reileen: (anime - Neuro)
I keep on meaning to update this thing with various posts that I've been randomly thinking about, but then I get lazy or distracted. Myu.

Yesterday night I finished Draft Zero of an experimental/exploratory fic of mine. I already had three chapters done and most of a 4th chapter drafted for a couple of months already, but about a week ago I said to myself: "Self, you are entirely sick of leaving your million-and-one ideas unfinished. So, why don't you knock out at least one of those ideas, and finish a draft of this particular fic within a week?" I set my minimum wordcount for at least 1000 words a day, which I made with varying degrees of pwnage (from "just barely" to "PWNED"). I clocked out last night at 13 chapters and almost 27,000 words. I'm also proud of myself because I made myself write out the important plot scenes, instead of (as I tend to do in things like NaNo) writing "[insert important plot scene here]". The only places where I did that were for a fight sequence (which started and ended with important plot stuff that I wrote; it's the actual action part that's missing) and for some flashback stuff in the last chapter that really only serves to deepen the main character (he's a one-time character from the fandom, and the flashback refers to canonical stuff, with my own personal twists). So I'm taking a break and spending the weekend doing anything but being productive.

This means that I finally sat my ass down and watched something. In this case, it's the first five episodes of an anime called Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra. One of Crunchyroll's newsletters mentioned this anime, and I was sold from the moment they mentioned the "Armed Librarians", which made me think of Yomiko Readman from Read or Die. Plus, well, come on. "Armed Librarians" just sounds awesome. I would want to be an Armed Librarian! They'd be badass and bookish.

Anyway, the series is set in a fantasy world where people's souls "fossilize" into stone tables called Books when they die, which other people can read just by touching it. The Armed Librarians collect and protect these Books and keep them in the Bantorra Library, named for the god of the past. Opposing them is the Church of Drowning in God's Grace, which refuses to give up their Books to the Bantorra Library. Their basic tenet is in self-fulfillment of material desires, no matter what they are, so they can make themselves as happy as possible. This means that when they die, their Books will be perfect and pure and will ascend to God in Heaven. Thus, they refuse to hand over their Books to the Bantorra Library.I was really excited for this...but in the end I was pretty disappointed.

The main character, Volken, is an Armed Librarian who is extremely skilled in battle but with a strong sentimental streak - in other words he's a typical do-gooder hero. In fact, that sentimental streak gets him sidelined from the main action going on in episodes 2-4, and the particular circumstances of that lead him to make a run for it at the end of episode 4. The only redeeming trait so far is his badass action sequence in the first episode, where he controls these bladed rings to attack and float (if he stands on them) - he uses the rings as a moving staircase up the side of a ship. The other characters so far range from "could be interesting" to "snorefest." Volken's (likely) Designated Love Interest, Milepoch, feels like she should be more badass than she actually is. Minor spoilers: As a result of Volken stealing this one priceless artifact with an utterly unpronounceable, unspellable name and fleeing Bantorra Library, Milepoch ends up so distraught that she's distracted from her duties as an Armed Librarian, and gets permission to use this other artifact to wipe out her memories and feelings about Volken. Really? Really? I can see how this is going to end fifty miles away without my glasses on. If the anime doesn't do what I think it's going to do with this plot, good on them. Hamyuts Meseta, the leader of the ALs, is at least entertaining - she's this boobalicious woman who inexplicably leaves her button-up blouse undone all the time, and is laid-back and playful yet tough, to the point of seeming heartless. She has the ability to kill people just by flicking pebbles at them. 'Cause ya see, she's so strong that she can fling pebbles - either with her fingers or with a sling - fast enough to break the sound barrier. Another potentially interesting character is Ireia, who is an elderly maid at the Bantorra Library but also an Armed Librarian herself, one of the strongest. In the opening sequence of episode 5 (they changed it suddenly from the previous four, which I'm actually glad for 'cause that one was pretty boring for the liveliness of Ali Project's opening), they show Ireia lifting up this huge-ass rock above her head, which is pretty epic to behold. Wikipedia was where I confirmed her strength and status in the ALs, but it was also where I confirmed that she's going to die at some point, which is a bummer.

In terms of animation, the first episode was really good looking. (I guess it would have to be, since it was action-oriented.) And then it went downhill pretty damn fast. Like, by episode two fast. (Interestingly, the way I noticed was when Hamyuts drops from a flying plane onto the ground below for a mission. When she stands up and stretches, you can really tell that the quality went kaput. This probably says really bad things about my mind.) And although it pulled itself up a little for the major fight in episode four, overall it was rather standard. The backgrounds are quite nice though. The characte designs are okay - I'm mostly confused by the fact that there seems to be some sort of uniform for the Armed Librarians, yet the only significant character who ever wears it is Volken. Milepoch's wearing some sort of military uniform for some reason. One of the secondary characters, Noloty, is dressed as though she's going to a freaking beach. Everyone else is pretty much unremarkable. The music does its job, although I really enjoy the opening song "Datengoku Sansen" by Ali Project.

Plot? I don't know, there's so much going on. And not necessarily in a good way. I'm going to let this review of episodes 1-6 (spoiler-free) speak for me:

With its interesting fantasy conceit (books that, when touched, provide direct access to the memories of the deceased), superior production values, and a triptych of strong, sympathetic and tantalizingly interconnected leads, Tatakau Shisho initially seems poised on the cusp of fantasy excellence. The first sign that there's trouble in paradise comes when the visuals start slipping in episode two, and before long it becomes clear that the series is spinning dangerously out of control. It wants very badly to be a daring mixture of political fantasy, shonen-styled action and transcendental romance, but ends up pulling itself in so many different directions that it simply falls apart. Intriguing ideas are floated (the destructive capabilities of religious zeal, the persistence of humanity in the face of inhuman degradation) only to be abandoned and left dangling; the memory-book concept devolves into a hollow gimmick; the romance gets shunted aside to make way for fantasy riffs on bioterrorism and free will, which are in turn sidelined in favor of destructive action-movie thrills. Far from excellence, the resultant series is a flailing mess.

As it barrels forward, scattering half-finished subplots in it wake, the series somehow manages to hold itself together long enough to salvage a reasonably exciting climax from the rushed and ruined remains of its plot. All else failing, Hamyuts Meseta makes an excellent action heroine, and her train-top showdown with Shindeki nasty Cigal is a genuine jaw-dropper. Which brings the series to episode five where, as if exhausted by the effort of maintaining cohesion, it falls completely to pieces. Without even a cursory attempt to address its myriad of loose ends and orphaned ideas, the series lurches into a second story arc, abandoning with shocking callousness both Colio Tonies and his time-tripping romantic partner Shiron. By episode six Hamyuts Meseta too has basically exited the picture, leaving her dull do-goodnik underlings to carry the story. The series might as well have put a shotgun in its mouth and pulled the trigger. Hamyuts, Colio and Shiron aren't just characters in the series, they are the series, and without them…well, it ends up with its brains—or more accurately, its heart—all over the roof.

