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  • A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

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  1. #1
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    A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    Blarg, I don't usually bother with journals, but I think it would be healthy for me to write down my thoughts and worries instead of denying that I'm stressed over them.

    So a brief nutshell of information: I'm a biology major a day away from graduating, and I'm in one of the cruddiest US state economies--Michigan. Tigers are central to my life and career goals, and I have no job lined up for myself.

    -------------------

    Now that all the pressures of school are over, I need to find a job in 6 months or I'm financially screwed. Worse yet, I mess up my parent's credit because they had to co-sign my loans. In a state that primarily relied on its auto industry for business, this is no place for a biology major, especially one who wants to get into zoology and conservation.

    My girlfriend and I have been together for about two-and-a-half years long distance. We're quite attached to each other, and even though we only see each other in person for a week each year, we don't let that bother us. Because the relationship is based on personality and spiritual--not religious--connection, it's easy to endure the wait.

    Talking over the phone each night at a set time has made it possible for the relationship to work, although at times the phone has caused problems because of the nature of cell phones (signal issues, battery, monthly payments, damage, etc.)

    At any rate, the tentative plan we had was that I would move in with her. After that, we would get ourselves situated financially and then move out of her Aunt's house to get our own apartment in Connecticut (where she is). Right now, CT is a far better place for job hunting than Michigan. Not only does it have a more prosperous job market, but it's also situated between several states that could offer more opportunities.

    However, there are things that concern me even though she is working on addressing them. First off, she hasn't got her drivers license yet. Why? Because no one in her family will take her driving. Actually, only a handful of people -can- take her driving, because either they have no car, or they have no license. Without going into too much detail about the sharp contrast between her and her family, they can be good-natured...but most of the time they're looking out for number one, taking advantage of people if they can. Of course, the Aunt she's staying with is a modest exception, if only because she has learned to aspire to better.

    Though she recently bought a used car (now in need of repairs), she still needs her license. She has a full time job working at a major shoe store at the mall, which she reaches using a series of bus lines. She's praised for her work by managers, which tells me there's no risk of her losing her job anytime soon. In addition, she started out part time, but got promoted to one of the three coveted full-time positions in record time. Yes, she's quite solid with her job.

    Nevertheless, she's nearly cleaned out every month paying for her share of bills and rent, in addition to paying for a few other items that don't have anything to do with her. I don't want to move there if that status quo is going to continue--how does she think she's going to get stable with such a drain on her assets? For that matter, if I'm going to be paying rent and such to her Aunt once I get a job, how am I supposed to get stable by the time loan payments come crashing down? That's not including car insurance and medical expenses. Sure, she set aside more than enough for me to cover travel and general expenses while I search for a job, but what if I can't find a job in 6 months then? Game over.

    It doesn't matter if I stay with my parents or if I stay with her while looking for a job--differing job markets aside. Either way, it's game over if I can't find a job in 6 months, let alone a job that pays enough to cover increases to monthly payments. Add rent to that equation? Man, what a mess.

    To make things worse, my parents, at best, are indifferent to our relationship. Though most of it stems from a "hands off" approach to relationships, I'm quite sure they're still cynical of the odds of our relationship working. "Long distance relationships, especially if it's your first real relationship, rarely work out in the long run," everyone tells me. Yeah, I'm aware of that, and I'm also aware that there's still a chance, no matter how small, of it working. Besides, people win the lottery, do they not? My point: someone had to be the exception that changed 'never' to 'rarely'.

    My brother had a very intelligent conversation with me several days ago about the implications of moving to Connecticut, and overall it was a nice splash of water to the eyes. Several of the problems I wrote about here were things he had drawn my attention to. One thing in particular stands out: living independently is an important step in life. In other words, I should think more carefully about going straight to sharing a living space with my girlfriend, which he deemed "essentially marriage without being married." Yeah, it is kind of like that, and not everyone in my extended family is quite so secular in thought.

    Unlike my girlfriend, I have strong family ties that reach into the extended family of my mother's side. My grandfather on that side of the family has an extensive plot of land (ex-farm land) well in excess of 120 acres. I love the place, especially because it's deep in the country side of upper Michigan. If feels like an extended family retreat for the holidays where I've had many fond memories. I don't want to be exiled or estranged from them by moving out to Connecticut, let alone living with my girlfriend. On top of all this, my girlfriend is African-American. Obviously, that doesn't bother me in the slightest. What does bother me is that my extended family might be bothered by this. It's bad enough my dad put aside his bad childhood experiences around African Americans when she had dinner at our house last year. He was trying to be supportive, I think, or at least not ruin anything for me.

