Volunteering For NASA!

Picture: anime girl and stars.Over the past month, I’ve been doing volunteering for two NASA projects online. I spend two hours every other day, ten hours a week, viewing photos of space objects and classifying them. This volunteering gig is open to the public and you need not a science degree to participate! The benefits are: helping scientists with their research data and you gain awesome science experience! ^o^/

I learned about such programs from a YouTube channel that I follow daily called “Sci-show” in this video: The Awesome Power of Citizen Science. Links to the volunteering programs are in the video’s description! Immediately after the video, I decided to check it out, as I sometimes have a few hours to spare way early before dawn. I could spend that time writing longer blog posts, but I opted to do something really cool instead.

The two projects that I participate in is finding and classifying comets in space and identifying planet-forming disks. It was pretty easy to follow the tutorials on what I am to search for and it’s easy to check off what I’ve found within an image and then send in a report. There are forums, which are manned by scientists of NASA, who will answer any questions and give tips to volunteers. And other volunteers can discuss or socialize about their findings.

I very much wish to work for NASA or a local science lab in Minnesota someday, so this kind of volunteering work appeals to me and I enjoy every moment of it. I’ve learned so much and feel confident that I can successfully identify a comet from a star or a planet-forming disk from space debris.

I’m also interested in biology, so I do plan to join a cam-capture wildlife project as well, when it is approved for the site.  Within the peer review sample (as all new funded projects must be approved by the community first), I enjoyed spotting animals that I’ve never seen before in the US and reading the data on each identifying clue of that animal.

Science is cool! ^o^/

Picture: science cat.

Today’s song is: David Bowie – Space Oddity. Thanks for reading, as always!

-D

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The Reasons Why I Love Anime

Picture: anime - spike spiegel.I will attempt to explain my love affair of 23 years (ahem, obsessive addiction…) with anime, in a quickie “Musing” post.

Hoo-boy. I’m going to need a bigger coffee cup for this one. >_>

A straightforward explanation: I love the animation style, the stories, and the music soundtracks. The opening and ending sequences of most anime are beyond engaging, beautiful, haunting, and sparks my enthusiasm.

For example, here’s an opening credit to “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood”. The song is titled “Again”. If you’re not an anime fan, do view the clip below, and then honestly tell me that you’re not the least bit curious to what the story may be. I challenge you! ^_^

That’s what I thought. ^w^

I’ve been in love with anime since age twelve, it started with an anime called: Sailor Moon. This was my gateway drug into my long time anime addiction, as I would enjoy watching Sailor Moon every morning before school. I had a major crush on the character Rei (aka: Sailor Mars) and I don’t understand why… she is really MEAN! o_o

If anything, Ami (Sailor Mercury) is more my type! =p

Yes, some anime are written specifically for children and pre-teens, however a lot of anime is not suitable for children whatsoever and are created for the older crowd. A parent would have to be pretty negligent to allow their young child to watch anime like: Vampire Knight, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji), Welcome to the N.H.K. and Durarara!!, just to name a very few. These anime have bold sexual themes/scenes and are very bloody… I mean, very very bloody.

Picture: Durarara - Shizuo.
Durarara: Shizuo often uses violence to express himself and to solve his problems. I LOVE him!

Even the ones I’ve mentioned are “tame” compared to how bloody and sexual some anime are. I’m looking at you, Elfen Lied and Kill La Kill! (Not literally. *shivers*).

Anime like Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Death Note, Your Lie In April, and so on -although not sexually explicit,  are too complex in plot for young children to grasp. There are too many anime to watch in one lifetime and the genre is pretty broad in its target audience, from toddler to x-rated.

I love anime because I’m a sucker for a good story with strong and complex characters. I enjoy awesome music, artwork, and animation too. And this genre provides those things in one neat package.

Picture: Hetalia.

Thanks for reading! -_^v

-D

A quick shout-out to the new anime peeps I’ve met at: World Of Anime. ♥

The Art Of Role-Playing!

