I got Twitter and suddenly, everything’s relevant

The last judgment

Before I joined Twitter, I never really noticed its significance on social networking. I sort of blocked it out like I did with Friendster or AsianAvenue – passing them off for another ‘internet phenomenon’ that would eventually disappear or at least fade into obscurity. But as time passed, I realized the popularity of Twitter was only growing stronger. I began to see it everywhere in the news, but didn’t fully understand how it worked. I thought, what’s the big deal?

After being a Twitterer (?) for a few months, I can finally make connections between what is mentioned in media and how it relates to me. The amount of interaction that Twitter opens up is immense, but it’s a different kind of interaction than, say, Facebook. It gives you the ability to speak your mind, provides a medium for you to deliver a message at once to people who want to hear what you have to say, and to some degree, tightens the gap between us and celebrities. The real-time blogging aspects forms connections in a different way than dated, retroactive methods. The flexibility of the Twitter API makes it easy to share across platforms and create interesting mashups. I can’t really describe the experience to someone else – you’d have to try it out for yourself, because everyone will use it in a slightly different way.

Not to say that everything is positive. The service begets the same privacy and social risks just like Facebook or MySpace. Also, it’s not as if my “tech routine” wasn’t tedious enough. I’d just be assigning myself another site to check everyday.

I think the New York Times said it best:

“Your identity on Twitter is more your ability to take an interesting conversational turn, throw an interesting bit of conversation out there. Your identity isn’t so much identified by the music you listen to and the quizzes you take,” as it is on Facebook, [said Andrea Forte]. She called Twitter “a comparatively adult kind of interaction.”

I’m certainly not a power user of Twitter, so I probably haven’t harnessed all that it has to offer. But now I do see the big deal, and have made peace with the fact that ‘tweet’ is becoming a part of my everyday vocabulary. I look forward to having more of my friends share this experience with me.

Tiny update: I stopped importing this blog feed to Facebook – my personal level of accessibility was a bit too high and that scares me…

Another update: THANKS JUSTIN for giving me another way to waste time bugging me to join Twitter.

Further proof that Canada is lame

Universal Studios USA

Universal Studios USA

Universal Studios Canada

Universal Studios Canada

Despite being Canadian, I feel like Canada has always been a bit of a lame country. Our greatest export is Celine Dion, we have some sort of inflated pride on being a large, barren (though polite) land mass, and don’t even get me started on the weather.

Last week I had a job interview for Enbridge Gas, and across the street was the headquarters for Universal Studios Canada. I hardly noticed it, and only with a bit of squinting did I fully understand what I was looking at. This excited me for about one millisecond before I realized that it’s about the dullest office building I’ve ever seen, and Universal Music (the shorter building beside it) was equally arid, with some uninspiring banners of recording artists draped on its outside walls. No flashy signs, no palm trees, no interesting architecture, and definitely no theme park. Seriously, Canada…?

In other news, I recently just got back from camping at Sauble Beach with what was essentially the “Fellowship of ACCI“. The trip was overall a success, and I only got 2 mosquito bites while other people got none, which has to be some sort of record for camping! On Friday we arrived pretty late and had to pitch our tents in the dark. The campsites were much smaller and closer together than I expected. It wasn’t as lonely, but the whole “quiet hours” policy was a slight minus. We watched Sunny struggle with the campfire for a few hours, roasting marshmallows in the short spurts of flame he could manage.

The next morning I awoke to people walking around and kids screaming at freaking 7am!! We watched Sunny struggle with campfire #2, had a nice breakfast, and set off for the beach. Sauble water is amazingly clean (especially compared to the vat of crap that is Lake Ontario). The waves provided endless juvenile amusement, and we had a nice big section of beach to ourselves. We then explored the town a bit on foot, in search of a place to have lunch. After some grocery shopping and supply replenishment, we watched Sunny struggle with campfire #3 and had a true camp BBQ. At night, we decided to do some exploring. This was after we beered Matt enough times to make things very interesting.

On Sunday morning, we watched Sunny struggle with campfire #4, and had some huge 4-hour-long brunch thing where the guys would just grill/heat food and eat nonstop. Lily and I eventually became bored to the point that we went off exploring by ourselves. When we got back, it was time to pack up and check out. We then went canoeing down the Sauble River (sadly, T-Pain was not on our boat). It turned out to be quite enjoyable and I wish we booked the canoes for a bit longer. After that we were all pretty much pooped, so we headed home.

I’m rather impressed with the string of decent weather these past few days, so I’m trying to avoid sitting at home all day. Yesterday I went biking with Jo, and today I took a rather spontaneous trip downtown to watch District 9 and meet up with some Loo friends. District 9 wasn’t bad, but probably a bit too gory for my tastes. Tomorrow it’s rainy in the morning but hopefully I can find something to do in the afternoon when it’s supposed to be nicer.

It feels like summer

Summer activities

I finished my last exam on Tuesday. After a couple days of post-exam de-stressing (aka bumming around) in Waterloo, I moved out on Thursday evening. As I still haven’t found a job yet, I don’t even know when my summer might end. If things go according to plan, I should have around 2-3 weeks. And I am determined to not waste this lovely pocket of time, as they do not come often.

