apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Triplets of Belleville)
The POLL to accompany my post about languages. As usual, I cut myself off because I ran out of time, and not necessarily because I finished asking everything I wanted. So take note: there may be follow-up questions! XD

For the purposes of this poll, we will use the following definitions from Wikipedia, that bastion of academic rigor and accuracy: (Also see this article on multilingualism.)

Language fluency is used informally to denote broadly a high level of language proficiency, most typically foreign language or another learned language, and more narrowly to denote fluid language use, as opposed to slow, halting use.

Conversational means able to carry on a casual conversation, but not necessarily without halts in speech, or gaps in vocabulary.

Skip any questions that don't apply. Pretend that it's not weird I spend so much of my free time coming up with meaningless LJ Polls written in unneccessarily-academic language.


Please leave any details you're willing to share about your language abilities and experiences learning foreign languages in the comments below!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Omelette)
After scouring the internet for days looking for a US-based company that imported a particular tea blend I wanted to buy, I started looking at European websites. Most of them I dismissed out of hand, as they charged between 20 and 30 Euros for shipping; 27-40 USDs. Definitely not worth it for a few boxes of tea!

I decided to try one more website: that of a company based in Poland. Like many websites, they didn't specify upfront how much shipping cost. I started going through the process of filling in my details for the order, waiting to get to the point where you're asked to confirm your order and they finally tell you how much it's going to cost to ship. One of the options I was offered was designated "personal acceptance", and didn't involve any additional cost. They way I figured it, "personal acceptance" meant that I would "personally accept" the shipping charges; meaning, I would be asked to pay on delivery. Like a fool, I selected that option and confirmed my order without knowing exactly what shipping would cost. I started to panic over it in the next couple days, but figured: well, at least I'd get my tea out of it!

Livin' la vida gringa )

I think I'm going to come up with a poll to explore these ideas further. (Watch out for that! :P) In the meantime: any thoughts?
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Math Nerd)
In the end, I had twelve respondents to my survey on fanworks exchanges. (If you haven't taken it and feel you'd like to, please do go ahead: I won't close it.)

I really, REALLY had to fight the urge to pimp it out to other comms and beg for more responses; as I said, I am a social science geek who loves surveys, statistics, and data. However, coming up with a "representative sample" of fandom on my journal is just impossible. And no matter what I like to pretend, I am NOT a legitimate researcher!

So, anyway: 12. Thank you to that twelve! (And to the thirteenth person who expressed her opinions in the comments.) The results of the survey are naturally skewed, as all of the respondents came from my flist, and let's face it: you guys are most definitely a better class of fan than the average rabble! However small and skewed my sample was, I did draw a few conclusions.

Take a gander, if you're interested. )

CONCLUSIONS: To me, the most telling piece of data is the revelation that NO ONE from this survey cited receiving a gift tailor-made to their interests as their most enjoyed aspect of the exchange. While a few people admitted they expected their author to adhere pretty closely to the scenarios they provided, most people were just happy to receive a gift that showed a little effort on the author's part. This is good news for those of us who stress ourselves out trying to come up with a story to please our recipient! The fun comes from taking part and having a batch of new stories to read, not in receiving THE PERFECT STORY. Everyone gets stressed out participating in an exchange, and so giftees are likely to be understanding so long as an author tries their best.

From what I can tell, the important rules to follow for fic exchanges are these:

  • It's important to be specific in what you will or won't write in order to avoid an awkward matching.
  • When making a request, be specific about what you don't want, and give several options/scenarios for what you DO want.
  • Read your recipient's request thoroughly, and make an effort to include at least the characters they like and to avoid at all costs the things they don't like.
  • Effort is the key point, so even if you can't come up with an idea that perfectly matches everything on your giftee's request, start writing your story with enough time to polish and perfect before turning it in. A well-written story that misses some of the marks is better than a hastily cobbled-together one that matches the request exactly.
  • When you get your gift, be sure to say "thank you" and provide a list of aspects you enjoyed. If you're so inclined, it's OK to exaggerate a little; if you prefer to be completely honest, get creative in your praise! (More enthusiasm is better.)
  • If you want to complain about the gift you received, be careful where you do it: remember, you're talking to fellow fans who know how stressful writing for someone else can be! Unless your story was clearly a rush job that included details you specifically asked your author to avoid, people aren't likely to be sympathetic to your whining!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
So, Delicious is most likely going the way of the Dodo, and fandom is abuzz. WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WITHOUT IT?

I know that, in the months to come, a preferred alternative to the service is going to emerge, and fandom will all migrate there, and peace shall be restored. In the meantime, I don't want to mess around getting used to a new service if it's not going to stick. So, I've created a poll to gauge an idea of which new service people are leaning towards.