    Gosh, I know my extended family isn't always quite that reasonable. Heaven forbid my grandfather still be alive and find out about this. I don't know what his view on African Americans were, but given his...diverse array of personalities and war veteran "spunk," I don't think it would've gone over well. Extended family aside, if I told my parents that I was going to Connecticut, never mind living with my girlfriend, they would stop supporting me altogether. My brother and I had similar thoughts about what my parents would do. Right now, they're taking care of car insurance, the "Smart loan" (Unsmart if you ask me) interest payments, medical expenses, and gas.

    If they say "Sorry, but if you think you're independent enough to go living off with some girl we hear about more than we see, you're on your own," then...I'm screwed anyway. The smart loan is at least 150 a month, and I don't even have half of one monthly payment.

    Her and me are going to talk things out, and hopefully she'll understand why I can't go to CT when it was planned. I want her to get her driver's license first, then we can fully talk about me moving there. In the mean time, I should at least try to find a job that will allow me to build up a reserve of money to weather a storm of monthly loan payments.

    There, that feels better now that I've written what's on my mind.

    Wow, that was...quite a bit I had on my mind, apparently.
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

  2. #2
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    It's nice to see a journal. You graduate tomorrow? Awesome. Long-distance relationships are never easy. I've been in a couple myself. It is the truth that they seldom work out. That shouldn't discourage you, though. Most relationships don't work out, yet we give it a try. If you trust her completely, go for it. As you and Gene Starwind pretty much said, no matter how small the chance is, take it. It's better than living a life of regret and missed opportunities, huh?

    It sounds like you're in quite the situation. You need to head to town every day and hand in your resumé wherever you can. Register with job agencies, online as well. Take any job you can. That's all you can really do, but so long as you commit to it I'm sure you'll find something.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



  3. #3
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    That's sound advice, Mantis. I appreciate hearing your 2-cents on the matter. The plan is to job blitz, kinda like shooting a shotgun into a swarm of flies and see what falls down.
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

  4. #4
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    Well, probably nothing you hadn't already figured out yourself. Good luck with it and keep us posted.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



  5. #5
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    So I've spent the past several days primarily doing translation-related work for Ether technology and the Manga. There I've beem, spending hours on end just gathering up Kanji, let alone typing hiragana.

    You know what sucks? Only just a while ago did I realize that I could transfer everything to text by converting scans to PDFs, and then using the built in OCR for Japanese to convert the characters in the image to text.

    However, the big draw back is that it's not completely accurate. You'll get some hiragana being mistaken for "b" or "a" etc, and some Kanji are incorrectly identified. In other words, I need to proof-read very carefully as I use this. I'd estimate there's at least one error every other sentence.

    However, for short sentences like in Manga, this is going to make things so much easier...

    5:53 EDIT:

    As it were, scattered text surrounded by image material causes OCR to return less than half of the text present on a manga page, and with multiple errors in the text that does get recognized. Even on text-heavy pages, it's a big problem. On the other hand, while I may not be able to use this method for converting image text to unicode text for all of the Manga, I most certainly can use it to translate the novel! By gosh, it'll be splendid to be able to get page-by-page conversions to unicode so easily, especially since the manual conversion took roughly four hours per two pages.
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

  6. #6
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    I look forward to seeing the progress. I've actually had some interesting discoveries of my own regarding translations. When my Galaxy S2 arrives, I will install this Android software and use it to aid me in doing my own preliminary translation of the manga eventually. I know we won't be able to come to any sort of agreement in collaborating on such a project due to my methods and that's okay with me. So long as we're doing what we can.

    Good luck with it.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



  7. #7
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    With the relationship issues and possibly moving, I think you've got a sorta wrong plan.

    Instead of moving in then getting finacially stable, you have to get money before hand. Get a job and save it like crazy, try not to spend any of it if possible. When you feel you have enough, start looking for a job in CT. when you get promise of a job in CT then move over. Not before.
    You're asking for historical accuracy in a series where men weilding three swords in each hand, pirates surfing across land on giant anchors, horses with motocycle parts attached and feudal-era Power Rangers are the norm?

  8. #8
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    Some may have noticed my sudden absence from Thursday to [technically] last night. As it were, I had gone to my brother's place in Illinois to attend Acen (Anime Central) on Saturday.

