4 x This Week: Brush Pens, Drawing Tablets, and Sister + Sushi

Girl Profile in Ink
I love brush pens! But I suck at drawing profiles. Boo.

This week’s 4x post has two images in it instead of one– really going all out today.

I’m testing out posting on Tuesdays, though I think I’ll move it back to Mondays next time around. Recapping the week on a Tuesday just feels odd.

**1**

My sister visited over a few days plus the weekend, so that was nice. I missed her so much! Mostly when we get together we just eat food. Favorite restaurant is Japonessa in downtown Seattle for sushi, yummmm.

She lives in Arizona right now for school, and she doesn’t like it much. I didn’t like it much when I was there either. Sorry, Arizona.

**2**

I’m drawing more! Or at least I’m trying to. I really love brush pens, but my hands are shaky, so mastering them is definitely a work in progress.

I also borrowed a Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet from my school and OH MY GOD I’M IN LOVE. Currently I own the Intuos, but it’s pretty basic, and you can’t see your screen on the tablet with one of those. The Cintiq I borrowed was the 13HD with a touchscreen. Oh man. My lines are so smooth. Everything is so beautiful. I mean, look at this:

Sketching with a Wacom Cintiq Tablet

I want one so badly! But it’ll be bad if I get too used to it, because I soooo can’t afford one right now.

**3**

Just found out that Microsoft Word can read your documents to you. Isn’t that amazing? I can clearly remember a few years ago when I wanted something like this for reading the stories I wrote back to me, but was disappointed when it didn’t exist/wasn’t accessible.

But now it’s real! It’s happening! And my writing has never sounded weirder.

**4**

I also saw Infinity War. It was good.

Very good.

x

 

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4 x This Week: We’re Alive (Probably), Missing Winter and Introvert Problems

Me, as described by a manga speech bubble
Figure A: an accurate description of Jackie.

Hello hello hello~ It’s been a while, hasn’t it? As you might have guessed, I’m starting up these 4 x This Week posts again. Woot.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not going to be very exciting this time around. Or particularly long. Why? Well, young audience members of mine: it’s 11:43 p.m., I’m sleepy, I’ve been babysitting the members of my class project group all week, life is fluctuating between yay and meh and dear God no (but mostly the last two), and if I write too much right now I might accidentally flood you with all my pent-up anguish.

All right, all right, I’m just bein’ dramatic.

Mostly.

Anyway:

**1**

I miss winter so, so much. And autumn. Typically it’s just about missing the cold air, or raindrops—crunchy leaves, cups of tea. I’m also a big fan of soup, which isn’t really a summer food.

But this time around it’s different. Why? Because this is the last winter I get to spend in college. Which I like. And this summer I have to go home. Again. Do you remember what happened last summer when I went home? If you don’t, there’s a 4x post about it.

It wasn’t fun.

Cue existential dread.

**2**

My friend and I were doing a photoshoot this past weekend (we’ve been doing a lot of them recently, I realize)—I take the shots, usually. It’s fun, and I could always use some extra practice behind the lens.

But you know what makes me really happy as a photographer? Window lighting. So gorgeous. So dramatic. It makes me look more pro than I actually am.

I also like bricks. Bricks are a fun background.

**3**

I am a 22-year-old adult in college, and you know what scares me the most?

Professor: “Get into groups.”
Me: *looks around* *sweats*

**4**

On the bright side, the writing’s going well. Sometimes I wonder if I write better when I’m really stressed. Because my characters are usually pretty stressed. So I probably write their stress better when I am also stressed.

x

That’s it for this week, I guess. Nothing too fancy.

I’m going to try to establish these as a Monday thing. Maybe Tuesday? Still deliberating on that one. But I’ll try to be cheerier next week… probably.

Goodbye 2017, and Hello 2018!

Happy New Year 2018 Doodle!Well, I’ve survived another year, which is absolutely fantastic. And that means that I have another year to reflect on in my usual New Year’s looking forward/back thing. While I don’t think I can truly do the year justice (mostly because I don’t really remember what happened for most of it…), I will mention a few points I’ve been thinking about.

**Looking Back**

Notably good books from this year include: Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke, Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Warcross by Marie Lu, An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard, and The Graces by Laure Eve. I’ve also met my goal of reading at least one book a month. So thank you, you wonderful books you.