While I'm not sure that I'd classify Hamyuts, Colio, and Shiron as the series itself, they are the characters that have (had?) the most potential to be really interesting. But by the end of episode 4, it feels as though they've already ended the particular arc with Colio and Shiron, and it's like, what? Why? Why even include that in the first place? Was the point of it just to provide a justification for the D.E.M.-like ending?

And now I'm reconsidering my impression that Volken was the main character of this series, because if you look at the promo art on both the review I linked and on the official anime website, the most prominent character isn't Volken, but Hamyuts. (And she's listed first on the character list too.) Which makes me feel slightly better about the series, and it would explain why Volken got shafted for episodes 2-5. But considering that the review I linked says Hamyuts goes offstage by episode 6, well...she'd better come back soon.

TL;DR Epic premise, disappointing results. Which goes to show that execution is everything, whether that means executing the premise with style and panache, or executing the premise with style and panache at the guillotine.
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
Nightmare Inspector must be one of very few stories out there that has a rather literal "it was all a dream!" ending that makes total, logical sense.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. The story does revolve around the existence of a Japanese mythological creature known as a baku, who eats nightmares. Baku are typically depicted as looking like tapirs (and in fact modern Japanese uses the same word to refer to both things), but in Nightmare Inspector the main baku is a pretty shota named Hiruko, whose sad, violent past prior to becoming a baku is integral to the climax of the entire 9-volume series.

The pacing and story of Nightmare Inspector follows a similar pattern to Hell Girl: episodic mini-plots of Hiruko helping customers with their nightmares interspersed with plot-related happenings and disturbing revelations about the mysterious, supernatural characters that populate the world, most notably the titular character. Despite his cold, apathetic demeanor, Hiruko actually does care enough about his customers to help them deal with their nightmares, walking them through their life and fears that manifest themselves in their nightmares before actually eating the nightmare itself. (Which would make him, like, the best therapist ever. Seriously, helping patients understand their traumas before nomming down on the traumas and thus relieving them of it? If it weren't for Hiruko's wyrd personality - or, hell, the fact that [SPOILER REDACTED] - he could make a killing in the profession.) Not all baku are as benevolent as Hiruko, however, as readers come to see. Corrupted by the single, driving desire to eat nothing but nightmares, some baku are obsessed with creating the Worst Nightmares Ever, for the worse the nightmare, the tastier it is to the baku. This aspect, too, is essential to understanding the weaving of plot threads that lead up to the climax.

So what is the climax? Well, I sort of spoiled it for y'all at the beginning of this entry, but it's another thing entirely (of course) to read the conclusion for yourself. If you can borrow this series from somewhere or someone (Melissa dumped it on me, haha), then by all means check it out. It's got beautiful art; a somewhat repetitive storyline that gets substantially more interesting and melancholy at some point after volume 6; amusing characters that, unfortunately, also sometimes feel a bit shallow and hard to "get"; and an interesting take on the baku mythos that explains enough for readers to understand the story but still leaves room for questions and other possibilities.
reileen: (Default)
I've had this link-o-llection lying around for almost a month now. orz

Best. Soda. Display. Ever.

Steampunk duel on YouTube. It's like Victorian-era Gundams duking it out!

[ profile] yhlee talks about merely convincing your reader that a complex, multi-layered world exists, as opposed to SHOWING everything to the reader:

If you are trying for a certain kind of mimesis, the trick is in hinting: instead of playing the fool's game of trying to generate everything pixel by pixel, provide instead the key stuff and then a bunch of--best analogy I have here is fractal generators. Something small that generates something complex; and you are offloading a lot of world-generating functions to the reader (or gameplayer, etc.), who will take that fractal generator and produce the pixels for you.

[ profile] jimhines offers up a list of Neil Gaiman "facts".

[ profile] cleolinda explains that the problem with working for yourself or working freelance is that it's task-based as opposed to time-based, which changes how you perceive yourself to be "done" with work.

Should there be a manga canon?


Been getting used to a school schedule again. Finding myself dealing with less and more problems than I thought.

I recently finished a project for my 3-D Foundations class in which we had to create a "chair" using only two pieces of cardboard and hot glue. I put "chair" in quotes because, as the professor put it, it didn't have to look like a conventional chair, but it did need to function like one, supporting one person's weight. My initial idea was something involving a weird 3-D star-like form, but after hearing the professor discuss the architectural concept of a "decorated shed", I decided to be lazy and apply that concept to my project.

In this case, the place where you sit - the top of the main gear - is merely a 6"x6" square column that's 18" high and reinforced by an X-shaped structure on the inside. Everything else is just chewy, papery icing.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, actually. The problem is trying to figure out what to do with this thing once it's graded and I have to bring it home. I don't want to just chop it up and throw it away, but it's not like I have any room anywhere for that thing.
reileen: (Default)
Y'know, it can be really hard to tag things appropriately. I'm finding this problem with both LJ and with trying to bookmark stuff on my Delicious account again. How specific should I get? Should I be general, or should I name as many specific details as possible? Do I tag by subject matter? Sub-subject matter? Source website? Do I tag with some witty phrase of my thoughts on the matter (i.e., "stupid things")? Should I do all of 'em? Would that be overkill? Am I overthinking this? (Probably.)

I think there's two generally different approaches to tagging that aren't necessarily exclusive to each other. One is to help yourself find things; one is to help other people find things. The difference is that with the former, you can tag things in a slightly obscurish manner, or in a haphazard manner, and most of the time (when you remember) you know why you tagged it the way you tagged it. When trying to tag things to help other people find those things, though, you have to be a little more objective/factual/whatever about it, and probably stick to the basics. Here on LJ, I waver between the first approach to tagging and the second approach. My Delicious account is private, though, so there's not too much of an issue there.

Still, one area where I'm personally running into tagging issues is when I'm trying to tag things about various kinds of Serious Business, i.e. politics, economics, racism, anti-oppression/anti-prejudice in general. I'll probably be able to work out some sort of personal system as I continue wading through these things and making sense of them, but at the moment it's pretty overwhelming. (I am also going cross-eyed at the thought of trying to tag all of my imported Firefox bookmarks, some of which were left untagged from the last time I substantially used Delicious about a year or so ago. Eep.)


