!!!


Sunday rolled around and Dan and I were able to spend a little more time together :). That morning we made spinach, mushroom, cheesy chicken omelets with a piece of toast on the side and it tasted so good ^^!!!



Here's the omelet Dan made (so fluffy!),



and the omelet I made :D! Mine's significantly more brown ^^; hahaha, but they both ended up tasting delicious :).

After playing some Metal Gear Solid 2, I took Dan home around...3:00 p.m? He needed to do some things for his job and I had music that I wanted to produce at my parent's house, so I took him home and drove up to my folk's house.

I talked to my parents a lot about how I'm most likely not going to pursue a Japanese double major like I'd planned on (because I recently discovered that it's actually an insanely difficult process that BYU highly discourages), but I plan on getting a language certificate stating that I have either an advanced, professional, or master understanding of the language and such. In order to get the certificate I'll have to take a couple more Japanese classes than I need for a minor, which is fine with me considering I'll have a minor by this coming fall. I would have it by the end of this coming semester, but the class I would need to take conflicts with an animation class I need to take that's only taught in the wintertime DX. Gotta love crazy scheduling XD.

After this long discussion, my parents asked me to house-sit for them while they went to Oregon for a few days to visit my aunt who lives up there, and I agreed (#1 because I had no choice and #2 because I thought it would be amazing to be away from my apartment for a couple days).

Once that was all over, I went out into the studio and worked on this song I came up with a few weeks back, and I'm incredibly happy with how it's turning out so far!! I would post up my progress on it, but I'm paranoid about people stealing my work, so I'm keeping all of this very hush-hush until I have a couple songs done and can put them up on iTunes for the world to hear :D. So excited for that to actually happen and it's so close to happening too!! So excited for all of that to really start moving :).

I got all of my laundry finished while at the house and went back to my apartment when it was getting close to my bedtime (8:00 p.m.).



Before I knew it, it was Monday! I went to work that morning and while taking a break on the upper floor of the Central Heating Plant where I work, I noticed this little pattern on the ground that looked like an angry man's face!



Can you see it?? If you can't, I plan on going back and emphasizing it in Photoshop. I would have done that before posting it now, but unfortunately I don't have Photoshop on me since I'm using my dad's laptop to blog hahahah ^^;. So, if you don't see it, I'll definitely re-post this next Saturday with some good emphasis on the face. I thought it was so funny that I was able to find a face in something you'd never really expect to see a face in XD.

Monday was a good day from what I remember. We started reading a new article in my Japanese class and got ready to review for our Unit 3 test in my Physics class (GAH, so nervous about that!). After school was over, as I was walking to my car to go home, I spotted this gorgeous tree and had to take a picture of it :).



It was so red...so pretty!!! I probably looked like a crazy person by randomly stopping to take a picture of it, but I couldn't help myself :D. Eventually I made it home and made myself some amazing whole wheat pancakes!




Whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes...man...I could probably have those every day for the rest of my life and be a happy camper XD.

After eating this delicious meal, I worked out my legs, went home and studied the new Japanese article basically for the rest of the time :). It was pretty difficult actually D8. It mainly talked about 尖格諸島 (senkakushotou). I think that was the kanji for it anyway D8. It's a little group of islands just south of Japan that mainly China and Japan have been fighting over because underneath it there's a huge oil reserve ^^;. There were a lot of new words that I didn't recognize, but I was able to get through it :).

After all that hard studying I wanted some good, healthy food, so I went online to YouTube and looked up some of runnyrunny999's videos (he's a Japanese man that cooks as a hobby and posts up how to make the food he cooks) and found this one about stuffed cabbage and thought I'd give it a shot :).

Here's the video if you're interested :D.






Unfortunately mine didn't turn out quite as good as runny's did, but it was my first try, so I cut myself some slack and enjoyed it :).





I think I didn't roll them quite correctly, so some of the tofu and ground turkey I used was able to come out while I was boiling them ^^;. They were also actually fairly flavorless, so I plan on using tomatoes or something in the broth next time to help give it some extra flavor :). Or maybe just putting some extra spices in there that runny didn't use :).


Tuesday was a pretty good day too from what I remember. I worked early again, went to my Shader Programming class and just worked on my cymbal that I decided to do for class. On my way there, I was walking by these leaves that had fallen recently and noticed that they were all sparkling as I was passing by. They were frost-covered! It was so beautiful :D!




