one of those life-assessing entries

What have I been doing lately… Haven’t been writing here, that’s for sure. I graduated in late March and have in my possession a Bachelor’s degree (it’s sitting in my desk) in “Graphic Communication.”

Okay. Now what? I’d originally planned to do nothing for a week or two, call up the guy I’d worked for the past three summers, do some work here and there until I went on two vacations planned with my relatives, then go find a job.

Well I ended up waiting over a month to make that call to find that he had no work for me and decided definitely not to pursue a job with a seemingly flaky company that I had been interested in. I have taken trips to Palm Springs and (southwestern) Utah for the first (but not last) time in my life. Oh and did I mention my new annual pass to Disneyland? So basically I’m just sitting here, on the computer, trying to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do next.

Star Trek

I saw Star Trek today with my parents and my brother. It was so cool! Spock was really great. I think I liked watching him more than Kirk.

My Star Trek backstory: I was a Star Wars kid. My brothers and I watched my dad’s VHS tapes of the original trilogy many, many times. My parents watched both Star Wars and Star Trek, although Mum favored the latter. She thought it was more creative than Star Wars, it could do so much more, explore different ideas. I think she saw the original run on television. Both parents watched The Next Generation and Voyager, and Daddy watched Enterprise. I watched TNG as a kid, saw some episodes of Voyager, and I’ve seen a couple episodes of the original series. Haven’t seen any of the movies. Except for the newest one, of course. Yes, this was my first Star Trek movie. *grin*

So back to the movie. Figuring out who the characters were was fun; since I’ve only seen an episode here and there I only really knew Kirk, Spock, and the doctor. But from popular culture I’ve picked up Scotty, Uhura, and Sulu, and I learned about Chekov from Futurama. *grins* I didn’t figure out who the other guy driving the Enterprise was until I heard him pronounce Vs as Ws. XD

I’m not sure that I like knowing who some of the actors are though. While seeing Zoe Saldana was a delightful surprise, I see her more as Zoe Saldana, not Uhura, which kind of ruins things… It doesn’t help that I haven’t really seen Uhura in the tv show, so it’s more Zoe playing a part for me, not Zoe playing this character that I should know.

Another big surprise was Simon Pegg! I didn’t recognize him until his second camera shot, and even then I wasn’t sure until Mum whispered to me, “Hot Fuzz,” and that she was sure it was him. I’ve never seen Scotty in the show … or at least I’ve seen him portrayed in Simpsons and Futurama more often than in Star Trek which probably isn’t a good thing, heh. But I really liked the character. I really liked Simon Pegg. XD I never did see that movie where he was playing that running character.

Watching John Cho was fun, but I kept remembering him in his Harold (& Kumar) role, and yeeeah that sort of really ruined the role for me. murrr. But again, I haven’t seen much of Sulu in the show so I was watching him playing a character, not playing someone I should know.

During the course of the movie I realized, hey, Star Trek was really cool, it had an Asian character in it! Sort of like Whoopi Goldberg’s story about loving Star Trek and seeing a black woman on tv. Because I remember early in the movie there was another Asian character, who I think got blown up, but regardless he was there, being Asian.

Normally I hate being so ethnocentric, I mean why should it matter what ethnicity or color someone is, right? We should all be colorblind. But I’ve been thinking about Asians in the media more and more, starting from the time when I heard about Avatar characters in the live-action movie being cast as white people. (Or at least all the good guys.) Um, nice way to whitewash a story which is so very influenced by Asian cultures.

I’d read Derek Kirk Kim’s blog entry about Avatar and his story about how he and his brother loved acting, but never tried to make it in Hollywood because they didn’t want to get stuck with stereotypical roles. Then when I linked it online, someone told me her husband quit acting for the same reason.

While I didn’t care at the time about the lack of representation of Asians in the media (I don’t need to see “myself” on the screen because … well I just don’t, I’m secure enough to not need it), I realized oh, it’s not just about me, there are Asians out there who would like acting jobs but can’t get them because … they’ve got Asian faces. Hollywood (rightly?) thinks that most of America can’t connect to an Asian face, they need to see a white (or sometimes black) face to really empathize with the character.