"Moe: The Cult of the Child" is an evenhanded analysis of the moe phenomenon in otaku culture, where there is a lot of focus on the cutesy antics of young, adolescent girls who sometimes look like they've got girls' heads pasted onto women's bodies. The author discusses the appeal of the genre and what that appeal means for society as a whole.

This is an informative but depressing interview about the crap-covered state of the U.S. insurance industry by Bill Moyers with Wendell Potter, the former Head of Public Relations of Cigna, one of America's largest health insurers.

An A-to-Z Smorgasbord of Overused Graphic Concepts and Resources.

[ profile] cupcake_goth, a.k.a. Jillian Venters, a.k.a. the Lady of the Manners, recently posted about plans for a book-promoting picnic at a large graveyard. She was apparently berated by a fan who thought she was disrespecting the dead in doing so. However, in the comments to the entry, one learns that the big public/non-churchyard cemeteries and graveyards were, to some extent, intended as large public parks, to be freely enjoyed by anyone who wanted to hang out there for whatever reason (whether it was just to sit down and read or to take a walk or even to have weddings). There's an interesting discussion about the intersection of life and death with regards to that particular context. Myself, I remember visiting this one pretty large cemetery up on the North Side (I think it was off the Addison Red Line stop?) back in my freshman year of college, and being both haunted and fascinated by the history in it. I've always wanted to go back and wander around some more, especially in nicer weather (since when I went it was cold and rainy; wouldn't mind the rain so much if it hadn't also been chilly).

Two instances of HELL FUCKING YES for the Reileen! First off, Dead Fantasy III has gone live, focusing on a one-on-one fight between Tifa from FF7 and Hitomi from DoA. I cannot tell you how much I love the Dead Fantasy series for its absolutely ri-cock-ulous Physics Does Not Work That Way fight scenes. It's absurdly beautiful and beautifully absurd. And as impossibly beautiful as all the women are, I'm glad that the creator seems to be focusing more on the amount of ass they can kick instead of the amount of ass they've got exposed. I can't wait for the next few installments, particularly in light of the ending scene for DF3.

Secondly, remember or not how I was blabbering about Jeeja Yanin starring in a new film? Raging Phoenix's trailer has also hopped onto the webz. It's short and with no indication of the plot, but the bits we see of the action scenes seem promising.

AvatarFail continues with four headshots of the four main characters. Leaving aside the obvious racial problems, what the fuck is up with Zuko's "scar"? It looks like the makeup artist smeared clay on the side of his face and then called it a day. And I know that this is only one headshot, but Aang just looks so RAWR and sulky and I'm like WHERE DID MY SEAL-SLEDDING AVATAR GO NOOOOO. As a bit of an antidote to this clusterfuck, here's a survey in three parts about the many ways that A:TLA subverts the status quo (and some of the ways that it doesn't!).

Cool nature thing of the day: watermelon snow, which is snow that is not only pink but also, indeed, smells faintly of watermelons! Look but don't taste.

While soldiering through the archives of The Straight Dope (I actually got through all 57 pages! Though I didn't read all the columns, obviously), I found that they had addressed how the word "gay" came to mean "homosexual". I'm particularly fascinated by the fact that "to gay it" once meant "to copulate", and am now imagining the word "gay" in place of another certain word that also means "to copulate." For example: "Well, gay you to hell and back!", or "GAY THIS GAYING SHIT!" or "That's gaying awesome." Certainly "mothergayer" would have interesting implications. In a situation where things have just gone to shit, I think the mood would be lightened considerably if someone uttered "We're totally gayed." (This totally puts Jade Curtiss' "A Definition of the Word 'Fuck'" in an entirely new light. WHY DON'T YOU PLAY HIDE AND GO GAY YOURSELF???)

Nine reasons the economy is not getting better.

From Lifehacker (that name is epic), how to bake cookies on your dashboard harnessing the heat accumulated inside your car on a steamy summer day. WIN.

Finally, this entry is one that I swear everyone needs to be smacked with at least once in their life: [ profile] jimhines discusses why it's even more important to dissect pop culture for problematic themes and attitudes than it is to do the same for more "literary" works. The very accessibility of pop culture is exactly why problems with the culture need to be examined and brought out into the open. It sends a message to people, hey, look, these problems haven't gone away. They're not hiding under the dustbunnies of history and obfuscated academia; they're in the center of the room, flailing their hands and dancing. (IN UR ROOM, FLAILING THEIR HANDZ)


Also watched Police Story 4: First Strike recently. This is one of Jackie Chan's American/English films. Long story short, Chan plays an HK police officer who gets whored out by his superior to the CIA in order to track down a suitcase nuke. His job takes him first to Ukraine, then all the way down under to Australia. The version of the movie I was watching was all English-dubbed, but apparently in the original cut, there were instances where some of the characters were speaking either Cantonese, Ukrainian, Russian, etc. Anyway, plot is kind of silly, the fight scenes were slightly disappointing until the end, where not only did you have Jackie fighting for a couple of minutes while on stilts, but then you also had underwater kung-fu in a tank with a man-eating shark. I shit you not. I also liked this scene, set inside what looks like a large warehouse - among other things, Jackie performs some seriously amazing stunts with what looks like a 12-foot-tall ladder or thereabouts.

*looks back over this entry* ...RAWR, how am I going to tag this thing?

or am I just wasting time?
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Having finished my JPN106 final (likely got a few things wrong on it, especially WRT to the particles and conjugations for passive and causative-passive and blah blah, but I'm working from like a 95-96% in that class, so I'm not worried) and my ART264 project (presenting at the final critique tomorrow afternoon), I have some time to finally post something more substantial than whining and short links. :D?


Vienna Teng

Despite having a shitload of music that I still haven't listened to even once, I've been returning rather frequently to Vienna Teng's Inland Territory. It's basically the musical equivalent of comfort food for me at the moment, and healthy comfort food for me, at that. I'm still floored at how rich and full the songs are, and how, despite the title Inland Territory, it's actually the least introspective of Vienna's albums so far. No...that's a misleading description; if you looked up "introspective" in the dictionary you'd find Vienna's picture. What I mean to say is, when you compare the subjects and the handling of those subjects in IT songs versus her earlier songs, there's a stronger tendency in the IT songs to reach out beyond personal, interior experiences. Or rather, the IT songs are remarkable for this fusion of the external world of events that may or may not be beyond our control, with the internal world of emotions and thoughts. It's a skillful, refreshing blending of themes into an audiophiliac frappuccino.