Picture: anime girl surfing web.In the nineties, I loved to join role-playing groups on “Geocities” forums! This primitive format was rife with such groups, where people could come together and role-play characters in a collective storytelling activity. It was a little like D&D (Dungeons And Dragons), except without casting of a die and a lot more free-roaming without many rules. Some groups were themed after popular shows or movies, while others were simply made up medieval worlds.

After a while of joining others’ groups, I decided to create a few of my own, which included one “Men In Black” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel” RPG. It was a very creative experience that added much to my skills of writing for opposite genders and action scenes.

In the Buffy RPG, I role-played the characters of Wesley Wyndam-Price and Angel. Other members held the role of Charles Gunn, Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Spike, Lorne, Xander, etc. In these groups, gender was never an issue, people earned the roles for portraying the characters the best. For example, in my group, the role of Spike was played by a very talented woman who got his character “just right” above any other member of the group. No one questioned my roles of Wesley or Angel, as I portrayed the characters very well (because they were my fan-girl favorites, of course!).

The forum lasted for almost a month, until real-life obligations (work and school) interrupted the schedules to meet online and the group faded away. However, it was a very fun experience, well before cosplay (costume play) and solo fan-fiction writing became a more popular thing to do in these modern times.

However, I look back in memory to my old times in RPG groups and smile. Yes, it was very dorky and sometimes a little silly, but we had tons of fun together. And it was a great exercise that lead to my current style of writing today.

I’m not sure if such online groups are still around these days, but if they were, I think I would enjoy a Doctor Who RPG. I’d make for a brilliant Tenth Doctor! ^o^/

Picture: Doctor Who - The Tenth Doctor.
My actual chosen desktop wallpaper, btw…

Song of today: The Doctor’s Theme. Thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D

What If…

Picture: The Matrix Morpheus.What if you were told that there was no heaven or afterlife? What if it was possible to chart exactly what happens to a person’s spirit or “soul” postmortem, and the data is conclusive that when a person dies, the soul simply evaporates into total nothingness? How would you feel? How would you view the world? How would you judge your fellow species? In which way would you choose to live your life?

Would you become more tolerant of others who are different in arbitrary traits (gender, sexuality, skin color, race, etc)? Would your priorities in life shift? Would the things you’ve held to be so important before will now slip away? Or would your life not change at all? Would you continue your current way of living?

I’ve asked myself these questions before and I’ve came to this conclusion: I have no idea if an afterlife exist or not, none of us do. No one has truly died and have returned from death past the point of no return (obviously), and confirmed a postmortem paradise.

However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is possible that an afterlife does exist, but it is very possible that it does not exist, all the same.

I tend to lean towards the belief that my life is all that I will have. When I die, I will die, and it’s more probable that there is no afterlife. And because my life is finite, it is more precious to me, I work hard to take care of it, I appreciate it more. I don’t waste my time in judging arbitrary traits of my fellow homo sapiens (humans) and I try not to waste too much time in judging the choices of others that differ from mine (ie: religion, politics, social theories, etc.). My clock is ticking and therefore I wish to make the most out of every moment that I have on this planet. As the idiom goes, “Waste not, want not.” ^_^

If there is an afterlife, I shall met it as someone who has lived her life to the fullest and have experienced a bit of paradise here on earth beforehand. And if it doesn’t exist, I’ve had my happiness and will not evaporate from this life with too many regrets.

Picture: Anime - Your Lie In April

Today’s musing was inspired by this wonderful video: Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives. Thanks for reading! ^_^v

-D

Microblogging Musings!

Picture: Sassy anime girl.This is a very short blog post, about my decision to try “mircoblogging”. Heehee! ^o^v

I usually post within my blog sporadically, without a clear schedule or aim, with at least close to 2,000 words per post. My posts are usually focused on topics that are dominate within my mind, at any particular point in time. Or I share my personal experiences in life. However, due to time restraints, I tend to only post on the rare occasions that I can comfortably scribble out and edit an essay on a direct topic.