For a discussion of you options, [ profile] bookshop has a run-down of the current candidates here. Go and read the article, then come back here to vote! And if you know of anyone on your flist with an opinion, send them here to cast their vote: the more participants we have, the more valid the data!

[Poll #1657929]
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Good Books)
New friend (HELLO!) [ profile] emmyangua has introduced me to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. (Link takes you to the Amazon listing for the book; to view a list of the works included, go here.)

Those of you who've been reading this journal for awhile and are familiar with my "I Like Making Lists" tag know what's coming: yes, I've composed a list of all the works I've read from the master list. Read it here! )

I also have a meme going!

Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Lists, lists, lists! It's like heaven... )

Finally: The Decemberists have a new album out in January and they are coming to Michigan in February! WOO HOO!!!

ETA: There's one more thing I wanted to include in this entry!

I've signed up for [ profile] fandom_stocking, which is a really cute idea: people post their wishes for short fiction, icons, and other holiday greetings, and other fans fill their "stocking" with content. Here's a link to my stocking, which just went up today. I think I'm going to write a bunch of Doctor Who and Sherlock drabbles, and then skim through posts looking for requests that fit the bill.

I'm also experimenting with learning how to make graphics! So maybe people will get some not-quite-perfect but well-intentioned icons and such. :) Let me know if you sign up, so I can stuff your stocking! (I will never stop giggling about that...)
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Doctor Who...the hell cares?)
As I might have mentioned, the topic of my research paper is how the proliferation of the internet has impacted people's sexuality and sexual behavior. In order to come up with research articles, I spent a lot of time searching various sex-related journals for use of the word "internet". (This was the best method I found; all attempts to narrow or focus my search ended with no results.) Since my search methods were less than precise, I've spent a lot of time browsing through unrelated journal articles. Combined with the research for my paper, I've learned a few things, namely:

  • A LOT of scientists have studied the practice of condom-less sex among gay men. Seriously, during my research I thought about creating my own Research Paper Drinking Game where I would down a shot every time I came across the word "barebacking".
  • "Autassassinophilia is a paraphilia (i.e. "fetish") in which a person is sexually aroused by the risk of being killed." I have no idea how to pronounce that.
  • Social scientists REALLY enjoy coming up with cutesy article titles. Some of my favorite examples: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... I’m Yours”: Calibrating Body Ownership through the Consensual Mastery/slavery Dynamic; the elegantly simple Hey stud: Race, sex, and sports; and the enigmatic Silver 'porn bullet' for information technology industry?
  • Studies regarding the use of pornography and other sexually explicit materials are still disturbingly biased toward male use.
  • Apparently sex, and especially porn, is bad, yo. Not all of the research agrees, but man: it is difficult to find good, comprehensive research that focuses on normal, healthy, positive sexuality.
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Fanfic Nerd)
I present you with homework!

Since so many of you expressed interest in researching slash fiction as a sociological phenomenon, I present you here with a reading list of sources I found online. Unfortunately, I can't use any of them for my assignment, because they don't come from academic, peer-reviewed journals, but they all seem very interesting.

I found all of these articles through Google scholar, and I would point anyone interested in researching further in that direction. (You will have to pay for certain articles, but all of those I've listed below are accessible for free.)

I haven't read any of them yet, because I am supposedly working on my actual research assignment.

So, here we go:

Queering cyberspace : fan fiction communities as Ssaces for expressing and exploring sexuality: this is a PDF file of a book chapter.

Inventing a universe: Reading and writing internet fan fiction : a link to a graduate dissertation. On fanfiction. Yep.

Slashing Harry Potter: a special present for all the Potter fans on my flist to make up for me dissing it. Don't let the fact that the abstract is in German dissuade you; once you click on the PDF file, the article is in English.

And finally:
Queering Popular Culture: Female Spectators and the Appeal of Writing Slash Fan Fiction: this one took a bit of sleuthing to track down. I'd seen it cited on several other works, but it took me forever to find it. My gift to you! I can't wait to read it, this is exactly the sort of research I was looking for.

Enjoy, my nerdy little slash friends!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Winged Pi)
One of the courses I'm taking this semester is Social Research Methods. I'm a little peeved that I have to take this course, considering I already have lots of experience and have even presented my research at symposia, but whatever, I have to take it, it's fine.

Our major assignment for the semester is a review of literature on a topic of our choosing. I need to choose a topic, do some preliminary research, and write up my proposal by Wednesday. And I still haven't picked a topic.