One thing I didn't consciously notice about the album until someone mentioned it on the VT forums: it's framed by two songs that both have what can be referred to as "instrumental choruses". It's especially spine-tingling on St. Stephen's Cross. (Incidentally, both were songs that needed to grow on me for a while before I came to love them, in their own way.)

Vanessa Carlton

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Carlton has debuted two new songs, "Fair-Weather Friends" and "London". Unfortunately, the quality is so bad on these recordings that you can't understand what she's singing, but melodically it sounds like stuff that would fit in with Heroes and Thieves. According to Wiccapedes, she's apparently almost halfway done with the album and will release it later this year, holy shit.

My liking for Vanessa Carlton's music is mildly perplexing to me. She's not necessarily an excellent vocalist - I wouldn't care to hear her a cappella - but it's such a distinctive voice and it fits her songs. Similarly, I get bored real easily playing her piano arrangements because they're so simple, yet I haven't really figured out a good way to transform those arrangements into something more complex (and thus more interesting) for me to perform as a cover. And her lyrics didn't really become compelling to me until Heroes and Thieves, but they've always had a certain je ne sais quoi about them that was uniquely VC.

At any rate, I look forward to VC's new album.

Yousei Teikoku

With their latest release, the single "Gekkou no Chigiri", it seems like YT is moving towards a more pop sound, though they still retain their distinctive gothic, neo-classical, and electronica elements. I was actually underwhelmed by the three songs on "Gekkou no Chigiri", but then again I was also underwhelmed by the songs on "Irodori no Nai Sekai" and now I actually really like the songs for the most part. In particular, I keep on coming back to "Alte Burg" for some reason. I think I'm fascinated by the chord progressions and the melodic structure, the auditory tension pulled tight like a bow in the stanza melodies before being released in a graceful arc into more musically familiar territory for the chorus. They've done this on other songs as well (including other songs on "Irodori no Nai Sekai"), but for some reason the pattern really caught me in "Alte Burg". I'm not entirely sure that it's an effect of this song being necessarily better than their other songs; it may be that I was listening to the song at the right time and in the right mood.

Charice Pempengco

You can sample her music on her MySpace; her Wikipedia page is here.

I first heard about her through the Angry Asian Man. Charice Pempengco is a young Filipina singer who placed third in a Filipino talent show called Little Big Star, loosely patterned after American Idol. However, she only gained worldwide recognition after an avid supporter named "FalseVoice" started posting videos of her performance on YouTube, garnering millions of hits. Through a series of fortunate events, she eventually landed a performance spot on Oprah, which led to her being signed by music producer David Foster. She is supposed to have a US debut album sometime soon, though I'm not entirely sure how soon.

Charice really has an impressive set of pipes, but she seriously needs to learn how to control that voice. She's cited Celine Dion and Mariah Carey as influences, and boy does it show - and not always in a good way. I think it's great that she has such a good range, but I honestly despise it when singers "oversing" their melodies (see also: Christina Aguilera). It seems so unnecessary most of the time. I prefer her softer vocals in "Smile" and "Maalaala Mo Kaya". But hey, what do I know? I think that, with this style of vocals, she may actually have a chance to break into the American mainstream, somewhat. She's already got two albums released in the Philippines, and a single here in the U.S.


So cheesy! So retro! Yet so gloriously awesome and epic! I wanna write my own Dragonforce-esque song. Not that it would be hard, technically, but still.


I have some book discussion I want to do (namely, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd and Tekgrrl by A.J. Menden - neither of which I was impressed by), but it may take some time for me to formulate coherent reviews about them, so I'll leave y'all with a long-overdue link-o-llection instead.

Jeff Yang: What Does It Mean to be Asian-American?

Four decades later [after the late Ronald Takaki taught the first-ever Black Studies course at UCLA], however, it's worth considering how far the idea of Asian America has come, and how far it can go. Does Asian American identity still have meaning? Have prevailing attitudes towards race evolved to a point where the term "Asian American" limits us rather than lifting us up? Has the moment passed?

Truth be told, the current picture isn't pretty. Many prominent Asian American institutions, particularly those associated with arts, culture and media, have either shut down or are in danger of doing so. Some of this is due to the larger economic crisis, but if pressed, many of the former leaders of these organizations will quietly admit that the core issue they face is simple: Audiences and subscribers for their work have been dwindling, and without collective support from within the community, it's been an uphill battle getting support from outside of it.

On the political front, the vibrant grassroots movement of the '60s and '70s never produced a broad-based pan-Asian American advocacy organization along the lines of the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza. While reinvented old-guard institutions like the Asian American Justice Center (formerly the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium) and exciting new-school entities like Asian Pacific Americans for Progress offer hope, the history of Asian American activism over the past few decades is largely a mosaic of short-term coalitions that were built with a single issue in mind and vanished after that issue no longer seemed pressing.

And those issues are rare these days. It's hard to point to a critical political event that has galvanized pan-Asian communities since 1982, the fight for justice for Vincent Chin, the Chinese American murdered by laid-off Detroit autoworkers for being "Japanese." (Some might suggest the protests against the Broadway musical "Miss Saigon" fit that bill. Even so, those took place in 1991 -- nearly two decades ago.)

All of these factors point to the uncomfortable truth that bringing together Asian Americans has often seemed like herding cats, if those cats were randomly mixed in with, say, dogs, sheep and giraffes -- a metaphor that reflects the staggering diversity of our community, which incorporates dozens of nationalities, each with multiple linguistic, religious and ethnic subsets, and a varying historical record of immigration to the U.S.

Yes, the challenges are enormous. And yet, the stakes are high. Those who seek to suppress racial discourse have gravitated toward Asian Americans as the weakest link in the multicultural chain. They suggest that the successes some Asian Americans have achieved mean we no longer need the protection of a racial category; they point to the difficulties we've faced in organizing as evidence the category never should have existed in the first place.

Ray Fisman @ Slate: Want more women to study science? Hire more female professors.

The researchers also found that the influence of professor gender was even starker for the set of students who were math whizzes when they entered the Academy (those with math SAT scores above 700). For these students, a female instructor eliminated the gender GPA gap entirely—and solely because high-performing women did well in their classes rather than because high-ability men underperformed.