This is fine for me, but sometimes I have random ideas or thoughts that I wish to share and they are “too short” for a proper blog post and much too long for a Facebook status. And Twitter, with its 240 character cap… forget about it! >_>

So, I believe that I do have enough random thoughts to fill up this new category of “Musings”. This means, I may blog a bit more often, fair warning!

I guess my type of microblogging is best suited for Tumblr, however I do not care much for that site. It’s a bit too far left liberal for me, not that I think that’s a bad thing, it’s just not for me personally. I’m a strong middle-road type of gal. Twitter is an awesome site for my type of personality, however the character limit leaves me no choice but to blog elsewhere and attach the link to a tweet. Or to just post lots of links to science or political subjects that I agree with. And, of course, sharing music links! ^w^

This will be something new for me to try, to limit my rambling thoughts to no more than 400 words or less. I will still post the long essays as usual, don’t worry! I’m just adding a bit of random color to my blogging habits, is all.

Happy blogging, everyone! And thanks for reading as usual! ^_^v

Picture: space kitty.

Yay, my first 336 word post! Here’s a music link: Au5 – Atlantis.

-D

Let’s Become Blue!

Picture: blue hair anime girl.Some weeks ago, I decided to trade in my blonde hair for royal blue. Why? Just because I felt like it. =p

Okay… sigh… I’ll explain the reason why I change hair colors and fashion styles, from time to time. It may be a lame or boring story, but that’s okay. ^_^

Ever since the age of eleven, I gained a fandom/crush on the late David Bowie. I have often attributed my love for blondes to him, as he was literally the first blonde haired man that I was exposed to in my youth, via his music videos on TV (and much later in my teens, within the movie “The Labyrinth”, of course). If there was someone else that started my propensity for blondes before him, I simply can’t remember them, but I can never forget my first impression of Bowie.

He is THE reason why I didn’t hesitate to express myself in weird or “not normal” ways in my youth. I so admired his devil-may-care attitude of expressing himself honestly in his music, shows, and life. So, he was a real role model for me growing up and I shall continue to miss him dearly! u_u

David Bowie once said in a documentary, that he didn’t believe that he had a nice singing voice at all, so he didn’t want to bore his audience by just singing. That’s when he decided to perform all of his song as different characters or an expression of what the song meant or felt like to him.

It stuns me silly, that the man believed that his voice wasn’t good enough, when his voice was extremely ethereal or not of this world. The reason why I paid attention to my first Bowie video (Let’s Dance), is because I heard his voice before my eyes traveled sharply towards the television screen. The video itself wasn’t that interesting to eleven year old Dani, however, Bowie’s voice was so very attractive to my ears. After the music video was over I sat there in total awe and thought, “What… what the f@#k did I just experience!?” Thus began my fandom and crush of Mr. Bowie. Heehee! ^_^

In my young admiration of him, I decided to express myself in anyway that I wanted to or could get away with lawfully. As a young teen, I was the only punk/goth that lived within my neighborhood. All of my peers had the opinion that I was weird and a “freak”, they made fun of the music that I loved (goth, punk, and metal rock), they threatened and physically beat me for being different. Yet, I didn’t care. I continued to be myself and later I met another punk/goth that lived in the suburbs, named “Tray”. Her and I got along great and understood each other well.

In my mid-teens, I began to meet a lot of British goths online, who accepted me completely, and would spend the late nights chatting with them in MSN messenger or on MySpace. Ugh, I feel so OLD now! And yes, this is the why and when I acquired my British-speak (slang and idioms) within my usual vocabulary, even though I’m American-born. ‘Murica! ^w^

Picture: girl-anime-music-illustration-demi-lovato.However, I didn’t keep the strict “goth” look of dark hair, dark makeup, bell-shirts, and so on, forever. Granted, this was my honest expression of who I was in my teen years, but at some point I had to evolve a bit, so my hair color and fashion choices would change over time as I grew older. By age fifteen, I abandoned the gothic apparel and wished to express what I felt in a new way. I went through the phase of wearing dreads and denim vests.  Yeah… I cringe at that period of my life. >_<

My best friend at the time, Kesha, was going through her Hawaiian shirt phase – think of the show “Magnum P.I.”. Hang on… she did have a very Tom Selleck personality at the time, as well! LOL! Yes, it was the mid 90’s, but my friend and I seemed to be stuck in 80’s fashion. We made for a very odd pair in public, to say the least, but we didn’t care. We were expressing ourselves in the way that we wanted to.