I don't think these pictures quite do the beauty of the frost justice, but it was the best I could do with the time that I had ^^;. It was so beautiful though! Absolutely loved it :).

Anyway, back to business :).




This was my cymbal as of Tuesday. I was getting kind of frustrated because the highlight on this thing was SUPER huge and I couldn't figure out how to tone it down a little bit so it didn't look like the cymbal was exploding with light hahahah!!! I was happy to get at least a little bit of work done on it though :).

Class ended and I went home and worked on what I could between 12:00 and 4:00 when my Character Animation class starts. I then went in and had my teacher critique my animation. He recommended a few simple things, but told me that overall it looked pretty good from what I remember. I was pretty pleased with myself :).


I'm starting to feel like I'm rambling! I'll try to speed this up a little so it's not so boring ^^;.




This is a delicious turkey burger I made for myself on Tuesday. SUPER yummy!! Threw some ground turkey in a pan with onion, zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes and just let it cook :). Then tossed in some turmeric to make it colorful :D. And added a little soy sauce and Spike to it :). Delish!


Wednesday, I worked early, came home and made myself an awesome brunch!




Looks yummy, yes? XD. It was very good, even though one of the yokes of my eggs broke ;(.

We were assigned a new article in my Japanese class that morning and had a review in my Physics class for the unit 3 test. After which I came home and made myself a parfait!



Love those things...a lot XD. The frozen fruit makes it taste like ice cream almost :D.


I had a physics lab to go to on Wednesday to review some more for the test and also to do some homework for that class. It went really well :). I also kept on hearing about how there was this gigantic hunk of quartz near where the physics TA lab was (and it was relevant because we'd recently learned about silicate tetrahedral bonds and such), which is near where my physics lab was, so I decided to go take a look at it :).




This thing...was huge. But it was absolutely gorgeous :D. I think I heard that it's one of the biggest in-tact pieces of quartz, but I could be wrong about that :). So pretty though! I love crystals and the like. They're totally mezmerizing :).


That night after working out my torso, I came home and made another turkey burger, but put much more spices into this one :). Just wanted to try something new, and it turned out really good!



Also used green peppers instead of zucchini for this one, but still used carrots and onions :).


On Thursday morning, I decided to be extra adventurous and try to make an egg-sausage sandwich in the morning for breakfast with some of the remaining ground turkey I had left.

Let's just say it's become a favorite of mine :D.



These were my ingredients (lightly buttered bread, ground turkey with a bunch of spices on it, and a poached egg with a little bit of spices on it).



And this is the sandwich in all of its glory in the midst of being eating :D! You're probably thinking that the ground turkey can't taste like sausage because it's not pork, but it actually tasted pretty close to me! Then again I haven't had pork sausage in quite a while, so that could be why it tasted like sausage to me hahaha ^^;.

I just put some garlic salt, paprika, and onion powder on it and it tasted fantastic to me :).

An amazingly good way to start off your day--packed with protein goodness!!


I went to work, did the usual stuff, then went to my Shader Programming class, where I was able to make some big progress on my cymbal shader :D!





I'm feeling really happy with it so far :). There are just a few more things that I need to put on it to make it look more realistic and then from there on out I think it'll just be lighting and such that I'll need to work on to make it look like it's an ordinary part of the picture :D. Please tell me what you think so far :)!

Thursday afternoon I went to my Character Animation class, but instead of just regularly having class, we went over and listened to a presentation about math in the animation industry given by a previous Computer Science-Animation BYU graduate named Adam Sigwell. His presentation was awesome and it made me realize just how important math is within the animation industry. Of course that made me feel a little like OH GOD, what have I gotten myself into?! But afterward I realized that animation doesn't just require mathematics. You have to have some arts in there in order to get the job done, which was a relief hahaha. We returned to the Crabtree Technology Building afterward and talked a little bit about file referencing in Maya, and afterward we were sent off to work on our special interest projects (I'm thinking mine is going to be a lengthy animation, but we'll see ^^;).

After this, I rushed home, grabbed some things to stay overnight at my parents (the house-sitting started on Thursday), and came up to the house.