(Mum is of the opinion that Hollywood isn’t really as liberal as it seems, because everyone is white. There are some black actors, a handful of Asians, very few of any other ethnicity. No one is willing to use non-white actors, lest they put off everyone else in the industry. But I digress.)

This week I saw a new episode of Without a Trace that had Chinese people in it! When I saw the previews I was intrigued, it’s not often there are Asians on tv. (I still remember that episode of Cold Case that was about the Japanese internment camps, which I will not comment about here.) I stepped in about 20 minutes into the episode, and I was really happy to see Asians speaking English with American accents, like most Asians that I know! But the more I watched the episode, the more it was about a Chinatown scandal and about being ethnically Chinese.

So … wow. Chinese people only go missing when it has to do with being from China, huh? Or in the case of the other episode, Japanese people only go missing when it involves the internment camps.

I asked Mum, why are Asians in the media always portrayed as being ethnically Asian, not as Americans with Asian faces? She said it’s because Hollywood just doesn’t get it, they don’t know what Asian Americans are really like, they can only think in terms of country of origin.

I guess not only do Asians not make it as actors, they don’t make it as writers either?

I put forth all of that in order to, in a roundabout way, explain why I really love Star Trek and how it’s so cool because it had an Asian character in it! Now I feel like watching the original Star Trek series just so I can know those characters. I will just have to grit my teeth and bear it whenever Shatner’s on screen…

edit@10pm, August 9, 2009: I found an entry someone wrote on Livejournal about the character Uhura on Star Trek that I really enjoyed reading and thought I’d link it here.

save the gray wolves?

I’m a member of Care2 and The Petition Site, which enable people who care that much about the environment, animals, and other political issues to bring politicians to note what we care about. I’ve got it set up so I don’t regularly visit Care2’s site (another community site? I don’t need that. And the layout isn’t particularly pleasing to my eye.) but I do get e-mails from them about petitions they think I’d care about. (Mostly saving animals, the environment, women’s reproductive rights, some food issues.)

Today I checked my e-mail and I got a message about gray wolves and how they are no longer protected as an endangered species. The message went on to say pretty much that the U.S. is shifting responsibility for managing wolf populations to the states and not the feds, which means that wolves are gonna be hunted down and killed mercilessly!!

(Well okay, Idaho and Wyoming have voiced their plan “to remove wolves by whatever means necessary.” [From my e-mail.] And I guess Montana doesn’t have a “wolf management [plan] that will allow wolf populations to grow.” Just reporting to keep my entry informative, and not inflammatory. *grin*)

I don’t know what made me question the message, but I checked Wikipedia (purveyor of general knowledge) for information about wolf populations. It said that while wolves as a whole are not in danger of becoming extinct, local populations are.

So I wondered, would it be so bad if there were no more wolves in the U.S.? It would make America that much less of the “frontierland” that it used to be. Move over American Indians and wildlife, the rest of the world is here to take over!

The Wikipedia article stated that mostly wolves do not like to interact with humans and will run away from humans, except for the few times where they attack—mostly women and children. Of course, one has to wonder what women and children are doing in areas where wolves are living or hunting, maybe those people should just go back to the cities.

Or is it that the cities have expanded to the wolves’ grounds, and the wolves have nowhere else to go? If that’s so, and not just a case of mommies taking their kids for a day hike through the forest, I guess it’s a case of human rights versus wolf rights. Who deserves to live there more?

I don’t want to answer that in this entry, just wanted to write out my thoughts and perhaps make others think.

I also wanted to mention, in a case where little Timmy is going for a nature hike with his Boy Scout troop (are they called troops? Darn, my Girl Scout history is clouding my memory) and gets mauled by a protective mother wolf, can you really blame people for protesting to whomever they think is in control? They want their children safe; it’s the 21st century, smallpox doesn’t exist in the general population of the U.S., polio is gone, and we’ve even brought cases of mumps down to small numbers.

Shouldn’t people be free from the worry of protecting their children from wildlife, instead worrying about that creepy man down the street who’s always watching the kids? Or even the people online who talk to their children?