What's more, having a male instructor didn't just affect female cadets' performance in their first-year classes—ramifications could be seen throughout their undergraduate careers. Not surprisingly, students who did well in their introductory science classes were more likely to go on to obtain science degrees (and presumably go on to science-related professions). Among high-math-SAT students—those most likely to be the ones to go on to obtain science degrees—the authors calculate that having a women-only roster of faculty would create gender parity among science majors.

What is it about a woman instructor that is so important for female pupils? It's unlikely to be simply the sense of empowerment of seeing that women can in fact make it in science. If that were the case, then having all female professors should help their female students catch up to the men and having all male professors should cause the male-female performance gap to widen. Yet the authors found that, while female students perform better on average in classes taught by female professors, there are some male professors under whom there's no achievement gap between male and female students (and also some female professors for whom the gender gap is as big as that of some of their male colleagues). So some men are very good at mentoring women, just not nearly enough of them.

John Scalzi: The New York Times: We May Slide into Irrelevancy But At Least We Update Daily

The thing about this Times piece is that it feels almost endearing anachronistic; not to run down blogs, but they’re not exactly the hot new kid on the block these days, are they. These days it seems like the only people starting new blogs are laid-off journalists, which says something both about blogs and these journalists. Everyone else has moved on to Facebook and Twitter. Which is something I personally applaud; I like my blog, but I’m a wordy bastard, by profession and by inclination, and online social networks actually do a far better job of what people wanted blogs to do, which is be a way to act and feel connected online with friends and family. No one gives a crap if your tweet or status update is short and utterly inconsequential (”Hey! I just ate a hot dog!”) — indeed, that’s kind of the point.

[ profile] nonfluffypagans has a post discussing the idea of pagan community centers. It touches on a number of issues that PCCs face, including money, interpersonal politics, and the lack of support from the broader community.

I want this corset like burning.

Iraqi teen cracks 300-year-old math puzzle.

Tokyopop recently raised the prices on its individual manga volumes, but it looks like readers are actually getting less for their money.

And then finally, an article from The Onion that is sure to be a classic: Oh, No! It's Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!

fire's getting closer but I've got to stay calm
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
I didn't make a lot from Artist Alley this year, but that was about what I expected. I did, however, learn a lot, and will be better armed to take over the Alley next year. (Beware an invasion of Kirby pumpkins!) I think, based on this initial experience, that I actually prefer being in the Artist Alley as opposed to being a regular patron of the con, because at least that way, if I don't want to go to any panels, I won't be stuck in my hotel room feeling like I should be doing something. (It also prevents me from wandering the dealer's room for too long and dropping my cash on stuff. As my friend Lauren said: "Earn, not burn!")

Major highlights for me include seeing my two pet fandoms - Bomberman and Golden Sun - in meatspace, holy crap. I ran into this Bomberman cosplay and this Isaac cosplay, both of which surprised the hell out of me. I also found Gintoki and Neuro and Yako! There was also a bunch of Abyss and Symphonia cosplayers. And I discovered two other Bomberfanatics in the Artist Alley. We are out there, yay!

Here's the booty I scored from the con this year, which isn't much but which I am very satisfied with. Am trying to figure out where I want to put the Gintoki and Bomberman pins. Missing from the picture is a $2.00 Okami fanart bookmark that I got from Lydia's friend, who had a table in Artist Alley. The clips were made by another artist in the Alley who graciously let us hang out by her when we were in table limbo early Friday morning (long story short: there was a database error that assigned two studios to one table, and the other studio had claimed the table first, so we got shuttled to a free table that was in a dinky corner of the Alley).

-Sora G. Silverwind
I want to be awakened right now
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
Vienna Teng and her crew gave an amazing performance at Schuba's on Friday, as they always do. (I have video evidence of this fact, but alas, it doesn't even begin to capture the magick of the moment.) I stalked caught up with her later and got her to autograph my copy of Inland Territory - yay! She also thanked me for my review of the album, which I think she found through the forum - double yay! And I found out that the reason they haven't played "Augustine" live yet is because they haven't really found an arrangement that they really liked for it. So now I await with bated breath the fateful day that she gives a live performance of "Augustine."

The opening act, Ben Sollee, was pretty damn amazing too. I'm not sure if his music, which could probably be described as "country on cello", is my thing or not, but lemme tell you, he's damn good on the cello.

After the performance, I crashed at [ profile] lysis_to_kill's place with Lauren and Melissa. We watched Crash, which isn't exactly a "fun movie night" kind of film, but I'd heard about it back in HON301 and Lauren had brought it with her, and no one really cared which movie we watched so I just took charge of the viewing materials. (I'd say that this is such a typically Leo thing of me to do, but then, Melissa and Lauren are both Leos too...) Crash is an incredibly uncomfortable film to watch because of the way it takes on a lot of major racial issues in America, and the characters of the large main cast fall into a lot of grey areas. Some are more redeemable - or redeemed - than others.

By the time we finished this movie, it was getting kind of late, but somehow we decided that we wanted to watch something else, so we popped one of the DVDs I had for the first season of The Big Bang Theory and watched the first episode. Much lulz were had. I seriously need to watch the rest of this series; it's flippin' hilarious and I love all the geek jokes even if I can't understand half of them. (Tangentially related - I also need to finish watching Firefly - I think I'm on the second DVD of the boxset that I got for Christmas two years ago. I'm so bad with sitting down and just watching shit.)

Despite the late bedtime, all of us were up before 8:00am, WTF. However, the early wake-up was sweetened - literally - by a pack of cook-it-yourself Cinnabons that Liz managed to pick up in the fridge aisle at Jewel. OMG SO GOOD AND SO UNHEALTHY FOR YOU. I'm afraid to find and buy these for myself, because I'll probably be eating them all. The. Time.


So, the final chapter of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro was released on Friday. I'm sad that MTNN has to end, but if we had to get an end, this was a pretty good end to get. And Matsui is supposed to be releasing a new series this July - I'm not sure if it's a new ongoing series or a one-shot, though.

These minor spoilers are on the tip of my tongue. )

Fare thee well, Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. It was sweet while it lasted. Now if only someone would pick up the tankoubon for English localization!

I run but it stays right by my side
reileen: (angry - Shinpachi)
[ profile] vyctori pointed out this entry's comments on [ profile] talesoftheabyss, which basically asks for Everyone's Thoughts on the Tales of the Abyss Anime. Having seen the pilot episode of this particular wankfest before, I avoided that entry like the plague, but I trust [ profile] vyctori when she says that nearly everyone and their dog is bitching about how absolutely shitty the animation was.

Seriously? This is shitty?!*

Excuse me while I go claw my eyes out,filet them, and then eat them with a good few dashes of nummy garlic salt.