I also read a lot of manga this year, more than I probably can mention here, but my top three are Yona of the Dawn by Mizuho Kusanagi, Noragami by Adachitoka, and Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya (which I finally finished from when I was a kid.) High recommendations for each of these.

I participated in Inktober, which was fun.

Also, I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while but I love love love the music composed by Phil Lober. Sountrack to my life. In other music news, however, I think this year most resembles Paramore’s After Laughter album, particularly the first half.

I’ve started playing Warframe with my friends. And you guys. It’s so fun.

I did not finish my novel. Again. But I think once it’s done, I’ll be so happy.

**Looking Forward**

I’m going to actually finish my novel this year. Yes, I know I say this every year. But this time it’s true!

I’m also going to try to make more art this year. I could use the practice, haha.

There’s a photo comic I’ve been wanting to make for a while… so maybe I’ll make it this year if I find the time.

By this time next year I’ll have graduated from college and will hopefully have a job. I am both terrified and excited beyond words.

Because of this last fact, I’m actually finding it hard to look into the future… which is unusual. But I shall persevere.

And finally, Little Atmospheres: I can’t guarantee I’ll blog more, mostly because my life isn’t too exciting just yet. I may also try to reinstate the 4 x This Week Posts, but again, no guarantees.

***

Well, thank you guys for this year! And here’s hoping for a better 2018. It’s been fun, you guys.

x

It’s NaNoWriMo

Journal and pen to make my nanowrimo look fancier than it actually is
Journal and pen to make my NaNoWriMo look fancier than it actually is

Well well well. It’s November. You know what that means? I’m jumping right out of Inktober and right into NaNoWriMo.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while (and I mean a while, I don’t think I’ve mentioned writing on this blog for at least a few months), you probably aren’t surprised that I’ll be writing, but also that I won’t be following the rules 100% again. This November I’ll be continuing a project (THE project) I’ve already started, but I’m hoping to get it finished.

Unlike with Inktober, I won’t be spamming my blog or Instagram. I think instead I’ll post weekly updates with the 4 x This Week Posts that I do every week. Well, I’m supposed to do those posts every week, but I keep forgetting. So I’m starting those up again too, I guess.

Goal: 51,000 words for the month, or 1,700 words a day.

Wish me luck, you guys.

P.S. It’s like 6:44 p.m. on Nov. 1, and I think I’m already gonna be behind. Oh dear.

x

 

4 x This Week: Piano/String Cover Music, More Books, and Suddenly Weirdly Creative

Warcross and Caraval and a Reflection
Warcross from last week, Caraval from two weeks ago. And look, I caught their reflection! So fancy.

Once again I have skipped a week, but I’m back. Mostly.

**1**

First, some music. Recently I discovered some awesome piano/string covers by Sam Yung on YouTube, which made my day. The first one I listened to was the cover of Hikari from the Kingdom of Hearts soundtrack, but I also love the Paramore and PVRIS covers. And just, like, everything.

**2**

BOOKS! Finished two good ones: Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, which I’ve been excited about since forever but finally got around to this week, and Warcross by Marie Lu, which I devoured in one day.

**3**

I’ll be out of Phoenix by this Tuesday and back in Washington. I’m not gonna miss the heat, but I will miss my sister :(

I will also miss the time away from the drama that is my household. I guess I’ll be going back to Seattle and college and all by next Sunday, so I won’t be “home” long, but still.

**4**

I had a weird burst of creativeness today (or Sunday, I guess, since this is going up Monday?), the kind of happy-but-almost-sad-high I typically get right before I get sick. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It kinda feels like the way your stomach drops when you stand on a cliff or a high building and take in a gorgeous view.

I don’t really know why that makes me happy—the feeling before I gets sick, I mean—but my theory is that it reminds me of when I was a child and got sick, and thus got to stay home. It’s weird, though, because if I feel ill in any other ways I usually hate it and have panic attack. I’m not good with my body shutting down. But when I feel specifically like this, I don’t know, it just puts me in a writing mood for some reason.

x

4 x This Week (Well, More Like 8): Books, Fake Languages, and Dying Inside More Than Once

Well, I’ve missed two Mondays now. The first time around I just forgot, and then I got caught up reading a new book, and then yesterday I thought it was Sunday. So, congratulations me. You are completely not on the ball.

As such, I’m going to mention eight notable things instead of four. Sorry in advance, this is gonna be a bit long.