I could never bring myself to face Timmy’s family and say, “I choose wolves over you and your little Timmy.” Nor could I tell them to leave the area, pick up their whole lives and relocate, find new jobs, new schools, new homes, new friends, so that wolves can live in peace.

But then, then I read more of the Wikipedia article, and it said, “Wolves … are often referred to as an indicator species; a species delineating an ecoregion or indicating an environmental condition such as a disease outbreak, pollution, species competition, or climate change.” Later on it mentioned that reduced numbers of wolves in Yellowstone had allowed the elk population to explode, in turn causing more and more trees to be stripped to feed all the elks.

Well if the e-mail had said that I would never have questioned it and instead immediately signed the petition! *snrk*

In all seriousness though, I still don’t know whether to sign or not. It’s one of those cases where I feel I don’t have all the information and therefore can’t make a smart decision, instead allowing others to do it for me.

fudgetastic (Adobe CS4 woes)

Final update on the Adobe CS4 drama.

I checked Dell’s support site (what a novel idea) for the Stop 7E error and someone mentioned running a Diagnostic test to find out if any parts of the computer were faulty.

Ran the test, got “Error code 0F00:2871 Optical drive BIST—FLASH ROM test failed.” Checked Dell’s support forums again, means I have to replace my CD/DVD drive (I don’t even know what it is…).

The odd thing is, the error only shows up for my DVD burner drive (drive F:), not for the primary CD/DVD drive (drive E:). Does the primary drive use the burner drive for something? Because I managed to reinstall Adobe CS2 just fine on my computer tonight.

Then again, I also noticed that CS2 is on (four) CD install discs, and CS4 is on (two) DVD install discs. Does that account for some odd discrepancy that I have no knowledge of?

CS2 also took only about 30 minutes to install and update, whereas CS4 took 45 minutes to crash and not even complete the install. mreh.

Worry … do I have to replace my primary disc drive, or the burner, or both? Don’t want to spend more money than I have to…

frustrating as fudgetaffy

Me: *walks into a dark and smoky room*
??: *chair swivels around and in it…*
Me: So we meet again, Adobe.
Adobe: *laughs mercilessly*

I bought Adobe CS4 Design Standard today. Almost 500 buckaroonies (got a student version). I was hesitant about spending that much money, but … Adobe shininess! And after I leave school, the price will soar higher than … mylar balloons, I don’t know, choose your own analogy.

So, yeah. I bought it, but left it sitting in my bookbag all day because I had to read three chapters of my book for a midterm tomorrow. Finally gave up on that around 6… took pictures of CS4, then left it sitting on my desk while I ate dinner and got over the apprehension of opening the box, thus losing any chance of getting almost $500 back.

Afterwards, here’s how it went (all times are approximate):
8:00 pm started installing
8:45 inserted second disk
8:46 computer shut down and got a STOP 0x0000007E, 0xC0000005, 0x806E694F, 0xF79ADC30, 0xF79AD92C error
8:47 restarted computer
8:48 PS CS4 was fine, ooh shiny, Illustrator CS4 had only 8 folders in program folder, InDesign CS4 folder was nonexistant
8:49 tried running Illustrator, got same crashing and error skit, haha Adobe
8:50 tried running second installation disk again, was asked which program to open disk with
8:51 tried running first disk, was told I completed installation
8:52 uninstalled most of CS4
9:30 started second install (sans Photoshop, Acrobat, some other things I thought installed all right)
9:57 inserted second disk again
9:58 computer shut down, etc.
9:59 restarted computer
10:00 uninstalled all of CS4
10:50 started writing this entry

So here I am wondering what to do. I suppose tomorrow (after my midterm, which I wanted to get to bed early for, d’oh!) I’ll uninstall CS2 and try CS4 again, maybe they share something that they can’t share? I don’t understand computers.

If that fails, I don’t know… call Adobe support like I did with my last problem installing Creative Suite? But will they be able to help me?

Me: Adobe, I love you so much, why can’t we sort out all the problems between us? Is it because I’m using a Dell? I swear, we’re breaking it off soon, real soon, but could you deal with us in the meantime?
Adobe: *turns away in chair, laughing even more*

Update@4pm: Uninstalled all Adobe software, CS4 still failed to install.

Concluding update to the whole CS4 debacle.