What are people using as a yardstick for TotA? Code Geass, apparently. Here's a scene on YouTube, although it looks like a major spoiler.

So, okay, fine. I totally admit that Code Geass has good animation. But:

1) It's probably only one or two small notches above TotA.
2) I can't find hard numbers, but based on the Wikipedia entry, it seems safe to say that Code Geass probably had a much higher budget than TotA considering that gutterfucking CLAMP was hired to do the character designs for this series and that Code Geass is apparently sponsored by an assload of companies, including Pizza Hut!
3) Wiccapedes also says that Code Geass initially had the Saturday evening prime timeslot, which was later changed to a Thursday late night time slot. Compare this with Tales of the Abyss, which has always had a 2:00am timeslot. HMM, GEE. I CAN'T SEE WHY THAT WOULD INFLUENCE THE ANIMATION BUDGET AT ALL.
4) Also, I wonder if anyone noticed that Code Geass and TotA are produced by Sunrise? LOL.

I'm told other comparisons are being made to Gundam00 (here's an episode clip) and cutscenes done by the studio Production I.G., which I don't even know where to start with the stupidity of that. Look, I know that PIG (lulz) has done a fair amount of anime that are generally considered high quality, but comparing their cutscenes work to an entire anime or an entire anime episode? No.

At least Tales of the Abyss gets an anime! Even more, it's a full-length TV series at 26 episodes, as opposed to a four-episode OVA for Tales of Phantasia! I would fucking kill the Dalai Lama** to get a four-episode OVA for Golden Sun or Bomberman 64: The Second Attack, never mind a 26-episode TV series!

In conclusion: I hate you, TotA fandom. Die in a Mystic Cage.

you better get ready to die

*Okay, granted, that's an attack sequence, which has the benefit of being all dressied up and stuff, but...
**No, not really, but you get the idea.
reileen: (music - piano & smoke)
Sarah Slean is a Canadian singer-songwriter, whose piano-based music tends towards a jazzy cabaret style. Or at least that what it sounds like on her fourth studio album, The Baroness, and its subsequent EP of non-album tracks, The Baroness Redecorates. I actually prefer the songs from the EP over the studio album. In particular, "Parasol" is my favorite. I have an urge to write a song called "The Stack in My Rack" in this style.

Priscilla Hernandez is a singer-songwriter (and illustrator!) who hails from Spain. Her songs from Ancient Shadows sound like a more gothic version of Enya's work. Here's "The willow's lullaby" and "Away". I'm fascinated by the music, though I need to look up the lyrics 'cause I can't understand anything she's singing (and I'm pretty sure that, despite being Spanish, she's singing in English).

The Veronicas are an Australian pop-rock duet of twin sisters whose music from their second studio album, Hook Me Up, is also strongly techno/house-influenced. I first heard part of their music two days ago, and was intrigued by the techno to go check them out, but found out that I didn't like them as much as I thought I would. I don't know if it was the music or if it was the cliched lyrics. Here's part of the song I first heard, "Untouched", which has a really nice strings arrangement in the opening. The songs reminded me of Lady GaGa's work, whose music I actually did like to a certain extent, so if you're also a fan of Lady GaGa (and perhaps Katy Perry?), you might like The Veronicas.

Finally, I swear that one day I will cover Andrew W.K.'s "Ready to Die" in the style of Yousei Teikoku. ONE DAY. *shakes fist*


Goodbye Tsugumi is a contemporary Japanese novel by Banana Yoshimoto. Maria Shirakawa is the only daughter of an unmarried woman who has lived most of her life in a little seaside town alongside her invalid cousin Tsugumi Yamamoto, who despite being an invalid has enough energy to cause grief to those around her through her abrasive words and frequent temper tantrums. Maria and Tsugumi are close friends, and when Maria's father is finally able to bring Maria and her mother to Tokyo to live there for good, Tsugumi invites Maria to spend one last summer by sea with her and her family.

I enjoyed this one, although the translation was clunky in some parts, especially for Tsugumi's really rough way of speaking. I was also pleasantly surprised that SPOILER ). Overall, it's a very hopeful novel, though I have to admit that at this point (having sped-read my way through the thing a week ago) I'm not entirely sure what the message was supposed to be.

Piercing by Ryu Murakami is another contemporary Japanese novel. The story revolves around Kawashima Masayuki, who is a successful graphic designer living Tokyo with his lovely wife Yoko and their newborn daughter Rie. All is not well with this family, though, for Kawashima has this overwhelming desire to stab his newborn daughter with an ice pick. (YAINORITE BEAR WITH ME, OKAY???) In order to face down this destructive desire, which has its roots in childhood trauma, Kawashima makes plans to take a solo vacation so that he can go out and kill a prostitute instead. Little does he know that the prostitute he's chosen, Sanada Chiaki, has some destructive impulses of her own that just may thwart his plans.

So, in case the whole "I WANT TO STAB MY BABY WITH AN ICE PICK" thing didn't clue you in, this is a really fucked up novel. It's sort of like the Japanese Chuck Palahniuk novel, although I'm not familiar enough with Palahniuk's work to say which one it most resembles - I've only read Haunted and Rant. But based on that, if I had to make a comparison to those two Palahniuk novels, I'd have to say that Piercing is 1) a lot more focused in its narrative (both Haunted and Rant had multiple characters and multiple layers and layers of narration going on) and 2) derives most of its visceral squick factor from copious amounts of blood, as opposed to body fluids in general which may or may not include blood (which is what Palahniuk had an affinity for doing in the two novels I read).

The other part of the book's squick factor is, of course, the fact that Kawashima wants to stabbinate his kid. But I think that the overblown treatment that this book gives to Kawashima's destructive impulses nevertheless speaks to something that we all have in us: the desire to completely destroy anything good we've built. Or hell, to destroy anything we've built, good or not, since with Sanada Chiaki, she focuses her destructive tendencies on herself. The two of them eventually recognize that they are similar people, not that either of them specifically admit that to each other. All in all, the novel ends kind of ambiguously, albeit with a very obvious reference to novel's title. I'm really kind of ambivalent about this book; I appreciate the unorthodox structure and the story that Murakami set up, but have my doubts about the resolution of it. Overall, uh, if you like/can stomach Palahniuk's work, you may want to give Piercing a try. It's short enough that I was able to get through it on a one-way train ride from Midway Airport to the Western stop on the Brown Line, which was about an hour and a half long, but I'm a decently fast reader.

Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is a YA fantasy novel set in a magical Nigeria. Taking the summary from the inside cover flap because I'm lazy:

In the northern Ooni Kingdom, fear of the unknown runs deep, and children born dada are rumored to have special powers. Thirteen-year-old Zahrah Tsami feels like a normal girl - she grows her own flora computer, has mirrors sewn onto her clothes, and stays clear of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle. But unlike other children in the village of Kirki, Zahrah was born with the telling dadalocks. Only her best friend, Dari, isn't afraid of her, even when something unusual begins happening - something that definitely makes Zahrah different. The two friend determine to investigate, edging closer and closer to danger. When Dari;s life is threatened, Zahrah must face her worst fears alone, including the very thing that makes her different.

Zahrah the Windseeker has all the charm and structure of a timeless fairytale, which makes the book somewhat predictable but very satisfying. What makes the book stand out is the non-white heroine and the non-Euro-centric worldbuilding, which is very well-done. Zahrah and Dari are likable, relatable characters as well. Highly recommended.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer I really need to summarize this one by this point? It's about a whiny whitebread American girl named Bella and her sparkly vampire love. Oh, and there's some semblance of a plot crammed into the last 100 pages that doesn't really make any sense and serves no purpose other than to underscore how ~*~*~special~*~*~ the girl is.

Two things that mildly - emphasis on mildly - redeemed the book for me:

*Bella apparently likes to read. One of the (million and hundred) things that she hates about Forks is that their local library has a poor selection of books, so she makes plans to head out of town and hit up some used bookstores in a bigger town. Not that Bella seems to read anything besides what appears on high school reading lists, and since those are classics I find it difficult to believe that even a small town like Forks wouldn't have those in stock at the library. And she loses points from me for passing up the metaphysical bookstore.

*Edward's a pianist and composer, who wrote a song for Bella. Not that this hobby of his comes up ever again in the series, based on what I've read of [ profile] cleolinda's recaps.

*For some reason, despite so many people saying that this actually happened, I didn't really notice gratuitous overusage of the word "chagrin" in Twilight. (Not saying that it didn't happen; just that I didn't notice it.) I did, however, notice gratuitous overuse of the word "smouldering", usually used to describe Edward's omgsodaaaaark eyes or his gaze or whatshit.

[ profile] vyctori: Only use the word when something is actually on fire?

*You know what makes Edward really creepy? (Besides the obvious things like following her home and watching her sleep without her knowing about it, etc., etc.) The fact that he seems to have this dual...personality or mindset or whatever of being both a creepy old guy (where he constantly claims that he knows what's best for Bella and basically condescends to her) and a typical emotionally constipated teenager ("WE SHOULDN'T BE FRIENDS BECAUSE I AM TEH DANGEROUS BUT LET'S BE FRIENDS ANYWAY EVEN THOUGH IT'LL TOTALLY BE BAD FOR BOTH OF US BUT YOUR BLOOD SMELLS TASTY LIKE FLOWERS (wait did I say that out loud O SHI)~").


Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro by Satoko Kiyuduki is - okay, can I just pause here for a moment to tell you how much I loathe the title? Most awkward translation ever. The Japanese is fairly straightforward, y'know (棺担ぎのクロ) - they could've called it Coffin Carrier Kuro, which has the benefit of alliteration. True, it's still a bit of an odd title, but it sounds more standardly manga-ish.

Anyway, Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro is about a tomboyish girl named Kuro, who travels the world looking for a particular witch. She dresses in black and carries a coffin as large as she is, with the knowledge that she may have to use it by the end of her journey. She's frequently mistaken for a witch herself, as well as a boy, a vampire, a reaper, and other spooky things, but she has a good heart and leaves an impression wherever she goes. Accompanying her are: Sen the talking bat, who tends to be the snarky and slightly irresponsible, and the mysterious catgirl twins Nijuku and Sanju, whom Kuro found one day on her travels.

Lydia lent me the first volume of this series on Friday and I read it on the train home. I really like the art, even though it's kind of generically cute. I'm less fond of the fact that this manga is done in 4-koma format, which I feel really restricts the narrative possibilities of this work. Did Kiyuduki just not want to deal with large backgrounds or something? Which I can totally sympathize with, but she draws backgrounds nicely and I don't, which makes all the difference. The chapters themselves kind of skip around in terms of story time, going forward and then backward and then forward again, but I didn't find it too hard to follow. I'm intrigued enough that I'm going to bug Lydia for the second volume - I wish I knew how many volumes there were in total of this manga so I could figure out whether I'd be left on a cliffhanger or not.

Speaking of Lydia, I was discussing the latest manga developments of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro with her. She's a fan of the anime, but gave up on the manga partway through the current story arc with Sicks and the New Bloodline. I was way more enthusiastic than her about the Bloodline story arc, but now that we've reached chapter 198, with Matsui stating that MTNN is definitely ending soon...I'm actually finding myself increasingly dissatisfied with the way this series has gone. I'm not sure if it's a legitimate gripe or if - due to reading fanfic or just too many discussions with [ profile] kiirobon or something else - I just wanted something different.

A minor part of my gripe has to do with the fact that it seems like Matsui's art has gotten worse at this point in things. Matsui was never a technically spectacular artist, which he himself has admitted, but the story and characters were compelling enough that one could overlook some of the weirder (or scarier) depictions and regard it in the same way as one would regard a beloved, intelligent, well-spoken friend who had a tendency for wearing things like stretch velour leopard print pants with a pleather lavender faux snakeskin jacket. (Disclaimer: I actually own both of these items, but despite my leanings towards bold fashions, I have enough sense not to pair the two together.)

But with the story now smack-dab in the middle of the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, the emphasis has to be on the visuals on the fight scene. This means that distortions and wonkily-drawn parts stand out more, and potentially distract the reader from the scene. And if my shoddy memory serves me correctly, I'm not remembering any visually impressive panels from this recent fight. Usually with major fight scenes in MTNN, you get a panel or two that's drawn awesomelikewhoah and it basically encapsulates that particular fight in a nutshell. (My favorite examples include Neuro using Evil Aqua in the fight against a mind-controlled Higuchi near the end of the HAL arc and Neuro using Evil Torture against DR near the beginning of the Bloodline arc.) But that doesn't seem to be the case with Neuro vs. Sicks. It's disappointing, especially because he gave us awesome demonic weapons like Evil Aqua and Evil Torture, but now all we've got is this thing that is minorly spoilery so it's going under a cut. ) Is Matsui just kind of rushing to be done with this series? Or have we just not seen the best that Neuro has to offer for this particular fight?