I made myself some good chicken and veggies and had a few "addictive" chips on the side :D (they really are--it's crazy!). It was really good despite the fact that I went a little overboard on the poultry seasoning ^^;. This dish is actually really similar to nikujaga, a Japanese dish that I've been dying to make for a while now. Either that or Sukiyaki! I just don't know where I can find a place that sells shredded beef hahaha! I think I heard from one of my previous Japanese teachers that you can get shredded beef from Macey's. I'll have to go check that out today :D! Or sometime soon at least :D.


Friday morning it felt like I woke up on a different planet because I'm so used to waking up in my apartment now ^^;. Waking up at my parents house was so foreign and strange, but it was a good morning despite all that :). I made myself my breakfast sandwich with some ground turkey I brought over from the apartment and then speeded off to work.

Work was hilarious because my boss and my co-workers were being so wild and we were all so excited that it was Friday and the week was over :D. I might explain later, we'll see XD.

I went to my Japanese class and did pretty well on the quiz and the reading of the article that we'd been asked to study since Wednesday. In Physics we started unit 4, which means that I need to take my unit 3 test by Monday D8. I can do it, I can do it! I just have to keep telling myself that and study hard!!! We also had a special moment during 11/11/11 11:11 a.m. where we cheered and such, it was awesome :D! I sent out text messages to a few people. What a special occassion though, seriously :). Doesn't happen very often at all :D. After class was over I went and met with my Japanese teacher and it turns out that we don't have to meet every week anymore because she finished the required amount of mentoring hours that she needed for this class that she's taking, but we decided that I'm going to be her guinea pig just to see what assignments and such I can do because she's going to be teaching Japanese 322 next semester and wants to see how much I can understand on my own...or something along those lines hahaha! Either way, I'm happy to help her out and it becomes extra study for me (which is good!), so I'm good with it :D.

After running back up to PG to make sure the animals were all right, I came back and cleaned my apartment's kitchen because we have a cleaning check today (Saturday).



It looks so pretty and clean!! And the floor is free of crumbs, HALLELUJAH!!!

Cleaning is so therapeutic for me I think. I enjoy it so much and I feel so much better after cleaning. I think I might actually do some cleaning around my parents house if it needs it :), just to be nice.

But anywho! That's been my week! I came back up to the house last night and stayed the night again and slept in my old bed. Man, that thing is so fantastic to sleep in. I was a little warm, but it was fantastic nevertheless XD.


Now for just a second of preachiness, but this week I tried to do something new to kind of help me have an overall better attitude throughout the day. Every morning when I woke up I would think of something I was grateful for and then text Dan and tell him about it and why I was so grateful for it later in the morning so I wouldn't wake him up ^^;. I came up with a lot of good things, and I think it actually did have a positive affect on my attitude during the day :).

These are the things I came up with for this week:

  • Monday:: I decided I was grateful for my past experiences. As sucky as some of my past has been, it's made me who I am today and will make me who I am tomorrow and I really love who I am and who I'm becoming. Hence, I'm grateful for my past :)!
  • Tuesday:: I decided I was really grateful for the fact that I have a body that functions almost perfectly. I almost lost my arm when I was in my car accident back in 2001, so I'm even more grateful for the fact that I have all of my limbs and that they work :). Maybe that's why I'm so hell-bent on taking good care of my body ^^;.
  • Wednesday:: I was grateful for my job and my ability to make money. Despite the fact that it sucks to go to sleep at 8:00 p.m. and get up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to go clean, I'm really happy that I have a job and couldn't be more grateful :).
  • Thursday:: I was especially grateful for Dan because whenever I'm down, he's there to help me through it and if I ever need anything, he's always willing to help me find a way to get it :). Love him a lot.
  • Friday:: Even though I almost got into a car wreck, I'm really grateful for the fact that I have a car because getting to and from school would take so much longer if I was walking everywhere. Super super grateful for a quick way of transportation!
  • Saturday (today):: I couldn't be more grateful for the roof that I have over my head this morning. Whether it's my parent's roof or my apartment roof, I'm just happy to have shelter--a warm place to live, cook and sleep. I really take this for granted all the time, but it really is a blessing to have a place to live :).

Those were all of the ones that I came up with for this week so far. I highly recommend doing something like this every morning. There are so many things to be grateful for. Sometimes it just takes a little focus and perspective to realize how blessed you are :).


Okay, I'm done being preachy!! :D

I hope that you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend (because that's what I plan on doing--besides studying for that blasted physics test!!). I'll be back again next week with more updates and the like!



Love you all so much! <3!

~Ali~