After that awkward phase, I began to dress more contemporary and dyed my hair cherry-cola red, by age twenty. It was an expression that I was just an every day young woman, with a hint of my previous rebellion (red hair). The red hair continued on until my late twenties, but my wardrobe changed by age twenty-one. I began to dress in uniformed basic black clothing. It wasn’t goth or punk styled, just plain black pants or leggings, and black shirts. I would buy the clothing in bulk and would wear no other color than that.

It was my expression of what I honestly felt at the time, devoid of any color on the outside, but full of color trapped within myself (as black is a mixture of all the colors in the rainbow, I often cited). My rebellion was still there (the red hair), but the colors within me was “contained” and “conformed” to fit in with the rest of society. It may have been a very pretentious expression, but it were mine to make nonetheless.

By age 33, I dyed my hair blonde, completely. It started as a honey blonde and it was an expression that I was going to be happy and continue to live my life, after the death of my loved ones in the previous year. I picked blonde, as again I thought of David Bowie and I wanted to reflect his happiness onto myself.

I wished to changed from my black uniform, as well, and flirted with the idea of colorful baby-doll dresses and black leggings. Honestly, wearing dresses always feel like I’m “in drag”, it’s really not my style at all. However, I felt so pretty with my new blonde hair and thought I may enjoy to go full Bowie, but I didn’t quite know what to choose. I had been bland-black uniformed for so long and haven’t worn a dress since I was forced to as a little girl.

Then I moved to Minnesota the following year and, before I could choose again, my hair began to fall from my scalp, as I was suffering a major vitamin D deficiency. I did cry a lot, when it first happened, because my hair has always been my means of self expression.  Without it, I felt as if I was silenced, in some way.

However, in one last daring attempt of self expression, I asked my hairstylist to give me  a “side-cut” on the left side of my head. I figured, “I can’t make it any worse. I’ve already lost chunks of my hair elsewhere.” I was pleased with the results and have kept the side-cut, even after my hair grew back again. I let the rest of my hair grow long on my right side and fade back to its original color, however I kept a thin platinum blonde streak on my right side.

My clothing choice became black graphic t-shirts of my favorite things or YouTubers, each unique and colorful prints. Sometimes I add a little gothic accessory here and there, like my striped finger-less gloves for winter travels. ^_^

Picture: beautiful blue hair anime girl.My inner self has upgraded a bit, over the last couple of months, and I began to feel “stale” with my blonde streak expression. So, I decided that I wish to become blue, royal blue to be exact. The color blue is said to have the meaning of, “trust, honesty, loyalty, inner security, and confidence”, which I can relate to those ideas.

The color has a very calming affect on me and affords me a younger look. With my new glasses, I’m completely satisfied with my expression and shall keep for it many months! And that is the full story of why I am now blue.

I believe that I’ll keep changing my style for the rest of my life, as I’m always changing and growing as a person, and I enjoy expressing each new inner change with my outer appearance. I truly believe that everyone should have the right to express their inner selves in whatever hair and clothing fashion they seem fit to do so in, as long as its not illegal to do so (for example: no wearing a necklace of infant heads, that sort of thing.). I do enjoy observing the many expressions that others dare to share, as it makes the world a lot more colorful and enjoyable place to live in.

I could end this post with David Bowie’s “Changes”, but… I like this one a bit better: Rebel Rebel. Thanks for reading, as always! ^_^v

-D

Rest in peace, Sir Bowie and beloved Minnesotan, Prince Rogers Nelson. Thank you both for teaching me how to be brave within my self-expression and not being afraid to break the “rules” in order to be myself! ♥