(Aaand no picture this week. Sue me.)

**1**

I read Caraval by Stephanie Garber and I really liked it (which, if you remember, is why I forgot to post.) When I read it I thought it was up my alley, and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. Because if I had been disappointed, well, that would have sucked. Anyway, I loved the way the book was written. Apparently the prose bothers some people, but I like that kind of purpley-ness.

**2**

Need a fake language for your book, or just because? Well, a fake language generator exists. It’s called Vulgar, and it’s so much fun to mess around with.

**3**

At first I thought the sound of Paramore’s newest album After Laughter wasn’t really my thing. But then one day I was listening to it again while doing dishes and reevaluating my life, and suddenly I found the lyrics relevant to my life. Like, eerily relevant.

The songs “Pool” and “26” are still my favorite though.

**4**

Apparently I have a thing about people looking at my laptop screen over my shoulder. Like, whenever someone passes behind me while I’m on my laptop, I feel the need to hide whatever I’m doing and look at a blank tab or something. Even if I’m typing something like this blog post, which will be public anyway, or homework, which is useless for spying.

So, for future reference, anybody who reads this and meets me in real life: please do not look at my screen. I beg of you.

Times I’ve died inside: x + 1, where x = the number of times the people around me decided to creep up behind me.

**5**

My laptop has officially stopped recognizing DVDs. I’m crying inside.

But the day I replace my laptop (aka MY IRREPLACEABLE LIFE BLOOD) over this is the day I eat my socks.

Times I’ve died inside: well, since my laptop is  everything essential to my well-being and existence, I’d say about 1,000 times.

**6**

I decided to take the “Ash challenge” while playing Pokemon Fire Red again. According to the challenge I have to a) only use Pokemon that Ash caught in the anime, b) catch a pikachu as soon as possible and always keep it in my party, and c) give away any Pokemon that are given to me. I’m thinking about not following this last one, though, because I need a Lapras.

**7**

Sometimes I wish I was really into genre fiction. You know, like I wish I was obsessed with medieval fantasy or something like that, because then I’d have a near-constant stream of like items that make me happy.

Alas, it is not so.

**8**

I watched a few minutes from the live-action Death Note that Netflix released and almost died inside. And not in a good way.

I’ll get back to you when I actually finish the movie. If I finish the movie.

Times I’ve died inside: you have no idea. And I only saw a few minutes.

x

4 x This Week: Help I Hate My Characters, More Ambient Music, Shepherd’s Pie, and a Tongue Twister

Monday. 2:54 a.m. Nearly forgot to write this post. So a-here-we-go~

**1**

I’m hitting a bit of a writing wall right now, mostly because of some character things. I may write a longer post about it this week, but for now I’ll try to summarize. Lately none of my characters have been clicking for me, and there have been certain points in time when I’ve just hated all of them. Like, what used to excite me about them has suddenly vanished into thin air. After some introspection, I realized this is likely due to events in my own life—but how so, you may ask?

Well, it has come to my attention that the way I perceive my characters is directly related to the way I perceive people in general—not specific people, mind you, but humanity as a whole. Lately, however, certain people in my life have lessened my opinion of relationships (not necessarily romantic) and other people in general. You know how it is—you run into someone who is so infuriating or downright evil that it makes you want to tear your hair out. So opposite your own soul that you cannot believe they actually exist. So present that it makes you question the sincerity of every other person you have met or ever will meet.

Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Because of personal issues I am dealing with, the characters in my writing are suffering. And, as you may know, writing is usually a pretty personal experience.

My characters now seem too… optimistic about encountering other characters, whereas I suddenly find myself more pessimistic about meeting new people. This also comes at a crucial time when my main character is supposed to be forming her friendships, and creating lasting bonds—something that is now difficult for me.

For a moment I considered taking a break from writing my main work and focusing on some other side thing, but I felt a little better about my characters today than I did yesterday. Mostly I think it’s just personal stuff I need to sort through.

The most interesting thing about this whole experience is probably that I never realized just how closely my characters were connected to my own state of being. Whether or not that is a good thing, well, I guess I’ll find out in the weeks to come.

**2**

Flipping the switch here, I’m always looking for ambient, soundtrack-like music, particularly when I’m writing. Some time ago I posted about jazzhop or something like that. This week it’s, let’s see—“chillstep,” which I guess is like dubstep, but… chill; lofi (lofi hip hop?); and some trap-Japanese mix, which sounds weird (I mean the name, not the actual music), but is good.