The other problem I'm wrestling with for MTNN is the progression of the various thematic elements in the story, the "evolution" of humans and where such evolution places them in relation to a demon like Neuro. But my thoughts are still kind of scattered on this one, and I've spent enough time typing up this long-ass entry, so I may just return to this particular theme once MTNN finishes its Shonen Jump run.

and lying to your own reflection, you thought you could hide
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
Writing this while taking a break from attempting to make sense of the cacophony of my room (spring cleaning, what), eating a bowl of Apple Jacks with milk. Even though it's 6:30pm. Ye-e-s. And I kind of have a craving for chicharron again, too.

I uploaded a new icon (see this entry) and replaced my music one. Yay? Still haven't figured out my tags - I've only been tagging lately for link-o-llections and not content. I'm also thinking of adding a section for links to various online stores in my profile, since I seem to have accumulated a decent amount of them. (Plus, it also makes it easier for me to get to those links, haha.)



I think everyone's familiar with the "make your prom outfits out of duct tape and get a $3000 college scholarship" contest. It sounds silly, but you'd be surprised with the awesome shit that people come up with, such as this steampunk-esque pair. I mean, that would be amazing with justregular fabric! (In fact it looks like PVC at a glance.) Be sure to check out the other outfits through the official site (linked in the entry).

Via [ profile] vyctori, my fellow musicslut, I bring you a cover of The Offspring's "Pretty Fly For a White Guy" sung in bad Engrish by what sound like pre-teen Japanese schoolgirls but which are actually anime voice actresses. OW. OW OW OW. I resolve to inflict this on the otaku corner when I get back to classes.

5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions That Would Actually Suck.

Dragonshit: De-Evolution Dragonball: Evolution was reviewed in advance over at Anime News Network. Part of me wants to go see it for the lulz and sneak in some Mike's Hard Lemonade, but then I remembered that getting into the movie theater would require money, which could be better used to pay off strippers.

What really sucks about Dragonball: Evolution - I mean, besides some obvious points like the fact that GOKU AND CHICHI ARE WHITE WHAT THE SHIT - is how it turned the original story, which was based loosely off one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature and originally featured an innocent, childlike protagonist, got mutilated into loser fanboy wish fulfillment crack. And it's not even the good crack, it's the kind of crack where the dealers mix in three parts baby powder and two and a half parts Chlorox bleach to make their original crack stock last so that they can con more suckers out of their greenbacks. Lord Almighty on a hellbound moped, after reading this review I think I'd rather watch the Twilight movie multiple times for 24 hours straight than subject myself to five minutes of Dragonball: Evolution.

I have to say, though, that while Dragonball: Evolution sounds bad (HA UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE EON), I'm not sure that I'd pass on it if given a choice between watching it multiple times for 24 hours straight, or either piercing my cervix, piercing my ass crack, or tattooing my eyeball.

Relatedly, here's an interview with the cervix-piercer, who is interested in the dynamics and implications of post-gender existence. It' interesting read, to say the least.


Talking about school: winter quarter grades, spring quarter musings )


Talking about life: 3/20 celebratory dinner at a Korean BBQ place with the folk from Japanese class and their pals, with a hefty appetizer of introspective teal deer ('REAL TEAL DEER') )


Aaaand this post took me longer than I thought, so I'll post more stuff about music, reading, and manga in my next entry tomorrow or something.

through the fire and the flames we carry on

*There's a whole spiel I could go into here about why I tend to produce more fanwork for smaller fandoms than I do for larger fandoms, but the basic gist goes that, in larger fandoms, there are more people doing more things, so I have less of an incentive (personally) to do what I want to do.
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
Haha, looking back on my previous entry at the icon and the moodpic, I'm reminded of how Gintama has amazing "WHAT THE EVERLOVING RATFUCKING SHIT" expressions. I really want to collect the English manga, but I have no money and no job yet. And I wish someone would license the anime so I could buy that too with money that I don't have.

Speaking of anime, I really gotta get caught up on Michiko to Hatchin. It's almost ending soon and I want to be able to write a review thingy of it.

And speaking of "ending soon", the Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro will be doing just that. It's currently on chapter 197 or something, and I'm not sure how many more chapters Matsui's got planned. It would be clean and neat if he ended it at 200, but given the events of 197, that would make things seem a little rushed. (Though it's not like no mangaka has ever done a rushed ending before.)


Finished reading Naomi. Brief thoughts: I wanted to smack Joji, I felt bad for Hamada, and Naomi was a hell of a piece of work. The entire story is much more palatable if you read it as an extended allegory of Japan's relationship to the West, instead of as two actual, living characters. I think overall, I prefer Lolita. Let me tell you - as creepy as it is (and it is creepy), Humbert Humbert did one thing right in going for them super young, because if you wait too long, then they apparently turn out like Naomi. Lord and Lady on a pair of skiis...

I'm going to tackle Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto next. Er, well, maybe I should start reading some of the library books I have first. Decisions, decisions.


In honor of Mario Day on March 10 (because March 10 = Mar10 = Mario, hur hur), someone made SMB-themed cookies.

While we're on the topic on themed food, apparently a restaurant in D.C. is now offering Obama-shaped sushi. Er...phwee?

I present to you the best cosplay photo ever. ("THIS WAS NO ORDINARY CHICKEN CUCCO. THIS WAS EVIL MANIFEST.")

Miley Cyrus and Kanye West got snubbed by Radiohead. I love Miley's claim that she's going to "ruin" Radiohead. Yeah, I'd like to see her try! (For the lulz.)

OMG YES, I WANT THE TWILIGHT DVD JUST FOR THIS: Twilight movie commentary with the director Catherine Hardwicke and stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison. BRB LOLING TOO HARD.

Gonna end this link-o-llection with a couple of SRS BSNS links...

This article takes a deep look at the status of the female sexual submissive in the BDSM community and in greater society, and how it connects to feminist issues regarding informed choice. (It also happens to be written by a woman who identifies as a feminist and as a female sexual submissive.) [ profile] mia_noire, I don't believe you're into BDSM (and if you are, make sure you play safe and sane, aight? :D!), but I believe this article is relevant to your interests anyway with regards to the parts on female images of sexuality in society.

These two articles discuss the issue of being sexy as a Muslim woman.

The Japan Times Online has a rather grim article on the future of the anime industry. Here's a blog commentary on that article.


Gospel of the Shadow is up on YouTube now. I also have vids for "Almost" and "Sphinx" recorded, but, uh, I think I might want to re-record them.

I never wanna act my age, what's my age again?


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010



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