Yesterday I went to the beach. We arrived close to 3pm and it was blazing hot. In fact it was impossible for me to stand barefoot on the sand without jumping around. We lay around soaking up the sun, and played a bit of football and volleyball (except all the courts were taken so we could only play keep-up). By then it was still really hot, so we thought we’d take a dip in the water. Lake Ontario is super gross. We saw band-aids and feathers and other indistinguishable debris floating around on the surface. But the water was just so damn refreshingly cool. We played some more football/vball in the lake. Of course, passing the ball soon turned into ‘aim the ball into the water directly beside someone so they get splashed by the disgusting water’. Which then later became ‘strand Matt in the middle of the lake because he’s a certified lifeguard’. The last bit wasn’t very successful, though there was a fair amount of chasing and contact lense crises involved.

After we decided we had been contaminated enough by the water, we held an impromptu BBQ in Matt’s backyard. We played some Xbox and chilled a bit more. By the time I got back I was exhausted and easily fell asleep. I love days like that. I’m looking forward to camping on Friday. We’re going up to Sauble Beach for 3 days, so that should be really interesting. Hopefully we can find a camcorder of some sort so we can document our adventures.

I’m mighty jealous of my friends who are able to jet off to Asia or Europe or even just the States/Vancouver. Hopefully this Christmas break I will be able to take a real vacation. For now, all I can do is enjoy what I have here. Back in December, I was able to engage in many “wintry” activities, so I want to make the most of my summer “break” too :)

It feels slightly weird to not have anything on my plate. For some reason I’m not too worried about my job hunt, and CFA is still a long ways off. After two study terms in a row, I miss the hectic life of being in school (perverse thinking, I know). There’s always something to do, something to aim for in the short term. Most of the time it’s just to survive the week. I guess I just need to be kept busy. There’s no better feeling than the sense of accomplishment.

Obsession, please

I miss the days when I was a crazy fangirl, Googling every shred of media and information I could find, building fansites, browsing and creating my own fanart, stalking forums, digging up sheet music, hoarding official artwork…etc.

To the best of my memory, I made a list of my obsessions over the years. These might not cover everything, but if I don’t remember it, I guess I wasn’t that obsessed.

  • Grade 7-8: Digimon, Sailormoon
    I made fansites for these. The BSSM one never got anywhere, but my shrine to pretty-boy Ishida Yamato actually grew to mediocre success. No, I will never show you either of these. Of course, Sailormoon spawned fanart like no tomorrow. Just look at the artbooks! Bee-yoo-ti-ful…
  • Grade 9-10: Final Fantasy (VIII in particular)
    Still love this series, and have a metric ton of graphics/official artwork…etc on my computer.
  • Grade 11-12: Lord of the Rings (Legolas in particular)
    I drew some fanart, but I think the greatest feat was actually getting through all 3 books, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion.

  • First year: These guys, Fly to the Sky
    I loved being able to obsess over them with Lily – we each got a ‘guy’. We literally Youtubed every single performance/video we could find of them. And then made some wallpapers.

    • Minor obsessions: Collectives (you know, those uber-girly ’boutique’ domains with insanely-difficult-to-find navigation. Many are dead with the arrival of Web 2.0, but here are some pretty examples), fanlistings, Jay Chou
  • Second year: Kingdom Hearts
    Yyyyyep, more fanart :D

So you can pretty much conclude I was a typical nerd/geek. I find it sad that I don’t have anything to fangirl about these days. I haven’t played any video games of epic proportions recently, and I stopped watching anime a few years back.

Study music

It’s final exams again, so I’ve begun my usual rounds of operating in a different time zone everyday. There’s a lot of studying going on, and I was curious as to what kind of music people listen to when they’re studying. I used to stick to classical because lyrics were too distracting. Some of my favourites are:

J. Bach – Air

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We used to giggle at the song title (“on the G string”…yep, totally immature), but this is a very very relaxing and beautiful piece.

F. Chopin – Grande Valse Brillante

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It’s a happy waltz! I have a thing for waltzes

J. Strauss – The Blue Danube

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Probably the most famous waltz. There’s something about music set in 3/4 time that makes you want to dreamily dance and glide around.

P. Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1

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I love the strings melody at 2:25. I think strings and piano were made for each other.

The problem with classical, because it’s so expressive, is that it can get overly depressing or epic. I don’t feel very encouraged reading about the Bipartite Matching Algorithm set to Holst’s Mars. In fact it just makes me more agitated. Last term I found jazz/easy listening to be more appropriate. As the genre name suggests, it’s light, you sort of don’t even notice it, but it lifts the heavy silence of individual study, and you can think on top of it. Just wanted to share some tunes on my playlist:

Eva Cassidy – Fly Me to the Moon

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Diana Krall – The Look of Love

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Michael Bublé – L O V E

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Okay, that last one may be too happy. So what do you listen to when you study?