    I did other things for the days before and after Acen, such as visiting the Brookfield zoo and playing video games with my brother, but the real action was at Acen...or so I had hoped.

    Acen was alright, but was quite a bit different than what I had previously experienced in the way of Cons. Instead of the aesthetically comfortable atmosphere of the Hyatt Regency hotel which I had been in for YoumaCon, I was confronted with a single-level convention center with concrete floor and naked support structures, much as you would expect of a warehouse.

    This by itself was nothing bad, but it made for rather irritating traffic flow. All of the tables were set up like grocery aisles, more or less. People were taking pictures of others at the most unexpected places, and so I had to constantly keep an eye out for signs that would indicate their immediate presence so as to avoid messing up someone's picture.

    I'm getting ahead of myself. First, their was the 3-hour wait to get through registration. That's three hours of standing on hard concrete in Ug boots (part of my Ctarl-Ctarl Officer cosplay). It's not so much the standing itself that bothered me, but the fact that it wore me down before I could even explore the place.

    On the other hand, I received many compliments about my Ctarl-Ctarl ears from people that were standing in line with me. Several wanted to take my picture, which I was more than happy to oblige. Nothing like that ever happened at YoumaCon, and that made Acen all the more worthwhile.

    A couple of people guessed at what I was, though curiously none of them were cosplaying. By a similar token, there was not a trace of Outlaw Star at that convention in any form--except a Gene Starwind cosplayer.

    I found the Gene toward the end of my time there. I had resolved not to leave or throw in the towel until I had run into at least one Outlaw Star cosplay.

    This Gene Starwind had a very ingenious Castor design. The Castor, at first appearance, seemed inferior in realistic quality compared to the much acclaimed "Castor of Castors" that has been discussed on the forum.

    However, what made this castor unique was its functionality. The castor shells were actually batteries--AA batteries, I believe. I would never have guessed that the shell he showed me was actually a battery. When the shell was loaded into the chamber, and the chamber closed, the castor would light up.

    I have no idea how well it performed because the only shell he had on hand had already been drained. Nevertheless, the idea itself was pretty novel, though he admitted that the castor had been made by a friend of his.

    At any rate, there was nothing there worth buying, or at least for the prices they were setting. As to be expected, most of the merchandise and artists were geared toward very popular anime/characters. The same could be said for the cosplayers who were mostly going as popular or well-known characters (IE: Naruto, Cloud, Esp. Pokemon).

    ...And of course, two obligatory biblical cosplayers--Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

    I stayed at the con (not including registration) for a grand total of 2.5 hours, which .5 hours less than the amount of time I spent in line.

    I can't remember what day, but my Brother took me to gamestop to buy me a graduation gift, which I was totally confused about. I had been under the impression that he was fixing my Halo-themed Xbox 360 for a graduation gift. Here he was buying a new 360 for me. While I was still a bit lost for words and somewhat disappointed for the first ten minutes after figuring it out, I realized that the Halo-themed 360 just wasn't worth the effort of having fixed, especially when the risk of getting another red ring was very real.

    I came back home Monday, enduring an hour of delays during the train ride back to Michigan. Honestly, I'm still amazed that I didn't do anything the entire ride back, save for sleeping an hour out of the seven it took to get back. I didn't read, and I didn't play video games. I either stared out the window, or I stared off into space.


    Now, as for last night, I had a Con-related dream.

    What I remember is being at a Rite Aid-like store that was a convention center, cosplaying as a Ctarl-Ctarl Officer. I was looking for other Outlaw Star cosplayers to no avail. For some stupid reason, I took off my ears and they ended up on the floor. Like a badly lagging computer game, I suddenly found myself up toward the front where the convention tables were. What happens? I see a Suzuka walk by, then another, then a Gene...then Jim, then Melfina, and then Aisha.

    So I frantically go back to my ears, thinking "Yeah! Game on! Outlaw Star time!" only to find that most of the fur was gone from the ears--like someone had put some safety scissors, a three year-old, and my ears in a room for a day.

    Some way or another, the guy manning the pharmacutical counter admitted to it, apparently also the janitor. He mentioned something about "Look, I could've just thrown them away" in a way that reminded me of an angry parent talking down to their children.

    That didn't piss me off right away.