**3**

I tend to make this shepherd’s pie a lot, using this recipe. Just made one today, actually.

**4**

Tongue twister I heard somewhere that my sister and I quote a lot:

How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

x

4 x This Week: Animated Movies (Question Mark?), Writing Advice Websites, and Five Man Bands

Hello again. Not much going on this week, so, uh, I’m gonna talk about random things. Also, no picture, because… just because.

**1**

Here’s a question: why do some adults avoid animated movies? I always come across people who think that animation (2D or 3D) is for children, which confuses me a bit. Yes, many of these movies are marketed towards children, but many of those movies are also quite complex. And who says that a story made for children can’t be for adults too? This, to me, calls to mind a few quotes from C.S. Lewis:

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

and:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Additionally, have you seen how much work goes into animating a movie? There’s a lot of planning and technical work that goes into that stuff.

If anyone is an adult who is averse to watching animated stuff, I’d love to hear a thought.

**2**

Writing advice?

http://elumish.tumblr.com/ –> General, lots of posts about lots of different things

http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/ –> How to write about all kinds of combat

http://tvtropes.org/ –> Just go check it out. Every trope under the noonday sun.

**3**

For some reason I’m really hung up on the Five Man Band trope, and I keep trying to identify it in movies/shows/books with groups of five people. I’m always surprised by how many things fit the trope…

Also, have I mentioned how much I love looking through the TV Tropes website?

**4**

I just have to tack on at the end that I saw Wonder Woman and I was not disappointed. It was great.

4 x This Week: Phoenix, Aimer, and Lightless Rooms

Airplane Sunset on My Way
Sunset from my airplane seat on my way into Phoenix. How did I get this gorgeous shot? I have no idea.

The photo is a bit deceptive. It is beautiful. Light. Almost whipped-cream adjacent.

This post is not.

**1**

I’m in Phoenix! If anyone is reading these 4 x This Week posts (which you’re probably not, but I’m trying to practice being an optimist), you might remember that I mentioned that I would be visiting my sister in Arizona two weeks ago. And then I didn’t. And I went to Seattle last week instead.

Well, I finally made it to the Grand Canyon state. As expected, it’s hot. Like, really hot. As I am typing this (at 8:36 at night, sun is down) the current outdoor temperature is 102 degrees. Now, 100+ degree weather is not what you would call my forte, but I’m coping. We have air conditioning. The sunsets are amazing. I’m adjusting to the heat… sort of.

I can’t say the weather isn’t exciting, though. Saturday there was a weird storm thing happening. In the morning it was sunny as usual, and then all of a sudden in the late afternoon it was raining and the wind was blowing hard enough to break the palm trees down the road. It was kind of fun, but then again I didn’t have to go outside, so.

Update: It’s 10:00 and there’s a storm. Lightning, wind, dust, the works. And yes, it is 92 degrees.

Second Update: 10:15 look it’s raining. A lot.

Still 92 degrees though.

**2**

Right now I’m listening to Aimer. She’s a singer from Japan and I absolutely love her voice, as well as the rock/emo influences in many of her songs. I just found out she’s on Spotify, so she’s been on repeat for a few days. The first song I ever heard from her was Brave Shine, which I highly recommend. Also, I really appreciate the whole blanc/noir theme of her two collection albums. And cats! With crowns!

https://i2.wp.com/aramajapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/aramajapan_blanc-noir.png?fit=1024%2C518

**3**

Writing: right now I’m at 42,816 words in my latest draft (give or take—I skipped over a section but also tend to write a lot of notes). I feel like the story needs to happen along faster, or that 42,000 words is a bit much for how far I actually am in the story. But then again, they say that when writing you should worry about the word count later. For now, just write.

Right?

Also I think I have too many characters moving around in the story right now… which I feel has actually been a problem for a long, long time. I guess I just never felt like addressing it. Well, not properly, anyway.

So if the person who is reading this right now is actually me from the future, I hope you’ve done something about this. And if you haven’t? SIT DOWN, GRAB A PEN, AND FIX IT.

NO, DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.

FIX. IT.

**4**

Besides all the stuff above, nothing is really happening right now. I mean, if you don’t count my inner turmoil (which is almost always happening, *eye roll*). The thing is, I knew something like this would pop up eventually—that one day I would sit down to write this post and realize that there is nothing of interest for me to write. Nope. Nothing. Blank.

