Monday, October 24, 2016

Weekly Update: 10-23-16 Skills, Sushi, and Awesomeness All Around

This week, I got it done.
This has been a roller coaster of a week for me, what with my usual boat load of writing and homework, plus my interview to get into the credentialing program next year, social visits with my cousins, and a hard-fought effort to gain in technology. I could easily have been swept away by the stress, but after last week, I decided nope, no more anxiety, I was just going to get done what I got done and leave it at that.

Turns out, I had an awesome week.

Gaining New Skills

Behold! I have created a video! And it is cuteness.

Well, actually, Magisto created the video, using my clips and pictures. I discovered the App while doing my homework for a video project. While I'd taken videos with my camera, I had yet to try editing and posting on YouTube. It was one of those technology skills I knew I should be aware of, but I had never gotten around to learning.

Why not?

We never had a camcorder in my house when I was growing up, and I only got a smartphone this year. Plus, it's one of those things that you need to either to have someone show you or else block off a long stretch of time and learn it yourself. Me being the stubborn independent type, it took all morning.

Not to make the puppy video--that took 5 minutes.

I actually filmed and assembled a fake newscast announcement for a media project my fake English class will be working on. By the way, that was my homework for my Technology in Education class; I do not normally make up assignments for imaginary students. I used iMovies to edit the clip and had to jump through hoops to resuscitate my never-used YouTube account. My phone kept giving me flack about storage space, which stretched out the time. In the end, it took me 4 hours to complete this one brief, simple 2 and a half minute clip.

Here it is, in all its amateur glory.

Actually, it probably makes more sense in context, so here's the full page:

By the way, all the stuff you see on the webpage? Put it together in one weekend. Didn't even break a sweat.

Appreciating Old Skills

Every Sunday I go to my meeting of the Pendragons, a critique group I started back in June 2015. his Sunday, however, our usual haunt in the corner of Panera was empty, for we had all gone to Rita's house with laptops in tow, in order to create our own author website.

Dragons are more comfortable with books. Computers hurt their heads.
I already have an author's website--I've had it, in some incarnation, for the last 5 years. Of the other three Pendragons present, Sean had an old, outdated website and needed to put together a more professional one fast, as he was going to be publishing a novel soon. Rita and Carmen had never put together a website and they needed to practice--I was hoping they could put together an intro, a bio, and a synopsis of the novel they were working on. I was hoping to put together a Pendragon website and maybe put together a video with my newfound skills (that I'd literally acquired hours earlier).

We had 5 hours to do to accomplish all this. It was not enough.

All my plans for an awesome website are not coming to fruition.
Oh, boy, Carmen didn't know how to drag and click or download images, and for the first two hours, she had a deer-in-the-headlight look. Rita's computer didn't like the website and kept freezing. Sean wanted elements in his website a certain exact way and kept asking me questions I didn't know. I spent the first 3 hours around acting like the teacher, bouncing from Pendragon to Pendragon, in an effort to cover the basics.

I don't think I realized how much technical skills I had gained on website creation until I had to sit down and explain it to someone who knew almost nothing about it. Not only did I know how to build the website, I knew what to fill it with and I could do neat tricks nesting webpages and the like. I don't consider myself very knowledgeable about technology, but I do have some skills and it's important to acknowledge it from time to time. All the hours of sweat equity were starting to show.

I've got skills. Who knew?
In the last couple of hours, I finally got to sit down and build the Pendragons' Website. Carmen just sat and watched me and I explained what I was doing as I put various elements together. We got our bios written and published the website.

Currently, it is the only website available for viewing.

If you want to put together an author's website on Weebly, I recommend you watch these tutorials, which are about an hour each.

Beginner's Guide to Weebly
Improve Your Search Ranking

I Lied About the Sushi

I didn't really have sushi this week.

But I did go to Izakaya Takasei and feasted on some authentic Japanese food. For years I'd been driving past the sign, wanting to visit. Finally, this Saturday, with my cousin Alyson dropping by, we decided to hit it up and try it.

Like being back in Japan. But with more English.
Ah, the memories.

First I got a White Peach Chuhai, a staple at Japanese drinking parties, which consists of Shochu (a potato-based liquor), soda, and syrup. This one tasted like peach gummy rings, as Alyson called it. (I let her sample the dished I chose, and she ended up wanting it for herself.) The alcohol was too faint to really taste, but it made me slightly warm and put me in a good mood.

When I saw Nasu Miso on the menu, I knew I had to order it. A seemingly humble dish of Japanese eggplant sauteed in a sweet miso sauce, Nasu Miso taste like savoriness personified. The eggplant bursts in your mouth and leaves you with sweet-salty drippings of juice. So yummy.

I cannot describe how delicious I find nasu miso.
My main course was zaru udon, basically cold white noodles dipped in sauce. I ordered it with a pile of grated mountain yam, not because I particularly like it, but because it's texture is so bizarre. When you grab it, it's like trying to pick up slime with your chopsticks, yet when you taste it, it taste of fresh vegetable, like yuca root, I suppose. Alyson had saba, or mackerel, and it tasted good, but I'm not into fish.

The last thing I ordered was chawan mushi, which literally translates as steamed tea cup. It's actually a savory egg custard. Dip your spoon in and it slices through like panna cotta. You slurp it up and its warm and smooth and delicious. As you cut away the custard, a clear broth wells up to fill in the cracks. But most interesting of all are the treasures you find buried inside: a mushroom, a ginko nut, a piece of shrimp, a sliver of fish cake.

Hidden treasures in chawan mushi
Alyson and I were supposed to have a nice talk about teaching (she's also pursuing her credential) and about books, but all we did was gush over the food. We went to Whole Foods and bought mochi ice cream for dessert. I ended Saturday feeling full and relaxed and happy.

Other Awesome Stuff

All this I've described is what happened on the weekend. But what about my week. Well, to put it briefly, I:
  • worked two and a half subbing jobs 
  • finished chapter 2 of Company
  • wrote a scene for The Originals
  • brainstorming and typed up information for Nanowrimo
  • interviewed to get into the credential program and did a pretty good job of it 
  • completed Beta reading Michelle's latest novella, Egrets, I've Had a Few
In summary,  I accomplish much this week and did so with a smile on my face.

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