    It wasn't until I was seated at the front of the room and listening to the con organizer that shit got real. Just after announcing that there'd be an Outlaw Star live-action series involving those who were in proper Cosplay, I lost it. I completely lost it. I had never felt such deep hatred and anger before in my life. Without hesitation, I acted on that raw emotion; I yelled like an enraged beast running top speed for the guy at the counter, knowing full well that I would kill him and face prison. My skin simply pulsed with an intent to exact vengence. However, there was a split moment where I recognized just how irrational I was being, and I stopped myself just as my hand was about to clamp onto the guy's throat.

    I let out a breath of contempt, dropped my arm, and regained my composure. Something along the lines of "If you hurt me again, I really will kill you next time" went through my head.

    Thus, I managed to win that psychological battle, if only by a thread. I woke up soon after that.
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

  9. #9
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    [quote=SethClanclan]
    Acen was alright, but was quite a bit different than what I had previously experienced in the way of Cons. Instead of the aesthetically comfortable atmosphere of the Hyatt Regency hotel which I had been in for YoumaCon, I was confronted with a single-level convention center with concrete floor and naked support structures, much as you would expect of a warehouse. [quote]

    Sounds similar to London Expo...

    Quote Originally Posted by SethClanclan
    This by itself was nothing bad, but it made for rather irritating traffic flow. All of the tables were set up like grocery aisles, more or less. People were taking pictures of others at the most unexpected places, and so I had to constantly keep an eye out for signs that would indicate their immediate presence so as to avoid messing up someone's picture.
    Sounds even more like London Expo...

    Quote Originally Posted by SethClanclan
    I'm getting ahead of myself. First, their was the 3-hour wait to get through registration. That's three hours of standing on hard concrete in Ug boots (part of my Ctarl-Ctarl Officer cosplay). It's not so much the standing itself that bothered me, but the fact that it wore me down before I could even explore the place.
    Are you sure you weren't at Expo?!

    Quote Originally Posted by SethClanclan
    A couple of people guessed at what I was, though curiously none of them were cosplaying. By a similar token, there was not a trace of Outlaw Star at that convention in any form--except a Gene Starwind cosplayer.
    I've never been to convention/exposition where everyone has been cosplaying. And I've had people compliment me (or just fangasm! Still makes me lols)

    Quote Originally Posted by SethClanclan
    At any rate, there was nothing there worth buying, or at least for the prices they were setting. As to be expected, most of the merchandise and artists were geared toward very popular anime/characters. The same could be said for the cosplayers who were mostly going as popular or well-known characters (IE: Naruto, Cloud, Esp. Pokemon).
    Definitely Expo...

    Quote Originally Posted by SethClanclan
    ...And of course, two obligatory biblical cosplayers--Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.
    WTF?! Obligatory?! I've never ever seen a biblical cosplay EVER.



    Awesome dream btw. Really random, just like cons really lol
    You're asking for historical accuracy in a series where men weilding three swords in each hand, pirates surfing across land on giant anchors, horses with motocycle parts attached and feudal-era Power Rangers are the norm?

  10. #10
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    RE: A Ctarl-Ctarl's Journal

    It's been about two weeks since I made the move to Connecticut. Job searches are crappy, but they're better than what I had going on in Michigan as far as full-time jobs are concerned. While I'm not happy about reports of West Nile Virus where I live, bug repellent and spray keeps my mind at ease.

    Adjustment to the new environment has been bumpy, but nothing like the roughness that was predicted by those who were against my moving. I'm certainly happier here than I was at home. My hosts demand a little more than what I'm use to doing, but that's fine by me; it serves as a testing of the water of full independence.

    My girlfriend and I are learning to take time away from each other, give each other space and all. It's working surprisingly well for living in the same house.

    I'm one of two people in the house with a car and license, so I'm often tasked with chauffeur duty. My poor truck has suddenly sunk in fuel economy. A half tank would usually get me 120 to 140 miles, now it's closer to 100. All this stop-and-go traffic and comparatively low speed limits where I live now are the culprits, I suspect.

    I figure even if I have to get a crappy full time retail or service job, at least I'll still be able to enjoy the time with my girlfriend. Granted, the stress has been inherently higher, but learning how to deal with that is part of life regardless of living conditions.

    Outlaw Star research is patchy, but I still get stuff in here and there.
    Outlaw Star RPG

    Current translation work: Manga.

    Translated OLS manga # pages (As of: 5/14)
    Volume 2: 29
    Volume 3: 40

    Started back up with translating the Manga

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