Most days I just wait for my sister to come home from work, since I’m not at school and do not currently have a job. It’s just minutes upon hours upon days upon months of in-between, transitory waiting time. And in those minutes to hours to days to months, I get these flickers. Flickers of fear, flickers that I will be forever in this waiting limbo. Doing nothing, contributing nothing, enjoying nothing. Just… waiting for something to happen to me that is not a blood sugar crash or a panic attack.

I can rationalize and say that this transitory state is, by nature, transitory. But I can only realistically see this and/or feel it to be true once I am outside that state. It’s like being in a room that’s completely dark, a room whose dimensions are unknown. It could be five feet across. It could be a hundred. But I won’t know until I cross the lightless room, touch the walls, and possibly find a light switch. Until then, I am endlessly in the dark, waiting, waiting, waiting.

For eternity? Maybe.

…Anyway, sorry. Got a bit depressing there for a moment.

On a lighter note, I have realized that Emma, my current read, is actually the basis for the movie Clueluess. Huh. You learn something new every day.

***

Well, that’ll be all for today, folks. Stay tuned for the next 4 x This Week, where we’ll discover whether or not our young heroine can pull herself out of her own misery. Will she be forever waiting in a lightless room? Will she find a job? Or is her life about to take a turn for the worse? Find out next Monday!

4 x This Week: Bohemian Rhapsody, Noodle Soup, and Say No to the Zombie Apocalypse

Noodle Soup from Silk Road Noodle Bar
Perfection in a bowl. Noodle soup from the Silk Road Noodle Bar. Not sure what it’s called, but it’s number A1.

I’m changing up the numbering style for this post, maybe this’ll be better?

Also I realize that I’m just ripping all of my pictures straight off my instagram account. Oh well. I’ll try to give you more original material next week.

**1**

Right now (well, before I took a break to write out this post) I’m listening to/singing Bohemian Rhapsody while sitting on my living room couch, writing. The lights in this room are out. But not for atmosphere, no. It’s because the light switch is broken *cry*. So far, I’ve written about five lines of text. This is my Sunday.

**2**

I saw my friends in Seattle! I missed them so much, even though it’s only been like a month since I’ve last seen them. Instead of making a depressing comment about how I’m sad to be back in my home town of Washougal (near Vancouver– not the Canada–and across the river from Portland– not the Maine), I’m gonna recommend some food places I went to this week.

Silk Road Noodle Bar. For some reason I always end up going there at like 4:00 p.m. when it’s empty. Like, really empty. But you should get whatever noodle soup A1 is (I can’t remember the name, just the number). It is all I have ever wanted in a noodle soup.

Portage Bay Cafe: Breakfast. Yum. I’ve only been there the one time, but omigosh it was delicious.

**3**

On my hell no list: caffeine and zombie apocalypse movies. I have indulged in both this week and have realized my mistake.

Caffeine affects my system pretty badly, and mixed with my anxiety it feels pretty much like a race to death. Heart pounding. Hands shaking. Paranoia, paranoia, paranoia.

One sunny afternoon I decided I would drink a white mocha (which I’ve had before, by the way), but there was a bit more caffeine in this one, and I was jittery for hours afterwards. But, like, I like the smell of coffee. And the taste is good at times. But coffee does not like me. So warning to my future self: never again.

Now, zombie apocalypse movies. I have always hated them. And always will. I watched one with some friends on the Fourth of July, thinking that it can’t be that bad.

It was that bad.

I don’t think I scare that easily, but there are four subjects that I stay away from in movies and books at all costs:

  1. zombies
  2. apocalypses
  3. deep outer space
  4. and diseases.

This movie that I watched ticked off three of these four items. And no, it did not include deep outer space. Anyway, it was a bad idea. At first I thought it just made me more depressed and uncomfortable, but then I realized it actually scared me. Like actually scared me. It’s been five days and I’m still having horror flashbacks.

Again, warning to my future self: NEVER AGAIN.

**4**

I started reading Emma by Jane Austen this week. So far, I like it. From Austen I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books) and Persuasion. Some time ago I read that P&P, Persuasion, and Emma are the three essentials from Austen, but a quick internet search tells me that that might not be the truth. Thoughts on Austen, anyone?

***

That’s all, I think. Man, I want some noodles now.