I can think of plenty topics I'd like to cover, but either they're psychology and not sociology-related, or they're so obscure that it's unlikely I'll be able to find enough research. Some ideas I'm DYING to use: Cut for extremely long and boring musings on topics that may or may not be of interest to anyone other than myself. )
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Sparkly Water)
I've done research on the psychological phenomenon of memory, and the average age of a person's first verifiable memory is about 3.5 years, with about 90% of people dating their first memory to between 2.5 and 4.5 years.

The first memory I can independently date and verify comes one month before my 2nd birthday, when I was hospitalized over Christmas for asthma. I have a couple other memories that might or might not have occurred earlier, but I can independently verify the date I was in the hospital and the age I was at the time.

Here's what I remember:

  • I remember the giant crib that I slept in while I was there. (When I retold this to my dad, he laughed and said, "Giant crib?" I then realized that the crib only seemed giant because I was so small, which is a very weird thing to realize in retrospect! At the time, it seemed massive.)

  • I remember it being dark, and me still being awake, and looking out the bars of the crib. (According to my mother, I drove the nurses and the other parents on the ward crazy staying up all night talking and singing to myself. I couldn't sleep because of the steroids they gave me for my asthma.)

  • Since it was Christmas, Santa came to visit us, and he gave me a plastic wind-up radio that played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

The parts I don't remember are coming home the day after Christmas, and my parents putting the presents under the tree and pretending that day was Christmas.

So, I'm curious: what is everyone else's earliest memory? Can you verify the age/date it took place? Have you always remembered the incident, or was the memory spurred by a story told to you by family? Do you have lots of memories before the age of four, or just a few?

And more lines of scientific inquiry: were you an early talker? Were you a talkative child in general? What were your favorite games to play when you were little: imaginative role-play? Active, physical play? Solitary activities? Building/modelling?


Sep. 22nd, 2010 10:20 pm
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
Here's a math puzzle my student brought in yesterday. His math teacher gave it to the class as an exercise. I hadn't seen it before and had fun with it, so I thought I'd pass it on just in case there's any other puzzle geeks out there!

Directions: Place the numbers 1 through 8 in the grid below so that no two consecutive numbers are adjacent, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

Here's some examples of incorrect placement:

behind the cut )

If anyone's interested, I'll post a solution in the next couple days.
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
What happened to Day 02 you ask? Meh, it was lame.

Day 02 - A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 - The best book you've read in the last 12 months:

Looking for Alaska cover

It's really hard to remember what I've read in the past year. I read a lot of books, and 12 months is kind of a long time. The last novel I read that I really enjoyed was Looking for Alaska by John Green. (He of Nerdfighters fame.)

However, while I enjoyed this book tremendously, I really don't think it deserves all the hype that surrounds it.

Hear me out, nerds!

Cut for Spoilers of a Moderate Sort )
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Doctor (Hush!))
I should have signed up for [ profile] whoverse_las, but I was hemming and hawing over whether or not I really wanted to, and the deadline for sign-up went wooshing by without my notice.

It's probably for the best, since I've been spending way too much time on LiveJournal/fanfiction-related activities as it is. (I blame this on the fact that most of my friends are taking vacations now, and I am too poor to go anywhere.)

So, since I'm not writing, I've decided to vote! And man, it's hard! So far, I have made it through 22 stories, and I have about 5-6 pages of stories left to go. And the voting process is intense: not only do you have to choose your favorite story, but you must articulate a reason for why it's the best. AND you have to choose which story you think is the worst, which seems unbelievably cruel, even though the author will never know about it.

Since I'm an anal-retentive geek who takes these sorts of things seriously, I've scribbled notes for each of the stories I've read so I can remember what they're about and what I liked and disliked about each of them. I'm hoping my demonstrated inability to read my own handwriting doesn't bite me in the ass. I'd be really interested to hear how other voters are handling things, because seriously, this is a monumental task and a huge amount of fic!

So far, there's only a couple stories I really liked; I was disappointed by how many Doctor/Rose fics there were. I came to Doctor Who just after the 4th Series aired, so I missed the whole "falling in love" stage with Rose; I like her, I just don't like her like that. (Why is her mouth always open?) The main problem I have with her is: 1. all of the angsty, crybaby nonsense from 10 when she left (which, admittedly, made no sense to me, since I hadn't seen her episodes yet) and 2. all of the fluffy, angsty, crybaby nonsense that crops up in fanfic.

So, I was a bit chagrined to find that the first story I truly liked, and that actually made me laugh out loud, was a Rose/Nine fic. Go figure!

So yes, I am putting aside my mild Rose prejudice to judge these stories on their merits; I just hope I can make it through all of them in time to vote!


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